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Sunday, October 10, 2004: Wavers: Building 4-5 foot easterly groundswell. Water clarity: Excellent ? good cleanness but enough surge to keep it from over clarity. Water temps: Almost inconceivable 68 degrees ? Oct 9.

I have lots of surf stuff to report, at least in terms of the sheer numbers of folks I got to chat to. The nice weekend and the start of the LBI Surf Fishing Tourney had beaches mobbed ? though the inlets and nearshore fluke grounds were also astoundingly packed in. By the by, for those grumps who like to blame the surf fishing tourney for all the crowds, I?ll bet only one in three folks along the beach were even in the tourney and that average was based on the high percentage from Beach haven south. As for the hooking, it was a decent showing of bass particularly on the front beach in Holgate. Lots of caught and released bass on bunker or clam chunks. The wee hours of yesterday saw Matt S. take a 24 pounder in the Holgate Rip. Later the Nest produced a slew of stripers but nothing quite up to Matt?s tourney entry.

The bluefish were everywhere with one tale of a slammer just missed in Holgate and a couple more showing at the shop scales. Whenever bunker chunks are flung about you?ll see larger blues taking interest. I should note that some of the boats not far off the beaches have run into huge blues to near 20 pounds so those contest-worthy choppers are in the region. Croakers are showing but not even remotely in the numbers we had over the past couple years.

Boat fishermen went kinda crazy yesterday, all in an effort to get a few fluke before the season?s closing. And the chatter wasn?t all that hyped up. Per usual, a few real nice fish ? as will happen when you get hundreds of boats drifting around ? but a lot of ?slow? reports. Look for more flotillas today.

Congrats to Kim V. for that nice bluefin near the Ridge yesterday. Further out the yft are very accommodating in the canyons.

Weakfishing remains torrid for the sharpies in Barnegat Bay. The bite should be playing out but really seems to be holding steady, though a lot more reports of beachfront weakfish on LBI show some trout are making the move outward. Artificials ? jigs and such -- are all you need in the bay while small plugs and teasers work near the beachfront jetties. S.S. had a 4.6 fluke in west B. Bay while fishing weaks.

Year of the needlefish: Just an odd observational note. As the mullet run runs out of steam way too early, I have to note the downright amazing showing of needlefish, sometimes called garfish. I cannot recall ever seeing these long, skinny spearing stalkers in numbers like we have out there now. A wave will show hundreds of these silvery predators stalking in that slow forward-facing formation they use. There could be some bass significance in this showing of needlefish. They actually comprise a noteworthy part of a bass diet. Though I hate using those brainless needlefish plugs, which just slide through the water doing nothing, I?ll bet anything those artificials loom large as the bass season progresses, especially the later schoolie plugging days. I do not know if they work as live-lined bait. I can?t see why not. It?s very easy to net them but a net-killer to get them out as they bite the mono and then spin in circles wrapping themselves in. Pulling them out by force is a guaranteed hole in the net. I simply shake the net until they release. By the way, as you?ll notice in a flash these buggers will purposely turn and bite you if you grab their tales so grab them by the head. If you don?t believe me give them a tail grab. Have a Band-Aid near by. Also, they stink to high heave. I kind you not. Easily one of the smelliest fish on the planet. Let me know if you have any luck live-lining them.

[ 10-10-2004, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: NIGHTSTRIKES ]
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