Author: Ryan Carson
New Jersey Peanut Bunker Mayhem!
Decided to take a quick run down to the bay on Saturday morning before the sun came up. I found exactly what is expected and normal for this time of year. Peanut bunker was literally everywhere. Didn’t really matter where I went to look for them from the docks to sod banks. Some areas did have a lot more life and easy schools to reach while others had slimmer schools.
"Every throw I was netting 50-100 peanuts filling my 17 gallon tub up very quickly"
I started my morning down in Manahawkin around 4:00am which was a little thin on the bunker by shore but 2-4 lbs bluefish had their way with them for about a half hour straight with constant fishing jumping clear out of the water chasing the peanuts. Only problem with this spot was the peanuts stayed just out of cast net reach most of the time with me only being able to net a few dozen in my only throw.
My 2nd and 3rd spot was still in Manahawkin at local docks where I did find the peanuts in a lot closer which made it a lot easier to net them but after a few throws they moved on and stayed away from reach. Ended up with 4-6 dozen at each spot.
My 4###sup/sup### and final spot was up in Barnegat/Waretown area where it was packed filled with Peanuts. Nonstop schools of varying size peanuts with some killies and spearing mixed in. I only spent a short time here as every throw was netting close to 50-100 peanuts filling my 17 gallon tub up very quickly to the point any boat that was launching was able to fill their live wells before heading out without taking the time to try and net their own. (There is your hint for location) The guy fishing next to me was using some that I caught and live lined them to catch multiple small blue fish around the 1-2 lbs range along with some snappers and a gar. The bluefish started feeding on the peanuts chasing them around in circles from about 5am-6am which then lead to higher boat traffic and the sun coming up and the peanuts and blues moved away from the area.
Overall after giving away hundreds of peanuts while I was netting I brought home close to 50-60 lbs of them for future fishing trips. If you are planning on going fishing anytime soon bring a throw net as lots of fish enjoy eating the peanuts or stop at any of the local bait shops they all have fresh peanut bunker in stock.
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