Yesterday’s blog title couldn’t have been more accurate as striped bass did indeed turn on in Raritan Bay after the northwest gale. There was still a bit of wind this morning, but it just made for a good drift. Tank Matraxia of Lyndhurst was talking to me on the cell phone about the hot bite when his rod in the holder bent over as a large bass hit the shad lure being dead-sticked.
With the rod in hand, there was a hit on almost every cast in the open bay near where Old Orchard used to stand. Tank and Marty Gras released about 50 bass in the teens and up to the twenties. while fishing with Capt. Anthony on Hard Bottom from Sewaren . Tank hadn’t received a new supply of American Littoral Society tags and was only able to tag seven with the tags he had left. That included the one small fish of 19 inches fork length — and up to a 38 1/2-inch fork length bass. It was the best striper fishing they ever had.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc also had one of his best-ever striper days as he estimated the relatively few anglers on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands caught about 200 keepers while only 10 shorts were mixed in. They were releasing by 9:30. Greg from Staten Island counted 19 keepers hooked. Long drifts were possible as there were only about 10 charter boats out there and everyone moved back slowly in order not to turn off the bite. The pool bass was a 26-pounder by Mike Casale from Dingmans Ferry, Pa., who was joined by his brother Pat with a 22-pounder.
Anglers had better take advantage of Wednesday’s weather as 5-10 knots northeast is forecast until going southeast in late afternoon. Thursday may be fishable early with southeast 10-15 knots, but bad weather starts arriving that afternoon with 15-20 knot winds and a chance of rain.