The huge stripers that have been giving anglers a hard time off the Jersey Shore got a day of rest today as the south wind appears to have kept almost all boaters in. I checked the pocket at Manasquan Inlet this morning and didn’t see any signs of fish though two small boats were spotted going out into a rough ocean.
I missed a good bite of small stripers in Point Pleasant Canal while doing that and just got there in time to release two. Castaways Tackle regular John released 11, and Joe Gale had caught nine. Since the rain held off this evening, I went back to the canal at dusk and ran into bass breaking on peanut bunkers and even some large bunkers. Only the usuual 20-to-24-inch bass hit my Z Man 6-inch white Swimmereez, but I ended up with 10 releases.
The forecast for Saturday includes strong west winds which will be alright for seaworthy boats that stay close to shore. The Jamaica from Brielle has cancelled its tuna trip due to the weather, and will instead sail at 7:30 a.m. for the big stripers.
Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, said bass up to 48 pounds have been caught on the party boats the last few days, and a 51-pounder was weighed at the northern store in Atlantic Highlands. He heard of only one big bass from shore — a 48-pounder on a pencil popper at Spring Lake. He also noted good blackfishing in Shark River Inlet and big winter flounder off the Belmar docks.
The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands didn’t fish today, but only ended up Thursday with five bass boated plus a couple lost after having had two better days earlier in the week. There were some birds working on the way home, but the only bass jigged were from 18 to 23 inches. Photo is of Sea Hunter bass on Tuesday.