Paul Haertel passed along some very interesting results from the weekend Waretown Fire Department Striped Bass Tournament that I’d never heard of and wasn’t even included in The Fisherman’s list of events. It’s hard enough to catch a 50-pound striper at any time, but in that small contest it took two to win!
Balls Deep won with the two bass total of 112.7 pounds as that included a 52.7-pounder to earn the female award for Sara. Jerzy Boyz was second at 95.7 pounds — barely edging Lucky Stripers at 95.2 pounds. Balls Deep won the Calcutta for biggest single bass at a huge 59 pounds. A mere 5-pounder took the bluefish prize. Paul wasn’t sure how those bass were caught, but he suspects they were trolled.
Capt. Tom Savastano ran north from Manasquan Inlet on Sunday to find big schools of bunkers on the surface, but couldn’t get a hit either trolling or live baiting before finishing up with sea bass.
Party boats sailing out of Atlantic Highlands have had a hard time getting the stripers they mark to hit. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said it was the same story today as trollers were catching while fares on his Sea Hunter caught only a short bass and some blues. As a result, he’s only going to run one more striper trip on Thursday before switching to fluke from 8-2 when the season opens on Friday. The Fishermen will also make the switch on Friday. Capt. Hal Hagaman of Sea Tiger II was surprised by a couple of what would be keeper fluke during the Sunday afternoon trip which produced only one blue in the strong south wind. There had been a keeper striper and some blues on the morning trip. John Andrea reported that his partner trolled a dozen blues between 15 and 20 pounds Saturday by Buoy 19. That’s the first report I’ve had of big blues in the back of the bay as those chunking have been mentioning small blues.
Daytime bluefishing has been getting tougher in rivers and bays. While Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno have been catching big blues at night in Point Pleasant Canal, there have been very few at dawn and dusk. Bill Hoblitzell and I did nothing Sunday morning casting jigs in the canal before going out on his Sea Vee from Mc Carthy’s for a couple of hours along with Jerry Gilbert from Pa. I scratched out a 3-pound blue working a small Z Man jig off bottom, before later getting a blind strike on one of Frank Cresscitelli’s Guide’s Choice Zara Spook versions for the only large blue of about 9 pounds. When blues come hot and heavy you take them for granted, but the way it was Sunday I really savored the strike and the fight. We also had a few follows and a couple of shad tails bit off — but that was it.
I was surprised to see Capt. Dave Gennaro in Manasquan Inlet with his Hi Flier from Barnegat — where the big blues were supposed to be. He said the bay is now full of 1-pound blues, and was waiting for the change of tide to resume ocean trolling after coming up along the shore without a hit. He managed a few blues in the river by trolling small plugs. Trolling back to Barnegat Inlet didn’t produce, but he ended up getting into big blues on poppers by Oyster Creek Channel.
The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported that Sunday’s sea bass fishing was tougher than it had been as high hooks had from six to seven. Tuesday’s forecast is for northwest winds of 10-15 knots with gusts to 20l That switch from south will be welcomed as anglers have been blaming that wind plus the full moon for any fishing that hasn’t been up to par.
I’ve been checking the web all day for results of Sunday’s Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament, and also made a couple of calls to the DEP, but still haven’t come up with anything. Hopefully I’ll find that info tomorrow.