Sunday, November 15, 2009
The great thing about fishing at the shore is that theres only a small period of time where there's not much to fish for. As far as saltwater/ocean fishing goes, theres pretty much always something to catch, as long as you're willing to brave freezing temperatures, higher winds, and higher seas. The summer flounder, or fluke season in and around NJ waters runs May through September. This is what most people go out for this time of year in the inshore waters (within a few miles of shore). They're one of the better fish for eating around here. Another popular game fish in the spring is the striped bass. They are a migratory species, so it's very exciting in the early spring and the fall, around this time, for stripers. Last weekend my friend and I went out on his boat around sunrise traveling up and down the coast in search of the elusive and highly sought after striped bass. We started the morning out of the Manasquan Inlet aboard his 25 foot center console fishing boat, "Relentless", and headed south trolling a couple hundred yards off the beach. No hits. We then headed north and tried fishing by hand this time; jigging lures and fishing clams. We moved around to a nuber of different areas with not much luck, just a few skates (similar to a sting ray, not a desirable catch). Finally we ventured further offshore, about 3 miles. We began to notice fish breaking the surface of the water feeding on schools of baitfish. By this time it was gorgeous out, about 65 degrees and sunny, in November! I threw out a few casts with a weighted jig and sure enough I got a hit. It was a big fish, and these things put up a great fight. We battled for a few minutes as the fish kept taking line. Finally I got the fish up to the boat and it nearly pulled me overboard, bending my rod nearly under the boat. Travis grabbed the net and scooped him up. It was a 36" striper, well over the legal size limit of 28". This was the biggest fish I've ever caught and my first keeper striped bass. Needless to say I was very excited about my catch, as some people go through multiple seasons without landing a fish like this. Dinner was delicious, and the beast ended up feeding about 10 people.