It will be a bit easier to justify a trip offshore for school bluefin tuna this summer as NMFS has eased catch restrictions on school bluefin tuna.
Private boaters permitted in the Angling category will be allowed two schoolies from 27 to less than 47 inches plus one large school/small medium from 47 to less than 73 inches. Charter boats in their category get three schoolies plus the one larger bluefin. Head boats finally get a break with six schoolies and two larger.
Party boats had somewhat better luck with Raritan Bay stripers today. At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc found the weather forecast to be off as it was a lot rougher than expected in the ocean. After a couple of bass were caught, he ran the Sea Hunter back into the bay and didn’t do much jigging before anchoring and getting into a decent bite of shorts with a few keepers mixed in.
Capt. Ron Santee had only bailed out the last two days on his Fishermen by staying for the change of the tide — and warned his customers to be patient, Yet, it was just the opposite as they found bass on top and did best with jigs with tails. The late bite never developed.
Scott Leadbeater has been running his Aquasport out of that port to troll bass consistently during short morning and evening trips with mo-jos at such nearby areas as Chapel Hill Channel. Most are in the teens plus a few over 20 pounds.
Capt. Hans Kaspersetz has stuck with the old favorite stretch plugs to troll bass during morning trips with his Sheri Berri from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands. He recently released one that buried his 50-pound scale.
Capt. Vinny Vetere continues to do well in Raritan Bay with his Katfish Charters from Great Kills. The boat’s biggest bass so far was a 44.3-pounder boated Monday. Bunkers were hard to net on Tuesday, but the effort involved produced a great catch on both chunks and live baits.
Miss Belmar Princess took a shot to the north, but didn’t find bass where they had been among bait readings in the channels. A move into Raritan Bay put them into bunkers and whales, but no bass.
After not seeing anything doing at dawn in the inlet or river, I cast in Point Pleasant Canal. It was very slow, but I finally caught a blue of about 5 pounds on a white Z Man paddletail. Only two other similar blues were caught by other anglers.
Fishermen casting on the Manasquan side of the inlet picked a few smaller blues in the afternoon.
A small craft warning is up through late Friday night. The morning forecast is for south winds at 15-20 knots with gusts to 25 — and a chance of showers.