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Worst weather forecast of the year

Sorry for no blog yesterday, but AOL kept putting me off the internet. Perhaps that may have been for the nest as I was going to pass along a fine weather forecast that was totally inaccurate.

That forecast was for north winds at 5-10 knots, but the reality was a strong north wind that turned the ocean into a mass of whitecaps. It was barely fishable for those trolling the medium range grounds for bluefin tuna. Not surprisingly, I only heard of a few isolated tuna on the marine radio. Even little tunny were generally scarce in the sloppy seas during a morning that turned out to be quite chilly as Joe Massa and I trolled the Resor area to no avail with Bob Correll on his Sea Vee 32 from Crystal Point Marina in Point Pleasant.

Just like yesterday, when Mike Heaney and I trolled Little Italy with Correll, we saw only a few scattered tuna chicks, no whales or slicks and no other surface signs of tuna. At least yesterday there were a few large little tunny and a couple of early arriving bonito hitting the tuna lures.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had good bottom fishing yesterday in fine conditions as sea bass and ling cooperated along with two

cod.

There were no reports today from the Seaside Park tackle shops, but they will be open for normal business on Monday.

Capt. Vinniy Vetere is back to chartering his Katfish out if Great Kills, and is catching lots of stripers — though most are too big to keep.

If you can believe it, there’s some good weather coming after tomorrow. Today’s afternoon forecast is northwest at 5-10 knots. After midnight it goes to northeast at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20. That holds for the morning, but changes in the afternoon to 5-10 knots.

Starting from scratch

Though the weather prediction is good, it will be a whole new ball game when anglers get back to fishing tomorrow. Today’s exceptionally strong winds followed by afternoon storms will shake up the ocean and muddy some inshore waters. All of what was learned before the bad weather may have to be discarded in favor of a new search.

That especially applies to the inshore bluefin tuna run which had been very good at Little Italy and even closer to the beach though Capt. Chris Di Stefano said he heard that Little Italy trollers had to go further south Wednesday in order to find school bluefins.

I suspect that most party boats stayed in port today, but the Golden Eagle is ready to sail from Belmar tomorrow– probably checking for schools of small blues before filling bags with sea bass and ling. The surf may require a few tide changes to clear up, but you never know. There had been sightings of bunkers out of range in many areas, and those who happen to be around when stripers attack them have scored with stripers on popping plugs.

Small blues are also a surf possibility. Dan Sheehan said bunkers stayed out of casting range yesterday morning at Sandy Hook, but some small blues hit Hogy epoxy jigs.

Point Pleasant Canal has been dead lately, but it was the only place I was sure would be fishable this morning. Casting a jig into the howling south wind wasn’t easy, but I actually had the opportunity to catch something. A fish fighting like a legal fluke came off at the surface with a splash at 5:20 when it wasn’t bright enough to identify it as the Z Man jig came out. Later, I had a small blue on for four jumps before it got rid of the jig next to the wall. There were also two other taps on the ebb before I left. The only other angler released about a 16-inch striper.

Ray Rogalski commented on Monday’s whale incident, and noted that he was trolling close to the beach recently when a whale seemed to make an aggressive move toward him. That’s something I’d never heard about before.

The south wind should decrease after midnight to north at 5-10 knots before switching to southwest in the afternoon.

Too much south wind

Small craft warnings went up at 4 p.m. and extend to Thursday afternoon. Some boats are already cancelling Thursday trips, so be sure to check with your skipper before making a trip in the morning. Jon Falkowski of Linden reports yesterday’s sea bass fishing on the Golden Eagle from Belmar wasn’t as good as two weeks ago . After an unsuccessful attempt at bluefishing, the sea bass were finicky as he only caught seven — of which there were four keepers. A current developed that became so strong he couldn’t hold bottom with 12 ounces. The Golden Eagle reported getting a good shot at 2-4-pound blues this morning before other boats broke them up. There were a lot of sea bass marked, but they didn’t bite well. Some ling and fluke were added. The Thursday trip is cancelled due to the wind forecast.

Sea Hunter — Hundreds of bass rolling

After getting shut out during his first striper trip on Wednesday, Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a far different experience as he reported bunkers and bass up all day, with hundreds of bass rolling on the surface. The only problem was that they were hard to catch — though some were boated.

The photos supplied looked like bass in the teens and possibly a bit larger, but I’m still unable to post photos in the new Word Press system.

Mark Roy wasn’t into those stripers with his Release Me from Raritan Marina in Hazlet, but the mojo he was trolling did attract a “rare” species with teeth as a bluefish of about 28 inches cut the leader next to the boat off Staten Island.

It was quite a different story when I joined Bob Correll on his Sea Vee from Crystal Point Marina in Point Pleasant for a mid-morning run to the south. We saw some bunker flips off Normandy Beach, and had no trouble snagging baits close to the beach. One small whale was spotted there, but there were no surface bunker schools or any signs of stripers during a few drifts. Moving down to Seaside didn’t provide any more hope, and there were no boats fishing during the run back to Manasquan Inlet on a beautiful day when there would usually be lots of boats working bunker schools for stripers or drifting for fluke at this time of year. There were also no reports from the Seaside Park tackle shops of the popping plug action with large bass on bunkers that occurred earlier in the week.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro ran his Hi-Flier from Barnegat and live-lined a 42-inch bass off the IBSP bathing beach, but did mothing else in the morning before finding a 28-incher off Barnegat Inlet on a bunker. He found bunker and the early bass in just 8 feet of water close to the surf.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported good sea bass fishing today. Capt. Dave Riback has noted an increase in bunkers, and is going to start striper trips on June 10,11,15 and 18.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported good sea bass fishing plus ling. Some spots are open for Sunday’s afternoon trip.

I fished Point Pleasant Canal early this morning, and was pleased to find it finally free of the weed we’ve been fighting there. However, fishing wasn’t good. I had one cast with six hits and fish on-and-off that were probably very small blues. Then a striper of about 20 inches hit my 5-inch white ZMan, but that was it. The only blue I saw caught was a cocktail.

The upcoming weather looks great, with northwest winds at 10-15 knots in the morning before dropping to 5-10 in the afternoon.

Sea bass limits remain common

It’s not unusual for good fishing to drop off sharply not too long after the season opening surge, but that hasn’t occurred with sea bass so far since limit catches aboard party boats remain common.

Capt. Ron Santee is happy that he made the switch from a poor fluke fishery in still-cool waters to sea bass and ling on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. Not only are the target species cooperating, but there’s interesting variety that includes winter flounder, mackerel, blackfish and even a pollock and a cod today. He urges anglers to bring ice in order to preserve fish in the warmer temperatures coming.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar has also been catching some cod while limits of sea bass are common on jigs and sand eel teasers– though bait also works.

The Jamaica from Brielle added flounder and ling to sea bass limits yesterday. Saturday half-night ling trips start this weekend at 7 p.m.

Though cool this morning, it was beautiful on the beach even though the bunkers, small blues and hickory shad didn’t return to Bay Head as the bait stayed out of range.

Allen Riley had a better report from Sandy Hook as bunker produced a 4-pound bluefish before large skates took over. Riley then ended up with a real battle from a 4-foot “sand shark” — probably a smooth dogfish. Duke Matero released a 17-inch fluke on bunker.

Riley said the water temperature cool 58 degrees — though that was up 5 degrees from last week,

Bob Correll looked for bluefish in Manasquan River during late afternoon, but we found no sign of them before I broke the ice with a17-inch fluke on a small bucktail jig and 4-inch Gulp just before he berthed his Sea Vee at Crystal Point Marina in Point Pleasant.

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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.

Hot canyon tuna trolling

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant has been off to a great start on their spring tuna trolling in Lindenkohl Canyon, as noted in the following message

109 Tuna in First Three Canyon Trips
Capt. Deane Lambros & Capt. Mike Zajac followed up their first trip of 39 tuna by going back out Monday to Tuesday with the Wallance Vicknar charter and found the bluefins right where they had left them. They went two out of three on bigeyes and had seven yellowfins. Out of 15 bluefins they kept a 60-incher and three around 30 pounds while releasing the rest.

The big trip so far this week was with another Canyon Runner Coaching and Fishing Report Member who was looking for a tutorial charter. Mike Bonnano and his crew didn’t have much time for lessons on gear, tackle, electronics etc. – as soon as they got on site – around the Toms Canyon – they had 4-5-6 fish on at a time.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a decent sea bass trip today as some limits were taken before it got very windy. There is some room on afternoon weekend trips.

That 25 knot southwest wind should drop to 10-15 by morning along with possible showers.

The Jamaica from Brielle reported a boat limit of sea bass yesterday along with some ling, a few whiting and couple of bluefish. That have reservations open for 7:30 a.m. Monday.

Fluke reports are still hard to come by from the Raritan Bay fleet. Capt. Stan Zagleski Jr. of Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands notes that it’s been slow, with almost all the fluke being caught in very shallow waters that are the warmest.

Sea bass still a best bet

The beat goes on for boaters seeking sea bass.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported another very good day with limits around the boat plus some ling, fluke and whiting. Call them for reservations which are required.

On the other hand, there are still no reports coming in from the northern fluke party boat fleet.

Nick Honachefsky boated a 5-pound fluke while fishing in Manasquan Inlet on Jim Louro’s Vicky Lynn during yesterday morning’s fog. They also had two more keeper fluke plus 20 shorts — and added 3-pound blues on poppers.

The Seaside Park shops are reporting better surf fishing from there to IBSP.  Grumpy’s noted that one angler caught over 15 small blues. Mullet and bunker are best for them, but some are also hitting artificials. Small stripers are hitting clam, and a 16.5-pound black drum was reported. At this time last year, Grumpy’s weigh-in log was full of jumbo blues ,— but so far it’s been empty.

The wind came up earlier than predicted this morning and blew away the fog. Fog is predicted again in the morning along with south winds at 15-20 knots and possible showers.

 

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.

Canyon tuna trolling breaks open

The Canyon trolling season broke open with a bang for the Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant as Captains Deane Lambros and Mike Zajac made a Friday run to Lindenkohl Canyon.

They arrived at first light and had the first bluefin at 8 a.m. There were a dozen by noon, and it only got better as the final count was 39 tuna. Most were bluefins, but yellowfins were included — along with albacore which usually aren’t  here this early. In recent years, the spring canyon trolling has been better than the traditional summer and fall sport — though the spring  bluefins are often on the small side.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had another day which started slowly in a strong current before sea bass and ling turned on as the current slacked.

Despite the fog, Dave Lilly got off to a good start trolling bunker spoons for stripers over 20 pounds until a “red tide” moved into the middle of Raritan Bay and the bite died out though he still marked bass and bunkers.

Of course that’s not the real red tide that kills fish in Florida and  some other areas, but it turned the clear waters reddish.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano waited for the fog to lift before joining a friend at Sea Bright to seek bass in the ocean where there was a bite yesterday afternoon. They saw scattered bunkers in several areas before trolling at the Rocks and Highlands Bridge without marking a bass. However, as they ran back around the Hook there were large bass on top. They ended up having a blast casting poppers to those fish before they moved on.

Dense fog is predicted again tomorrow morning with southeast winds at 5-10 knots.