Ian blew, but we prevailed in Ft. Myers

Though the hurricane came ashore near us in Ft. Myers, Kathy and I hunkered down to wait it out. The winds blasting our hurricane shutters were fierce, but there didn’t seem to be much of the predicted rain. Indeed, when we emerged in the morning there wasn’t even a puddle on the roads. Some trees were uprooted, but the ponds didn’t flood. Since our home is miles inland of the Gulf, we didn’t have to worry about the tidal surge which is what caused most of the deaths and destruction.

After the power went out, I was unable to blog. Fortunately, that was restored this morning. Thanks to all those who reached out to me after hearing about the almost complete destruction of nearby Ft. Myers Beach.

Anglers in NY/NJ Bight are dealing with what’s left of the storm today, and that will make fishing difficult until at least Wednesday night. Small craft warnings advance to a gale warning for Sunday with 25-30-knot northeast winds plus rain.

Weakfish in Barnegat Bay

Very little has been heard about weakfish so far this year, but Capt. Dave DeGennaro has some better news about their presence for customers on Hi Flier out of Barnegat.

The key to success is chumming with live grass shrimp and using very light spinning tackle. Many other species are also caught in those chum lines, including small blues, the young of tropical fish, fluke and lots of blowfish. The water temperature. has dropped from 71.5 degrees to 63 degrees in just a week. Those bay trips are available during the week, while Dave tries to get out for tuna on weekends if the forecasts are favorable.

Hi Flier weakfish

The forecast is for north winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 25.

Vinny D’Anton was surprised this morning to find no life in the Monmouth County surf that had been producing a pick of small stripers. Furthermore, every surfcaster he contacted had the same story.

Hurricane Ian hasn’t hit in Ft. Myers as yet, but I’m getting this out early to avoid any power outage.

Hot blue fishing

There seems to be an old-fashioned bluefish blitz going on in NY/NJ Bight, with limit catches of bigger yelloweyes becoming common.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported very good Saturday night action, but Sunday was even better as the blues were all “gaffers” in the 8-12-pound class. Super fishing for smaller blues continued today with limits for all plus sea bass that had to be released. Jigs were best, but bait is also working well. That boat has a special trip set for Thursday when the focus will be on the little tunny and bonito which haven’t been abundant among the blues so far.

A small craft advisory expires this evening. Tuesday’s forecast is for west winds at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20.

With Hurricane Ian bearing down on southwest Florida, I don’t know how long the internet will last in Ft. Myers over the next few days.

Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant took advantage of a blowout day to drive down to Minnescott Beach, North Carolina to join a friend in catching husky red drum.

Last minute opportunities

It’s getting late, but you can beat the deadline for the IGFA Permit Invitational Auction which closes at 6 p.m. Get on the IGFA website and you might find a great deal on tackle, art, fishing trips, etc.

Due to a canyon trip cancellation, Mimi VI from Point Pleasant has room on the morning trip for fluke — and another Tuesday (also at 6:30) for stripers and blues before finishing with bottom fishing. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands reported very good jumbo porgy fishing today until the wind and current changed. Since that area won’t be fishable in a south wind, tomorrow’s trip is cancelled — but Tuesday is a go. A 3 1/2-pound fluke won the pool.

A small craft advisory is up through Monday evening. The morning forecast is for southwest at 15-20 knots.

Vinny D’Anton got a brief shot at a mullet school in the Monmouth County surf this morning a caught a legal bass on his Chug Bug. Frank Manzi came up with a 20-inch fluke.

Ocean settles — porgies biting

Though Ian is coming, Fiona didn’t bother mariners too much.

Jay Mann’s photo of yesterday’s surf at LBI wasn’t duplicated today as swells from Hurricane Fiona settled quickly. Vinny D’Anton reported it was very fishable at Spring Lake, and a 30-inch striper hit his Super Striper popper. Some mullet schools are being spotted, but so far there haven’t been any bass on them. Vinny also tried sand fleas briefly without any success.

Fluke pro Dave Lilly turned his attention to striped bass today and caught them in N.Y. Harbor on live eels — though all were too big to keep. Lilly noted that there are hardly any boats fishing even in ideal weather.

A small craft advisory is up to late Saturday even though the forecast is for only southwest at 10-15 knots by morning before going south at 15-20 in the afternoon with showers.

Capt. Ron Santee had a charter out today on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands and reported very good action with large porgies plus a few triggerfish. He’ll be running open again in the morning.

Chuck Many is catching red drum in S.C. This previously used shot popped up when I tried to run a new one.

NJ fluke fishing ends Sept. 27

New Jersey anglers only have a few days left to fish for fluke, as the season closes after Sept. 27. Those fish are moving off to spawning grounds far offshore, but there are still plenty left in the surf.

The Capt. Cal 2 is still fishing for fluke from Belmar, and they found a good pick of legal fluke in yesterday’s nice conditions. A 7.5-pounder took the pool, and there were also a few in the 5-6-pound class.

A small craft advisory is up through Saturday afternoon, but the morning forecast is for only 10-15 knots northwest which is fishable for inshore fluking even in the 4-6-foot seas predicted. Bigger swells from the hurricane offshore will make surf fishing more difficult. However, John Tiedemann reported seeing lots of bunkers in the Monmouth County surf this morning.

Bad news on Facebook this week involved the passing of luremaker Ron Muccie. The creator of Glitter Plugs died at 85 on Sept. 14 in Levittown, Pa. He was a member of the Berkeley Striper Club, and a familiar figure at fishing events.

Jim Hutchinson Sr. provided the following report for the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association:

“The cruise on the pirate ship “Black Pearl” scheduled for Friday, September 23, has been cancelled. Captain John Lewis, president of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association, announced the trip is off due to predicted high winds and cold temperatures.

The cruise was to benefit the association’s reef rebuilding project on the local inshore artificial reefs. Lewis said that since there are no available dates to reschedule the trip, it will be planned for next spring or early summer. Since the cruise was intended to benefit the reefs, Lewis suggests those interested to sponsor a reef ball as a Holiday gift. Details can be reached by calling Captain John at 609-670-5980.

In recent fishing news, Captain Gary Dugan had a successful trip out just prior to the ocean kicking up. He had a family group celebrating a 75th birthday. In addition to multiple short fluke and numerous sea bass, the group returned with two very nice fluke measuring 22 and 23-inches. Captain Gary noted that they also reeled in some beautiful black sea bass that are currently out of season and had to be released.”

Captain Dave Wittenborn reports continued good action on the “Benita J” on his offshore fishing trips. He recently had the Heys group out for an early morning trip that Captain Dave termed “steady action on a beautiful September day.”

Captain Brett Taylor of “Real Reaction Sportfishing” has been working in some trips around his job teaching. He has been catching fluke in the ocean along with some mahi that he found lurking around some pot floats. He has also had some adventures in the bay waters catching a variety of fish including blowfish, sea bass, bluefish, and keeper fluke.”

Yellowfin bite has been outstanding

I’ve been seeing many reports of super yellowfin tuna action as the only problem seems to be too many little tunny in some areas competing for the baits.

Capt. John McMurry of NYCTuna reports he’s never seen yellowfins so eager to bite — and there were some on his last trip over 100 pounds.

Capt. Ron Santee has seen good bottom fishing for big porgies and triggerfish on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands, but won’t be sailing tomorrow due to the forecast. His boat is chartered Saturday, but will be back to open trips on Sunday.

A small craft advisory is up through Friday afternoon, and the Friday forecast is for northwest winds at 20-25 knots with gusts to 30.

Great tuna bite on Voyager

Dennis Muhlenforth reports there was wild tuna action during this week’s trip of the Voyager from Point Pleasant. He said over 100 yellowfins up to 85 pounds were caught and others lost.

The Golden Eagle had another fine report from their Tuesday offshore fishing as ” some nice size tuna 70-85 pounds” were boated along with some lost and 40 to 50 mahi up to 25 pounds. Today’s bluefish trip was good with 2-pounders hitting on long drifts and many limits taken, Run-Off poppers were most effective.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee found better action with jumbo porgies on his Fishermen along with a showing of triggerfish with one angler catching three of them.

Capt. Scott Hilliard is finishing out the fluke season on his Prowler 5 through the weekend. He reported the weather as being too beautiful today, resulting in little drift. Two fluke limits were taken as there were 18 keepers on the boat.

Ken Zwirko closed out the September commercial bluefin season with this catch

A small craft advisory is up from late tonight to Friday afternoon. The morning forecast is for southwest winds at 15-20 knots before dropping to 10-15 in the afternoon. Showers are likely.

Monday’s Exotics trip on the Queen Mary also produced tuna

Though Monday’s Exotics trip of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant was primarily aimed at little tunny and bonito, Frank Huza of Aberdeen was happy to also get a shot at a 40-50-pound bluefin tuna — even though it broke off under the boat.

Frank says they ran 26 miles northeast to get into the action which produced a little tunny for him as well as the lost tuna. He noted that the most effective lure was a Nomad 40-60 gram Streaker. There were three tuna boated and others lost. Anglers with the most sophisticated tackle were most successful.

Capt. Ron Santee said the weather was beautiful and large porgies bit better today along with a few triggerfish, a bluefish and a 4-pound pool-winning fluke. At least 50 legal-size but out of season sea bass had to be released. His Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands is chartered on Saturday,

Tomorrow is looking good for getting offshore with a forecast of northwest winds at 5-10 knots. Big swells will be coming as the hurricane far offshore moves north – but shouldn’t be seen until tomorrow night and then into Saturday.

Chuck Many is back at Hilton Head, S.C. and into lots of red drum.

Jamaca skipper Howard Bogan and Vanessa Bogan Manetta with a very large chub mackerel.

Offshore fishing holding up when you can get out

Good casting, jigging and trolling reports keep coming in, but Capt. John McMurray of NYCTUNA says it’s getting harder to find the weather needed to get offshore in comfort. He’s been running through lots of little tunny on the way out to catch yellowfin tuna and dolphin such as the one below.

Capt. Ron Santee only had a few regulars show up to fish for porgies on his Fishermen at Atlantic Highlands, but went fishing anyway. Some jumbo porgies were caught along with a couple of triggerfish, but good-sized sea bass had to go back since they’re out of season.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar concluded their fluke season with Sunday’s charter that produced some limits. Dan Mancini won the pool with a 7-pounder –and ended up with the seasonal pools for the 13-pound doormat he boated last month.

Vinny D’Anton continues to pick away at school stripers in the Monmouth County surf, and was able to raise them with the Chug Bug this morning. He expects to see mullet moving when swells from the hurricane bear down on the Shore.

A small craft warning comes down at 10 p.m. The morning forecast is for northwest winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 30.