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Raritan Bay best bet for stripers

Sea Hunter ThursdayPhil's sons bassThe ocean stripers didn’t show again today, but Raritan Bay continues to produce. Phillip Sciortino  had both of his sons back from military service this week, and they all got together with Matt Calabria on Uruguay Fly to catch bass up to 29 pounds on mo-jos soaked in Fin Essence bunker oil.   SECOND PHOTO

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands again stayed in the bay to pick both keepers and shorts. TOP PHOTO

Tank Matraxia and his Lyndhurst crew got out today with Capt. Anthony on Hard Bottom from Sewaren. Tank lost his first striper, cut then broke the ice by tagging a 27 1/2-inch (fork length) bass , and tagged six in all up to 32 inches fork length with ALS tags.

Though the stripers didn’t show again, the Big Mohawk and Ocean Explorer had a decent bottom bite of short and keeper blackfish.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar has cancelled for tomorrow due to the weather, but will be after the stripers again on the weekend.

The Big Mohawk sails in the morning  at 7, and the Ocean Explorer at 7:30.

Though the forecast tonight is for gusty south winds, it’s only supposed to be southeast at 10-15 knots in the morning.

 

Ocean stripers won’t hit

Party boats reported seeing birds and bait while also reading fish, but couldn’t get a hit from ocean stripers. The Big Mohawk from Belmar fad good bottom action with mostly short blackfish up to a 7 1/2-pounder. The Ocean Explorer from Belmar had a similar report of bottom life with some keepers plus a shot of ling and cod. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands also did nothing in the ocean, but returned to Raritan Bay to catch some shorts and keepers.

Bryan Yanish has been catching stripers in Staten Island at night, and released his personal beast this week by livelining a 38.8-pounder by formula — length to fork of tail times girth divided by 800  That’s the largest shore striper I’ve heard of so far this season.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo of South Plainfield tried to break the surf casting ice this morning. The conditions were good, but the water was cold — and nothing hit their  sandworms, bunker and soft plastics at  Sandy Hook.

Capt. Vinne Vetere  of Katfish Charters in Great Kills joined two N.J. boats over  the weekend to troll stripers up to 27 pounds on his Ho-Jos both days. The N.Y. season opens April 15.

Thursday’s forecast is for northeast winds of 5-10 knots switching to southeast 5-10 in the afternoon.

Fog kills ocean striper bite

Today’s cold fog made it difficult to find stripers in the ocean, and both the Big Mohawk and Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported not being able to find any stripers. They switched to blackfishing which was basically a pick of mostly shorts with good life on bottom. The Ocean Explorer also noted the ocean was lumpy, but they added some ling. The Big Mohawk sails at 6 a.m., while the Explorer and Golden Eagle sail at 7:30.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands couldn’t find anything in the ocean, and returned to the bay to cast shads which produced one keeper bass and a short while another was lost. They’ll be trying again tomorrow when the weather looks fine for spotting fish. The forecast is for northwest at 10-15 knots.

Dave Lilly of Hazlet didn’t let the fog keep him from trolling stripers in the upper teens in the bay  while fishing this morning with Rick Martel out of Sea Bright. The bass weren’t in the 12-foot depths they favored on the weekend, but a move to 25 feet in the middle of the bay resulted in the release of a dozen bass in short order despite the tough conditions on incoming tide. Lilly was using mo-jos soaked in Fin Essence bunker oil, and had a 40-pounder hooked which came off just as they were reaching for the leader. He also had a fish on briefly that was acting like a bluefish. The water temperature was 51 degrees.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that John Reilly trolled two 40-pound stripers on Magic Tail 20-ounce Mo-Jos, releasing one. Matthews says surf reports have been few, but there are more bass on the inside. He tried with plugs one night and  hooked bass to 32 inches. Blackfishing shows promise offshore, but has been slow in Shark River Inlet and Point Pleasant Canal.

The Jamaica from Brielle is in drydock, but will start striper fishing in mid-April — while 10 p.m. Sunday tilefish trips are set for April 12 and 27 plus May 3 and 19. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will have a special blackfishing trip Thursday that’s  limited to 12 fares at $120. Call 753 370-8019.

Pesca Panama is coming off one of its best ever weeks with massive numbers of yellowfin tuna. Owner Mike Auget has openings for April 21-26 that are available for two to four anglers at a deep discount. Call him at 716 868-4432.

Crazy Alberto — Planning, Patience & Persistence pays off

Crazy Alberto Knie has established a reputation over the years as an expert fisherman for every species of fish found not only in the northern areas where he started out, but also in his adopted residence in Florida. His keys to success are simple ones — planning, patience and persistence.

That was all on display Monday as Alberto sought to get me into my first snakehead. The snakehead is a popular sport and eating fish in the fresh waters of southeast Asia, but an invasive species in Florida. Though the state would like to get rid of them, snakeheads have become a new target for anglers since they are a challenge to seek out and hook on lures. They certainly aren’t anyone’s idea of a beautiful tropical fish, but it are a worthy opponent.

Alberto picked me up in Ft. Myers for the long trip across the state to the Fort Lauderdale area where he’s caught snakeheads in several places. He warned that we wouldn’t be back until after dark, and that was certainly the case. There were no secret spots, as we fished parks and open areas accessible to anyone.

Unfortunately, the snakeheads didn’t cooperate at all in areas where we cast weedless Ribbit Frog lures over lilly pads and moss beds without effect. Alberto did hook a single largemouth bass of about 14 inches, and later added a couple of cichlids at another area where we were looking for peacock bass — another invasive which is now well-established and accepted by the state.

Alberto was planning to fly rod peacocks once the sun got higher and they could be sighted for sight casting. We never did see many, and Alberto ended up spotting one in a pothole almost up to the road. He made flip cast after flip cast into that hole with a fly on spinning tackle — and kept doing that for about 15 minutes before he finally annoyed it into taking the fly.

Alberto was holding back his best snakehead spots until evening as that’s the only time he felt they would hit. That’s exactly what happened at the first canal where he missed a big hit at the edge before breaking the ice with about a 3-pound snakehead.   He rushed me out of there to what he felt would be a better dusk spot. We had to walk across a busy highway to get to it, but I soon raised a snakehead before getting one on a big strike next to shore. The fish jumped and its undulating body looked like I was fighting an eel in the water before landing the thick 6.2-pounder as it was getting dark — just as Alberto had predicted and planned for.

Bullseye Snakehead

I’ll be adding another blog when the day’s striper results are in.

 

Big Mohawk reports fantastic striper fishing

Sorry for the late blog. I’m in Florida and was fishing with Crazy Alberto Knie to after dark. More about that Tuesday. The only report I found was from the Big Mohawk out of Belmar. They said they had fantastic striper fishing Monday, including lots of releases. They sail for stripers and blackfish at 6 a.m.

Stripers only cooperated for some

Today’s weather was possibly too good, as most ocean boaters didn’t enjoy the hot jigging action which popped up at the end of the week.

The Big Mohawk got out from Belmar early, but found the bass very hard to catch on readings. They’ll be trying again tomorrow at 7 a.m.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar only had scratched out a few keepers and shorts all morning before there was an explosion of action from 12:30 to 2 when keepers up to 30 pounds were jigged. Their next trip will be on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands got into a good ocean bite on jigs and shads in the ocean on Saturday when bass ranged from 22 inches to 22 ounds. Hope was high for today, but the fishing was no good. The next trip will probably be on Wednesday.

 

Sea Hunter Saturday

 

Dave Lilly of Hazlet stayed in Raritan Bay with friends on Saturday as they trolled a dozen bass that were almost all in the 30-inch class which hit Mo-Jos that were soaked in Fin Essence bunker oil from the Tackle Box in Hazlet.

Monday’s forecast is for south winds at 15-20 knots with showers. Winds decrease to 10-15 in the afternoon.

Lots of ocean life — some stripers bite

Reports from the ocean today were of masses of diving birds and heavy fish readings — but it seems that not everyone enjoyed a Bonanza of striped bass jigging.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle started off its season with a mix of short and keeper stripers, but had to work for them. Miss Belmar Princess got word of the unexpected striper arrival yesterday and made a late crew trip that quickly produced limits. They sailed today without notice , and Capt. Alan Shinn reported at 11 a.m. that they were into mixed-size bass with action ranging from waiting for a bite to as many as 6-8 on at a time.  The Big Mohawk merely reported an excellent trip without elaborating, but did have striper pictures posted. You can be sure that the fleet will all be sailing by 7:30 Sunday morning.

The marine weather forecast is great, with south 5-10 knot winds, though there may be some rain after midnight. Monday’s forecast is for southwest winds at 10-15 mph.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere got off to a fine start Thursday with his Katfish from Great Kills as he trolled 19 stripers, all over 28 inches, on his Ho Jos in the back of Raritan Bay from 9-11 a.m.

My cell phone went down a few days ago and wouldn’t take a charge. It’s back in shape as of now. I’ll try to catch up on any missed calls.

Looks like a good weekend for stripers

After larger stripers moved into Raritan Bay on Monday and then the ocean exploded Thursday, the weather seems to be shaping up for anglers to get into the first real surge of the season on legal stripers.

The forecast tomorrow is for west winds of just 5-10 knots with a chance of rain in the morning. Though it goes to northeast on Sunday, it’s still only 5-10 knots before switching to southeast in the afternoon.

Capt. Bobby Quinn was enjoying a calm Thursday with the Ocean Explorer from Belmar though there was only a pick of mostly short tog in 80 feet  — though a blackfish of 10-12 pounds was released to spawn very shortly. He decided to check out birds diving inshore and got into a mass of stripers which ranged up to a 30-pounder and hit Crocs and diamond jigs. They finished up with a drop in shallower waters where there wa a pick of mostly shorts. It was encouraging to see life there as tog are moving inshore with water temperatures up to 43.5 degrees on the surface. The Ocean Explorer will be looking for stripers after today’s blowout, but will be ready with crabs for tog. The Golden Eagle from Belmar will also be sailing for stripers at 7:30 a.m. — but will carry clams for cod and ling if the bass don’t show.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park provided the first surf striper report as a regular caught a short on a plug at IBSP where bunkers were spotted outside of casting range. Their daily hours change tomorrow to 4:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fresh clams and bunkers will be available along with the bloodworms which have been producing bass in the back bay.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that blackfishing got off to a good start for boats, and the first tog were caught in Shark River Inlet. Winter flounder are still picky from the docks.

Vinny D’Anton reports from Sarasota that he and Frank Cursi got into the hard-fighting jack crevalle again this week, but were shut out yesterday morning while seeking spotted sea trout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Mohawk finds ocean stripers

The Big Mohawk sailed from Belmar this morning for blackfish, but ended up with a catch of stripers in the 10-to-15-pound class — presumably in the ocean. This sounds like the April run we had in the ocean during April about a decade ago. The Golden Eagle from Belmar got the news and has set up Saturday and Sunday trips at 7:30. The Big Mohawk also added a few blackfish.

The wind is going northeast at 10-15 knots after midnight, but is only forecast to be east at 10-15 with gusts to 20 knots in the morning. The Saturday forecast is west at 5-10 knots — but with rain in the morning.

Bigger bass showing

The Tackle Box in Hazlet reported Matt Calabria got into keeper bass Monday afternoon in the back of the bay — including this 37.5-incher which is the largest reported so far. He was casting Tsunami Shads soaked in Fin Essence bunker oil. mbass-Matt