Anglers don’t necessarily need a boat in order to enjoy New Jersey’s mid-summer variety. That was certainly the case for me this morning as I started casting from shore into Shark River, and then moved to the beach in Belmar,
Though there was little current in the river at first light, I managed to release three small stripers on a silver shad Z Man SwimmerZ. Then I tried casting a Chug Bug into an area where I hadn’t raised anything in a month, and started getting some surface action culminating in a blast by a 20-inch bluefish. Unfortunately, that was it for that spot, and I decided to give the surf a shot.
It was rough, but very fishable in an increasing SW wind. Nothing came up on the popper, but a bather told me she’d seen fins in the water. I switched to a Tsunami Shad, and it only took three casts before a cownose ray was headed offshore with my lure. After a pitched battle for 10 minutes or so, I had the ray at the drop-off where it was able to prevent me from pulling it onto the sand until a larger wave provided the opportunity to slide it in those last few feet. As a youngster volunteered to hold my rod, I was able to dislodge the lure and get the ray of about 40 pounds back in the water. Releasing heavy rays isn’t that easy once they’re well above the wash as there’s no obvious gripping area. Yet, I’ve found that by potting a finger in each of the large eye sockets and pressing upwards against the solid head it’s easy to lift rays for release into deep enough surf.
Since I still had a jacket on from fishing at dawn, I worked up a sweat and decided that one ray was enough on a warm morning. I probably should have switched to fluke and added another species.
Stripers, a blue and a cownose ray all within a couple of hours and a few miles. Nice action for the shore-bound in a heavily-populated area during the dog days of summer.
Capt. Chris DiStefano reported that there was a city at sea Saturday night in Hudson Canyon, and most of the boats there loaded up on yellowfin tuna chunking at night. That should have set up a great trip without the mob scene for Sunday night on Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club. Instead. there was hardly any action in the fleet. They had to troll most of the next day to jump off a small white marlin and troll three yellowfins in order to break the ice — though it looked as if the bite was developing when they headed in at 4 p.m. Di Stefano heard from other skippers that one boat had a mako of about 700 to 800 pounds hanging alongside Sunday night.
Adam La Rosa reports the Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant had a great weekend. The Viking was into yellowfins during the Friday to Saturday overnighter for an open boat party, while the Kevin McDermott party was fishing on the Ritchie Howell. Those boats had over 40 yellowfins, with more than half of them on the chunk.
Fishing was slower the next few trips, but the bigeye trolling bite continued. Capt. Phil Dulanie found three bigeyes for the Tom Cirsicks party. An open boat trip produced an 68-inch bluefin as well as a blue marlin. Most of the bigeyes have been hitting Canyon Runner Green Machine spreader bars.
The weather reports must have scared off many anglers as there were few reports today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar noted that the ocean was a bit nasty today, but that didn’t bother the sea bass at all as they even hit diamond jigs and Sabicki rigs. Some ling and keeper fluke were also caught.
Capt. Vinny Vetere got into lots of big stripers up to the forties this week trolling his Ho-Jo lures from Katfish out of Great Kills. He may be running open on Thursday.