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Fall striper run finally arrives, but tomorrow may be a blowout

The big showing of fall migratory stripers finally got to the Jersey Shore after Tuesday’s east blow — but we can’t seem to get a nice follow-up day. There’s rain, snow and sleet in the forecast along with northeast winds of 15-20 knots that will increase to 45 by later. Friday remains tough with north winds of 20-25 and gusts to 45.  Saturday looks good with west winds of 10-15 knots. .

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported spectacular striper fishing on jigs with keepers for all. They are not fishing tomorrow due to the forecast. The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported good striper action and will try to get back out to it in the morning before the worst of the weather. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, said the boats had a hard time finding the bunkers they’ve been snagging for bait, but didn’t need them today as big Crocs and jigs did the job. Capt. Chris Di Stefano said the fleet was about 2 1/2 miles off Spring Lake.

Capt. Ron Santee also got into plenty of bass further north while “fishing in the snot” with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. Those bass were on sand eels, and heavy jigs or those with tails worked best. Only three bonus bass were caught as all others were 30 inches or more. Vic Bubbin took the pool with a 44-inch 32-pounder.

There was even a bit of surf action at Bay Head, where a few small bass were picked despite no sign of bait. Bob Correll hooked a 20-incher at dusk.

I fished Point Pleasant Canal with dead sticky sandworms and had ;ots of bites on the afternoon slack while releasing six up to a 15-incher.

Capt. Vinny Vetere sent a weekend report from his Katfish out of Great Kills which  noted Saturday was calmwhere he was fishing though the bite was slow — but the bass turned on Sunday in rougher conditions.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be running a jumbo sea bass trip to far offshore wrecks on Saturday at 11 p.m. — and om Friday Nov. 21 at 2 a.m. They also got a good tuna report from Monday and will sail a 28-hour trip to the canyons at 10 p.m. Sunday. Space is available on those trips by calling 732 528-5014. A Thanksgiving striper trip will be run from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


Not a day for boaters

Today was a good one for sleeping in. Rain and gusty east winds probably kept almost everyone in. There was a nice period in the afternoon when the wind switched to the west and Mark Roy watched Raritan Bay go flat. So he took his Release Me from Raritan Marina out for a ride to the mouth of the bay where it was still rough and there was no bird life.

Capt. Ron Santee reported better shots of small stripers during Monday’s trip of the Fishermen from that port as sand eels have arrived. A plain diamond jig worked best, and there were a couple of keepers several slot fish mixed in. Live eels were tried for bigger bass, but they didn’t produce.  Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter at that port noted that the boat traffic on Veterans Day was horrible. We’re still waiting for the great surface action in the mouth of the bay that we enjoyed last year.

I took advantage of the switchover from rain and east winds to the start of the cold NW to fish the afternoon slack in Point Pleasant Camal. I only had dead sandworms to offer the blackfish, but quickly caught three up to a 13 1/2-incher. I was encouraged that bites continued into the outgoing tide bringing very cold waters from Barnagat Bay.

There was plenty of company on the ocean yesterday when I fished with Chuck Many on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands along with Rob Bowdan and Dave Glassberg. We rarely saw a bunker flip. but had to snag them on readings. One inshore area produced a decent pick of large stripers by using the snag & drop technique. I stuck to swimming a live bunker with a circle hook, but only spiny dogfish were hitting that way while the others were catching with the snag & drop.

Many moved off to deeper waters when the bunkers moved out.of that area/ We saw some isolated breaks in 60 feet just inshore of the three-mile line, and ended up doing well with live bunkers out there while I threw a big Tactical Angers Bomb popper from the bow and hooked up twice with stripers that got off before releasing a 15-pounder. I also raised two others though it seemed unlikely casting blind in 60 feet. We ended up with 19 releases of large stripers (averaging like the one I’m holding below) up to a 32-pounder after jigging six small bass on the way out.

Capt. Al bass - Veterans Day

Capt. Chris Di Stefano was part of the party yesterday on Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club as they trolled about 15 bass from Sandy Hook to Mantoloking that were all under 43 inches.  All the action was on bunker spoons as the heavy mo-jos didn’t work that time. They also spotted the breaks offshore, and tried casting without success. Chris knew that a Coast Guard vessel was out checking boats near the three mile line.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant postponed their Striper Marathon trip to Wednesday at 6:30 a.m.

Though surfcasting was generally tough before today, the switch to NW winds should knock down the swells and make it practical to try for the long overdue surf bass. Boaters may be able to work with that wind as long as they stay fairly close to shore.

Joe Melilllo. at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, weighed in a 48-pound striper that Gavin Petillo of that town caught in the ovean on a live bunker a few days ago.

It was a happy day for Veteran anglers, butTuesday looks like a blowout

Many veterans were able to enjoy their day today by catching fish under pleasant weather conditions. However, all that will change on Tuesday with rain and SE winds of 20–25 knots with gusts to 30 in the forecast. Many party boats have already cancelled. Don’t come down before checking with your skipper.

This vet celebrated by joining Chuck Many on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands. He  stopped under picking birds as Bob Bowden and Dave Glassberg from Little Silver and I jigged six small bass before going on the hunt for bigger stripers in the ocean. Finding bunkers to snag for live bait was tough, but we ended up with 19 keepers released. The largest was a 32-pounder. I’ll have details in tomorrows blog.

The Golden Eagle and Big Mohawk from Belmar had good striper reports. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands found some small bass under birds, and added a couple of keepers. Perhaps this east wind will pish some of those bass that have been off eastern Long Island our way.











off eastern Long Island our way.









from Arlantic Highlands















































Take advantage of Monday’s weather before it turns

We finally got a break in the weather today, and many boats went to sea this morning. Surprisingly, there were few reports.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported seeing many stripers swimming around bunker schools though only a few large bass were caught/. Hopefully those bass will turn on during the SW 5-10 knot weather forecast predicted for Monday before the switch to SE up to 25 knots after midnight.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc thought the hot action we had last year at this time was about to break open this morning when working birds were spotted. However, the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands only got into some shorts with a few keepers mixed in before everything went quiet.

Nick Honachefsky held his 21st annual Fishing Fiesta on the beach at Lavallette from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. and had the nest surf report I got as 24 anglers caught six stripers up to a 29-incher. Four were on white shads and two on bunker. Two other fish were lost, and there were seven other bumps on the shads.

Vinny D’Anton had all negative reports from the many surfcasters who keep in touch with him

I couldn’t give away a sandworm in Point Pleasant Canal early this morning, and assumed the blackfish mist have been turned off by cold water from Barnegat Bay after that very cold night. I returned later in the morning toward the end of the flood when the water temperature had to be up with the 58 degree waters from the ocean. Sure enough, there were some bites and I released four up to 14 inches. Still not good, but a huge difference from the morning.

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