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Bass still a best bet — stripers or black sea

Though both species have been taking a beating, most trips for both striped bass and black sea bass seem to be producing at least good to very good results.

Live bunkers seem to be the key to success in striper fishing. Even though bunkers are often hard to net, the time spent in obtaining them is worthwhile.

Capt. Frank Masseria provided a shot of his fishfnder to show why striper fishing remains so good on his Vitamin Sea out of Keyport. He also trolled a 51-incher yesterday on a spoon.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported slower sea bass fishing today, though there were still plenty of limits with more shorts to go through. They are chartered tomorrow.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had a beautiful day on the ocean with lots of sea bass, but not many jumbos.

A small craft warning is up tonight, but it drops to northeast at 10 knots by morning before going east in the afternoon.

Kil Song continues to pop up in unlikely places. Now he’s catching bull red drum from a Texas jetty.

Striper Quest was successful

AS noted below

Chuck Many reports from his Tyman out of Highlands as follows:

As StriperQuest 2023 Gray FishTag Research continued Monday afternoon, the South wind was crankin!! Stu Webber, Hans J Kaspersetz, Justin Lerner & I did a 6 mile drift and caught monsters the whole way!! Made new friends & rebuilt old ones!!! Awesome day!

Fisherman magazine Advertising Sales ManagerJohn DeBona was aboard another boat when he released his personal best 46-pound striper.

Thugh a small craft warning is up through Sunday afternoon, the northwest wind by morning is predicted to be only 10-15 knots with gusts to 20, which is fishable off the NJ Shore. Then it drops to west 5-10 knots in the afternoon.

Eric Kerber reported he was back into sea bass, and sent a rare photo with some sun on one. The full name of the species is black sea bass, and when the photo isn’t taken with sun on the subject it’s hard to make out the fish.

That northwest wind should be ideal for the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament at Island Beach State Park which was written up in my blog this week. Fresh clams or bunker chunks are a good bet for a striper that usually wins the Governor’s Trophy, and everyone is hoping for a bluefish showing that will assure many valuable fishing tackle prizes are distributed in categories for kids, teens and women as well as men. The contest runs from 6:30 to 1 before the awards ceremony from 1:30-2.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk came up with almost a 40-man limit of sea bass on Friday when jigging was most effective with lots of sand eels being present.

A memory

Many years ago, I tried out for the Mepham H.S. freshman basketball team in North Bellmore, Long Island. That didn’t work out well for a short, skinny kid before I built myself up by weightlifting, but there was a great memory of that day as our varsity was being clobbered on the other side of the gym in a scrimmage by Manhasset High School from the north shore. That school had a black player who was absolutely dominant, and someone mentioned to me that he was reputed to be a great lacrosse player. As it turned out, Jim Brown was also pretty good at football — and ended up as probably the greatest running back and in the Hall of Fame. He went on to Syracuse University while I attended Colgate University and watched Brown dominate us for the next four years. Jim Brown died today at 87. R.I.P.

Sea bass reports were very good today despite some rough conditions. At Belmar, the Golden Eagle reported limits for most plus many jumbos. Both of the Miss Belmar boats had similar fishing. Jigs and Gulp worked best, The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had a rough ride out, but good fishing later on. However, they won’t be fishing tomorrow due to the weather.

Striper reports were also very good today both in the bay and ocean.

A small craft advisory is up for Saturday with southeast winds at 10-15 knots but gusting to 25. Morning showers are possible.


Mostly good sea bass reports from NJ boats

Though the weather could have been better, it appears that most NJ boats fishing for sea bass since Wednesday’s opening have been doing well.

The Jamaica from Brielle had many limits plus some ling yesterday — while a 10-pound pollock won the pool.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands once again had an early pick before a strong end. A nice cod had to be returned as that season is presently closed.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had many limits yesterday, with jiggers limiting first and catching the largest sea bass.

Friday’s forecast is for south winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20.

Capt. Clinton Lessard of SHO-NUF came up from Virginia to N,J, on his birthday a couple of days ago to fish with Chuck Many on Tyman before filing this report “Absolute sick fishing in Jersey for my birthday. Chuck Tyman Manny invited me and Johnny Mathena up to fish. Of course I had to go. To say fishing was amazing is an understatement. Yesterday we landed 30 fish and had 47 bites in about 7 hours of fishing. Today even better 23 landed out of 31 bites and only fished 3 hours. Sick crazy fishing WOOOO.’

There was an interesting report on Facebook today of some Atlantic mackerel being caught in the west end of Long Island Sound. That report indicated the last big mackerel run there was about 40 years ago.

New Delaware state record tautog is approved for James Milano of North Babylon, Long Island at 22 pounds, 14.4 ounces. That 34-incher was caught with a whitelegger crab from Capt. Lou Azato’s No Limit out of Indian River Inlet on May 6.

Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament at IBSP on Sunday

The annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament will be contested Sunday at Island Beach State Park from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a wide variety of species and many valuable prizes in several categories. Adults pay $15, while those from 13 to 17 can enter for $5 — and younger kids compete at no charge. A N.J. registration is necessary for those required to have one. Sign in at Pavillion #1.

The largest eligible fish wins the Governor’s Trophy, and is usually a striped bass caught on bait. A 37 1/2-incher took first last year. Some years there are lots of bluefish, but the choppers haven’t been abundant so far. It’s a treat to have fluke open for this contest, and they may be the best bet. On the other hand, blackfish which are usually a target at the inlet are out of season at this time. Don’t count on them, but weakfish, kingfish, red drum and black drum are also eligible.

The N.J. sea bass season opened today, and reports are just starting to come in. Capt. Ralph Leyrer said it was a bit bumpy this morning on his Last Lady from Belmar but there was a good mix of sea bass, ling and cod while many blackfish were released. He has a few openings for tomorrow.

Capt. Ron Santee reported the ride out on his Fisherman from Atlantic Highlands was good with the sea behind them. but it was uncomfortable at anchor for awhile before the sea settled and fishing improved. Mr. Kim had a 15-inch sea bass for the pool.

Striper reports continue to be good, but Capt. John Contello had a real bragging fish with a 49 1/2-incheron his Just Sayin from Highlands that was carrying a Grey’s Fish Tag. Catching a tagged fish is always a rare event, and I’m looking forward to hearing where it was tagged.

A small craft advisory is up for northeast winds to 25 knots tonight, but that drops to east at just 5-10 knots in the morning before going southeast 10-15 in the afternoon.

Forked River Tuna Club Sea Bass Tournament on Saturday

The sea bass season opens tomorrow in New Jersey, and the Forked River Tuna Club has a tournament for that popular bottom fish on Saturday.

Boaters can sign up for the contest on Friday in the clubhouse at 7 p.m. for $125 a boat. Should the weather not be good, the contest will be run Sunday- or even next weekend. Call Paul Haertel at 973 943-8201 for details.

The annual Governor’s Cup Surf Fishing Tournament will be contested Sunday at Island Beach State Park. More about that tomorrow,

Maryland boats got a head start on sea bass, and Capt. Monty Hawkins on Morning Star from Ocean City reported three limits, plus the first cutlassfish of the season.

Small craft warnings for southwest winds are up until 8 p.m. , but at west 15-20 knots in the morning should be fishable for sea bass off the N.J. Shore.

Globetrotting angler Kil Song reported poor casting for yellowfin tuna plus hot weather in Panama, and couldn’t wait to try for fluke as soon as he got back. There was cool weather and lots of action on the Frances Fleet from Point Judith, R.I., but only one of his 19 fluke was a keeper.

Andreas Toy did a lot of running yesterday with the 44FA as they started up in the bay to catch the eating size stripers their party wanted before taking a tour of the Hudson River — and then heading south to look for a trophy striper which they did with a 48-incher. After that release, they cast for bluefish before returning to Point Pleasant.

This 14-foot, 4-inch hammerhead shark was caught in the Padre Island, Texas surf on May 5 by Glenn Laskowski Jr. on a cownose ray bait. He and his friend tried to release it, but Field & Stream reported the shark was too far gone. They were able to get it to a pier where it weighed 1054 pounds — still well short of the IGFA record of 1,280 pounds from Boca Grande, Florida.

NJ sea bass season opens Wednesday

Since the tautog season closed at the end of April, party boats have had to scratch out some ling while releasing lots of sea bass, or pick at fluke which haven’t been very active in cool bottom waters. From Wednesday through June 19 the limit will be 10 sea bass at a 12 1/2-inch minimum, which shouldn’t be difficult to fill from untapped wrecks. Be sure to check with your favorite skipper before sailing as some set up limited Marathon trips for the opener.

The weather tomorrow looks good in the morning with southwest winds at 10-15 knots increasing to 15-20 plus gusts to 25 in the afternoon.

Nick DiNapoli fished the Monmouth surf yesterday morning on the end of the flood to catch three stripers up to 26 inches with two on bloodworms and one on fresh clams. but still hasn’t come up with a keeper.

The N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife sent the following reminder:

Today is Opening Day of the 2023 Striped Bass Bonus Program! Anglers can keep one striped bass (at 24” to less than 28”) per permit. Reporting bonus harvest within 24 hours is mandatory.Anglers will be which increase to 15-20 in the afternoon plus gusts to 25.eligible for an additional permit after a harvest report is submitted. Permits issued in 2022 are not valid in 2023.Please visit the Striped Bass Bonus Program webpage to apply and for more information. Reminder to Register: Participation in the free NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program is mandatory for all saltwater anglers 16 and older before heading out to fish.striped bass


Fish Bound wraps up great jumbo tautog season

Fish Bound from Ocean City Maryland produced incredible numbers of tautog exceeding 10 pounds during their winter to spring charters as noted below by Capt. Zane Bounds:

We wrapped up our Final day of the Winter/Spring Tog season yesterday. It has been a super long season for us, and we are ready to catch something different. The mild Winter had us start Togging Nov 1, and we never stopped fishing all the way through.

Some very impressive fish were caught this year with Jens 23.9 pound jumbo leading the pack. We had 3 fish over 20, and 5 at 19+ pounds this year WOW!! Lots of PB, and way to many DD to count.

The last week of Tog fishing was slower then I had hoped for, with only one day where everyone got their limit. Few healthy releases with Mike’s 14 pounder topping the list.

Next year we will be cutting back on the amount of Tog trips we run, so availability will be limited. We will not start fishing for them till Dec 10 this year. These fish need to start getting a break, and 7 months of Tog fishing Is way to long for these fish. November will focus on Deep water Jumbo Fluke, and SeaBass. If you have a trip scheduled with us in November for Tog please let us know. We will give you the option to switch over, if you would like.

Kevin and I both want to Thank everyone who fished hard, and traveled far to fish with us over the Winter. Lots of laughs, and some awesome fish.

Looking forward to the start of our SeaBass season tomorrow. Thanks Guys!!

The morning forecast is for northwest winds at 5-10 knots before going southwest 15-20 with gusts to 25 in the afternoon,

All reactions:


Good time for a personal best striper

Though they can’t be retained, there seem to be good quantities of striped bass in the 40-50-pound range in NY/NJ Bight which can provide anglers with a personal best catch.

Greg Prestosh reported releasing five over 40 pounds yesterday from his boat off the North Jersey Shore, including a PB of 48 pounds for Jim Hancharick.

Chuck Many said yesterday wasn’t quite as wild on his Tyman from Highlands, but when both he and Jake Many brought in 44-and-45-pounders at the same time he was able to get this photo before release:

With only four anglers aboard this morning, they had nine big bass on at one time which included a PB for Kevin Many at 48 pounds.

Though the wind is going northeast, it may be fishable at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 before dropping to 5-10 knots in the afternoon.

Ocean fluking remains a pick, but Prowler 5 from Atlantic Highlands reports 23 keepers were caught yesterday even though the engines were working all day to provide a drift. A 5.3-pounder is leading the monthly pool.

The Jamaica from Brielle is leaving at 10 p.m. on a tilefish trip and has room for last minute anglers. Call 732 528-5014.

Rip Tide Bait & Tackle in Brigantine reports the lead in their black drum contest is up to 45 pounds, 6 ounces.

Lots of bunkers along the Shore, but stripers fussy

It appears that striped bass off the northern N.J. Shore have so many bunkers to select from that they’re difficult to interest in those being offered by anglers.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported plenty of bunkers near the beaches along with striper marks among them, but the linesiders wouldn’t hit. Sometimes that can change suddenly, and boaters should have good weather as they try since light west to southwest winds are forecast. The Golden Eagle will be trying for stripers again at 7:30 a,m, while itching to switch over to sea bass when that season opens Wednesday.

Chuck Many doesn’t bother with bunkers under these conditions as his eels are striper candy. His report from Tyman out of Highlands yesterday follows:

Not the complete mayhem of some of the last few trips, but very consistent action with David Glassberg, Robert Melloy, & Christian Johnson Regulations have definitely helped the last few years as my logs show more fish and bigger fish.


Yesterday’s N.J. Marine Fisheries Council meeting didn’t produce any resolution to the ASMFC Emergency Action which requires a change in the maximum size to 31 inches by July 2. That issue will be passed on to the Council’s striped bass advisors for action at the next meeting. If no action is taken. N.J. will be subject to a striped bass closure even including the Bonus Program.