If you've never been on the Morning Star with Capt Monty and mate Chris you in for wonderful time. If you've been before you know what I'm talking about. My next scheduled trip isn't until the last weekend in August follow by trips in September and October. Make sure you post a report.
A few questions maybe some of you have answers to:
Is it possible to catch anything besides sea bass on wreck fishing trips? Perhaps if I brought my own cut herring and mackerals and baited one of the hooks with larger chunks of cut bait?
Also, is there a place near the marina (where the Morning Star is moored) where I can wet my line for a few hours for free?
Here's the Morning Star latest fishing report:
Fishing has become more hit and miss, today being far and away the toughest day on the rip yet. Thankfully most of the 150 or so sea bass were in the 2 to 3 lb. class. The pool winner was 4 1/2 lbs.
It's a crazy business. Monday we caught like there was no end to it. Never used a piece of bait, just artificials. Even had a 7 year old banging doubles on bare hooks.... Today some didn't even have dinner!
I still have some spots to explore. Hope to send a glowing update!
I have caught various species while wreck fishing. There is always a chance for other species. There may be some tautog left, a possibility for blues, maybe even some huge flounders, but my guess is that the sea bass are too aggressive to let any other fish take your bait. Sea bass will eat pretty much any kind of cut bait so if they are biting aggressively, my guess is that catching other species are slim. If you want to do some free fishing, I would try the rt 50 bridge. Parking can be a little tricky but there some nice fish around the bridge. Bring lures or maybe even try some live eels. Hopes this helps.
Anthony pretty well said it all. Next week a year ago I was out with Monty for sea bass and we had the fortune to catch some Mia Mia (dolphin). I caught two that were 20", perfect size for the grill. What a bonus.
I don't think that Monty has gotten his liquor license yet. The last time I was on the boat, he was allowing people to bring their own beer. I'm not sure when he is going to get a license or if he was planning to get a license at all. Still the best boat out there.
Yesterday was really decent despite a slow start, and thanks to a lot of effort on the part of Capt. Monty and Tim (1st Mate).
My girlfriend and I ended up going home with ten 13"+ fish, which included an 18" sea bass coming in second in the pool at 3 pounds and a quarter (winner weighed in at 3 pounds and three quarters).... aaaargh! I was really close.
Almost everyone seemed to have caught 5-10 keepers apiece, and there were a whole lot of ridiculously small sea bass biting which had to be thrown back.
Overall, it was a great day. I took along some friends for their first fishing trip of this type and they had a blast... and a lot of support from the 1st mate (one of the best I've seen).
Anyway, I took some great pics, and was particularly happy with that 18" sea bass despite the fact that I tend not to excited over anything measuring 18" since I'm primarily a striped bass shore fisherman, and 18" is the minimum for rockfish on the Potomac, and not even legal size for rockfish in Jersey. For sea bass however, it the largest I've caught of that species which is somewhat exciting.
Also, I conducted a little experiment which seemed to work well. I replaced one the hooks with my own 9/0 Octopus hook, and used large chunks of frozen spot I brought with me for bait. It worked fine, and every single keeper sea bass I caught was on that hook (including the 18" one). The smaller ones I had to throw back went exclusively after the smaller hook baited with squid.
When there are a lot of small sea bass, you should try using larger baits. It may help a little. I have also had success putting a white 6 inch curly tail along with squid to entice the larger fish. It seems that the influx of smaller fish is upon us.
One thing that really helps is simply not bothering to reel in small Sea Bass.
You'll quickly get a feel for what size fish you have on your line. If it doesn't feel heavy enough, don't reel, just let it slack and the fish will shake themselves off. It's a big waste of time reeling up 90 feet simply to get a short sea bass off your line. Make sure you get your doubleheader too, I always see people reeling furiously as soon as they get one fish on instead of making sure they've loaded up all their hooks.
Most times you'll still have some bait after you let the smaller fish shake off your line. (I also use the 3" B-2 Squid Glow teasers, will catch fish with no bait.)
If you've caught a bergall you can use it as a strip bait, or you can even cut up one of your (legal) sea bass (be sure to keep it and count in your limit.) Sea Bass will hit Sea Bass. And you can catch a dozen Sea Bass with one strip bait of Bergall or Sea Bass without losing the bait.
You only reel up when you've got enough weight on for it to be a larger fish. (might be fooled by a doubleheader of medium sized fish at times.)
Also make sure you get your bait down FAST when you're first on a wreck. Sea Bass are stupid, and the larger they are the more agresssive they are (unlike rockfish and a lot of other fish); at a given wreck the large fish are likely to be caught in the first 5 minutes. Make sure your bait is down there first and get it back down quickly in those first 5 minutes. Using decent-sized Kahle or Flounder hooks helps a lot (similar to what Monty uses on boat rigs.) Many people use very small J hooks and have a lot of gut hooked fish that take time to remove. (also likely to kill a short sea bass.) Sea Bass have huge mouths, use larger hooks. Kahle hooks tend to have them hooked in the side of the mouth and are not swallowed. Though I'm a huge circle hook fan in general I don't like them for Sea Bass for some reason.
Trip I was on in May I had 8 3 lb.+ fish, probably 40-50 legal fish overall, didn't keep anything under 14" or so. And I spent about 1/2 the time fooling around just jigging (tends to get larger fish as well, I used an 8 oz. diamond jig and a 6 oz. Yozuri Glow Squid, no bait) but it was slower than bait.
Of course, the biggest key is to not go Sea Bass fishing in July or August; the plague of short fish is really a problem most of the time. I don't bother .
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