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.
The flounder were hitting my paddle tail rubber bait, as aggressively as the striped bass and bluefish. Dayna caught the biggest flounder today it weighed 4.8 pound. She caught it on an unscented rubber bait. I am sure you could limit out on flounder in the back bay, if you targeted them, using peanut bunker as bait. We had a good mid – day striped bass bite, but the bluefish continue to dominate. The water temperature was 70 degrees on the top of the tide.
This is the best time of year to vacation in Cape May County, NJ. No crowds, plenty of fish, reduced prices and fantastic weather.
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.
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 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.
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.
What is unbelievably refreshing is how resilient the weakfish have proved to be. Considering in 2009 Dr. Jamie Geiger of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, suggested that the weakfish stock may have fallen to such lows that managers might wish to consider invoking the provisions of the Endangered Species Act as one of the management tools. The listing seemed like a sure bet. As any fish stock experiencing decades of unlimited commercial and recreational harvest would surely end up that way. A timely weakfish recovery was not expected by the ASMFC under any circumstances.
The good news is they were wrong. With only three years of historic weakfish regulations (limited harvest) they are showing up in numbers not seen in decades along the entire east coast.
The return of the weakfish in this month’s (May )issue of On The Water magazine covers it well.
Update: 2014 weakfish season was the best for me in a decade.
Cape May County, NJ weakfish late June 2013.
The weakfish has carved a special place within many saltwater fishermen. If you are one of them, do not miss this week’s episode of On The Water fishing show. Sunday at 10AM on Comcast SportsNet New England. The show is all about the fish that are found in the New Jersey region. The weakfish are making a come back, due to the efforts of many saltwater fishermen. They took the time to write a letter, attend a hearing or make a phone call, asking for a moratorium. It is such a beautiful thing to see the purple hue of the weakfish return to our waters. The management system works best when the participants get involved.