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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still working hard for stripers

The fall striped bass Bonanza we’ve been hoping for along the northern N.J. Shore still hasn’t started, but there have been some better signs.

The Atlantic Highlands fleet got into better jigging for mostly short bass today along with some keepers. Capt. Ron Santee said the jigging was held back by a very strong current, but when it dropped  to 2 knots there was good action with both plain and tailed diamonds. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the bite from his Sea Hunter was on diamond jigs. He’s cancelling his Thanksgiving trip due to the forecast of extreme cold and wind, but Black Friday looks good,

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had good readings and saw fish splashing today, but they were very fussy and only a few stripers and a couple of blues were caught. They will be back out in the morning and are still planning a Thanksgiving trip from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Capt. Rob De Petri ran his Sharky’s Machine out of Barnegat Bay to troll stripers of 32 and 36 inches on green mo-jos for Ray Bonte. One was hooked off Lavallette in 60 feet and the other near the 3-mile line. There wasn’t much bait recorded.

Yesterday morning’s showing of small stripers in the Point Pleasant Beach surf didn’t occur again as most anglers left quickly. I found an old J&J lead squid with a swiveled green tube in my basement and decided to give it a try. Surprisingly, it produced the only two small bass caught in the area I was working.

Jimmy Louro of Spring Lake caught three small bass and Frank Manzi added another in the surf there during the morning — and Louro got into others late in the afternoon.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere said he stayed in calm river waters over the weekend to catch boat limits of stripers on Katfish from Great Kills. His Ho-Joes did the job with white being the best color.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing to the far offshore wrecks for jumbo sea bass at 11 p.m. There are some openings that can be reserved by calling 732 528-5014. There were some limits on Sunday’s trip — and some cod up to 18 pounds and pollock to 16 pounds were added on the weekend runs along with white hake, ling and even a few barrellfish

It will be a lot windier and colder in coming days. A Small craft advisory will be increased to a gale warning from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday night. West winds of 15-20 knots tomorrow morning increase to 20-25 in the afternoon.

Get out Tuesday while the weather holds

While there didn’t seem to be any Bonanza striper fishing today, there were many caught in various areas. With colder and windier weather coming, it might be best to get your shots in Tuesday when the forecast is for NW 10-15 knots in the morning before increasing to 15-20 with gusts to 30 in the afternoon. Small craft warnings will be going up through Wednesday afternoon — to be followed by gale warnings Wednesday afternoon.

There was a decent early jigging bite in the Sandy Hook area. At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter reported better fishing with more shorts and keeper bass plus a few slots. The Fishermen reported 10 keeper bass plus some bonus fish through there wasn’t as much bait as on Sunday.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had good jigging on long drifts. It was mostly shorts with some keepers and slots and even a couple of blues.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had a similar report with stripers up to 20 pounds.

Though surfcasting remains tough, there was at least a showing of shorts this morning in Point Pleasant Beach. I was surprised to see over a dozen anglers on the beach when I arrived just before sun-up, but it was well a——————————————-fter that before some rods started bending. The two small bass I cau-ght were both on a Castaways teaser rig rather than the sand eel jig, an-d the only two anglers who did more than pick were casting diamond- jigs with a red tail. Nothing great, but the best action I’ve seen so far this fall. I returned late in the afternoon and didn’t see a fish caught.-

Steve Mirande made the right move -late this afternoon when he fished Bay Head and cast both swim shads and metal to catch three small stripers — all of which hit his hand–tied sand eel teaser. Steve thought he’d hooked a big one that was taking drag before his monster surfaced — a three-foot waterlogged plank!

Waters clearing — stripers improving

Ocean waters continue to clean up after the storm. There’s been no resumption of Wednesday’s hot jigging, but that fishing was somewhat better today.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands jigged mostly shorts in local waters, but added a couple to take home.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle got into two dozen shorts and a few keepers. The Big Mohawk is blackfishing, and that was tough today though some limits were taken. They sail at 6 a.m. Monday when the forecast is for west winds at 5-10 knots.

Surfcasting remains slow, though I heard of a few shorts being hooked on metal at Bay Head and Point Pleasant.

Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant didn’t have to run all the way to the Rockaways again, and managed a pick of stripers off Sandy Hook. In addition to shorts, the boat had 10 keepers for the weekend plus a few slots. Ashley boated a personal record 32-inch striper.

 

 

Ashley bass

A tough day in dirty waters after the storm — but clearing during the day

The weather was fine. but striped bass didn’t respond well in badly discolored waters after the storm. That situation improved during the afternoon and provides hope for Sunday

Capt. Dave Riback was hoping to find the new body of large bass which provided great jigging Wednesday on his Queen Mary out of Point Pleasant, but could hardly find anything in the dirty waters resulting from the storm before running to the Rockaways where conditions were better and there was some action with mostly short bass. Some keepers were caught, but slot bass are just shorts in N.Y. waters. He did add a few slots on the way home off the Highlands.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported mostly shorts before fishing improved in the afternoon.

The Atlantic Highlands boats ran to the areas of hot jigging on Wednesday and found them to be barren. They ended up in the action to the north where some keepers were added. The Fishermen had a 15-pound pool winner.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar had a poor start to their blackfishing, but the bite improved and they put together a decent catch with both jigs and sinker rigs producing. They’re sailing at 6 a.m. Sunday and Monday, but are chartered Tuesday. Jim Louro of Spring Lake found dirty water in the surf everywhere he looked this morning, but the swell was down and surfcasting could improve by tomorrow.

The weather forecast is fine, with north 5-10 knot winds Sunday before going to the SE in the afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$3,368,490 on the line during last two days of the MidAtlantic

After a Wednesday during which all 157 boats entered took a lay day for the first time in the event’s 14-year history, the MidAtlantic was back in action today and concludes tomorrow at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland as the distribution of the $3,368,490 purse will be determined.

Though the ocean looked good inshore yesterday, there was an offshore forecast of 20-30 knot winds. Running a canyon trolling tournament in hurricane season is always risky, but the MidAtlantic has been blessed with fishable weather after a northeast wind blew through before the first day. The first two days produced a remarkable release total of 387 white marlin and 16 blue marlin as 44 boats fished the first marginal day after the northeaster with good results — and 156 were out the next day  — as the contest averaged over two billfish per boat day.

There was also a showing of bigeye tuna after they had been absent at the recent White Marlin Open where the tuna awards went to modest-sized yellowfins.  Indeed, Capt. Mark De Blasio strained the scales Tuesday with five bigeyes on Blue Runner, and is in a second place tie with Toddy Time at 114 pounds – just behind the 116-pounder by Da Sea.  Though impressive, there’s still plenty of room for improvement in that category as the MidAtlantic record is a 254-pound bigeye on Bernard and Drew Dinardi’s Absolut-ly in 1993.

The big-money white marlin category got filled in quickly as two 73-pounders were weighed the first day by Justin Blanning of Wall, N.J. on 3’s Enough and on Special Situation.  Andrew Hall of Chester, N.J. moved into third Tuesday with a 68-pounder on Lucky Lady Jean — just ahead of Intents at 66 pounds and Gusto with a 65-pounder. None of those whites are sure things as the MidAtlantic record is 95 pounds by Topless in 2009.

Maybe I should send my wife, Kathy, down there to help out as her only white marlin was a trophy caught while sharking with me before we were married, when I kept my Mako 22 in Montauk. She hooked a white that took a small bunker drifted in Butterfish Hole. Even after being out of the water all day, it still weighed 99 1/2 pounds at Montauk Marine Basin — winning the Outdoor Life national contest that year.

As noted in yesterday’s blog, the blue marlin category remains wide open with a 400-pound minimum, despite all the smaller blues that have been released. The 43-pound dolphin by First Light appears to be the most likely entry to stand, though the contest record is higher still at 56 pounds on American Lady in 2010. The Zipper leads in wahoo at 71 pounds, which could stand even though it’s well below the MidAtlantic record of 97 pounds set by Joanna in 2009.

I’ll have a late blog with updates after the weigh-ins close at 9 p.m.

I was wondering about Climate Change this morning as I was shivering in a light jacket while casting a Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper into the surf  north of Manasquan Inlet. I’ve never before been chilled during an August morning on the beach, but that northwest wind was cool. A fat 23 1/2-inch striper hit the plug as I was about to lift it out of the water for another cast,  and I later also released my first surf bluefish of the year — a mere 17-incher.

Vinny D’Anton caught two small stripers nearby on a Storm Searchbait, and later moved further north to catch two more on a Chug Bug.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the last two days have been windy, creating a fast drift that produced good action though not as many keepers (see below) as he’d like to see on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands.

Flike on Sea Hunter

Tank Matraxia and his Lyndhurst crew had good fluking off the Rockaways with Capt. Chad Hacker on Tagged Fish from Highlands as the seven anglers totaled 21 keepers from 19 to 23 inches with only a few shorts. Tank only put ALS tags into four fluke. He had a particularly good day catching six legal fluke. Surprisingly, there was almost no variety with only a couple of sea robins boated.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a fast drift to start, but it settled down for good sea bass and chub mackerel action plus some blues and fluke along with “some nice sharks”  — a notation I’ve never before seen from a party boat.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported a variety pick of blues, chub mackerel. sea bass, blues, fluke and bonito.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported lots of fluke were caught in the surf Wednesday, particularly in Island Beach State Park. They note that the 6-inch Gulp produces more keepers though there’s less action.  Matt and Megan Roser show off their 2.1-pound blue and 1.6-pound fluke from IBSP on bunker and Gulp.

Kid's blue & fluke

Hot canyon fishing during MidAtlantic opener

Though only 44 boats out of 151 entered in the MidAtlantic Tournament out of Cape May and Ocean City, Maryland braved the NE wind forecast to fish Monday’s opener, most of those boats experienced very good fishing.

White marlin releases were reported steadily, and two 73-pounders took over the lead in that richest category for Special Situation and 3’s Enough. There were also several blue marlin releases, though none close to the 400-pound minimum for weighing.

The tuna category was a huge improvement over the recent White Marlin Open at Ocean City, where a mere 75.5-pounder won over $900,000. M.R. Ducks (below) weighed an 85-pound bigeye, but is only in third place at the MidAtlantic.

ccbigeye -85 M.R. Ducks.jpgReel Estate (below) and First Light were the tuna leaders as the former took over first, fourth and sixth with weigh-ins of 110, 77 and 74 pounds — while First Light is second at 102 pounds and fifth with a 75-pounder.

ThTheReel Estate bigeyesThe only two dolphin entered were just 18 pounds by Ringleader and 17 pounds by Game Changer.

The early points leader is Billfisher with 12 whites and a blue for 1050 points. Give It Away released eight whites. while Big Deal, First Light, Bar South and Goose had six each. Special Situation not only had the white marlin entry, but also five white releases along with Taylor Jean and Real Chaos. 3’s Enough added releases of six whites and a blue marlin to their 73-pound white.

There are 146 boats fishing today, and I’ll have another blog after the scales close at 9 p.m. to report the almost inevitable changes. By the way, the MidAtlantic recounted the purse which went up a bit to $3,368.490.

Though the ocean remained a bit nasty, some N.J. party boats got back out. The Golden Eagle from Belmar had also fished yesterday and managed sea bass plus chub mackerel and some blues  and bonito then– while today’s variety consisted of blues and little tunny.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter found the ocean to be too uncomfortable so they fished in the bay for a decent pick of keepers among good short fluke action. The Fishermen stuck it out in the ocean where some sea bass, blues and triggerfish were added to the fluke. Scott Scudieri won the pool with a 6.9-pound fluke.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall fished his local beach and released a small striper on a Chug Bug in a still somewhat rough surf. I worked Shark River and didn’t hook a fish. Fly fisherman Bill Hoblitzell had the same luck as of the time I left — and he had already tried Sea Girt with the same result. Surfcasting should improve as the waves settle somewhat in the lighter winds forecasted.

 

NE wind made it tough on anglers

As noted last night, there was going to be a lot of northeast wind today, but I wasn’t counting on all the rain that came with it.  I was able to hide from the worst of it in Shark River, and watched boats go out and soon come back.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar was an exception, and they reported good action with sea bass despite the nasty ocean. Some ling were added along with “tommy cod”.  I very much doubt that tomcod were found offshore as they are a small inshore species. It’s likely those fish were spotted hake, a similarly-shaped small member of the cod family which can be identified by the line of white spots along its lateral line. Though fairly common, they rarely are as large as a pound.  The Golden Eagle also marked chub mackerel on their fish finder, and plan to chum for them tomorrow.

Small craft warnings for gusty NE winds continue into Monday afternoon.  The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands sent customers home this morning due to the wind and rain. Check with them about tomorrow. The Angler has already decided not to sail until Tuesday as they won’t be able to get to the areas that have been producing larger fluke.

The MidAtlantic begins fishing days tomorrow from Cape May and Ocean City, Maryland.  Many skippers like to get a jump on the field during the first day, but I suspect few will fight rough seas when the rest of the week looks better. I’ll have late blogs with results after the weigh-ins close through Friday.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that fluking was excellent on Saturday. The Ozark Club Tournament produced fluke weigh-ins at the northern store up to 11 pounds, and up to 7 pounds at Belmar.  The river was also good as Jesse Thomas of Wall had a fluke limit in just two hours.

I only managed three small stripers in the rain this morning from shore in Shark River, and paid dearly for them as my surf rod (Tsunami 8-foot, 10-inch Elite with Canyon 3500 spinning reel) disappeared from behind my back. There was just one “stranger” on the shore, and he left during the rain while I was a casting a jig with the lighter tackle.

Big change in weather coming tomorrow

Northeast winds gusting to 25 mph are forecast for later tonight, and it certainly should be cooler for fishing  tomorrow — but hopefully not too rough.

Getting a drift shouldn’t be the problem it was today for Capt. Rob Semkewyc on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. He said there was too much bottom current in the deep, but the drift didn’t cover much ground. As a result, action was off from yesterday, the high hook only caught 12 to 15 shorts and there was just a pick of keepers.

Capt. Stan Zagleski said he left the strong bottom currents in the deep and found a fair number of keepers among shorts in shallower waters with his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.

The hot bluefishing of the last few days along the Shore wasn’t repeated after yesterday afternoon’s hard south winds lowered the inshore water temperatures. At Belmar, the Golden Eagle reported blues were hard to tempt. though better anglers managed about a dozen before they headed offshore for variety bottom fishing and jigging that produced some sea bass and chub mackerel plus a couple of 4-to-5-pound fluke among shorts.  The Ocean Explorer noted that the weatherman was wrong about the weather and they had a beautiful day for fluking.

The Jamaica from Brielle had hot jigging for small blues on their Friday morning trip along with some bonito, A move offshore added sea bass, fluke and chub mackerel. The Big Jamaica has another tilefish trip coming up on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 10 p.m.  Call 732 528-5014 for reservations. John Gorman boated a 50.2-pound tilefish on the last trip.

Jamaica variety below.

Jamaica varietyAt least there were no reports of whales overturning small boats today. This week’s incident off Deal serves as an alert for boaters, though there really isn’t anything you can do to prevent such a rare occurrence. Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant had a whale almost do the same thing as he was running at high speed out of Manasquan Inlet a few years ago.

The northeast wind may upset casting for semi-tropical species, but I got a report of a cobia being caught yesterday at Manasquan Inlet.

Capt. Vinny Vetere had to do a lot of running with his Katfish from Great Kills on Friday, but he found striped bass that would hit trolled Ho Jos and live bunker in the western L.I. Sound, though chunking was no good. He may have an opening tomorrow.

There was no such excitement in Shark River this morning, but I had light tackle sport with four school stripers on the Z-Man Swimmereez jig.  Frank Manzi did the same on a jig, and finished up with a small bluefish. Vinny D’Anton had caught a schoolie on a Chug Bug in the surf at Belmar the last time I talked to him.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported lots of bait and small blues in the surf on Friday along with fluke and some exotics.

The MidAtlantic opens tomorrow with 4:30 p.m. captains meetings at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland. Fishing for a purse that should be well over a million dollars starts Monday and continues through Friday.