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Great fishing weather for Friday

If you can go fishing Friday, by all means do so. The forecast is just about perfect for anything at NW 5-10 knots — and milder.

I didn’t find any reports from striper boats today, but everything that floats should be out tomorrow. The Big Mohawk from Belmar had good blackfish action today.

If anything, the surf may be too calm for a good bite. The NW was still blowing hard this morning and there was little swell left. As I was doing to the Folsom Fishing Tackle Trade Show in Atlantic City, I had a very short period to fish and only got into a pick of small  bass at Point Pleasant, especially after hooking a large skate in the tail. and had to leave early.

Steve Mirande said he caught a half-dozen small bass there before to Bay Head where he caught more before being surprised by a 30-inch striper. Bob Correll walked from Bay Head to Point Pleasant and released seven school bass.

What a difference a day makes II

Yesterday’s blog detailed now Monday’s hot school striper bite+ turned into a complete dud the next morning after a late night storm set up a large swell and discolored the surf. That change of fortune went the other way this morning as the west wind did its job overnight and there was a fairly calm and clean surf. I was back at Point Pleasant Beach, but there were similar reports to the north.

There were some birds picking, and I saw an occasional splash — but the bass were fussy at first and all my hits were coming so close to shore that I did best by casting sideways. The Run-Off silver sand eel jig was ignored at that time, with all the bass hitting a Castaways teaser. After a while the standard casting technique payed off as I released 17 bass from about 18 to 24 inches by the time I left at 9. I hadn’t had a doubleheader this fall, but at one point got them on two successive casts. Jim Louro of Spring Lake fished in Belmar where there was similar action and he released over 20 bass. All of these bass appear to be stuffed with sand eels.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported that just as further north there was a big drop-off  on Tuesday due to dungy waters after the hot bite on Monday. The waters there were clearing this morning and bass were biting again.

There were no boat reports today, and the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands is taking a pass tomorrow as winds remain 10-15 knots NW — but with gusts to 30. By Friday there’s a big change to light NW at 5-10 knots –and everyone should be sailing.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle will wait for Friday before resuming striper jigging, but the Big Mohawk is sailing at 7 tomorrow morning for blackfish as they expect winds to diminish during the morning.

The Big Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing to the far offshore wrecks for jumbo sea bass at 11 p.m. Thursday. Reservations can be made by calling 732 528-5014. Cold temperatures ashore aren’t a problem as the water temperatures out there are much higher and gloves may not be needed. Pollock often win the pool on those trips.

Jamaica pollock












As good as the surfcasting was Monday morning at Point Pleasant Beach, it was just that bad this morning despite the usually favorable west wind

Yesterday afternoon’s stormy weather drove out the green water and left stained waters with a large swell. It was still possible to get a cast out to what looked like fishable waters, and I soon hooked up. However, the fish wasn’t fighting and I figured it was a skate — which it was. Since it was hooked in the head with the Run-Off silver sand eel jig I assume it made a pass at the lure. The next cast resulted in a similar hit, but the skate came off in the rough wash and I never had another touch.

There were anglers both north and south of me, but I never saw a fish caught before the beach started emptying out. The west winds predicted for the week should knock down the swell and clear the waters. The stripers I caught Monday were round-bellied from all the sand eels in the surf. I even snagged a small sand eel yesterday.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle called Monday’s surfcasting from there to d Island Beach State Park the best of the fall.  Betty & Nick’s had a 24-pound bass weighed in on the 24th by John O’Toole who caught it in Brick.

There were no boat reports today.  The forecast is west 20-25 mph winds in the morning increasing to 25-30 in the afternoon and gusting to 35.

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman;s Den in Belmar Marina, reports the blackfish boats have been doing well when they get out. Winter flounder fishing off the docks is good when the waters are clear. It’s been mostly short stripers in the surf as illustrated by last week’s Shark River Anglers Club Tournament that was won by a 12-pound striper for the Asbury Park Fishing Club over an 8 1/4-pounder for the host club. Five clubs fished from shore for five days and nights to come up with those two keepers.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar has  cancelled their Wednesday striper trip.

A surf bass bite at last

Sometimes it’s best not to assume too much. After seeing yesterday’s big swell and dirty water that created a practically unfishable surf at Point Pleasant Beach, I was ready to sleep in this morning figuring the predicted strong SE wind would make it even worse. Fortunately, my nephew Bob Correll called to say he had seen birds dipping in Bay Head when he walked his dogs — and that the surf was fishable.

I decided to look at Point Pleasant first, and saw the same thing. To my amazement, the rough surf was all green water and looking perfect. By the time I parked and got into warders the birds were gone, but about 10 anglers had appeared along the length of the beach. This is the time of year when that company is welcomed as all those lines in the water may reveal the presence of unseen fish. Everyone was catching school stripers, and I did the same as soon as I switched to a Run-Off silver sand eel jig customized by Joe Melillo of Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant with the white hair on the hook colored red. Decent-sized schoolies from 18 to 23 inches were hooked up almost every cast toward the end of the cast. Indeed, only one hit was missed and several bass were hooked before I had even turned the handle. Only one bass was hooked close in, and just three of the 12 I released before the beach went dead were on the Castaways teaser rather than the metal. I did see one bass released that looked to be about 30 inches. Everyone took a pounding in the heavy wash that made landing and releasing fish difficult, but there were no complaints.

It was a good thing I stopped at Point Pleasant because when Bob went back to Bay Head with his tackle there were no fish where the birds had been working minutes earlier.

I would have liked to return to the surf this afternoon, but by that time the wind was howling and rain beating on the house — and I decided to hold with my dozen bass for the day.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc hadn’t cancelled his trip with the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands last night, and some anglers drove distances to give it a try. Therefore he sailed into snotty seas which were still fishable in the morning. The same spot that had payed off Sunday produced school stripers again, but nothing to take home. Rob said he was the only “nut” out there, but they had some action and retuned by 12:30 before the tide turned and it would have become much worse.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant didn’t sail, and noted that though Sunday’s weather was fine there was little striper action on jigs as had been the case Saturday. They plan to sail on Wednesday.

Gale warnings have been posted through Tuesday afternoon for gusts to 40 knots, but it’s supposed to be west 25-30 knots with gusts to 45 in the morning. By Wednesday it’s predicted to be west 20-25 with gusts to 35 — while a move to NW on Thursday drops the wind to 15-20. Friday looks great with 5-10 west.

Keegan Rothman of Northfield has more fishing accomplishments at 12 than most adults in a lifetime of fishing. His latest was on Nov. 23 when he caught a blackfish of 13.3 pounds while fishing with his father Dan on a wreck off northern Brigantine after waiting for that tog to move off the wreckage it was snagged in after 10 minutes. Like all of their tog over 8 pounds, this 28 1/2-incher was released — though after first being weighed at Hooked Up Tackle in Egg Harbor Township.

Ironically, that hugekeegan blackfish 13.3 lb 11 23 18__ 6 (1)blackfish wasn’t even a personal record for Keegan as he won the Beach N Boat Tournament a few years ago with a 13.97-pounder.

Huge swell from late night storm hurt fishing

Capt. Rob Semkewyc called the late Saturday night storm  a mini northeaster, and that’s what it sounded like when it blew through. Early this morning I was shocked to see the previously fishable surf turned to big swells and dirty waters.

Rob said that hurt the good jigging he’d had Saturday on his  Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. There were no birds working , but one move provided a shot of good school stripers action even though there were only a few to take home. He’ll be checking out the weather in the morning but it doesn’t look good with SE wind and rain.

The Fishermen from that port had a similar report, and has cancelled for Monday. The Golden Eagle from Belmar saw stripers, but only caught some shorts in the dirty waters.

The Big Jamaica from Brielle had an excellent Saturday trip to far offshore wrecks which produced many limits of jumbo sea bass plus some porgies. Lenny Giordano of Ridley Park, Pa. won the pool with a 25-pound pollock and also had a sea bass limit plus 20 porgies.     The Jamaica will be fish fishing those wrecks several times a week. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

The marine forecast is for SE 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 in the morning picking up to 20-25 in the afternoon with gusts to 35 as gale warnings are posted. There’s a chance of rain early — and more later.



Back to NW on Sunday

After some good fishing weather today, the southeast wind picked up with rain. but will quickly shift to northwest by morning and get gusty. That will be fishable for some. but the Big Mohawk from Belmar has cancelled.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc had good action with short bass on his Sea Hunter. There were also some keepers and slots, but the bite died when the SE started blowing hard at 12:30. He couldn’t get on the bigger bass of the day before — possibly due to all the boat traffic.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported seeing lots of bass though they didn’t bite well and there was only a pick.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant got into lots of jigging action with short stripers while adding some keepers and slots.

I didn’t get any hot surf reports today, though Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno had a pick of school bass on metal in Island Beach State Park.

I tried the Manasquan surf early and had ideal conditions but not a sign of fish or bait. Bob Correll said there were lots of anglers early in the Bay Head surf, but nothing was caught.

Calm weather produced stripers for boaters

Calm weather made fishing bearable for boaters this morning, and striper fishing seemed to be good for them.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a light crowd for Black Friday on his Sea Hunter, but they ended up with a boat limit of bass over 28 inches plus slots and shorts. Capt. Ron Santee had good striper action on the Fishermen and noted that red-tailed jigs were most effective. He emphasized that anglers must turn the handle in this fishery rather than just bouncing bottom with jigs.  My usual technique is to hit bottom, give a good bounce like a sand eel coming out of the sand — and then retrieve to about 1/3 of the way to the surface before pausing. A lot of hits come on the pause. Then drop down and do it again.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a good mixed jigging catch of short, slot and keeper stripers plus some blues.

Capt. Stan Zagleski said blackfishing was picky on his Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands, but those who worked at it did well.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will be sailing open for tog at 7 a.m. Call 732 370=8019 for reservations at $75.

The Big Jamaica is sailing from Brielle at 11 p.m. for jumbo sea bass on far offshore wrecks. There are some spots open. Call 732 528-5014. They’ll be striper fishing Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

I was armed with hand warmers this morning, but didn’t see any of the birds dipping on tiny bait at Point Pleasant Beach — and didn’t brave the cold as anglers didn’t seem to be doing anything. I made a brief try at sun-down in “balmy” 32 degree temperatures and released a small bass on an old J&J lead quid with a swiveling green tube. That  was the only one I saw caught on the beach,

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno found a pick of school stripers in the Seaside surf during the day, and saw a few 30-inch bass caught from among them.




hooked a couple of small blues recently in the Point Pleasant surf.






















Milder & calmer Friday

After a brutal dawn today, it looks like it may be fishable early Friday and certainly during the day as small craft warnings are lowered.  The forecast is for NE 5-10 knots with gusts to 20. For Saturday it’s south 10-15 before going to SE 25 knots in the afternoon.

There were no reports from today, but it seems that every Thanksgiving there’s a striper blitz on the beach somewhere when almost everyone is involved in family dinners.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing at 11 p.m. Friday for jumbo sea bass on far offshore wrecks. There’s room on that trip, and reservations can be made by calling 732 528-5014. Wednesday’s trip was good, with some limits of sea bass and some porgies, cod, pollock, hake and ling. The pool went to Joe Lorenzo of Bergenfield with a 12-pound cod — and Alberto Alponte from Brooklyn had a giant 7.5-pound sea bass.


Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone is enjoying a fine Thanksgiving meal in a warm house — especially if you went out into this morning’s brutal cold to fish.

I used to be able to fish in brutal weather, but this morning was too much for this 82-year-old. When I arrived at Point Pleasant Beach there were birds dipping, and a young angler said he saw fish rolling — but they wouldn’t hit anything.

After a few casts I was convinced and only saw very small swirls and tiny bait spraying. I might have been willing to sacrifice a couple of fingers to frostbite if there were big swirls, but retreated to the car where it took 10 minutes to warm my hands up enough to drive.

Bob Correll found the same thing at Bay Head and caught the largest hickory shad he’s seen before racing home to run hot water over frozen hands.

I’ll have another blog tonight after the holiday celebrations. Black Friday is looking much more fishable.









More wind & cold to fish through on Thanksgiving

Only rugged anglers need apply for the Thanksgiving blast of cold NW wind from an Artic front pushing through. The morning brings 20-25 knot winds with gusts to 35, and there’s a gale warning for the afternoon when most of us will be dining on turkey in warm homes.

Several party boats had scheduled early Thanksgiving striper trips, but some have cancelled. Ne sure to check with skippers before coming down.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing their holiday trip from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. as Capt. Howard Bogan says they’ll be jigging for stripers within three miles of the shore which will reduce the waves.

Just about everyone will be sailing on Black Friday, when the forecast is for 5-10 knot NE winds with gusts to 20.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc said he was finding mostly short stripers until he took a ride with his Sea Hunter that payed off in bigger bass on jigs plus a cod.

Capt. Ron Santee also found mostly shorts early and was hampered by a 3 knot current. He ended up getting bigger bass in deeper waters with jigs bounced off bottom. Those larger bass ran up to 15 pounds and had bunker in their stomachs rather than the sand eels which small bass have been feeding on.

The Golden Eagle from Belmat started finding mized size stripers north of Shark River Inlet and continued following them north all day. They have cancelled their Thanksgiving trip.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant caught bass up to 20 pounds on jigs throughout the day.

Capt. Stan Zagleski of the Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands said blackfishing was slow last weekend, but bounced back Monday. He’s sailing daily at 7 a.m.

Frank Manzi and I started surfcasting this morning at Spring Lake where the surf was flat and there was no sign of fish or bait. A move well to the north was required for Frank to get into short bass at Monmouth Beach on teasers while fishing with Vinny D’Anton who also picked on metal. Jim Louro got a surprise among all the shorts there when he landed a keeper.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park weighed a 37-inch, 16.8-pound striper caught on bunker in IBSP by Alex Gelpke. They were getting reports of mostly short bass throughout the day, but not everyone is catching.