Even as big stripers are providing trollers with plenty of release action, Shore surfcasters have been having a hard time finding any life during what used to be a good month for that sport.

John Mazzeo, of South Plainfield summed it up yesterday by describing his trip to Sandy Hook as “Different day, different time. different tide — same result.” At least he did see a bass caught by another angler though it was barely larger than the plug it hit. That angler described the mini-bass as the highlight of his fall surfcasting. Frank Huza of Aberdeen made the long trek to the point of Sandy Hook yesterday only to find even that prime spot to be barren. Those who had fished in the dark had the same report.

The big southeast swell has made surfcasting more difficult to the south, especially during early morning low tides. I found the expected rough surf this morning at Sea Girt. where the loose sand was being sucked out from under my boots. That’s a dangerous situation which requires backing up steadily to get out of the resulting holes so as not to be vulnerable to the force of the backwash. Getting knocked down in the wash is perilous when you’re alone on the beach as getting back up in waders is a problem while the waves just keep coming.

October used to be a good month from the beach as big blues would respond to poppers even when they weren’t showing. Unfortunately, the only big blues these day seem to be well offshore, and I haven’t even seen any small choppers in the Monmouth County surf. A few stripers have been reported by night anglers in Ocean County, but there hasn’t been any sign of the migrating schoolies from the east so far. Warm waters and a lack of bait probably have something to do with that – and many regulars blame beach replenishment.

The Jamaica from Brielle has room on its 10 p.m. Sunday tuna trip, as well as upcoming 31-hour tuna expeditions. Recent trips have provided limits of bluefins plus rellowfins up to 90 pounds. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant has set up striper trips with a fare of $100 and a 15-man limit on Nov. 2,3, and 5 — plus a Nov. 4 $90 bottom fishing sailing. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.

At Belmar, Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den that jumbo bass were attacking bunkers off Deal this afternoon. He notes that most are over legal size and urges anglers to handle them gently for release.

Miss Belmar Princess is switching to those big stripers at 7:30 a.m. The Golden Eagle saw bluefish today, but only picked at 4-12-pounders. They also caught some sea bass and fluke.

Jim Hutchinson Sr. reports for the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association as follows:

Right now, the fishing scene in southern Ocean County is caught between summer and fall fisheries. No matter how hard the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association wish for the start of the striped bass migration from the north, the warm water temperatures are delaying their arrival.

Surface water temperatures remain in the low 60’s, a bit too warm for the stripers’ liking. There continues to be an excellent bite on bottom fish around inshore structure, however, to fill the fish boxes.

Captain Carl Sheppard of the “Star Fish” has had several groups out fishing recently taking advantage of the hot bottom fishing. One group with Captain Carl and mate Max Goldman fished several wrecks boating over 75 fish including black sea bass, bluefish, triggers, sea robins, and blowfish. Another trip with a family resulted in over 40 fish caught including sea bass up to 15-inches. A final day with two trips resulted in much the same type of action along with a feisty black-tip shark. The afternoon group had some 80 fish keeping 14 sea bass to 16-inches.

Captain Gary Dugan had two anglers out on the “Irish Jig”, and they experienced drop and reel fishing inshore reefs. They ended the day with a fish box packed with black sea bass, triggerfish, tautog, and some porgies. Captain Gary reports he is keeping a sharp eye out for the arrival of stripers from the north.

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing had a busy weekend with the Hank Wright group on a striped bass charter. Strong winds made a trip to the ocean a poor choice, so they landed a limit of tautog around the jetty rocks of Barnegat Inlet. They switched to stripers and landed 6, keeping two with bonus tags. Paul Kaufmann and Steve Sharf fished Sunday with their sons on a bottom fish charter. They worked hard and managed to box a limit of sea bass, 4 triggerfish, and one porgy. They ended the day boxing a quick limit of tautog.

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.net.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc reports his Thursday trip with Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands eels in the Hudson River wasn’t great, but not too bad either as noted with some of the stripers caught:

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