Blackfish were the big winners in the first Barrier Island Beach Brawl surf fishing contest held over the weekend. Nick Honachefsky’s release follows:
“The 1st Annual Barrier Island Beach Brawl brought fun, fishing and camaraderie to all anglers. Having to battle remnants of the Nor’Easter, 185 anglers managed to release 21 striped bass while tallying up three blackfish that took all the top prizes. First place went to Jesse Avagnado with a 2.68 pound blackfish. Second was earned by Dom Mancuso and his 2.44 pound blackfish, just eeking out Elihu Torres who won third place with a 2.42 pound tog. Unbelievably, no bluefish were checked in during the tournament. Tournament Director Nick Honachefsky expresses many thanks to all sponsors and anglers participating in the tournament and looks forward to the 2nd annual next year! ”
The northeast storm may have finally started moving some migratory stripers to the west. Capt. Chris De Stefano had word of big bass being trolled off Fire Island, and will be out there tomorrow morning on Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club to check it out.
Jerry Lasko fished the northern Ocean County surf this morning to catch four school stripers on Kettle Creek paddletails — and a couple of them were carrying sea lice. That sign of migratory bass wasn’t the only noteworthy event as Maren Toleno couldn’t hook up after many trips of almost invariably outfishing Jerry.
Allen Riley fished Sandy Hook under good conditions this morning and found no fish, no birds and no bait. However, he did get a report from his usual partner, John Mazzeo, who is staying at Lavallette and did nothing over the weekend, but caught bass of 24 and 28 inches today on a Crippled Herring while losing a couple of others in the rough wash.
I fished the Manasquan surf and didn’t raise a thing to my popper, but talked to an angler who had caught a bass on metal.
Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that school stripers are hitting in the surf primarily at dawn and dusk. Blackfishing was hot in the inlet yesterday. Sea bass fishing is recovering from the swell, and the Ocean Explorer had sea bass up to 5 1/4 pounds on Sunday.
The Ocean Explorer notes that the sea bass are feeding on sand eels — and the best bet is jigging with a sand eel teaser rigged above the jig.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar got into a pick of blues. sea bass and porgies early today before heading offshore for bigger bass and porgies. They finished up inshore and were surprised to see “monster” tuna splashing around the boat. They weren’t successful at trying to catch them , but added chub mackerel.
The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported a good mix of bonito, little tunny and small blues plus a few sea bass and porgies,
At Atlantic Highlands, the Fishermen had a good mixed bag Sunday with blackfish up to a 6-pounder plus porgies, sea bass and blowfish.
The Sea Hunter started striped bass fishing today, with the emphasis on eeling which requires tackle that can handle sinkers up to 12 ounces.
Joe Blaze joined a friend to run north from Manasquan Inlet. They came across schools of adult bunkers with nothing under them. Trolling small lures for little tunny didn’t produce, but they marked fish on bottom at Sandy Hook Reef and jigged some 9-10-inch weakfish,
The forecast is for north winds at 5-10 knots with gusts to 20 in the morning before going west in the afternoon,
Below is a photo of Joe Massa with the 20-inch tog that topped our Sunday catch on his My Three Sons out of Morgan Marina — as described in yesterday’s blog.