Ling bite in the rain

A few claps of thunder early in the morning and some rain may have scared off most anglers as there are hardly any reports today.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle noted a slow start again due to a strong current, but once that slowed down the sea bass hit — and there were many more ling than yesterday.  The Big Mohawk only noted that they had a good day. They had limited on sea bass during Friday’s trip while adding ling and the first whiting I’ve heard of in a long time.

There were no fluke reports from the northern fleet, but Nick Honachefsky caught a keeper yesterday in Manasquan Inlet along with shorts in just 1 1/2 hours of fishing.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano was expecting to do much better with fluke yesterday in Shark River but instead found a mass of boats and only one keeper for his crew among 32 fluke.

Kevin Kuriawa made the right move by fishing the south end of Barnegat Bay with Andy Hoydich as they boated four keeper fluke and released others that were close. Andy caught a small bluefish, and it was fillets from that fish on bucktails that produced all the fluke despite an abundance of grass.

The Mimi VI will sail open from Point Pleasant at 6:30 a.m. on Monday and Friday. The limited trip for sea bass costs $120. Reservations must be made by calling 732 370-9019.

Small craft warnings go up at 6 p.m. into late  Sunday night. Northeast winds gust to 30 knots tonight, but drop to 15-20 by morning before switching to east at 10-15 knots in the afternoon.

Sea bass & fluke coming up in N.J.

Fishing has been in the grips of the pandemic, but the assigned seasons keep coming. New Jersey opens up for sea bass on May 15, with the first portion of that season running through June 22 with 10 bass at a 12 1/2-inch  minimum. That’s followed by July 11 to Aug. 31 with the two fluke by-catch intended to put something in the fluke angler’s bag. The 12 1/2-inch minimum continues. That goes up to 13 inches with 15 bass in the last season from Nov. 11-Dec. 31.

The fluke season opens on May 22, and runs through Sept. 19 unless the ASMFC decides at its June meeting to extend seasons in view of quotas not being filled due to the pandemic.

Frank Rucznski said it hurt to put this fluke back before the opener as fluke are showing up in all inshore areas. This as probably in Barnegat Bay.

Frank fluke The west wind is gusting to 40 knots as this is being written, but the morning forecast is down to 15-20 with gusts to 30.  Hopefully, there won’t be any snow again to the north — but you can be sure that there won’t be much water on the beach at low tide.

Boat traffic slows striper bite

It was a beautiful Sunday on the water, but boat traffic seemed to slow the striped bass bite in Raritan Bay. Capt. Rob Semkewyc was coming off a very good day of clamming with his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, but only put a few bass aboard today as he felt the volume of trollers passing close to him was the problem. There was one highlight, as Andy Sokol of Manalapan boated a 41-inch, 29-pound striper.

001Andy Sokol 29 lb

Capt. Joe Massa found the trolling to also  be way off from Saturday as Carl Drehwing, Bob Correll and I joined him on his larger My Three Sons (a Grady White 30) from Morgan Marina.  Yesterday he had trolled 15 bass, though all were shorts. We started out casting shads around scattered marks where I caught a small bass right away — but there were no more hits. A crowd of boaters trying to net bunkers in Great Kills convinced Joe to troll instead — especially since he had spent three hours Saturday chunking on good marks without a hit. We did hook a half-dozen bass on Rapala X-Raps, but they were very small, and there were no hits on the larger stretch lures. There were lots of boats trolling in the back of the bay, but I didn’t notice anyone stropping to fight fish before we headed back early.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar read some bait and fish, but couldn’t get any bites, and won’t sail again for stripers until Thursday.

Capt. Stan Zagleski started blackfishing daily with his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands on Saturday as he found one spot to be dead but picked away with tog and even a few cod on another. Art Garrett of Red Bank won the pool with a cod. Clams were most effective for both species.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports small stripers in the surf for those casting small pieces of clam or bunker. Skimmer clams are back in stock along with fresh bunker. There’s still no word of bluefish, but there has been talk of weakfish in the southern end of Barnegat Bay.  Betty & Nick’s noted that small stripers hit in the surf yesterday before the wind came up in the afternoon.

Much nicer weather coming

After yet another day of strong  NW winds, it appears that we’re finally  going to see some much better fishing weather.

The inshore marine forecast for northern N.J. to N.Y.  is for northwest winds dropping to 10–15 mph Saturday and then to 5-10 mph SW in the afternoon. Sunday is supposed to start at 5-10 mph NW — going to SW with seas of one foot or less. The seas remain the same Monday with a 5 knot breeze from the northeast — and Tuesday it’s 5-10 from the southeast increasing to 10-15 in the afternoon.

The Jamaica from Brielle should finally get a break for their offshore trips. An offshore wreck cod & pollock trip sails at 1:30 a.m. Saturday(boarding at midnight), and a tilefish trip departs Sunday at 10 p.m. Both trips are by reservation. Call 732 528-5014.

At Belmar, the Ocean Explorer found blackfishing to be very slow this morning, but it picked up in the afternoon as some fares had two to three keepers plus shorts.

The Atlantic Highlands fleet is getting more active as the Dorothy B. starts striper fishing Saturday from 7:30 to 2:30.  The Sea Hunter passed its Coast Guard inspection today, and will be sailing daily. The Fishermen got out with a dozen anglers on Thursday. Capt, Ron Santee said anchoring conditions were poor, but short stripers hit all around the boat along with the “odd” keeper.

Jim Louro of Spring Lake tried to fish Raritan Bay this afternoon, but the NW wind was too strong for comfortable small boat fishing. Trolling has been most effective lately for scattered stripers, but the bass are starting to turn on to bunker chunks when conditions are good.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will be making limited open boat trips for blackfish at 7 a.m. on Sunday and Monday. Call 732 272-4445 for information and reservations.

The Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands begins its season with daily blackfishing at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

Some school stripers have been caught, mostly on bait, in the Island Beach State Park surf, but many more are hitting small lures in Barnegat Bay. Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports skimmer clams are hard to come by as bait, but they do have large chowder clams in stock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Belmar,