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Gale kills fishing, but Sunday looks better

Today’s west gale put a big crimp in fishing. but it’s supposed to blow itself down to a moderate wind by tomorrow. The forecast for Sunday morning is NW 10-15, but with gusts to 25 knots. That’s similar to last Sunday, though the direction is better than the north direction last Sunday when a huge fleet encountered a choppy dry northeaster at dawn. With a NW wind it should still be fishable within a mile of the beach — and should calm down during the day.

The Jamaica from Brielle is running their offshore wreck trip for jumbo sea bass, but will be leaving later at 1 a.m. There’s room on that trip at $180. Call 732 528-5014.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro is also going with his Hi Flier from Barnegat, but he’ll be hugging the protecting shoreline in the search for stripers. This is the last November open trip hat boat. Reservations for the 6 a.m. trip can be made by calling 732 330-5674.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar may have been the only boat that sailed today, and they managed to snag some bunkers and catch two bass despite winds to over 40 knots and a two knot drift that took them right away from the readings. The Big Mohawk from Belmar is sailing at 5:30 in the morning, but warns patrons they must have a spinning rod, Crocs, and a  weighted treble hook  to get on the boat.

There were no reports from the surf, though quite a few anglers were trying. I went right to Point Pleasant Canal this morning and released six small tog on sandworms before the wind got too bad. When I returned for the noon slack it was all I could due to keep from being blown down as the tide switched to outgoing and was glad to settle for a 12-inch tog before retreating. Another angler told me that he’d tried to fish for flounder at Belmar, but that there were waves in that protected area.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park weighed in a Friday catch of a 34-inch, 15.75-pound bass caught in the surf on a bunker chunk by Chris Flood.

West gale to follow blast from the east

Today was as close to a total blowout as possible, with no reports at all. It’s blowing SE at 35 knots now — but at ;east the rain held off until late. I had hoped to get a shot in the surf early before the wind got too bad, but only made a few casts into the Manasquan surf which was already very rough and with no bird life to indicate the presence of bait.  I did try Point Pleasant Canal on the slack later in the morning to pick at small blackfish and sea bass on sandworms before breaking the ice for the day when a 32 1/2-inch striper hit the worm.

The forecast for Saturday is sunny, but with 25-30 knot west winds gusting to 35. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands has cancelled for Saturday, and I suspect many other party and charter boats will do the same. Be sure to check with skippers before coming down.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands reported only a pick of short bass and a couple of slots on Thursday. Capt. Vinny Vetere said he caught 15 large bass from his Katfish out of Great Kills that day — mostly trolling his Ho-Jos plus some chunking bunker.

Mark Roy and his crew on Release Me from Raritan Marina in Hazlet trolled mo-jos between the channels on Wednesday for stripers of 21,30 and 32 pounds. He spent hours pounding the same area Thursday without a hit.

Saturday’s gale warning extends to that night, but Sunday looks better with NW for surfcasters with 20-25 knots though still gusting to 30. That should knock the surf down, but it may take longer to clear up.

NMFS is reopening the commercial General Category for large medium and giant bluefin tuna from Nov. 12-16 with a daily limit of one.

East winds will shake up striper fishing — again

There were mixed results with striper fishing today, but what happened then may not mean much tomorrow as east winds return. The forecast is for 15-20 knots with gusts to 25 — followed by gusts to 35 in the afternoon. Gale warnings may be posted then. Sunday is looking good with NW 10-15.

Chuck Many decided to take advantage of the moderate north wind by making the long run east  where stripers have been stalled on the migratory run for weeks. There was no life until Tyman was east of Fire Island Inlet. but then we came upon two fleets picking away at bass. There was no wild bird action such as we had at the mouth of Raritan Bay in November last year, but everyone was catching some bass despite an abundance of spiny dogfish hitting jigs as if they were their favorite food. Alex Katyan , Chuck and I released 17 stripers that included five of legal size though nothing large. There were even five hickory shad on the 3-ounce Crippled Herring jigs that proved most effective, and a single fat bluefish before we left them biting for the 55 mile trip back to Gateway Marina in Highlands.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reported just a pick of mostly shorts locally, with the last drift being the best. Capt. Rob Semkewyc  is going to try getting out for the morning tomorrow.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar picked a few short and keeper stripers, but not enough.

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina said the Big Mohawk has been bringing in 40-pound bass every day, but the largest weighed this week was a 52-incher that tipped the scale at 43 1/2 pounds for Nicholas Vitolo (12) of Howell.

Matthews noted that flounder bit well from the marina dicks today and most anglers limited.

Capt. Joe Massa went out himself with his My Three Sons from Morgan Marina and chunked in Ambrose to catch 15 stripers.

One skipper at Gateway made a run offshore to look for bluefin tuna and found none, but  was rewarded on the way back by getting into a blitz of big bass off Belmar.

I’ll catch up on more reports tomorrow.

First surf sand eels reported

Sand eels are the prime attractor for striped bass in the surf, and we finally may be seeing some. Nick Honachefsky  was casting shads into the Lavallette surf yesterday afternoon without success when he spotted a large sand eel of 5 to 6 inches on the high tide line. Then this morning, Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported getting word from surf fishermen in that area that sand eels had been spotted. That’s the forage which has fueled the surf bite from Fire Island east, where anglers are catching big bass on diamond jigs with tube tails — and was also the forage during the IBSP surf blitz of stripers several years ago.  Pray for more!

Stiper fishing for boaters was generally tough today, with trollers doing by far the best. The Golden Eagle from Belmar picked a couple of stripers, a few blues and some sea bass. Miss Belmar Princess ran offshore for the jumbo blues they had on Sunday, but there was no sign of them. What little inshore bite there was occurred early — and that’s where they start tomorrow.  The forecast is for NW 10-15. but more east weather is coming Friday.


The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands started with bait and had one keeper on a long drift, but that was it. A report of birds offshore turned out to be just that — birds with no fish under them. The Fishermen also got drawn out there and Capt. Ron Santee said they were just diving gannets. Those birds don’t need fish to drive bait up as they can dive deep for it. However, they are often a sign that herring have arrived.

I fished with Chuck Many on his Tyman from Gateway Marina in Highlands. Chuck did well in Monday’s rain with large stripers in the mouth of the bay, but this morning we had a hard time getting live bunkers and then couldn’t give them away — even in the Hudson and East rivers,  We ended up casting to small bass in Sandy Hook Bay before boat traffic and a roaring west wind put them down.

Tomorrow’s forecast is a lot better at NW 10-15, but another east blow is expected Friday.

I found a belated report from Capt. Vinny Vetere who had a great trip on Oct. 4 when 23 large bass were caught on his Katfish from Great Kills. He may have openings before the weekend. Call 917 673-8908.


Weather report scared off anglers

It appears the forecast of some mid-morning rain and even a possible thunderstorm was enough to scare off most anglers. Capt. Rob Semkewyc shaped up with his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands for another shot at the big stripers he found Sunday, but didn’t get enough to sail — and most other party boats didn’t post reports.

It’s supposed to be a bit breezy tomorrow, but the lack of rain should bring more fishermen out. West winds of 15-20 knots should help settle the swell before diminishing to 10-15 in the afternoon. Thursday looks even better with NW 10-15.

The surf was booming this morning, and I only made three casts before retreating  as it was too rough for fishing and dangerous when casting as the big waves swept up the beach and can knock you down as the waters rush back to sea. A move to Point Pleasant Canal provided much nicer conditions even though it appears that only three school stripers had been caught. I didn’t get a touch, but returned briefly later in the morning during the ebb to break the ice with a schoolie on a Z Man 6-inch white Swimmereez just before the rain started.

Offshore waters remain warm, but Capt. Chris Di Stefano knew of five boats that fought through the early dry northeaster on Sunday morning to look for the bluefins that have been jumping not too far from shore — but didn’t find any. Don’t write that fishing off yet as bluefins can stick around into December during warm falls.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina reminds anglers that there’s good blackfishing in Shark River Inlet and winter flounder fishing from the Belmar docks.

Fall surfcasting has been disappointing so far, but there are still lots of bass feeding on big sand eels to the east. As an example of how slow it’s been along the Jersey Shore, the striped bass leader in the 64th Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic as of this week is a 10.9-pounder caught on bunker Oct. 31 at Ship Bottom by T.J. Loughran Jr. The contest runs from Oct. 6 to Dec. 9, and used to produce some jumbo bass for anglers who fish bunker day and night even long before the migratory run arrives.

East wind shuts down most fishing

Theeast wind came up quickly this morning and was even stronger than expected — manking most fishing at least uncomfortable at best.

After the great bite of big stripers that Capt. Rob Semkewyc had Sunday on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, he wanted to tough it out despite the weather — but the wind was even worse than forecast so he sent the anglers who showed up home.


Sea Hunter MondayThe forecast for Tuesday is better, though small craft warnings are posted into the afternoon. The east wind is supposed to drop down to 10-15 knots before increasing later. Wednesday looks much better with a switch to 10-15 west before gusting to 25. Thursday looks best with west 10-15.

The Jamaica from Brielle will run a 6:30 a.m. striper trip on Wednesday, and a canyon trip at 7 a.m. Thursday. They caught a couple of big bass Sunday in poor conditions. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will run open for stripers on Wednesday. Call 732 370-8019.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had  a bunch of regulars aboard Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands to release lots of blackfish up to 6 pounds on green crabs while keeping the one presently allowed. Some keeper sea bass also hit the crabs, but when soft bait was used there was a problem with spiny dogfish. They sail daily at 7.

Capt. Ron Santee got a birthday present Sunday when he put his fares on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands into big stripers on eels and jigs. Lots of weight was required as the current was at three knots all day. There was nothing under 30 inches, and Rick DeVito won the pool at 39.8 pounds.

The surf was very rough. and I didn’t get any reports from this morning. I tried Point Pleasant Canal briefly without seeing anything caught. Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park weighed a 33-inch, 13.75-pound bass that Ben Allison caught over the weekend on a plug at IBSP.

bass Ben Allison 13.75











Big Stripers to north — jumbo blues offshore

Everything  changed after yesterday’s gale. A huge fleet found a choppy ocean with no apparent life inshore off the Jersey Shore, but the Golden Eagle, Miss Belmar Princess and Queen Mary went offshore to load up on jumbo blues with jigs.

It was a different story to the north where the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands found better striper fishing than before the gale. Capt. Rob Semkewyc was surprised to find they didn’t want live baits, but hit jigs and shad. The largest was over 40 pounds. Despite the forecast of rain and east winds for Monday, he’s planning on sailing for those bass.

The surfcasting report from Vinny D’Anton wasn’t as good since all the pros he talked to had no action at all. Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported the clear water line was moving closer to the surf.

Looking better for Sunday

The southwest blow lasted too long this morning for boaters to get the calm along the shore provided by a northwester, but when the gale force NW arrived it wasn’t comfortable even standing at Point Pleasant Canal.  As a result, it appears that party boats stayed in except for Miss Belmar Princess — and they only caught one bluefish in near impossible conditions.

It should be better tomorrow as that NW knocks down the swell before the wind is forecasted to drop to north 10-15 by the morning. Most party boats should sail tomorrow, and Mimi Vi at Point Pleasant will also run open for stripers.

After the fine action for school stripers Friday morning and evening in the canal. this morning was a bust even before the gale started. I only saw one very small bass caught, and heard of a couple of others.

Vinny D’Anton didn’t fish, but heard from several anglers who did nothing in a discolored and rough surf. Those conditions may improve somewhat by the morning, but we’re in for a shift to northeast and rain on Monday.

South wind gave ocean stripers a day off

The huge stripers that have been giving anglers a hard time off the Jersey Shore got a day of rest today as the south wind appears to have kept almost all boaters in. I checked the pocket at Manasquan Inlet this morning and didn’t see any signs of fish though two small boats were spotted going out into a rough ocean.

I missed a good bite of small stripers in Point Pleasant Canal while doing that and just got there in time to release two. Castaways Tackle regular John released 11, and Joe Gale had caught nine. Since the rain held off this evening, I went back to the canal at dusk and ran into bass breaking on peanut bunkers and even some large bunkers. Only the usuual 20-to-24-inch bass hit my Z Man 6-inch white Swimmereez, but I ended up with 10 releases.

The forecast for Saturday includes strong west winds which will be alright for seaworthy boats that stay close to shore. The Jamaica from Brielle has cancelled its tuna trip due to the weather, and will instead sail at 7:30 a.m. for the big stripers.

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, said bass up to 48 pounds have been caught on the party boats the last few days, and a 51-pounder was weighed at the northern store in Atlantic Highlands.  He heard of only one big bass from shore — a 48-pounder on a pencil popper at Spring Lake. He also noted good blackfishing in Shark River Inlet and big winter flounder off the Belmar docks.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands didn’t fish today, but only ended up Thursday with five bass boated plus a couple lost after having had two better days earlier in the week. There were some birds working on the way home, but the only bass-Tuesday-Sea Hunterbass jigged were from 18 to 23 inches. Photo is of Sea Hunter bass on Tuesday.


Trophy stripers close to port, but bad weather Friday

The Jersey Shore striper fleet ganged up on big stripers not too far offshore from Point Pleasant to Belmar today. Unfortunately, they may not be sailing on Friday due to a forecast of rain and south winds of 20-25 knots. bass-Queen maryThe action has been almost entirely on snagged bunkers, and all of the bass are large. Capt. Dave Riback reported a 43-pounder (above) on his Queen Mary from Point Pleasant. Almost all the action has been on snagged bunkers which are located in the same area as the bass. One was caught on a swim shad.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a similar report.

However, the word from the north was very different. Tank Matraxia and his Lyndhurst crew fished on Tagged Fish from Highlands but never had a hit all day in the N.Y. Harbor-Hudson River area that had produced stripers the previous two days. They had live bunkers and eels, but couldn’t give them away — and didn’t see anything caught in other boats. Capt. Chad Hacker ran all over the area and stayed out late in an attempt to break the ice.

Allen Riley started fishing the Sandy Hook surf in the dark after catching four school bass there a couple of days ago, but he never had a touch on a variety of lures.

Steve Mirande reported no life in the Bay Head surf this morning though there was lots of action offshore. He went to Point Pleasant Canal and managed one small bass on a Mullet Fly teaser.

I fished the canal in the morning and had only lost one small fish before starting my last ten casts after all hope is lost — and hooked a 21 1/2-inch striper on the seventh cast with a Z Mam 6-inch Swimmereez. I ended up catching four bass.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno have been catching some school bass at dawn and dusk in the Seaside surf, but the Wednesday evening south wind killed that bite — though Maren still managed one bass.