N.J. sea bass opens Friday

There will be lots of activity over inshore wrecks and reefs off the Jersey Shore tomorrow as New Jersey’s sea bass season reopens from Oct. 7 to 26 with a limit of 10 at a 13-inch minimum.

The forecast is good, with southwest winds at 10-15 knots which carry over to Saturday. The party boat fleet will be out in force, but call your favorite skipper before arriving at the normal sailing time as many have scheduled Marathon trips by reservation and will be long gone.

Capt. Frank Massaria got in a striped bass trip today which resulted in a full boat limit of schoolies on Vitamin Sea from Keyport. He has availability for that live bait fishing on the weekend. Call 917 439-6448.

The Barrier Islands Beach Brawl is underway, and surf conditions should be back in good shape after the northeaster. Anglers are hoping for the first big push of mullet down the beach — and the stripers and blues which should be on them.

Little tunny are still in the picture. Indeed, the famed saltwater flyfishing author Angelo Peloso was into pods of them this morning on the south shore of Long Island — though even he couldn’t get a hit from those great game fish which can be impossibly fussy when they are on tiny bait.

A new leader in the Martha’s Vinyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby is a 17.16-pound blue beached by Peter Hess while fishing with his 92-year-old father.

Fishing activity resumes tomorrow

Boaters in NY/NJ Bight have been out of business due to the northeaster for several days, but the small craft advisory is finally coming down – and the weekend looks good.

Nick Honachefsky reports “The surf looks fantastic for the Barrier Island Beach Brawl this weekend! NW 2 to 4 ft 10 to 15 knots thanks to all who have entered. It’s gonna be a great time. Last chance to enter. See you Friday! Www.saltwaterunderground.com.”

The forecast is calming northwest winds at 5-10 knots switching to west in the afternoon as seas drop to 3 feet.

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Nick Honachefsky

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands resumes porgy fishing Friday from Atlantic Highlands, while the Big Mohawk begins fall bottom fishing from Belmar.

Yellowfin tuna fishing was very good just before the storm. The 9/30 canyon trip of the Jamaica from Brielle produced a boat limit of yellowfins up to 80 pounds as the fish were boiling on the surface and hitting a variety of baits and lures. Capt. Dale Steinert noted that butterfish worked better than the live squid jigged under the lights at night which are usually the prime bait. The Jamaica has room on several upcoming canyon trips. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Capt. John McMurry reports his last few tuna trips produced wild yellowfin action in seas that were barely fishable for 100-pounders.

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Surf looks fantastic for the Barrier Island Beach Brawl this weekend! NW 2 to 4 ft 10 to 15 knots thanks to all who have entered. It’s gonna be a great time. Last chance to enter. See you Friday! Www.saltwaterunderground.com.

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11Nick Honachefsky and 10 others

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Surf looks fantastic for the Barrier Island Beach Brawl this weekend! NW 2 to 4 ft 10 to 15 knots thanks to all who have entered. It’s gonna be a great time. Last chance to enter. See you Friday! Www.saltwaterunderground.com.

May be an image of 1 person

11Nick Honachefsky and 10 others

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Surf looks fantastic for the Barrier Island Beach Brawl this weekend! NW 2 to 4 ft 10 to 15 knots thanks to all who have entered. It’s gonna be a great time. Last chance to enter. See you Friday! Www.saltwaterunderground.com.

May be an image of 1 person

11Nick Honachefsky and 10 others

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Surf looks fantastic for the Barrier Island Beach Brawl this weekend! NW 2 to 4 ft 10 to 15 knots thanks to all who have entered. It’s gonna be a great time. Last chance to enter. See you Friday! Www.saltwaterunderground.com.

May be an image of 1 person

11Nick Honachefsky and 10 others

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Last call for the Beach Brawl

The weather should improve for the Barrier Islands Beach Brawl, for which entries close tonight. Visit saltwaterunderground.com to sign up for that fun tournament offering so many prizes that you can hardly avoid not coming out ahead.

Though the gale waring is up until midnight, there will be gradual improvement tomorrow afternoon. The morning forecast is for northeast winds at 15-20 knots with gusts to 35.

Could there be a lunker in those waves?

The striped bass of a lifetime could be feeding in surf that’s almost impossible to fish in, but be very careful as the backwash from waves hitting northern beaches is formidable and can sweep you off your feet in an instant.

This shot by the great photographer Mike Laptew looks enticing, though any fish which may be hooked would have to worked in close enough to have it cast up on the beach from the top of a wave. You’re welcome to fish in my spot!

The gale warning extends to Tuesday afternoon, with northeast winds at 25-30 knots plus gusts to 35 and 9-12-foot seas. Showers are likely.

As this storm is expected to continue until Wednesday night, Capt. Ron Santee won’t be returning to porgy fishing until Friday with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands.

Tank Matraxia sent along this shot of a jumping fish that a relative took in Jupiter, Florida. If it was from the north, I’d say it’s of a bluefin tuna since they often show close to shore. However, bluefins are rare that far south — and blackfins are both smaller and offshore schooling fish. Any ideas?

Terrible weather continues

The continuing northeast blast is not only killing fishing opportunities in NY/NJ Bight, but may even result in coastal flooding before it starts dropping off Wednesday night. A gale warning is up, and the forecast is for northeast winds at 25-35 knots plus 9-12-foot seas and rain.

That will delay Mike Monte’s return to NJ, but he’s also having fun in Nantucket with a great run of little tunny in the surf.

Though Ian was a problem in Key West, Capt. Greg Mercurio reports the Yankee Capts came thtough intact.

Ian blew, but we prevailed in Ft. Myers

Though the hurricane came ashore near us in Ft. Myers, Kathy and I hunkered down to wait it out. The winds blasting our hurricane shutters were fierce, but there didn’t seem to be much of the predicted rain. Indeed, when we emerged in the morning there wasn’t even a puddle on the roads. Some trees were uprooted, but the ponds didn’t flood. Since our home is miles inland of the Gulf, we didn’t have to worry about the tidal surge which is what caused most of the deaths and destruction.

After the power went out, I was unable to blog. Fortunately, that was restored this morning. Thanks to all those who reached out to me after hearing about the almost complete destruction of nearby Ft. Myers Beach.

Anglers in NY/NJ Bight are dealing with what’s left of the storm today, and that will make fishing difficult until at least Wednesday night. Small craft warnings advance to a gale warning for Sunday with 25-30-knot northeast winds plus rain.

Weakfish in Barnegat Bay

Very little has been heard about weakfish so far this year, but Capt. Dave DeGennaro has some better news about their presence for customers on Hi Flier out of Barnegat.

The key to success is chumming with live grass shrimp and using very light spinning tackle. Many other species are also caught in those chum lines, including small blues, the young of tropical fish, fluke and lots of blowfish. The water temperature. has dropped from 71.5 degrees to 63 degrees in just a week. Those bay trips are available during the week, while Dave tries to get out for tuna on weekends if the forecasts are favorable.

Hi Flier weakfish

The forecast is for north winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 25.

Vinny D’Anton was surprised this morning to find no life in the Monmouth County surf that had been producing a pick of small stripers. Furthermore, every surfcaster he contacted had the same story.

Hurricane Ian hasn’t hit in Ft. Myers as yet, but I’m getting this out early to avoid any power outage.

Hot blue fishing

There seems to be an old-fashioned bluefish blitz going on in NY/NJ Bight, with limit catches of bigger yelloweyes becoming common.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported very good Saturday night action, but Sunday was even better as the blues were all “gaffers” in the 8-12-pound class. Super fishing for smaller blues continued today with limits for all plus sea bass that had to be released. Jigs were best, but bait is also working well. That boat has a special trip set for Thursday when the focus will be on the little tunny and bonito which haven’t been abundant among the blues so far.

A small craft advisory expires this evening. Tuesday’s forecast is for west winds at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20.

With Hurricane Ian bearing down on southwest Florida, I don’t know how long the internet will last in Ft. Myers over the next few days.

Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant took advantage of a blowout day to drive down to Minnescott Beach, North Carolina to join a friend in catching husky red drum.

Last minute opportunities

It’s getting late, but you can beat the deadline for the IGFA Permit Invitational Auction which closes at 6 p.m. Get on the IGFA website and you might find a great deal on tackle, art, fishing trips, etc.

Due to a canyon trip cancellation, Mimi VI from Point Pleasant has room on the morning trip for fluke — and another Tuesday (also at 6:30) for stripers and blues before finishing with bottom fishing. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands reported very good jumbo porgy fishing today until the wind and current changed. Since that area won’t be fishable in a south wind, tomorrow’s trip is cancelled — but Tuesday is a go. A 3 1/2-pound fluke won the pool.

A small craft advisory is up through Monday evening. The morning forecast is for southwest at 15-20 knots.

Vinny D’Anton got a brief shot at a mullet school in the Monmouth County surf this morning a caught a legal bass on his Chug Bug. Frank Manzi came up with a 20-inch fluke.

Ocean settles — porgies biting

Though Ian is coming, Fiona didn’t bother mariners too much.

Jay Mann’s photo of yesterday’s surf at LBI wasn’t duplicated today as swells from Hurricane Fiona settled quickly. Vinny D’Anton reported it was very fishable at Spring Lake, and a 30-inch striper hit his Super Striper popper. Some mullet schools are being spotted, but so far there haven’t been any bass on them. Vinny also tried sand fleas briefly without any success.

Fluke pro Dave Lilly turned his attention to striped bass today and caught them in N.Y. Harbor on live eels — though all were too big to keep. Lilly noted that there are hardly any boats fishing even in ideal weather.

A small craft advisory is up to late Saturday even though the forecast is for only southwest at 10-15 knots by morning before going south at 15-20 in the afternoon with showers.

Capt. Ron Santee had a charter out today on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands and reported very good action with large porgies plus a few triggerfish. He’ll be running open again in the morning.

Chuck Many is catching red drum in S.C. This previously used shot popped up when I tried to run a new one.