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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

Legal bass moving into Raritan Bay

Chuck Many had to cancel Monday morning’s trip with his Ty Man from Highlands , but Mike Greene joined him for an evening trip that produced 25 bass on artificials which were over half keepers.  The largest was 33 inches.

I’m having a problem with Word Press, and will add reports tomorrow.


Robert Dreyer has best catch — a kayacker in need

Blog reader Robert Dreyer had no luck seeking stripers while casting lures in the back of Raritan Bay on Friday and Saturday, but he made the best catch of all by rescuing a kayacker who had fallen in the water and was in big trouble as 45 degree waters were leaking into his two-piece suit for 15 minutes.

Hypothermia had started when the rescue was made, and they warmed him up as best they could before handing the victim over to surfcasters who waded out as far as possible at Keansburg Beach.

Dreyer warned kayackers to dress properly while waters are so cold — and exercise caution, but saw one on Saturday fishing in a t-shirt.

There was better news about stripers in the bay during the last couple of days. Phil Sciortino reported from The Tackle Box in Hazlet that Matt Calabria trolled Rapala X-Raps from his boat to catch bass up to a 20-pounder.

Kevin Kuriawa noted that his friend Rick Pagluco trolled over 20 bass including a 33-incher in the bay.

Capt. Rick Woerner of Carnivore from Cliffside Marina in Sewaren (where Dockside Bait & Tackle is located) made a trip this afternoon from 1:15 to 3:30 and cast Storm Shads in the back of the bay for 30 bass including the only keeper at 31 inches for Joseph Bobel plus Jeff and Jason Plungif.

This was the opening day of the blackfish season, but there were no reports as this was being written from the Belmar blackfish boats.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports stripers on bait in the back bay. Mike Di Salvo caught a 35-incher and released two other keepers.

Tuesday’s marine forecast is for southeast winds of 10-15 knots. It shifts to northwest 15-20 on Wednesday– with gusts to 30 in the afternoon.

Vinny D’Anton reports from Sarasota that he plugged an 8-pound jack cravalle and a 3-pound bluefish yesterday morning, while Frank Manzi fought a 10-pound cravalle — the toughest of all inshore fish.

Blackfishing opens tomorrow

Blackfishing opens tomorrow, and despite gusty northwest winds there will be boats waiting for the first catches of the spring.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar didn’t sail today due to lumpy seas, but they’ll be fishing inshore at 7:30 where the northwest wind will knock down the seas. The Big Mohawk from Belmar gets back into action for tog at 7 a.m.

Sorry for missing Saturday’s blog. We drove down to Florida on Friday and had expected to have internet in our home as I had checked with Comcast prior to leaving to ensure it was working. As it turned out were completely out of connections until a technician arrived this evening.

After the negative report about Raritan Bay stripers on Thursday, Capt. Chris Di Stefano reported that a friend trolled stretch plugs off Morgan on Friday to catch a dozen bass, including a 29-incher.

Ocean Explorer finds some cod

There’s still  some hope that a spring run of cod will develop off the Jersey coast. The Ocean Explorer got out from Belmar on Thursday and had warm, calm weather with plenty of life on bottom. Unfortunately, most of that life was bergalls. Some of the latter were big enough to provide fillets which are very good eating. Two cod were boated, including one over 20 pounds. They’ll be fishing again on Friday.

The news from Raritan Bay wasn’t as promising. Capt. Rick Worner had Art Berkman aboard his Carnivore from Sewaren to fish the back of the bay where there had been hot school striper action Monday.  However, the water temperature had dropped and none of the boats fishing had any action in poor conditions. This is probably just a temporary setback as that mass of schoolies likely haven’t gone far. The forecast for Saturday starts off well with south winds at 10-15 knots, but it blows up in the afternoon and some rain is possible.

I’m traveling on Friday, but will catch up Saturday afternoon.

Raritan Bay stripers were in perfect condition

It occurred to me after Monday’s wild light tackle action on Chuck Many’s Ty Man from Highlands, which produced 207 short stripers up to 26 inches  in the back of Raritan Bay, that there wasn’t a single fish that didn’t look healthy. There wasn’t a single mark or any sort of flaw on those fish, though I was surprised to see sea lice on a couple.

I assume these were Hudson River fish, but sea lice are only present in the ocean. I wonder where those bass came from as early as March? There were a couple of kayackers fishing on that 6-foot flat where we were catching bass on lures after first scoring with worms in 14 feet, but there have been no boat reports so far,. That will surely change in April.

April 1 will also be when the Big Mohawk from Belmar makes its first trip of the season as blackfishing becomes legal. Departure is at 7 a.m.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported a good bite of school stripers continues in the back bay along with a pick of winter flounder.

Friday’s weather is looking good with southwest winds of 10-15 knots.