Catch date:11/5/2014 5:58:00 PM

Story date:3/28/2015 1:29:00 AM

Location:Monmouth Beach NJ

Species:Bluefish

got the chance to fish on the Brooklyn VI for Bass and Blues for the first day (11/3/14) of my week long vacation. The excitement of my last bass trip last season was fuel for going on this trip. This was the first trip for Bass with the Brooklyn VI this season for me and I was pumped.

Dad just got a new job so he had no time on the books to join me, and none of my fishing buddies were available…I was alone for the first time on a party boat. All that my Dad had taught me had to start earning dividends or his efforts were in vain…what a challenge full of excitement this trip was going to be.

I got to the docks a little bit later than Dad always said to arrive (at least an hour before the boat shoves off) because even though I was on vacation I still had Daddy duty. I’m thankful to my sitter for letting me drop my little girl off three hours before she open just so that I can enjoy two boat trips (next report from the Celtic Quest should be up shortly) while on vacation. She told me “don’t worry, just enjoy your vacation” I was a bit frantic when I saw how many spots were taken in my first and second places to be on a boat when “drifting” Dad gave me this rule of thumb “if the Capt. Is drifting then you want to be in the front, if he is anchoring you want either of the corners in the rear” I actually found a good spot on the front right side next to the number one regular for this boat. That added an extra challenge to this trip. I would have to make sure I’m casting, and managing my line after casting to ensure I’m not tangling with the anglers to me left and right. Dad was efficient with that lesson because I was always next to him…I think the regular and I only had minor cross over about three times for the whole trip once I got his rhythm down.

The fishing for bass was a bit tough. No stripes came up for the entire boat. We went close to home near a jetty I’m very familiar with but at that time had close to no signs of life so we went east a bit to the next point/inlet I was just on the day before. There was still plenty of bait around the dirty water that seemed to hang around. It felt kind of funny that the party boats look for fish in the same spots I surf cast. The feeling is like testing if the grass is actually greener on the other side. A few gators came up but that’s not what we were after so we moved once I caught a rather large skate that hugged the bottom so well it had me thinking I was hung up on the bottom…on to the far south west where there was much more life.

I was able to land one 15lbs bluefish out of the four hits on a green tube...Still no bass but the boat was now consistently catch big blues on jigs. Once the bite died down someone had the idea to start using BAIT! I didn't bring any of my bait Riggs but had my second rod (Penn Defiance 30 conventional combo for backup to my Penn Mariner 6’6/Pursuit II 6000) that I’m still learning how to use with me. I was not happy but people were catching blues consistently. I paid the two bucks to get rigged up with a split shot, and now had to search for a spot on the back but it was full with the anglers that was already there and all the sharpies from the front. The ONLY spots that were available were “no man’s land” (the middle on both sides) I didn't give that much practice because I couldn't find/feel bottom before drifting under the boat or to the back. I’m done with the split shot…A half hour before the boat was due to be back out of frustration I sacrificed my nine inch shad to see if I can go home with more than just one bluefish.

I sent the large shad down and was hooked up after I tightened my line. The fish felt good, fought like hell just like most bluefish do. Got him to the surface and it shook its head once and he swam off. I forgot that I crushed the barbs on this shad because I use it in the surf only…I’m done crushing my barbs now. As we got close to a rather popular jetty the bird life was off the wall. It’s too bad we were on our way in…But that meant Kenny and I will be coming back that night close by to try our luck for catching Bass especially after receiving a good tip off from a fellow Surf Rat…Thanks Lou.

All in all it was still a good day on the water. I think I am close to done with “party boats” Dad raised my brothers and I fishing on the boats so I still find time to dabble a bit on them when I can. This season has been odd in the sense that most if not all the boat trips I went on this year were less than successful coming home without fish. I have done better in the surf this year. That is a role reversal from last season. This makes me feel like I’m becoming a better surf caster…Out of frustration of my results on a boat trip I have hit the surf after the boat docks and actually catch more fish. I’m having a hard time paying good money to not catch on the boats when I can hit the surf for free and come home with fish. Even if I don’t catch in the surf I’m OK with that because I didn't pay cash for skunk. What’s an angler to do with roots deep in the boat game but developing into one of those serious surf rats…either way I’ll keep fishing. Tight Lines!

Shaka Antoine

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