Best surf bass day of year

Jerry Lasko reported the best volume surf day of the year as stripers responded to 4-5-foot southeast seas at 15 knots with clean water and a day-long bite. It was especially good at dawn before slowing until the tide started dropping and provided the white water on bars that bass desire. Maren Toleno had her third best day ever with 86 bass released, and Jerry managed 28.

Capt. Stan Zagleski got out blackfishing with his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands, but found the shallow waters weren’t productive in the southeast swell. He moved to deeper waters that produced a pick of mixed-size tog.  That boat sails daily at 7 a.m. weather permitting.

The 13.4-pound trophy tog I mentioned last night was actually boated on Elaine B. II on Nov. 30 — not last Saturday.

A small craft warning went up at 4 p.m.through Saturday afternoon. That will change to a gale watch from Saturday evening to Sunday. Southeast winds of 10-15 knots with 6-9-foot seas switch to southwest in the afternoon. Rain and fog are predicted in the morning.



Tough north wind, but surf striper bite continues — 13.4-lb tog on Elaine B

Jerry Lasko reports that the Ocean County surf striper fishing was very good at dawn and dusk despite a tough north wind. It was slow during mid-day, but he ended up with 19 and Maren Toleno had 24 releases of the small bass.

Friday’s forecast is for southeast winds at just 10 knots, with a chance of rain in the afternoon.

The Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands likes the Friday forecast, and will be sailing for blackfish at 7 a.m.  Capt. Stan Zagleski was still fishing in shallow waters on Saturday when Jim Anderson of Lake Hopatcong boated a 13.4-pound trophy tog.

The Jamaica from Brielle reports it doesn’t look good for the Saturday night offshore sea bass wreck trip, so they’ve added another for 11 p.m. Sunday. Though the Saturday trip hasn’t been canceled as yet, those booked for it can switch to the new date if they wish. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations. Pair of Jamaica sea bass


Surf stripers still hitting

Though there was still a swell running, the Island Beach State Park stripers responded to Tsunami Sand Eels all day. Jerry Lasko said they hit on both tides and only turned off at dead low.   He released 20 bass, and Maren Toleno did even better as usual with 43.

There’s a small craft warning up this evening, but the wind drops to north at 10-15 knots in the morning with gusts to 20. It switches to 10-15 northeast in the afternoon.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar has a reservation blackfish trip tomorrow at 6 a.m. followed by an open tog sailing Friday at 7 a.m.

The Jamaica from Brielle has room on tomorrow’s 11 p.m. sailing to the far offshore wrecks for jumbo sea bass. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Alexandria Rothman cast a Deadly Dick to catch this colorful pargo at Zihuantenejo, Mexico while fishing with her father recently. Pargo is the Spanish name for the snapper family, which contains many species including the cubera I’m holding at the head of my blog. I’ve caught many of the pargo illustrated during trips to Panama, where they’re called rock snappers. Despite their relatively small mouth, I’ve caught them even on the big poppers cast for cuberas and roosterfish.



The Fat Lady sang for Katfish Charters

Capt. Vinny Vetere gave the Hudson River one last try last weekend with his Katfish from Great Kills. Though bunkers were available for live bait in the Hudson River, there was no sign of stripers and he took the boat out of the water as he doesn’t fish for the small bass. Ironically, the last bass over 15 pounds caught on Katfish was the bass-of-the-year 67-pounder trolled on Nov. 14.

Keegan Rothman (16) seems to catch big fish wherever his father takes him.  That includes this large roosterfish hooked recently at Zihautenejo, Mexico.

Keegan rooster

Offshore jumbo sea bass fishing was off on Saturday due to a strong current, but bounced back Sunday on the Jamaica from Brielle when limits were common along with some porgies and pollock plus lots of bluefish. Nery Cardona of Upper Darby, Pa. was a pool winner with a 7-pound sea bass.  Him Yee from Flushing, N.Y. had a 13-pound pollock. The Jamaica sails at 11 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Small craft warnings are up through late tonight for northwest gusts to 20 knots. That drops to north 5-10 knots in the morning  before going to west 10-15 in the afternoon with gusts to 20. Snow and rain are predicted in the morning, with a chance of snow in the afternoon. The Big Mohawk from Belmar has canceled tomorrow’s trip, but plans to fish for blackfish the next day.

Big bonito a surprise on Golden Eagle sea bass trip

The Golden Eagle from Belmar completed their season with a Saturday to Sunday trip to far offshore sea bass wrecks that worked out well. There was a boat limit of jumbos up to a 7-pounder that won the pool plus lots of porgies some ling, and many bluefish before dawn. Most surprising was an abundance of very large bonito with up to 40 caught by anglers fishing for them.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc was shocked to find the striped bass that had been so abundant through Saturday were gone Sunday  when he made what turned out to be his last trip of the season with the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. There was no surface action, and working on readings produced only one slot and a dozen shorts.

It wasn’t like that the day before much further down the beach where Capt.  Jim Freda got into a fly rod paradise with his Shore Catch from Manasquan as he followed schools of small stripers from Lavallette steadily to the north. His son Matthew (see below) became a fly rod pro with a St. Croix Legend outfit.


Blog reader Jim Giles was into that fishing from south of Manasquan Inlet with his brother  and Chad Wieder as over 140 bass were released. Jim used a 6-inch Sluggo on a 1-ounce jig head.

Matthew Freda bass


Jerry Lasko said surfcasting was challenging today, but still productive in the morning as the waters were green. Returning at 2 p.m. they found the water had become very dirty and unfishable at Point Pleasant. Maren Toleno had released 11 bass up to a 25-incher early, and Jerry added three.

A gale warning is up tonight for southwest winds up to 35 knots. That drops to southwest at 15-20 knots in the morning, and to west at 10-15 in the afternoon along with rain.

Hot surf bite at dusk

Jerry Lasko said surfcasting for school stripers was an on-and-off pick all day in northern Ocean County, but the bass turned on just before dusk. Maren Toleno ended up with 41 releases, while Jerry had 31, Doug Fredericks 26, Will Fredericks 32, and John Gregor 15.

Small craft warnings go up late tonight for southwest gusts to 25 knots with likely rain. Monday starts with south winds at 15-20 knots that increase with gusts to 35 plus rain as a gale warning goes up.

Golden Eagle finishes striper trips with another fine catch

The Golden Eagle from Belmar concluded its striper season on a high note with a boat limit of slots, some keepers and lots of shorts. They also reported loads of birds in the ocean.

Mark Roy fished further to the north with his Release Me from Raritan Marina and didn’t see any birds up there. He said there were some marks, but nothing hitting.

Jerry Lasko said even Maren Toleno had to work hard for school stripers in the northern Ocean County surf this morning as the bass wouldn’t come in over the bar. Yet, Maren still recorded 16 releases. Jerry got back to fishing after having to rest following a medical procedure, and managed a couple of bass.

Vinny D’Anton fished the Belmar surf this morning and scratched out four bass. He returned in the afternoon to catch another while Frank Manzi hooked a couple up to 23 inches.

The Paramount from Brielle has room on a 9:30 trip tonight to the far offshore wrecks for jumbo sea bass. Call 732 528-2117 for reservations.

The marine forecast is for southeast winds at only 5-10 knots before going south in the afternoon at 10-15 with gusts to 20 knots.

Stripers still on the feed

If you enjoy striper action even if keepers are missing, then you’ve got your choice of hot December fishing from both surf and boats.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had another day of great action with loads of shorts, some keepers and a slot bass for everyone. Unfortunately, tomorrow will be their last striper trip of the season.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands didn’t find any birds when they went out this morning, but picked away on readings before the ocean suddenly erupted with feeding bass and everyone enjoyed great action. There were no keepers, but large slots up to a 27-incher (photo below) provided dinner for all. Capt. Rob Semkewyc won’t be sailing Saturday, but will try to get Sunday in.

A gale warning is up until midnight for west winds gusting to 35 knots, but the morning forecast is only northwest at 10-15 knots before south gusts to 20 in the afternoon.

Maren Toleno fished the Ocean County surf this morning to catch 13 school stripers from 6:15 to 8 a.m. Vinny D’Anton said it started slowly at Belmar, but picked up as the morning went on. He ended up with 14 schoolies that were the usual end of the year small bass except for a 23-incher.

Bob Correll caught one bass at Bay Head and saw a few others released.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar that there are lots of small stripers in the surf, while dock fishermen continue to take their two-winter flounder limits — and party boats are doing very well with blackfish.


Sea Hunter slots

Weather looking good for striper & tog anglers

Friday’s boating weather looks good, and the weekend should also be mostly fishable. For party boat striper anglers, this could be the end of the line.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar is sailing right through Sunday — which will be its last striper trip. The Big Mohawk from that port is sailing open for blackfish at 7 a.m. Friday.

Jerry Lasko said surfcasting wasn’t as good as the day before because it was too nice. The surf was flat and there was no white water under the sun. Yet, Maren Toleno still managed seven school stripers.

post storm bass


Tog-Nick wa

Small craft warnings come down in the morning with west winds of 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20. However, that shifts to southwest 15-20 in the afternoon with gusts to 30.

Capt. Hans Kaspersetz said he enjoyed fine blackfishing yesterday with Capt. Mark De Blasio on Waterproof.

Nick Honachefsky (above) of Saltwater Underground had a 10.25-pound tog to top his catch that day while fishing with Capt. Matty and using Magictail bucktails.


Excellent striper fishing, but small craft warnings up tomorrow

There was a very good striper bite reported today from both Atlantic Highlands and Belmar, but with west gusts to 30 knots and a small craft advisory up, both the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands and the Golden Eagle out of Belmar have postponed their trips until Friday.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter said it was the best day of the season as lots of school bass were caught and everyone went home with a slot striper. The Golden Eagle report from the ocean was similar as all aboard had a slot among the many bass caught.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar had good blackfishing with a pool winner of about 6 1/2 pounds. Whitelegger crabs worked best. They will be sailing on their reservation tog trip tomorrow since the west blow won’t bother them relatively close to shore.

Maren Toleno found surf conditions to be just fine even if the waters were a bit dingy. She caught 27 school bass at Brick in the morning, and added 9 more at dusk. All were on the Tsunami Sand Eel and a teaser.

Paul Haertel of the JCAA set up a fundraising page on Facebook, and quickly raised $500 on giving day with more coming in as the effort to fund that group’s conservation activities continues.