Many anglers seeking sea bass and bluefish were surprised to find themselves wrestling with jumbo stripers off the northern N.J. Shore today.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar got into bonito and chub mackerel in the morning, but crushed big bass in the afternoon. About 15 lines were snapped and rods shattered as all the bass were “huge” — 25 pounds and way up.

Tank Matraxia sailed in Tagged Fish from Highlands. He caught a bass in the 30’s  as the boat limit was taken — leaving no room for the biggest of all which was hooked by the mate while they were sea bass fishing nearby. That provided the opportunity for Tank to put an ALS tag in a 54-incher that weighed 52 pounds on the boat’s Boga Grip before being released. Tank also noted that some very small weakfish were caught while bottom fishing.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar also got into the bass , and will run a special open trip for them tomorrow at 5:30 a.m.

Though small craft warnings go up in the morning, the winds start at only 10-15 knots southeast before increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon as a gale warning will be posted for Thursday.

Some stripers are now showing in the surf, though they are quite a bit smaller. Vinny D’Anton started at Manasquan this morning without success, but kept moving north  and ended up releasing six bass from 23 inches up to a 27-incher on the Tsunami Eel. Linda had used that lure to catch a bass at Manasquan yesterday, but didn’t score this morning.

It was a different story at Lavallette, where John Mazzeo had caught bass up to a 28-incher yesterday. This morning all he saw were beach buggies and fishermen — but never got a hit.

Jerry Lasko got word of bait schools moving down the northern Ocean County beaches — but with no fish on them.

Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said he lost a good-sized blue while casting metal in the canal yesterday. He noted that the canal is loaded with blowfish, and blackfishing is good.

Nick Honachefsky provided additional info about the weekend Beach Brawl. as follows:

“The striper category was won by Bob Misak, It was a random draw out of the 21 bass photos. Chris Bodner had high hook with 5 bass, and he also split the mystery fish pool with Liam Rea who released a strange spotted hake overnight. Most of the bass were reportedly caught at IBSP, though a few were in Lavallette and Mantoloking on a variety of cut mullet, metal jigs, and rubber baits. A 50/50 was held for a cash donation to St. Gregory’s Pantry to help the homeless and hungry. The after party at Playa Bowls and Crab’s Claw was legendary. We look forward to putting on the 2nd annual next year!”

Tomorrow’s blog may be late as I’ll be in Baltimore for the ASMFC Striped Bass Advisory Panel meeting to discuss next year’s regulations.

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