The question is how long they’ll stick around or, just as importantly, how many more will arrive.

After four years of a springtime drought, following three years of an intense late-April into June fishery (many opining that each was “historical”) that saw untold numbers of huge schools blues ranging from six to 18-plus pounds invading the inlets, bays and the lower reaches of tidal rivers, and also wreaking predatory havoc along the beaches, it’s great to see the choppers to slammers to gators to gorillas back on track.

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Not to be overlooked are the platoons of smaller fish interspersed between the battalions of much bigger blues.

Photo: Tom P
Photo: Tom P

Again, it’s the duration and amount that will either make this run a one hit wonder or one for the books.

Some blues showed briefly last month, the forerunners of what’s happening right now. Not many fish, most in the two to four- pound range, and they were in and out, then gone. Townsends Inlet at Sea Isle and Avalon, and Great Egg Harbor Inlet at Ocean City both saw spurts of action. Then all was quiet until a yesterday. Calls and texts buzzed in from Atlantic City to Manasquan Inlet that the jumbos were back, and the fishing was exploding.

Trolling Daiwa and/or casting Daiwa SP Minnow and You-Zuri Crystal Minnow plugs, and casting and also jigging metal jigs such as the AVA-17, 27 and 47 (plain or with either bright green or yellow tube tails), or the Run Off Hammered Jig, or chunks of fresh bunker on a bait rig are all putting blues in the boat or on the rocks. Mashing the barbs on the plugs, or replacing the trebles with single hooks, will make releasing these jumbos much easier and will also reduce the chances of having a personal “hookup”.

With the three fish limit (five if on for-hire boat), the ungodly bloodbath of the aforementioned runs should, based on angler compliance, be avoided. The Barnegat Inlet jetty, from the top back to the finger jetty adjacent to the lighthouse, was the scene of gruesome carnage. Blood and guts everywhere, and in some instances, plastic garbage bags full of unwanted blues were found in the brush or in trash cans. I witnessed it any number of times, and, based on comments from both passersby and ethical anglers, lumped all with a rod and reel under a very dark umbrella.

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