- New Jersey surfcasters frustrated by the lack of school stripers well into November may have an answer to their problem. Mike Monte, the Shore native who’s lived in Nantucket for many years, has delayed his annual return to N.J. for a last shot at stripers because those fish at Nantucket have refused to start their migration to the south.
- I never fished from shore at Nantucket, but about a half-century ago I used to join Bud Henderson, a charter skipper from Cape Cod, during his November commercial handlining trips to Nantucket so I could cast a surface plug over his handlines with my surf spinning rig.
- There was no problem finding the fish as it appeared there was a giant garbage dump ahead with hundreds of birds over vast schools of herring and squid. The latter were so large that the gulls couldn’t fly with them and would have to drop those they picked up. Stripers would look up to us as they chased a herring alongside the trolling sea skiff. That was no delicate fishing as short handlines on rubber snubbers were trolled right through bass in the wash with Smilin’ Bill bucktails and pork rind. Most of the bass were in the 10-20-pound class, though with a few 30-and-40-pounders among them plus a very few bluefish. When the halibut box in the stern was filled with 400 pounds of bass, Henderson would head back to the Cape to send them to the N.Y. market for 25 cents a pound –or less.
The fussy large stripers in Raritan Bay and the ocean have been frustrating both skippers and anglers. Capt. Rob Semkewyc was upset when a large bass was lost on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands when a treble hook jig snagged in the net. Rob doesn’t allow them on his boat not only for the netting problem but because they may end up in someone’s arm. He also has a problem with fares who bottom bounce their jigs. That does work at times when bass are tight to the bottom, but that hasn’t been the case lately. Not only is reeling necessary to make the lure resemble a forage fish seeking to escape, but there’s another problem in that spiny dogfish are covering the ocean bottom and even hitting lures. If you’re using an expensive shad lure the tail will be chopped off quickly.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a decent day of fishing for rolling stripers as two or three dozen legal bass were caught among the bigger bass and even a few slots and shorts. The Sea Hunter also a had a good day with a variety of sizes. The only one that was too big was a 40-inch release. They also had a few shorts and even a couple of blues.
Capt. Vinny Vetere of Katfish from Great Kills has been doing well with the big stripers while picking up a few small enough to keep. Eight-year-old Caroline released this 30-pounder that she caught by herself. Katfish is open tomorrow.