Hit the backbay for some fluke with a friend yesterday. The water was the clearest I've ever seen it. You could clearly see clams, crabs, and starfish on the bottom in 15' + of water. It was awesome to watch fish charge off the bottom to attack a bait. Got three keepers, 18", 20", 23" all on white gulp! swimming mullet fished on bare jighead, although chatruese seemed to produce more fish in deeper water.
I've always wanted to check that place out. There used to be an old abandoned amusement park there. I don't know how much of it is still left, but it's still probably a cool place to explore, fish, and maybe solve a mystery. They would've gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddelin' kids and their kayaks...
A ray sounds about right. Did you feel any head shakes? or was it just a strong straight pull?
Loosing something big like that, before you get to see it, has to be the best shitty feeling in the world.
I got out on a friends boat a couple days ago, and picked up a bunch of fluke. It is was the first time I got to use a new rod I wrapped over the winter. It was a cool feeling to catch a fish on something I made. White Gulp! 4" mullet outperformed other colors or bait. We had about 5-1 throwback to keeper ratio, which was an improvment over this time last year. On a side note a lot of the fish we caught had grass shrimp in their bellies, and there were plenty on the bulkheads at the docks. There was some talk about weakfish, but I didn't see any caught.
The NJ Department of Environmental Protection today launched the state's free web-based saltwater fishing registry.
This registry allows New Jersey to comply with a federal mandate to have a system in place to collect better data from recreational anglers and better manage fishery resources, at the same time exempting anglers from fees and keeping saltwater fishing in New Jersey free.
You will loose some rigs, but that's part of the challenge. Circle hooks help with that a little bit. A float might help a lot.
Early in the season while the water is still cold I usually use fresh surf clam, or if I can find it conch. You can usually find fresh conch in asian supermarkets. Better get 'em soon season shuts down at the end of April.