Pick your pleasure this Father’s Day weekend.

This first weekend of summer brings with it good weather and absolutely phenomenal salt water fishing and crabbing opportunities.

Not to be lost in the sauce is the prime fresh water fishing going on in the lakes, ponds, and rivers.

With the massive influx of visitors this weekend, one can rest assured that some of the waterways, bays, reefs, wrecks, piers, bulkheads and other areas may well be crowded.

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However, there are plenty of fish to go around. Add the fact that the blueclaw crabs are on the big time chow, and it’s indeed a prime time to be on the water somewhere, anywhere.

Oh, yeah. Almost forgot. The clamming is simply out of control. Half-shell, casino, grilled, white sauce for the linguini...these luscious bivalves are abundant.

On a particular note, the first segment of the sea bass closes 11:59pm June 22 and will not re-open until July 1. As such, there are four days remaining to butter the biscuits and take advantage of the 10-fish limit. As of July 1, the limit drops to a pair, but still at the 12.5-inch minimum. The sea bass are thick on the structures, so if you have a boat, or can get on one, load up with salted clam squid strips and AVA-jigs and get to it.

Looking for a party boat for sea bass and fluke? Try the big, comfortable Miss Barnegat Light at 1801 Bayview Ave. in Barnegat Light. It’s an 8am-1pm trip, and bait (squid and spearing) is supplied.

Summer flounder (fluke) are no doubt the most popular and are biting their heads off. Inlets, bays, tidal rivers and even the surf are surrendering loads of fish. Loads of shorts (under 18-inches), but enough keepers to certainly make the effort worth it. Rental boat liveries for the back waters are all up and down from Barnegat Light to Cape May, so the fish are well within reach.

The various Gulp! Baits, the squid minnow (killie), and the squid/spearing combo are all meal makers. Ditto mackerel strips and also smelt and sand eels.

The crabbing continues hot. Traps and/or hand lines, or scoping them out at light with flashlight and a long handled net (also needed when hand lining them), are putting blueclaws in the bushels and pails. Both bunker and chicken are favored baits, and, from
this corner, it’s a 50-50 tossup as to which catches more keepers (4.5-inch minimum across the top shell). Oftentimes we’ll bait with both and do tally at the end of the trip.

There are numerous piers, bulkheads and docks to crab from, along with sedge banks, tidal ditches and lagoons. This is shaping to be one of the best late spring/early summer crabbing seasons in years, so plan to load up on Old Bay and/or the fixins for a spaghetti sauce (simmer the cleaned crabs in the pot for half-hour).

It’s going to be a super fishing and crabbing weekend. Get to it! Welcome, summer!! And Happy Father’s Day!!!

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