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22-lb bluefish was caught at Nantucket

Mike Monte reports from Nantucket that the bunker schools which had been holding stripers and blues there for weeks finally moved out during recent storms. — though not before a surfcaster beached a 22-pound bluefish.

Monte noted that it’s been his experience that those late big blues move out into the Atlantic after leaving Nantucket, rather than over to the Jersey Shore as the stripers do on their migration to the south.

That 22-pounder was probably stuffed with bunkers as blues are prone to do when forage is abundant. When I was trailering my first “big” boat, a Mako 19, to Cape Cod over half a century ago, I decided to make the run to Nantucket on a calm day — and arrived in a bluefish blitz on big sand eels. Those blues could be caught on anything, but I wanted sport and cast the biggest Stan Gibbs Pencil Popper at them. It was immediately engulfed by a 15-pound blue that still had several of those long sand eels in its throat and no room in its stomach that was so distended I could see every sand eel within. Talk about greed!

Rough waters have posed a problem this week for striper anglers, and even Chuck Many had to work at overcoming conditions on his Tyman from Highlands:

“Hadn’t been out in a few days, but had high expectations with all the good reports as we rounded the hook yesterday morning. Conditions were significantly worse than I expected, but went down the beach a bit hoping to run into that crazy bite. Didn’t happen for us, so worked our way into a little deeper water and decided to drift some eels in the hard northeast. First drift, absolutely crushed by Dogfish. 2nd drift, not many dogfish, but only 2 bass hits and landed zero. Ugh! Wind backed off just a bit, so decided to pull the eels to keep them a bit higher in the water column. Decent action with Bass to 48 pounds. After the morning ass whoopin decided to run to more protected water and chase those little fish. Fun stuff, but will always take one big girl over those. any day.”

No reports today, but the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands headed to the ocean yesterday morning after having scored there with stripers the previous two trips, but the fish weren’t biting. A long ride ended up producing another great catch.

A small craft advisory is up through Thursday afternoon. The forecast is for west winds at 20-25 knots.

Shrewsbury River loaded with stripers

Dave Lily has been fishing in Shrewsbury River all his life, but he’s never seen anything like what’s been happening since yesterday as there are stripers feeding all the way from the Sea Bright Bridge to Buoy 2 — which he estimates to be about four miles! Best of all, they are all legal bass, mostly in the 30-inch range. Lilly says they are feeding on something very small, and ignore large lures. Yet, they hit anything small.

Ironically, the Golden Eagle from Belmar had exactly the opposite experience in the ocean today as they saw bass on top and read them on the fishfinder — but they wouldn’t hit. Only a few bass were boated. That boat will be taking a pass tomorrow due to the weather.

A small craft advisory is up for from this evening to Wednesday afternoon. The forecast is for north winds at 15 to 20 knots with possible morning showers and 4-6-foot seas before going southwest in the afternoon.

Jim Gilmore was in on that surf striper blitz in Sandy Hook yesterday, and noted that there were rods bent everywhere up into Monmouth County. He only measured one 30-incher that he took home, but estimates the bass were from 24 to 32 inches as he released 15 to 20 of them. The bass were on peanut bunkers. Surfcasters from southern areas had to make an unusual drive north to get in on the bite.

Hot boat & surf striper report from one skipper

It’s not often that I can get both boat and surf reports from the same source, but that was the case today as Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had his anglers into whitewater action with 30-to-38-inch stripers while finally seeing surfcasters also getting into the bite. He didn’t specify exactly where that was, but I suspect the surfcasters may have been at Sandy Hook.

Surprisingly, Santee didn’t have enough fares to sail — but he didn’t want to disappoint the few customers and sailed anyway. The high hook caught 15 bass up to a 44-incher. Best of all, Santee didn’t have to go far and avoided rough waters by staying close to shore.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported limiting out quickly with keeper bass and some bonus fish while releasing many trophy stripers that were hitting both lures and bunkers.

Though there’s a shift to northeast winds in the forecast, only 10-15 knots is predicted.

Those wanting some variety can try blackfishing as Capt. Cal 2 from Belmar will start that bottom fishing tomorrow.

Chuck Many always fins big bass for release from his Tyman out of Highlands by fishing eels off by himself

Striper weather arrives

Anglers who have been enjoying great striped bass fishing in NY/NJ Bight with summer-like temperatures got a dose of reality today.

Capt. Ron Santee said temperatures were dropping all day even as his fares on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands were catching lots of 30-34-inch bass with very few small ones among them. He had to run-and-gun with all the boat traffic, but the results were worth it. Santee suggests anglers should dress warm for tomorrow!

The Golden Eagle from Belmar didn’t have to go far from the inlet this morning for lots of stripers that hit pretty much anything cast to them. See photo below.

Vinny D’Anton got into a few school stripers this morning in the Monmouth County surf as the waters started to clear. With the cold front in place, he expects the overdue fall surf run to begin at a higher level tomorrow.

Small craft warnings are up through late tonight as northwest winds to 30 knots continue. The morning forecast has that wind dropping to 15-20 — and then to just 10-15 in the afternoon.

There were no adult blues when I was a kid!

Following up on yesterday’s blog about the scarcity of bluefish this fall, I should have noted that what we’re seeing now isn’t unusual.

When I was growing up in Merrick on Long Island’s south shore, the catch of even a single adult blue was newsworthy though we caught lots of snappers with our bamboo poles every late summer.

A neighbor kept a boat in Gardinars Ba,y far out on Long Island, where some small blues had appeared, and it was a thrill for me when I got to troll with him for a few 3-pounders.

There were tales of great bluefishing during the 1930s, but they just seemed to disappear after that. The leading authority on bluefishing at that time checked historical records and determined that bluefish had seven- year cycles. Small blues started appearing around the time I graduated from high school in 1954, and they got steadily larger and more abundant every year after that. Most anglers concentrated on blues rather than the wary striped bass, and expected to see the fishery crash again at the seven-year mark. While there have been many ups and down since, the cycle theory has been forgotten as blues are now managed without regard to any mysterious cycle beyond our control.

Blues made their great comeback in such quantities that anglers started taking them for granted, but I’ve never forgotten how great a gift they were when reappearing during my youth. With the conservation now in place, I ‘m confident that what we’re seeing this fall is just a glitch.

It eems that many boaters gave in to rough conditions today, but Capt. Ron Santee ran his charter for the IBEW 457 anglers on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. With wind against current it was hard to find stripers and got nasty. It took hours of searching to get on the fish when the current turned, but everyone was in on the hot bite which has been a daily blessing. The Fishermen will be back to daily open boat fishing in the morning.

Vinny D’Anton reported a very dirty surf and no action this morning, but he did see gannets flying for the first time this fall, possibly indication the arrival of herring.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing for striped bass at 6:30 a.m. They will then be sailing a canyon tuna trip at 8:30 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 732 528-5014.

A small craft advisory is up until late tonight. The morning forecast is for cold northwest winds at 10-15 knots which increase to 15-20 in the afternoon and should clear the surf. There’s a chance of morning showers.

Happy Veteran’s Day

I hope my fellow vets are catching something special like this swordfish aboard Capt. Nick Stanczyk’s charter boat at Bud ‘Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Florida Keys.

Even on a rough day, Chuck Many was able to get his crew on Tyman from Highlands into many striper releases without another boat in sight.

While NY/NJ Bight boat fishing for striped bass has been as good as anyone could hope for. there’s been hardly any reports of bluefish among them as we had expect as a given just a few years ago.

Though the decline in bluefish during recent decades has been met with conservation regulations t that seemed to be working as the summer fishery was up to expectations, surfcasters have noted the small blues which used to be a fall staple just aren’t showing this year — nor have the blitzes of big blues been occurring despite the abundance of bunkers for them to feast on. It wasn’t many years ago that November was my favorite month for jumbo blues which provided great popper action around bunker schools with an occasional large striper. Now it’s exactly the opposite with stripers completely dominating. Most of us would prefer that arrangement, but the lack of blues is still a concern — especially for surfcasters who haven’t been getting into striper action as has been the case for boaters.

Vinny D’Anton also noted a lack of snappers this fall when he was surfcasting for fluke with Gulp. Normally that’s a good method during the summer until the year class of snappers invades the surf while nipping the tails off the Gulp every cast. Yet, that didn’t happen this fall.

Vinny is still waiting for the surf to turn on in Monmouth County. He did see some large bunkers with birds hovering over them in the north pocket of Manasquan Inlet this morning. Party boats went to them on the way out, but Vinny didn’t see anything caught. He’s hoping that the coming cold front will trigger the first significant run of migratory school stripers down the beach.

A gale warning is up at 3 p.m. through Saturday morning. The Saturday forecast is for southwest winds at at25-30 knots plus gusts to 40 with 8- to-11-foot seas. However, that will switch to a calming west at 15-20 knots in the afternoon.

Capt. Ron Santee reported more great striper fishing on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. He had two hours of tide with steady striper action on shads and jigs before it slowed on the change. Catches ranged up to 20 as everyone got in on the surface bite. That boat is chartered Saturday.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had great striper fishing yesterday, but has cancelled for Saturday due to the weather.

Skipper’s striper trip of a career!

Striper fishing in Raritan Bay has been exceptional, but as far as Capt. Ron Santee is concerned, today’s bite on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands was the best of his long career. His account follows:

FISHERMEN/Best Bass trip of my Career!! Thursdays Report

 Created: Thursday, 10 November 2022 16:24 Written by Capt. Ron

I have been blessed over the years to have had some excellent Striped Bass fishing

The clam fishing in the early 2000’s to the amazing fall jig fishing the past several years. Nothing compares to what we had today!! I can honestly say this was the best Striper trip I have ever run, several have come close but with smaller fish.

Despite the wild traffic, we had an all day bite. The second drift once I could get on the meat away from the crowd we had over 100 fish! Joe, Jim and I went from customer to customer non-stop netting!

When the crowd chasing the birds got too tight we took a ride and found amazing action all by ourselves (almost), on readings from hell. Eric & Bill V. were Animals in the Bow with 34 & 20 fish each. Big John took the pool with a beauty at 38 inches. Novice bass fishermen and new to the game Big Tom  is now addicted landing over a dozen fish. See Tom there is life after Fluke! 

I had third generation customers who had a huge smile and great memories from today. I got to notch another Striper Virgin on the wheelhouse which always makes me smile.

We are fishing tomorrow, don’t let the weatherman keep your ass home!!

NOT AVAILABLE SATURDAY I HAVE A CHARTER…….WE WILL BE OPEN BOAT ON SUNDAY.

7:30 Sailing but get here early, I go when we have enough to sail. We shape up at 5:30am. Open boat, No Reservations just come on down. Fare is $90      Fishing in my back yard!!!

The forecast is for southeast winds at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 before increasing to 15-20 with gusts to 30 in the afternoon. Not great, but fishable on a large boat in the bay as it shouldn’t take long to limit out. Unfortunately, a gale warning goes up Friday evening though the night.

The ocean story was the same today as the Big Mohawk from Belmar got right into big stripers, and had a boat limit of keepers by 8 a.m. before going into catch and release mode. They emphasize they will be fishing at 6:30 came rain or shine!

The Jamaica from Brielle has a post-gale canyon trip set for 8 p.m. Sunday. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Stripers hit both in bay & ocean

It seems that it didn’t make much difference which way boaters went today as there was very good action with striped bass in both areas.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar got into jumbo bass right away in the ocean before later spotting bunkers and birds closer to shore where some smaller keepers and even slots were boated. That boat is chartered tomorrow.

Capt. Ron Santee got into bass all alone with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands right away It got nasty when the wind came up against the current, and Santee went back to the bay where bass continued to hit in more comfortable conditions. Almost everyone had a keeper and slot, and some caught in double digits.

Golden Eagle striper – Nov.7

The forecast is for southwest winds at only 5-10 knots.

Weather postpones Jamaica offshore wrecks trip a day, but doesn’t bother stripers

The Jamaica from Brielle has cancelled tonight’s far offshore wrecks trip for big sea bass due to weather concerns, but will be running it at 11 p.m. tomorrow for fishing on Thursday when the forecast is favorable.

The weekend trips to wrecks near the canyons produced coolers full of fish which consisted primarily of jumbo porgies along with some giant sea bass, cod, pollock and bluefish. Edwin Ortiz won a pool with a 6.5-pound sea bass. That fishing should improve as offshore waters get much cooler. For reservations call 732 528-5014.

Though the weather impacted the inshore striped bass fleet, Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands was fine with all the space as he noted :

“Bass love the snot and when the tide got right today, it was amazing fishing once again!

Starting to sound like a broken record but the past 2 weeks have been the best we have seen in a long time.

High hooks in the twenties. Keepers and Bonus fish coming in and many going back! Fishing right in our backyard ever yday.

Sailing 7:30am, except this SATURDAY….we are Not available.

Open Boat, No Reservations just come on down. Fare is $90.”

Small craft warnings are up through Wednesday afternoon. The morning forecast is for northeast winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20 before going east at 5-10 in the afternoon.


Andrew Sokol wasn’t having any success with shads for stripers over the weekend on the Misty Morn from Morgan until he switched to the Nomad Vertex for a couple – and ended up catching a schoolie on a swimmer for the first time. Unfortunately, the better photo wasn’t the one that published. Stripers like that and some keepers are being caught daily on live spot in the bay behind Absecon Bay Sportsman Center.

Canyon Runner running free Veteran’s Day striper trip for active & retired

Active and retired servicemen are eligible for a free striped bass trip Friday on the Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant. Visit adam@canyonrunner.com to determine availability.

That fishery remains excellent except in poor weather conditions. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported another great day of striper fishing except for a brief period at the change of tide. They ended up with a boat limit of stripers plus many releases of bass that hit everything.

Capt. Ron Santee said he had to run and gun all day to stay on stripers with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands as there was more boat traffic than expected. Many anglers had multiples up to a young man’s 48-inch, 35-pound release. That boat is chartered on Saturday.

A small craft warning is up through Tuesday afternoon. The morning forecast is for north winds at 15-20 knots with gusts to 25.

Chuck Many had his charter boat friends from Cape Charles up to fish NY/NJ Bight stripers a few days ago before getting into their great catch and release season when numerous 50-pound bass are caught — along with two over 60 pounds last winter. Sho-Nuf Sportfishing Charters is taking reservations for that live eel fishery from Dec. 1 to Jan. 15. Call them at 757 710-0098.