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Red drum reported from surf

The first red drum report I’ve received from above South Jersey this year came from Betty & Nick’s Tackle in Seaside Park this morning. John Bushell noted that angler Kevin Deiter released a 33-inch red drum (probably in Island Beach State Park) while also catching small stripers that were chasing rainfish up on the beach. Though there were a few red drum reported from the northern NJ Shore last year (including my two puppy drum in two days at Pt. Pleasant Canal), none were anywhere near 33 inches

There was also another first today as Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina reported winter flounder are already being caught off the docks there. One angler had a limit today, and a couple of 14-inchers were caught recently. Matthews noted that some legal stripers are being caught in the surf at night, while little tunny have surfcasters running to catch up with them some days.

I have yet to be anywhere on shore when little tunny make a showing, and stripers were just as disrespectful of my efforts this morning. The waters at Spring Lake and Manasquan were beautiful and there was just a light swell, but I only raised one fish to my popper.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc returned to the same area where he limited on stripers Friday with his Sea Hunter out of Atlantic Highlands, but the tide was slack. He waited and waited, but there was never enough current. A move to another spot wasn’t much of an improvement in the drift, but a few large stripers were caught.

Also at that port, Capt. Ron Santee reported a one drop day of porgy fishing along with some sea bass and a few blackfish on the Fishermen.

The Bolden Eagle from Belmar went offshore for blues  and read them — but they wouldn’t come up. They did pick at some 2-to-5-pounders along with porgies, sea bass and a jack on jigs.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported good mixed bag bottom fishing with porgies, sea bass, blackfish and even triggerfish.

The Big Jamaica has a few spots open for Tuesday’s 7 a.m. canyon trip. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations. Tuna fishing was tough on trips over the weekend, but loads of dolphin were boated. A big swordfish and several tuna were lost Saturday night.

Fishing conditions look good for the morning with only a 10-15 mph SW wind early before some gusts to 25 late in the day. Friday is looking great with a 5-10 mph north wind, but there’s a forecast of 20-to-25-mph east winds on Saturday that should bring migrating stripers heading toward NJ under diving birds.

A little less NW tomorrow

Though there should be a more fishable NW eind tomorrow, it appears that we’re in for several more days of that wind direction with gusts to deal with. We’re in what woild be a more normal November syarem rather than the usual changeable October situation ibckuding northeasters that would be an inconvenience for a day before bringing the migearatory stripers yo NY/NJ Bight under thousands of diving birds.

I was surprised any boats ventured offshore in today’s gale force NW winds, but the Golden Eagle from Belmar made the trip to find lots of fish around the boat through they were very fussy. They ended up with a catch of small blues plus a few little tunny and bonito,

There also were few shore reports. though surfcasters are enjoying the wind direction. I fished Point Pleasant Canal again and managed one small striper on the incoming tide before a 12-inch fluke hit the same Z Man 6-inch Swimmereez oaddletail jig on the slack. That had been when I caught stripers the previous two days, but there were no hits this morning.

Joe Melillo weighed in a couple of bigger bass jigged in the canal over the weekend. The scales at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant recorded 21 1/2 pounds for Ken Reed of Pt. Pleasant, and 21 pounds for Joe Spenelle of Jackson; Melillo noted that canal blackfishing has been very good on green crabs.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported they weighed a couple of bigger blues up to 6.3 pounds from the surf on poppers among all the small blues feeding on abundant bait/ The water temperature there is down to 60.3 degrees.

Gale force winds predicted for Sunday

With NW gales predicted for Sunday, those planning on boating in the ocean should check with skippers before making the trip.  Surfcasters will be able to fish with the wind at their back.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar managed a good bluefish catch despite today’s rough seas.  Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant reports good canal fishing on jigs, and I used the Z Man Swimmereez  this morning to release three school stripers plus a 5-pound blue.  Blackfishing is also very good there. I’ll have more details in tomorrow’s blog.

















































Striper migration to west may be starting

Water temperatures are falling,and the first solid signs of a coastal migration to the west were seen today. Capt. Rob Semkewyc didn’t have enough people to sail his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands – but went anyway. That was a good deal for those anglers as the boat kept all the bass allowed — and they were from 17 to 28 pounds. Unfortunately, the more modest west wind we were looking for only lasted for the first day of the weekend.  The Sea Hunter won’t be sailing into the strong west winds predicted for the next two days, but Rob is looking forward to Monday.

Vinny D’Anton caught a couple of cocktail blues in Shark River this morning before trying the surf from Bradley Beach south without success ubtil he saw bass rolling in rainfish to the south. His Chug Bug produced a 34 1/2-inch striper that had lessions on its skin but also carried sea lice which is an indication of migrating bass.

I got cold hands fishing Point Pleasant Canal this morning, but was surprised to catch a 21 1/2-inch striperafter a few casts with a Z Man 6-inch Swimmereeze paddletail

on the slack. The next cast produced another hook-up with s fish that felt larger, but got off. There was no more action on the running ebb tide.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported very good bluefishing on jigs along with lots of porgies and sea bass. They will be bluefishing Saturday night at 7:30.

Bob Di Petri ran offshore out of Manasquan Inlet with his Sharky’s Machine to seek the large bluefin tuna that have been popping up in many areas. He didn’t find anything at Axel Carlsen Reef, but ran into them just 1 1/2 to 2 m+iles off Mantoking. They would blast into rainfish and disappear, so he couldn’t get a good cast to them. There were no whales, but lots of dolphins. Casting a Deadly Dick produced a couple of the same tiny bonito being caught inshore.  Schools of bunkers were outside the inlet, but not to the south.

Less west wind ahead for boaters

Strong NW winds have – been a big problem for boaters fishing more than a few miles from shore along the NJ coast, but that shouldn’t be a problem over the weekend. The Golden Eagle from Belmar cancelled today’s trip due to the wind forecast, but will be back out for bluefish in the morning.

After days of NW, the surf is flat, which is fine for the small blues and bonito that came in at times during the day, but not good for stripers that don’t hit well when there’s no white water.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno have been having a lot of fun catching the pound-size fish on Stingsildas at Seaside in the afternoon, The same thing is going on at various times of the day in many areas. Just look for birds dipping and schools of rainfish.

Big stripers are another story. Capt. Chris Di Stefano was out Sunday on the Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club as they ran all the way to Debs Inlet where there had been a trolling bite the day before. However, it was dead there on Sunday and they had to come back to  the Red Church to troll a 36-pounder on a shad rig in order to break the ice, With water temperatures finally dropping a bit we may be seeing some of the migratory bass in the near future.
















Jerry Lasko and Maren Tolena

Whales put on a show for surfcasters

Whales  suddenly showed up today at many points along the Shore as they blasted into huge schools of adult bunkers. It was quite a show for those walking the boardwalks as well as for surfcasters. There didn’t appear to be any  stripers or blues in all of those bunkers, but their presence should soon attract those predators — especially with waters cooling a bit to set up the fall migration from the east.

Low water after days of northwest winds was a problem for surfcasters, but both Vinny D’Anton and Jim Louro released a school striper at Manasquan on a Chug Bug.  I opted to cast in Point Pleasant Canal and caught two small stripers on a Z Man 6-inch Swimmereez paddletail.

Nick Honachefsky went down to the Normandy Beach area in mid-morning and got into small bonito. There were only scattered schools of small blues in the evening. but Bob Correll of Bay Head managed to follow the schools long enough to catch five small blues on metal.

Allen Riley didn’t find anything at Sandy Hook early in the morning, but John Mazzeo, also of South Plainfield, went there at 10 a.m. and got into a blitz of 3-to-4-pound blues. There were no little tunny, but he talked to anglers who had caught them the day before at Sandy Hook.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar didn’t fish today due to the wind, but they had a church group from western Pa. out the night before for great bluefishing plus porgies and some bonito and sea bass. They went back on the bus with 300 to 400 pounds of fillets to feed the whole church with.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will be sailing open for bottom fish on Friday at 7 a.m. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.



















Inshore bluefins creating excitment

Blue fin tuna if various sizes have shown up not too far from shore at such areas as the Mud Hole and Axel Carlsen Reef and are providing anglers with the opportunity to cast poppers to great game fish.

The striper migration remains way behind due to high water temperatures, but Vinny D’Anton ended up having a good bite in mid-morning. He had caught a couple in the Belmar surf yesterday morning, but only Jim Louro could catch a short there this morning. Yet, Vinny took a shot to the south with the sun up high and in shallow waters, but caught five bass including a 28-inch and a 29 on the Chug Bug.

Very small bonito have been showing in the surf, and Bob Correll caught three of the one-pounders in metal this evening in the Bay Head surf.

Tank Matraxia and his crew from Lyndhurst  fished aboard Tagged Fish from Highlands and cast to lots of those bonito plus some little tunny, but bottom fishing for sea bass was slow. There were lots of birds working off Sandy Hook.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported rough seas where they read lots of fish but only picked some blues, sea bass and porgies. With more windy weather in the forecast for tomorrow, they’ve cancelled and will resume on Thursday.






Small blues in N.J. surf

Sorry about the computer problem yesterday. It’s not solved yet, but I’m sending this out from Joe Blaze’s office.

The abundance of small blues in the surf that’s been reported for some time by the Seaside Park tackle shops spread yesterday to many other areas. Bob Correll of Bay Head got into them during late afternoon in his area, and blog reader Dan left a message noting the same thing happening early yesterday morning in Sea Bright along with some small bonito. There were no little tunny, but Dan said they had been there the previous day.

Tommy Cox went to Monmouth Beach Sunday morning based on the previous day’s report of little tunny there. He didn’t see them, but caught three Spanish mackerel. Those fish were only 12 to 14 inches, but a big surprise in mid-October.

Vinny D’Anton didn’t run into any blues in the Belmar surf this morning, but he did catch three school stripers on his Chug Bug. When the SW wind got too strong,he moved to Shark River and managed two more larger bass of 24 and 26 inches on the Chug Bug.

I tried the Bay Head surf early, and caught a small blue on a Chug Bug. Birds started picking on rainfish in the surf, but I didn’t see blues in them before the SW wind started cranking and everything disappeared.

Capt. Stan Zagleski was very happy with Sunday’s sea bass fishing on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands. Those who fished with green crabs also managed their single keeper blackfish. With the water temperature at 69 degrees, Stan expects to see limits of sea bass continue along with a showing of triggerfish.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported good action with 4-to-12-pound blues during Saturday night’s trip.  There were only a few small blues jigged Sunday, but those lures also produced some bonito and little tunny plus lots of big sea bass and porgies.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar weighed a personal record 12-pound blackfish that Mikey Kim caught Saturday.  There ere lots of sea bass, and those who fished well off bottom caught limits of the bigger bass.







Great weather for Sunday

You couldn’t ask for a better Sunday forecast in the fall. The Marine Weather Forecast is calling for 5-to-10 mph NW winds before a shift to SW later in the day — and only seas up to two feet on a fair day. Perfect weather for surfcasting or anything else for that matter.

The ocean was a bit rough in today’s NW wind, but the Big Mohawk from Belmar reported outstanding bottom fishing with many limits of sea bass plus big porgies and even some winter flounder.

Also at that port, the Golden Eagle picked away at 3-to-8-pound bluefish on jigs while adding many sea bass and porgies. Miss Belmar Princess reported running offshore where there was only a tender pick of blues along with sea bass and porgies. They moved inshore to the north and ended up with better bluefishing.

The surf calmed with the west winds, and also cleaned up — setting up a good situation for the morning except for the low tide.