One of the great mysteries in fishing is how long it takes for predator fish to attack the same bait or lure which fooled them once before.?

That probably varies greatly with species. Blue sharks may be at the top of the list in learning nothing. I once caught the same blue shark during a single long drift in Butterfish Hole off Montauk using bunker fillets. That happened decades ago when I was one of the first to use center consoles for sharking despite warnings from big boat skippers of impending doom. I was tagging sharks alone on my Mako 21 that day and did have my only problem sharking as I found it hard to believe the same shark had been hooked three times. Thinking maybe another shark with a fresh tag in it might have fooled me, I pulled it close enough to the boat to try to read the tiny tag number — when the blue slapped me on the head with its tail. That knocked my sunglasses into the boat and proved to be a learning experience about not taking chances even with blue sharks!

A freshwater experience in one of my Ft. Myers ponds put a time frame on largemouth bass after I broke off a relatively small bass due to a bad spot in my leader. A week later, in the same pond and the same area of it, I hooked a bass with exactly the same twister tail grub and found my old leader hanging out of its mouth. That worked out well for the bass as it had tried to swallow the lure which had stuck in its throat and prevented it from getting anything else down before I removed both identical lures.

Tuesday morning I fished the same pond which usually provides a few small bass that will hit my 3-inch Z Man DieZel MinnowZ paddletail run across the surface with no weight. After a few small bass hits I saw a wake behind the surface lure and hooked a big bass that started jumping and thrashing on my light spinning tackle. I managed to get her up to the wet shore when she flipped over and made a couple of short runs against the drag before I moved her in again only to have the hook pull.

I returned to the same pond this morning with no expectations, and was shut out until I got to the same area where I had lost the big bass. A blind hit resulted in a big bass jumping, and this time everything went well as I released a 24-inch bucketmouth with a 14-inch girth. It looked exactly like the bass I had a clear view of when it was on the wet shore for a second – and can’t imagine that there could be two such seemingly identical large bass in a pond that small.

Though the weather was fine this morning, Capt. Ron Santee found the Raritan Bay water temperature down to 48 degrees. He had found an early bite of school stripers on bait from his Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands on Friday, with one angler releasing five. Yet, there was nothing doing this morning until he went further west in the bay to find 51 degrees and a few bass up to 27 inches. He won’t be sailing Sunday due to the weather.

Northeast winds at 15-20 knots are predicted for the morning along with rain. The winds drop to 10-15 in the afternoon before the clearing switch to northwest at night.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar got a good start bottom fishing this morning with lots of short blackfish and some keepers plus ling and out of season sea bass.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar had good Friday conditions which produced a few tog limits plus cod. See photo below.

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