Offshore fishing still hot most days

Even with hundreds of boats often in the Triple Wrecks area, the yellowfin tuna fishery has been holding up, though there are a few days when those fish turn off. Meanwhile., the canyon fishing has been the best in decades with lots of yellowfins plus frequent bigeyes and the best showing of albacore in years.

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant has been sold out for months, but they are now adding some dates in October with some of their former captains with their own boats. Call 732 272-4445 for info.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle reported a very good yellowfin trip on Monday with many limits up to 80 pounds and no one shut out –while twice as many tuna were lost. They’ve added another such 18-hour trip that will sail at 11 p.m. Oct. 17.

Miss Belmar Princess picked away at mostly 2-pound blues today with some limit catches.

The Jamaica from Brielle has been doing well om their tuna trips except for Saturday when the yellowfins had “lockjaw”. Yet, the next day 50-70-pounders turned on again. They’ve added another such trip for Sunday Oct. 11. Call 732 528-5014. There will also be limited bonito and bluefish trips at 7 a.m. Thursday and Friday.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro has been doing well with weakfish and other small game in his grass shrimp chum on days he can’t get out offshore for yellowfins with his Hi Flier from Barnegat — or to Barnegat Rudge for little tunny and bonito.

A gale warning is up this evening for south gusts to 30 knots. but by morning that’s down to west at 15-20 with gusts to 30 that should knock down the rough surf.

Will little tunny please surfcasters this fall?

Probably the most exciting fish available to northern surfcasters is the little tunny which normally visits the suds at times during this month and into October. Their appearances are sporadic, and they’re generally chasing very small bait which is hard to duplicate. As a result, they are hard to fool with standard tackle and techniques. Those who specialize in fishing for them eliminate all hardware and tie small metal lures directly to light mono — which may result in cut-offs if blues are around.

Lures are reeled at high speed, and the strikes are hard — followed by the blistering run typical of the tuna clan. Unfortunately, little tunny are the poorest eating of the tunas, and most of the 6-10-pound average fish are released.

I’ve yet to see any little tunny jumping even well out of reach of the surf so far, but like many others I’m always doping to be around when they chase bait within range. A better bet is to wait for an appearance at the mouths of inlets. Frank Huza is holding a little tunny in the photo below, but that one was caught in a much more productive fashion on a boat, It was hooked aboard the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant last week, as noted in yesterday’s blog.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be seeking tunny along with bonito and a possible school bluefin tuna on a limited trip at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow.

At Belmar, the Miss Belmar Princess had a slow start to jigging blues today before mostly small blues turned on. The Golden Eagle had a 14-pounder among the smaller blues yesterday, and also lost what they though was a bluefin tuna, They were on a tuna trip today.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had to make four drops today in order to get into hot porgy action. They were of mixed sizes, but mostly in the 9-9 1/2-inch range.

Capt. Lou Grazioso reported the Triple Wrecks yellowfin tuna run continues, though Friday was a tough one for most boats. Yet, the tuna were hitting everything again yesterday.

Surfcasting conditions improve

Though I didn’t see anything caught this morning in the Sea Girt surf, the conditions for doing so are much improved with high waters at dawn and dusk plus a moderately rough surf that’s normally best for stripers.

Summer has come back, and I switched back to the Aftco shorts I virtually live in all summer. It felt good to once again to stand in the surf that’s still quite mild, though I didn’t see any signs of fish or bait. However, Bob Correll reported that at least one angler hit it right at Bay Head with a 30-inch striper that hit a Zara Spook type plug on his first cast. Though John Bushell Jr. at Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Park had written off the the mullet run for this season. Paul Haertel of the JCAA said he’s still seeing them in the same general area,

Surprisingly. there were no fishing reports on a beautiful day, but I’ll catch up tomorrow.

Frank Huza of Aberdeen said he’s been fishing every Thursday on the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant as that boat concentrates on bonito and little tunny. They had to go 25 miles off to the Mud Hole last Thursday where blue waters provided visibility to 30 feet. In addition to the bonito and little tunny sought, stops at some lobster pot buoys resulted in a few dolphin up to a 7-pound pool winner being jigged as a special party boat treat.

The marine forecast is for south winds at 10-15 knots with possible showers.

Blues & porgies cooperate

The weather was great, and at least some fish cooperated today.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands reported that once again the current ran hard and 10-ounce sinkers were required. Those who held bottom caught lots of porgies.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle reported this week’s exotics trip produced some yellowfin tuna with many others lost, but fishing wasn’t up to par due to incredible boat traffic for a weekday. The Sunday tuna trip sailing time has been changed to 9:30 p.m. in order to provide more daylight fishing time.

Miss Belmar Princess reported perfect conditions for long drifts today as there were limits of blues up to 10 pounds jigged on A-17 and A-27 jigs . One bonito was added.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina reports there are lots of porgies in Shark River, but most are undersized. Blackfishing is very good, and there are more stripers in the surf than usual this early in the fall.

The forecast remains excellent with southeast winds at 5-10 knots. Patchy fog is possible.

Yellowfins still in place

Yellowfin tuna have been in place at the Triple Wrecks area for a long time, and even a stretch of northeast winds didn’t move them.

Lou Grazioso was mating yesterday for Capt. David Goldman on Shore Catch, and reported that fishing was as good as it has been. They had live peanut bunkers which really turned the tuna on. Most of those fish are in the 40-60-pound class — with some up to 80 pounds. In addition to stomachs being full of chunk baits, Lou also found natural forage in the form of sand eels.

New York anglers have their last weekend of fluke fishing as their season ends Wednesday.

NOAA announced that General category bluefin tuna fishing will be closed from Sept. 27-30 before reopening on Oct. 1.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had another good porgy bite today. but there was a very strong current that required 10-ounce sinkers. Anglers are advised to bring rods with enough backbone to handle heavy sinkers. A 4-pound triggerfish took today’s pool. Also at that port, the Prowler returns to bottom fishing this weekend as does the Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.

Bluefish are in the picture for ocean party boats along with the possibility of little tunny and bonito.

Allen Riley got back to the Sandy Hook surf this morning and found ideal conditions with a flat surf. He tried all kinds of lures and had no hits as there also wasn’t any bait in the surf. In talking to regulars there, he found out that’s the way it’s been. As he was leaving, birds started attacking bait well offshore as boaters raced to that action.

Surfcasting along the Monmouth County coast was better during the rough waters, and shallow waters at dawn and dusk haven’t helped.

John Bushell Jr. at Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Parks reports that blues have returned to the local surf, but he declared that the mullet run is over already. They have lots of flash frozen mullet for bait.

Ocean blues turn on again

After having a tough time Wednesday in discolored waters from days of northeast winds, the Golden Eagle from Belmar ran further off into waters clear enough to see fish coming up from 50 feet. After a slow start, they ended up with a :super” bite of blues up to about 10 pounds. They also had some little tunny and two almaco jacks while releasing sea bass. The Golden Eagle will be on a tuna trip tomorrow.

There were a few 3-5-pound blues on poppers in Shark River this morning, though nothing was showing. I released three, and Vinny D’Anton did better. While there I found a pair of fishing pliers left on a rock, and took it for safekeeping. I suspect they belong to a blog reader who is often there before daylight and mentioned having a father in Ft. Myers. Call me at 732 757-5531 in order to arrange transfer of the pliers.

The Jersey Shore Boat Sale & Expo runs from Friday through Sunday at First Energy Park.

The marine forecast is for southwest winds at 5-10 knots in the morning before increasing to 10-15 in the afternoon with gusts to 20. Seas are down to 2 to 3 feet.

Hot porgy bite

Capt. Ron Santee Jr. got out today for his first bottom fishing trip with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands and reported a one drop bite of porgies as everyone loaded up.

The bluefish news wasn’t as good as the Golden Eagle from Belmar found off-color waters and just a pick of blues even though they could see them in the waters. They also released some sea bass and boated a 5-foot “sand shark”. They plan to look further offshore tomorrow.

The marine forecast is for northwest winds at 5-10 knots before going to southwest in the afternoon. The seas are down to 2 to 3 feet.

A real last minute opportunity is a Hudson Canyon trip at 7 a.m. on the Mimi VI from Pt. Pleasant. There are two spots left at $480 each. Call 732 370-2019.

Boating resuming as winds shift

It appears that the stretch of northeast winds has finally shifted to calming directions — though big swells from offshore storms will continue to be a problem.

Small craft warnings remain up through Wednesday with 6-9-foot seas still forecasted for the morning even though the winds will be just 10-15 knots from the west. The seas should drop to 7 feet by late afternoon. The big turnaround is predicted for Thursday with northwest winds at just 5-10 knots changing to southwest in the afternoon asa seas decline to 2 to 3 feet.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar resumes bluefishing Wednesday at 7;30 a.m. They have a 14-hour inshore exotics trip set for 11 p.m. Thursday, and a couple of spots are open.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be seeking bonito and little tunny at 7:30 in the morning.

Alberto Zacchino reports that the winner of the family seasonal fluke contest was his son Derek who boated a 27.5-inch, 7.3-pounder on the family boat from Belmar.

Dave Lilly can’t fish for fluke anymore this season, so he changed targets today by netting peanut bunkers that resulted in seven striper releases up to 30 inches in the very clear waters of Shrewsbury River. He had to move the boat around quite a bit to get into the right spot.

This was the first day of fall, and it felt that way in the morning. — but the evening was like summer again.

West winds coming

There aren’t many fishing reports being posted during the current northeaster, but better days may be coming with a shift to the west..

The marine forecast for Tuesday is north winds at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20. Seas are running up to 9 feet, but there’s a shift to the west at night. By Wednesday morning it should be west at 10-15 with gusts to 20 knots. Though small craft warnings are extended to Thursday afternoon, the seas drop to 4-6 feet by that afternoon.

If you are tired of northeast winds, don’t expect any sympathy from ex-NJ skipper Sal Cursi who reports it’s been howling from that direction for days along Florida’s east coast — along with rain.

The Queen Mary from Pt. Pleasant won’t be sailing Tuesday due to high seas. but they expect to get back to jigging blues on Wednesday.

Point Pleasant Canal was nice and calm this morning, but not very fishy. I only had one hit on a Z Man paddletail, and released a 22-ihch bluefish. Nothing else was caught while I was there.

Fluke season ended too soon

Though the fluke season in N.J. started slowly during the peak of the pandemic, it ended on a high note — but much too soon

Quite a few impressive fluke were caught in the ocean right up to the last day it was possible to fish there. Rich Reed of Stillwater boated the 9-pound, 1-ounce fluke seen below on the Elaine B. II from Highlands on Thursday.

Capt. Ron Santee Jr. of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands was generally pleased with the fluke season, but is looking forward to starting daily porgy fishing on Tuesday.

Bob Matthews of Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina was also happy with the fluke season. He noted that there was a good bite of kingfish and blowfish today in Shark River Inlet, along with blackfish for those using green crabs.

Stripers are becoming more active in the surf, and there are both snappers and small blues in Shark River.

I had urged the ASMFC and Mid-Atlantic Council to loosen fluke regs early in the season as it seemed like a sure thing that the quota wouldn’t be filled due to the pandemic. However, they didn’t even extend the season.

The small craft warning has been extended to Tuesday afternoon. Tomorrow’s forecast is for more northeast at 15-20 knots and 6-9-foot seas.

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