For–hire fishing a go for tomorrow

Much to my surprise, Gov. Murphy  opened up party and charter boat fishing in N.J. , plus boat rentals, as of 6 a.m. Sunday under restrictions that weren’t specified, but are probably those already proposed by the United Boatmen and RFA and checked by the DEP.

You will have to make payment in advance in order to eliminate payment contact, and provide name, address and phone contact information for possible contact tracing. No one with a temperature or virus symptoms will be allowed aboard, and the boat may require facial coverings and gloves.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing for sea bass at 6:01 a.m. Since that trip had been cancelled, even those with reservations have to call 732 528-5014 to confirm they are included in the reduced capacity required for social distancing.

The Golden Eagle will open its season from Belmar at 7:30 a.m. Sunday and Monday.

Bud McArthur of Brick fished with friends in 60-70–foot local waters today, and reported legal sea bass (12 1/2 inches) were scarce. The water temperature was fine at 52 degrees, and there was lots of life on bottom even though it was mostly shorts plus bergalls and dogfish. Surprisingly, they did catch some Atlantic mackerel of a foot or so — as did other boats. There was also a report from the Axel Carlsen Reef of some cod.

Bud finished up by trolling bunker spoons for stripers. They had no hits, but a friend doing that off Deal came up with the first ocean bass I’ve heard of so far –a keeper, but not one of the big spawned-out bass coming up from southern spawning grounds.

The Hudson River Fisherman’s Assn. Catch & Release Striper Derby  finished up this weekend as Doug Palmer easily won the tagging division with 22 releases.  There were 35 bass released with ALS tags during the contest.

Joe Albanese sent a quick recap of the 2020 Derby.  Despite only 34 anglers competing, uncooperative winds & weather and low water temperatures we still had a successful Derby. Those fishing further north in the Hudson River had much more success than those fishing Haverstraw or south. We opened the Derby up this year to tributaries of the Hudson River and received a bunch of photos of bass captured in the Hackensack River from Dirk van Everdingen. In WEEK-1 there were only 12 stripers entered. Two photos were disqualified. However, two of the biggest fish were entered just a few hours into the Derby start. They were from Douglas Dean and Shane Dean. In WEEK-2 there were only 7 stripers entered.  In WEEK-3 there were 9 entries and 1 disqualification. In WEEK-4 the action turned hot and heavy up around the Newburg area. We had 27 entries this last week, 22 from Doug Palmer.
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The morning weather looks great with an east breeze of 10 knots forecast — with mild temperatures and no showers until after midnight.

Betty and Nick’s Tackle in Seaside Park didn’t have any special word on surfcasting except for blowfish.

Congratulations to C.J. Parker (7) who caught his first keeper striped bass yesterday from his father’s boat in Raritan Bay while casting and jigging a 6-ounce white glow Tony Maja mojo with no assistance throughout the fight.

 

 

 

Sea bass fishing in good shape

Though the opening of the sea bass season in N.J.  wasn’t good for everyone, that fishery has bounced back for most. Bud Mc Arthur of Brick was one of those who were disappointed in the opener, but today was a different story as he fished with Gerald D’Luisi of Verona on Hook & Cook from Brick for a four-man catch of 39 keepers out of about 80 sea bass  on the Axel Carsen Reef. Mc Arthur was also surprised by a 22-inch fluke he released after it hit a bergall strip.

Tank Matraxia and his crew from Lyndhurst limited with sea bass this week on Lock & Load from Belmar. They added one ling, and Matraxia was able to put ALS tags in three out-of-season blackfish.

The N.J. fluke season opens Friday, and there will be a big fleet waiting to greet them. That won’t include the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands as Capt. Rob Semkewyc has decided to stick with daily stripers which are providing good action.  He said today’s pool bass was in the mid-to-upper twenties.

Capt. Vinny Vetere had another fine day of striper trolling with his Ho-Jo’s from Katfish Charters out of Great Kills.  They kept three out of 18 large bass, and were back by 9:30.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar fished the ocean, but bass and blues weren’t cooperative today.

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant continues to find bluefin tuna while trolling in several canyons.  A few blue sharks were caught at night, when a possible giant tuna broke off after a long fight.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reports small stripers are still hitting well on clams in the surf, while bluefish are becoming more abundant in Barnegat Bay. I posted the results of Sunday’s Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament in a separate blog this morning.

I had planned to try the Manasquan River bluefish this morning, but missed my exit and continued on to Point Pleasant Canal. Without much hope, I cast an Ava 007 with a short red tail because that’s what I had on my light spinning rod from my last river pick of 3-pound blues. It was a shock when I hooked a good fish that tore across the canal just as the first boat was coming through. Fortunately, the boater responded to my waving and moved over. Though I assumed I had a big blue on, the fish turned out to be a 29-inch striper with the small hook buried in the corner of its jaw so I could reach down and grab the lure to lift it up for the release. 

 

 

 

Ho-jo's bassKatfish Charters striper on Ho-Jo