As noted in yesterday’s brief blog, Chuck Many found a great bite of small stripers in Raritan Bay with his Ty Man out of Highlands. At my age it’s hard to come up with new “best evers”, but there was surely never any better bite in March to compete with yesterday’s action on both bait and lures. That should set up a fine April when that sort of action might normally be expected.
I joined Bob Bowden and Dave Glassberg, both of Little Silver, at Bahr’s in Highlands around 10:30 as Many is mooring his Ty Man there until Gateway Marina gets its floating docks in. Many was full of hope despite having made three trips this month without even a bite. Bowden and Glassberg had been checking Shrewsbury River over the weekend and noted that the previously abundant bunkers had moved out.
Chuck ran right to the bay, and only marked small bait schools on the way west. A couple of stops to throw a cast net on those marks only produced one bunker before Many looked for a spot to ancho in the back of the bay. . He finally found a few small marks in 14 feet at 12:25.
It only took about 10 minutes before Chuck hooked Ty Man’s first fish of the year — a small striper. Then we all started to get hits on worms with the moderate northwest wind behind the outgoing tide.
There was only one short period of a slow pick when the current got stronger, but we stayed put to let our chum pots attract more bass and were soon into a better bite of mostly 20-inch bass with a few up to 25 and 26 inches. There were no keepers, but one was hooked before the hook pulled after a good run. There was also one large flounder that hit the whole worm though a flounder rig with pieces of bloodworm never got hit.
Those bass had fancy tastes as they wanted the $220 a flat bloodworms, but also settled for the slightly less expensive sandworms. On the other hand, frozen clams drew very few hits. Chuck fills up his hook with worms, but I did about as well by fishing a large single bloodworm on a small circle hook. Several times I caught two or three bass on the same used bloodworm. The release count was up to 141 by the time the two flats of worms were finished, and we started running home by 4:50. We were also eating the food we hadn’t had time for — but that didn’t last long as swirls were spotted.
I had a Tsunami Shad on my light spinning rod and hooked up quickly. They were the same size bass, but seemed to be feeding on something very small as we only saw boils and no surface breaks. Yet, the bites in just six feet kept coming right up to almost dark as we left them biting when the wind went northeast and light rain started.
There must have been thousands of bass on that flat as we got at least a hit on almost every cast on everything we tried. without having to move the boat. Bob switched to a small top water plug and was soon raising bass and caught four that way — in March!. Chuck wanted to get to 200 releases, but before he could got all the lines out the total was up to 207. Those fish were very aggressive, and some almost swallowed my shad. Chuck wasn’t even fishing during that non-stop action as he was busy taking fish off lures just as when he was a youngster mating on the Cock Robin from Point Pleasant.
Todays cold northeast wind wasn’t good for fishing’ but the winds are diminishing –and drop to 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 tomorrow.