Yesterday after work my son and I arrived in Long Branch, bought the best killies I've ever seen at Long Branch Bait & Tackle, along with four fresh clams, and set up on the beach immediately south of Seven Presidents Park. Not one of the killies is really small, they're about 50/50 medium and large, and I have a whole five gallon bucket full (aerated) to use for stream smallmouths this weekend. After half a dozen casts and a missed hit, I beached a 16-inch fluke, let it out with the wash, then put my rod up with the rest of our things. My son had persuaded me to go in for a swim, which invigorated me through and through since water wasn't warm, but not cold either. As you can see in the photo, my son got cold.
Tide had crested not long before we arrived. The sharp drop behind the breakers to about five feet of water, right off the beach, held plenty of fluke when we returned to cast with light spinning rods. Lip hooked on plain shank, size 6 hooks, the killies live-lined on six-pound test and weighted with single large split shots yielded three more fluke one right after another. But when I returned to pitch another killie just five yards beyond the wash after taking care of a keeper, they were gone. My son didn't bother to fish anymore, concerned about keeping warm rather than standing in the wash and getting wet to the waist. He had missed a hit. "I set the hook too hard," he said. He had echoed his Uncle Rick's advice to just lift the hook into them so that the bait and hook doesn't get yanked out of the odd mouth. I fished most of the next hour for one more hit. The small baitfish remained, so why did the fluke take off minutes before sunset?
No sign of stripers. Nothing touched my clams all spring, first time that happened. We had our heavy duty rods ready to go with bunker-snag trebles, but nothing happened. A lot of fun catching those fluke. It would have been incredible action had they kept hitting like they did for about 10 minutes.