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Merry Christmas!

Here’s hoping all of my blog followers are enjoying a very merry Christmas! With west winds prevailing, fishing prospects for the week are good.

Some stripers return to surf

There was some life in the surf to the north this morning, but no good news to the south.

Jim Louro caught five small bass at Belmar on his custom paddletail jig, and others also picked there early.  However, Jerry Lasko reported that it was dead in IBSP despite clean waters there. The waters remained dirty from beach replenishment at Lavallette.

The northwest wind is predicted to still be blowing 15-20 knots Christmas morning, but should diminish during the day. Hopefully school stripers will be back at Bay Head this week.

Merry Christmas!Al-Bay Head

West winds settle ocean

The gusty west winds did the job of knocking down the big swell, and curfcasters worked in a fairly flat surf. The problem was dirty waters after the storm, but they should be cleared up by tomorrow.

There were no fish reports today, but Jerry Lasko said he and Maren Toleno had a few hits while casting in Island Beach State Park.

Vinny D’Anton only had negative reports from his crew casting in the Belmar area into discolored surf. The forecast is for light NW winds in the morning before they become gusty in the afternoon. Hopefully the stripers will be back in some areas.

Dec. 22 wasn’t always this slow

It’s unlikely that anyone was ishing in today’s west gale, but N.J. Shore striper fishing wasn’t always as poor as it’s been lately.

Indeed, one of the most memorable days I ever had was on Dec. 22, 2004, when my personal release count was 106 stripers while casting with relatively light spinning tackle. I also had Capt. Hans Kaspersetz and Hani Fares aboard that day when my Sheri Berri II was based out of Manasquan Inlet.

Shortly after turning south from the inlet, I saw birds dipping off Mantoloking. The bass were feeding on both peanut bunkers and 7-inch herring, and were moving to the south in a 20 mph west wind. I was able to catch so many because I was using a Joe Blaze teaser fly in addition to a Tsunami Shad — and was catching mostly doubleheaders of the bass that ranged up from 16 inches to one that was 30 1/2 inches. Hans and Hani stuck with just the shad, but still caught about 50 to 75 bass each. John Green and other surfcasters were also in on the action most of the time.  We ended up off Seaside Park in the afternoon before running back.

About 10 years ago there was also another strange occurrence during Christmas week as Capt. Joe Massa decided to make a last trip with his My Three Sons from Morgan Marina. I joined him along with my son Mike and nephew Bob Correll. Joe was having trouble with his fishfinder as we neared Shrewsbury Rocks, but I told him not to worry about it since birds were up at the inner buoy. Mike was hooked up right away, but it was a cod that had the jig. Though the others caught mostly cod, my rig was producing stripers in a variety of sizes plus bluefish — and we also jigged a blackfish and saw a large bluefin tuna jump right near the buoy. I don’t think that odd mixture of species in shallow waters has occurred since then — but you never know in December!

Yesterday’s  storm left us with a big swell and dirty waters, but the west winds should clear that up in the next couple of days. The forecast is for gale warnings to come down this evening before tomorrow morning brings west 10-15-knot winds with gusts to 20.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar will be blackfishing at 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 23 and 24.

Modern Fish Act goes to President Trump

The Modern Fish Act represents the best efforts of a coalition of sportfishing groups to make the fisheries management process fairer to  recreational fishermen. Though enjoying wide bipartisan support, it was fought by some so-called environmental groups involved in an unholy alliance with commercial fishing organizations.  I haven’t been able to get the roll call vote on this House passage as yet, but on a vote last year Rep. Frank Pallone was the only N.J. Democrat to vote for the act. Not only was it vital to get this bill finally approved by the House before having to start from scratch in the new Congress, but it’s quite likely that the new Democratic House will be less likely to protect the public’s right to fish over their commitment to the environmental groups.  The American Sportfishing Association press release follows:




Peanut bunkers return to the NJ surf

The news probably isn’t going to do anyone any good just before the storm hits, but the long-missing peanut bunkers finally showed up in the surf today. There hasn’t been a peanut bunker run in the Shore surf all fall, but the few anglers who worked the Point Pleasant surf today were rewarded with larger school stripers than we’d been seeing — 24 to 27 inches.

Jerry Lasko spent the day at Point Pleasant and caught eight, while Maren Toleno totaled 18. Tsunami swim shads matched the hatch, though Maren also got a couple on snag & drop. She also took the water temperature, and it was up to 48 degrees.

Vinny D’Anton checked with his crew casting to the north at Belmar where they reported sand eels in the surf but no fish caught. Kevin Kuriawa had a close call this evening as he decided to fish Bay Head and found some bunkers in the calm, clear waters — but couldn’t get any hits among them.

The rain just started this afternoon, but there will be plenty more plus wind. Gale warnings for southeast winds gusting to 40 knots are up for Friday morning.  We’ll be lucky to get back to the surf by Sunday.


One more nice day

If you want to go fishing, you’d better do it by Thursday morning. Light winds continue in the morning from the southwest at 5-10 knots before switching to southeast in the afternoon and gusting to 30 knots. Friday looks like a complete washout.

There were no boat reports today, though conditions were good for blackfishing.

The Jamaica from Brielle sails for the jumbo sea bass wrecks at 11 p.m. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations. Jamaica sea bass

The surf was flat today, but Jerry Lasko said there wasn’t much of a bite in the morning. He only had one hit, but Maren Toleno managed to release one bass on her hand-tied teaser.  They fished in the Point Pleasant area and were back near there at dusk for the first good signs this week as sea herring were dimpling. Maren caught three bass, two on her teaser and one on the Tsunami 6-inch Halographic Sand Eel.  Jerry lost one.

Vinny D’Anton didn’t have any positive news about the Belmar area from his friends despite the fine conditions.

Steve Mirande sent an e-mail about casting in that strong NW wind yesterday morning at Point Pleasant Beach along with his neighbor Don Westerdale. They never got a tap there or at Seaside Park,

Perfect weather for boaters

The weather forecast for the next two days is as good as you can get it for boaters with today’s gusty northwest decreasing to 5 knots west by morning — and only getting up to 5-10 SW Thursday before increasing that night. The NW did its job of knocking down the swell, and that’s always good news for bottom fishing.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar is taking advantage of that by sailing the next two days at 7 a.m. Blackfishing was good Saturday with some limits and a pool tog of about 10 pounds.

The Big Jamaica from Brielle 11 p.m. every night this week. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations on those jumbo sea bass trips.

The gusty NW this morning made surfcasting uncomfortable, and waters remained dingy. I cast at Belmar and caught only one small bass on a Castaways white teaser. There were about 15 anglers spread along the beach, and that was the only one I saw. Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said he heard of a couple of other bass hooked at Belmar and knew of a couple at Bay Head. Jerry Lasko fished IBSP from his buggy and cauught one small bass. Water conditions should be better tomorrow.

Surf settles for another try at stripers

The northwest wind has been doing its job, and the surf should be fishable everywhere by Tuesday morning. Bailey will be looking for another striper to sniff when Bob Correll returns to surfcasting this week.

I thought it would look like chocolate after that northeast blow, but Jim Louro went to Belmar this morningBobby's bass and found it to be only dingy rather than dirty. Best of all, he still hooked a couple of small bass in those conditions.


There won’t be any dirty water to worry about far offshore, and the Big Jamaica from Brielle has room on trips to the jumbo sea bass wrecks that leave at 11 p.m. today and tomorrow. They’ll also be doing the same thing at 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Gale warnings are posted through Tuesday afternoon, but the northwester will be diminishing. The forecast is for 25-30 knots  Tuesday morning before dropping off to 20-25 in the afternoon. Then it’s just west at 5-10 Wednesday and southwest 5-10 Thursday.

Better fishing weather coming

The northeaster was brutal, and it may take a couple of days with west winds for the swell to decrease and for the waters to clear. The marine forecast is for northwest 15-20 knots Monday, increasing to 20-25 in the afternoon, By Tuesday there will be gusts to 35 that should really work on the swell. Hopefully, surfcasters will be fishing Wednesday in  a west 5-10 knot breeze before it goes south at similar speeds on Wednesday.