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A better forecast for tomorrow

Though yesterday’s gale was supposed to drop down after midnight, it was still blowing fairly hard early in the morning and was enough to discourage boat fishermen as there were no reports. That should change tomorrow as the forecast is for southwest at 5-10 knots until it increases to 10-15 with gusts to 20 knots in the afternoon.

The surf was in fairly good shape this morning, but I didn’t hear of any hot action — which is overdue.

Sorry about the photo in last night’s blog repeating when I published. I’ve been having a hard time with photos ever since Word Press changed the system.

Back to fishing tomorrow

Weather conditions will be back in our favor tomorrow, after today’s gale and striped bass will be the prime target with schoolies joining the great run of big bass boaters have been enjoying — such as the average one, shown below, that I released Wednesday after casting a 6.5-inch Tsunami Deep Shad while fishing with Capt. Erwin Heinrich (right) on his Scales N Tales out of Twin Lights Marina in Highlands,

Though the gale warning for west winds up to 40 knots is in effect through Tuesday morning, that wind is expected to diminish to 5-10 knots after midnight. Party boats should be sailing, and looking for the hot striper action they all left on the weekend.

There have also been some better surf reports. Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno got into some 28-30-inch bass yesterday on an Ocean County beach, and Maren caught two more this morning despite the wind. SP Minnows and needlefish did the job. Bob Correll didn’t see anything caught this morning at Bay Head, but he observed a whale blasting into bunker schools not too far offshore.

JCAA Blackfish Tournament Coming up

While striped bass are the featured species so far, blackfish will get lots of attention this month — and the JCAA is running a tournament for them as noted in the release below:

JCAA is pleased to present its 1st Annual BLACKFISH TOURNAMENT

Tournament Dates November 16th – 22nd, 2020

You choose the dates to fish but you may only fish TWO days! Prizes Based on weight of single largest blackfish 1st Place $2000 2nd Place $1000 3rd Place $750 4th Place Magictail Tog Jigs Valued at $150 5th Place Magictail Tog Jigs Valued at $100 Cash prizes based on only 60 boats and will be adjusted up or down proportionately depending on the number of boats that enter Largest sea bass – Magictail Tog Jigs Valued at $100 $$$ Various 1 and 3 fish Calcuttas $$$ ENTRY FEE $125 PER BOAT (MAXIMUM OF 6 ANGLERS PER BOAT) For additional info call Paul at 973-943-8201 For entry forms, rules and info. go to www.jcaa.org or visit our Facebook Page Completed entry forms can be faxed to the JCAA office: 732-506-6975 or Mailed to: JCAA, 1594 Lakewood Rd, Suite 13, Toms River, NJ 08755 ONLINE REGISTRATION may be done at www.jcaa.org or on our FB page There will be NO Awards Ceremony this year due to the uncertainty of what Covid-19 restrictions will be in place at the time. There is NO Captains meeting either. The important thing is that we do our best to keep everyone safe. We hope to have a nice awards ceremony next year. Official Rules & Regulations: Tournament Dates: Monday, November 16th (opening day for the 5 fish limit) through Sunday, November 22nd. Each boat entered may only fish two of the seven tournament days. Each entrant must text 973-943-8201 or email anglerpmh@aol.com, give their name and date(s) they are fishing by 9 PM the nights before the days they intend to fish. In the event no message is received, their designated fishing days will be Saturday November 21st and Sunday November 22nd. In the event an entrant only designates one day, their second day will be Sunday November 22nd. Fishing Hours: Dawn until there is sufficient time to make it to the weigh-in station before they close but no later than by 7 PM on your designated fishing days. (Some weigh-in stations may close before 7 PM) Fishing Location: Fish all NJ waters or waters in the EEZ east of the New Jersey coast that are open to the public, including the ocean, bays, inlets and rivers stretching from the Raritan Bay & Hudson River in the north to Delaware Bay in the south. Weigh-ins Entrants must weigh in their fish at Bahr’s Landing Marina in Highlands, Fishermen’s Den in Belmar, Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant, Creekside Outfitters in Waretown, Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, Great Bay Marina in Little Egg Township, Fin-atics in Ocean City, One Stop B&T in Atlantic City or Jim’s B&T in Cape May by no later than 7 PM on their designated fishing days. Entrants should confirm that their choice of a weigh-in station will be open until that time. If not be sure to get there before they close or go to another weigh-in station. Some weigh-in stations may be closed or close early on certain days or may have restricted hours due to the weather at this time of year and the Covid-19 situation. Weights will be recorded by the weigh masters on the official tournament weigh-in sheets but entrants should make certain that they receive a receipt or take a photo of the weigh-in sheet. All fish must be weighed on the day they are caught and may not be held overnight to weigh the next day. You may weigh in as many fish as you like but only the largest 1 or 3 (for those in the 3 fish Calcutta) will be scored regardless of which of the designated days they were caught on. You do not have to catch your largest 3 on one day.

There was joy at Atlantic Highlands today as party boat anglers caught plenty of stripers. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter said it started like yesterday with bass on top but hard to catch. However. as the tide slowed and changed the bass turned on. Sizes ranged from 25 inches to 47 pounds. The day was made by 9:30, and it was mostly on jigs.

Capt. Ron Santee Jr. had a similar report on his Fishermen as there were bass that could be kept plus several over 30 pounds. He said it got sporty as the outgoing tide ran into an increasing south wind, and they came in a bit early. There will be no boat fishing Monday due to the high winds forecast.

While boaters have been enjoying an exceptional run of very large stripers, fall surfcasting along the Jersey Shore has been very slow to develop. The strong northwest winds coming up should change that. Small craft warnings went up at 1p.m.– and are switched to a gale watch from this evening through Tuesday afternoon. West winds of 25-35 knots are forecast for Monday along with gusts to 45 and 5-8-foot seas.

Sea Hunter and Fishermen get into stripers

There was good striper action out of Atlantic Highlands today for a variety of sizes.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said there were some slot stripers mixed in with the big bass which had been dominating on his Sea Hunter. Those N.J. anglers who haven’t applied for a Bonus Bass must do so today by visiting the N.J. Division of Fish and Game web site.

Capt. Ron Santee Jr, made his first striper trip with the Fishermen and was frustrated at first by bass on the surface that wouldn’t hit a variety of lures. However, after the tide change it was game on! Most of the bass were large, as Ron weighed fish of 52, 44 and 42 pounds before the releases. Most were 30-38 inches, and there were no slots. Both plain jigs and those with tube tails worked in the deeper waters.

Those skippers will be sailing tomorrow, but not on Monday due to strong winds.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar won’t be sailing through Tuesday while an engine problem is being repaired. Miss Belmar Princess is fishing for stripers from7:30 to 3:30, and Royal Miss Belmar seeks stripers from 6 to 1 tomorrow.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that large winter flounder have turned on for those casting from the docks with worms and clams.

The Jamaica from Brielle has set up a 14-hour tuna trip which sails at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The fare is $360, and reservations can be made by calling 732 528-5014.

The marine forecast for Sunday is southwest 10-15 knots before increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon — and to gusts to 35 knots after midnight. A cold northwester on Monday will blow 25-30 knots.

The Jamaica from Brielle has set up a 14-hour tuna trip which sails at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations on the $360 trip.

Boats should be fishing tomorrow

With a gale warning posted today, I doubt if anyone sailed this morning.

However. there’s a big change coming for the weekend. Saturday is predicted to start with north winds at 10-15 knots before diminishing to east at 5 -10 knots in the afternoon. Sunday starts at 10-15 southwest before increasing to 15-20 knots in the afternoon. The first blast of winter is ahead on Monday with northwest winds at 20-25 knots that should get the fall surf striper run started.

Party and charter boats are all likely to sail both days this weekend.

Wednesday was the last fishable day, and it seemed as if most boaters did well with oversized stripers. Yet, some “keeper” bass below the maximum of less than 38 inches in New Jersey were caught.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had a great day as most stripers ranged from 35 to 45 inches, and many fares caught from three to five, Both jigs and snagged bunkers worked — and Capt. Dave Riback noted that only the lazy fishermen who just kept bumping bottom with a jig instead of working it failed to catch.

Miss Belmar Princess is looking forward to more great striper action tomorrow when both boats will sail for stripers rather than bluefish.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter is ready to seek giant stripers again and hope for some smaller ones, while the Fishermen will join them in that pursuit after giving up on bottom fishing.

Be careful releasing “monster” stripers

The current run of very large stripers in NY/NJ Bight and surrounding areas is a most unusual one in that some fishermen don’t want to catch the “big one” because they can’t keep them under the current regulations.

Virtually all stripers over 20 pounds are females and the key factor in maintaining the population. That’s why the the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has chosen to establish a maximum size rather than allowing harvest of a single striper of 28 inches or more. That wouldn’t normally be a problem for the average angler who struggles to catch big fish. but these aren’t normal times. The coastal migratory run heading to southerly spawning areas this fall has so far consisted almost entirely of bass exceeding 30 pounds.

Most of those seeking stripers for food which would rather have a 10-pounder or even much smaller than that right down to the smallest size that’s legal. Some don’t even consider very large stripers to be edible — though restaurants buy jumbos routinely and often pass them off as “groupers” on the menu.

Yet, most striper addicts aren’t concerned with the food value of their favorite fish — but many would like to retain a trophy bass. Fortunately. these days there are many alternatives. That “one for the wall” doesn’t require killing the fish as taxidermists have fiberglass molds for every size striper and only need the length and girth to make a copy. A photo should be added if there is anything unusual about the fish. An acceptable weight for the bass can be obtained by using the formula length times girth to the fork of the tail, divided by 800. There is a wide range of weights based on length, soo girth is vital — and the fork length must be used rather than total length that’s now used for all other purposes.

In order not to further stress the bass, get it back in the water as quickly as possible. Capt. Erwin Heinrich worked all of the big bass we caught yesterday from his Scales & Tales out of Twin Lights Marina in Highlands alongside the boat to be sure they could swim before getting the bite on his hand plus raised fin and body movements indicating that she’s ready to go down.

Though somewhat heavy tackle is a must on party boats in order not to inconvenience others. it’s not necessary on private and charter boats as the waters are relatively shallow, obstructions are rare, and the boat can be moved if necessary. Yesterday I caught bass up to 49 inches after fairly short fights on tackle that looked to be more suitable for freshwater fishing. The prototype carbon fiber Tsunami Air Wave was only 6 1/3 feet, and in combination with a Tsunami Salt X spinning reel filled with 30-pound braid felt like a feather — but allowed me to put lots of pressure on 30 and 40-pound stripers which were alongside within minutes.

Our group of anglers who make our livings in the sportfishing world don’t like to troll and didn’t want to fish bunkers as every year at this time we’ve ben able to do our favorite thing with Erwin by casting lures for big bass. A few fish were raised on surface lures, but it was only the dependable Tsunami Deep 6.5-inch Shad that could distract stripers from the thousands of bunkers available to them. Not only is casting the most satisfying way to fish, but it’s also perfect for release fishing as the bass aren’t harmed at all and can even be quickly sent on their way without taking them out of the water.

The snag and drop technique seemed to be most efficient yesterday, but it results in too many bass ending up gut-hooked while having to be released. If you use that method, strike right away when a hit is felt. Most importantly. use the largest snag hook you can find as the bass probably won’t be able to swallow it before getting hooked in the mouth. That method will be illegal next year when only a circle hook will be allowed with bait.

Heinrich (908 477-7537) took a chance running down the beach where we found lots of spraying bunker schools and stripers that would hit off Sandy Hook. Tom Lynch of Angry Fish Galleries in Point Pleasant Beach was with us and, as a surfcaster, got excited at the possibility of bass driving those bunkers to the beach for an epic bite. We weren’t too far off, and that area may be worth

Jon Falkowski of Linden was fishing aboard the Miss Belmar Princess yesterday as they got into stripers on jigs. He said there were 17 fares aboard with catches ranging from zero to one pro with six. Jon was happy to get a 12-pound keeper on an old Run-Off jig that another angler told him to try. That angler later admitted that he’d never caught anything on it before.

were no reports today, and nothing will be doing tomorrow as a gale warning was posted at 5 p.m. which runs to Friday afternoon. There will be northeast gusts to 40 knots tonight before dropping to 25-30 with gusts to 35 from the north. That wind diminishes to 20-25 knots in the afternoon. However, the weekend looks good.

Stripers show down the beach

Sorry for the brief Blog yesterday. but after doing a detailed report I was unable to publish it. I’m hoping for better luck today.

I joined Capt. Erwin Heinrich today on his Scales N Tales from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands, along with Jim Hutchinson Jr. of The Fisherman magazine, Jerry Gomber of Folsom Fishing Tackle, and Point Pleasant marine art dealer Tom Lynch. Erwin started the morning in light rain in Raritan Bay with striper readings and spraying bunker schools, but we weren’t getting hits among them by casting Tsunami shads. Gomber managed a 39-inch striper, but the skipper made what turned out to be a good move by taking a quick run down the beach with his 31 Contender where we encountered many more schools of bunkers with some bass under them which were willing to vary their diet. I finally got hot and released four stripers in a row starting with a fat 49-incher on the 6.5-inch Heavy Tsunami Pearl Spot Shad worked slow and deep after casting to the edge of splashing bunker schools. All of the bass we caught were well over the maximum size, but we weren’t complaining about having to fight bass too big before heading in when it slowed down..

The forecast isn’t too bad early tomorrow if you don’t mind rain. The wind forecast is only 5-10 knots northeast before increasing to 15-20 with gusts to 30 knots in the afternoon. A gale warning will go up tomorrow evening to Friday afternoon.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc has had fine striper action with some anglers catching multiple big stripers up to 50 pounds. He is sailing in the morning, and advises anglers to dress for the rain. All of his bass have been too big to keep, but that could change any day.

The Fishermen has given up bottom fishing, and will resume sailing on Saturday when stripers will be the target.

Miss Belmar Princess reports getting into big bass today that were on the surface and hitting heavy Ava jigs. They also reported having some keepers.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had a very good Tuesday Striper Marathon trip for the big bass up to 47 inches as Jim Steel was high hook with six releases to 46 inches.

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There’s marginal weather ahead of us, so be sure to check with skippers before coming down t

Big stripers turn on

Stripers too large to keep turned on in many areas from Raritan Bay to the Shore today. I did a detailed blog, but Word Press couldn’t send it. I’m hoping this is published and will catch up later or tomorrow.

Boaters should be able to sail tomorrow

It’s unlikely that anyone sailed today, but the forecast for tomorrow is for only north at 10-15 knots after small craft warnings come down today at 10 p.m. Furthermore, the prediction is for the wind diminishing in the afternoon to 5-10 knots. Enjoy the break in weather as it appears that we’re in for more wind and rain starting Thursday night.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar will be switching to striped bass tomorrow, and anglers are advised to bring a heavy spinning rod for snagging bunkers as well as a boat rod for jigging.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter should be back after those big stripers that were hooked Sunday, but the Fishermen is sticking with bottom fishing until the school bass arrive.

With surfcasting a poor bet in bad weather plus a big swell, Vinny D’Anton made several calls about Raritan Bay fishing and had only negative comments as even the small blues under wildly diving birds that used to be so abundant under birds in October have been missing.

Sea Hunter had a problem — stripers too big

After two days with only a few stripers on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the northeast wind turned the bass on — but none of those they caught were small enough to keep. The smallest was 40 inches, and the largest about 45 pounds — though another even larger got off. Unfortunately, the weather looks even worse tomorrow. Rob is hoping for Tuesday. Call him at 732 291-4468;

Also at that port, the Fishermen reported a huge swell killed bottom fishing Saturday and will make fishing impossible tomorrow.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a nasty day at sea today though they did catch some blues and sea bass. They won’t sail tomorrow, and the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant has also canceled.

Sorry about no blog yesterday, but I was locked out of my account — which was fixed long distance by my daughter Cyndi in Florida his morning.

The forecast is for east winds at 15-20 knots, but dropping to 10-15 in the afternoon. Morning showers and patchy fog are likely.