If there was ever a perfect time to be boat fisherman, it is during the dog days of summer when the relentless heat has most striped bass and bluefish hanging in deeper water. Surf fishing has been brutal as of late around here, so when a friend asked if I was up for a boat ride after work I jumped at the chance.
Pods of bunker have been getting slashed by bluefish not far to our east, with striped bass underneath cleaning up the mess. As we approached a known bunker hangout, two boats boats were drifting with their own pod of the nervous baitfish. Big blues were cutting through balls of bait, sending bunker leaping out of the water left and right. An all-out massacre was going on and the sound of thousands of bunker moving in unison to avoid a sudden attack was intense. We picked a school and proceeded to snag and live-line them. As soon as a bunker was hooked and tossed back into the thick of things, it was instantly ripped to shreds. The only time we weren't catching was when the boat drifted too far from the chaos, and then we'd just motor back into position again. For an hour and a half this went on right until last light. While we didn't land any bass, one unlucky bunker came back to the boat mangled and lacking teeth marks--a sure sign that it had been crunched by a striper. It didn't much matter; with a bloody boat and a smiling crew, the hard fighting bluefish were were more than enough to keep us content.