Surfcasters were worried about whether the surf would clear up in time for the school striper bite this morning, but it appears those fish did respond in many areas as anglers enjoyed a mild morning that felt like September.
I tried Point Pleasant and didn’t like the look of the big swell that had developed, but there was a decent pick of bass from first light until well after sunrise. I released nine bass during that period on metal and teaser up to a couple of fat 23-inchers, and lost four others that included one that came off in the heavy wash,
.We took a beating at the water’s edge, but there was one guy casting from the dry sand in sneakers and I saw him catch a doubleheader. Steve Mirande reported he was on that beach and released 10. The afternoon fishing hasn’t been productive, but he caught a 16-inch fluke last week at Bay Head on a teaser. Another surfcaster yesterday told me he had caught an adult Atlantic mackerel on a teaser last week.
Vinny D’Anton was having a ball with big ladyfish during a vacation in Aruba last week, but couldn’t wait to get back to his beloved surf stripers. He fished Belmar where the swell wasn’t a problem and caught nine bass. Jim Louro and Frank Manzi were there before him and did even better.
The big swell turned out to be problem for boaters to the north, as Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands said he read lots of school stripers though they didn’t bite well. Everyone caught some shorts, but he’s going to pass on tomorrow’s NW wind and will sail again on Wednesday.
The Big Mohawk from Belmar had good blackfishing today and will sail tomorrow.
Small craft warnings are up for NW winds gusting to 25 mph, but that should knock down those big swells before the winds become light at mid-week.