26″ August 2014 weakfish
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.
Finding the time to target summer weakfish, between the best flounder bite in years and striped bass fishing, is the hard part for me. When I have targeted weakfish, I have been successful most of the time. The tip of the day is the summer weakfish are here for sure. The summer weakfish are smaller than the spring and fall run weakfish. However, there is always a couple of big weakies around in the summer. Ed Teise actually hooked a tide runner weakfish last Friday. Ed has zeroed in on the summer weakfish and is running up his catch numbers. Traditionally the weakfish will begin to feed at night during mid to late summer, it is about that time.
One of today’s stripers attacks my lure.
I headed directly to a spot that I knew was holding bait for the last week. Today I wanted to see if the spot was holding more than keeper flounder. I pulled the anchor knowing the area was holding stripers and weakfish. After, I fished for flounder shortly, catching a nice 23″ keeper. Then I headed to the shallow water to hunt for stripers. I found a good number of stripers. One smoked my drag during a couple of good runs, he was between 30 and 40 inches. Thanks to the clear shallow water I got a good look, before he shook the hook. I continued fishing and catching nice stripers , but the big one got away today. The water temperature that was holding the fish was 70 degrees.
One of today’s stripers takes a close look at my lure.
Today felt so much like fall, I decided to forgo flounder fishing to hunt summer stripers. It was refreshing to find them with very little effort. I was sloppy in my approach to the spots , but I still hooked up at most locations. In one area they were feeding on peanut bunker and they had no interest in my favorite paddle tail. What is exciting is the amount of bait fish I continue to see in the area this year. If the numbers of bait fish hold, this fall striper fishing will be much better than last year.
Today’s flounder, like all that I catch, were caught in the sounds of Cape May co..
One of the advantages of living in close proximity to the areas you fish, is it allows you more time to fish. I had not planned on fishing today, but . As I pulled back on the throttle, I found clear blue water, one of the conditions I was seeking. However, the water temperature was a little chilly. I checked seven spots before I found good conditions . The spots that were holding fish were two degrees warmer than the others. The water temperature was 63-68 degrees. Fishing pressure ranged from heavy to non existent depending on the spot. Total time spent 2 hours 35 minutes.
The extra-large full moon tide, filled the sound with crystal clear ocean water. The view of all the marine life on and around the flats was spectacular. What I thought was a giant striped bass chasing bait, turned out to be a large shark aggressively feeding on striped bass! No time for a picture.
It was a beautiful day for flounder fishing. I ended the back bay safari with three keeper flounder. The largest was 23.5″, 4.9 pounds. I fished for two hours and ten minutes. The water temperature was 66 degrees at the top of the tide. Fishing pressure ? It looked like everybody was on the water today, including very busy fish and game officers and State Troopers.
Grass shrimp found inside a 20″ summer flounder
It started in May with millions of spearing. I noticed them being pushed around the sound by stripers , bluefish and weakfish. This June I seen the best run of grass shrimp in a decade , along with a good amount of minnows. Thus far in the back bays of Cape May County, NJ we have had a good fishing season. The success is linked directly to the presents of the bait. Hopefully the bait will hold into the fall. In this area red drum and speckled trout usually show up in the fall of the year. However, Kayak Bruce caught the first Jersey red drum this season in June. The first Jersey speckled trout has been caught also, by an Avalon sharp. Maybe this is a good indicator for the upcoming fall season?
The fishing conditions kept me at the helm of the skiff for most of the day’s trip. The water temperature dropped significantly the last couple days . With a water temperature swing, a flat barometer and a poor wind direction, it would have been a perfect day to skip fishing. I burned a lot of fuel and we went periods without any action at all. However, 2 hours and 45 minutes later, Wayne had his limit of summer flounder. Wayne travels in from Kentucky annually to fish the back bay waters for summer flounder. The new 18″ minimum size limit pushes reasonable to the maximum in our back bay waters . Regardless of the increased size of the flounder stock the majority of the large summer flounder are not found in our back bay waters or the Delaware Bay. The State of Delaware has a 16″ size limit and we fish the same bay. All things considered, 16″ is the appropriate size limit for flounder in Cape May County, NJ . The NJ Outdoor Alliance and the NJ federation of Sportsmen are prepared to fight to have Cape May County included in the Delaware region next season.
Jack with a big summer flounder. He caught it with his flounder fly.
Jack was fishing in the back bay waters when this hard fighting summer flounder rose for his fly. Jack holds the Cape May County saltwater fly fishing record for speckled trout 8.5 pounds. Looks like he is also in the hunt for the summer flounder fly fishing record.
Bill with a nice size spring 2014 weakfish
The best area based on wind direction and resent reports was far from the spots I fished today. I did not have the time to fish the hot/correct location. However, after spending an hour and a half on the water, three keepers were flopping in the cooler. The fishing pressure was none existent . The water temperature was 65 degrees. Water clarity was good – fair. The special ingredient during this fishing trip was patience.