Just about everyone caught legal stripers today in Raritan Bay — and with both lures and live bait — while surfcasting produced mostly shorts in many areas.

I joined Chuck Many of Annandale for an afternoon trip on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands along with Rob Rommel of Highlands who had already cast netted a live swell full of bunkers. Many set up very long drifts in shallow waters and we had blow-ups on the live baits all afternoon as 30 stripers from about 12 pounds up to Many’s 33-pounder were released. We must have raised about 100 bass in order to do that as most just played with the live bunkers and never ate them. Changing to fresh very lively baits was most effective, and we had to make another run to net bunkers during the afternoon.

30-pound bassThis 30-pounder is loaded with roe that will be shed very shortly in the Hudson River. Photo by Rob Rommel

Chuck Many will be coming in a bit earlier on Wednesday to explain how he releases so many stripers during a free seminar for the Staten Island Tuna Club to be held at the Great Kills Yacht Club from 7-9 p.m.

Boaters who got out in the morning were greeted with stripers on the surface. The Atlantic Highlands party boat fleet got into its first jig fishing of the year for legal bass as swim shads and metal with tube tails worked best. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said everyone ended up with a keeper on his Sea Hunter. Capt. Ron  Santee had a similar report from the Fishermen, as they picked on bait after the jigging bite stopped — but the outgoing was no good. Erick Simbard had a 20-pound pool winner.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had more keeper stripers than had been the case while fishing both lures and bait.

There were very good surf striper reports all the way from Sandy Hook to Island Beach State Park. Most of the fish were small, but some keepers were mixed in. Nothing compared to the 58.10-pound striper weighed at Julian’s Tackle in Atlantic Highlands by John Callahan, who caught it at Sandy Hook on a bunker chunk. That was his only hit in three hours, and it took 30 minutes to bring in what might end up to be the largest surf striper of the year.


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