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The 58th Annual World Series of Surf Fishing takes place tomorrow in Harvey Cedars. This granddaddy of one-day surf fishing competitions is hosted by our buddies at the Long Beach Island Fishing Club, located on Cape May Avenue and the Boulevard. Tournament registration is 5:30 a.m. The contest runs from 7 a.m. to noon. If you get a chance, check out the contest along the HC beachfront. It?s a sight to behold.

Friday, October 01, 2004: Waves: 2-3 feet out of the east ? and dropping. Water clarity: Cleaning up nicely. Wind slight then from the south. Water temps: too warm.

The main heavy-hooking tale remains firmly centered on weakfish, which have actually tightened up (density-wise) after the blow. This bite is downright dependable in some areas and seems focused between the 42 buoy and BB. However, I have some fluke folks who stopped-and-popped along Double Creek (Sailboat Wreck), around the west side of the Dike (Double Creek) and even over at Meyer?s Hole and instantly found nicer weaks going for small jigs with Sassies or Fin-S. The top draw for sparklers remains sandworms, played on floating jigheads or even simply draped off a ¾-ounce leadhead -- dangled just about anywhere in the water column. I also have some fun tales of early a.m. weakies blasting plugs, including one of my favorite: saltwater Zara ?spooks? and related snake-action swimmers. I also hear that Chug Bugs popped lightly and allowed to rest a bit are taking weakie hits. The surface action plays out after the sun rises ? and the boat traffic picks up.

The blowfishing remains god to excellent. The entire biomass bite seems to be moving southward inside Barnegat Bay toward Manahawkin Bay. ? as far down as the 55 marker. There are kingfish mixed in. This apparent migration inside the bay is similar to last year when you could see the fish move along the ICW all the way to Little Egg. Top-shelf eating, the puffers are best caught in deeper water areas where they must be attracted by chum. Most any chumline will work with minced (even blended) clam or mussels attracting well. Bloodworm bits or thin slivers of squid are good hook baits. Daisychain-type rigs, with multiple hooks, make for quick hooking if blowfishing is just one species being targeted during a long day. Release the real small guys.

Yes, those are 73-degree water temps you?re seeing near Barnegat Inlet. That could explain the lack of stripers at the famed ?Sod Banks? back of Island Beach State Park. A couple years back that zone was exploding with bass by this, the first day of October.

There are hefty fluke just outside Barnegat Inlet ? ?just? outside -- and a tad to the north. Congrats to S. Sabo for his 9-and-change doormat within a spit of the inlet. The 65-feet fluke zone will turn on today as boaters get out and relocate the action. Tires are a focal point ? with a few real nice sea bass ready to throw in some variety ? 4-pound variety in one instance.

The frontbeach bassing has perked again. The mullet are a-move and it?s showing around just about every LBI jetty where at least a few bass are stalking. Popper, popper and more popper are the plugs of the day. However, I?ve been doing very well thank-you on Mr. Bunker Gag?s Grabbers. H.H. of Dover has been tapping into mid-Island bass (to 31 inches) using a smaller (vintage) Smokey Joe Redfin. Slightly bigger bass are going for clam. I would say your odds of bagging bass this weekend are mighty good if you?re a dedicated clam chucker. Doesn?t matter which part of the island you fish. Holgate bass plugging picked up yesterday, mainly midday. Mark. J. and Tom W. pulled in fish -- and missed a slew more, poppering. I got skunked but was actually netting more than casting.

Speaking of Holgate, the back is now open to clamming. You have to drive through a veritable jungle of grasses to get back there but the pickins should be good until the masses leave their mark.

Croakering and kingfishing took a beating with the storm but should return today as waves lay down to less than three feet.
Tons of boats heading offshore.

Small bluefish everywhere.
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