The early bird got the worm

Dave Lilly didn’t take any chances with weekend crowds and left in the dark from Highlands to fish for stripers down the beach. He came across bass on top from Sandy Hook on down, and had non-stop action for his crew on everything they cast. The only problem was that the bass were mostly around 27 inches for his anglers except for his son Jeremy who was casting the same lures to catch 30-inch and better bass. The action turned off as the current slowed, and Lilly passed the Fishermen and Sea Tiger II from Atlantic Highlands on their way out while he was returning with a limit. Lilly said his hands were so cold he didn’t fish, but it was getting warmer when the Fishermen got down the beach. Capt. Ron Santee said the bass turned on again after the current started running and everyone caught lots of fish in mild and calm conditions.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar also reported a boat limit. They start offshore giant sea bass trips next Saturday.

Bob Correll said there was again no surf striper life at Bay Head, but noted that the fleet coming out of the inlet turned south instead of north where the action has been.

Chuck Many as usual did his own thing with Tyman from Highlands as follows:

“Bob Bowden and I decided we were putting the blinders on, as we turned the hook and saw millions of birds over busting fish. We wanted to see if the jumbos were still around. Although that bird play fishing has been awesome, I will trade a 100 of those slot fish for a 40 pound one any day. As is usual, not a scratch on the screen, but put the eels out and within 10 minutes we had a rod double. Had a really good bite for about an hour with fish from the upper 20’s to 44 pounds. Great way to end my fall season up here. Time to head south and change jumbo bass in the Chesapeake and Reds in Hilton Head. Back in April!” See photos below,

Good news for surfcasters came from Mike Monte, who found schoolies in the Monmouth County surf that were feeding on sand eels and responded to the Tsunami 6-inch Sand Eel. That bait should hold the bass after most head south when the peanut bunkers leave.

A small craft warning goes up Sunday afternoon before switching to a gale watch in the evening. The forecast is for southwest winds at 15 knots with gusts to 20 before going to south at 20-25 with gusts to 30 in the afternoon. Rain is possible both in the morning and afternoon.

Lots of happy striper anglers

The Thanksgiving Holiday period has been working out very well for striped bass fishermen so far.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Fishermen stated out with white water action in shallow water before it turned to a pick the rest of the day as the current was too fast. The Sea Tiger II didn’t have to worry about getting back early on its Thanksgiving trip as they were limited on stripers by 9:30.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had stripers on top this morning, and then picked the rest of the day as most went home with a bass while some had both a keeper and a slot.

A small craft advisory is up until 6 before it turns to a gale warning late tonight. The Saturday forecast is for west wjnds at 15-20 knots plus gusts to 30.

Get to party boats early on Friday

Black Friday has become the busiest party boat day of the tear as workers take advantage of a weekday off without realizing almost everyone else is also off tomorrow. As a result, it’s important to arrive at least an hour early as skippers will leave early as they fill up

A small craft warning is up all day, as winds will be southwest at 15-20 knots with gusts to 25. Showers are likely in the morning. Stripers have been so abundant that may not matter. Private boaters should consider trolling bunker spoons and mojos just inside the 3-mile limit if conditions aren’t suitable for spotting stripers to jig.

Good luck!

Striper fishing still wild

Striped bass bit all day for anglers on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands, but Capt. Ron Santee said it was really wild during the last 45 minutes with fish breaking all around the boat –“and they were really hungry!” A 30-pounder won the pool, and there was also a 45-inch release. Santee isn’t fishing on Thanksgiving.

At Belmar, Capt. Alan Shinn reported the Royal Miss Belmar was limited with bass soon after its 6 a.m. departure, and Miss Belmar Princess had similar results.

The Big Mohawk had limit striper catches the previous day as they wound up that season before switching to blackfish with the Thanksgiving Day trip from 6:30 to 2:30.

Vinny D’Anton said striper fishing in the Monmouth County surf was just a pick in the morning, though Frank Manzi caught a 30-incher. Vinny moved to the north in early afternoon to get into a better bite of mostly 22-inch class bass. He’s been doing best with “walk the dog” surface lures.

The forecast is for northeast at just 5-10 knots before going southeast in the afternoon.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Great weather for stripers

Striper fishing is back in mid-season form after the very strong winds, and tomorrow’s weather sounds perfect with northwest winds at just 10-15 knots.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had lots of anglers with over 10 bass during an all-day bite. Several jumbos were among the releases. They will not be sailing on Thanksgiving.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had bass surfacing alongside, and they hit shads and poppers without hesitation as boat limits were filled. The Golden Eagle will fish on Thanksgiving from 6 a.m. to 12:30.

Stripers back after gale

It literally “blew a gale” yesterday, and party boats that did fish in NY/NJ Bight had a hard time finding stripers that would hit lures even though many were marked. The only report received today was a positive, with Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands getting into good numbers of keepers and slots plus even a few “overs”. Shads were the best producer.

The Fishermen will not be sailing on Thanksgiving, but the Sea Tiger II from that port will run a half-day striper trip.

Capt. Vinny Vetere is available tomorrow with his Katfish from Great Kills before shutting down until December in order to make a trip to the Caribbean. Call him at 917 693-8908.

A gale warning was posted at 4 p.m. for 35-knot southwest winds through late tonight. The morning forecast is for northwest at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20 before dropping to west at 5-10 in the afternoon.

Doug Rusch’s Fin Fun from Brielle at dawn yesterday

An off-day for stripers

A cold west wind is usually good for striped bass at this time of year. but that didn’t seem to be the case today.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had fine striper fishing with lots of topwater action yesterday. but the fish they located today didn’t want to hit and only a few were caught.

Vinny D’Anton reported that he only got into one 15-minute flurry of stripers yesterday afternoon — but nothing this morning in the Monmouth County surf even though schools of peanut bunkers were present. He got the same reports from his friends.

Bob Correll checked the Bay Head surf, and also didn’t see a fish caught despite the good surfcasting conditions with peanut bunkers available.

The forecast continues to be favorable after a gale warning through late tonight which should ensure a flat surf with a west wind dropping to 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20 by morning. There will be a shift to southwest at 20-25 knots in the afternoon.

Tony Arcabscio has found white and yellow to be the most popular colors in his Tony Maja Mojos, so he’s now added a combination of those colors.

Hard west winds in forecast

A small craft warning is up from late tonight through Sunday evening. West winds in the morning at 25-30 knots plus gusts to 35 are fine for NJ surfcasters, but will force boaters to fish very close to the beach — just as Capt. Dave DeGennaro did this morning with his Hi Flier from Barnegat. He had two hours of no fish and 20 miles of running north before getting into explosions of school stripers which produced great popper action. See photo below.

Capt. Ron Santee had to work harder to put together a catch on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands before it got really nasty on the change of tide. With even more wind and temperatures in the thirties, he’s decided to take a pass tomorrow.

Capt. Alan Shinn said Royal Miss Belmar went out at 6 and had a boat limit of stripers by 10. It took a few drifts to get them turned on even though there were lots of marks. The first two finback whales of the season were spotted on their whale watching trip. Miss Belmar Princess had a tougher time getting the stripers.going, but got into them eventually and stayed out later.

Jersey surfcasters into stripers chasing peanut bunkers

Though boat fishing for stripers has been almost a sure thing recently, surfcasters have had mixed results until this week. The fall migratory run now appears to be well underway with quantities of peanut bunkers along the beaches to hold them inshore.

Vinny D’Anton moved further south in Monmouth County today to get into bass on poppers before they got fussy for a while. He got their attention back with an SP Minnow before they started hitting anything by early afternoon — when he even caught them on a Tsunami Sand Eel despite the lack of that bait in the surf so far. Best of all, the bass are large schoolies with a few lunkers mixed in . Vinny released one that measured just short of 41 inches.

The location changed, but striper fishing was red hot again on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. It was the ocean yesterday, but results were the same in the bay today. The high hook caught 25 bass, and a 36-incher won the pool. Everyone went home with a keeper and a slot Shads worked best.

Capt. Alan Shinn reported an early striper limit on Miss Belmar Princess, followed by plenty of catch and release.

Water Proof had a boat limit of blackfish yesterday by 9:30a.m.

Capt. Dave DeGennaro has a rare open weekend on Hi Flier from Barnegat from Saturday through Monday with which to take advantage of west winds providing calm seas under the beach. Smaller stripers are now abundant enough to almost assure some keepers rather than just releasing big bass. Call him at 732 330-5674.

A small craft advisory is up through Saturday morning with west gusts to 30 knots, but that’s down to 15 knots with gusts to 20 by morning. Ideal for surfcasting, and fine for boaters close to the beach!

Tom Lynch of Angry Fish Gallery in Point Pleasant took this shot of John Tidemann landing a school striper in the Jersey surf this week

Striper fishing in west wind as good as it gets

Though ocean stripers were “turned off” a couple of days ago. it was an entirely different story in NY/NJ Bight today.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported an “epic” day as follows:

We had an early start with a crazy amount of fish on top in numerous areas with STRIPERS working on peanut bunkers. There was whitewater everywhere with so many piles of fish you didn’t know which one to go to along with top to bottom readings!! The fish were hooked up all around the boat and everyone had their KEEPER along with their SLOT FISH. It was outstanding fishing and a great day was had by all on board the Golden Eagle.

Capt. Ron Santee said west is best for stripers as it blew a steady 25 knots all day with non-stop action on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. The pool bass was a 36-incher by a fare who caught 18.

Small raft warnings are up through Friday afternoon, but just like today with 15-20 knots plus gusts to 25. Anglers should be set up with a sure thing as long as they dress warm and can fish “out of the wind” close to the protection of shore.

The N.J. tautog bag limit is up to five per day, but this giant 18.8-pounder was caught by John Johanson on the Fish Bound from Ocean City, Md. earlier this week. It was 31 3/4 inches long.