Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10.14.09 "Follow the peanuts"

" Follow the peanuts", those were the words of advice to me from a guy who had just landed a few 8-10 pound bluefish and a short striped bass following an afternoon beach blitz. After yesterday I was determined to to get on some good fish. When I woke it was a nice cool morning with a wind coming off the ocean. I decided to give Sandy Hook another try. I knew something must have been up when I pulled into the parking area and found over 20 trucks parked there. Today I took the extra
walk and settled into the area called the "False Hook" which is located on the northernmost part of the New Jersey coastline. There were birds working over fish out near the buoys. I talked to a couple of guys who said that earlier this morning the fish were up against the beach. I waited for awhile and made some images of the birds picking up pieces of fish as the blues and stripers were ripping through. The wind had picked up since yesterday coming from the east. I was hoping that would help the bait up onto the beach in reach of those bigger fish on the bite. 
     I picked up around 11 am and headed south for Sea Bright. I saw some guys parked where the old Tradewinds beachclub used to be so I drove down to the old Coast Guard station in Monmouth Beach. I parked in the lot there and walked across the street and climbed up onto the seawall. I gave the beaches a quick scan and in the distance to the north I saw tons of birds working on the beach, seemed to be around Donovan's Reef. I ran to my truck, made a quick turnaround and parked near Merri-Makers and hurried to the beach. There was a line of guys casting plugs into the surf from in front of the apartments to Donovan's. There was also a large flock of birds working the beach where peanut bunker were beaching themselves to get away from the large blues and stripers that were in pursuit. I could see it, but I was too far away to cast to them and started a quick trot to see if I could get into the action. Yesterday I grabbed a 2x converter from Marc to use with the 300/2.8- making it a 600/5.6. As I made my way up the beach I stopped and got a few frames off of the birds. As the fish, with birds in tow, made their way up the beach, each guy casting out would hook up. Most were all big blues, with a couple of keeper bass thrown in. 
     I was slightly winded by the time I met up with the first guy who was returning a bluefish into the water. I stopped there and laid down my camera gear and made my way up the beach with my flyrod. As soon as I got to within 100 feet of the birds, the fish hit a small jetty and made a right turn out to sea, and it was over. I turned back to see the rest of the guys releasing fish and one guy standing proudly with a 36 inch keeper. And after about 20 minutes, all of them were gone. I was left standing on the beach with no anglers, no birds, and no signs of fish. 
     On my way home I stopped again at the Coast Guard station and found about 15 guys casting plugs. I also stopped in Deal behind the Deal Casino and walked a few jetties. Birds were around but never close enough. The day was good, got a few images of the birds, but I did drop my camera and the 2x converter that Marc lent me yesterday blew up.