Saturday saw me at my favorite snapper blue spot, where the little monsters have grown a bit. The did seem a bit fewer and farther between though, but this may be because the tide fluctuation was fairly dramatic compared to my previous trips. That aside, the biggest and most blatant difference was the amount of large menhaden. There were schools of adult menhaden everywhere. It can be difficult not to hook them, they are tightly schooled, just swimming around with their mouths open to collect microorganisms. I hooked quite a few of them. They are ridiculously good fighters, and fun to catch, but it is hard not to feel guilty for catching fish that never wanted your fly in their mouths in the first place, or even worse, stuck to there sides or tails.
Today was an exploration day. My dad and I located some likely spots on the map and went out to hunt down some fish. We stopped at the local bait shop across the stream from the canal in question to ask about it. The scruffy man behind the counter said nobody really cared, so we left the car in the parking lot. He also mentioned there were blues and enough bunker that he had caught some the previous day on a snapper popper. We knew we could trust this guy because of the photos of him holding huge pike and stripers that were hanging on a bulletin board. And I'll be damned if there weren't ten thousand bunker rolling through that canal.
To make a long story short, we ended up fishing a few spots, catching very few snapper blues, landing some menhaden, and getting somewhat frustrated. It is possible that we could have had a better time in Essex, but exploring new places is a big part of what fishing is about for me.