Strange things happen frequently in fishing, but the run of Spanish mackerel occuring along beaches in northern Ocean County right now may be one of the oddest ever. Those tropical visitors often visit us in August and September when waters are at their warmest, but I’ve never heard of them in our surf so early in the summer. They’ve been mixed in with very small blues, but I haven’t seen any of the srching leaps out of the water that they normally make. It’s been blind casting for the most part, but some anglers have seen seen birds working on them at times. Those who have kept blues say they’re full of spearing.
I stuck with a popper this morning rather than the small metals that others have been using. A very small teaser fly was rigged ahead of the Chug Bug, and that fly must have touched the water enough because I landed a 16 1/2-inch Spanish mackerel — the first I’ve ever caught from the Jersey surf. Later I released another of 14 inches that was part of a double with a fat 15-inch blue. That chopper was far bigger than the very small cocktails — and I was later surprised when a “huge” 19-incher blasted the popper and put a real bend in the rod. Though I didn’t see any other larger blues caught, another angler caught a 22-inch striper on an SP Minnow. Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, was showing off an 18 1/2-inch Spanish mackerel, a real filleting size, that a customer brought in. Those fish are excellent eating. Hopefully, this evening’s storms with south winds won’t lower the surf water temperature and chase our tropical visitors offshore.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a good day of variety fishing with blues, chub mackerel and ling.
Capt. Ron Santee saw the monthly pool leader change twice on Friday aboard his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands despite a lack of drift. It went from 4 7/16 to 4 5/8 pounds before a 6 5/16-pound fluke by Pat Kostka took the lead for $1500 that will be payed out after Sunday. Today’s RFA charter was also hampered by a lack of drift and produced mostly shorts with a few keepers.
Vinny D’Anton got a late start in Shark River, but it turned out to be the right time for four small bass on his Chug Bug.
The forecast inshore for Sunday starts with west winds at 10 knots before going to 10-15 in the afternoon with gusts to 20 knots and a chance of showers or thunder storms.
Pictured below is the 22-inch fluke I jigged Friday with a Spro and Gulp Grub while fishing with Joe Massa on My Three Sons from Morgan Marina.