The Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic was rolling right along when this week’s strong northeast storm arrived, complete with rain, high winds, and waves as high as 9-feet. The question now is what will fishing be like when the storm disappears over the horizon.
Prior to the stormy weather, kingfish ruled the roost for Classic entries. During the first 19 days of the contest no striped bass, bluefish, or red drum made it to tournament scales. Kingfish, however, cooperated with forty-three officially weighed in to be eligible for prizes.
Jim Spiewak landed the largest fish which weighed 1.28-pounds and measured out at 15.5-inches. John Skretowski both entered kings at 1.22-pounds while Michael Cucinotta’s 1.20-pound fish stands in fourth place.
The fish entered thus far have been caught from shore running the length of Long Beach Island. Bloodworms enticed twenty-four fish while sixteen others fell for hooks baited with Fishbites. Two others were caught on clam, and one on a sand flea.
There are three official weigh-in stations and registration sites on Long Beach Island.
Carole Ann Palmer, owner of Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven, reports she is hoping for striped bass to arrive on the beach once the waves subside. “We had a real good spring run of stripers this year, and I am hopeful that our fall run is the same.” Palmer expressed her satisfaction over the recent strong run of kingfish noting they have provided a great target so far for anglers in the Classic.
Sue Castrati from Surf city Bait and Tackle also expressed her feelings for the influx of kingfish. “Even though this current weather is making it tough to fish the beach, I had hoped to see some stripers weighed in by now. Our water temperature is in the mid 60’s, and we have to get that down to have some bass show up.” She added that in previous years there had been striped bass weigh-ins by this time.
Mike Frezza works at Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom and fishes practically every day. He has been catching small bass on the bayside on a regular basis. He has his ear to the ground on area fishing and notes, “I have heard of some small bass on the beach along with a rogue bass so large it had to be released. I guess the fishermen were not entered in the Classic.” Frezza added he weighed in a 5-pound bluefish recently but not in the Classic. He is hopeful the winds will bring more fish close to the beach and kick the action up a notch.
The LBI Classic began on October 9 and will run until December 12 with prizes available on a daily, weekly, two-week segment, and grand prizes. The first segment will be ending this weekend.
Complete information on the tournament can be obtained at any of the official weigh-in sites or at www.LBISFC.com