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The Fishing Line: October’s Opportunities

 

By Carolyn Miller

October is an odd month for recreational fishers. Many are stowing their boats and equipment facing the end of their season. Others await the arrival of those beautiful stripers that keep many anglers on the water all through autumn. With two rescues to report and a couple of tourneys to schedule, there’s plenty to consider for The Fishing Line.
Captain Frank Schafer, Insomniac Guides, hit the scene at the turn of midnight with Danny Ross aka Chromedome. They had bass from start to finish. Most locales had as many as 20 to 30 fish tearing up bait. The largest fish seen during the night were solid 15 pound bass that theyjust couldn’t coax to bite no matter what. Frank says it’s still exciting to watch them circling and feeding. The fish tailing them were more than happy to take the bait with some insane strikes. Dan left Frank with a ton of beautifully tied flies, beast master generals and his custom gurglers (top water popper) with rattles tied in. Awesome.
Small schoolie stripers provided the action for Captain Ray, Tide Runner. All the action was in the back bay areas with the most exciting action coming on popping flies and popping plugs near sunset or after dark. No keeper size fish but still plenty of fun on the fly or light tackle. With the water still very warm Ray expects to see a few redfish in October and maybe a few speckled trout. On a couple of nights, Ray did some freshwater fishing at a few South Jersey lakes and found some good large-mouth bass action using an all black gurgler fly. Just like in the saltwater the best action has come near dusk and after dark.
Sterling Harbor reports some yellowfin tuna at Elephant’s Trunk to the Teacup, along with a few wahoo and some Mahi-Mahi. In the back bays, there’s striper action on top water plugs along the sod banks. Weakfish are also making a showing in the back bays and are hitting Mirrodyne lures and Fishbites bloodworm.
Along the beach from there are still plenty of small bluefish, spot, a few schoolie stripers, and Red Drum have been caught. Crabby Jack gives the crabbing 5 Claws this week for the first time this season.
Over at Grassy Sound, sea bass are being caught in abundance. Sheepshead, drum fish, and tog are in the back on green crabs; sea bass and bluefish on clam and mullet. Look for stripers and weakfish dusk ‘til dawn on live mullet and snapper blues and large spot being caught on Fishbites. The largest flounder off the pier for 2013 was caught just days after the season ended, a 26 incher. Heart breaker of a throw back. The tournament winner for sure next season.
Captain Chuck, Sea Star III, is onto bottom fishing. With the opening of sea bass season, they had steady action, but the fish were almost all small; catching plenty, keeping few. Some nice triggerfish and porgies kept the clients busy reeling.
RESCUES: Captain Ray sent in the first rescue story you may have read on Bass Barn. On a late afternoon, Ray and buddy Paul had just started fishing in the channel that goes into Sunset Lake area in Wildwood Crest when they heard someone yelling for help. They noticed a small boat doing circles and knew someone fell out of that boat and was in the water. They quickly shot over. As they got there another boat was also on the scene and had thrown a float cushion to a guy in the water. He was the only one out in the boat. The man managed to get into the ‘rescue’ boat. The Coast Guard arrived on the scene. Seems the guy’s hat blew off and with the boat running, he leaned over the side to get it and he fell.
While in the water the boat started doing circles around him. You know he was very lucky that he did not get hit with the prop, that the water was still pretty warm, and that there were two boats hearing his cries for help. It could have ended badly. Be safe out there, especially when you go alone.
On Sept. 14, the Cape Circumnavigation Challenge marathon swim race consisted of swimming a 15 mile course beginning at Higbee’s beach, into the canal, through the harbor, out the inlet to the ocean, down the coast off the City of Cape May, abound the light house, into the bay and ending at Higbee’s beach. A Coast Guard AUX boat took a position near the end of the swimmers where the stragglers were and was visually contacted by a kayaker about his swimmer being in trouble. They conducted the classic MOB drill, taking a 60 year old man out of the water who was having medical problems. Once he was safely delivered to Harbor View Marina, the rescuers returned to the inlet to check on the other swimmers.
In the midst of the kayakers and their swimmers, they realized that there were a couple of others having trouble. They stayed close to them while catching up with another straggler. Near the Cape May lighthouse, the winds picked up and the rips got pretty bad. They got a call that a swimmer on the other side of the rips had been missing some 10 minutes. A Coast Guard vessel was already on its way, so they stayed with the group.
Underscoring how bad conditions were, a recreational kayaker flipped and was unable to right the boat. He did get free of it though. Next, two more kayakers signaled their swimmers were in danger. They did their second MOB drill. A third exhausted swimmer was not very responsive and failed to swim for the ring the first time. It was quickly retrieved it and thrown again. This time she got it. Third save of the day. The owners at Harbor View supplied swimmers with hot coffee and hoodies.
Other AUX boats pulled swimmers out of the seas that day for a total of six lives saved. (Thanks to Lois Grimes, Flotilla 86, and Jim McCarty, Chief, Surface Operations Division National Response Directorate US Coast Guard Auxiliary)
Mark Your Calendars: Oct. 12 NJ Beach Buggy Assn, Fall Tournament, North Wildwood, 856-457-5532 or e-mail bucket1740@comcast.net;
Oct. 17-19, Ocean City Fishing Club, 3-day tournament, mikehayes325@gmail.com.
Oct. 18, OC Fishing Club Tackle Show, $3, 7 to 9 pm, Sports and Civic Center, 5th Street and the Boardwalk. Pizza and soft drinks will be served. Contact Dan Ladik, 856-261-4521 or djladik@comcast.net.
Nov. 2, Brendan Borek High Tides Striper Tournament, Carpenter’s Local 255, hightidesstripertournanment.com. Call Andy, 289-2962. More info next week.
News: Proposed amendments to the 2014-2015 Fish Code, published in the Sept. 16, New Jersey Register, 60-day public comment period ends Nov. 15. The Fish Code governs when, by what means, at which locations, in what numbers, and at what sizes, fish may be pursued, caught, killed, or possessed. Submit comments electronically at www.nj.gov/dep/rules/comments or mail to Gary J. Brower, Esq. ATTN: 05-13-08 NJ DEP Office of Legal Affairs Mail Code 401-04L, PO Box 402, 401 East State St., 4th Floor Trenton, NJ 08625-0402. Information at www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2013/fishcode_proposal.htm or www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices/20130916a.html
The Fishing Line runs year round so keep sending your reports and pictures to cmiller@cmcherald.com. Column and pictures are posted online at www.capemaycountyherald.com and on Facebook. Keep them coming.

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