Summer thoughts from a Guest Blogger

We told you before that if you guys write it, we will feature if we like it. We look at this blog (and magazine) as more of a community effort then us trying to reinvent the wheel

Today ‘s blog post is courtesy of Jason Gribschaw

Enjoy it

Zeno Hromin

You may have put away the snag rigs, pencil poppers and large metal lips, and some of you may be taking a rest from the surf, but others are still on the hunt. 

If bass is the only quarry you seek, I feel sorry for you, but if you must, keep at it.  The bays are still loaded with the little buggers, and if you hit a tide well, you can enjoy a night of catching.  Inlets and finger jetties will also hold our striped friends, but I don’t think they will be coming up for plugs all that often.  Bucktails maybe, but if you truly want to hook up with some summertime bass, dig up some crabs or sand flees next to the jetty and go to work. 

The crabs are more difficult, and I have never used them as bait, but sand flees are just as productive.  Personally, I love distancing myself from the gang fishing the pocket, and I have done best flicking sand flees into an eddy and letting them swirl toward the bottom.  Remember, summer bass are rooting around in the sand next to the rocks, digging up crabs or sucking them off of rocks, so when a tasty sand flee drops in front of them, it is like a sautéed mushroom that accompanies your main course. 

I am sure there are other tactics that will work, (eels, traveling north, hopping on a boat…) but let’s not forget about all the other fun fish out there waiting to tug on your lines.  Fluke, tautog, triggers, kings, scup…are all invited to dinner at my house.  Just want to have fun?  Skates, rays and sharks are at your feet this time of year.  Last but not least, crabs, clams, and if you are good, lobster could be on the menu. 

Part Two

Normally I would be spending as much time as possible on my kayak, picking away at fluke this time of year, but instead, I have been spending much more time on the beach.  Being from Philly, my home waters are along the NJ shore, but the same will apply to the north, just as well as it does to my south. 

So we head down in the dark, when it is nice and cool, and if the waters are calm we have two choices, or we can pull a double.  The bay cuts will be your best option for fishing, and you can find a plethora of the usual suspects hanging around the feeder creeks and cuts.  If you are a go getter, you are often going to have to do a bit of wading to get there. 

Since you are wet, why not swim across that small channel to the flats and open up another world of fishing. 

Once on the flats you will find one of two things, open bottom (sand or mud) or eel grass, and both have their advantages.  Personally, I like eel grass, but if you are in a bay area with sod islands nearby, open bottom is just as good. 

What do you expect to find?  Well, first of all you will find the same bait fish that are present along the sod banks that you were stalking when you were high and dry (minnows, spearing, needlefish…), but you will also find plenty of crabs as well.  Up on the islands you have your hermit and fiddler crabs, but out in open water, the blue claws are to be found. 

I particularly like crabbing the flats at night with nothing but a long handled net, a strong flashlight and a bin.  While slowly walking around with the light on, you will spot crabs on top of the eel grass and open bottom, and they are easy to scoop up at night.  During the day these same crabs are buried in the sand or hiding in the grass, so the birds do not get them.  At night, their main worry is the fish and me. 

The best part about crabbing this way is you can automatically tell if the crab is the size you want and can often tell by the claws if it is a male or female crab.  The jimmies will have blue claws and the female crabs will have orange or red claws. 

As you are walking around, you will come across many smaller crabs swimming past that you would normally pay no attention to, but in the calm of night, you will be aware of every slurp and splash that happens for a good distance.  That noise was most likely one of those smaller crabs becoming our striped friends’ night time snack. 

Houndfish are also abundant in the bay this time of year, and they are easily recognizable when they appear.  The odds of hearing a bass surfacing and getting a glimpse of it are rare, but the houndfish will make multiple jumps across the water, as if someone skipped a stone.  A quick turn of the flashlight, and the silver ghost can be spotted for a second or two, before diapering into the night. 

To target these fish I have often thought about hooking a crab and letting it drift behind me, but the better tactic would most likely be with the fly rod.  When I crab I often use the kayak, and on the next trip I will be floating a fly off the back.  If you are on foot, you are most likely going to have to pick one or the other.  The best option for being on foot would likely be a backpack and just stick the rod in it, letting the fly drift around behind you as you scoop up crabs.

5 comments on “Summer thoughts from a Guest Blogger

  1. M

    Its been years since i tried to fish for those speices WOW

    It seems all i want are Bass and blues.

    thanks for the story Jason

  2. Dave W.

    Nice read Jason, Thanks!

    After a few hours of looking for some decent fish I’ve been fishing tidal creeks and getting white perch, tiny bass and snappers on small jigs and tins.

    Might be time to try some other options as well.

  3. Mark C

    Thanks Jason, As kid I use to catch houndfish in the Hudson River while fishing for snappers, they are a lot of fun. As for crabbing at night walking the flats it’s amazing how much life is in the water that you don’t see during the day. I have seen small sandsharks swimming along the flats, pretty cool stuff.

    Mark C.

  4. Jim Hill

    Nice to see another PA surf hound!Love the back this time of year!Great read!!You ever travel S to crab the Chesapeake?


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