I’ve been trying to do some catch and release surf fishing the last couple of days, but I haven’t gotten the “catch” part figured out yet. After trying Sea Girt, Shark River and Spring Lake, I finally came across something to release without catching it when I spotted a turtle above the surf line at Spring Lake. It wasn’t a marine turtle, and I assumed it was dead until I nudged it with my boot. Surprisingly, it stuck its head out and tried to move toward the water with its claws. Even though I gave it some help, the waves tossed the turtle on its back. Vinny D’Anton, a retired science teacher, was casting nearby. He thought it was a snapping turtle that might have gotten washed out of Shark River along with lots of wood and other trash that was cast up on the beach today. I was amazed that a freshwater turtle could be surviving in saltwater, but it appeared as lively as turtles usually are — so Vinny released it on the calm side of a jetty. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch any finny critters to release.
The Sea Hunter didn’t get out from Atlantic Highlands today, and tomorrow will be their last morning striper trip before switching to fluke on Saturday. Fluking worked out well for the Fishermen from that port today as Capt. Ron Santee reported their largest so far. Mike Nicholas boated a 27 1/2-incher which weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces. That beat out a 6 5/16-pounder for the pool, and there were also a couple of five-pounders. One fare caught over 20 fluke to put two in his cooler.
Bob Correll of Bay Head fished with a corporate group yesterday afternoon on Two Rivers Charters out of Highlands. Capt. Fletcher Chayes said there had been a big bass bite morning and evening off the Highlands Bridge, but he noted that it hadn’t happened when he was down there that morning. Therefore, they fished in the bay with live bunkers where one large bass was boated. Correll had a powerful fish tearing line off his reel, but the circle hook pulled.
One that didn’t get away this week was Paul Haertel’s 54.8-pound personal record that was noted in yesterday’s blog.
Capt. Vinnie Vetere said it was picky striper fishing today in the Hudson River from his Katfish out of Great Kills. He marked bait, but few stripers, and the bass didn’t want live bunkers. His dependable Ho-Jos did the job as usual and trolling filled the box.
At Belmar, the Golden Eagle once again got into the small blues north of the inlet and lots up to 2 1/2 pounds were boated. That boat has room on a Friday afternoon striper trip at 3:30. Reservations are required by calling 732 681-6144. The Ocean Explorer reported another great day of sea bass fishing with limits for most.
At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle weighed a 24.65-pound striper caught in the surf on clams by John Grodzicki. Betty & Nick’s said there was a hot Wednesday evening bite on bunker by bass and blues while the usually reliable clam was ignored.
The Jamaica from Brielle is fishing daily at 7:30 a.m. for stripers and blues, but also gearing up for a tilefish trip departing at 10 p.m. Sunday. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.
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