Today was a good one for sleeping in. Rain and gusty east winds probably kept almost everyone in. There was a nice period in the afternoon when the wind switched to the west and Mark Roy watched Raritan Bay go flat. So he took his Release Me from Raritan Marina out for a ride to the mouth of the bay where it was still rough and there was no bird life.
Capt. Ron Santee reported better shots of small stripers during Monday’s trip of the Fishermen from that port as sand eels have arrived. A plain diamond jig worked best, and there were a couple of keepers several slot fish mixed in. Live eels were tried for bigger bass, but they didn’t produce. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter at that port noted that the boat traffic on Veterans Day was horrible. We’re still waiting for the great surface action in the mouth of the bay that we enjoyed last year.
I took advantage of the switchover from rain and east winds to the start of the cold NW to fish the afternoon slack in Point Pleasant Camal. I only had dead sandworms to offer the blackfish, but quickly caught three up to a 13 1/2-incher. I was encouraged that bites continued into the outgoing tide bringing very cold waters from Barnagat Bay.
There was plenty of company on the ocean yesterday when I fished with Chuck Many on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands along with Rob Bowdan and Dave Glassberg. We rarely saw a bunker flip. but had to snag them on readings. One inshore area produced a decent pick of large stripers by using the snag & drop technique. I stuck to swimming a live bunker with a circle hook, but only spiny dogfish were hitting that way while the others were catching with the snag & drop.
Many moved off to deeper waters when the bunkers moved out.of that area/ We saw some isolated breaks in 60 feet just inshore of the three-mile line, and ended up doing well with live bunkers out there while I threw a big Tactical Angers Bomb popper from the bow and hooked up twice with stripers that got off before releasing a 15-pounder. I also raised two others though it seemed unlikely casting blind in 60 feet. We ended up with 19 releases of large stripers (averaging like the one I’m holding below) up to a 32-pounder after jigging six small bass on the way out.
Capt. Chris Di Stefano was part of the party yesterday on Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club as they trolled about 15 bass from Sandy Hook to Mantoloking that were all under 43 inches. All the action was on bunker spoons as the heavy mo-jos didn’t work that time. They also spotted the breaks offshore, and tried casting without success. Chris knew that a Coast Guard vessel was out checking boats near the three mile line.
The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant postponed their Striper Marathon trip to Wednesday at 6:30 a.m.
Though surfcasting was generally tough before today, the switch to NW winds should knock down the swells and make it practical to try for the long overdue surf bass. Boaters may be able to work with that wind as long as they stay fairly close to shore.
Joe Melilllo. at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, weighed in a 48-pound striper that Gavin Petillo of that town caught in the ovean on a live bunker a few days ago.