Page 81 of 86

N.J. sea bass opens Tuesday

The New Jersey sea bass season opens Tuesday, giving bottom fishing party boats a target for the first time since the tautog season closed at the end of April.  Some will be leaving earlier or running extended trips. For instance, the Jamaica from Brielle has Sea Bass Marathon trips from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. though Thursday by reservation — 732-528-5014.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle will continue to seek stripers — but will switch during the day to sea bass if the stripers don’t cooperate. The Big Mohawk is sailing for sea bass at 6 a.m.. Call 732 974-9606 to determine if they have any spots open.

Capt. Stan Zagleski has switched his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands to sea bass daily at 7 a.m. until fluke opens on May 25.

Striper fishing was better today in Raritan Bay, as shorts provided action while some keepers were added. Capt. Ron Santee said anglers on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had to wait for the outgoing tide before the bass turned on to clams. A 16-pounder took the pool.

The Tackle Box in Hazlet weighed 29-pound striper for Jim Schaublin of Stockholm who said he had a hot bite on clams at Sandy Hook.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported a good Sunday with mostly small bass in the surf on bait while blues are building up in the bay. Miguel Serrano cast an SP Minnow from a local dock to catch a 31.5-inch, 8.85-pound chopper.  Surf stripers of 15.5 pounds on clam and 12.8 pounds on bunker were also weighed yesterday.

Jeff Merrill of South Plainfield took his son Steve plus Bob Lake of Brick put on his Boyz Toy in Manasquan River this morning as they cast plugs and metal to scratch out three blues around Treasure Island in about three hours. Merrill said other boaters were also picking, but he didn’t see anything caught by shore casters in the still cool 55 degree waters from the end of the ebb to the start of the flood.

There was a pick of cocktail blues in Point Pleasant Canal this morning on small lures. I cast briefly to release one on a 4-inch Tsunami Shad which it engulfed, requiring me to put a finger in over the gills in order to get to the bend of the hook and back it out.

 

 

A few larger stripers in the surf

There have been a few large bass caught recently in the Jersey Shore surf, though the vast majority are still very small. At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle weighed a 45-inch, 32.20-pounder that Eric Emery hooked on a bucktail cast into the Island Beach State Park surf on Friday. Betty & Nick’s reported a spawned-out 31.5-pounder that Rich Fetter caught on clam Saturday morning in the park.  Grompy’s also also had a report of a released bass pushing 30 pounds on a bunker head Saturday morning in the park — and that angler also released another good-sized bass. Bait has been most effective lately, and quite a few fluke are also being released well before the May 25 opener.

The only good boat report today came from Capt. Vinnie Vetere on Katfish Charters out of Great Kills. Actually, it looked as if his trolled Ho-Jo’s were going to fail him and that party was going to get a free trip with no striper caught. Then, at 2 p.m., the bass turned on for an hour as 10 up to a 42-pounder (see below) were caught.

Vinne 42-lb bass

There’s still no word of the overdue migratory run along the Shore up from the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay spawning grounds. Capt. Jim Freda of Shore Catch at Point Pleasant said the blues in Manasquan River shut off yesterday at 10 a.m., so he ran outside to his usual trolling area for big bass, and was pleased to find the water temperature up to a striper-friendly 58 degrees. Yet, he never had a hit trolling Mo-Jo’s and noted that there were few signs of bunker out there.

Bob Mathews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina also hasn’t heard of any big bass in the ocean, but he says there are small ones in the surf. The run of jumbo blues into Shark River hasn’t developed, but lots of fluke are being released from the docks.

Joe Melillo and his son Joe from Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant worked Point Pleasant Canal and Manasquan River from shore without a touch early this morning. I tried Shark River, but couldn’t duplicate the small blue I plugged there yesterday. Jim Louro fished his local surf at Spring Lake to catch a very small bass on a teaser.

The sea bass season opens Tuesday, and the Big Jamaica from Brielle is adding a Thursday Sea Bass Marathon from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. to the others scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. The limited trips cost $78, and a reservation is required by calling 732 528-5016 or visiting http://www.bigjamaica.com.

The Staten Island Tuna Club has scheduled a Striped Bass Tournament for May 18, 19 and 20. The entry fee is $100 per boat for the biggest fish worth $9,000 or 50 percent of the prize money.  Call Walter Fisher at 917 375-7607.

Following is a release from the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association:

The 2018 Season’s Organizational Meeting for the BHCFA Junior Mate Training Program will be held at 7 p.m., 6/28 in the New Jersey Maritime Museum, 528 Dock Road, Beach Haven N.J  Parking is available on the east side (back) of the Museum or on the street where marked.  Call Capt. John Lewis @ 609-670-5980 or Capt. Jimmy Zavacky @ 609-915-2498 for details about the BHCFA Junior Mate Training Program. Learn to be a better fisherman! Learn hands-on techniques! Taught by the leading charter boat professionals. Learn to be a better boater and fisherman including knot tying, navigation, boat handling, tackle and boat maintenance, weather, safety, first aid, and all of the other skills that will make you more valuable on the water.

Learn all of the other skills that increase your value as a crew member on charter and private fishing boats. This program includes “hands on” training. The best way to learn is by doing so under the supervision of experts.Become proficient in all of the skills and meet all of the qualifications and you can be offered a paid mate’s position in the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association charter fleet. This is the best summer job you can imagine!

  • Learn personal responsibility and how to work with others as a team.
  • Your membership in the BHCFA Junior Mate program lets you stand apart from the crowd.

 2018 BHCFA Jr. Mate Training Schedule

Every Thursday evening from late June into August.

Note that the New Jersey Boater Safety class is two nights,

 Wednesday 7/25/18 and  Thursday 7/26/18

From 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The Public Is Invited To Pre-Register And Participate in the NJ Boater Safety Course!

JUNIOR MATE TRAINING PROGRAM INFORMATION

Program Cost – $25 plus the cost of U.S. Coast Guard approved random drug test program including the “pre-employment” test.

 

All Junior Mates MUST be enrolled in the “ American Professional Captains Association” random drug test program and have had their “pre-employment” tests prior to being allowed on any BHCFA Member Captain’s boat with paying passengers aboard. 

We recommend that any potential Junior Mate join the APCA Drug Test Program prior to their first Thursday evening training meeting of the season since initial processing of the “pre-employment” test takes time.

You must call them to register (800-468-7447) and tell them you are a Junior Mate with the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association to qualify for the discounted fee.

Do not register on the APCA website or you will have to pay full price. Call APCA using their toll-free number [800-468-7447] and register by phone. Tell APCA that you are applying as a Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Junior Mate and that the agreed fee is $25. The normal fee is $60 so make sure you tell them about their special price for our Junior Mates. APCA will instruct you as to what drug test center to go to by sending you a packet of instructions to your home.

Junior Mate applicants should reach their 13th birthday or older by this coming August 1. Interested applicants who will not be 13 by August 1, 2018 should look forward to joining the program in the year when they will turn 13 by August 1.

This is a serious charter boat crew-training program. We expect all Junior Mates who enrol to participate and learn more about the sport they love … fishing. It is not a recreational program per se even though Junior Mates normally have a lot of fun working and learning with BHCFA Captains and other BHCFA Junior Mates.

Only qualified candidates will be invited to work as mates on BHCFA Member Boats and earn their Charter Boat Mate Certification.

 

Charter Boat Mate Certification normally takes three seasons of training.

Junior Mates are assigned to BHCFA Member Captains on a random basis.

BHCFA Captains invest their time and resources to teach Junior Mates the trade craft of charter fishing.

Junior Mates only receive pay when their Captain decides the Junior Mate has earned pay. The dedication of time and effort is what the Junior Mate invests to learn the trade.

No Junior Mate can expect pay during any on-the-job-training even with paying passengers on an a BHCFA member boat until their  Captain tells them they are qualified to run a charter trip as First Mate on their own and actually run trips as First Mate.

Paying passengers may give a tip to a Junior Mate as long as such a tip does not reduce the tip given to the First Mate.

 

Junior Mates should understand that a charter fishing trip is a complex undertaking and that charter boats and the equipment and tackle on board is complicated. Junior Mates are expected to participate in pre-trip setup and after-trip clean up and tackle and boat maintenance as part of their training.

Learning everything there is to know about the details of running a charter fishing trip are important parts of a Junior Mate’s training. If a Junior Mate thinks of the “hands on” activities as “work,” they are missing the point. Yes, some of the activities get you hot, sweaty and dirty but you will have gained priceless knowledge so you use what you learned the next time the subject comes up.

 

Parents are welcome to attend the Thursday night Training Meetings.

THIS SCHEDULE AND CURRICULUM ARE TENTATIVE and are subject to change.

PLEASE WATCH THE JUNIOR MATE WEB PAGE ON www.BHCFA.net FOR CHANGES!

We strongly recommend that all Junior Mate Candidates start learning their knots using the website listed below even before the Training Program begins.

The knot instructions can be found at www.animatedknots.com.

JuniorMates have to learn their knots and rigging and that includes doing the assigned Knot practice for homework.

Junior Mates renewing APCA Drug Test participation should call APCA to do so since the billed renewal price is $60 but BHCFA Junior Mates only pay $25 if you call to remind APCA of your special rate and renew over the phone.

                         

Jr Mate schedule, 2018

Updated 4/16.

All classes are on Thursday evening starting at 7:00 PM unless otherwise noted.

NJ boater training is two nights Wednesday 7/24 and Thursday 7/25 starting at 6:00PM

 

Week 1-    6/28/18   NJ Maritime museum.

Sign up.

Experienced mates and captains to test and  demonstrate knots to new mates during sign up.

A description of the program and a report of fisheries status.

 

Week 2- 7/5  Morrison’s.

Fish cleaning and bait prep and  boat maintenance.

 

Week 3- 7/12 Maritime Museum

Fire safety training and extinguisher training.

Captain Craig ( BIG DOG) Burrows, Paramus Fire Dept.

 

Week 4- 7/19   Maritime Museum

Don from canyon reels to talk about reel maintenance etc.

 

Week 5- Wednesday 7/24 and Thursday 7/25 NJ Maritime Museum

NJ boater safety class starting at 6:00 PM

Thursday 7/25 Basic rules of the road for mates with NJ safety card. Knots

 

Week 6-  8/2   Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna club starting at 6:00 PM

First aid

Week 7-  8/9   TBD

 

Week 8- 8/16  NJ Maritime Museum

Last class. Knot test discussion of the program and charterarbiter%2Fr%2FRQ7NiRXMcYA.js%3Fversion%3D42%23cb%3Dfa874b345be2c%26domain%3Dwww.bhcfa.net%26origin%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.bhcfa.net%252Ff11de8095f65fdc%26rel

Black drum hitting at Cape May

Rich Swisstack posted on Facebook that his party boated four black drum up to just over 50 pounds on clams while fishing last night with Capt. Bob Cope out of Cape May.

Striper fishing in Raritan Bay remained slow, but somewhat improved with more short action today.  Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter out of Atlantic Highlands also reported two keepers. He will be fishing on Mother’s Day.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar didn’t catch any stripers, but two large ones were lost — and they claimed their bunker baits were chewed by bluefish. That’s the first I’ve heard of blues from the party boats, but the Keansburg Fishing Pier had a photo on Facebook of five big blues caught there yesterday on bunker chunks.

Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said he had no reports today due to the rain, but he and Joe, Jr. fished Point Pleasant Canal last night to no avail because of picking up weed on every cast.

I braved the early rain to cast briefly in Shark River and released a bluefish of about 3 pounds on a large pencil popper — though there were no other swirls. Jim Louro of Spring Lake went to Shark River later and duplicated the three small stripers he caught Friday.

Capt. Jim Freda has been casting to some jumbo blues in Manasquan River, and even got some this morning for his party on Shore Catch from Point Pleasant — such as the one pictured.

Freda's blue

 

 

Trollers have the upper hand with Raritan Bay stripers

It was another tough day with striped bass in Raritan Bay for party boats, but trollers did much better. Indeed, Capt. Paul Regula of Bounty Hunter from Point Pleasant said he had his best trip of the season as 34 bass from 30 to 41 inches were trolled on Mo-Jo’s.

Capt. Vinny Vetere has been doing very well mixing up trolling his Ho-Jo’s from Katfish out of Great Kills plus live-baiting bunker. However, stripers were scattered in the back of the bay today and wouldn’t hit live bunkers. Trolling  produced a pick of bass up to about 25 pounds, but with only one doubleheader.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee said the fishing has been “beyond tough.” Even bunker chunks haven’t been working on his Fishermen. Normally striper fishermen would be cursing at bluefish eating striper baits, but they’d be welcomed now. Santee hasn’t seen one in the bay or ocean though they are two weeks late.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc failed to find a keeper bass yesterday for the first time this season on his Sea Hunter, but did get one today. On the first drop there was a pick of shorts, but it died out with the tide — and they never got the current back.

 

Maja striper

Tony Arcabascio, manufacturer of Tony Maja bunker spoons and other tackle for big stripers. caught his first bass of the year behind his home in Bayville. Business has been so good that he hasn’t been able to get out for the big stripers.  Oh well, that bass will be big sometime in the future.

At Seaside Park, there was some good news from Grumpy’s Tackle of one angler catching blues from 5 to 10 pounds on bunker chunks locally Thursday night. Bait produced most of the bass and some blues caught in the surf yesterday.

Jim Louro of Spring Lake had intended to fish his local surf this morning, but I told him I had met an angler who had recorded the water temperature there as 43 degrees after yesterday afternoon’s hard south wind. Switching to Shark River, he caught 3 cocktail blues and 3 stripers up to 19 inches.

Blues are in Manasquan River — if you can find them

Bluefish have been very late in arriving compared to recent years, but there’s been enough action in Manasquan River to say they’re worth pursuing. I’ve been checking  the river , inlet and canal the last couple of days and have only seen two blues caught so far. The trick seems to be not being where I am. I’ve been hearing of better action before or after my appearances.  Capt. Jim Freda got into blues from Shore Catch in Manasquan River yesterday evening — and the blues were in only two-foot depths. Joe Melillo at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant got into heavy bluefish action last evening on shad lures and Kettle Creek jigs in the canal.

It was  a tough day for party boats in Raritan Bay. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said he watched trollers catching stripers near his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. He started with shads, but only two shorts were caught. That was the same result after anchoring to fish bait. It was the first trip this season without a keeper.  The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported reading bass, but they wouldn’t hit. They are chartered Friday.

Capt. John Kolias got a late start Thursday due to the fog, but got into a few keepers at anchor after live baiting didn’t produce for his party on Reel Fun from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park weighed their largest surf striper of the season — a 42.5-inch, 27.7-pounder on a bunker chunk in Island Beach State Park by Polish Al. Chris Allen weighed a 26-inch, 9.05-pound black drum. Betty & Nick’s reported a quick shot of big blues in the surf yesterday.

 

It was a different day in Raritan Bay

After yesterday’s hot bite, and no major change in weather, I expected today to be red hot for every striper fisherman, but that wasn’t the case. Vinnie Vetere of Katfish at Great Kills had no complaints as he limited early with big bass on live bunkers before switching to trolling his Ho-Jo rigs for release action. They were greeted at the dock by N.Y. D.E.C. officers who had earlier seized an over limit striper catch that was donated to a church.

Yet, it was a different story for the party boat fleet that did so well yesterday on swirling bass with shad lures. Capt. Rob Semkewyc  of the Sea Hunter at Atlantic Highlands reported a crowd of good striper anglers aboard for a repeat, but the shads didn’t do the job today. The boat ended up with just one keeper and one short even though trollers nearby were catching bass. The Golden Eagle from Belmar also reported a poor day in beautiful weather. Hopefully, the bass will go on the feed again Thursday.

Tank Matraxia and his Lyndhurst crew picked the right day as they were out Tuesday with Capt. Fletcher Chayes on Two Rivers Charters from Highlands.   Tank said they kept their limit of four smaller stripers before he applied ALS tags to nine more larger spawners, including three from 30 to 37 1/2 inches fork length — as the ALS measures.

Kevin Kuriawa of Brick also was out for fine Tuesday striper action with Capt. Frank Maseria on Vitamin Sea from Brown’s in Keyport. Joe Kennedy and his son Devin plus Joe Prillo and his son James were in on the action as James on his first boat ride also caught his first fish. Instead of starting with stunted sunfish on a bamboo pole as I did, James began his lifetime of fishing with a striped bass.

Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights used his outboard from Atlantic Highlands Tuesday afternoon to troll two 30-inch stripers in Raritan Reach.

Julian’s Tackle in that town weighed a 48.9-pound striper caught Tuesday by Aaron Ciccia on George Conway’s Placid C’s skippered by Capt. Ken Gallup.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported almost everyone caught at least short bass in the surf on Tuesday — mostly on clams. There were also assorted size blues. A couple of keeper bass and four blues were weighed and two large bass were released. Nino Spiga had blues of 7.65 and 7.45 pounds this morning on an SP Minnow. Betty & Nick’s had a similar report, and added that there are “loads of black drum”.

 

 

 

Raritan Bay striper fishing breaks open

Party boat fishermen got a treat today in Raritan Bay as stripers were up chasing bait in the mouth of the bay, and continued to bite for quite a while even with lots of boat traffic.  At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported a good shot of bass in the 20-pound class and a 29.5-pound pool winner on his Sea Hunter before that action slowed and only a few were caught on bait at anchor.  Capt. Ron Santee said his father, Capt. Ron Sr, and a few others caught two bass on the Fishermen before the fish turned off and bait was unproductive. Steve Toth had a 24-pound pool winner, and there were also bass of 18 and 19 pounds boated.

Chuck Many started out chunking in the Hudson River with his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands. That fishing was poor, so he ran back into the bay to find the large area  of stripers that occasionally came up, but didn’t stay there long. Though Many started with two live wells full of bunkers, Rob Rommel, Dave Glassberg and I got lots of blowups that didn’t turn into hooked bass. The key to success was changing live baits frequently — — so we ended up running back to castnet a fresh supply. That worked out well as we did better in the afternoon when few others were catching.  With Rob having the hottest hand, Ty Man ended up with 29 released bass up to 25 pounds.

Trollers were also doing well with those stripers. Capt. Vinny Vetere said it was a red letter day trolling his Ho-Jo’s from Katfish Charters as his customers caught bass up to 30 pounds before they switched over to live bunkers for another 15 bass.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield said the forecast of windy NE weather was off, and he actually had great surf conditions at Sandy Hook. Unfortunately, there was no action on lures or bait.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported a keeper bass weighed in Monday on clam and two more on Tuesday along with a 5-pound blue from the surf.

Betty & Nick’s Tackle reported Alex Krai of Barnegat weighed in a 29-inch striper and two black drum to 14 pounds on clams.  A 22-pound striper was caught Monday night in the Seaside Park surf on an SP Minnow by Marek B. of Brick.

 

 

 

NJ Marine Digest available at tackle shops

The 2018 New Jersey Marine Digest has been provided to tackle shops around the state, and can be picked up free of charge. All of the year’s regulations are included except for sea bass which was settled after publication. The sea bass season opens on May 15, and the Jamaica from Brielle has scheduled 10-hour Marathon trips for the first two days. The cost is $78, and reservations are required. Call 732 528-5014.

The striped bass situation in Raritan Bay didn’t change today as it remained tough for party boat fishing, but private and charter boats fishing with live bunkers do well.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said he only had a few keepers today on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, though the readings he had on his third drop were the best of the season. Yet, they didn’t get a bite on them.

Chuck Many only fished a half-day with his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands, but Rob Rommel and Mike Greene helped in releasing 20 stripers which included bass of 24, 28, 29, 32 and 38 pounds.

After Capt. Jim Freda got everyone excited about the start of the inshore jumbo bluefish run when his  Saturday afternoon charter on Shore Catch Charters from Point Pleasant caught 15 by casting SP Minnows in Manasquan River. However, the following morning there were no bites on the cold incoming tide. John Wasnewski of Jackson was aboard late this afternoon along with your reporter as there were decent water temperatures in the mid-fifties during the ebb — but the blues were missing. John and the skipper at least each got a hit. None of the other boats caught anything either. Normally there’s a steady build-up of blues after the first catches, and Freda will be ready for them when they start biting again. Call him at 732 762-0870. Capt. Dave De Gennaro of Hi Flier at Barnegat found the same thing Sunday in his bay, even where water temperatures were over 60 degrees,

Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant caught a blue on his first cast into the Manasquan this morning, but his popper didn’t raise another fish.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park only heard of a few blues in northern Barnegat Bay over the weekend. Anglers reported they were sluggish, rather than attacking poppers.

Bob Mathews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, reports the Asbury Park Fishing Club, led by Gene Amato’s 17-pound striper, won the Spring Lake Live Liners Spring Tournament over the weekend with 64 points.  The Live Liners were second with 24 points, and the other clubs didn’t score. Matthews says Shark River is loaded with fluke up to 24 inches prior to the season opening.

 

 

Results from Striper Challenge

 

Following are the official results from Saturday’s Striper Challenge, the first leg of the Triple Challenge, as submitted by the organizers:
1st Place TY MAN 35.6lbs $5,000.002nd Place Surf N Turf (A Hojnowski) 32.2lbs $1,000.00

3rd Place Milling Around 30.2lbs FREE ENTRY NEXT YEAR AND Tony MaJa Custom Tackle EZ OUTRODDER.

KAYAK DIVISION
1st Place Mike DeMarco 36″ $1,000.00
2nd Place Rob Nemeth 31″ $100.00
3rd Place Nick Rodriguez 29″ FREE ENTRY NEXT YEAR

CALCUTTAS… OVER $12,000.00 Combined!
$100 SINGLE HEAVIEST 35.6 TYMAN
$250 SINGLE HEAVIEST 35.6 TYMAN
$500 SINGLE HEAVIEST 35.6 TYMAN

$100 HEAVIEST 2 COMBINED 35.6 + 21.4 TYMAN
$250 HEAVIEST 2 COMBINED 35.6 + 21.4 TYMAN
$500 HEAVIEST 2 COMBINED 35.6 + 21.4 TYMAN

KAYAK
$25.00 BLUEFISH $150.00 Tom Loughron
$50.00 STRIPER $150.00 Mike Demark?

NOREAST’R PHOTO CONTEST WINNER
ANDREW HOJNOWSKI

Over $21,000.00 in cash was given away today!

Chuck Many of Annandale was the big winner on his Tyman from Gateway Marina in Highlands with his crew of Rob Rommel of Highlands, Bob Bowden of Little Silver, Mike Greene from the Bronx and me.  Greene caught the big bass on our first drift after fishing started at 6 a,m. — but most of the bass were only in the 10-to-14-pound class as we caught 22. We needed a second bass to add to the big one for the Calcuttas that were cased on a two fish total weight. We couldn’t come up with anything very large for the second bass, but the 21.4-pounder I hooked late in the trip proved to be adequate.  Those bass were brought in alive for weighing so they could be released to spawn this month in the Hudson River. We were fishing with live bunkers, and found the bass to be very fussy about taking them. Changing baits frequently seemed to make a difference, and we had to take time out during the day to seek out a fresh supply of bunkers which we also ran out of. Bryan Pieros was fishing near us and had the same sort of action. He managed a pair of bass over 20 pounds among the “average” bass for an entry, but it wasn’t enough
Capt. Pete Wagner reported a striper of over 50 pounds was caught today on his Hyper Striper from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands.  Party boats reported somewhat better striper fishing over the weekend. The Atlantic Highlands boats got into a few better bass casting shads to surfacing fish before boat traffic put them down and just a few shorts and keepers were added on bait.
Capt. Dave De Gennaro trolled for stripers with his Hi Flier out of Barnegat, but found no life off Island Beach State Park as the water temperature had dropped to 45 degrees.  He had tried casting for the overdue blues in Barnegat Bay on Saturday, but didn’t raise anything.
At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported a pick of bass and blues in the surf on clams and bunker despite the cool waters.
Bluefish reports became more common on Saturday. In addition to the kayack winner in Raritan Bay that was listed above, there were some caught in Manasquan River.  Capt. Jim Freda of Shore Catch specializes in Manasquan River bluefishng, but noted the run is just beginning as cold seawater seems to be holding back the choppers. That could change at any moment, but I checked the river and inlet a couple of times today from shore and didn’t find anything going on.  Below is a jumbo blue caught in the Manasquan River on Saturday with Capt. Jim Freda on Shore Catch.
Manasquan River blue

Ty Man wins Striper Challenge

Sorry for the late blog, but I was part of the crew on Chuck Many’s Ty Man from Gateway Marina as he won all the money he was eligible for in that contest out of Baker’s Marina on the Bay in Highlands. Many had a game plan developed after fishing every day this week — and got a huge boost when Mike Greene from Long Beach Island boated a 35.6-pound striper on live bunker during the first drift. Late in the day I finally came through with a 21.4-pounder to provide the 75-pound total for the Calcuttas, We totaled 22 stripers, though most were only in the 12-to-15-pound class. I’ll have more about that contest in Sunday’s blog.

Striper fishing wasn’t easy in Raritan Bay on Saturday. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reported slow action, though they had a few more keepers than on the day before.

Though bluefish action didn’t break open in the Seaside Park and IBSP surf. there were more reports — primarily in the evening. There were also reports of blues in Manasquan River.Ty Man morning stripers

Small legal stripers are released from Ty Man after hitting live bunkers

Photo by Rob Rommel