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Still working hard for stripers

The fall striped bass Bonanza we’ve been hoping for along the northern N.J. Shore still hasn’t started, but there have been some better signs.

The Atlantic Highlands fleet got into better jigging for mostly short bass today along with some keepers. Capt. Ron Santee said the jigging was held back by a very strong current, but when it dropped  to 2 knots there was good action with both plain and tailed diamonds. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the bite from his Sea Hunter was on diamond jigs. He’s cancelling his Thanksgiving trip due to the forecast of extreme cold and wind, but Black Friday looks good,

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had good readings and saw fish splashing today, but they were very fussy and only a few stripers and a couple of blues were caught. They will be back out in the morning and are still planning a Thanksgiving trip from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Capt. Rob De Petri ran his Sharky’s Machine out of Barnegat Bay to troll stripers of 32 and 36 inches on green mo-jos for Ray Bonte. One was hooked off Lavallette in 60 feet and the other near the 3-mile line. There wasn’t much bait recorded.

Yesterday morning’s showing of small stripers in the Point Pleasant Beach surf didn’t occur again as most anglers left quickly. I found an old J&J lead squid with a swiveled green tube in my basement and decided to give it a try. Surprisingly, it produced the only two small bass caught in the area I was working.

Jimmy Louro of Spring Lake caught three small bass and Frank Manzi added another in the surf there during the morning — and Louro got into others late in the afternoon.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere said he stayed in calm river waters over the weekend to catch boat limits of stripers on Katfish from Great Kills. His Ho-Joes did the job with white being the best color.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing to the far offshore wrecks for jumbo sea bass at 11 p.m. There are some openings that can be reserved by calling 732 528-5014. There were some limits on Sunday’s trip — and some cod up to 18 pounds and pollock to 16 pounds were added on the weekend runs along with white hake, ling and even a few barrellfish

It will be a lot windier and colder in coming days. A Small craft advisory will be increased to a gale warning from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday night. West winds of 15-20 knots tomorrow morning increase to 20-25 in the afternoon.

Get out Tuesday while the weather holds

While there didn’t seem to be any Bonanza striper fishing today, there were many caught in various areas. With colder and windier weather coming, it might be best to get your shots in Tuesday when the forecast is for NW 10-15 knots in the morning before increasing to 15-20 with gusts to 30 in the afternoon. Small craft warnings will be going up through Wednesday afternoon — to be followed by gale warnings Wednesday afternoon.

There was a decent early jigging bite in the Sandy Hook area. At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter reported better fishing with more shorts and keeper bass plus a few slots. The Fishermen reported 10 keeper bass plus some bonus fish through there wasn’t as much bait as on Sunday.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had good jigging on long drifts. It was mostly shorts with some keepers and slots and even a couple of blues.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had a similar report with stripers up to 20 pounds.

Though surfcasting remains tough, there was at least a showing of shorts this morning in Point Pleasant Beach. I was surprised to see over a dozen anglers on the beach when I arrived just before sun-up, but it was well a——————————————-fter that before some rods started bending. The two small bass I cau-ght were both on a Castaways teaser rig rather than the sand eel jig, an-d the only two anglers who did more than pick were casting diamond- jigs with a red tail. Nothing great, but the best action I’ve seen so far this fall. I returned late in the afternoon and didn’t see a fish caught.-

Steve Mirande made the right move -late this afternoon when he fished Bay Head and cast both swim shads and metal to catch three small stripers — all of which hit his hand–tied sand eel teaser. Steve thought he’d hooked a big one that was taking drag before his monster surfaced — a three-foot waterlogged plank!

Waters clearing — stripers improving

Ocean waters continue to clean up after the storm. There’s been no resumption of Wednesday’s hot jigging, but that fishing was somewhat better today.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands jigged mostly shorts in local waters, but added a couple to take home.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle got into two dozen shorts and a few keepers. The Big Mohawk is blackfishing, and that was tough today though some limits were taken. They sail at 6 a.m. Monday when the forecast is for west winds at 5-10 knots.

Surfcasting remains slow, though I heard of a few shorts being hooked on metal at Bay Head and Point Pleasant.

Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant didn’t have to run all the way to the Rockaways again, and managed a pick of stripers off Sandy Hook. In addition to shorts, the boat had 10 keepers for the weekend plus a few slots. Ashley boated a personal record 32-inch striper.



Ashley bass

A tough day in dirty waters after the storm — but clearing during the day

The weather was fine. but striped bass didn’t respond well in badly discolored waters after the storm. That situation improved during the afternoon and provides hope for Sunday

Capt. Dave Riback was hoping to find the new body of large bass which provided great jigging Wednesday on his Queen Mary out of Point Pleasant, but could hardly find anything in the dirty waters resulting from the storm before running to the Rockaways where conditions were better and there was some action with mostly short bass. Some keepers were caught, but slot bass are just shorts in N.Y. waters. He did add a few slots on the way home off the Highlands.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported mostly shorts before fishing improved in the afternoon.

The Atlantic Highlands boats ran to the areas of hot jigging on Wednesday and found them to be barren. They ended up in the action to the north where some keepers were added. The Fishermen had a 15-pound pool winner.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar had a poor start to their blackfishing, but the bite improved and they put together a decent catch with both jigs and sinker rigs producing. They’re sailing at 6 a.m. Sunday and Monday, but are chartered Tuesday. Jim Louro of Spring Lake found dirty water in the surf everywhere he looked this morning, but the swell was down and surfcasting could improve by tomorrow.

The weather forecast is fine, with north 5-10 knot winds Sunday before going to the SE in the afternoon.














Blackfish season for five fish opens

This is a second blog for today as I forgot to include the very important information that the blackfish season for five at a 15-inch minimum opened today and extends through the rest of the year. I doubt if anyone took advantage of that opportunity today unless they fished in Point Pleasant Canal or in the inlets. However, the bottom fishing fleet should be in business starting tomorrow with good weather ahead.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had already postponed his first trip for his specialty with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands to Saturday at his daily sailing time of 7 a.m.

Better weather coming

Though there’s still a gale waring in place until 6 p.m. Friday, the forecast after that is as good as it gets in mid-November. Saturday morning starts out with a marginable for boaters west at 15-20 knots with gusts to 25 — but diminishing by afternoon to 10-15 knots. It might be better not to be an early bird tomorrow. Sunday starts with a mere 5-10 knots before becoming southeast in the afternoon. It’s back to west on Monday, but at only 10-15 knots.

I doubt if anyone sailed into today’s gale, but it’s likely that the whole fleet will be out there tomorrow and Sunday.  There was a hot bite of stripers on jigs in several areas before the storm, and everyone will be looking for that new body of bass again.

.Surfcasters were faced with a huge swell this morning. Vinny D’Anton checked a surfing cam that put the swell at 12 feet. The northwest wind has been knocking that down, but it may take another day for the surf to clear. Casting sure won’t be a problem with the west wind at your back. There was a showing of school bass in the surf from IBSP to Point Pleasant just before the storm. As nasty as Thursday was, Jerry Lasko stayed on the beaches with his buggy from dawn to dusk and managed three bass on diamond jigs — though Maren Toleno had 17 releases that included one close to 28 inches.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported that those who got out early in the NE storm caught short bass on metal and teasers. Betty & Nick’s in that town noted that the best bet just before the storms was yellow — in SP Minnows, Otter Tails, and bucktails.

Jim Hutchinson Sr. reports skippers of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association had good action trolling stripers up to 48 pounds north of the inlet before the storm. Capt. Ray Lopez of Miss Liane had six to 35 pounds on one trip that included a first striper for Zach Reitmann (13), who’s also a member of the association’s Junior Mate Program.

Those dreaming of the tropics at this time of year may be interested in the third day results of the Los Cabos Big Game Charter Boat Tournament out of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo in Baja California, Mexico. A noteworthy 203-pound yellowfin tuna was boated by Mike Rasi from California on the Renegade, which also had the day’s largest wahoo at 36.6 pounds. That contest concludes today.

Reader J.R. Aloise sent a note on Word Press that he had a good weekend with stripers of 32 and 34 inches plus a huge blue — but with no details. I can’t seem to get replies out to such messages, and once again urge all to message me at my e-mail —, My daughter Cyndi (who also set up this blog) set that e-mail up many years ago with just the “c” for captain. I’ve had it so long that it would be too much trouble to change it. Be sure to include the details with reports such as when, where, and how.























Reader Monday’s prediction ir west at 19-15 knots.

Surf stripers started getting active before northeaster

It’s been a pretty poor surfcasting season along the Jersey Shore so far, but there were some good signs on Wednesday as small stripers started getting active in several places.

The wind came up quickly this morning, and though I saw a few hardy souls casting along the beaches there didn’t seem to be any action in a very rough surf during a raw morning — and it got a lot worse in the afternoon.

I assume all boaters stayed home today. The Big Mohawk from Belmar had planned to try it, but didn’t go. With gale warnings up through Friday afternoon for east winds gusting to 45 knots tonight and west winds gusting to 40 tomorrow, they’ll be waiting until Saturday morning — nd I suspect that so will everyone else.  Thankfully, the forecast for Saturday is just 10-15 west, and down to north at 5-10 on Sunday.

Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, had several reports from Bay Head to Point Pleasant, with one angler catching eight schoolies. The Run-Off silver sand eel metal in 1 1/2 or 2 ounces was the hot lure along with teasers. Bob Correll’s dog Bailey checks out the schoolie he hooked at Bay Head late yesterday afternoon before release.

Bobby's bass

Fall striper run finally arrives, but tomorrow may be a blowout

The big showing of fall migratory stripers finally got to the Jersey Shore after Tuesday’s east blow — but we can’t seem to get a nice follow-up day. There’s rain, snow and sleet in the forecast along with northeast winds of 15-20 knots that will increase to 45 by later. Friday remains tough with north winds of 20-25 and gusts to 45.  Saturday looks good with west winds of 10-15 knots. .

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported spectacular striper fishing on jigs with keepers for all. They are not fishing tomorrow due to the forecast. The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported good striper action and will try to get back out to it in the morning before the worst of the weather. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, said the boats had a hard time finding the bunkers they’ve been snagging for bait, but didn’t need them today as big Crocs and jigs did the job. Capt. Chris Di Stefano said the fleet was about 2 1/2 miles off Spring Lake.

Capt. Ron Santee also got into plenty of bass further north while “fishing in the snot” with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. Those bass were on sand eels, and heavy jigs or those with tails worked best. Only three bonus bass were caught as all others were 30 inches or more. Vic Bubbin took the pool with a 44-inch 32-pounder.

There was even a bit of surf action at Bay Head, where a few small bass were picked despite no sign of bait. Bob Correll hooked a 20-incher at dusk.

I fished Point Pleasant Canal with dead sticky sandworms and had ;ots of bites on the afternoon slack while releasing six up to a 15-incher.

Capt. Vinny Vetere sent a weekend report from his Katfish out of Great Kills which  noted Saturday was calmwhere he was fishing though the bite was slow — but the bass turned on Sunday in rougher conditions.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be running a jumbo sea bass trip to far offshore wrecks on Saturday at 11 p.m. — and om Friday Nov. 21 at 2 a.m. They also got a good tuna report from Monday and will sail a 28-hour trip to the canyons at 10 p.m. Sunday. Space is available on those trips by calling 732 528-5014. A Thanksgiving striper trip will be run from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


Not a day for boaters

Today was a good one for sleeping in. Rain and gusty east winds probably kept almost everyone in. There was a nice period in the afternoon when the wind switched to the west and Mark Roy watched Raritan Bay go flat. So he took his Release Me from Raritan Marina out for a ride to the mouth of the bay where it was still rough and there was no bird life.

Capt. Ron Santee reported better shots of small stripers during Monday’s trip of the Fishermen from that port as sand eels have arrived. A plain diamond jig worked best, and there were a couple of keepers several slot fish mixed in. Live eels were tried for bigger bass, but they didn’t produce.  Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter at that port noted that the boat traffic on Veterans Day was horrible. We’re still waiting for the great surface action in the mouth of the bay that we enjoyed last year.

I took advantage of the switchover from rain and east winds to the start of the cold NW to fish the afternoon slack in Point Pleasant Camal. I only had dead sandworms to offer the blackfish, but quickly caught three up to a 13 1/2-incher. I was encouraged that bites continued into the outgoing tide bringing very cold waters from Barnagat Bay.

There was plenty of company on the ocean yesterday when I fished with Chuck Many on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands along with Rob Bowdan and Dave Glassberg. We rarely saw a bunker flip. but had to snag them on readings. One inshore area produced a decent pick of large stripers by using the snag & drop technique. I stuck to swimming a live bunker with a circle hook, but only spiny dogfish were hitting that way while the others were catching with the snag & drop.

Many moved off to deeper waters when the bunkers moved out.of that area/ We saw some isolated breaks in 60 feet just inshore of the three-mile line, and ended up doing well with live bunkers out there while I threw a big Tactical Angers Bomb popper from the bow and hooked up twice with stripers that got off before releasing a 15-pounder. I also raised two others though it seemed unlikely casting blind in 60 feet. We ended up with 19 releases of large stripers (averaging like the one I’m holding below) up to a 32-pounder after jigging six small bass on the way out.

Capt. Al bass - Veterans Day

Capt. Chris Di Stefano was part of the party yesterday on Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club as they trolled about 15 bass from Sandy Hook to Mantoloking that were all under 43 inches.  All the action was on bunker spoons as the heavy mo-jos didn’t work that time. They also spotted the breaks offshore, and tried casting without success. Chris knew that a Coast Guard vessel was out checking boats near the three mile line.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant postponed their Striper Marathon trip to Wednesday at 6:30 a.m.

Though surfcasting was generally tough before today, the switch to NW winds should knock down the swells and make it practical to try for the long overdue surf bass. Boaters may be able to work with that wind as long as they stay fairly close to shore.

Joe Melilllo. at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, weighed in a 48-pound striper that Gavin Petillo of that town caught in the ovean on a live bunker a few days ago.

It was a happy day for Veteran anglers, butTuesday looks like a blowout

Many veterans were able to enjoy their day today by catching fish under pleasant weather conditions. However, all that will change on Tuesday with rain and SE winds of 20–25 knots with gusts to 30 in the forecast. Many party boats have already cancelled. Don’t come down before checking with your skipper.

This vet celebrated by joining Chuck Many on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands. He  stopped under picking birds as Bob Bowden and Dave Glassberg from Little Silver and I jigged six small bass before going on the hunt for bigger stripers in the ocean. Finding bunkers to snag for live bait was tough, but we ended up with 19 keepers released. The largest was a 32-pounder. I’ll have details in tomorrows blog.

The Golden Eagle and Big Mohawk from Belmar had good striper reports. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands found some small bass under birds, and added a couple of keepers. Perhaps this east wind will pish some of those bass that have been off eastern Long Island our way.











off eastern Long Island our way.









from Arlantic Highlands