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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.








































Big stripers off the Jersey Shore

From reading today’s party boat reports from the ocean, it appears that the striped bass hooked were too big for the tackle being used by surprised anglers.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle claimed to have caught a 50, 45 and 37 among their fish which were primarily on bait — though one hit a swim shad and another a Deadly Dick. Miss Belmar Princess read a lot of bass until the wind came up, and managed to boat two over 35 pounds. Big Mohawk took advantage of the opportunity and was also in on the big bass.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands didn’t find working birds as was the case Tuesday, but bait produced just two bass short of a limit for 12 people  plus shorts.

I have been having computer problems and never received a message from Allen Riley about his shot of Tuesday morning striper action in the Sandy Hook surf. He got started at dawn with a 21-incher on a Power Bait Mullet before releasing three more of 21 to 22 inches on a variety of lures between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

That’s the best surf fishing I’ve heard of, but Nick Honachefsky caught a 27-incher Tuesday on a black Bomber  despite fishing under the Hunter moon.

I opted for a short attempt at Point Pleasant Canal this morning and quickly caught a 23-inch striper on a Z Man jig, but never had another hit.

Joe Melillo weighed bass of 30 and 40 pounds at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant for Bill McCrystal of Point Pleasant after he trolled them on a bunker spoon.

On Tuesday he weighed a 13-pound striper caught by Anthony Pellagrino in the  canal on a Swing Shad.










on a black Bomber.
























Big stripers arrive off Jersey Shore

It took a few days after the NE storm, but the fall striped bass migration has started off the Jersey Shore — for boaters at least.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano was especially happy yesterday when he broke the ice on Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club with a 51-inch bass of almost 48 pounds that hit a mo-jo. They found the bass on open bottom in 40 to 50 feet off Asbury Park. Crisdel ended up with seven bass from about 22 pounds up, though most were over 30 pounds. After biting best on mo-jos, the bass switched  to bunker spoons — though most hooked on the spoons pulled off. There were no schools of bunkers showing or birds working, but they saw gannets for the first time this fall — though they weren’t diving except well beyond the three mile limit.

The Golden Eagle from Bolden Eagle from Belmar didn’t go offshore for blues due to rough seas, but switched to stripers which didn’t cooperate at first. However, on their last drift they caught several large bass over 20 pounds — including two over 40 pounds. They’ll be trying again at 7:30 a.m.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc found on good patch of diving birds  in the morning with his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands and managed one keeper bass plus 15 shorts. He made a move at 11:30 and hit it right as the boat limited. The pool bass was 22 pounds.

Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had a rough trip trying to continue catching porgies  which left with the storm. His fares into some sea bass and blackfish. He will seek stripers daily starting Thursday.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant found “tons of bait”, but had no luck with stripers today. Encouraged by the Golden Eagle report, they will be sailing tomorrow.

The good news for boaters wasn’t the case for most surfcasters though Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park had some good bass reports from there to the park.

I gave the Manasquan surf a try in the morning, and did nothing even though conditions were good. A move to Point Pleasant Canal produced a 21 1/2-inch striper on a Z Man Swimmereez jig on my last cast.  Vinny D’Anton checked much of the northern Shore without getting a hit or seeing any bait.





































to the rough seas in a west wind, but






































the migratory run of striped bass off the Jersey Shore has begun — for boaters/

Swedish boy gets a spectacular intro to American fishing

There were so few reports today in the cool west wind that I had to reach down to Islamorada in the Florida Keys for a story. Bob Correll of Bay Head, N.J. is staying at Cheeca Lodge, and went out on the pier there to catch whatever might bite. That was only tiny yellowtail snappers, but he took time to mentor an 11-year-old boy from Sweden named Odd Haggard. The youngster was reeling in a snapper when a three-foot shark inhaled it and provided a strong battle on light tackle — until a 7-foot hammerhead ate Odd’s first big American fish in spectacular fashion!

There were no boat reports along the Jersey Shore today, but some should sail tomorrow in somewhat better conditions though there’s still a forecast of NW 15-20 knots with gusts to 25 for Tuesday. Wednesday morning is sounding better with SW 10-15.

Surfcasters were still facing large waves and discolored waters this morning, but that should improve with the west winds.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park heard of some bass and blues in the surf by late morning on fresh bunker and metal.

I fished Point Pleasant Canal briefly in the morning. As I walked in there was an angler fighting a fish that appeared to be big. Yet, it turned out to be a 24-inch striper snagged in the side with a jig. I figured if they are that thick even I should be able to catch one. Sadly, that was not the case.



























inexpected strong fight on light tackle. He was doing just fine with his first bi













The youngster was reeling in a little snapper when

Not much fishing in big swell from storm

There wasn’t much fishing today due to the aftereffects of Saturday’s storm. The gusty west winds predicted for tomorrow will also keep most boaters in again, but surfcasters may find some fishable and somewhat clear water.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands did get out in the morning for a good start as the first drift produced a keeper bass, and a 27-inch short while a lager bass was lost. Capt. Rob moved around and added got three more keepers. He didn’t see any of the birds on bait and breaking fish that we were hoping for after the NE, but the water was very discolored. He’s staying in tomorrow due to the gusty west winds that will be poor for his fishing area — but will resume on Tuesday. The Big Mohawk and Ocean Explorer from Belmar will do the same, but the Golden Eagle plans to sail.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina said some winter flounder started biting at the docks there today. A few small stripers were jigged today in Point Pleasant Canal.

Better weather and fishing ahead

We needed a northeast blow to move stripers and bait to the east, but today’s weather was a lot more than we needed. That should straighten out as winds shift to the west and begin the process of calming and clearing the ocean.

There was already a showing of stripers  Friday reported by Capt. Vinnie Vetere of Great Kills from his Katfish. He proclaimed that as the startof the fall migration even though the main body was still off Fire Island at that time.

We should be seeing more of stripers like the one held by Guy Talerico on his Jersey Patriot from Jersey City. Capt. Joe Massa took the shot on N.Y. Harbor with the British aircraft carrier in the background.

bass-Guy Talerico.jpg

Hold on to your hats tomorrow

Unless the weather forecast is way off, there probably won’t be much fishing tomorrow — especially from boats.

The SE wind is already starting to blow, and is predicted to increase to 25 knots with gusts to 40 as small craft warning are posted through Saturday. Tomorrow’s east winds will be 30 to 35 knots with gusts to 45 and seas up to 13 feet. The storm actually moves out quickly with south winds down to 10-15 Saturday night. Sunday looks decent with west winds at 15, though gusting to 25 to knock down the big seas. By Monday there are only 10-knot south winds shifting to the west — though rain is likely. It will probably take a day or two for seas to calm and clear — but then we’re looking for flocks of birds following schools of bait and stripers to the west,

It’s unlikely that any boats will sail tomorrow, but there are always shore areas where fishing is possible; Joe Melillo at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant says blackfishing on green crabs in the canal has been very good.

Melillo weighed a 34-pound striper trolled on a bunker spoon by Bill Mc Crystal of Point Pleasant at the Red Church.

Today’s reports won’t mean anything in any case because it will be a whole new ball game after the storm passes through. It will be an inconvenience for a couple of days, but should greatly improve striper fishing going forward.

That odd fish caught yesterday from the Belmar Marina dock by Joe Iandolo may not be a porcupine fish after all. The photo wasn’t clear, and Jeff Dement of the American Littoral Society thinks it may be a striped burrfish.