Plenty of blues keeping anglers busy
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 09/28/07
BY JOHN GEISER
It is heartening to see that anglers and biologists finally agree on something — bluefish stocks are robust.
The anecdotal evidence jibes with the best scientific information, the stuff fisheries management officials depend on, for a change.
The blues are all over the Shore area from the back bays and rivers to the ocean, from the beach to the Mud Hole and beyond. They are all sizes from snappers produced this summer to 16-pound bruisers that have been harrying lesser fishes for years.
The bluefish boats out of Belmar Marine Basin — Golden Eagle, Ocean Explorer and Miss Belmar Princess — have been docking days and nights with good catches of blues that range from 6 to 14 pounds.
The action has been found jigging along the beach and on jigs and bait on the Mud Buoy Grounds during the day, and at the Mud Buoy at night.
Capt. John Brackett, Queen Mary, Point Pleasant Beach, said the beautiful weather and the abundance of bluefish produced an ideal fishing opportunity this week.
"We split the week fishing bait at the Mud Buoy and jigging along the beach," he said. "The blues have been in the 6- to 14-pound range."
Andrew Johnson of Clifton fished with Brackett Sunday and caught his limit of blues topped by a keeper striped bass and a bonito. He also won the pool.
Brackett fished as close as 200 feet off the beach Sunday out to about a mile, and encountered vast schools of baitfish and plenty of blues. He expects the jigging to remain good.
Brian Pasch of Betty and Nick's Bait and Tackle, Seaside Park, was out fly-rodding the bluefish, and caught 1- to 3-pound fish that were on top, feeding on rainfish.
"There's a lot of bait along the beach," he said. "We've got bay anchovies, rainfish, mullet, spearing and peanut bunkers."
He said there were false albacore in and around Barnegat Inlet over the weekend.
Mike Paras, Lakewood, and Mario Risi, Holmdel, were out Tuesday trolling, jigging and quick-reeling blues south of Manasquan Inlet.
"We did best from the Ortley Beach water tower to the Seaside piers," Paras said. "The fish were anywhere from 3 to 15 pounds. We easily caught and released over the limit, and kept a few 3-pounders for the table."
The blues hit the A-17s and A-27s, but not the bigger metal they tried. They also caught and released two albacore that were estimated to weigh 8 and 10 pounds.
"I saw the albacore on top feeding on sand eels and bay anchovies, and the only way I could get them to hit was to cast over them and reel in super fast," he said.
Paras said he fished between a mile and a mile and a half off the beach, but he saw anglers catching blues in the surf later at Brick Beach and Bay Head.
Capt. Howard Bogan Jr. said the 100-foot Paramount is sailing for bluefish at 7:30 p.m. Saturday nights in place of his Jamaica, which is making daily canyon runs.
"Bluefishing was very good last Saturday night," he said. "The Paramount will sail for bluefish every Saturday night through Oct. 7."
Brackett said the blues this week were caught on bait and jigs, and it is the latter approach that can be a challenge for the beginner.
It is much more comfortable to drift a baited hook back in a slick of ground mossbunker than to "jig" fish, but there are times when jigging is the most effective way to catch blues.
Jigging usually takes some getting used to, but some beginners pick the technique up quickly, and become adept at it in a single trip.
Actually bluefish "jigging" may not be jigging or bouncing a metal lure at all, but is vertical trolling accomplished by high-speed reeling as Paras and Risi were doing Tuesday.
Because the fish are often up in the water when jigging is most effective, party boat regulars will often use a spinning outfit because it can be comfortable to make underhead casts with.
The traditional choice of jig fishermen is a conventional rod measuring from 6 to 7 feet long with a firm action. This rod can handle fish up to 18 pounds, if necessary.
The jig can be tied directly to the heavier monofilament lines with an improved or super clinch knot or attached with a small black snap or Duo-Lock, if the fish are small to medium in size. If the fish are under the boat or deep, the fishing technique consists of nothing more complicated than flicking the reel into free spool and thumbing the line to the bottom or where the skipper or the depth recorder has indicated the fish are hanging, snapping the reel back into gear, and cranking for the top at high speed.
Without any indication of where the fish might be other than perhaps seeing someone else catching them nearby, the best bet is to always drop to the bottom and wind the lure to the top.
good to see an article talking about how much fun bluefish are. we troll every spring for bluefish and they are great fun to catch especially when they break 10 pounds! we have been seeing more and more every year to the point where we usually catch one every trip. i love catching bluefish. they are a great fight and a lot of fun especially on light tackle. if you've never jad the pleasure of an 8-10 pound bluefish on a baitcasting setup you should try chunking for them in the fall and using a lighter rod... it's almost as much fun as catching tuna!
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Fishing isn't a hobby, it's a way of life.
Blues are keeping us busy inshore here in South Jersey. Water temp at the point was 71 this morning. Come on cold front!
Great news for the FCA Bluefish Bonanza this Fri, Sat. Check it out at www.bluefishbonanza.com. You have to be in it by Friday 4PM. Going to be $100,000 given away for Bluefish.