Sea bass were waiting this morning for N.J. anglers anxious to get another shot at what’s probably our best eating fish. The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported no problem finding sea bass, but those using diamond jigs and sand eel teasers were the ones able to fill limits with bigger fish. Jigging well off the bottom was also a best bet.
It wasn’t very nice on the ocean due to the unexpected gusty northeast wind, but the fish didn’t mind. That wind and the consequent rough surf made for tough conditions on the beach, though I thought it was actually more fishable than Sunday morning as the big offshore swell appeared to have moderated. That didn’t do me a bit of good at Spring Lake as I never raised a thing in areas where I’d caught stripers Saturday morning. Vinnie D’Anton managed a couple of small bass at Manasquan on the Chug Bug — and got two more bass during a brief try in the afternoon at Shark River. The wind is predicted to shift to the south tomorrow, and ocean conditions should improve.
At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported a few small bass are hitting plugs in the dark. Some small blues are being caught on mullet baits, and a few little tunny were reported. Betty & Nick’s noted the mullet run has slowed, but a couple of surfcasters rushed back to the shop this morning for more mullet that the bluefish were crushing.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc broke the ice with stripers on Sunday during his first trip of the fall season with Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. Mike and Matt Sheer had the hot hands as they boated two keepers (see photo below). A couple more were lost, and there were also a couple of shorts. The skipper was ready to sail again this morning until the wind started blowing harder than predicted. He advises anglers to check with him before coming down.
Mimi IV from Point Pleasant will be bottom fishing on an open basis at 7 a.m. both Thursday and on Halloween. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.