Chris Mc Ginn was trolling a bunker spoon off Long Branch on Saturday from Hammer & Tails when he reached the summit of striped bass fishing success by hooking a 50-pounder. After trolling his trophy, he measured the 50-incher and weighed her at 52.10 pounds before releasing her to pass on those big bass genes to future generations.
While there hasn’t been much volume from the current run of big stripers, several in the fifties have been recorded along with many more 40-pounders. It’s been primarily a trolling bite, and lots of patience is usually required to get the right bite. There have also been reports of hits that just keep going before breaking off or dumping wire line reels — though those strikes are almost surely from bluefin tuna.
The 48-inch bluefin I caught Sunday while trolling with Mike Heaney on his Sea Vee from Point Pleasant in Little Italy wasn’t weighed, but I looked up a table of bluefin weights to length and that fish was listed at 65 pounds. It should have been on the heavy side of that average as it was stuffed with small sand eels — many of which hadn’t even been swallowed when it hit a Chatter side tracker trolling bar just minutes after we started trolling. Al with Bob Correll in photo.
For the first time I was more worried about getting the $125 lure back than catching the fish, which was on the lightest tackle aboard — a Shimano TLD25 reel more suitable for small school tuna rather than an “over”.
This year’s regulations allow boats permitted in the Angling category to boat two small bluefins from 27 to 47 inches plus one large school/small medium of greater than 47 inches to less than 73 inches. Charter boats are allowed three school tuna plus one large — and there’s also a quota for head boats of six schoolies and two large.
Boaters must be sure to obtain that permit by visiting http://www.nmfspermits.com or calling 888 872-tuna.
The surprise jigging catch of jumbo blues yesterday on the Golden Eagle from Belmar wasn’t repeated as blues they encountered were skittish and wouldn’t hit. They settled for a pick of sea bass.
The same applied to the big bluefish surf run at IBSP. Jerry Lasko said they never showed up this morning, though Maren Toleno caught a medium blue on a popper cast on the bay side.
I tried Shark River along with Vinny D’Anton as we failed to get a hit in good conditions. I moved to Point Pleasant Canal and did the same thing where other anglers said there hadn’t been a hit.
Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park had an unusual report of sand tiger sharks hitting bunker baits being fished for bass and blues . Those being sighted have been in the 3-4-foot class. Some anglers fish for them at night during the summer. They are protected and must be released.
At Atlantic Highlands, I haven’t been getting reports because Capt. Ron Santee frankly said fluking has been terrible. The only bright spot has been the occasional blast of big stripers that came up a couple of times early last week around Santee’s Fishermen and the Sea Hunter. Santee had a charter on Sunday and didn’t hesitate to switch to bottom fishing for sea bass, ling and some winter flounder which resulted in fillets for all. The Sea Hunter got lucky with a Saturday afternoon charter when big blues and stripers butted into the fluke fishing.
The forecast for Tuesday is northwest winds at 10 knots early, but switching to southwest with gusts to 20 in the afternoon.