The northwest wind blew a lot harder than predicted, and made fluking conditions very difficult except for Allen Riley of South Plainfield, who went surfcasting at Sandy Hook with the wind behind him. Though the fresh bunker and clams he and John Mazzeo brought went untouched in 58 degree waters, Riley cast a soft plastic jig plus a large white teaser and was surprised by a 22-inch fluke that hit the teaser — and later released a 17-incher on the jig. He outfished many party boat anglers with that catch.
At Atlantic Highlands, party boat skippers reported gusts to 40 knots and horrible drifting conditions. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter managed only a few keepers and shorts, while the highlight was the sight of a big humpback whale feeding on bunkers. Capt. Ron Santee said they managed a keeper to take the pool on the Fishermen. Drifting conditions should be much better over the weekend.
Jim Louro and Nick Honachefsky did better in more protected Manasquan River on Louro’s Vicki Lynn from Manasquan after leaving at 5:30 and fishing most of the day. The action was in just 2 1/2 to 3 feet of water where three keeper fluke and 16 shorts were caught. Nick may have had the fluke of the day with a 4 1/2-5-pounder that hit his teaser tipped with Gulp and a bluefish strip.
At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported sea bass limits for all, and will continue sailing through Memorial Day only with customers who have made reservations. The Golden Eagle found poor bluefishing and a picky sea bass bite when they made the switch. They start their afternoon fishing and cruise trips Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Fluke fishermen may be looking for wind in the morning. After the present wind drops off this evening, there’s only a 5 knot south wind predicted for the morning — though it increases to 10-15 with gusts to 20 in the afternoon.
The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant reported two more giants plus lots of 30-to-80-pound bluefins in the canyons from the 60-foot Ritchie. An unusual open boat trip opening is available next Thursday to Friday. It’s limited to four anglers, and costs $1,750 all-in per person. Call 732 272-4445 for info.
At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported more big bluefish action in the surf, and Betty & Nick’s weighed in two stripers this morning.
Point Pleasant Canal remained slow in the daytime, but I saw one angler jig a small striper — and I got a 20-incher myself on a Z man white paddletail.