The net result of this is a late arrival of striped bass from the north. There have been a few stirrings of bass over the past week which does have the captains thinking positive thoughts. Some bass are appearing in the bay waters and the white water of Little Egg Inlet. In addition, the surf anglers have begun to pick up a few bass on the beaches of Long Beach Island. The Sea Shell Club in Beach Haven held its annual Striped Bass Derby for boats last weekend and weighed in some 20 fish. One of these was a 37-pounder caught in the bay on clams. If there is one of these cows around, there should be more.
There is currently plenty of bait around with huge schools of spearing and rainfish to be found along with schools of peanut bunker. The mullet run seems to have run its course already. There are reports of bass being trolled up on bunker spoons to the north of Long Beach Island, and these fish should be on the Beach Haven radar very shortly. These bass are feeding on schools of mature bunker and will be prey for anglers live-lining bait and trolling spoons.
The inshore reefs are still holding very good numbers of black sea bass and porgies for bottom fishermen. Anglers fishing these reefs will experience excellent action even if the ratio of shorts to keepers is on the high side.
Additional information on captains and boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.org