Sand eels are the prime attractor for striped bass in the surf, and we finally may be seeing some. Nick Honachefsky was casting shads into the Lavallette surf yesterday afternoon without success when he spotted a large sand eel of 5 to 6 inches on the high tide line. Then this morning, Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported getting word from surf fishermen in that area that sand eels had been spotted. That’s the forage which has fueled the surf bite from Fire Island east, where anglers are catching big bass on diamond jigs with tube tails — and was also the forage during the IBSP surf blitz of stripers several years ago. Pray for more!
Stiper fishing for boaters was generally tough today, with trollers doing by far the best. The Golden Eagle from Belmar picked a couple of stripers, a few blues and some sea bass. Miss Belmar Princess ran offshore for the jumbo blues they had on Sunday, but there was no sign of them. What little inshore bite there was occurred early — and that’s where they start tomorrow. The forecast is for NW 10-15. but more east weather is coming Friday.
The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands started with bait and had one keeper on a long drift, but that was it. A report of birds offshore turned out to be just that — birds with no fish under them. The Fishermen also got drawn out there and Capt. Ron Santee said they were just diving gannets. Those birds don’t need fish to drive bait up as they can dive deep for it. However, they are often a sign that herring have arrived.
I fished with Chuck Many on his Tyman from Gateway Marina in Highlands. Chuck did well in Monday’s rain with large stripers in the mouth of the bay, but this morning we had a hard time getting live bunkers and then couldn’t give them away — even in the Hudson and East rivers, We ended up casting to small bass in Sandy Hook Bay before boat traffic and a roaring west wind put them down.
Tomorrow’s forecast is a lot better at NW 10-15, but another east blow is expected Friday.
I found a belated report from Capt. Vinny Vetere who had a great trip on Oct. 4 when 23 large bass were caught on his Katfish from Great Kills. He may have openings before the weekend. Call 917 673-8908.