Yes, they're still around. As snotty as the fishing condition was on Saturday, I saw 3 dudes landed 4 in about an hr. One dude on my left lost 2 to bite-offs and landed one on finger mullet. I fished only 1.5r at the inlet (in Brigantine NJ) and had a gator on my popper before it decided to keep my 20 bucks popper..
It was too rainy for me yesterday, so I just drove back home to Virginia after my appointments.
As for cheap lures, I was thinking about using some old keys with a hook and maybe a feather or some soft squiggly plastics. I also have a bucketful of colorful pens acquired at various tech conferences.
Is the bite for bluefish slowing down for shore fishing? The boat reports are saying they are moving out of the inlets and bays.
From my experience, the Bluefish flood into NJ bays in May. Then slowly work their way along the Ocean beachfront late May and early June. Once the water starts to really warm they will then abandon the beachfront and head off shore. Of course, that is just a pattern. Small Blues tend to be along the beachfront all summer. I think you have a solid 2-3 weeks left before the big guys start migrating offshore in earnest.
No slowdown on success stories here. http://njsaltfish.com/index.php/bluefish.html
I don't go after the big gators. My preferences are 2 to 5 pound blues as they are good for the pan or grill and less chance of concentrated mercury.
I have to head up to NJ again next week, so I'll pack my pole again and hope to have a few hours to head to the shore.
I do miss living in NJ. I was always about 30 minutes from fishable water.
I don't really trust the Potomac and waters around DC. Saltwater seems to be a 3-4 hour drive anywhere in the state and the beaches are not that great. so I might as well go up to NJ as that is a 3 hour drive from where I live.
You don't realize the treasure of the Jersey Shore til you don't have it easily available to you!