Posted on December 16th, 2023
Hit the vid for our “12 Days of Christmas” at Atlantic Tackle!
I had a chance to head out with Captain Chris Mizurak and the crew of the Angler today and though it was a little windier than expected this morning, it was still a nice day to be on the water. It was amazing how many trucks and trailers were in the West OC public ramp, and more amazing how many boats were fishing inshore for bluefin tuna. The stars aligned perfectly for it to be crazy today with decent weather, a close bluefin bite, a weekend and a big blow coming starting tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully the bluefins are still around after it calms next week.
Curt Presnell, Nickie Park and “Heavy” Todd had a great morning with this awesome 125 pound bluefin tuna that they boated by 9:30 am and were headed home for the day.
Travis Smith, John Stanch, Richie Katz and Scott Hanna used a 6 oz Joe Shute lure with a ballyhoo to land this big 66″ bluefin tuna today.
Blake Gunther and Derek Yobst used Deadly Tackle tog/bottom jigs to have some fun with the tautog today. They put their limit of fish in the boat along with a bonus red drum.
There was some pretty good fishing on board the Angler today with Captain Chris Mizurak and crew. I didn’t catch much, but there were plenty of nice flounder around the rail to as big as 8 pounds with a couple of big sea bass in the mix.
Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star had a great day of sea bass fishing for his folks today.
What an unusual sight we had this morning. I’d seen several outboards on trailers driving in. The poor folks working pre-dawn shift at Wawa & Royal Farms must have thought someone was giving away thousand dollar bills in the ocean. When we tied her loose into this morning’s dockside calm, we found the inlet busier than July 4th falling on a Saturday. Bluefin being caught so close to shore has these fellows’ attention in a big way. While nearly all the larger sport boats are hauled for winter–inaccessibly blocked-up in a crowded parking lot; those who trailer their boat can take advantage of the moment & simply rewinterize when it’s over.> I’ve seen bluefins in early winter since 1991. Every now and again they pass too far offshore for me to cross paths with em, but I can remember many years seeing tuna busting plain as day just 8 or 9 miles off. I even hooked one in the early 1990s thirty miles off. The big tuna took a chunk and swam straight up the keel, made a right then circled down my stb rail before crossing my transom and running up the port side.. > This was with nearly 50 people aboard who had been catching fine and now could only wonder why their line was suddenly being ripped around.. Biggest one I’ve ever had on. Pulled the hook on that big scoundrel within sight on the port stern quarter. Fish gone, the most epic part of the affair now was its tangle. > Never did try chunking em again. Better to stick to my knitting – catch clients their sea bass or tog and just admire the tuna busting nearby. Several skippers used to stay in touch when I’d write about em. Capt Bruce from Capt. Mac’s Tackle back in the day caught one on a slooooww trolled bar when they were new. Capt Mark caught one on a tiny white bucktail while clients were casting to false albacore. > This year? Gosh, my old mate Tanner and his skipper have caught three.. .. Not everyone has been successful; dern sure some pretty ones though – & pretty tasty too! > Ah, well, no tuna fishing here. > A few miles out this morning it became clear the weathermen had more excitement in mind than their forecasts implied. We had enough N wind to make things plenty saucy. > Could it be? Was this foul weather owed to the luck of our Keeper of the Princely Paunch? An angler whose mirthful corpulence has long entertained OC’s more fortunate anglers; at least when, as his moniker so aptly implies; he’d not brought gale winds along on that particular day. Should you hear an angler tell they saw Hurricane Murray ‘bellied up to the rail’ it never implies a tavern’s bar rail, but a fishing boat’s passenger rail; and certainly ‘bellied’ in a more rotund & robust manner than that cowhand, Too Slim, ever brought to the bar. > Hurricane indeed aboard, I could only press on and hope. > Young Miss Olive and her Mom, Pamela, were our guest reef builders this day. Olive apparenly made a deal with her personal marine diety, trading off her shot at winning the pool for a good saddleback dolphin show. > Worked. > It was a good one. And no course change needed. > Fishing began so poorly I feared it was over for my home range bite. By and by the current backed around more west and their appetites improved. > Mark, as is often the case, was first into double digits & first to limit. Mark also, bleeding the drama as long as possible, caught a super dandy right at the bell to win the pool. Big Jon, usually first or second to limit but today fishing next to Hurricane for the first time, found the day wanting for some reason. Hurricane, meanwhile, took mate Vic’s advise about a rig change and began boxing some fish on his new reef raffle rod. The rig worked so well even Jon switched. > Sometimes simple is best.. > Sent everyone home with a fish fry or two? Sure. Two fellows even kept the new limit of bluefish. But today was not at all the fishing we’ve been having, not even on reefs much closer to shore. > Perhaps the coming storm will condense the last wave of inshore dandies in my range. > Time will tell. > Cheers, > Monty