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Too much south wind

Small craft warnings went up at 4 p.m. and extend to Thursday afternoon. Some boats are already cancelling Thursday trips, so be sure to check with your skipper before making a trip in the morning. Jon Falkowski of Linden reports yesterday’s sea bass fishing on the Golden Eagle from Belmar wasn’t as good as two weeks ago . After an unsuccessful attempt at bluefishing, the sea bass were finicky as he only caught seven — of which there were four keepers. A current developed that became so strong he couldn’t hold bottom with 12 ounces. The Golden Eagle reported getting a good shot at 2-4-pound blues this morning before other boats broke them up. There were a lot of sea bass marked, but they didn’t bite well. Some ling and fluke were added. The Thursday trip is cancelled due to the wind forecast.

Watch out for whales!

It’s a thrill to watch a huge whale fly out of the water before crashing back into the ocean — unless your boat happens to be where the whale is coming down.

Joe Daley passed along some info about that happening to an unfortunate boater yesterday off D St. in Seaside Park.

An internet check of various accounts indicated that the incident occurred about 11:50 a.m. yesterday, and that the two anglers were unhurt and able to swim to the nearby surf. The estimated 25-foot boat was trailered off the beach a few hours later.

When whales were making a comeback several decades ago, I was tuna fishing on Mako outboards out of Montauk and started seeing them swimming under the boat at times as I chunked. That was a little scary at the time, but they never seemed to rise up to threaten a boat that would have been only a toy to them.

However, shallow water is a different story. Boaters are usually fishing very close to a school of bunkers that the whale may also be interested in, and there’s nothing you can do short of moving away to prevent a long-shot accident.

There may not even be any sighting involved. I once hooked a whale while casting a 1/4-ounce bucktail jig for school stripers off Ocean Beach even though I hadn’t seen it surface at any time. By unning with the annoyed whale I was able to shake the tiny hook out of tough skin that I knew it couldn’t penetrate.

Tuna fishing relatively close to shore exploded today as Capt. Dave De Gennaro put a charter on his Hi Flier out of Barnegat into “lots of unders” before tangling with a 70-inch bluefin that was fought for 2 1/4 hours on stand-up tackle.

Allen Riley fished the Sandy Hook surf this morning with Duke Matero and Frank Huza. They had ideal conditions with the water temperature way up to 64.5 degrees. Riley had a hit on his bunker bait during the first cast, but that was it as nothing was caught by any of the anglers on the beach. There were bunkers well out of casting range, and two whales put on a show for them.

Despite having to avoid an armada of kayaks, Capt, Chris Di Stefano joined Jimmy Herrick for limits of fluke again in Navesink River. Just after the limits were filled, Chris had to cut loose a 7-8-pounder.

I tried casting into Manasquan River from shore for the first time this spring and only had one hit on a 5-inch Z Man paddletail, but that was from an unexpected 19 1/2-inch fluke that felt like a doormat after only having caught shorts this spring. It was released as thanks for saving my morning.

Tomorrow starts with light south winds of 5-10 knots, but goes to 15-20 with gusts to 25 knots in the afternoon.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar was catching sea bass Sunday when bluefins from about 100 to 150 pounds began splashing on the surface and picking off dead, floating ling. Those tuna often follow trawlers to pick off fish falling out of holes in the net, but it’s unusual for them to ne attracted by just a few floaters.

The new Word Press system eliminated my title, so I’m publishing what I can save before losing it all,

There have been great quantities of small bluefins far offshore, especially at the 1000 fathom line. Many of those bluefins are short of the 27-inch curved fork length minimum, but there are some larger ones among them. The largest bluefins seem to be around the intermediate offshore areas such as the Atlantic Princess.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano saw a couple of school tuna brought into Shark River Yacht Club today from even closer.

Boaters must purchase a NMFS permit to catch tuna, and the limit this year in the Angling category is two bluefins from 27 to less than 47 inches plus one large school/small medium from 47 to less than 73 inches. Charter boats can retain three of the smaller bluefins plus the one “over”. Party boats are allowed six schoolies and two overs.

The Golden Eagle sea bass limits and a few 2-3-pund bluefish yesterday. As a result, they started out looking for those blues this morning and got into themon jigs when located — but couldn’t hold them for long. The sea bass and ling bite then continued/

Capt. Rob Semkewyc was hoping for a repeat of Saturday’s great quantity of big striprd bass in Raritan Bay, but instead it was the same poor result as on Sunday as the only bass was hooked was lost. Semkewyc has cancelled the rest of those striper trips and goes back daily fluking tomorrow with his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands,

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant also got into blues up to 4 pounds on jigs during Saturday’s trip that also produced sea bass.

The marine forecast remains good with west winds at 5-10 knots in the morning that increase to 1-15 with gusts to 20 knots in the afternoon.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant added a limited striper trip Thursday that costs $100 and runs from 4 p.m. to dark. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations on this and other special trips.


What a difference a day can make

Capt. Rob Semkewyc was surrounded by stripers yesterday on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, as was noted in yesterday’s blog. Yet, he said today it was like the Sahara Desert in the same area. Only one small group of bass came up, and just one striper was boated. Of course, as fast as they can disappear, they could well be right back tomorrow.

Frank Jones was at the right place Saturday as he and his son Kyle livelined four stripers up to 48 inches in the fog off the Red Church while fishing on Bob Murzada’s Knee Deep before heading out to the Farms for limits of sea bass.

There was a surprising lack of reports today in such fine weather. There was one report of very cold water in the surf after days of south wind upwellings. The northwest wind is predicted to continue at 10-15 knots into the morning, which could help improve that situation before turning to southwest in the afternoon.

Point Pleasant Canal was dead this morning though conditions weren’t bad except for the usual weekend boat traffic. Yet, I saw only one angler get a hit. I stuck it out to the end of the outgoing and finally hooked a 17-inch striper on a Z Man 5-inch white Swimmereez. As far as I know, that was the only fish caught here this morning.

Vinny D’Anton is still in Sarasota. and had a fine morning of wade casting as snook turned on just as waves from the tropical storm started building up in the Gulf of Mexico. He ended up releasing 16 on the DOA Shrimp.

Sea Hunter — Hundreds of bass rolling

After getting shut out during his first striper trip on Wednesday, Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a far different experience as he reported bunkers and bass up all day, with hundreds of bass rolling on the surface. The only problem was that they were hard to catch — though some were boated.

The photos supplied looked like bass in the teens and possibly a bit larger, but I’m still unable to post photos in the new Word Press system.

Mark Roy wasn’t into those stripers with his Release Me from Raritan Marina in Hazlet, but the mojo he was trolling did attract a “rare” species with teeth as a bluefish of about 28 inches cut the leader next to the boat off Staten Island.

It was quite a different story when I joined Bob Correll on his Sea Vee from Crystal Point Marina in Point Pleasant for a mid-morning run to the south. We saw some bunker flips off Normandy Beach, and had no trouble snagging baits close to the beach. One small whale was spotted there, but there were no surface bunker schools or any signs of stripers during a few drifts. Moving down to Seaside didn’t provide any more hope, and there were no boats fishing during the run back to Manasquan Inlet on a beautiful day when there would usually be lots of boats working bunker schools for stripers or drifting for fluke at this time of year. There were also no reports from the Seaside Park tackle shops of the popping plug action with large bass on bunkers that occurred earlier in the week.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro ran his Hi-Flier from Barnegat and live-lined a 42-inch bass off the IBSP bathing beach, but did mothing else in the morning before finding a 28-incher off Barnegat Inlet on a bunker. He found bunker and the early bass in just 8 feet of water close to the surf.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported good sea bass fishing today. Capt. Dave Riback has noted an increase in bunkers, and is going to start striper trips on June 10,11,15 and 18.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported good sea bass fishing plus ling. Some spots are open for Sunday’s afternoon trip.

I fished Point Pleasant Canal early this morning, and was pleased to find it finally free of the weed we’ve been fighting there. However, fishing wasn’t good. I had one cast with six hits and fish on-and-off that were probably very small blues. Then a striper of about 20 inches hit my 5-inch white ZMan, but that was it. The only blue I saw caught was a cocktail.

The upcoming weather looks great, with northwest winds at 10-15 knots in the morning before dropping to 5-10 in the afternoon.

Sturgeon provides a thrill

Stanley and Dylan Purzyewski had a northern N.J. trolling thrill yesterday on their High Ambitions when they hooked the “big one” and sought it for half-hour before finding out thet they had hooked a12-foot sturgeon weighing hundreds of pounds.

Though a fully protected species that’s actually quite common in Raritan Bay and the Hudson River. I’ve often seen several jump during the day while fishing in the bay. They feed on very small forage and are invariably snagged. They were very abundant during the early days of our country, but the value of their eggs as caviar resulted in their being all but wiped out by commercial fishermen.

It was supposed to be calm this morning, but a cold southeast wind was blowing , and the ocean was choppy. As a result, the bunkers and large stripers that had been popping up off Ocean Couty were not showing today. Jerry Lasko still tried it at IBSP, but he and Maren Toleno only caught a couple of small blues blind casting poppers.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano made the right choice as he joined Jimmy Herrick on the Navesink River as the crew limited on fluke with few shorts to work through — which is just the opposite of what Chris has found in Shark River,

As noted in last night’s blog, Mark Roy had trolled mojos all day in Raritan Bay without a hit.. However he stuck with it after a tide change when the stripers came alive and the Release Me crew caught eight up to a 37 1/2-incher. The one striper Mark cleaned was spawned out.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported only a pick of sea bass in the southeast wind after having had consistent action.

Saturday looks better with southwest 5-10 knot winds and patchy fog before the usual afternoon showers and thunderstorms. The Golden Eagle from Belmar good sea bass fishing along with the best showing of ling in some time as some fares had up to 10.

+Lots of canyon tuna to south

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant reports great canyon tuna trolling if you’re willing to run far enough south.

Captains Deane Lambros and Mike Zajac ran over 100 miles south on Monday to find the right water, but the Brian Gottlieb party was into fast bluefin trolling at the 1000-fathom line as 30 were caught though they kept only three as four larger yellofins were added.

On Tuesday, Karl Hackkert and his two sons trolled eight bluefins (releasing all but 5) and a bigeye before moving into the shallower big bluefin grounds to troll a 57-inch 100-pounder on a “way back” balao.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the stripers won on his first trip for that species with his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. He’ll try again Friday, and urges anglers to bring a lighter spinner to snag bunkers plus a heavier outfit for fishing those big baits.

Mark Roy fished Raritan Bay all day and never found a striper at any of the spots he’s been trolling them with mojos from his Release Me out of Raritan Marina in Hazlet,

Bunkers have been moving into the beach at times to the south, but anglers have to be there with perfect timing to order to get popping plugs to them. Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Park reports a 31-pounder was beached this morning.

Jerry Lasko waited at IBSP all morning, but the bunkers and bass stayed out of range. He picked a small blue, and Maren Toleno released a 26-inch striper.

Light winds are expected in the morning as the marine forecast is for southwest at 5-10 knots before increasing 10-15 with gusts to 20 knots in the afternoon — along with showers or thunder storms.

Find clean water and bait for fluke

The N. J. fluke season has been off to a slow start due to cold ocean waters, and fluke pro Dave Lilly also suspected that the recent dirty water in Raritan Bay might have something to do with it. Therefore, when he had the opportunity yesterday to run a fast 25-foot Parker, he shot over to the Rockaways.

As soon as he arrived there were birds over cocktail blues working on tiny bait. The water was crystal clear, 62 degrees, full of bait — and fluke baits were hit as fast as they got down.

At least 35 fluke were caught by Lilly and the crew, but since they were in N.Y. waters the 19-inch minimum there held them to four keepers. The fluke were spiting out tiny crabs , and there were lots of hits from sea robins, smooth dogfish and skates. Lilly said he probably caught more sea robins than in all of last year.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar got off to a slow start on sea bass this morning, but sea bass were stacked 10 feet high at the second drop. Best of all, most were large keepers. Some ling and a fluke were added.

Joe Blaze layed aside his fly rod yesterday while fishing from his small boat in Manasquan River in order to seek a keeper fluke for the table with a jig and Gulp on a spinning rod, He had plenty of action with shorts up to 17 1/2 inches before getting into small blues within the river.

Though there weren’t any big fish hooked this morning in Point Pleasant Canal, there were quite a few light bumps and chopped off paddletails from small blues. I released three blues in the 3-pound class on Z Mans, plus my first spring striper of 20 inches. Joe Melillo, former owner of Castaways Tackle, also broke the ice with a blue.

Jerry Lasko waited it out at Island Beach State Par, where some stripers hit poppers yesterday, but only caught one small blue and lost another while waiting for bunkers to be attacked. Just as they were getting close, he south wind came up and it went dead. That was nothing compared to the brief afternoon storm that roared through.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano trolled his small boat from Shark River up to the Rocks yesterday to get his granddaughter into a big striper, but the one hit quickly got off and left only a scale on the Tony Maja bunker spoon. A move to the Farms produced lots of big sea bass plus ling,

The Jamaica from Brielle has added a Sunday afternoon sea bass trip from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Capt. Dave De Gennero is fishing his Hi Flier from Barnegat inshore while awaiting a chance to get offshore. His son, Capt. Nick,put Griffin Chrostowski from Moorestown into his first striper with a 44-inch, 26-pounder in the inlet.

Striped bass satellite tagging underway again

The Northeast Striped Bass Study, sponsored by The Fisherman magazine, is underway again after pandemic restrictions stopped manufacturing of the satellite tags used in the program.The large female required was located in a North Jersey area scouted out by Chuck Many on his Ty Man, and caught aboard Capt. Frank Waggenhoffer’s Fin Chaser. The 46 1/2-inch, 43-pounder was fitted with the satellite tag on May 8, and released in prime condition to spawn and then provide a steady stream of information during its migratory movements. The two stripers tagged last year migrated as expected to New England, but not at all as expected along the Long Island shoreline from the Hudson River. Instead they went far offshore to the edges of canyons and traveled in mid-depths. Chuck had Staten Island pros, including Guy Buono, with him yesterday morning as he got into big bass up to a 49-pounder down the beach. During all the fishing with live bunkers and eels Many’s been doing in the ocean and Raritan Bay, he’s only had a few bluefish bites and hasn’t caught one yet.

Mark Roy fished Raritan Bay a couple of days ago with his Release Me from Raritan Marina in Hazlet as John Mooney and Manny Quinones trolled seven stripers from 35 to 37 1/2 inches on mojos.

Large bunkers moved into the Island Beach State Park (IBSP) surf long enough to provide a shot of stripers action this morning. Jerry Lasko reported that Maren Toleno caught a 36-incher and he hooked a 22-inch bass on popping plugs. There was also a report from Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Park that Dennis Smith had a 20-pounder on a pencil popper, while Luca took a 37-incher at 21st St. in that town, and Joe Caputo added a 14-pound bass on a sand eel teaser. `

There have been some small blues in Point Pleasant Canal, but when I got a hit this morning it was from something that cut right through a normally bluefish-proof 8-inch Z Man paddletail. That couldn’t have been any small blue, but then there were a couple of very short flurries that produced a few small blues and lots of clipped off Kettle Creek tails. I released my first two blues of the spring that were in the 3-pound class.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands is making a special striped bass trip Wednesday Reservations are required for the 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. trip that’s limited to 20 and costs $90.Capt. Rob Semkewyc said fluking has been poor, and getting even worse. As a result, he’s going to add striper trips on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, He’ll do a combo fluke and sea bass trip the other days,

The Fishermen from that port experienced a slower seabass trip today, but had some bigger bass up to a 4 1/2-pounder by Tyler Murdock of Brick, There were also a half-dozen flounders and a pollock, but few ling. During a drop in deeper waters the few fish came up without much fight due to the very cold water on bottom.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had a slow start today before ending up with a good sea bass catch. Capt. Dave Riback noted that the “odd” giant striped bass may be caught on these daily trips.

The Big Jamaica from Brielle has set its first tilefish date as Monday June 22 at 10 p.m. The return is at 2 to 4 a.m. the following Wednesday.

Light winds continue with just southwest at 10 knots in the morning along with showers. Thunderstorms are possible in the afternoon.

Sea bass limits remain common

It’s not unusual for good fishing to drop off sharply not too long after the season opening surge, but that hasn’t occurred with sea bass so far since limit catches aboard party boats remain common.

Capt. Ron Santee is happy that he made the switch from a poor fluke fishery in still-cool waters to sea bass and ling on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. Not only are the target species cooperating, but there’s interesting variety that includes winter flounder, mackerel, blackfish and even a pollock and a cod today. He urges anglers to bring ice in order to preserve fish in the warmer temperatures coming.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar has also been catching some cod while limits of sea bass are common on jigs and sand eel teasers– though bait also works.

The Jamaica from Brielle added flounder and ling to sea bass limits yesterday. Saturday half-night ling trips start this weekend at 7 p.m.

Though cool this morning, it was beautiful on the beach even though the bunkers, small blues and hickory shad didn’t return to Bay Head as the bait stayed out of range.

Allen Riley had a better report from Sandy Hook as bunker produced a 4-pound bluefish before large skates took over. Riley then ended up with a real battle from a 4-foot “sand shark” — probably a smooth dogfish. Duke Matero released a 17-inch fluke on bunker.

Riley said the water temperature cool 58 degrees — though that was up 5 degrees from last week,

Bob Correll looked for bluefish in Manasquan River during late afternoon, but we found no sign of them before I broke the ice with a17-inch fluke on a small bucktail jig and 4-inch Gulp just before he berthed his Sea Vee at Crystal Point Marina in Point Pleasant.