There are lots of fish marks in Raritan Bay, and charter boats continue to do well with both shorts and keepers with jigs and by trolling, but the conditions just haven’t been right for party boats.

That problem was summarized today by Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands as follows: ” Frustrating is the best way to describe the fishing. For over a week now we have been seeing lots of stripers on the fish finder but they just won’t eat. The charter boats trolling catch some but that’s not even that good. All you hear on the radio is they are piled up but we can’t catch them. We did get one nice keeper today and a handful of shorts but for what I see we should be crushing them. It could be a early spawn but who can say for sure. We will be back out there tomorrow and hope for the spring run to really get going. See you soon, Capt. Rob”

The Sea Tiger from that port also struggled on its Saturday half-day trips as jigs didn;t work and a switch to bait produced only a few shorts, though one angler caught three. The afternoon was no better.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar also reported some frustration Saturday while catching blackfish as a strong current from the north resulted in a hot bite only in the bow even after re-anchoring. There were lots of shorts, but anglers in the bow also had limits.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina reported school stripers are being caught in the surf on lures, clams and bloodworms. Blackfish are available in the inlet. A good local freshwater catch was the 9-pound channel catfish by Stanley Davis.

The weather continues to be great with a forecast for the morning of south breezes at 5-10 knots.


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