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With football and my work schedule, I only got to spend one week since the opening of the season out on the water. It was a terrific week. In a first for me, I spent all seven days of a vacation (6-12 hours a day) on Avalon Pier in the Outer Banks (October 17-24th.)

The week started slow, and it was difficult to catch the bottom fish that we traditionally use as bait (spot and croaker.) I managed a handful of spot during the week. This was pretty much the average state of the cooler.

<img src="http://i.imgur.com/DxAr7Lw.jpg" />

The big story for light tackle was bluefish, speckled trout, and false albacore. I caught good numbers of bluefish almost every day that a Hexhead jig or gotcha plug would fly straight. My soon to be step son Andrew got into the action as well using a Bowed Up Hexhead jig.

<img src="http://i.imgur.com/EGXegdW.jpg" />

On the 17th, there were pods of albacore busting everywhere, and around 15 between 5 and 10 pounds were landed. Alberts are about as fun as you can get on light tackle. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to hook one when they were thick. Later in the week, we had one pod blow up on the south side of the pier. I hooked him on a red and white Bowed Up Lures hexhead jig. He went on a smoker run, turned, and wrapped me around the piling.

When the blues were not biting, the small speckled trout were thick. Unfortunately, I didn't manage any keepers. Here is my father with an average sized speckled trout.

<img src="http://i.imgur.com/r27C7P2.jpg" />

All of the light tackle stuff is nice, but I spend that week in the OBX to catch big slob drum. We didn't have a big run of fish until Friday, however I managed three citation fish during the week- a 46 incher, a 44 incher, and a 41 incher.

<img src="http://i.imgur.com/gkhX4q1.jpg" />

<img src="http://i.imgur.com/SrTG83o.jpg" />

<img src="http://i.imgur.com/KFsqmeI.jpg" />

I have caught all my red drum in the past on spot heads. Without spot around, we turned to bluefish heads. Every drum that I landed came on a fresh bluefish head. This was also my first year fishing exclusively with conventional surf casting tackle. I managed to avoid blowing up my Penn Squall 15 except for one time. Anytime you can go a week and only re-spool once with heavy conventional surf gear, it was a good week.

Heads were the ticket. Chunks got chewed up almost immediately by large sea mullet and bluefish off the end. Some were landed by guys using 8/0 circle hooks. I managed one. Somehow he got a Gama 8/0 octopus circle in his mouth.

<img src="http://i.imgur.com/aSqlonG.jpg" />

All and all, it was a great trip. Sunrise bites during the week, when I pretty much had the end of the pier and a ton of bluefish all to myself, really made it worth while.

<img src="http://i.imgur.com/Ot1Kbxs.jpg" />

Now we are into winter. I seen some reports of a lights out big rockfish (striped bass) in the 20-35 pound class mixed in with big gator bluefish in the surf of central New Jersey. It has been awhile since I fished much around Delaware and Ocean City MD in the winter, but this year may have some promise. For a few years, I really did well catching schoolie rockfish off the Route 50 bridge going into Ocean City. I'd stop about an hour before sunrise, buy a cooler full of bunker, and fish at Assateague National Seashore for a bigger striped bass in the surf.
 
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