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