When striped bass started returning to Raritan Bay after a long absence, there were some mornings when Tony Arcabascio (Tony Maja) scored consistently by chunking on the many small pieces of structure that he had discovered over years fishing out of Great Kills, but as the bass built up there were days when casual boaters could drop their anchor almost anywhere and chunk a load of stripers. That’s what he called “The stupid fishing” — and Dave Lilly says that’s the best description of what’s been going on Between the Channels. Even with no dirds working or fish swirling, the fishfinder shows a massive quantity of stripers covering the bottom. Anyone who can drop a jig to bottom and reel up should hook up constantly. All that has been happening despite the unprecedented volume of boats drifting the area this late in the year.

Lilly said the largest bass they caught today was weighed at 15 pounds, but most are of legal sizes rather than the small bass often encountered in great numbers toward the end of the run. The water temperature actually came back up to 50 degrees today, and as long as the cand eels remain there’s no telling how long that area may produce.

One problem ahead is that tomorrow is the last great weather day for awhile. The forecast is for southwest at 5-10 knots, but it will be a lot different by Monday.

At Atlantic Highlands,Capt. Rob Semkewyc said it was all catch and release fishing by 9:30 on his Sea Hunter. The pool bass was just under 38 inches. Rob requests that his fares be aboard so he can leave in he morning by 7. The Monday trip is cancelled.

Capt. Ron Santee Jr. said the morning action was steady, but it turned yo a pick on his Fishermen in the afternoon even though the bass were still marking. He’s also cancelling the Monday trip.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle reported a good day of striper jigging with lots of slots and keepers up to 37 inches plus bluefish to 18 pounds. Miss Belmar Princess reported solid striper action with many limits and some jumbo blues.

Vinny D’Anton heard of a good surf bite at IBSP. but put in his morning effort at Belmar to catch three schoolies on a Tsunami Sand Eel. After the modest bite died out, he stayed awhile and got into big hickory shad that were inhaling the sand eel imitation.

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