Blues show in ocean

Jersey Shore party boats that have been struggling to catch stripers up in Raritan Bay got some good news today when bluefish finally turned on in ocean waters.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar caught 3-to-5-pounders on jigs, and they also had a keeper striped bass — though there were more rolling on the surface.  The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant also got into blues up to 8 pounds. I got a second hand report that blues were being caught in Manaasquan Inlet this morning, but after checking the inlet many times and having seen only one blue caught during the last few weeks,  I went upriver this morning and released a 25-inch blue that was my only hit on a large pencil popper. Another angler there had released a 10-pouder just as I arrived, and then fought what looked like a 15-pounder almost to shore before the lure popped out.

There was lots of excitement aboard the Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands when Lynn Fair boated a 36-pound striper. Capt. Ron Santee said there was good action at anchor with shorts and some keepers

At Brielle, the Jamaica is leaving at 10 p.m. for a two day tilefish trip. Some spots are open on the $360 trip. Call 732 528-5014.

Capt. Ryan Bogan says sea bass fishing has been good on Jamaica II except for a spotty opening day. The sea bass are averaging 2 to 4 pounds, and there are also some ling and a few cod. Wes Shourt of Manahawkin had a sea bass limit plus four ling and a cod, while James Carter of Newark limited on bass to 3 1/2 pounds along with five ling and two cod. The Jamaica II is sailing from 7: a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until switching to half-days on June 2.

Jim Louro of Spring Lake is hoping the local surf will be clear and fishable in the morning. He fished the backwaters Saturday to catch a 25 1/2-inch striper on a 4-inch Tsunami Shad, and Frank Manzi added a 3-to-4-pound blue on the same lure — but there were no hits today,

There were no results from the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament at IBSP, but I’ll post them as soon as they become available.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported more blues showed in the surf Saturday afternoon. Two blues were weighed in Sunday morning. Kyle Kleme had a 38-incher on an SP Minnow that weighed 11.95 pounds, but Matt Miccio’s 37-incher on bunker was actually a pound heavier.

 

 

 

 

Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament at IBSP

The Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament will be contested Sunday at Island Beach State Park.  Those not pre-registered can register at 5:30a.m. in Pavilion 2, before the fishing hours of 6:30 to 1. There will be lots of prizes in many categories — especially for children. Action should also be good for those using clam or bunker for bait.  Visit NJFish and Wildlife.com/gsft.htm for details.

Manasquan River bluefish cooperated this morning for Capt. Jim Freda’s Shore Catch Charters party. He said it was mostly 3-to-4-pounders off the mouth of the canal, but he found some bigger blues hitting SP Minnows in other areas. Fly fishermen were also able to score.

Manasquan River blueBob Correll of Bay Head and I cast for blues in the river from his Boston Whaler late in the afternoon. We picked a few on swimming plugs before trying small poppers just before the evening rain started. That was a much more interesting way to catch the 3-to-4-pounders we located.

As noted in last night’s blog, the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands was one of the few party boats planning to sail into the forecast of rain and some wind. Capt. Rob Semkewyc was surprised to get enough fares to sail, and striper action was decent on one drop with shorts and some keepers up to a 19-pounder. However, the action died for the wet, but happy, anglers when the tide slacked at 12:30.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar cancelled today, but will be back out in the morning for stripers — while also prepared to switch to sea bass if necessary. It’s likely that the better forecast for Sunday will result in all party boats sailing.

 

Ocean striper fishing underway

The long-awaited ocean fishing for migrating striped bass is finally getting underway off the Jersey Shore, but the weather is putting a crimp in that fishery. Most party and charter boats cancelled today due to a forecast of northeast winds gusting to 30 mph. Yet, there wasn’t a bit of wind early in the morning. The wind did come through late in the morning, but boaters could have had a good early shot if the forecast had been on target. Though Saturday’s forecast isn’t as bad, there’s still more rain expected — and many party boats have  cancelled in advance. Be sure to check with your favorite skipper before coming down.  The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands will be shaping up tomorrow, and it’s likely that everyone will sail Sunday/.

Capt. Tom Savastano got a report that stripers were being hooked on snagged bunkers right outside Manasquan Inlet Thursday evening.  Bob Matthews reported from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar that trolling, bunkers and shad lures have been working on the ocean stripers the last few days for those putting up with the rain.  He noted that Skylarker, Parker Pete, and Striper Sniper have all had catches of 30-to-40-pound stripers. The biggest so far is 42 1/2-pounder by Steve Germann of Freehold.  Surf and shore fishermen have also caught a few decent bass. Scotty Pullen had 17-and-14-pounders — while Payton Gepp weighed an 11 1/4-pounder.

The Staten Island Tuna Club Striped Bass Tournament was postponed a week due to small craft warnings. It will be run  next Friday to Saturday with a $100 per boat entry. For information call Robert Ludwig at 201 538-5252.

Sea bass are being caught, but a lack of reports indicates that the very cold bottom temperatures may be holding that fishery back a bit.

The 27th annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament is being held Sunday at Island Beach State Park. Fishing hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. I’ll have more about that tomorrow. For details visit http://www.NJFishandWilflife.com/gsft.htm.

Sunday’s fishing conditions look good, and there should be lots of action on clams and bunker. Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park weighed eight bass Thursday; though all were between 29 and 33 inches except for a 41-inch , 22.98-pounder by on bunker by Todd Updike. 58.10 lb striper

This 58.10-pound striper caught on a bunker chunk at Sandy Hook last month by John Callahan gives surfcasters something to shoot for.

Canyon Runner’s First canyon trip was a good one

After a fine winter and spring in N.C. , the Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant opened up the northern canyon season this week with a flurry.

Captains Phil Dulanie and Charlie Vander Beck got the John De Rosa and sons party out to the edge by 2 p.m., and they soon had three rods hooked up. It was over an hour before  they were finished fighting what turned out to be a 50-pound bluefin and two 150-pounders.  They added a 35-pounder trolling before setting up for the night chumming. The constant blue shark bite they expected didn’t develop. Instead, they hooked a 40-pound bluefin before finishing up the night with a real battle as a 68-inch bluefin of close to 250 pounds fought for over an hour. The morning troll produced a bluefin in the 100-pound class before the southwest wind came up hard and they ran back to Point Pleasant.

CR May bluefins

The spring that started out cold, but fishable, has become warmer but a lot wetter. Capt. Rob Semkewyc didn’t have enough fares to sail with his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. That was too bad, because Capt. Vinnie Vetere of Katfish Charters from Great Kills said he had his best day of the year in Raritan Bay.  Big bass were on the surface, and live bunkers produced steady action with bass mostly in the upper 20s — but up to a 42-pounder. When the bait was gone, Vetere switched to trolling his Ho-Jo’s and kept catching as they ended up with about 30 releases.

Capt. Joe Massa took a neighbor out for just a few hours Wednesday morning on his My Three Sons from Morgan Marina and has able to net bunkers in the back of the bay that were turned into six stripers in the same area.

Unfortunately, there’s a forecast of northeast winds gusting to 30 mph for tomorrow.The Sea Hunter has cancelled, as has the Golden Eagle from Belmar. It’s not official yet, but the Staten Island Tuna Club Striper Tournament will probably be postponed a week.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported a good showing of blues in the surf yesterday along with bass — especially on bait in the evening.  There was a 35-inch blue on a SP Minnow that registered 11.3 pounds on the scale. Vin Nolan Sr. used the same lure to fool a 34-inch striper that weighed 12.5 pounds.

There was no repeat of the surf bluefish blitz around high tide for Jim Gates of Bay Head at his local beach, but he did get one before I arrived to turn off the bite.

Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, said cocktail blues are hitting at times in Pt. Pleasant Canal. Kettle Creek paddletails are best, but Melillo says they’re also turning on to metal.

Blues make a showing in Pt. Pleasant surf

Spring bluefishing has gotten off to a slow start, but there was a hopeful sign this afternoon when Jim Gates of Bay Head got into them in his local surf.  Gates had been on the beach early in the morning and caught a short striper. However, the blues turned on when Gates returned as the tide started ebbing. He was unhooking his 14th chopper when I arrived and cast a dark cloud over the surf. I did hook up on my second cast with a large pencil popper, but that fish came off right away — and  there was nothing else caught.

The fish I saw was a medium, but Gates said he had also released a 12-pounder.  The surf was getting rough, and the rain steady when I left. It wasn’t much, but at least we now know that it’s worthwhile to cast for blues in the ocean.  They showed just a day later than two years ago when there was a blitz of jumbos at Point Pleasant the day after Mother’s Day.  I had been on the beach before sun-up when a couple of big whales  were  cruising along only a couple of hundred feet off the shore. The dreary day kept most anglers home, and no party boat reports were posted.

Capt. Stan Zagleski said yesterday’s sea bass opening on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands started slowly as the first spot he tied was dead. After that he got into a mix of short and keeper sea bass plus two cod and out-of-season blackfish. Zagleski had been diving last week and found the bottom temperature was just 44 degrees in depths of 80 feet.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle weighed a 38-inch 18.8-pound striper that “Russ” caught on his last piece of bunker in the surf. Betty & Nick’s reported a 28 1/4-pound striper taken on bunker in Island Beach State Park, where the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament will be contested on Sunday.

The 29-pound striper below was weighed last week at The Tackle Box in Hazlet after Jim Schaublin of Stockholm landed it at Sandy Hook while fishing with clams.

TB-29-lb

 

Sea bass officially open in NJ

Everyone knew the sea bass season in New Jersey was set to open today after the Marine Fisheries Council voted for regulations pre-approved by the ASMFC last month. All that remained was for the DEP commissioner to sign off on those regs, but one angler called me this morning to say that hadn’t happened — and he didn’t know if the season was really open. I checked the NJ DEP through the internet, and couldn’t find anything about sea bass before making a call which was returned this afternoon informing me that the commissioner had signed off on the sea bass (and fluke) regs yesterday. If you can find them, it’s legal to catch 10 at a 12 1/2-inch minimum through June 22.

Though I had no boat reports, Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, reported the Big Mohawk, Ocean Explorer and Capt. Cal all had good sea bass catches. That wasn’t the case with Bud Mc Arthur of Brick who fished with Capt. Niff on Audrey Sue from Brick as they worked a wreck and rock piles inshore and offshore to catch only a few short sea bass. The surface water temperatures were from 54 to 55 degrees everywhere they went, and there wasn’t even much bergall life on bottom. Party boats were fishing well off the beach.  They finished up with some striper trolling, and only marked a little bait.

Yet, there may be some good news on the overdue ocean stripers. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported catching three bass over 20 pounds and up to a 30-pounder on jigs and crocs while losing another on a beautiful day at sea. Though not specified, that indicated the big bass were caught in the ocean rather than Raritan Bay where the fleet has had to fish for any shot at a striper.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said fishing in the bay was about the same as yesterday on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands with good short action and a few keepers.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere netted a load of bunkers and had good action right away before it dropped off to a pick on his Katfish from Great Kills. He then tried other areas on his way back to Raritan Bay to no avail.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle weighed the first striper caught by 9-year-old Alex Taleot — a 29-inch, 8.4-pounder on clam in the surf. There was also an 11-pound blue on bunker from a dock, and small bass in the surf on bait. A keeper bass was reported to have been released on a bucktail.  Betty & Nick’s reported that a young angler from Toms River  North H.S. caught small bass in the surf plus a black drum.

I spent some time fishing locally and protecting my lures from any fish that might have been in Manasquan River, the Bay Head surf and Point Pleasant Canal.

James striper

James  Prillo caught his first striper during his first boat ride last week — with Capt. Frank  Masseria on Vitamin Sea from Keyport

 

 

 

 

N.J. sea bass opens Tuesday

The New Jersey sea bass season opens Tuesday, giving bottom fishing party boats a target for the first time since the tautog season closed at the end of April.  Some will be leaving earlier or running extended trips. For instance, the Jamaica from Brielle has Sea Bass Marathon trips from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. though Thursday by reservation — 732-528-5014.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle will continue to seek stripers — but will switch during the day to sea bass if the stripers don’t cooperate. The Big Mohawk is sailing for sea bass at 6 a.m.. Call 732 974-9606 to determine if they have any spots open.

Capt. Stan Zagleski has switched his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands to sea bass daily at 7 a.m. until fluke opens on May 25.

Striper fishing was better today in Raritan Bay, as shorts provided action while some keepers were added. Capt. Ron Santee said anglers on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had to wait for the outgoing tide before the bass turned on to clams. A 16-pounder took the pool.

The Tackle Box in Hazlet weighed 29-pound striper for Jim Schaublin of Stockholm who said he had a hot bite on clams at Sandy Hook.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported a good Sunday with mostly small bass in the surf on bait while blues are building up in the bay. Miguel Serrano cast an SP Minnow from a local dock to catch a 31.5-inch, 8.85-pound chopper.  Surf stripers of 15.5 pounds on clam and 12.8 pounds on bunker were also weighed yesterday.

Jeff Merrill of South Plainfield took his son Steve plus Bob Lake of Brick put on his Boyz Toy in Manasquan River this morning as they cast plugs and metal to scratch out three blues around Treasure Island in about three hours. Merrill said other boaters were also picking, but he didn’t see anything caught by shore casters in the still cool 55 degree waters from the end of the ebb to the start of the flood.

There was a pick of cocktail blues in Point Pleasant Canal this morning on small lures. I cast briefly to release one on a 4-inch Tsunami Shad which it engulfed, requiring me to put a finger in over the gills in order to get to the bend of the hook and back it out.

 

 

A few larger stripers in the surf

There have been a few large bass caught recently in the Jersey Shore surf, though the vast majority are still very small. At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle weighed a 45-inch, 32.20-pounder that Eric Emery hooked on a bucktail cast into the Island Beach State Park surf on Friday. Betty & Nick’s reported a spawned-out 31.5-pounder that Rich Fetter caught on clam Saturday morning in the park.  Grompy’s also also had a report of a released bass pushing 30 pounds on a bunker head Saturday morning in the park — and that angler also released another good-sized bass. Bait has been most effective lately, and quite a few fluke are also being released well before the May 25 opener.

The only good boat report today came from Capt. Vinnie Vetere on Katfish Charters out of Great Kills. Actually, it looked as if his trolled Ho-Jo’s were going to fail him and that party was going to get a free trip with no striper caught. Then, at 2 p.m., the bass turned on for an hour as 10 up to a 42-pounder (see below) were caught.

Vinne 42-lb bass

There’s still no word of the overdue migratory run along the Shore up from the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay spawning grounds. Capt. Jim Freda of Shore Catch at Point Pleasant said the blues in Manasquan River shut off yesterday at 10 a.m., so he ran outside to his usual trolling area for big bass, and was pleased to find the water temperature up to a striper-friendly 58 degrees. Yet, he never had a hit trolling Mo-Jo’s and noted that there were few signs of bunker out there.

Bob Mathews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina also hasn’t heard of any big bass in the ocean, but he says there are small ones in the surf. The run of jumbo blues into Shark River hasn’t developed, but lots of fluke are being released from the docks.

Joe Melillo and his son Joe from Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant worked Point Pleasant Canal and Manasquan River from shore without a touch early this morning. I tried Shark River, but couldn’t duplicate the small blue I plugged there yesterday. Jim Louro fished his local surf at Spring Lake to catch a very small bass on a teaser.

The sea bass season opens Tuesday, and the Big Jamaica from Brielle is adding a Thursday Sea Bass Marathon from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. to the others scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. The limited trips cost $78, and a reservation is required by calling 732 528-5016 or visiting http://www.bigjamaica.com.

The Staten Island Tuna Club has scheduled a Striped Bass Tournament for May 18, 19 and 20. The entry fee is $100 per boat for the biggest fish worth $9,000 or 50 percent of the prize money.  Call Walter Fisher at 917 375-7607.

Following is a release from the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association:

The 2018 Season’s Organizational Meeting for the BHCFA Junior Mate Training Program will be held at 7 p.m., 6/28 in the New Jersey Maritime Museum, 528 Dock Road, Beach Haven N.J  Parking is available on the east side (back) of the Museum or on the street where marked.  Call Capt. John Lewis @ 609-670-5980 or Capt. Jimmy Zavacky @ 609-915-2498 for details about the BHCFA Junior Mate Training Program. Learn to be a better fisherman! Learn hands-on techniques! Taught by the leading charter boat professionals. Learn to be a better boater and fisherman including knot tying, navigation, boat handling, tackle and boat maintenance, weather, safety, first aid, and all of the other skills that will make you more valuable on the water.

Learn all of the other skills that increase your value as a crew member on charter and private fishing boats. This program includes “hands on” training. The best way to learn is by doing so under the supervision of experts.Become proficient in all of the skills and meet all of the qualifications and you can be offered a paid mate’s position in the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association charter fleet. This is the best summer job you can imagine!

  • Learn personal responsibility and how to work with others as a team.
  • Your membership in the BHCFA Junior Mate program lets you stand apart from the crowd.

 2018 BHCFA Jr. Mate Training Schedule

Every Thursday evening from late June into August.

Note that the New Jersey Boater Safety class is two nights,

 Wednesday 7/25/18 and  Thursday 7/26/18

From 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The Public Is Invited To Pre-Register And Participate in the NJ Boater Safety Course!

JUNIOR MATE TRAINING PROGRAM INFORMATION

Program Cost – $25 plus the cost of U.S. Coast Guard approved random drug test program including the “pre-employment” test.

 

All Junior Mates MUST be enrolled in the “ American Professional Captains Association” random drug test program and have had their “pre-employment” tests prior to being allowed on any BHCFA Member Captain’s boat with paying passengers aboard. 

We recommend that any potential Junior Mate join the APCA Drug Test Program prior to their first Thursday evening training meeting of the season since initial processing of the “pre-employment” test takes time.

You must call them to register (800-468-7447) and tell them you are a Junior Mate with the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association to qualify for the discounted fee.

Do not register on the APCA website or you will have to pay full price. Call APCA using their toll-free number [800-468-7447] and register by phone. Tell APCA that you are applying as a Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Junior Mate and that the agreed fee is $25. The normal fee is $60 so make sure you tell them about their special price for our Junior Mates. APCA will instruct you as to what drug test center to go to by sending you a packet of instructions to your home.

Junior Mate applicants should reach their 13th birthday or older by this coming August 1. Interested applicants who will not be 13 by August 1, 2018 should look forward to joining the program in the year when they will turn 13 by August 1.

This is a serious charter boat crew-training program. We expect all Junior Mates who enrol to participate and learn more about the sport they love … fishing. It is not a recreational program per se even though Junior Mates normally have a lot of fun working and learning with BHCFA Captains and other BHCFA Junior Mates.

Only qualified candidates will be invited to work as mates on BHCFA Member Boats and earn their Charter Boat Mate Certification.

 

Charter Boat Mate Certification normally takes three seasons of training.

Junior Mates are assigned to BHCFA Member Captains on a random basis.

BHCFA Captains invest their time and resources to teach Junior Mates the trade craft of charter fishing.

Junior Mates only receive pay when their Captain decides the Junior Mate has earned pay. The dedication of time and effort is what the Junior Mate invests to learn the trade.

No Junior Mate can expect pay during any on-the-job-training even with paying passengers on an a BHCFA member boat until their  Captain tells them they are qualified to run a charter trip as First Mate on their own and actually run trips as First Mate.

Paying passengers may give a tip to a Junior Mate as long as such a tip does not reduce the tip given to the First Mate.

 

Junior Mates should understand that a charter fishing trip is a complex undertaking and that charter boats and the equipment and tackle on board is complicated. Junior Mates are expected to participate in pre-trip setup and after-trip clean up and tackle and boat maintenance as part of their training.

Learning everything there is to know about the details of running a charter fishing trip are important parts of a Junior Mate’s training. If a Junior Mate thinks of the “hands on” activities as “work,” they are missing the point. Yes, some of the activities get you hot, sweaty and dirty but you will have gained priceless knowledge so you use what you learned the next time the subject comes up.

 

Parents are welcome to attend the Thursday night Training Meetings.

THIS SCHEDULE AND CURRICULUM ARE TENTATIVE and are subject to change.

PLEASE WATCH THE JUNIOR MATE WEB PAGE ON www.BHCFA.net FOR CHANGES!

We strongly recommend that all Junior Mate Candidates start learning their knots using the website listed below even before the Training Program begins.

The knot instructions can be found at www.animatedknots.com.

JuniorMates have to learn their knots and rigging and that includes doing the assigned Knot practice for homework.

Junior Mates renewing APCA Drug Test participation should call APCA to do so since the billed renewal price is $60 but BHCFA Junior Mates only pay $25 if you call to remind APCA of your special rate and renew over the phone.

                         

Jr Mate schedule, 2018

Updated 4/16.

All classes are on Thursday evening starting at 7:00 PM unless otherwise noted.

NJ boater training is two nights Wednesday 7/24 and Thursday 7/25 starting at 6:00PM

 

Week 1-    6/28/18   NJ Maritime museum.

Sign up.

Experienced mates and captains to test and  demonstrate knots to new mates during sign up.

A description of the program and a report of fisheries status.

 

Week 2- 7/5  Morrison’s.

Fish cleaning and bait prep and  boat maintenance.

 

Week 3- 7/12 Maritime Museum

Fire safety training and extinguisher training.

Captain Craig ( BIG DOG) Burrows, Paramus Fire Dept.

 

Week 4- 7/19   Maritime Museum

Don from canyon reels to talk about reel maintenance etc.

 

Week 5- Wednesday 7/24 and Thursday 7/25 NJ Maritime Museum

NJ boater safety class starting at 6:00 PM

Thursday 7/25 Basic rules of the road for mates with NJ safety card. Knots

 

Week 6-  8/2   Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna club starting at 6:00 PM

First aid

Week 7-  8/9   TBD

 

Week 8- 8/16  NJ Maritime Museum

Last class. Knot test discussion of the program and charterarbiter%2Fr%2FRQ7NiRXMcYA.js%3Fversion%3D42%23cb%3Dfa874b345be2c%26domain%3Dwww.bhcfa.net%26origin%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.bhcfa.net%252Ff11de8095f65fdc%26rel

Black drum hitting at Cape May

Rich Swisstack posted on Facebook that his party boated four black drum up to just over 50 pounds on clams while fishing last night with Capt. Bob Cope out of Cape May.

Striper fishing in Raritan Bay remained slow, but somewhat improved with more short action today.  Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter out of Atlantic Highlands also reported two keepers. He will be fishing on Mother’s Day.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar didn’t catch any stripers, but two large ones were lost — and they claimed their bunker baits were chewed by bluefish. That’s the first I’ve heard of blues from the party boats, but the Keansburg Fishing Pier had a photo on Facebook of five big blues caught there yesterday on bunker chunks.

Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said he had no reports today due to the rain, but he and Joe, Jr. fished Point Pleasant Canal last night to no avail because of picking up weed on every cast.

I braved the early rain to cast briefly in Shark River and released a bluefish of about 3 pounds on a large pencil popper — though there were no other swirls. Jim Louro of Spring Lake went to Shark River later and duplicated the three small stripers he caught Friday.

Capt. Jim Freda has been casting to some jumbo blues in Manasquan River, and even got some this morning for his party on Shore Catch from Point Pleasant — such as the one pictured.

Freda's blue

 

 

Trollers have the upper hand with Raritan Bay stripers

It was another tough day with striped bass in Raritan Bay for party boats, but trollers did much better. Indeed, Capt. Paul Regula of Bounty Hunter from Point Pleasant said he had his best trip of the season as 34 bass from 30 to 41 inches were trolled on Mo-Jo’s.

Capt. Vinny Vetere has been doing very well mixing up trolling his Ho-Jo’s from Katfish out of Great Kills plus live-baiting bunker. However, stripers were scattered in the back of the bay today and wouldn’t hit live bunkers. Trolling  produced a pick of bass up to about 25 pounds, but with only one doubleheader.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee said the fishing has been “beyond tough.” Even bunker chunks haven’t been working on his Fishermen. Normally striper fishermen would be cursing at bluefish eating striper baits, but they’d be welcomed now. Santee hasn’t seen one in the bay or ocean though they are two weeks late.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc failed to find a keeper bass yesterday for the first time this season on his Sea Hunter, but did get one today. On the first drop there was a pick of shorts, but it died out with the tide — and they never got the current back.

 

Maja striper

Tony Arcabascio, manufacturer of Tony Maja bunker spoons and other tackle for big stripers. caught his first bass of the year behind his home in Bayville. Business has been so good that he hasn’t been able to get out for the big stripers.  Oh well, that bass will be big sometime in the future.

At Seaside Park, there was some good news from Grumpy’s Tackle of one angler catching blues from 5 to 10 pounds on bunker chunks locally Thursday night. Bait produced most of the bass and some blues caught in the surf yesterday.

Jim Louro of Spring Lake had intended to fish his local surf this morning, but I told him I had met an angler who had recorded the water temperature there as 43 degrees after yesterday afternoon’s hard south wind. Switching to Shark River, he caught 3 cocktail blues and 3 stripers up to 19 inches.