The fluke season ends on Sept. 21 in both N.J. and N.Y., leaving anglers with just a few days to stock the freezer or seek a personal best. The northeast winds that are forecast to start gusting tonight may be a complication in that quest. That’s especially he case with the big offshore swell we’re dealing with.
That combination seemed to have a negative effect on fluking during Sunday’s Triple Challenge Fluke Tournament as Dave Lilly of Hazlet ran all the way to Atlantic Beach Reef only to find it lifeless. There was a big crowd of boats from both N.Y. and N.J. there, but Lilly said he didn’t see a fluke caught. The same applied at several offshore spots before he ended up in Ambrose Channel (where he was shut out pre-fishing on Saturday) — though the few 3-to-4-pounders there weren’t big enough to bother weighing in. Until then, Lilly couldn’t give a bait away even to a short or a sea bass. Hopefully, we’ll get a break from the swell by the weekend, though it might actually get bigger.
The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reported having to get out of the swell in Sandy Hook Bay on Sunday, but fishing was poor there. They drifted in the ocean today for a 5-pounder and some shorts plus porgies and a few sea bass releases.
The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported a lack of drift and slow fluking today though there was one limit.
The Monmouth County surf was fishable in a moderate surf this morning, and Vinny D’Anton released a small blue and two small stripers on his Chug Bug before I got there. I had one hit on my Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper, but lost what I suspect was a small blue in the wash. As I had a few green crabs from Castaway’s Tackle in Point Pleasant that were still usable from last week, I stopped briefly at Point Pleasant Canal even though the incoming tide was strong. I fish for sport with one-handed spinning tackle and only a few little pinch-on weights to avoid hang-ups, and was surprised by a 15-inch blackfish — my first legal tog from the canal so far though it was released. Small sea bass were sucking the meat out of the cut crabs, so I finished up with a small whole crab that attracted a better tog which hung me up. However, after slacking the line it started moving and the rod took on a serious bend as I struggled to keep it out of bottom before a releasing an 18-incher.
Grumpy’s Tackle reports lots of cocktail blues in the Surf. The Seaside Park tackle Shop noted that 95 young anglers entered in Saturday’s NJBBA Kids Tournament weighed in 95 blues. The mullet run is well underway after the full moon.
Tuesday’s forecast is for northeast winds of 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 — but diminishing to 5-10 knots in the afternoon.