As I sit at my desk thinking about the surf fishing action on Long Beach Island, I wonder if these northeast winds will ever let up.
At least I see sunshine outside my window as the torrential rains are gone for now. But those darn winds gusting to 30-mph and more keep blowing their brains out. I knew this was going to be one heck of a week when I saw 10-foot waves in the forecast for Sunday and much of the week.
Now the big question is what the fishing will be like when this is all over. I just peeked at NOAA’s marine weather forecast, and it predicts lighter northeast winds on Friday, May 13, of just 10-mph with the wind shifting around to the SE after midnight and into Saturday when the wave heights are projected to drop down.
In my many years at the Jersey coast, I can recall our share of northeast storms, but few come to mind that were as strong and as lengthy in duration. But enough of that negative stuff, let’s see what positive things we might have in store for us.
Before looking at the surf action, take note of the pre-storm happenings in the bay waters. This year’s start to the summer founder season was earlier than it has been for a while. First results were very promising with many limits reported, especially in the Great Bay area. I heard of good catches inside Barnegat Inlet also. I didn’t hear much from mid-island waters, but that could very well be due to a lack of anglers trying there.
There were goodly numbers of smallish stripers in the bay waters, especially on the west side of the bay and around the LBI Causeway, with a few keepers in the mix. As is usual for this time of the year, drumfish are feeding near the sodbanks in the Tuckerton and Great Bays and assorted islands in that area.
Early season blue-claw crab action was an increase over recent years with recreational crabbers doing quite well on keepers.
The striped bass action in the surf of LBI was just really heating up when the storm arrived. In addition to keeper sized slot fish showing up, a surprising number of stripers over the 38-inch limit were being reeled in. A couple of bluefish even showed their faces.
A true barometer of what the action was like is to take a gander at the entries in the Long Beach Island Derby which began April 2 and runs until June 26. A total of 10 fish were weighed in prior to the storm with nine bass and one bluefish.
Courtland Foos leads the striper section with his 22.86-pounder caught on May 1 in Brant Beach on bunker. The fish measured 37.75-inches. Jay Shayne beached the second place linesider on May 3 in Surf city, a fish measuring just under37-inches and weighing 20.22-pounds.
Vince Orzel landed the only bluefish thus far on May 3 on a plug in Barnegat Light. The chopper weighed in at 5.52-pounds.
Of the nine stripers entered so far, 1 fell for fresh bunker, 3 for salted clam, and the rest for fresh clam. Holgate and Brant Beach produced the most fish with 3 each while Surf City provided 2 and Spray Beach 1.
There are cash prizes for the top fished entered in the contest with photo prizes which give anglers the opportunity to share their catches and still release them safely.
Registration for the Derby can be accomplished at any of the three official weigh-in stations. These are Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven, Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, and Surf City Bait and Tackle in Surf City.
The official website for the event is www.lbisfc.com. Those of you on Facebook can check out the event on its Facebook site, LBI Surf Fishing Tournament.
Now let’s keep our fingers crossed that these winds finally start to shut down. Once the waters clear up, there is not reason for good action to return.