Big boats bring­ing in im­pres­sive mar­lin and wa­hoo catches

The Southern Berks News - - SPORTS - By Jim Loe For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

If you have a han­ker­ing for some sum­mer floun­der you bet­ter jump in your car right now be­cause this is the fi­nal day of New Jersey’s fluke sea­son. Of course, you can opt for Delaware or Mary­land af­ter the shut down. What hap­pens next year makes me feel very un­easy be­cause it looks like this state is in for a ma­jor re­duc­tion in the flat­tie catch for 2017.

Now, on to some bet­ter news. Al­though we have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a rather steady north­east wind of late, the big­ger boats that can han­dle it have been light­ing up with white mar­lin and wa­hoo catches. Some have been re­turn­ing to their hard-stand­ings fly­ing as many mar­lin flags as would fit on their out­rig­gers. Some cap­tains have re­ported up­wards of 40 re­leases on a sin­gle trip. And, yes, vir­tu­ally all the white mar­lin are re­leased.

As far as wa­hoo, this could be one of the finest sea­sons for the ‘hoo that we have seen in some time. Some of the speedy fish are hit­ting the 75-pound mark. Per­son­ally, I never have hooked a wa­hoo but I have mated aboard boats that have, al­though none I can re­call even ap­proached 75-pounds. I can imag­ine that was a fun fight be­cause when they start to run there is lit­tle, if any­thing, in the sea that can keep up with them.

Other than the whites and the wa­hoo, I could find very lit­tle else to re­port from off­shore. Tuna catches were al­most neg­li­gi­ble but there were a few sharks.

On the ar­ti­fi­cial reefs fish­ing has been slow be­cause of the rock­ing ocean. Floun­der fish­ing was dif­fi­cult be­cause it was nearly im­pos­si­ble to hold bot­tom with­out a ton of weight. There were some taug but the state bag limit re­mains one fish.

If you are look­ing to have some fun, es­pe­cially with kids, I rec­om­mend you head be­hind Long Beach Is­land where schools of blow­fish have gath­ered. Blow­fish are just about per­fect for novice an­glers be­cause they are al­most too easy to hook, don’t put up much of a fight and they de­light ev­ery­one when they in­flate them­selves when brought aboard the boat. They also make great eat­ing but I would rec­om­mend get the ad­vice of an old timer be­fore you get out the filet knife and try to clean them. And, re­mem­ber to wear gloves be­cause their sand­pa­per skin will do a job on your hands. How do I know that? Take a guess! Blow­fish also make an ideal fish fry for the fam­ily and friends.

While you are around LBI a trip into the Mul­lica River might be re­ward­ing be­cause there are keeper size weak­fish around. Un­for­tu­nately, again that sin­gle fish bag limit rears its head. Lit­tle Egg In­let seems to be an area for pick­ing up the bet­ter tast­ing tai­lor blues as they chase bunker and mul­let.

On the Vent­nor Pier there has been ex­cel­lent fish­ing for spot but I would be­lieve many of the shore’s piers and ocean jet­ties also are har­bor­ing them. Spot is an­other species that makes good eat­ing, even if they are small. You will find spot on most res­tau­rant menus when you visit coastal com­mu­ni­ties in the south. There are taug around the bridges and pil­ings in the back but re­mem­ber that one fish bag limit on the slip­pery bass. For you Drac­u­las out there, striped bass are swim­ming around the sod banks in the dark chas­ing eels and crabs.

Speak­ing of crabs, our spec­tac­u­lar sea­son con­tin­ues and with fewer peo­ple around the go crab­bing your chances for a big bas­ket full in­crease. Plenty to make gar­lic crabs, crab cakes or crabs and spaghetti...I’m mak­ing my­self hun­gry!

The At­lantic City In-Wa­ter Boat Show be­gins this com­ing Thurs­day at the Frank Far­ley State Ma­rina in front of the Golden Nugget Casino. It runs through next Sun­day.

ACROSS THE BAY

An­glers in Delaware and Mary­land are deal­ing with the same north­east winds plagu­ing the Jersey an­glers. The big boats are bring­ing in some im­pres­sive catches of white mar­lin and wa­hoo, with the far dis­tant Norfolk Canyon prob­a­bly the best area.

There are big floun­der on all the reef sites and the Old Grounds but the choppy con­di­tions mean your suc­cess rate in gen­er­ally pretty small.

With that in mind, many have taken to cast­ing into the surf and there the suc­cess rate in high. There are tai­lor blues to­ward the sur­face, prob­a­bly feed­ing on mul­let and bunker. Just un­der them are the king­fish wait­ing for you to of­fer them a bit of blood­worm. Fi­nally, un­der all of that you will find floun­der, if you can get your of­fer­ing through the blue and kingie hoards.

If that surf ac­tion tails off I sug­gest you try fresh wa­ter fish­ing in some of the small ponds.

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