Striped bass fishing is already solid in Raritan Bay, and charter boats are taking advantage of it. However, party boat anglers have to wait until April 9 before the Sea Hunter begins sailing daily from Atlantic Highlands with a new time of 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar had flat seas and mild weather for Saturday’s trip which produced some blackfish and cod plus short tog from mostly lively bottoms. They plan to sail on Monday, when the forecast is for northwest winds at 15-20 knots, but sunny and warm.

Andras Toy from Keyport reported 20 stripers up to a 34-incher caught in Raritan Bay on Saturday.

The most unusual party boat reports I’ve ever seen are posted on Facebook by the Morning Star out of Ocean City, Maryland. That boat has such a great reputation for catching outsized blackfish that Capt. Monty Hawkins can be brutally honest about the odds of catching them as follows in his latest announcement:

“Luvs you some misery? Have to get out even though tog fishing is but a shade of it’s former glory? Yes, I’m Going toggin – but with a boat limit far more restrictive than State regs and NO expectation of great fishing. Tog Trips in April 2021 will have a 2 Tog at 16 inches boat limit. Of those two, only one may be a female. That’s less than half the state’s limit. I’ve needed to do this for some while. It’s a Boat Limit – aboard My Boat. It’s NOT A State or Fed Regulation Change! 
This fishery is tough getting tougher. Skunks happen on a daily basis. Even with incredibly skilled anglers aboard – goose eggs! But here we go.. The tug is the drug. 
April 4th & 5th – Sunday & Monday – Tog Only – 2 Fish Limit of which One may be Female – Have shrimp and some crabs for boat bait – my crew has some whites for sale – both trips 7 to 3 – 12 anglers sells out @ $125.00 each. Anticipate tough fishing! 
Released Tog Count In Our Pool. We go by LENGTH. No Live Tog Leave The Boat. All Kept Tog Will Be Bled. 
Reservations Required at 443-235-5577
Tog (Blackfish) Trips Only – Allowed zero sea bass. They’re closed now.

Weather Cancellations Happen – I Make Every Attempt To Let Clients Sleep In If The Weather’s Not Going Our Way..
Be a half hour early! We always leave early!
..except when someone shows up right on time.
Clients arriving late will see the west end of an east-bound boat.
With a limited number of reserved spots, I do not refund because you
overslept or had a flat.

Bait is provided on all trips: Shrimp & green crabs for tog. (Whites Are USUALLY available from crew for a reasonable cost…) 
I have always encouraged releasing female tog; any keeper, really, that’s in good shape. Those who respect the fishery know what they need to do. 
If You Won’t Measure & Count Your Fish, The State Will Provide A Man With A Gun To Do It For You. We Measure & Count — ALWAYS — No Exceptions!

It’s Simple To Prevent Motion Sickness, Difficult To Cure. Bonine seems best because it’s non-drowsy. It’s truly cheap & effective insurance.Honestly – If you get to go on the ocean once month, once a year, or
even less; why risk chumming all day? Similarly, if you howl at the
moon all night, chances are good you’ll howl into a bucket all day.

Bring A Cooler With Ice For Your Fish – A 48 Quart Cooler Is Fine For
A Few People. Do Not Bring A Very Large Cooler. We DO have a few
loaners – you’ll still need ice.
No Galley! Bring Food & Beverages To Suit. A few beers in cans is fine for the ride home.

Except in high-summer, waterproof boots are almost a necessity unless fishing the bow – sneakers will ruin your day when the water is cold! While some rarely, or never, wear gloves for fishing, you’d not likely see me fishing this time of year w/o at least the half-finger wool gloves. Tuck a “hot hands” warmer in the palm and life is good..”

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