As Chuck Many proved Saturday on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands, that there are decent numbers of striped bass available in NY/NJ Metropolitan waters even in August — but great care must be taken in releasing them. Water temperatures in the Hudson River were down to 77 degrees yesterday, but have been over 80 degrees lately.
Tired stripers often turn belly up upon release and must be worked with to ensure they can swim down. We only had a problem with one small bass out of 32 releases yesterday, and Many had to release air from its belly with a needle even though it was caught in just 40 feet. All of our larger bass went down after being quickly released with a forceful head-first return. Keep an eye out to be sure the bass doesn’t pop up and have to be netted again in order to get the air out. The bass in my hands is ready to be plunged head first back into the river.
Even when the coastal migration from the larger spawning grounds in Chesapeake and Delaware bays is a disappointment, as was the case this spring, the Hudson bass can save the season. Successfully releasing those spawning-size fish is especially important.
There were mixed reports today about fluking from the Raritan Bay fleet. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reported slower fishing due to a strong current, though one limit was boated. Capt. Stan Zagleski said the current wasn’t a problem on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands, and they were able to fish with the lighter tackle for some limits. Once again, Spros and larger Gulp produced most of the keeper fluke up to a 6 1/8-pounder by Ken Peters of Springfield.
At Belmar, Miss Belmar Princess saw bunkers and small blues on the surface, but the blues weren’t hitting on slack water. They then switched to sea bass, fluke and some chub mackerel. The Golden Eagle reported catching “huge” sea bass. They have room on the first canyon tuna trips coming up on September 10 and 16.
Bob Matthews reports several doormat fluke being weighed at Fisherman’s Den. Tom Clayton of Wall boated a 12 1/2-pounder in Shark River Inlet. Raymond McCraney of Fords boated a 10 1/2-pounder offshore, and Sue Mihail of Newton caught 7-and-10-pounders from the Den’s rental skiffs. Matthews says live snappers have been producing the largest fluke — and there are plenty of them available.
The Big Mohawk had good fluking today, including a 9.13-pounder. They’ll be sailing at 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday.
Matthews also noted that small blues are starting to pop up in many areas. The Deal surf was a hot spot Saturday evening.
Bob Correll of Bay Head was taking in the sun around 3 p.m. yesterday at his local beach when small blues suddenly showed up under birds. He had to remove his teaser to reach them and catch four before the school moved on. The south wind was harder this afternoon, and there was no repeat of that action.