Sometimes it’s best not to assume too much. After seeing yesterday’s big swell and dirty water that created a practically unfishable surf at Point Pleasant Beach, I was ready to sleep in this morning figuring the predicted strong SE wind would make it even worse. Fortunately, my nephew Bob Correll called to say he had seen birds dipping in Bay Head when he walked his dogs — and that the surf was fishable.

I decided to look at Point Pleasant first, and saw the same thing. To my amazement, the rough surf was all green water and looking perfect. By the time I parked and got into warders the birds were gone, but about 10 anglers had appeared along the length of the beach. This is the time of year when that company is welcomed as all those lines in the water may reveal the presence of unseen fish. Everyone was catching school stripers, and I did the same as soon as I switched to a Run-Off silver sand eel jig customized by Joe Melillo of Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant with the white hair on the hook colored red. Decent-sized schoolies from 18 to 23 inches were hooked up almost every cast toward the end of the cast. Indeed, only one hit was missed and several bass were hooked before I had even turned the handle. Only one bass was hooked close in, and just three of the 12 I released before the beach went dead were on the Castaways teaser rather than the metal. I did see one bass released that looked to be about 30 inches. Everyone took a pounding in the heavy wash that made landing and releasing fish difficult, but there were no complaints.

It was a good thing I stopped at Point Pleasant because when Bob went back to Bay Head with his tackle there were no fish where the birds had been working minutes earlier.

I would have liked to return to the surf this afternoon, but by that time the wind was howling and rain beating on the house — and I decided to hold with my dozen bass for the day.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc hadn’t cancelled his trip with the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands last night, and some anglers drove distances to give it a try. Therefore he sailed into snotty seas which were still fishable in the morning. The same spot that had payed off Sunday produced school stripers again, but nothing to take home. Rob said he was the only “nut” out there, but they had some action and retuned by 12:30 before the tide turned and it would have become much worse.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant didn’t sail, and noted that though Sunday’s weather was fine there was little striper action on jigs as had been the case Saturday. They plan to sail on Wednesday.

Gale warnings have been posted through Tuesday afternoon for gusts to 40 knots, but it’s supposed to be west 25-30 knots with gusts to 45 in the morning. By Wednesday it’s predicted to be west 20-25 with gusts to 35 — while a move to NW on Thursday drops the wind to 15-20. Friday looks great with 5-10 west.

Keegan Rothman of Northfield has more fishing accomplishments at 12 than most adults in a lifetime of fishing. His latest was on Nov. 23 when he caught a blackfish of 13.3 pounds while fishing with his father Dan on a wreck off northern Brigantine after waiting for that tog to move off the wreckage it was snagged in after 10 minutes. Like all of their tog over 8 pounds, this 28 1/2-incher was released — though after first being weighed at Hooked Up Tackle in Egg Harbor Township.

Ironically, that hugekeegan blackfish 13.3 lb 11 23 18__ 6 (1)blackfish wasn’t even a personal record for Keegan as he won the Beach N Boat Tournament a few years ago with a 13.97-pounder.

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