It's been a good fluke season.
Those of you who read the column frequently know that, first and foremost, I'm a Barnegat Bay guy. Don't get me wrong, I love the ocean as well, but to me there's nothing like heading out on the bay for a solid day of fishing – and exploring – the channels, sand bars and obscure corners of Jersey's most prized waterway.
There's still one week left in fluke season, and reports are surprisingly positive. Last week, I mentioned in this space that Hurricane Irene seemed to have "scared" the fish back to the protected waters, and it seems as if the rough surf we've experienced during the past couple of weeks as a whole have kept them there.
I spoke with Greg Bogan at Brielle Bait and Tackle on Thursday, who told me that fluke fishing was still great in the Manasquan River, and a customer weighed in a doormat caught in the channel off Clark's Landing earlier in the week. Indeed, a simple glance at the river proved participation was huge: boats drifted up and down the main channel, and out into Manasquan Inlet.
In the same general area, anglers began to pick at bluefish and some schoolie bass at the Point Pleasant Canal, where eager bass fishermen scored the stripers on soft plastics and occasionally, a popper (when the blues didn't get to it first).
The same story goes for Barnegat Bay, where anglers are continuing to pick away at fluke in the channels surrounding the inlet, especially the eastern end of the Double Creek channel along High Bar Harbor out toward the Coast Guard station. If I were fishing this area (hint, hint: I do quite frequently) I'd motor past the light house to the inlet proper, and dunk some bait in a few of the 30-foot holes as well. There are still keepers hanging around, a true bonus for this time of year.
Fish are biting in the suds, too. A few reports of striped bass being hooked in the surf came in this week, as well as a number of fluke that bit off the beach in Long Beach Island. One of my neighbors reported a friend hooked some keeper size bass from the beach in Holgate this week. Croakers are also biting offshore.
One more thing: We'd like to see your best catches of the summer season for a gallery planned to be published here next week. I encourage everyone to send me their photos from the summer season (my address is email@example.com) and we'll have them up next week. Don't be shy! And let's get those last few doormats over the rail before it's all over next Sunday, Sept. 25!