Lighthouse Sportfishing Report 10/7

Hey, hey, hey, it’s Fat Albert……. If any of you remember that show, you are old as dirt or as old as me. Got into the False Albacore (aka Fat Albert) this morning. They were pushing tiny rainfish, like 2”, to the surface. It was run n gun fishing to keep up with visibly active schools. If you have never caught a false albacore before on light tackle you do not know what you are missing. They scream drags like no tomorrow. If I was to make a list of the top “sports fish” to fish for on Lighthouse Sportfishing, Fat Albert would be number one. True dat! Before I got into the false albacore I was slamming several tiny blitzes just off the surf zone. Tiny blitzes??? Is that an oxymoron? What I mean is blitzes of snappers and super spike weakfish (6-10”). There were gulls, terns, and pelicans working the mayhem. The bay is way too warm for this time of year. Enough said….. Jimmies, male blue claw crabs, are still active and full of meat. Lots of openings for magic hour/night trips and some prime dates available for the bass season. Now is the time to hop on board the Debbie M or with one of the other light tackle guides if you want to get into the false albacore. They have not had a strong showing locally the last few years but that his history.

Screaming drags, Capt. Alex 609-548-2511

Lighthouse Sportfishing LBI Report 9/17

Did a magic hour trip during the week. Started outside along the beach trolling for false albacore and the likes. Even when trolling @ 8-9 mph I could not keep snappers off the line. Moved out to deeper water and I still was covered up by snappers. Might be the most snappers I have seen in my life this year. Moving back inside found schoolie bass blowing up before sunset and into the dark. Saturday I had Doug Chittenden and friend out. After loading the livewell with live bait we headed out in the morning fog. On a side note if you or you Captain are not loading the livewell this time of year you are missing out. I have written before about Florida style fishing in making bait for a trip and there is no better time than now with peanuts, mullet, and snappers. The Debbie M is a born and raised custom Florida boat and I like to fish that style as much as possible. One of her custom features is a 50-gallon oval livewell (standard was 25 gallon) that keeps the water moving in a true circular fashion. This is important with live baits such as peanut bunker since they do best in a circulating livewell. The other feature is that when full with 50 gallons, the water does not slosh when the lid is down. This minimizes the baits from getting “beat up” when the boat is rocking & rolling. I can keep 500 + peanut bunker healthy with almost no dead loss. No back to my report……… We did not find the bass cooperating as much as my magic hour trip but we did score (picture attached). One issue I see with the local bass and weakfish population going all out right now is water temperature. The ocean is still in the low 70’s and the bay is back up to 76. The second part of the trip we were able to work the inlet even though the tide was ebbing and a swell from Jose was coming in. Most of the swell was getting picked off by the South Bar which helped. Did a number on the bluefish from husky 3-4 pounders to racers in the 7-9 pound class. I think the racers are fish that spent the summer in Barnegat Bay and are starting to come out. Prior to this, all the blues caught aboard the Debbie M all summer were feeding well on the abundance of bait around the inlet. The blues that stayed in the bay had to deal with water temperatures above their optimum and not as much forage causing them to lose weight. All in all, two great trips by just going fishing. Oh, and a lot of catching. Give me a call if you want to head out and go fishing.

Screaming drags, Capt. Alex 609-548-2511

Lighthouse Sportfishing LBI Report 9/10

With the fluke and seabass fisheries shut down a lot of anglers don’t know what to fish for. To that, I suggest that you go fishing for fish. No really. There are plenty of things to catch right now around LBI and Barnegat Bay. Many snappers have grown up to be bluefish. Saturday morning I went around one of the local creeks around sun up and found snappers to small blues actively feeding. They were chasing bait, breaking water and even hitting bare hooks. That’s right, a bare hook. You always hear people saying that they can catch bluefish on a bare hook, but how many time have you actually seen it done?  Well my BBF Capt Dan Sea-gull can do it and I have the video proving it. Just watch this YouTube link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2vQVE1nWiA&t=1s     I could not catch one with a live peanut bunker while he slayed them with a bare hook. Plenty of big blue roaming the bay and even more around the inlet. Get some fresh bunker or frozen mackerel, anchor up and put some chunks down. Oh, and hold on! There are tons of small bass with keepers in the mix. You just need to fish the right tides, time, etc. Weakfish are present in big numbers of small fish right off the beach and bigger fish in the bay. Don’t wait for reports of weakfish go out and make your own report. No one has ever caught a fish reading reports., hint, hint….. The bay is loaded with small fish. Anchor up in a place with not too much current, put some clam chum down and fish small hooks with salted clam, squid or Fish Bites. I guarantee you will catch more species of fish than you can count on one hand and maybe on both hands. Word of false albacore right off LBI surf is ever so promising. This is a fast paced, hard fighting drag screaming fish.. If you never caught one, you are missing out on one of the best fighting fish New Jersey has to offer. And if there are any Bonito (true Bonito, not Florida bonito which are false albacore) or Spanish mack in the mix you are in for a tasty treat. True Bonito, bled, iced is sushi grade. Just ask anyone who has had some wasabi and soy sauce ready at the cleaning station.

So while others are waiting for stripers or sea bass season why not just go fishing. You may never know what you will catch and you just may find yourself enjoying all the other things offered when you are fishing. Anyone that has ever fished aboard the Debbie M with me knows even when not walking away with a cooler full of fish they are always walking away with life long memories. Now doing afternoon/magic hour trips and I have open next Sunday. Striper dates filling in fast.

Screaming drags, Capt. Alex     609-548-2511

Lighthouse Sportfishing LBI Report 8/29

With today’s trip canceled due to weather, I took the time to start setting up my classroom and tie some rigs for the fall striper season. With catching stripers on several trips over the summer did the season ever end? For me, striper season runs from spring through winter, inclusive. Pretty much 12 months of the year. It is just that some months have more bass than the other month. But they are always around. The few days I was out before this blow I found the fluke inside the bay being a little finicky. The hot bite cooled off but they are still here and will chew again. Hopefully before season’s end of September 5th. And if they are there and want to chew there is plenty of baitfish for them to chew on. Right now Barnegat Bay is full of peanut bunker, mullet, rainfish, spearing, and snappers. Speaking of snappers…….what do you call “it” when snappers are trying to blitz spearing but the snappers are being pursued by their older brothers, the blues brothers? I call it pure bedlam, and pretty cool to witness. Came across this condition a few days ago. Big bluefish, eating little bluefish, that wanted to eat spearing. Wonder if the snappers were thinking “Mom, dad is that you????, Please don’t……”

Hoping for that after this blow that we get some of the bonito and Spanish mac action that some have been enjoying in the waters just north and south of us. It would be a nice filler to have in between the closed fluke fishery and the fall run of bass. But then again, there are always bass to be had in Barnegat Bay. You just have to know how to locate them. The picture below is of my 50 gallons live well with about 20 gallons of peanut bunker. I have this Saturday and Sunday open, and with the amount of bait and fish around you can pretty much target a Barnegat Bay Grand Slam (fluke, weakfish, bluefish, and striper) if you want, or go looking for bonito and Spanish macs. And don’t forget about sharking. Still, plenty of good sized sharks around to put your angler skills to the test.

Screaming drags, Capt. Alex 609-548-2511

Lighthouse Sportfishing LBI Report

After the weekend’s upwelling, the ocean water temperature rebounded into the mid-70s. Then another hard south wind mid-week dropped the ocean water temperature coming over the North Jetty to 66. And once again the bluefish responded. Wednesday morning it was pure chaos for almost two hours with bluefish ranging from 2 to 8 pounds for the Doug Frey party. I was not able to get a confirmation ID on the bait the blues were hammering, but I think it might have been Threadfin Herring. Threadfin herring are also known as greenbacks down in Florida and are used as live bait for a wide variety of fish such as tarpon, snook, and sailfish. They do swim up to NJ some years, but most years they don’t. Oh, and if you think $3.50 for a live spot is expensive you don’t know what expensive live bait is. A dozen live threadfin herring in Florida will set you back a mere $50. Speaking of live bait, I love this time of year as I can usually have my live well packed before my clients step on board the Debbie M. My new motto is “don’t work for your fish, let your fish work for you”. And this morning I did exactly that when my live bait worked to put a 26” 7.03 lb. fluke in my cooler. Oops, almost forgot to mention the 40.36 lb. cownose ray that was landed during yesterday’s trips. Not sure how long it took to land the ray, other than more than 10 minutes on a 10 lb. spinning outfit. Get this, the ray fell for a white BKD.

Screaming drags, Capt. Alex 609-548-2511

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