Summer stripers cooperate in N.Y. Harbor

The spring run of stripers in the N.Y. Harbor area has long been over, but some bass can be caught all summer if you have patience and knowledge — which is what Chuck Many has plenty of. I had missed all the early fishing due to the pandemic, but made up for some of that when I joined Chuck on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands at 4:30 a.m. That timing turned out t be critical as the first stop provided a few marks before the anchor was dropped. Chunking only attracted smooth dogfish at first, but bass were there also. We had to release 15 dogfish in order to release four hefty summer bass from 16 to 28 pounds — and later added a 34-incher on a live bunker on the surface,

All of those bass were bright stripers without a mark on them, and none needed any help to shoot away when released. Surprisingly, the usually abundant small stripers in the Hudson and East rivers showed no respect for Chuck’s $90 a flat sandworms and we caught only two small fluke and a 14 3/4-inch porgy with them.

Bob Correll reported a successful school tuna trip on Mike Heaney’s new Cabo 42 from Clarks Landing in Point Pleasant as the crew trolled 15 “unders” near the Texas Tower. Two much larger bluefins were lost as one broke 80-pound line after a long battle, while another was eaten by a big shark near the boat.

Also at Clarks, the Canyon Runner reported continued great canyon trolling with catches such as seven bigeyes, 13 yellowfins and a big blue marlin for the Mike Davie party. The Peter Wilcox party had an 400-pound class giant tuna. One open boat seat has opened up for July 8-9. Call 732 272-4445.

Frank Criscola is back from Florida with his Crisdel out of Brielle Yacht Club. Capt. Chris De Stefano was part of the crew this week when they trolled the Carteret for six yellowfins and a blue marlin before releasing a 50-70-pound daytime swordfish — the first reported to this blog so far.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar picked away at small blues with some limit catches over the weekend, and had a few fat bonito mixed in. Today they started inshore for bigger blues , but had a hard time hooking them. There were shots of the smaller blues offshore though they didn’t last long.

Phil Fischer looked for a big fluke on the weekend out of Highlands, but was instead surprised by a 25-pound black drum on a strip of squid. A move out to Scotland resulted in good ling fishing — and he just made it back as the rain hit.

Small blues cooperate again

Miss Belmar Princess reported having to work harder for them, but found 2-4-pound blues on top and worked hard to fool them with Ava 27 jigs as most fares had their five bluefish limits.

Capt. Ron Santee had to move around to scratch out fluke on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands, but Mike Lee proved that working hard can produce even when the bite isn’t on as he jigged all day to bag his limit. The pool fluke was 4 pounds.

Capt. Freddy Gamboa had another fine offshore trip with his Andrea’s Toy yesterday as he bent the rods quickly with bluefin tuna up to 55 inches, and then switched to tilefish as his party boxed two dozen ranging up to a 20-pounder.

The howling winds this afternoon should diminish overnight to southwest at 5-10 knots by morning. Once again there’s a chance of showers and thunder storms in the afternoon,

Bigger blues show in ocean

Bluefish in the 6-8-pound class were reported among the abundant 2-5-pounders today by the Golden Eagle out of Belmar. Though a slow drift made it harder to fool them, there were many five-fish limits.

Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary from Point Pl easant says some of his trips have been providing “old time” bluefish jigging with enough 5-pounders among them to provide several meals. He also saw his first bonito last week as they were jigging blues, but knows there were lots more as a gillnetter in the area caught 700 pounds.

The Jamaica from Brielle has switched to ling fishing which has been good. Frank Amaya of Mays Landing had a 24-inch cod to win yesterday’s pool, and a 23-incher won today for Greg Stewart from Sharon Hill, Virginia. Anglers can now board without reservations and pay on the boat.

Capt. Ron Santee Jr. had John Uhl of Plugbaits aboard his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands yesterday as samples of the Gulp-like bait were passed out and produced good numbers of shoert and keeper fluke up to a 4-pound pool winner. The Tackle Box in Hazlet is handling that new product. Santee noted that he’s fishing in the ocean where medium action rods are required to handle 6-8-ounce sinkers.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports bait has been the best bet in the surf. A 15-pound striper was weighed in today, and there was word of two bass over the 38-inch maximum being released. They also noted that rays have been spotted — so don’t walk away from rods being fished out of sand spikes!

Tomorrow’s forecast is for southwest winds at 5-10 knots before going south at 10-15 in the afternoon.

NJ sea bass ending with a flourish

Sea bass stoks off the N.J. coast have been taking a beating this month as ocean fluking has been poor, but they still appear to be abundant as the season ends tomorrow.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported limit catches today as those using jigs and teasers greatly outfished fares sticking with bait.

Capt. Ron Santee Jr, gave the edge of the channel a try this morning with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands, but only drifted short fluke before dogfish took over. Then he ran down the beach where some sea bass and ling were taken among the shorts while a whale put on a show. However, the best news came at the dock when Ron’s son showed up unexpectedly after flying in from L.A. for Father’s Day.

The small blues that have been providing some action for surfcasters at Bay Head the last two days didn’t show up this morning, but Jim Gates got a surprise hit in the wash from a decent school striper that he released.

Andrea’s Toy had a great tilefish trip last week with 30 up to 30 pounds before adding tuna on the surface during the trip home.

Paul Haertel of the JCAA had a real variety trip offshore of Barnegat Inlet last week with two tuna, one cod, one pollock, one bluefish, one fluke, two ling and some sea bass.

The forecast continues good with southwest winds of 5-10 knots — increasing to 10-15 in the afternoon.

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.