Lighthouse Sportfishing LBI Report 8/20

Anyone that has seen me present / teach either at a seminar or during my Fishing Barnegat Bay classes have heard me talk about the 3 Ts to successful saltwater fishing. The 3 Ts are temperature; tide; and technique. Although you only truly have control of the last T it is with knowledge and experience that you work the other two to your advantage. After a truly epic July bluefish fishery around Barnegat Inlet seemed to come to an end it took a major rebound Saturday morning. The last two weeks my client or I have had to work hard to land a few blues. Even while seeing them surfing waves, swimming around or following lures they just were not in the mood to feed. Some thought it might be due to them spawning, however, any of the fish kept did not the signs of a fish ready to spawn. I thought it was the water was too warm as some studies show adult bluefish do not feed as actively when the temperature approaches 74. Well, Friday’s strong southerlies were the spark to start the flame. It caused an upwelling dropping the inshore water temperature by 6-7 deg F to around 69. Around sun up Saturday morning the bluefish bite returned with a vengeance. Baits spraying, birds diving and some swirls and breaks made it obvious the feed bags were on. My first cast of a Savage Gear Panic Popper was rewarded with a tail slap and an explosion of a 6-pound blue. I landed around 10 before calling it a session. I do not think I have ever seen so many blues jump as frequently as of late. My suspension is they are well fed and the temperature is in their preferred range.

After hopping off the Debbie M I hoped on board a 33’ Stamas with twin 250’s to guide the owner and some kids to the waters of Barnegat Bay and Inlet and do a little fishing. Although we did not have the best tide we had some good action with short fluke. Switching gears we searched for some weakies and found some spikes to keep the kids smiling. Zack managed a Barnegat Bay slam of fluke, weakfish, and bluefish. This is about the 10th Slam I have put a client on this year. Still have a few slots open for this week whether it is fluke, blues, weaks, sharks and maybe a bass give me a call.

Screaming drags, Capt. Alex 609-548-2511

Lighthouse Sportfishing LBI Report

Did a combo trip (off the beach sharking – bay/inlet) Thursday with long time client Bill Hirschberg, his 15-year-old son James and his friend Matt. It was a little bumpy going to where I want to start chumming, but being only a few miles from the inlet and off the beach we made it there in no time. With chum bucket over I started baiting the rods and setting them out. Before I got the third rod out we had a 3’ brown shark swim up the slick right the chum. Pitching a bait it was a swing and a miss but that was fine since a few minutes later there was another shark swimming up to the plate. Pitching the bait, it was a swing and a hit! The first of 6 sharks was hooked up. It was a cute little guy. Yes I know it was a male shark based on the presences of claspers. Most of the sharks were sand bar sharks (aka brown) with the biggest an estimated 40 pounds, but at least one was a Dusky shark (pictured below). A Dusky on a Dusky. Brown and Dusky sharks look very similar. If the first dorsal fin originates over or slightly before free tips of pectoral fins free edge, as seen in the picture, it is a Dusky. If the first dorsal fin originates over or slightly before the pectoral fin insertion it is a Brown. Friday afternoon Larry Hrebiniak and his son Justin were out for a bay fluke trip. With the south wind honking conditions were tough, even in the wind breaks. Fluking was slow with only a few shorts and a fat blue of 10 pounds or more. With summer winding down you have to ask yourself “have I fished enough this summer?’ If the answer is no, I still have a few dates open 😉

Screaming drags, Capt. Alex 609-548-2511

Lighthouse Sportfishing Barnegat Bay Report 8/12

Some say strike while the iron is hot. Well, looks like the Debbie M’s iron is hot. Thursday I had Tom Foote along with four kids Thursday for some fluke fishing. It started off slow and I had to make few moves to find the bite. Before the fluke turned on they did get to battle a southern sting ray that was about the size of a Civic’s hood. Boat side knowing it would never fit into my net I tried. After seeing the tail on this beast and remembering Steve Irwin I put enough tension on the line to break it free. No way did I want to be near its business end if it meant business. Once on the fluke, the kids had steady action landing over twenty shorts and some small blues and sea bass. With the kids slowing down it was time for Tom to fish. Well even though he got one fish it was a quality flatty coming in at 7.9 pounds. It was until Friday’s trip with friends from Oregon, Kurt and Alison Albrecht, and Brian Farmer from Florida. All three are seasoned fishermen and fisherwoman. In the last few years, Allison has really dialed in the saltwater fishing off Oregon’s rocky coast. Over the years Brian has fished with countless times when back in NJ. Around the jetty, we did not find the blues cooperating even after seeing them surfing cresting waves. They are still here but since the ocean got into the mid-70s have not been feeding all day long. We did manage some blues and a schoolie bass for Alison. Switching over to fluke we went big looking to target keeper. Brian and I each got a fish a little over 20’” but it was Alison fish that had the hot iron striking. Using a ultralight St Croix, the best rods on Earth, spooled with 6-pound mono the doubled over rod and screaming drag was all we needed to know the fish of a lifetime was on. Alison fought it like a pro, letting the fish take drag when it wanted to and pumping the rod and reeling keeping the pressure constant all the time. During the fight, the fish went under the boat against the current and managed to tangle two other lines. Brian worked on freeing the lines calmly while I just wanted them cut so we did not lose the fish. Tired from the fight the beast came to the surface sideways. Lucky I am all practiced up with my getting skill’s 😉 Alison’s fish pulled the scale down at Bobbie’s Boats to 10.1 pounds. A true doormat and the second one for Lighthouse Sportfishing in the last eight days. Also, don’t let it overshadow Tom’s 7.9 pounder which is also a quality fluke. Oh, and Alison got a Barnegat Bay slam. Was supposed to run an off the beach shark trip today but canceled based on the forecast.

Have some dates open for the next two weeks. Remember all trips are customized. Still some time for fluke and if are looking for a big fish I am dialed in right now. No positive word on weakfish in the bay. Spikes should be congregating off the beaches by now. Hoping the ridge open up this week. I will let you know and if it does will offer those trips as well.

Screaming drags, Capt. Alex 609-548-2511

Lighthouse Sportfishing Report August 2

Been crazy busy the last four days with seven trips during that time. Spending that much time on the bay, during many tide cycles, you kind of get the pulse of the ebb and the flood. So much, that you don’t even need to look at a tide app. All you need to do is to pay attention to nature’s subtle cues and sync your clock to hers. Having fished in Florida many times years ago I started subscribing the to the Florida Sportsman magazine. Even though it was geared to fishing another State, dah that’s obvious, you glean information from the articles and apply them to your area. One resonating theme was the benefits of live bait. Sometimes in Florida, you do not even start fishing until you “make bait”. Now, having long subscribed to that theme, I do what it takes to make bait. And sometimes the rewards from those benefits are reaped to the extreme. Case in point Tuesday’s magic hour trip with Michael Petruzziello. Before we started fishing I had him and his friend Dianne make bait in the form of snappers for the last part of the trip when the tide would be perfect. Coming across what was literally and acre + of snappers blitzing we quickly put a good dozen in the Debbie M’s live well. After messing around with some adult bluefish around the inlet we switched over to fluke fishing. In doing so, and I kid you not, I said to Michael “I just have this weird feeling we are going to be able to catch a really nice fluke tonight”. With two live snappers unhappily sent to the bottom, I positioned the boat so that the lines were in the correct drift. Shortly thereafter, Michael, “I think I have a fish or I am stuck on bottom”. To which I replied, “you have a FISH”. With the St Croix rod doing double duty, I knew immediately he was battling flukezilla. When we got first glimpse of the denizen from the deep I instructed Michael, not the take the fishes’ head out of the water and work with me to get it to the net. I’m not sure if my first try with the net was a big miss or fluekzilla saw the net and dove down 10 feet. None the less, on the second pass the beast was in the net and we welcomed it aboard the Debbie M. Taped out at 30” and coming in at 10 lbs. 2 oz. it was a true doormat. This is the second doormat I have put a client on in the last three years. The last one was 11.5 pounds and fell to a live 8” peanut bunker. There’s something to be said about making bait.

Screaming drags, Capt Alex 609-548-2511

Lighthouse Sportfishing Barnegat Bay Report 7/28

Mutiny aboard a boat is one of the things a captain fears most. Well today I had to face my fears when there was a mutiny on board the Debbie M. It all started with a phone call around 9 AM from a man named Gregory asking if I was available for a trip today. Plans were set to meet him and his crew of four others at high noon. As the family existed their SUV to great me it appeared that this trip would be like most others I have with LBI vacationers. Boy was I wrong. After our greeting and learning everyone names, I sized the kids up with the correct PFDs and got ready to go fishing. They asked if they could bring their brand new fishing rods to use on the trip. Obliging them, they went back to the SUV to get the rods and it was at this point the mutiny came evident. Now with Spiderman, Disney, and Barbie rods and spin-cast reels in hand the mutiny began. Stowing away my St. Croix, the best rods on earth, and Okuma gear, I rigged their spin-cast outfits to try and deck some fluke. After getting the Barbie outfit baited with a minnow and as I started to tie a rig on the Spiderman outfit, the Barbie rod doubled over. Fish on! Without any time to tend to the Disney rod the first fluke of the day was landed. For the next two plus hours it was non-stop action. All on the fish caught during the trip were on their spin-cast outfit. Sometimes you do not need the best, high cost tackle the get it done. Especially when the goal is to introduce a kid to fishing. A bend in the rod and a fish on the other end is all it takes. It’s 10 PM did you take your kid fishing today?

Screaming drags, Capt Alex 609-548-2511

Lighthouse Sportfishing Report 7/26

The back door cold front has a persistent NE wind blowing. Not enough for a huge swell, but enough to make the ocean a little sporty for those venturing out. This wind will reinforce the warm beach front ocean temps for sure. Snuck out around the inlet with my friend Dave Werner before sunrise and we were on fish right away. We landed mostly blues in the 2-5 pound range but managed a few linesiders in the mix. One of the bass was invited to dinner if you know what I mean. The fish were willing to swipe at poppers at times which is always a blast. So willing were they that Dave caught two at once a popper (picture below). A true double header. After that, we came inside and had some solid fluke action for the time we fished. Did not box any but most were what I like to call “quality” shorts. Fish over 17” but below the size limit of 18”. We both ended the morning with a Barnegat Bay Slam (striper, bluefish, and fluke).

On the nature side of things: Seems like there are more than usual sponge crabs. Sponge crab refers to female blue claw crabs that are carrying eggs visible on the abdomen (bottom) of the carapace (shell). After mating the prior year, a female blue crab that has matured eggs (about a million) swims towards the ocean to drop them. Drifting the bays and oceans currents the larval blue crabs disperses over what is hopefully the correct environment needed for their survival. As for the female, it is the end of her life. Blue cabs females only lay eggs once in their lifetime. Sad but true. The summer fishing could not be any better than it is right now, well maybe if weakfish were part of the equation. A great fluke bite, bluefish pretty easy to find, and a few stripers in the mix. I still have some times open for this week if you want to get in on the action give me a call.

Screaming drags, Capt. Alex 609-548-2511


Lighthouse Sportfishing Report 7/24

The fluke bite is about as good as it gets. With the bay temp. over 80 degrees, the fish are heading towards deeper holes and towards the inlet. And while on the move they are feeding aggressively. With no charters today I went fishing. I started this morning by limiting out on bluefish. Catching 15 bluefish in the form of snappers I filled my live-well in hopes of trading up on the snappers. What I mean by trading up is using the live snappers as bait for keeper fluke. Catching the last hour of incoming behind the inlet, the wind was against the tide making drifting difficult. Powering against the wind and with the current, I had to work for my first keeper. A nice 19” fluke hit the deck in no time. Once the current switched and the current and wind were in unison the drift was perfect. So perfect that I got my other two keeper fluke in three drifts. Not a bad morning on Barnegat Bay with a limit of both bluefish and fluke in under two hours. Not my best picture but here are my three fluke and what they were eating.For some strange reason I do not have many trips booked this week so if you want to get in on the fluke bite, chase big bluefish and schoolie bass or go after some hard fighting brown sharks give me a call.

Screaming drags, Capt. Alex 609-548-2511