It is time for me to focus on Jersey red drum and speckled trout, so today’s weakfish could be the last of the season for me. The first red drum of the fall season has been caught, I call this fish the motivator. The fishing news travels at the speed of light today , even with the (do not tell anybody) tag on it. I am sure the Jersey red drum specialist will be fishing a little harder next week. The peanut bunker, mullet and snapper blues are still pretty thick in the back waters and along the beachfront. We need the water temperature to drop a few degrees and a good NW wind to jump start the fall fishing season.
Large pods of mullet and peanut bunker darkened the water as they passed the boat. We could hear, but not see, the striped bass exploding on the bait fish. The mullet and peanut bunker were seeking refuge from the stripers in the tide covered marsh grass. We had no interest in catching striped bass during this trip, but their performance did enhanced our fishing. The weakfish had our attention from the first cast to the last today. “Drag screaming weakfish, describes today’s weakies. We caught them during a 2 hour window of opportunity. It was a beautiful September evening to be saltwater fishing.
Finding big weakfish in the fall can cause insomnia for me. Big weakfish will not hold in one spot for long this time of the year. I will usually fish every tide until they move on. Sure enough, this pod of fish only held for a few days. Now I can catch up on sleep and a few responsibilities, before the hunt begins again.
If you are interested in how to catch weakfish, check out the 2014 May addition of On The Water magazine NY/NJ addition. http://www.onthewater.com/magazine/
The bluefish have made an impressive appearance this season in Cape May County, NJ. Today schools of blues in the 3-5 pound range covered acres of water. It looked like fall with the mullet being pushed and the turns working above. However, it did not feel like it, it was hot. The water temperature topped 80 degrees for the first time this season, in the area I was fishing. The temperature rise completely shut down the striped bass bite in my spots.
The weakfish more than made up for the lack of stripers. They hit and fought like spring tide runners today.I love catching weakfish. One 5 pound weakfish, is worth 10 stripers in my book. Great day on the water.
I untied the lines and head directly to the spot I was fishing yesterday, but today it was dead. The conditions were different today, so I was not surprised. I ran at full throttle to a new location, based on the conditions. Sure enough, the striped bass were in the area. It was a short trip today, I only fished about 45 minutes. The water temperature is moving up again, it was 76 degrees on the top of the tide. The water was clear about an 8, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the clearest.
Please do not misconstrue the condition of the overall striped bass stock, it has been in steep decline for ten years. The striped bass run last fall was non-existent in Cape May County, NJ. It was the worst I have seen, since the 80’s. In 2005 a warning was issued by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council’s biologists : “reduce the harvest by x % or the weakfish stock will collapse. The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) and others pressured the council into disregarding the warnings. The ASMFC did not make the reduction in harvest, and the weakfish stock totally collapsed.
Collectively we can ensure they do not make the same mistake with striped bass, by making a call, sending an e-mail, writing a letter or attending a meeting.
On September 4, 2014 at the Galloway Twp. Branch of the Atlantic Co. Library, 306 East Jimmie Leeds Rd., Galloway, NJ 08205, at 4pm. there is a meeting to discuss options to reduce the striped bass harvest. The option that provides the largest cut back in harvest, over the shortest time frame, is the only option that brightens the future.
Rest assured, that there will be interested at the meeting that will not support the necessary harvest reductions. They will be looking out for their short-term financial situation, in complete disregard of the future of striped bass and the jobs they support.
The bluefish finished off almost all of my favorite rubber baits before I found the stripers. There was very little fishing pressure, but the wave runners and water sport boats were all over. It is hard enough to find keeper stripers during the day in August without the traffic. These guys are up and down small creeks and skinny water, so it took some effort to find undisturbed water . They are enjoying the water just like me, so it is all good. Just about every cast produced a fish, once I found them. It was a beautiful day to be on the water.
The bluefish were thick and feeding aggressively today. They destroyed bags of my favorite rubber baits. I was targeting weakfish , but the blues were not allowing my jig to get by them. Actually, it was nice to find them in our back waters in good numbers. I continued to fish until I was out of rubber baits. They are the perfect size for eating. Bluefish would make a great addition to a labor day barbecue. They should be cooked the same day they are caught to ensure the best flavor.
The new moon night is usually the darkest, but it was pretty dark last night. The stripers could be heard, not seen, popping along with bait fish splashing. The bite really slows after days of north east wind, like we had recently. The spot I was fishing is an excellent summer weakfish spot. I was hoping even with the bad condition I would still catch one, I didn’t. However, the striped bass picked up the slack.
The more difficult the hunt, the more value and satisfaction is found in the catch. Targeting and catching big weakfish this time of the year takes some effort, but is beyond satisfying, it is a rush.
I fish hard and often, but a Saturday night fishing trip is usually off-limits for me, saved for entertaining. However, this Saturday night I was able to fish. Ed had been flounder fishing with me earlier in the day, and invited me to fish a weakfish spot that has been red-hot. Ed Teise has earned a reputation as one of New Jersey’s top weakfish specialist. Knowing the night tides of August hold quality weakfish, coupled with Ed’s reputation, I was gearing up early. As we cautiously worked our way across a slew , that runs through a sand flat, pods of bait fish could be seen moving over the flat. The weakfish and stripers could be heard popping, each having a signature sound. It was a cool ” August night, that proved to be well worth the loss of sleep.