Southern NJ Sheepshead Stampede 2016 Continues…

Prior to their release…Live well loaded with Sheepshead heading for the weigh station.

Not Florida, Not Louisiana… Southern New Jersey . Year after year. There is no other place in the world where trophy sheepshead gather in such numbers and can be caught with such consistency. This one caught by Mike Prosceno coming in at over 13#s with even bigger fish still roaming the tides…

For more then a decade I first only watched on my Aquaview underwater camera and fish that seemed so elusive and at the beginning uncatchable.

With the white and black bar they would roam in tightly packed schools in so much that three or four fish would appear like a solid mass. Not dissimilar to a herd of zebra migrating across the killing fields of the savanna.

Like the buffalo devouring mega wolves of northern Canada to the  Prince Edward Island  1000 pound Bluefin tuna; The largest predators of the stock with always seek the furthest boundaries of their range for large prey.

With the huge risk/reward factor involved long migrations, once there, competition from other species is little to none.

 

Insomniac Guide Service LLC
Capt. Dan Schafer
Year Round Striped Bass
Shallow Water Back Bay
Fly & Light Tackle Fishing
in Stone Harbor NJ.
(609)-780-5124
insomniacguide@live.com
G.Loomis, Shimano, Yeti, Lowrance, Tackle Direct Pro Staff

 

 

 

 

Summer Schools Have Arrived

Summers schools of Striped Bass have arrived right on time. Large crab eaters from the south roaming the flats, in one foot of water, destroying a top water plugs…

 

The Majority of my summer fishery revolves around the Chesapeake Bay stock of fish that  call southern New Jersey home up until the fall migration kicks in. What most refer to as ‘resident striped bass’.

Some are very large. Like the south western portion of the lower Chesapeake. These fish ply the grass beds in search of prey. This time of year they are looking for shedder crabs on our vast grass flats here in Stone Harbor/Avalon NJ. More on that and this unique in the near future..

Insomniac Guide Service LLC
Capt. Dan Schafer
Year Round Striped Bass
Shallow Water Back Bay
Fly & Light Tackle Fishing
in Stone Harbor NJ.
(609)-780-5124
insomniacguide@live.com
G.Loomis, Shimano, Yeti, Lowrance, Tackle Direct Pro Staff
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The Night Shift…

What I really cut my teeth on when learning to fish the back bays. The Night Shift.

Over a decade ago, when I first got the boat I spent the first year exclusively fishing at night. The amazing things a saw and came to realize stuck with me. Not only the fishing but much of the wildlife that can only be seen lurking at night. During the course of a year the change of seasons , spawns, and migrations you really get an understanding of your quarry, it’s behaviors, and everything else that makes the marsh one of the most productive ecosystems in the country.

That will be revisited in a future in depth article. Now on to the report…
Last evening…Howling winds, huge tides and racing currents. An absolute awesome bite with staggering number of fish.

No matter the conditions this a special time of year.

Several all out Events going on at once that cannot afford to be overlooked. With the new moon tides ushering the spawn of just about every edible source in the back bay. 6 inch spearing , crimson cinders worms, and bay anchovies being devoured by huge coordinated wolf packs of striped bass.

Insomniac Guide Service LLC
Capt. Dan Schafer
Year Round Striped Bass
Shallow Water Back Bay
Fly & Light Tackle Fishing
in Stone Harbor NJ.
(609)-780-5124
insomniacguide@live.com
G.Loomis, Shimano, Yeti, Lowrance, Tackle Direct Pro Staff
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Summer Striped Bass Slamming Top Water Plugs on the Back Bay Grass Flats

Last two days have brought a flood of striped bass into the back bays and grass flats.
Fish are slamming top water plugs as they patrol into a film of water hunting blue claws, mullet, and ripping through schools of peanut bunker.

Starting at the top of the tide the fish are following the bait out of the sounds stopping at each creek at just the right time in short 20 minute windows before moving on to another one further down the water way.

Towards the end of the tide the bass are setting themselves up in open water in a foot or so depth. We’re working the sand pot hole edges around the thick grass beds.

Fishing that shallow once a bass sees the plug it’s done. Fish on a flat are there for one sole reason alone. To feed. Strikes come quick and violent.
Once hooked, bass porpoising out of the water while grey hounding on the flat and somersaulting are the norm. It’s one of the most exciting ways to target these fish.


Insomniac Guide Service LLC

Capt. Dan Schafer
Year Round Striped Bass
Shallow Water Back Bay
Fly & Light Tackle Fishing
in Stone Harbor NJ.
(609)-780-5124
insomniacguide@live.com
G.Loomis, Shimano, Yeti, Lowrance, Tackle Direct Pro Staff
Join Us On Facebook!
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One of the most phenomenal years to date for NJ sheepshead

A little update on what we’ve been doing. Mullet have been in great abundance in the back water. Most of them have been in the 3 to 4 inch range.
Cast netted they are a phenominal Big flounder bait for some of the lager resident fish that we find all summer.

The main attraction has been large Sheepshead in numbers I have not seen before. Ranging to almost 13 pounds and many in the 10 to 6 pound range. They’ve been very consistent.

A few worthy of the weigh scales before being released back.

Insomniac Guide Service LLC
Capt. Dan Schafer
Year Round Striped Bass
Shallow Water Back Bay
Fly & Light Tackle Fishing
in Stone Harbor NJ.
(609)-780-5124
insomniacguide@live.com
G.Loomis, Shimano, Yeti, Lowrance, Tackle Direct Pro Staff
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Backcountry Sheepshead & Striped Bass

We’ve had some real interesting tides and trips this last week. Some days we’ve covered miles and others just a few small stretches of water.
These are our summer resident fish.

I think they’re finally finding their way around the marsh. The mullet are starting to mature and comb the bank in schools and the peanut have started getting some size and
can be seen getting pushed up into the banks by bass on some of the flood tides and blown out creeks. We have a plethora of southern sting rays and crabs on the flats
and the grass beds have come in beautifully.

Yesterday morning I had some long time clients Billy & Billy out on the boat at sunrise.

Tide was just about out when we started and the first area we had 2 misses then poled a flat that was about a foot deep with some laid up inactive fish that the we pushed off while
poling the boat along.

After a few more moves we got on a grass bed were the fish were much much more active.

We spent the remainder of the trip in this area with some excellent strikes and landing bass and landing fish the remainder of the trip. Southern rays and crabs moving around. Crystal clear water and just a plethora of life on the flat.

Once I dropped off my morning trip I met up with my cousin Chris @ the dock and we headed out to do some much needed field testing of our new BottomSweeper Jigheads.

There is nothing like a sheepshead as far as fighting ability goes. Powerful runs , their akin to a wreck permit or a 10 pound bluegill

We had some great fights and the jigs stood up to the test ; out performing anything we’ve ever used.
They are pretty much ready to go into production. Bottom fishing/Live lining their performance is awesome.
We have really have something totally unique to the market and I’m really looking forward to getting everyone on board
with some of the new techniques we are using now that’s changed our fishing game.My schedule is opening up a bit after this week if any of
you would like to get on the boat with us for a trip. I’m looking forward to this month as everything is really coming together.

Insomniac Guide Service LLC
Capt. Dan Schafer
Year Round Striped Bass
Shallow Water Back Bay
Fly & Light Tackle Fishing
in Stone Harbor NJ.
(609)-780-5124
insomniacguide@live.com
G.Loomis, Shimano, Yeti, Lowrance, Tackle Direct Pro Staff
Join Us On Facebook!
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6/16 Schools of Flood Tide Striped Bass

We were greeted today with an incoming tide and just the slightest breeze from the east.

We ended finding our first few fish on single point that had a nice flow of water coming through. We then jetted off towards quieter water were we’d happen to find severel schools of bass inside
the basins and the open water just outside.

Some really awesome strikes with many fish following coming all the way to the boatside and going airborne as Brandon retrieved his surface plug.
After working several schools and catching several fish the tide was full and we started working the open water. Many times after the sun gets high the fish will pull of the banks onto the flats were they’ll hide in the grass beds. Once on the flat we saw a plethora of southern sting rays.

It’s a great indication of fish being nearby. Where there’s these rays typically there’s an abundance of life within a vast barren open flat….

The bass were right nearby.. We had a slightly breeze now a chop to the surface and took them on a variety of of surface plugs. Strikes came at an instant

Insomniac Guide Service LLC
Capt. Dan Schafer
Year Round Striped Bass
Shallow Water Back Bay
Fly & Light Tackle Fishing
in Stone Harbor NJ.
(609)-780-5124
insomniacguide@live.com
G.Loomis, Shimano, Yeti, Lowrance, Tackle Direct Pro Staff
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Multi Trip Striped Bass Report w/pics

All right… awesome

I finally have some time to sit down and write a formal report to tell you what’s been going on on the striped bass front in the backwater.

I’ve been keeping my instagram account ( @danschafer08247) updated as well as my facebook business page so check those out for up to the minute info.

Now on to the content…

The past three or four days have brought with it a slew of differing wind directions, tides, storm fronts, Blue bird and overcast skies.

Every morning and afternoon completely polarized. Differing constantly changing conditions keeping the fish on the move. Schooling them up only to break off again into smaller groups with the wild card larger solitary teritorial fish.

These are our resident summer bass that have just arrived. They’re working high percentage areas of the past as well as new water that I’ve never seen them on before. Historically barren areas and situations that are now producing fish. The landscape of the backwater as it does every year changes and the fish adapt very quickly.

Friday morning offered tight aggressive schools of bass inside leeward basins at one point then the fish moved onto shallow flats and patrolled those areas
along with southern sting rays for crabs in the grass. Top water plugs and plastics alike worked really well. One thing I’ve noticed is that each individaul school on this morning wanted either one or the other. So follow up casts were needed in each area that we stopped just to make sure were weren’t missing something.

Towards the end of the out going tide we found fish working the water just off the open flats. Some nice ones sitting on the out skirts of exposed sand bars waiting for last few prey items of the tide to swim their way. Most of the baitfish (spearing)are just breaching the fry stage and are in large number seemingly every where we go. Larger topwater plugs are drawing explosive strikes from these fish. Some real exciting runs in very very shallow water.

Later in the afternoon brought a stiif southern wind popped up at the beginning of our trip. We set up in a beautiful strech of crystal clear water and started casting an open grass flat were the bass would be staging on the lower water. Fish were found within minutes of our first stop in about a foot of water. We stayed with these fish as the tide rose and given the south eastern flow the water came in clean and flooded the marsh putting the fish on floating bladder grass. We poled and stuck up on the bass with them exploding on our plugs within a rod length of the flats skiff…

Following the same pattern we found the mother load of nice bass tightly packed in three and fours following hooked fish to the skiff.

We rounded out the afternoon hitting minnow creeks pulling schooled fish until dark.

Saturday morning offered us just a couple schools of aggresive bass early. Not as accurate and missing our offerings time and again with a few
break offs mixed in for fish plowing around the boat in all directions once hooked and brought close. Either the bass were half heartedly striking or rushing us in an instant then quickly moving on. Oppurtunties arose very fast and fleed the next moment.

The afternoon trip offered more of the same until the last hour where the fish appeared out of no where and staged up at every minnow creek. Super aggressive with stikes coming the instant they landed. It was as if the fish were going to use every oppurtunity they had into that last hour of light right after the tide switched. Very fast fun fishing until sunset.

Sunday morning brought with it some heavy storm cells and downpours keeping my at the dock until the afternoon.

Once the afternoon rolled around I left the dock with John from Tackle Direct and his wife Jenn. We had a nice south eastern flow
bringing in clean ocean water. We started off working a flat with a fish or two dusting off as we moved polled the skiff along.
Working a flooded island John landed the first fish of the day that exploded on his top water plugs and ran all over flat.
We then set up on some winward shorelines and had more of the same. Nice size real nice bass and great runs.

Every stop seemed more of the same. A great steady flow of hungry fish. Flooded grass islands with schooled up bass partolling the out edges. Strikes were solid and immediate followed by some great runs.

Last edited by insomniac; Today at 10:43 PM.

Insomniac Guide Service LLC
Capt. Dan Schafer
Year Round Striped Bass
Shallow Water Back Bay
Fly & Light Tackle Fishing
in Stone Harbor NJ.
(609)-780-5124
insomniacguide@live.com
G.Loomis, Shimano, Yeti, Lowrance, Tackle Direct Pro Staff
Join Us On Facebook!
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6/10 Bass O’ Plenty / Shallow Water Water Flats Fishing Heating Up

Waters have finally warmed and we’ve settled around the 70 degree mark. Crab are on the flats bringing with southern sting rays and a whole load resident fish taking hold.
Especially in open water which the bass dominated in earlier this morning…

We left the dock a little after five an hour or so into the outgoing tide.

We worked a bunch of minnow creeks running all over hitting one after another looking for feeding bass

Most of them were feeding on surface on small spearing as we arrived and took down our topwater plugs with little hesitation.

It was a very visual feed with us running in the skiff looking for any kind of disturbance on the glassy water.

Any swirl , and bait flipping was an indiciation of a bass moving through the shallow water.

After the tide settled and the creeks dropped out we started working open water grass beds.
We alternated casts between plastics and topwater plugs as any one fish may respond to one or
the other.
Sight fishing bass moving on the flat we were able to bang them out with BassKandyDelights.
The second they caught a glimpse it was a sealed deal.

As we moved into even more open territory, away from the banks, the water was extermely still and there were now very large bass
swimming around the skiff taking in bait from the surface. We opted with top water plugs and had some pretty awesome strikes boatside
as well as far out. Their aim today was a little off as the bass had a hard time hooking themselves no matter how determined they were.
We had great visuals of 30 inch bass smashing plugs within hands reach in foot deep crystal clear water.\

We also had a roving school of bluefish that happened to come by. These were nice size fish that at times hooking two at once on the same topwater plug. Not something I see often this time of year a great way to round off the trip.

Insomniac Guide Service LLC

Capt. Dan Schafer
Year Round Striped Bass
Shallow Water Back Bay
Fly & Light Tackle Fishing
in Stone Harbor NJ.
(609)-780-5124
insomniacguide@live.com
G.Loomis, Shimano, Yeti, Lowrance, Tackle Direct Pro Staff
Join Us On Facebook!
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5/10 Mid Day Striped Bass on Top Water

Me and Matt List left the dock yesterday around 11am to do a quick run and gun trip.

First stop and about 5 minutes later Matt was tied into the first one of the year. A beautiful fish

that just crushed his topwater plug.

They were mostly feeding on schools of spearing that were hugging the waters edge.  The bass were very aggressive making for a great couple of hours on the water.

My Back Bay charters are filling up FAST so if you want to book a trip with me this May ,June, and July message me through this page, email @ insomniacguide@live.com or you can always shoot me a call or text @ 609-780-5124

To keep up to date with fishing reports & everything that’s going daily on you can Like my Facebook page Via the link below, bookmark my website @ www.insomniacguide.com, follow me on instagram @danschafer08247 and subscribe to my youtube channel @https://www.youtube.com/user/insomniacfilmstudio/videos

Insomniac Guide Service LLC

Capt. Dan Schafer
Year Round Striped Bass
Shallow Water Back Bay
Fly & Light Tackle Fishing
in Stone Harbor NJ.
(609)-780-5124
insomniacguide@live.com
G.Loomis, Shimano, Yeti, Lowrance, Tackle Direct Pro Staff
Join Us On Facebook!
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