A big swell from offshore storms has been making surfcasting both difficult and unproductive, but Vinny D’Anton was pleased to find the waves down and waters clean this morning as he made a casting tour of Monmouth County beaches. The only problem was that he didn’t raise any stripers. We’re still working on local fish, and there don’t seem to be many of them. Chuck Many has been catching larger stripers on live baits from his Ty Man out of Gateway Marina in Highlands, but they’ve all appeared to be local bass. How do you tell fall migratory bass from the locals? One clue is the presence of sea lice on the ocean fish. In addition, large bass from the east usually have a purplish sheen in the fall.
I tried Point Pleasant Canal this morning, and thought I’d made the right move when an angler hooked up on light tackle and shouted that he had a big fish on. What he brought in was a complete surprise — the smallest cownose ray I’ve ever seen. It was also the first I’ve seen in the canal. The ray was snagged on a jig, but probably weighed 5 pounds and had the incoming tide behind him during the fight. There was little doing after that as Jim Gates caught a small blue, and one large blue broke off on a jump next to the wall. I got just one hit on a Z Man paddletail before switching to blackfishing that produced a 14 1/2-incher on light spinning with crab right away, but nothing else in the short time I fished. It appears that the green crab shortage I mentioned recently is over, and Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant has them in stock again.
Capt. Dave De Gennaro reports Sunday’s trip about 20 miles offshore put little tunny and bonito in his Hi Flier from Barnegat by anchoring and chumming so they could be caught on light tackle with spearing. He’s also been catching weakfish up to 16 inches on 6-pound spinning tackle with grass shrimp in the bay. The only problem has been an abundance of silver perch and snappers that also appreciate that expensive chum. Dave will try to get offshore for bonito on Saturday while trying for weaks in the bay on Sunday. Call him at 732 330-5674.
Capt. Chris De Stefano got a surprising report of small bluefin tuna being trolled yesterday on the reefs out of Manasquan Inlet. Supposedly, one was even taken at the mile buoy. Whenever something like that occurs, it rarely continues — but keep an eye out!
The small craft advisory for this afternoon’s south winds goes down by 11 p.m., and tomorrow starts with north winds at just 5-10 knots before going southeast in the afternoon. That’s Capt. Joe Massa in the photo below with one of the big sea ass caught at Southwest Ledge off Block Island Saturday, as noted in last night’s. Word Press dropped it in the wrong spot.
Capt. Ron Santee saw six straight days of hot porgy fishing come to a temporary end today. His first few drops were unproductive, and then he got on one that was full of out-of season short and keeper sea bass. Some porgies and a couple of big triggerfish were finally boated, but the boat’s first cobia was too short — and the south wind came up against the tide to make it ugly in short order.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar found 4-7-pound blues on top, with an 8-pound pool winner. Everyone caught some, but it wasn’t easy jigging.