The water looked beautiful this morning at Manasquan as the swell was down far enough to produce ideal casting conditions for striped bass. However, I didn’t raise a thing until a long cast in the surf produced a small fish hook-up that I thought might be a cocktail blue. You can imagine my surprise when I didn’t see anything splashing at the end of my line when the fish hit the beach because it blended in with the sand — a 17 1/2-inch fluke hooked in the mouth on a 2-ounce Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper.
This should have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but I had actually done the same thing several years ago just a bit further north — and with the same plug except for the color which was a white model then and green now. Tommy Cox was casting along the beach with his ironworker buddy Harry when the latter released a school striper on a popper. I almost got lucky as I was talking to them about a dead adult bunker on the beach and dragging my plug in the wash when a small bass suddenly got hooked before getting off in the wash.
Allen Riley, John Mazzeo and Duke Matero found good conditions in the Sandy Hook surf where Riley quickly caught a couple of cocktail blues and had other hits on a Mann’s Super Stretch 1-Minus, though they wouldn’t hit metal lures. Bluefish strips produced lots of short fluke — but they ignored the usually effective Gulp.
The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands had good fluking with keepers to 4.5 pounds.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar had good news about the bluefish jigging as it not only continued today but the fish got bigger at 3 to 8 pounds. They also had a 6-pound fluke plus some sea bass and porgies.
The forecast for Saturday is northeast winds again, but at only 10 knots before going east in the afternoon.