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Vetere trolling stripers with Ho-Jo’s

Capt. Vinnie Vetere has been catching large stripers by trolling his Ho-Jo’s  in the Hudson River and up to L.I. Sound when necessary.  His e-mails hadn’t been making it through AOL due to a volume of photos included. Vetere said the bait disappeared over a week ago, but trolling has been consistent. On the other hand, it’s been almost all small bass on readings in Raritan Bay and outside.  Vetere will be fishing tomorrow, and notes that the N.Y. striped bass season for his Katfish out of Great Kills is almost over.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands found only some short bass Monday due to a huge swell and a very strong current, but will be sailing tomorrow.

Though it will be very cold in the morning, only light northeast winds are forecast. That’s normally good for surfcasting.

Vinny D’Anton got reports of only a pick of small stripers at Belmar this morning. He gave that area a try in the afternoon and got three small bass, but the two  anglers with him didn’t get a hit.

I started at Point Pleasant this morning with high hopes as the swell was down. Yet, there was only a pick of bass there. I took a shot just to the south and had a good shot of action on the Vision Surf Eel and Castaways teaser rig — finishing up the morning with 10 bass. Nick Honachefsky came down in time to see my last catch — a hickory shad on the Surf Eel that it couldn’t have possibly swallowed.

Jerry Lasko was at IBSP yesterday morning when a giant tuna was washed ashore.  I’ll try to get the photo posted this week. Jerry was proud that he outfished Maren Toleno that morning 11 bass to 9  — a rare instance when she didn’t outfish everyone.

Surf stripers bite in many areas

Surfcasters were worried about whether the surf would clear up in time for the school striper bite this morning, but it appears those fish did respond in many areas as anglers enjoyed a mild morning that felt like September.
I tried Point Pleasant and didn’t like the look of the big swell that had developed, but there was a decent pick of bass from first light until well after sunrise. I released nine bass during that period on metal and teaser up to a couple of fat 23-inchers, and lost four others  that included one that came off in the heavy wash,

.We took a beating at the water’s edge, but there was one guy casting from the dry sand in sneakers and I saw him catch a doubleheader. Steve Mirande reported he was on that beach and released 10. The afternoon fishing hasn’t been productive, but he caught a 16-inch fluke last week at Bay Head on a teaser. Another surfcaster yesterday told me he had caught an adult Atlantic mackerel on a teaser last week.

Vinny D’Anton was having a ball with big ladyfish during a vacation in Aruba last week, but couldn’t wait to get back to his beloved surf stripers. He fished Belmar where the swell wasn’t a problem and caught nine bass. Jim Louro and Frank Manzi were there before him and did even better.

The big swell turned out to be problem for boaters to the north, as Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands said he read lots of school stripers though they didn’t bite well. Everyone caught some shorts, but he’s going to pass on tomorrow’s NW wind and will sail again on Wednesday.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar had good blackfishing today and will sail tomorrow.

Small craft warnings are up for NW winds gusting to 25 mph, but that should knock down those big swells before the winds become light at mid-week.




Stripers bite at IBSP

Ona stormy Sunday, the only report I got was from Jerry Lasko — who spent the day at Island Beach State Park. He caught 25 bass, Will Fredricks added 31 and Maren Toleno led the way as usual with 40. All were shorts.  They had started at Point Pleasant, but the surf was unfishable there.

Tougher weather for Sunday

We had a second straight good fishing weather day, but it appears that won’t carry into Sunday. The forecast is for small craft warnings to go up tonight and continue to late Sunday night. Southeast winds gust to 25 knots tonight, and are 10-15 in the morning with gusts to 20 — plus rain.

Striped bass fishing today left something to be desired. Jerry Lasko said he and Maren Toleno combined for only two shorts at Pt. Pleasant this morning, and he had similar reports all the way down to the mob in IBSP. I fished the same spot in Bay Head that produced 14 bass including two doubleheaders yesterday and only managed three releases on the Surf Eel and Castaways teaser rig.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands had lots of jigging action with shorts, but only one bass to take home. They won’t sail until Monday.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had decent jigging that included a few keepers and bonus bass — and even added some mackerel. They won’t be sailing until Friday.

Allen Riley didn’t find many stripers at Sandy Hook on Friday,but he had a great time with the two he caught by using an old 8 1/2-foot Gander Mountain downrigger rod with a freshwater Shimano reel to release a 24-incher on a Tinman swim bait and a 20-incher on a white Ultimus teaser,



One more good day coming up

  1. Just as notedd in last night’s blog, today was a beautiful day for fishing. It looks like Saturday will follow along. Even though the wind goes northeast, it’s only predicted to be 5 to 10 knots before shifting to east in the afternoon. However, it will blow up to 20 SE that night — and 15-20 south on Sunday.

Today was a nixed bag as school stripers didn’t please surfcasters everywhere. I got off to a very poor start at Point Pleasant with only one bass on a teaser and just a pick going on until I talked to my nephew Bob Correll who was into a bite further south that produced a dozen releases for him. I got there late, but stayed after Bob left for work, ending up with 14 releases. Concerned about a flat surf to start with, I switched from metal to an old Vision Surf Eel that had been customized years ago by a bluefish with some cuts and pieces missing. To my surprise, the bass favored that lure over the teaser. After making note of that at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, John Latizia went down to another street with his Surf Eel and from late morning to 12:30 picked 11 stripers.  Unfortunately, when Bob and I returned to the morning bite spot in late afternoon a big swell had come up and I only had one tap and saw one bass caught.  An angler who had been shut out that morning in Seaside said he did see one angler catch a couple there.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno fished a bit north of where I had been at Point Pleasant Beach in the dark and said they did well with bass until it got light.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands found good jigging action with shorts, but only had a few slots to take home. The Golden Eagle from Belmar saw lots of bass, but only picked a dozen shorts. The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported good striper jigging early and late with bass up to a 35-incher.

The Big Jamaica from Brielle is sailing to the jumbo sea bass wrecks every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday — leaving the night before at 11. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

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.