It’s been a generally pleasant summer for anglers, but we may be paying our dues the next two days.
The forecast for tomorrow is east winds at 15-20 knots, increasing to 20-25 in the afternoon. Then it gets worse on Saturday as small craft are advised to stay in port. There is better news Saturday night with a shift to northwest winds that should set up a fishable Sunday. Of course, you can still fish in protected bay and river waters during the easterly blow, but the surf is already a mess.
Another alternative is to attend the free N.J. Wild Expo at Colliers Mills WMA in Jackson Township from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. That state-sponsored show features numerous displays, and vendors are there with food and drink.
The last N.J. striped bass public hearing is coming up on Thursday, Sept. 12 in Bay Ave. Community Center, 775 East Bay Ave.,Manahawkin from 6 to 9:30 p.m. There are a wide range of options available to achieve the reduction in catch required to turn around the decline in spawning stock biomass.
The surf was already rough when I made only a few casts at Manasquan this morning before retreating to Shark River for bluefish. Popper fishing was only a pick today, but by putting in about three hours of constant casting I released 10 blues which were a mixture of 3-4-pounders and 5-6-pounders before the last was about 8 pounds. Capt. Chris De Stefano says a friend of his fishing from a small boat with a fly rod has been catching stripers up to 30 inches at night in the river. Chris also knew of several fluke limit catches in the river.
Spanish mackerel are still in the area, and Bob Correll of Bay Head caught one in his local surf yesterday evening along with a couple of cocktail blues.