Even by Chuck Many’s standards, Sunday was a great one due to the size of stripers released from Tyman out of Highlands. Though many jumbo bass were unexpectedly lost, Many’s crew caught 33 out of 54 hooked — including the first two 50-pounders reported on the boat since it returned from the winter fishery in Virginia. Personal records were set by Chris Pereina with a 54, and by Chris Fiori at 52 pounds.

Fifty-pounders have always been the primary goal of dedicated anglers, and many outstanding ones, including Al Reinfelder, have gone to their graves without ever being fortunate enough to encounter one among the thousands they caught.

It was almost unheard of to release a potential 50-pounder in previous decades, so it was easy to keep track of most of them caught since they ended up on an official scale. There were big swings as numbers jumped whenever a large Chesapeake year class got to about 20 years old, but the Schaefer Contest that covered the Atlantic Coast estimated about 50 a year were weighed over a long period.

Now that it’s illegal to retain those super-spawners, the numbers of fifties reported has shot up even though many are merely estimated and often don’t even look close in photos.

Though a 50-nch striper was usually just above or below a 50 decades ago, that was because fish were measured to the fork of the tail at that time. Most anglers don’t have a 60-pound scale as Many does, but the formula developed many years ago is well-accepted as a legitimate means of determining released fish weights.

As noted here many times, the formula involves measuring the length to the fork of the tail plus the girth. It only takes seconds to do that, so the fish can be safely released. The formula is girth squared times length to fork of tail divided by 800. Many anglers forget to use the fork length which results in false fifties. In order to correct that on a big bass subtract about four inches from the overall length.

Capt. Ron Santee marked lots of bait and saw some bass trolled, but couldn’t find any biters today on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. He’ll stick with that fishing until switching to sea bass when that season opens on May 17.

Andreas Toy from Perth Amboy reported bunkers were hard to come by this morning, but they kept working for them as that’s what the bigger bass wanted.

Capt. Mark DeBlasio reported a successful May 6 tilefish trip on his Water Proof from Point Pleasant from Point Pleasant, but a big bluefin tuna hooked while doing that was lost.

The Viking Starlite Sag Harbor Scup Express won’t be sailing tomorrow, but will then finish up there through Sunday. One angler caught both the largest 3-pound porgy and 5-pound weakfish today as porgy fishing was very good.

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