Large sea bass still being boated

It’s normal for sea bass sizes to drop as the open season goes on, but that hasn’t been the case so far. Both the Golden Eagle from Belmar and Jamaica from Brielle reported a surge of bigger sea bass to go along with ling. The Golden Eagle even had some whiting.

Golden Eagle sea bass

Vinny D’Anton is back from Florida, and had a good first N.J. surf trip with several small blues and stripers on lures he’d been using down south — the Chug Bug and the MirrOlure. Unfortunately, his 15-pound leader didn’t stand up to one of those blues.

The forecast is for east winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20 late in the morning.

Sea bass hold up

With good drifting conditions over the weekend, sea bass fishing seems to have held up over the weekend.

The Jamaica from Brielle and the Golden Eagle from Belmar reported lots of action with many limit catches included.

Though some east weather is coming, Monday looks good with north winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20 before dropping to 5-10 in the afternoon.

Dave Sheperd needs perfect weather to fish for stripers with his 14-foot Star Craft with 20 hp Honda tiller, but he got that and put his son into hist keeper bass.

Fog was tough on boaters today

Fog has been an ongoing problem this week, and it was back earlier this morning. There’s more of a chance of rain or a possible thunderstorm on Sunday along with light west to southwest winds.

Sea bass continue to provide a pretty good shot at taking home a few good meals even though that fishing has become a bit tougher after many of the best spots have been worked over since the season opened on Tuesday. Some ling may be encountered, and the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands reported a 23-inch cod as their pool winner.

Capt. Fred Gamboa took a look offshore on Friday with Andrea’s Toy and saw a few signs of life. However, trolling, jigging and chunking didn’t produce until he switched to tilefishing and the Don Beshada party dropped Stalker jigs into the depths for a dozen up to a 30-pounder.

Good weekend shaping up

The weather is looking good, and fish are cooperating.

Sea bass fishing is holding up as the Golden Eagle from Belmar reported better action today with many limits around the boat during an all-day bite. Raritan Bay striper fishing continues at a spring peak, and early fluking has been surprisingly good in areas with higher water temperatures.

The forecast is for southwest winds at just 5-10 knots tomorrow, though patchy fog may be a problem. Sunday begins with southwest at 10 to 15 knots before increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon.

It will be some time before dolphin head north, but Bruce and Tanner Hrobak of Billy Bones Tackle in Stuart, Florida are enjoying them now.

A “keeper” for grandpa

At 21 inches and 7 pounds, 14 ounces he isn’t ready to fish as yet, but I have high hopes for Alexander John Gonzalez who was born this afternoon to my daughter Cyndi and her husband Luis at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The next “AJ” (I’m Allan John) has crazy fisherman genes on both sides of the family and won’t lack for fishing tackle.

Sea bass fishing opened to N.J. anglers on Tuesday and all reports received so far have been good with limits of 10 at a 13-inch minimum being common.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported a boat limit Tuesday when jigging was by far the best method. An A-27 diamond jig with a teaser rigged 18 inches above it produced lots of doubleheaders.

Capt. Hans Kaspersetz fished aboard the charter boat Water Proof for limit sea bass action. Capt. Mark De Blasio stopped on his way up north with Blue Runner to jig yellowfin tuna. The 56-foot End Game has been added to his fleet.

Chuck Many reported yesterday’s trip on Tyman out of Highlands ran only from7 to 10 a.m. as it was mayhem big striper fishing for a crew that included Phil Sciortino of the Tackle Box in Hazlet.

Friday’s forecast is for a mere 5-10-knot southeast wind which increases to 10-15 late. The weekend also looks good.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a slow but steady pick of sea bass all day which resulted in some limits. A cod and a fluke were also boated, and a few blackfish released.

Sunday’s N.J. surf surprises

There hasn’t been much to report from the New Jersey surf so far this spring, but all that changed dramatically on Sunday.

The annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament is normally handicapped by the fluke season not being open, but that wasn’t the case this year. Yet, all the fluke prizes went unclaimed along with those for late-arriving bluefish — while “only” striped bass were caught. To top it off, a lady angler had her name imprinted on the Governor’s Trophy.

The official release from the Division of Fish and Wildlife follows:

The 31st Annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament was held May 15, 2022 at Island Beach State Park. The day stared with fog, but ended with sunshine, and while it was a slow day of fishing, everyone seemed to enjoy spending their day on the beach trying their best to get a fish to bite.

This was the fifth year the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament was open to high school teams with their own team category. Sixty-five high schoolers from six school fishing teams fished this year’s tournament. One team leader said, “The kids didn’t catch anything, but they had a great day!”

Assistant Commissioner of NJ DEP Fish and Wildlife, Dave Golden, was there to congratulate tournament winners, while assisting with the awards ceremony. Sponsoring organization presidents Gary Conk, Sr, NJ Beach Buggy Association; Wade Stein, NJ State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs; and Mark Taylor, Jersey Coast Anglers Association, also assisted with handing out tournament prizes. While six striped bass were entered into the tournament, Pam McGee of Newton was the Governor’s Cup winner with a 37 ½” striped bass.

Ms. McGee received two rod and reel combinations, a plaque and will have her name engraved on the Governor’s Cup, which is permanently on display at Island Beach State Park. Unfortunately, no one in the high school team category entered any fish.

In addition to the grand prize, four anglers received rod and reel combinations for their prize-winning fish in the striped bass category. There are overall categories for children, teen, and adult anglers, including sub-categories for male and female anglers.

The event was sponsored by the NJDEP’s Fish and Wildlife and State Park Service, the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, and the NJ Beach Buggy Association.

More than $150,000 has been raised since the inception of the tournament for conservation and education projects and improved beach access.

Winners of the 2022 Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament are:

Striped Bass Category Teen (Male):

  • First Place: Logan Appello, Cliffside Park, NJ – 29 5/8”

Adult (Male):

  • First Place: Tim Moran, West Milford, NJ – 31 4/8”
  • Second Place: Vincent Percella, Lavallette, NJ – 31 1/8”
  • Third Place: Ron Butkiewicz, Warren Twp., NJ – 28 6/8”

Adult (Female):

  • First Place and Governor’s Cup Winner: Pam McGee, Newton, NJ – 37 4/8″


Clam baits accounted for the IBSP stripers, but the best was yet to come as Nick Honachefsky fished the surf during the eclipse of the moon that night to release a striper probably over 40 pounds on a purple Bomber plug. He didn’t have official measurements, but used his fingers to come up with the 48-inch length and 28-29-inch girth that would put it over 40 pounds. See the photo below. Two others were lost due to the small hooks on the Bomber.

Nick was using an 8-foot Savage Gear rod with a Shimano Stradic 5000 spinning reel loaded with 30-pound Power Pro braid tied to a Tactical Anglers clip. He “forgot” to mention where he was fishing.

Chuck Many said many stripers were missed yesterday as surfcaster Chris Buchta joined Alex Katyan to fish eels from Tyman out of Highlands. However, those released ranged from 36 to 47 pounds.


The marine forecast for Thursday predicts showers in the morning with northwest winds at 10-15 knots before changing to southwest 5-10 in the afternoon.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands reported very good sea bass fishing the last two days. The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a good day with sea bass as everyone went home with a catch that also included ling — and many limited

Capt. Lou Grazioso says he’s been enjoying fluke action from his small boat in the Navesink and Shark rivers. However, with the new regs he had to release 20-inchers Sunday in Shark River.

Plenty of sea bass for NJ anglers

The weather was good and sea bass cooperated for the opening of the N.J. season today. The Jamaica from Brielle reported they also had a good showing of cod and a couple of pollock plus a winter flounder. Some spots may be open for tomorrow’s 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. special.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported “All the sea bass you wanted” plus ling, two cod and two big stripers up to 43 inches which had to be released.

Chuck Many had only big stripers to release from his Tyman out of Highlands on Monday as they ranged from 45 to 51 inches and were caught on live eels.

The marine forecast is for northwest winds at 10-15 knots before going southwest at 5-10 in the afternoon.

NJ sea bass opens Tuesday — Dave Lilly provides fluke secrets at SWABC that night

The black sea bass season in N.J. opens tomorrow with a 13-inch minimum and 10-fish bag limit that shouldn’t be hard to come by on wrecks and rough bottoms that haven’t been worked this season.

Some party boats have filled up special trips, and the rest will probably reach capacity early. Don’t treat this as an ordinary weekday. Be at the boat at least an hour early!

The forecast is great, with west winds at 10 knots before increasing to 10-15 with gusts to 20 in the afternoon.

Fluke anglers will have a unique opportunity to improve their skills Tuesday night at 5:30 when Dave Lilly presents his seminar at the Salt Water Anglers of Bergen County meeting in the American Legion Hall, 33 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park. Non-members are welcome to attend for a fee of $5 that can be applied to membership in that active organization. Call Chuck Santoro at 201 446-9047 for details.

I call Lilly the best private fluke fisherman because he’s proven that year after year by winning or placing in almost every fluke tournament he’s entered.

Unfortunately, one of the SWABC’s best anglers, Tom Siciliano Jr., will not be there as he passed away last month at the age of 79. Tom, who was very active in conservation activities, lived in Little Egg Harbor after growing up in Clifton. I remember many trips with Tom up to the annual SWABC Past President’s Dinner at which he almost always collected a trophy for the biggest fish of some species.

Capt. Hans Kaspersetz with a fluke limit.

Getting ready for Tuesday switch to sea bass

Capt. Ron Santee is tired from straining his eyes peering into fog, and was glad to wind up a striper season on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands that he termed “uneventful” from a party boat point of view. He’s taking Monday off to get ready for Tuesday’s sea bass season opening day. One angler caught six stripers on swim shads today, and a couple hit jigs.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a good day with stripers as all caught stayed on the boat. Some were lost, but there were none of the usual overs. Swim shads were best, with a couple on Flutter spoons

Nick from Monmouth County had good surf conditions Saturday with a light east wind and some movement. Once again, his jumbo bloodworms produced with a 32″ bass plus a 28″ and 24″. Back at the same spot this morning Nick got a 24-incher on his first cast before adding a 28, 27 and a schoolie. Other anglers fishing shrimp and clam did nothing.

The forecast is for south winds at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 before increasing to 15-20 with gusts to 25 in the afternoon. Dense fog is likely in the morning, followed by showers.

Sign up at 5 a.m. for tomorrow’s Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament in IBSP

Even those who haven’t registered for the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament an participate for the many valuable prizes simply by showing up at the PIBSP Pavillion at 5 a.m.

It’s also necessary to have the free N.J. marine fishing registration. Visit and follow the directions so you can print out the permit.

The weather looks fishable with light winds and fog early before possible showers.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a slow start to striper fishing today before a mid-day change of tide provided a pick of bass up to a 42-pounder that had to go back. They’ll be back at the stripers in the morning, but will switch to sea bass when that season opens Tuesday, Both morning and afternoon trips are open for registration.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be running Marathon trips from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. by registration on the sea bass opener.

Greg Prestosh reported fog, rain and cold yesterday morning on Raritan Bay, but he and Jim Hancharick caught 19 stripers up to a 34-pounder. See photo above.