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Stripers still here — just fussy

Striped bass fishing has been picky, but there are still bass in the vicinity and the fishery should last at least through the month.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said his recorder marked bass that sometimes “paved the bottom” today, but his anglers on the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands only picked at the suddenly very fussy fish. He’ll be sailing again on Wednesday and Friday.

Even the small bass in the surf have been hard to locate in quantity. I joined Bob Correll in Bay Head this morning where he had caught two bass yesterday, and I managed two 22-inchers on the 6-inch Tsunami Sand Eel that were the only hits. There was no sign of fish or bait, and those bass seemed like miracles after all the blind casting.

Jerry Lasko went to IBSP at dawn and came up with only one bass. Vinny D’Anton heard that Jim Louro got a bass in Belmar.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant got into some big blackfish last week, and will sail daily this week through Thursday as an open boat for $75 at 7 a.m. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.

The forecast for Monday is north at 15-20 knots before diminishing to 10-15 in the afternoon. Tuesday looks great with just 5-10 knots north.

Blackfish biting — for some

Blackfishing is a matter of being at the right spot at the right time — and that’s where Nick Honachefsky was today. He fished aboard a 34-foot Regulator with Christian Driscoll, Christian Palmisano and Justin as they limited on tog by 9:30. They kept 3-5-pounders and released a couple of 8-pounders plus 10.6 and 12.6-pounders to spawn again.

At Belmar, the Ocean Explorer reported blackfishing was off today as they just weren’t committing to the baits. The Golden Eagle has ended their striper season due to low turnouts created by the cold. They will start up again if the mackerel run starts.

The Big Jamaica is sailing from Brielle to the offshore sea bass wrecks at 11 p.m. Call 732 528-5014 to check for openings.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands didn’t have enough customers to sail for stripers today, but will be ready to go tomorrow with a forecast of NE 5-10 knots shifting to SW in the afternoon.

Surf striper fishing remains tough, but Bob Correll of Bay Head caught two shorts in his local surf this morning. Jerry Lasko said there was only a minor bite early  in IBSP as Maren Toleno caught five though he only missed a few hits. Vinny D’Anton said that Jim Louro managed three bass in Belmar.

Good weekend wind conditions for fishing

While the weather remains cold, diminishing winds should produce more comfortable fishing conditions over the weekend.

The forecast is for 10-15 knot northwest winds on Saturday and just 5-10 north on Sunday before shifting to the west in the afternoon.

Party boat striper fishermen who are afraid of the cold are missing out on some good jigging. At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc  had another good day with his Sea Hunter despite a very fast drift, with three bass over 28 inches (down from seven yesterday and six the day before)  — put lots of slots. The jigging action has been between the channels and down the beach. Capt. Ron Santee didn’t have enough to sail, but hopes to get out tomorrow with the Fishermen.

The big swell has moderated and blackfishing conditions are good. The Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands had many limits on Wednesday. They sail at 7 a.m. The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported blackfish were chewing Thursday, and two old spawners of 8 and 10 pounds were released by conservation-minded anglers.

The Big Jamaica from Brielle is trying to put together an overflow trip for jumbo sea bass that will leave at 9 p.m. today . It’s limited to 25 fares at $195 each. Call 732 528-5014 immediately in order to secure a spot. If there aren’t enough to make the trip, the Jamaica will sail its regular striped bass trip tomorrow.

Surf striper fishing has been spotty. Steve Mirande put in a full day and caught a couple of small bass in Bay Head and Mantoloking early, but then didn’t do anything until catching a hickory shad and a sun dial in the Point Pleasant Beacch surf as the sun was going down.

John Letizia hit it right early in the morning when he fished the walk-in areas at Island Beach State Park and caught six bass and a hickory shad on a Tsunami Sand Eel before joining Jerry Lasko in his Beach Buggy to add a few more.  Jerry caught eight bass early while Maren Toleno had 10 on the Tsunami Sand Eels. I got there too late and only caught one bass on a Castaways white teaser ahead of the Tsunami Eel. Just as yesterday, the fishing shut down under the bright sun. Jerry and Maren returned at dusk to each catch one bass.

As action further north has also declined, Jim Louro of Spring Lake and his friend J.J. fished IBSP early from a beach buggy and each caught one bass.

Vinny D;Anton tried Point Pleasant Beach late in the afternoon and only saw one small bass caught.


Sea Hunter finds even better jigging for stripers

Capt. Rob Semkewyc was happy with yesterday’s half-dozen keeper stripers plus slots on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, but said today was even better. There was also plenty of action with shorts as the disappointing fall season may be shaping up for another hot December finish as occurred last year after a very good earlier fall fishery.

The surf striper report isn’t nearly as good despite ideal conditions with a northwest wind and light swell. There were good reports from the Seaside Park tackle shops of very fast fishing with small stripers early in the morning on metal and teasers — along with a pick at other times. I started at Point Pleasant and only saw one bass caught before moving to Bay Head where there was no action. I joined John Letizia for a ride to IBSP to fish the walk-in areas, but we got together there with Jerry Lasko in his beach buggy. It was already mid-morning, but Jerry and I each got two bass and John one at the first stop before low water and a bright sun shut off what little bite was left. Tsunami Eel rigs were most effective.

Nick Honachefsky reported nothing at Point Pleasant and Bay Head, but a move to Lavallette produced three bass up to a 27-incher.

Vinny D’Anton had negative reports from his friends fishing beaches to the north.

Tank Matraxia and his crew from Lyndhurst fished for blackfish at Sandy Hook Reef aboard Tagged Fish from Highlands. Legal tog were not hitting well, but spiny dogfish weren’t a problem. A toadfish was caught far from its normal inshore habitat.

Fishing conditions remain good despite the cold. Northwest winds of 15-20 knots are forecasted for Friday, but drop to -10-15 with gusts to 20 on Saturday — and to just 5-10 west on Sunday.

Sea Hunter back into keeper stripers

There was good news today from Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. After a week without keeper stripers, his fares caught a half-dozen today along with slots and shorts. There was no wild bird action, but enough to get into areas between the channels and down the beach in order to mark the fish. Rob hopes to continue fishing for a couple of weeks.

On the other hand, Capt. Vinnie Vetere heard the fat lady sing in his search for large stripers from the Hudson River up to Long Island Sound. He ran over 50 miles today with his Katfish from Great Kills, but only caught two bass trolling Ho-Jo’s. Worst of all, there were no other marks. Bunkers had disappeared over a week ago, and with water temperatures so low now it’s unlikely they’ll return.

Surf fishing in northern Shore areas was poor today. Vinny D’Anton only looked in the Belmar area that had been producing, but no one was catching. I returned to Bay Head where I had good action with small stripers yesterday and couldn’t get a touch. The same applied to other anglers there except for Kevin Kuriawa who was surprised by a small fluke that hit his teaser.

Jerry Lasko said he got two bass in Point Pleasant, but Maren Toleno might have been high hook in northern areas with six.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle the word was of a good daylight bite of small bass on metal and teasers, with others hitting at night on needlefish and teasers.

Betty & Nick’s had a similar report and high hopes for a continuation of this run plus possibly some bigger bass due to the abundance of sand eels.

Chuck Many is fishing with friends in Virginia where several bass over 50 pounds have been caught this week. He caught a 46-pounder, but says it’s a slow pick involving slow trolling with live eels in order to cover lots of water.

The local forecast is for northwest 10-15 knots in the morning before increasing to 15-20 with gusts to 25 in the afternoon.

Vetere trolling stripers with Ho-Jo’s

Capt. Vinnie Vetere has been catching large stripers by trolling his Ho-Jo’s  in the Hudson River and up to L.I. Sound when necessary.  His e-mails hadn’t been making it through AOL due to a volume of photos included. Vetere said the bait disappeared over a week ago, but trolling has been consistent. On the other hand, it’s been almost all small bass on readings in Raritan Bay and outside.  Vetere will be fishing tomorrow, and notes that the N.Y. striped bass season for his Katfish out of Great Kills is almost over.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands found only some short bass Monday due to a huge swell and a very strong current, but will be sailing tomorrow.

Though it will be very cold in the morning, only light northeast winds are forecast. That’s normally good for surfcasting.

Vinny D’Anton got reports of only a pick of small stripers at Belmar this morning. He gave that area a try in the afternoon and got three small bass, but the two  anglers with him didn’t get a hit.

I started at Point Pleasant this morning with high hopes as the swell was down. Yet, there was only a pick of bass there. I took a shot just to the south and had a good shot of action on the Vision Surf Eel and Castaways teaser rig — finishing up the morning with 10 bass. Nick Honachefsky came down in time to see my last catch — a hickory shad on the Surf Eel that it couldn’t have possibly swallowed.

Jerry Lasko was at IBSP yesterday morning when a giant tuna was washed ashore.  I’ll try to get the photo posted this week. Jerry was proud that he outfished Maren Toleno that morning 11 bass to 9  — a rare instance when she didn’t outfish everyone.

Surf stripers bite in many areas

Surfcasters were worried about whether the surf would clear up in time for the school striper bite this morning, but it appears those fish did respond in many areas as anglers enjoyed a mild morning that felt like September.
I tried Point Pleasant and didn’t like the look of the big swell that had developed, but there was a decent pick of bass from first light until well after sunrise. I released nine bass during that period on metal and teaser up to a couple of fat 23-inchers, and lost four others  that included one that came off in the heavy wash,

.We took a beating at the water’s edge, but there was one guy casting from the dry sand in sneakers and I saw him catch a doubleheader. Steve Mirande reported he was on that beach and released 10. The afternoon fishing hasn’t been productive, but he caught a 16-inch fluke last week at Bay Head on a teaser. Another surfcaster yesterday told me he had caught an adult Atlantic mackerel on a teaser last week.

Vinny D’Anton was having a ball with big ladyfish during a vacation in Aruba last week, but couldn’t wait to get back to his beloved surf stripers. He fished Belmar where the swell wasn’t a problem and caught nine bass. Jim Louro and Frank Manzi were there before him and did even better.

The big swell turned out to be problem for boaters to the north, as Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands said he read lots of school stripers though they didn’t bite well. Everyone caught some shorts, but he’s going to pass on tomorrow’s NW wind and will sail again on Wednesday.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar had good blackfishing today and will sail tomorrow.

Small craft warnings are up for NW winds gusting to 25 mph, but that should knock down those big swells before the winds become light at mid-week.




Stripers bite at IBSP

Ona stormy Sunday, the only report I got was from Jerry Lasko — who spent the day at Island Beach State Park. He caught 25 bass, Will Fredricks added 31 and Maren Toleno led the way as usual with 40. All were shorts.  They had started at Point Pleasant, but the surf was unfishable there.

Tougher weather for Sunday

We had a second straight good fishing weather day, but it appears that won’t carry into Sunday. The forecast is for small craft warnings to go up tonight and continue to late Sunday night. Southeast winds gust to 25 knots tonight, and are 10-15 in the morning with gusts to 20 — plus rain.

Striped bass fishing today left something to be desired. Jerry Lasko said he and Maren Toleno combined for only two shorts at Pt. Pleasant this morning, and he had similar reports all the way down to the mob in IBSP. I fished the same spot in Bay Head that produced 14 bass including two doubleheaders yesterday and only managed three releases on the Surf Eel and Castaways teaser rig.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands had lots of jigging action with shorts, but only one bass to take home. They won’t sail until Monday.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had decent jigging that included a few keepers and bonus bass — and even added some mackerel. They won’t be sailing until Friday.

Allen Riley didn’t find many stripers at Sandy Hook on Friday,but he had a great time with the two he caught by using an old 8 1/2-foot Gander Mountain downrigger rod with a freshwater Shimano reel to release a 24-incher on a Tinman swim bait and a 20-incher on a white Ultimus teaser,



One more good day coming up

  1. Just as notedd in last night’s blog, today was a beautiful day for fishing. It looks like Saturday will follow along. Even though the wind goes northeast, it’s only predicted to be 5 to 10 knots before shifting to east in the afternoon. However, it will blow up to 20 SE that night — and 15-20 south on Sunday.

Today was a nixed bag as school stripers didn’t please surfcasters everywhere. I got off to a very poor start at Point Pleasant with only one bass on a teaser and just a pick going on until I talked to my nephew Bob Correll who was into a bite further south that produced a dozen releases for him. I got there late, but stayed after Bob left for work, ending up with 14 releases. Concerned about a flat surf to start with, I switched from metal to an old Vision Surf Eel that had been customized years ago by a bluefish with some cuts and pieces missing. To my surprise, the bass favored that lure over the teaser. After making note of that at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, John Latizia went down to another street with his Surf Eel and from late morning to 12:30 picked 11 stripers.  Unfortunately, when Bob and I returned to the morning bite spot in late afternoon a big swell had come up and I only had one tap and saw one bass caught.  An angler who had been shut out that morning in Seaside said he did see one angler catch a couple there.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno fished a bit north of where I had been at Point Pleasant Beach in the dark and said they did well with bass until it got light.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands found good jigging action with shorts, but only had a few slots to take home. The Golden Eagle from Belmar saw lots of bass, but only picked a dozen shorts. The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported good striper jigging early and late with bass up to a 35-incher.

The Big Jamaica from Brielle is sailing to the jumbo sea bass wrecks every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday — leaving the night before at 11. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.