Be wary of scam with party boat ads

The Jamaica from Brielle has reported a scam that’s been also going on with other party boats in which a good deal is promoted on what appears to be their site offering a buy one, get one $100 gift certificate. If you see anything like this on any site, be sure to call the boat to determine if it’s legitimate. The Jamaica’s number is 732 528-5014.

Word Press has changed their site that I’ve been using, and I haven’t been able to post photos on it so far — but will keep trying.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands missed the striped bass season they normally begin with while awaiting approval from the governor to start fishing. However, Capt. Rob Semkewyc is going to run a special striper trip on Wednesday by reservation. Call 732 291-4468.

The Raritan Bay striper run has continued in high gear. Chuck Many has had many trips releasing bug bass, including one with his family aboard Ty Man.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano joined his buddy from Sea Bright on Saturday as they located big bass in the bay by trolling Tony Maja bunker spoons before switching to jigging Flutter Spoons and ending up casting poppers when the bass came up. They caught about 25, and Chris finally got one small enough to keep — a 38-incher.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had another good sea bass trip today after a slow start. Some ling and even Atlantic mackerel were added. After a windy start, it turned out to be a fine day.

Surf weigh-ins have been lacking so far, but Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Park weighed a 33-inch, 10 1/2-pound striper today after it hit clam at Seaside Heights.

Vinny D’Anton is still down in Sarasota while enjoyinade fishing. A few days ago he released 22 snook up to a 33-incher while casting a variety of lures including a Storm Searchbait, a Z Mann white paddletail, and a DOA Shrimp.

Bob Correll of Bay Head went down to his local beach this morning and found bunkers within casting range while small blues and hickory shad were hitting jigs.

Capt. Ron switches to sea bass

Fluke fishing so far has been so poor in the Raritan Bay area that there haven been few reports. Therefore, Capt. Ron Santee decided to spend today fishing for sea bass and ling which provided fish in all bags and happier faces peeping out behind masks. Therefore, the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands will be sailing for sea bass and ling until there are better prospects for fluke.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a beautiful day with many sea bass limits plus ling today.

Bob Correll reported there were lots of small blues and hickory shad hitting jigs in Manasquan Inlet this morning. He then ran his Sea Vee out to Axel Carlsen Reef where he’d had a good pick of sea bass during has last trip, but found it to be dead. There was a mob of boats on Sea Girt Reef and few fish, though his wife Mary Agnes struggled with a big fish that turned to be a skate.

Capt. Arthur Stokes made an afternoon trip that produced sea bass and ling before a 40-45-pound striper hit a Tony Maja bunker spoon and was released off Allenhurst.

Good fishing weather is coming up with northwest winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20 in the morning before calming to just 5-10 knots in the afternoon.

Warming waters a good sign for fluking to north

There haven’t been many reports coming from the northern fluke fleet, but there was a good sign today when Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands reported he finally read 60 degrees at one point.

There were more small fluke biting today, but all of the action was in no more than 18 feet. A 4-pounder won the pool.

Sea bass fishing is holding up for Shore party boats. The Jamaica from Brielle had a good trip yesterday, and will be sailing at 7:30 except for a Sea Bass Marathon at 6 a.m. Friday. Reservations are a must.

Jon Falkowski of Linden fished aboard the Golden Eagle from Belmar today and reported that six of the 25 sea bass he caught were keepers while he also added a  fluke and a ling. The boat report also noted whiting were caught.They have room for reservations on upcoming trips, including Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Bob Correll fished in Manasquan Rive near the canal yesterday afternoon and boated his first bluefish of the season on a shad, He also tried poppers and metal, but had no hits. There were other boats in the area, but nothing was being caught,

Phil Fischer fished the Scotland Grounds out of Highlands earlier in the week to release blackfish before boating sea bass to 3 or 4 pounds plus ling and some whiting. Mackerel were present at mid-depths.

A dense fog  advisory is up  until 11 a.m.  A southeast wind at 5-10 knots increases to south at 10-15 with gusts to 20 knots in the afternoon.

Fluke better today for northern boaters

The lack of reports from boats fishing for fluke in the Raritan Bay area had me worried about that fishery, but Capt. Ron Santee noted that both short and keeper fluke responded better today on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. The action was on incoming tide, and one fare managed a three-fish limit.

Bad news from there was relayed by Scott Leadbeater, who saw a boat on fire this morning in mid-bay at 8:30. He heard that the people aboard were rescued. A few stripers were being picked in the Old Orchard area by boaters fishing a variety of lures and baits.

Sea bass held up for the Golden Eagle as anglers on that Belmar party boat had big bass plus some ling during a fine day. A “nice” striper was lost due to a broken line.

If you get lucky while bottom fishing you might catch a 12-pound blackfish like Greg Harms of Untion did while fishing recently on Kaitlyn Nicole out of Sandy Hook Bay Marina recently. Capt. Chris Mahon released the trophy tog which was out of season

blackfish - 12 lbs

Chuck Many continues to release big stripers from his Ty Man out of Gateway Marina in Highlands. He had Ian Gardner and Alex Katyan aboard Saturday as 22 up to 48 pounds were caught — 15 on eels and six on live bunkers.

Small craft warnings go down tonight, and the morning forecast is for just 5-10 knot southeast winds plus patchy fog.

Bumpy morning turns out well

The only report I could find today came from the Golden Eagle out of Belmar which reported a bumpy start before an unexpected calming of the ocean which resulted in a good catch of sea bass along with some ling and winter flounder.  Some anglers anglers managed sea bass limits.

The Queen Mary did not sail from Point Pleasant, but will be going Monday.

The Jamaica from Brielle is sold out for Memorial Day, but is taking reservations for Tuesday and the rest of the week.

There was a lack of wind and poor drifting conditions for the Raritan Bay fluke fleet yesterday, but no reports today when there was east wind that should have been good in Sandy Hook Bay.

The Little Hawk from Atlantic Highlands posted a video of releasing a 52-pound striper on Friday which was far larger than this year’s 38 inch maximum  in N.J. waters.

Capt. Jim Freda reports it’s been slow developing, but he got into bluefish Friday in Manasquan River with his Shore Catch.

Freda blue

Small craft warnings are up tonight with northeast gusts to 20 knots, but it’s forecast to drop to east at just 5-10 knots by morning as seas settle to 3 to 5 feet.

 

Small craft warnings up through Monday afternoon

The cold, raw spring continues as small craft warnings are posted through tomorrow afternoon.

Northeast winds of 15-20 knots tonight drop a bit to north at 10-15 plus gusts to 20 in the morning along with likely showers.

Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights got his Aquasport center console into the water yesterday morning for its 24th year at Atlantic Highlands , and took advantage of the calm morning to fish for stripers among about 100 boats in Raritan Bay from Romer Shoal to Union Beach. Only one short was caught among lots of marks tight to the bottom before he moved to Chapel Hill where the marks were higher. Three stripers from 15 to 18 pounds were then caught in 30 minutes.

Tommy Cox has been enjoying kayak fishing in Lemon Bay on Florida’s lower west coast before heading back to New Jersey. Casting to the mangroves has produced a variety of species up to large redfish and snook.

The lack of pressure on Florida’s east coast has resulted in much better fishing. My nephew, Todd Correll got a report of one boat that caught 40 sailfish in a day off Key West, which is something I’ve never heard of there before.

N.J. party boat fleet loses two great ones

Two of the great veterans of New Jersey’s party boat business have passed away.

Norma Keller, owner of the Norma K. fleet in Point Pleasant was a fixture in that town for decades. Capt. Art Hilliard was part of a famed fishing family sailing out of Atlantic Highlands. He was best known as skipper of the large group charter boat Eagle. I’ll try to get details for the next blog.

A gale warning is going up for Tuesday.  The morning starts with south winds at 15-20 knots plus gusts to 30 before going southwest and gusting to 40 in the afternoon Showers and possible thunderstorms are predicted.

Anglers explode onto Raritan Bay

Pandemic concerns seem to be cast aside today as anglers frustrated with quarantines took advantage of a calm day to seek out striped bass in Raritan Bay.

Dave Lilly of Hazlet was happy that the boat he used this morning was in the water at Keyport because the roads were clogged with trailers trying to launch at the Keyport ramp. The trolling bite wasn’t what it had been during his previous two trips, and it wasn’t until he changed from the light chartreuse Tony Maja mo-jo to the black pearl model that he started catching stripers steadily in 15-foot depths at the back of the bay.

That dark color seemed to make all the difference as Lilly didn’t see much caught by other trollers or by the fleet of kayackers casting lures. The bass were mostly 34-to-35-inchers. Lilly thought the slower bite might have been due to the cold 42 degree water temperature, whereas it was up to 48 to 50 degrees last week. He talked to a friend who was fishing off Old Orchard and hadn’t seen a bass caught.

On the way back to Keyport later in the morning, Lilly spotted flashing lights at the Keyport ramp and found out that the police had closed the ramp — probably due to prohibited large groups gathering there while waiting to get out.  As a result, he said the arriving boats had to use the Keyport Marina ramp.

When I checked Facebook, there were mentions of similar activity at the Atlantic Highlands Marina and on the water. With so many people not working, there may be a similar situation tomorrow as the forecast is for south winds at just 5-10 knots before shifting to west in the afternoon.

Fishermen should be aware of the danger in fishing in close proximity to friends at this time. Bassmaster reported that a doctor member who went black bass fishing with his buddy recently maintained the six-foot separation by fishing at opposite ends of the boat and sanitizing the net handle after every use.

Back to NW on Sunday

After some good fishing weather today, the southeast wind picked up with rain. but will quickly shift to northwest by morning and get gusty. That will be fishable for some. but the Big Mohawk from Belmar has cancelled.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc had good action with short bass on his Sea Hunter. There were also some keepers and slots, but the bite died when the SE started blowing hard at 12:30. He couldn’t get on the bigger bass of the day before — possibly due to all the boat traffic.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported seeing lots of bass though they didn’t bite well and there was only a pick.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant got into lots of jigging action with short stripers while adding some keepers and slots.

I didn’t get any hot surf reports today, though Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno had a pick of school bass on metal in Island Beach State Park.

I tried the Manasquan surf early and had ideal conditions but not a sign of fish or bait. Bob Correll said there were lots of anglers early in the Bay Head surf, but nothing was caught.

Calm weather produced stripers for boaters

Calm weather made fishing bearable for boaters this morning, and striper fishing seemed to be good for them.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a light crowd for Black Friday on his Sea Hunter, but they ended up with a boat limit of bass over 28 inches plus slots and shorts. Capt. Ron Santee had good striper action on the Fishermen and noted that red-tailed jigs were most effective. He emphasized that anglers must turn the handle in this fishery rather than just bouncing bottom with jigs.  My usual technique is to hit bottom, give a good bounce like a sand eel coming out of the sand — and then retrieve to about 1/3 of the way to the surface before pausing. A lot of hits come on the pause. Then drop down and do it again.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a good mixed jigging catch of short, slot and keeper stripers plus some blues.

Capt. Stan Zagleski said blackfishing was picky on his Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands, but those who worked at it did well.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will be sailing open for tog at 7 a.m. Call 732 370=8019 for reservations at $75.

The Big Jamaica is sailing from Brielle at 11 p.m. for jumbo sea bass on far offshore wrecks. There are some spots open. Call 732 528-5014. They’ll be striper fishing Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

I was armed with hand warmers this morning, but didn’t see any of the birds dipping on tiny bait at Point Pleasant Beach — and didn’t brave the cold as anglers didn’t seem to be doing anything. I made a brief try at sun-down in “balmy” 32 degree temperatures and released a small bass on an old J&J lead quid with a swiveling green tube. That  was the only one I saw caught on the beach,

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno found a pick of school stripers in the Seaside surf during the day, and saw a few 30-inch bass caught from among them.

 

 

 

hooked a couple of small blues recently in the Point Pleasant surf.