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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackfish season for five fish opens

This is a second blog for today as I forgot to include the very important information that the blackfish season for five at a 15-inch minimum opened today and extends through the rest of the year. I doubt if anyone took advantage of that opportunity today unless they fished in Point Pleasant Canal or in the inlets. However, the bottom fishing fleet should be in business starting tomorrow with good weather ahead.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had already postponed his first trip for his specialty with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands to Saturday at his daily sailing time of 7 a.m.

A once in a lifetime catch — again!

Just last week I wrote a blog noting the lack of southern species showing up to the north so far this season, but I’ll have to take that opinion back after fishing Sunday morning with Chuck Many of Annandale on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands.

We were drifting sandworms at the mouth of the Hudson River for school stripers and weakfish and trying to work through bait-stealing porgies when I hooked a fish that fought just like one of those species with short runs against a tight drag. Peering into waters somewhat discolored by recent heavy rains, as the fish came toward the surface I was shocked to see the black bars on a roundish body of a big sheepshead.

Many quickly got the net under a sheepshead that was 23 inches long and weighed 9 1/4 pounds on my Garcia Abu Combi scale before we released it after a few quick photos.

sheepshead

As mentioned in my blog last week, I had been shocked once before by a sheepshead in the north. That was on Sept. 7, 2013 off a rock pile in Raritan Bay while seeking weakfish with Joe Massa on his My Three Sons out of Morgan Marina. Not wanting to use up the last few sandworms, I switched my jig head to a Gulp Jerk Shad and hooked a 20-inch, 7-pound sheepshead.

Since I’d never heard of a sheepshead in Raritan Bay before (and haven’t since), I figured that was a once in a lifetime experience.  That sheepshead was also larger than any I’ve caught in Florida, but Sunday’s second “catch of a lifetime” made the earlier fish seem small.

It’s likely that sheepshead were more common in northern waters over a century ago when channel bass (red drum) were the primary inshore game fish up to the central N.J. Shore.  Though large sheepshead are caught with some regularity in South Jersey up to the south jetty of Barnegat Inlet, they’re unusual north of there.

Sheepshead normally fight like a giant porgy, with lots of head-shaking, but the latest did none of that. In fact they are a giant porgy, being  one of the largest members of the porgy family Sparidae. which is represented by many species in temperate and tropical waters worldwide.  In addition to the prominent black bars, the crab-crushing teeth are a sure identifier.

Porgies were a problem when we  first started drifting worms at 7 a.m. in Shrewsbury River for school stripers. Some bass in the 20-inch class beat the porgies to our worms, but the scup even hooked up on my circle hook. Some were large for the river, up to a 14 1/8-incher. Many castnetted a tank full of peanut bunkers. and we snagged a few adult bunkers before filling our appointment with the sheepshead.

Porgies were also a problem in the Hudson, though we managed some small stripers among them before coming in to pick up Alex and Susan Katyan for the afternoon tides. There was just a pick of very small stripers on both worms and peanuts before Many made a move. The East River was clearer than expected, and produced some small bass plus a couple over 28 inches by Alex. Many then moved to deeper waters in the Hudson where we used the few large bunkers that had been snagged in the morning plus a few more snagged on the spot. I released a 23-pound striper and another a bit smaller, while Susan lost two large fish after she had caught her first few small stripers on worms earlier in the trip. We ended up with 20 striper releases for the day along with many porgies, the sheepshead and the only small bluefish which Susan hooked.

Joe Greco from Ft. Myers, Fl.  (formerly of Edison) is up north for the summer, and joined relatives plus several old friends (including the famed Capt. Wood – Gene Graman) on a Sunday charter with Capt. Chad Hacker on Tagged Fish from Highlands. Greco  said they picked at sea bass for their two-fish limits while adding the one blackfish now allowed — and loading up with ling.

The White Marlin Open began today in Ocean City, Maryland. I’ll be adding a blog later with the first day weigh-ins.

At Brielle, the Big Jamaica reported another day with lots of chub mackerel Sunday plus some small blues and a few ling and sea bass. Paul Farrell of Howell won the pool with a reported 3-pound mackerel which would be huge for a chub.

The Jamaica II had a good week for fluke with lots of 4-to-6-pounders plus sea bass up to 4 3/4 pounds. Mike Collins of Toms River took the lad in the monthly contest with a 7 1/2-pound fluke.

There were good fluke reports today from Atlantic Highlands. The Fishermen finally saw more large fluke as the swell dropped down, and a 7.9-pounder took the pool. The Sea Hunter reported a pleasant surprise as most fares caught keepers, and one limited among lots of shorts. Midships Mike (below) took the pool at 6 1/4 pounds.

 

Midship Mike on S.H.It was the best of days and the worst of days during Saturday’s JCAA Fluke Tournament for James Gurski of Nazareth, Pa.  as he had the rare good fortune of boating a 12.40-pound fluke that was big enough to win the contest’s $50,000 grand prize for the largest fluke exceeding 12 pounds.  The only problem was that Gurski hadn’t paid the extra $25 to enter that portion of the tournament.  To top it off, he also wasn’t in the overall Calcutta. As a result, he only ended up with $4569 for the Sandy Hook port prize and the two Calcuttas there. The second largest fluke was an 11.79 doormat entry from Absecon Inlet that was caught by Matthew Cornman of Gloucester City to win the Southern Region, He was less than four ounces short of the $50,000 prize — but did win the overall Calcutta to bring his earnings up to $4,569. There was yet a third doormat, and Joe Spero of Lincroft was in both Jersey City Calcuttas to become the biggest winner at $8,638.

The complete results from Paul Haertel of the JCAA follow:

24th ANNUAL FLUKE TOURNAMENT
PORT PRIZE WINNERS

Come to the Awards Ceremony at The Clarion Hotel in Toms River
Thursday evening, August 9th, 2018
Come early to register (3 PM to 7 PM)
Awards Presentation and Drawings start at 7:00 PM

The 24th Annual JCAA Fluke Tournament took place on August 4th. The weather forecast of thunderstorms throughout the day along with big waves and heavy winds resulted in only 221 entries competing in 7 regions throughout our state. Though the weather was in fact bad in some areas during the morning, most areas had sun during the afternoon. The fishing turned out to be very good for many of our contestants.

There were three true doormats exceeding 10 lbs. weighed in during the tournament. The largest fluke weighed in was 12.40 lbs., 30” and was caught by James Gurski of Nazareth, Pa. He weighed it in at Gateway Marina in the Sandy Hook Region. James did not add the extra $25 to enter our doormat fluke category that would have won him $50,000 for catching the largest fluke exceeding 12 lbs. However, he and his team did win both Sandy Hook Region Calcuttas along with the 1st place region prize for a total of $4,569.

The second largest fluke in the tournament was caught by Matthew Cornman of Gloucester City. He did enter the doormat fluke category but his fish weighed 11.79 lbs., less than 4 ounces away from winning the $50,000 prize. Mathew caught his fish in Absecon Inlet and weighed it in at One Stop Bait and Tackle Store in Atlantic City. He only entered the $50 overall Calcutta but along with the 1st place region prize his winnings totaled $4569.

Joe Saro’s 10.59 lb. fluke was the third largest caught in the tournament. It was weighed in at Liberty Landing Marina. Joe was the biggest winner in this year’s tournament as he won the $100 overall Calcutta along with both Jersey City Region Calcuttas and the 1st place region prize for a total of $8,638.

Harvey Karp of Kearny, NJ had the smallest fish this year which won a region prize weighing in at 2.02 lbs. at Liberty Landing Marina in the Jersey City Region. Harvey was a previous overall winner in 2016 winning $13,319. All the winners from each region are listed below.

All told, JCAA will pay out a total of $31,852 in cash along with region prizes and door prizes worth thousands of dollars.

This annual tournament provides funds to help the Jersey Coast Anglers Association continue its fight for sound management of our fisheries and our marine environment while seeking to protect or enhance fishing opportunities for our recreational anglers. We are currently seeking more reasonable regulations for our recreational anglers.

The Clarion Hotel in Toms River is the host for the 24th Annual Jersey Coast Fluke Tournament Awards Ceremony. The Clarion Hotel invites tournament entrants to come and enjoy their facilities both before and after the awards ceremony. You can meet JCAA Executive Board members and representatives from our sponsors.

By attending the awards ceremony this is your chance to win the drawing for the boat, motor and trailer Grand Prize. In fact, 19 of the last 20 Grand Prize winners did not weigh in a qualifying prize fish in the tournament. Someone from your boat must be present to win the Grand Prize and any of the fifty or so great door prizes.

We want to thank all tournament participants and especially our sponsors for making the tournament a success. Our nationally known sponsors include Yamaha Motors, Starcraft Boats, Yacht Club Trailers, Tica Fishing Tackle, Fuel Ox, Costa Sunglasses, The Fisherman Magazine, and ICOM. The $1,200 First Place Port Prizes were sponsored by Fisherman’s Headquarters (for Long Beach Island), South Harbor Marina (for Barnegat Bay), and Liberty Landing Marina (for Jersey City) and the remaining ports by the JCAA. Jersey Coast Fluke Tournament T-shirts and hats will be on sale as long as supplies last.

The JCAA Fluke Tournament GRAND PRIZE Registration will be at the Clarion Hotel on Route 37W on Thursday evening, August 9th. Follow the signs to find the registration site. We will be in the Ballroom. Registration is between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM. At least one person from your boat must attend at the time of the drawing in order to win a prize. We expect a large turnout so please come early. Please bring your registration affidavit to save yourself time at the registration desk. There will be free hamburgers, hot dogs, mozzarella sticks and soft drinks served from 5-7PM. A cash bar will be open throughout the event. All winning numbers will be announced in the ballroom. We will also be distributing the port prizes for those in attendance. The registration desk will issue one ticket which is good for both the Grand Prize and for the door prizes. Additionally, we will be holding a huge a 50-50 raffle. Last year’s winner took home just under $2000. We really appreciate both your participation and patience and are sure everyone will have a great time. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you for your support.

2018 Fluke Tournament Port Prize List
(10 Identical Prizes for Each Port)

1st – $1200
2nd – Costa sunglasses and accessories
3rd – Canyon 5000 spinning reel
4th – Icom M-36 portable vhf radio
5th – Tsunami 4000 Shield spinning reel and Sapphire rod
6th – Tica Taurus TP5000S spinning reel and 12’ surfcasting rod
7th – Fishermen Magazine basket including assorted items and a 1 year subscription
8th – Fuel Ox additive, t-shirts and a Tony Maja bunker spoon
9th – Fenwick rod, JCAA t-shirt and hat
10th – Two dinner tickets to the JCAA Sportsperson of the Year Banquet

Also, any of the 1st through 9th place prize winners may exchange their prizes for two tickets to the JCAA Sportsperson of the Year Banquet which will be held on 11/11/18 at the Crystal Point Yacht Club. Tickets cost $80 each.

HERE ARE THE WINNERS FOR 2018
* Denotes $50 Port Calcutta Winner
** Denotes $100 Port Calcutta Winner
$ Denotes $50 Overall Tournament Calcutta Winner
$$ Denotes $100 Overall Tournament Calcutta Winner
1. Jersey City Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Saro, Joe *, ** $$ Lincroft, NJ 219 10.59 29.50
2nd Atlas, Marc Fairview, NJ 149 8.80 28.00
3rd Reily, William Morganville, NJ 216 5.65 25.50
4th Mastrangelo, Damon Cliffside Park, NJ 102 5.03 24.50
5th Semit, Dave Matawan, NJ 173 4.94 24.00
6th Cordano, Daniel Bayonne, NJ 133 4.60 23.00
7th Napolitano, Nick Fort Lee, NJ 206 3.79 22.00
8th Kinney, Jason Lebanon, NJ 222 3.39 21.25
9th Karp, Harvey Kearny, NJ 90 2.02 18.50
10th None
48.81 216.25
2. Sandy Hook Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Gurski, James *, ** Nazareth, PA 125 12.40 30.00
2nd Evens, Allan Jr Union Beach, NJ 163 8.43 27.50
3rd Manzi, Vito Morganville, NJ 204 8.36 27.00
4th Kelly, Steve Jersey City, NJ 171 8.04 26.25
5th Drumm, Jerry Upper Darby, PA 108 7.59 26.25
6th Herbert, Rick Ringwood, NJ 199 6.67 25.50
7th Smith, James Clark, NJ 129 6.34 25.75
8th Jakubik, Todd Colts Neck, NJ 46 5.63 25.00
9th McCarthy, Patrick Sayreville, NJ 232 5.17 24.00
10th Natelli, Jack Monroe, NJ 187 4.65 23.00
73.28 260.25

3. Shark River Inlet Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Dudinetz, Andy *, ** Brownsville, NJ 81 7.63 26.50
2nd Young, Billy Howell, NJ 230 7.57 27.50
3rd Schoch, Herman Paulsboro, NJ 83 7.57 25.75
4th Temple, Chuck Wrightstown, NJ 4 6.94 26.00
5th Ricca, Philip Westfield, NJ 217 6.37 24.50
6th Cronin, Pat Wall, NJ 96 5.83 24.00
7th Montgomery, Dylan Franklinville, NJ 233 5.64 24.50
8th Gurrieri, Joe Howell, NJ 211 5.42 24.50
9th Mizsak, George Hamilton, NJ 174 5.39 24.50
10th Goetz, John Cream Ridge, NJ 212 5.02 23.00
63.38 250.75

4. Manasquan River Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Coutant, Joseph * Brick, NJ 106 8.02 27.00
2nd Aives, Doug ** Old Bridge, NJ 35 7.92 26.00
3rd Houlman, Rodger Keyport, NJ 52 6.52 25.50
4th Remishofski, John Wall, NJ 39 6.35 27.00
5th Cameron, Bob North Haledon, NJ 36 6.03 25.00
6th Haley John Kendall Park, NJ 191 5.91 25.00
7th McCleary, Jason Jackson, NJ 208 5.9 25.50
8th Pleszia, Anthony Linwood, NJ 205 5.56 25.00
9th Cuba, William Piscataway, NJ 31 5.08 24.50
10th Wolf, Doug Stanhope, NJ 182 4.86 25.00
62.15 253.00

5. Barnegat Bay Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Chudzinski, John * Cherry Hill, NJ 122 7.40 26.00
2nd Majewski, Alex ** Barnegat, NJ 135 6.80 26.00
3rd Costanzo, George Barnegat, NJ 192 6.67 26.00
4th Bonilla, Peter Whiting, NJ 45 5.00 24.50
5th Caruso, Camille Forked River, NJ 158 4.96 23.50
6th Fay, John Forked River, NJ 88 4.78 24.00
7th Sorrentino, Matt Ship Bottom, NJ 198 4.59 23.50
8th Tice, Ed Beachwood, NJ 80 4.46 22.75
9th Engle, Tom Medford, NJ 162 4.38 22.75
10th Kostick, John Jr Lakewood, NJ 44 4.25 22.00
53.29 241.00

6. Long Beach Island Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Cliver, Kevin *, ** Sellersville, NJ 82 8.64 27.00
2nd Phillips, Richard Southampton, NJ 95 4.90 23.13
3rd Paoalella ,Dean Springfield, NJ 200 4.34 22.50
4th McKinnon, John Jackson, NJ 84 4.13 22.38
5th Trembula, Tom Cookstown, NJ 40 3.81 21.38
6th Rust, Brian Cinnaminson, NJ 53 3.81 21.25
7th Czamik, Jason Philadelphia, PA 111 3.70 21.00
8th Klebossis, Bob Manahawkin, NJ 137 2.92 20.38
9th Hoover, John Moorestown, NJ 183 2.85 20.00
10th Dean, Tom Little Egg Harbor, NJ 121 2.36 19.88
41.46 218.88

7. Southern Region (GB, OC, AC, CM, Port)
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Cornman, Matthew $ Gloucester City, NJ 226 11.78 30.00
2nd Trainor, Roy *, ** Wildwood, NJ 234 6.93 25.50
3rd Mosloskie, Tony Essington, PA 34 6.63 25.00
4th Schafer, Dan Del Haven, NJ 209 4.89 23.50
5th Fitzick, Tim Somers Point, NJ 33 4.08 23.50
6th DeChurch, Daniel Moorestown, NJ 103 3.62 21.00
7th Choynowski, Michael North Arlington, NJ 143 3.44 21.00
8th Spiro, John Browns Mills, NJ 148 3.29 20.75
9th Murray, Chris Northfield, NJ 71 3.23 20.50
10th Olswfski, Tony Florence, NJ 184 3.11 20.75
50.99 231.50

Total Weight/Length-Ft 423.66 151

 

Waiting for the late summer variety

The usual surge of late summer visitors from the south hasn’t really started yet despite very warm waters,

There haven’t been any red drum reports so far, after some indications last year that those semi-tropical fish might be moving north with climate change as NMFS has been predicting.  I caught a puppy drum two days in a row from Point Peasant Canal last August, and wrote an article about several northern N.J. red drum catches which has been published in the August New Jersey-Delaware Bay edition of The Fisherman magazine.

Those who followed my columns and blogs in the Star-Ledger are aware of the fact red drum were not only present in N.J. waters a century ago — but were the primary inshore game fish of the central Jersey coast.

They were called channel bass in in those days. and almost all of them were over 20 pounds rather than the few small red drum we see today. The first two world records for the species came from the central Shore as anglers all over the country flocked to Barnegat Inlet to seek 40-pounders in late summer and early fall.

The minimum size for red drum in N.J. is only 18 inches, but there’s also a maximum set by the ASMFC at 27 inches. Thus, the 55-pounder caught in Great Bay in 1985 by Dan Yaniro (now owner of Captains Quarters Bait & Tackle on Long Beach Island) will stand until regulations may be changed in the future.

The first southern visitors I heard about were caught several weeks ago.  Raritan Bay pro Matt Calabria caught a small cobia there while fluking — just as I had done many years ago while weakfishing in the bay with Lou Grazioso. Then Maren Toleno caught a houndfish on a popper in Barnegat Bay, behind Island Beach State Park. Capt. Al Crudele of Bayhound from Sea Isle City  had a report on Facebook of several cobia in his area this week,

Southern species such as gray triggerfish and cownose rays have become regular summer visitors to northern shores, but sheepshead remain common only up to the south jetty of Barnegat Inlet — and unheard of in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

Paul Haertel of the JCAA  sends the following reminder:

JCAA Fluke Tournament 8/4 – Win 50 K – Last Call

The JCAA fluke tournament is this Saturday. You may register online until 11:59 PM on 8/3. You may also call the office and register on the phone during the day today or Friday. The recent marine forecast has improved as has the fluke fishing during the last week or so. This is our biggest fund raiser so we really need your support so that we can continue to work on behalf of our recreational fishermen.

Visit http://www.jcaa.org to register.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk took a rare day off, but the Ocean Explorer reports the weatherman was wrong as the ocean was calm and they picked away at fluke. The Golden Eagle continues to enjoy good action with sea bass along with some ling and fluke.

The Jamaica from Brielle had plenty of chub mackerel on its Tuesday and Wednesday trips along with some small blues plus sea bass and ling. John Sanecki (10) won a pool with a 4-pound sea bass.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reports it was mostly short fluke today, but more keepers were taken than yesterday.

Joe Melillo reports from Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant that blackfish became legal again on Aug. 1, even though it’s only one at a 15-inch minimum. Green crabs are in stock, and one of the regulars had a 4-pound tautog to open the season in Point Pleasant Canal.

Shark River shore fishing was very slow the last two days. I managed only two small stripers on jigs Tuesday evening (down from four the previous evening) and just one this morning when Vinny D’Anton hooked a 23-inch striper on a 7 1/2-inch Sluggo.  Tommy Cox quickly plugged four blues on a white popper Tuesday afternoon, but never had another hit.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Boaters had to fight a hard west wind

The west wind blew even harder than predicted today, but some anglers fought through it.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc  said the wind blew a steady 30 mph with gusts to 40 — and it was raw as the few fares on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands picked at some shorts and keepers during every drop. That wind is predicted to drop down tonight, and only be 10-15 mph tomorrow.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar managed to finish up the spring blackfish season with food action and some limits despite the roaring west wind as they were close enough to shore that the sea was calm. They’ll be taking a day off to decide what fishing to pursue before the sea bass season opens on May 15.

Capt. Vinny Vetere continued to load up with stripers over the weekend while trolling his Ho Jo’s from Katfish out of Great Kills.  However, he hasn’t been able to get into the bass by chunking bunkers due to seals finding the baits first.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar caught some stripers over the weekend, but one day it was all on plastics, and the next only on bait. Their report about bluefish blitzing at the Manasquan Inlet jetties on Saturday didn’t check out as I’ve still had no bluefish reports from anyone. I talked to a regular at the inlet this morning who said he’s been there every day and hasn’t seen a blue as yet — though very small stripers hit the small bucktail he’s been casting.

I tried the Sea Girt surf this morning, and only got cold hands for my effort. It was hard to believe that the air temperature was only in the 30s just hours before May 1. The surf wasn’t flat, but very fishable. Jim Louro of Spring Lake caught a small striper on a 4-inch shad this morning, and hooked a 26-incher the previous afternoon.

Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant had no hits in Island Beach State Park this morning, but the Seaside Park tackle shops had some good reports. Grumpy’s had good surf reports on shorts, but also weighed two stripers. Though both were only 29 inches, Dick Kenny’s that hit a Mag Darter was a hefty 12.45 pounds — while the other on a shad was only 9 pounds.  Betty & Nick’s reported one angler caught 12 bass to 16 inches in two hours at  three spots in the park.

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant is sold out of canyon trips in May and June, and only has a few left in July and August. They do have an opening for an active military or retired veteran for a free striper trip on May 7. Call Adam La Rosa at 732 272-4445.

Dave Perruso reports the Bi-State Shad Contest on the Delaware River was a big success with 100 sponsors and 890 anglers fishing over the weekend. The largest shad was a 5.942-pounder worth $20,000 to Jake Kocsis. Many others were just ounces smaller. Zack Zupan took $3,000 for second at 5.768 pounds, and Bob Leciston was third for $2,500 at 5.686 pounds.

Chuck Many will be doing a striped bass seminar on Wednesday from 7-9 p.m. in Great Kills Yacht Club. All anglers are welcome to attend the event. For information call Walter Fisher at  917 335-7607. The Staten Island Tuna Club is sponsoring this presentation.

Chuck striper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The canyon Runner from Point Pleasant is almost

 

First party boat striper jigging catch reported

The first significant party boat striper jigging catch was taken today by the Brooklyn VI out of Sheepshead Bay. They reported a near boat limit catch with a pool bass of about 25 pounds. It wasn’t specified whether that jigging took place in the ocean or Raritan Bay. They will also be carrying bait tomorrow, but don’t expect to need it.

There was also good news on bait, from the Sea Hunter out of Atlantic Highlands. Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a slow Saturday, and Sunday started out the same. However, a move resulted in a hot bite of both shorts and keepers. They ended up with a boat limit of bass from 28 inches up to a pool winner in the 20-pound class.

That was the only report from Atlantic Highlands today, though the Atlantic Star had a 20-pound pool winner Saturday morning, and a 25 1/2-pounder on the Saturday afternoon trip.  The Sea Tiger II had a boat limit of legal bass on Saturday running up to one over 20 pounds.

At Belmar, the Ocean Explorer reported a lively bottom that produced a good mixture of short and keeper blackfish on a flat calm ocean created by west winds. A few legal cod were also boated. The blackfish season closes after the Monday trip which should have similar conditions from continuing west winds.

Saturday’s report from the Golden Eagle about a bluefish blitz on the Manasquan Inlet jetties led to my checking out Manasquan River early this morning, where a few anglers were doing nothing –before moving to the inlet, where there was no one casting on either side in the light rain. It didn’t look as if a blitz had occurred the day before.

There was good news from Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park as they had their first two striper weigh-ins of the year on Saturday. Doug Cobb had a 30-inch, 9.05-pounder on clam from the back bay, but Dave Hankins came in late Saturday with a 37-inch, 19.85-pound bass that hit an SP Minnow in the surf. That fish was a new arrival full of sea lice.

The surf was clearing today, and should be calm by the morning.

Chuck Many, with a recent striper released from his Ty Man, will be doing a seminar on striper fishing at the Staten Island Tuna Club on Wednesday evening. Details in tomorrow’s blog.Chuck striper

Last days for NJ blackfish

The N.J. spring season for blackfish concludes with the end of April. Blackfish anglers should have fishable weather this weekend to get their last licks in. The Big Mohawk and Ocean Explorer will be sailing for their target species plus a shot at a cod or two. The Paramount from Brielle will be bottom fishing both days from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Elaine B. II from Highlands sails the next two days for tog at 7 a.m., but then won’t fish Monday and Tuesday before switching to stripers at 7 daily on Wednesday.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be seeking stripers at 7:30 a.m. the next two days before starting daily trips on May 4. The Golden Eagle sails for stripers from Belmar

Atlantic Highlands party boats had action with short stripers today, but added some keepers. The Sea Hunter started slowly, but ended up with a good flurry despite “lousy” conditions.

Trolling was a different story for Capt. Vinny Vetere of Katfish in Great Kills as at least 40 stripers from 31 to 44 inches hit his Ho-Jo’s.

Ho-jo's bass

Both Grumpy’s Tackle and Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Park reported a hot Thursday night bite of small bass in the surf on bait plus small bucktails and shads. The shops have fresh bunker in stock plus some clams. Grumpy’s runs an ODM rods demo Saturday from 10-1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bait fishing for stripers was mostly shorts today for Atlantic Highlands party boats. The Sea Hunter started slowly, but ended up with a good shot of keepers despite “lousy” conditions. The Fishermen also had legal bass, but they were all under 30 inches.

Trolling was a much different story for Capt. Vinny Vetere. who was using his Ho-jo’s from Katfish Charters out of Great Kills to catch at least 40 stripers from 31 to 44 inches. The largest bass preferred the pink infused models. Ho-jo's bass

 

 

Big swell hurts ocean fishing

The ocean swell was big enough today to make Shark River Inlet so rough that the Big Mohawk turned around and returned to its berth in Belmar.  They’ll give it another try at 7 a.m. Friday — and at 6:30 am. from Saturday through Monday to finish out the spring N.J. blackfish season which closes at the end of the month.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that winter flounder still haven’t produced much action at the docks there, with more fluke taking the baits. Small stripers are being caught in the surf. However, Jim Louro of Spring Lake said he gave up quickly this morning due to the big swell. The forecast for Friday is for moderate east winds with small craft warnings plus rain before west winds should produce better conditions over the weekend.

The Sea Hunter got out into Raritan Bay from Atlantic Highlands this morning, but Capt. Rob Semkewyc said it was just a pick of shorts with an occasional keeper that kept him on the first drop for the rest of the tide rather than taking a chance by moving from the modest bite. He noted that trollers were doing better.

Capt. Joe Massa made a short Wednesday evening trip with John D’Andrea on My Three Sons from Morgan Marina and had good trolling in greater depths than the fleet has been fishing. They caught five bass of legal size, which had sea lice on them, plus two shorts.

Capt. Hans Kaspersetz is back from serving as an observer at a billfish tournament in the Dominican Republic, and ready to start chartering Sheri Berri from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands. If you’d like to fish with Hans and me on that fast 25-foot Regulator, send a e-mail to me at cristori@aol,com. — or call 732 757-5531.

 

Hank Matri - March 2018 - East End Lodge - Grand Bahama Is

A touch of the tropics. Hank Matri with a Bahamas bonefish on a fly before the release in March

Rain & wind coming Wednesday, but it looks good after that

The weather from N.J. to Long Island isn’t looking good for Wednesday with rain and gusty winds in the forecast, but it’s supposed to be back to just 10 to 15 knots from the west for Thursday — and the weekend looks good.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands clammed in Raritan Bay today, but it was mostly short bass that responded. There were some keepers topped by Eric Nova’s 15-pounder. Capt. Rob Semkewyc won’t be sailing tomorrow due to the weather, but will be ready to go on Thursday.

Tank Matraxia and his crew from Lyndhurst fished with Capt. John Contello aboard Just Sayin from Keyport. After casting produced only one short, they switched to trolling mo-jos and limited out with keepers up to about 32 inches. Matraxia was also able to put ALS tags in five legal bass and a short. One of those bass had a fairly recent bite taken out of it — possibly by a seal. The action was in the back of the bay where there were lots of boats and kayaks.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported a good blackfish bite today, but won’t sail again until Thursday. The Ocean Explorer had good blackfishing Monday with some limits.

The Gambler has been getting out from Point Pleasant. but blackfishing has been slow so far due to cold waters. The Queen Mary starts striper fishing out of that port on Saturday.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reports small stripers are hitting in the surf on small pieces of bait and lures. An angler fishing bunker chunks reported losing a better fish in the wash. An ODM rod demo will be held at Grumpy’s on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

 

Sandy Hook Late April SunriseAllen Riley photo of Sandy Hook at dawn Monday. Don’t expect that tomorrow!