Party boats reported seeing birds and bait while also reading fish, but couldn’t get a hit from ocean stripers. The Big Mohawk from Belmar fad good bottom action with mostly short blackfish up to a 7 1/2-pounder. The Ocean Explorer from Belmar had a similar report of bottom life with some keepers plus a shot of ling and cod. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands also did nothing in the ocean, but returned to Raritan Bay to catch some shorts and keepers.

Bryan Yanish has been catching stripers in Staten Island at night, and released his personal beast this week by livelining a 38.8-pounder by formula — length to fork of tail times girth divided by 800  That’s the largest shore striper I’ve heard of so far this season.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo of South Plainfield tried to break the surf casting ice this morning. The conditions were good, but the water was cold — and nothing hit their  sandworms, bunker and soft plastics at  Sandy Hook.

Capt. Vinne Vetere  of Katfish Charters in Great Kills joined two N.J. boats over  the weekend to troll stripers up to 27 pounds on his Ho-Jos both days. The N.Y. season opens April 15.

Thursday’s forecast is for northeast winds of 5-10 knots switching to southeast 5-10 in the afternoon.

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