Sunday, June 12, 2011

Inshore Topwater Bluefishing: Manasquan River Blues & Fluke

Topwater action is like nothing we've seen before.These homespun, unpainted plugs with single hooks for easy removal are slayers. They don't even quite float and don't need to. Worked by quick, popping retrieves, a blue takes chase and may slash half a dozen times, perhaps finally hooked.

The weather held up fine. My brother Rick keeps his 18 1/2-foot bay boat, perfect condition with 90- hsp Mercury, in a Manasquan River slip five or ten minutes from home. The operation's simplicity means he can cruise out for 20 minutes of action if that's all he wants, so long as the blues are unhooked over the side so he doesn't have to clean up.

Today we had virtual slack tide for about an hour. My nephew, Kyle, caught a blue two of about two-and-a-half pounds, some other hits missed. Bluefish are wild hitters that seem more interested in knocking surface plugs into the air. We switched to 5/8-ounce jigs with twisters and fished the same water, three to seven feet deep mostly, with a hole as deep as 13. Fluking was slow, but we boated more than half a dozen. Fairly light wind pushed a slow drift, so slow that I just had to cast and retrieve out & around the boat, and did score a fluke this way, losing another. No keepers for any of us.

Near a sharp point protruding out from an island we had fast action for several minutes, blues slashing our surface lures, my son, Matt, catching one in all the excitement. I had watched this structure from a distance for awhile, and wondered if its depth, pretty shallow, rendered it insignificant. But Rick had said blues spread out on the very shallow flats (three feet) as tide rises. During May they gorged on worms! (Yet hit topwaters.) 

I think my brother--I certainly did--thought we were going to be into them for awhile at the point at least, but they were gone as soon as they came. The three blues we caught put up great fights on five-and-a-half foot, medium-power spinning rods. My blue weighed about two-and-a-half pounds, and of course the fight far exceeded that of any of the largemouth I've caught this year. 

Rick & Kyle have had amazing action every time out with two to four-pound blues for the past month or so, slow today by comparison. Topwater action like Lake Musconetcong never knew.

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