Bumpy morning turns out well

The only report I could find today came from the Golden Eagle out of Belmar which reported a bumpy start before an unexpected calming of the ocean which resulted in a good catch of sea bass along with some ling and winter flounder.  Some anglers anglers managed sea bass limits.

The Queen Mary did not sail from Point Pleasant, but will be going Monday.

The Jamaica from Brielle is sold out for Memorial Day, but is taking reservations for Tuesday and the rest of the week.

There was a lack of wind and poor drifting conditions for the Raritan Bay fluke fleet yesterday, but no reports today when there was east wind that should have been good in Sandy Hook Bay.

The Little Hawk from Atlantic Highlands posted a video of releasing a 52-pound striper on Friday which was far larger than this year’s 38 inch maximum  in N.J. waters.

Capt. Jim Freda reports it’s been slow developing, but he got into bluefish Friday in Manasquan River with his Shore Catch.

Freda blue

Small craft warnings are up tonight with northeast gusts to 20 knots, but it’s forecast to drop to east at just 5-10 knots by morning as seas settle to 3 to 5 feet.

 

Gale should moderate

It’s literally blowing a gale as this is being written, but conditions should improve before the fluke opener on Friday and the Memorial Day weekend.

East winds up to 40 knots today are predicted to drop to 20-25 with gusts to 30 by morning, when seas will be 8 to 11 feet.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar may try to get out tomorrow, but be sure to call tonight at 732 974-9606. They had many sea bass limits yesterday, and also several “head fish” — which are properly known as anglers, or as monkfish in the market. If you fish wrecks in the big swell, you’ll also probably catch congers (silver eels) which usually come out of their hiding spots  under those conditions.

The Big Jamaica from Brielle plans to sail Thursday at 7:30 a.m. before sailing sea bass Marathons the next three days. Reservations at 732 528-5014 are required for all trips.  Masks must be worn.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant is taking reservations for open boat sea bass trips Friday and Saturday at 6:30 a.m.. The $120 limited trips can be reserved at 732 370-8019.

 

Blassberg bass Dave Glassberg’s 54-pounder with Chuck Many on Ty Man before release

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.

 

 

 

N.J. sea bass season opens Friday

Bottom fishermen in N.J.  have been waiting for the sea bass season to open, and tomorrow is the day. However, they’d better have a private boat in order to participate in the fishery which has a daily limit of 10 sea bass at a 12 ]/2-inch minim

Party and charter boats still don’t have permission to sail even under the social distancing guidelines they’ve adopted voluntarily Gov. Murphy opened up beach restrictions starting Friday in preparation for Memorial Day.  He also noted in today’s press conference that recreational fishing rules are being reviewed.

Both the Jamaica from Brielle and the Big Mohawk from Belmar were taking reservations for the sea bass opener in hopes they’d be able to sail. The Jamaica has canceled for tomorrow, but is still holding out hope for the weekend in case Murphy has a change of heart tomorrow. I wouldn’t count on that. Also don’t count on catching sea bass as large as those boated on a the Jamaica during a fall offshore wreck trip.

Jamaica sea bass

 

Though it’s blowing hard southwest as this is being written, that wind is forecast to drop to 10-15 knots by morning along with showers before increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon.

Dave Lilly said there were stripers swirling and chasing bunkers on the surface all over around the mouth of Raritan Bay this morning. He quickly trolled one of about 30 pounds, then another in the 20-pound class  on a Tony Maja bunker spoon before losing another good one- before bass in the low teens took over.  They would come back up right after boats ran over them, and everyone caught them on anything they used. Surprisingly, the water temperature had dropped to 48 degrees.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported lots of fresh clams and bunker in stock. Clams seem to be working best, and small pieces will also attract blowfish. Blues are scattered in the bay, and range from 2 to 10 pounds. They’re hitting a variety of lures.

Capt. Hans Kaspersetz with a Raritan Bay bass on his Sheri Berri from Highhands. Hans bass

 

 

R.I.P. Dave Arbeitman

Tom Fote had bad news for me this morning, as he’d received word that Dave Arbeitman of the Reel Seat in Brielle has passed away.

Chris Di Stefano said Dave suffered a stroke last week, but died in the hospital yesterday at just 64. Dave built a reputation as a rod builder decades ago in smaller shops than the present elegant Reel Seat. He was also a very skilled angler in everything from surfcasting to big game. He particularly enjoyed tilefishing with his own customized tackle in the great canyon depths, and the variety fishing at Key West during his winter vacations. I’m sure he’s scouting out some new hot spots in Heavenly waters now.

Bluefish were being caught in Manasquan River yesterday. Joe Blaze heard there was a fleet off the mouth of the canal where they were not responding to poppers, but jumped on shad lures. Bob Correll got word from the canal this morning that anglers were being broken off by big blues.

At Seaside Park, Betty & Nick’s reported there was a surf mini-blitz Friday morning of cocktail blues plus some small bass.  Shorts are also hitting clams in the surf, and a couple of keepers were reported.

The note in yesterday’s blog about the summer season for sea bass was wrong. I have some sticky keys, and missed correcting the July start which should have been July 1 — not 11.

Small craft warnings are up through late tonight for southwest gusts to 30 knots. They drop to 10-15 with gusts to 20 knots by morning.

 

Still working hard for stripers

The fall striped bass Bonanza we’ve been hoping for along the northern N.J. Shore still hasn’t started, but there have been some better signs.

The Atlantic Highlands fleet got into better jigging for mostly short bass today along with some keepers. Capt. Ron Santee said the jigging was held back by a very strong current, but when it dropped  to 2 knots there was good action with both plain and tailed diamonds. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the bite from his Sea Hunter was on diamond jigs. He’s cancelling his Thanksgiving trip due to the forecast of extreme cold and wind, but Black Friday looks good,

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had good readings and saw fish splashing today, but they were very fussy and only a few stripers and a couple of blues were caught. They will be back out in the morning and are still planning a Thanksgiving trip from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Capt. Rob De Petri ran his Sharky’s Machine out of Barnegat Bay to troll stripers of 32 and 36 inches on green mo-jos for Ray Bonte. One was hooked off Lavallette in 60 feet and the other near the 3-mile line. There wasn’t much bait recorded.

Yesterday morning’s showing of small stripers in the Point Pleasant Beach surf didn’t occur again as most anglers left quickly. I found an old J&J lead squid with a swiveled green tube in my basement and decided to give it a try. Surprisingly, it produced the only two small bass caught in the area I was working.

Jimmy Louro of Spring Lake caught three small bass and Frank Manzi added another in the surf there during the morning — and Louro got into others late in the afternoon.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere said he stayed in calm river waters over the weekend to catch boat limits of stripers on Katfish from Great Kills. His Ho-Joes did the job with white being the best color.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing to the far offshore wrecks for jumbo sea bass at 11 p.m. There are some openings that can be reserved by calling 732 528-5014. There were some limits on Sunday’s trip — and some cod up to 18 pounds and pollock to 16 pounds were added on the weekend runs along with white hake, ling and even a few barrellfish

It will be a lot windier and colder in coming days. A Small craft advisory will be increased to a gale warning from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday night. West winds of 15-20 knots tomorrow morning increase to 20-25 in the afternoon.

Big change in weather coming tomorrow

Northeast winds gusting to 25 mph are forecast for later tonight, and it certainly should be cooler for fishing  tomorrow — but hopefully not too rough.

Getting a drift shouldn’t be the problem it was today for Capt. Rob Semkewyc on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. He said there was too much bottom current in the deep, but the drift didn’t cover much ground. As a result, action was off from yesterday, the high hook only caught 12 to 15 shorts and there was just a pick of keepers.

Capt. Stan Zagleski said he left the strong bottom currents in the deep and found a fair number of keepers among shorts in shallower waters with his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.

The hot bluefishing of the last few days along the Shore wasn’t repeated after yesterday afternoon’s hard south winds lowered the inshore water temperatures. At Belmar, the Golden Eagle reported blues were hard to tempt. though better anglers managed about a dozen before they headed offshore for variety bottom fishing and jigging that produced some sea bass and chub mackerel plus a couple of 4-to-5-pound fluke among shorts.  The Ocean Explorer noted that the weatherman was wrong about the weather and they had a beautiful day for fluking.

The Jamaica from Brielle had hot jigging for small blues on their Friday morning trip along with some bonito, A move offshore added sea bass, fluke and chub mackerel. The Big Jamaica has another tilefish trip coming up on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 10 p.m.  Call 732 528-5014 for reservations. John Gorman boated a 50.2-pound tilefish on the last trip.

Jamaica variety below.

Jamaica varietyAt least there were no reports of whales overturning small boats today. This week’s incident off Deal serves as an alert for boaters, though there really isn’t anything you can do to prevent such a rare occurrence. Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant had a whale almost do the same thing as he was running at high speed out of Manasquan Inlet a few years ago.

The northeast wind may upset casting for semi-tropical species, but I got a report of a cobia being caught yesterday at Manasquan Inlet.

Capt. Vinny Vetere had to do a lot of running with his Katfish from Great Kills on Friday, but he found striped bass that would hit trolled Ho Jos and live bunker in the western L.I. Sound, though chunking was no good. He may have an opening tomorrow.

There was no such excitement in Shark River this morning, but I had light tackle sport with four school stripers on the Z-Man Swimmereez jig.  Frank Manzi did the same on a jig, and finished up with a small bluefish. Vinny D’Anton had caught a schoolie on a Chug Bug in the surf at Belmar the last time I talked to him.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported lots of bait and small blues in the surf on Friday along with fluke and some exotics.

The MidAtlantic opens tomorrow with 4:30 p.m. captains meetings at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland. Fishing for a purse that should be well over a million dollars starts Monday and continues through Friday.

 

 

Loads of small blues for boaters

It was just a few days ago that I was discussing the lack of bluefish this season with some other writers, but all that has changed for boaters. Shore party boats are running into whitewater action with mostly 1-to-3-pound blues as their anglers catch 15-fish limits quickly before the boats head offshore to chum large quantities of chub mackerel and possibly some slightly larger blues while hooking sea bass, ling and fluke on bottom. Joe Melillo of Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said he counted 37 boats fishing in front of Manasquan Inlet during the middle of the morning.

A few bonito, Spanish mackerel and small little tunny may be mixed in with the blues. Surfcasters get shots at those fish, but the action is sporadic with low tides at dawn and dusk while beaches are full of bathers and parking is often impossible during the day. While fishing the Manasquan surf early this morning, I saw a young angler cast metal at some fish that popped up within casting range and catch two very small bonito.

Nick Honachefsky  managed to catch his first Spanish mackerel casting from shore in N.J. yesterday morning.

Nick Spanish.jpg

The Jamaica from Brielle had one of those slightly larger blues offshore yesterday when Bruce Bates of Philadelphia won the pool with a 4-pounder.

Atlantic Highlands party boats had to fight strong currents today in their quest for fluke.  Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen said he never had to work so hard with so little to show for it. The Ambrose current was strong on the bottom while running in the opposite direction on top. A run offshore resulted in more current problems, while there was no drift further inshore. There was finally a bite late in the day, but it was mostly shorts. Yet, the pool fluke was just under 7 pounds, and there were a couple of very large sea bass boated.  The Fishermen is chartered Friday morning.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc was also frustrated by the poor drifting conditions on his Sea Hunter, but put together a catch of keepers among the shorts.

Capt. Stan Zagleski  didn’t fight the current conditions and went into shallower waters to pick some keepers on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reports it was such a nice day that there was little drift offshore. Fluking was way off from the previous day, but some fluke and sea bass were picked during short drifts on rock piles.

 

 

West wind worked for some

Today’s west wind was just what the Ocean Explorer from

 

Belmar wanted, and they reported red hot fluke fishing with lots of keepers up to 8 pounds. Pink and white were the best jig colors once again.

Fluke reports from Atlantic Highlands weren’t as good. Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen said a hard south current combined with the west wind to create rough conditions where they had fished yesterday. A move to rocky bottoms resulted in calmer waters and a decent pick.  Yesterday was much better as a 6.8-pounder was boated before Capt. Ron Sr. added a 6.2-pound fluke. The skipper’s son, Ron Jr., boated a 5-pounder and most fares did well. Capt. Rob Semkewyc wasn’t happy with the west wind that was harder than forecast, but ended up with a decent catch on his Sea Hunter.

Small blues provided Shore party boats with a shot of good jigging action. The Golden Eagle from Belmar then went offshore to add chub mackerel and some sea bass.

The Jamaica from Brielle got into small blues yesterday morning, but they were hard to catch. As a result, they set up for chumming offshore to load up on chub mackerel plus a few ling and sea bass — while dolphin also invaded the slick.

Jamaica dolphin

 

Adam La Rosa is looking forward to the MidAtlantic Tournament in Cape May, where the Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant has been in the money four of the last five years. They have only one charter date left in August for chunking yellowfins

Mike Barrasso of Bay Head went to his local beach at 3:30 yesterday afternoon and was finally able to reach surfacing bonito to catch not only one –but a doubleheader on a hammered metal and a Joe Melillo Castaways Tackle teaser.

Outdoor writer Nick Honachefsky has caught bonito from the local surf before, but never a Spanish mackerel until this morning. After a series of mishaps at Point Pleasant, he made a blind cast before leaving and broke the ice.

Vinnie D’Anton fished north of Manasquan Inlet and was at the right place when some stripers started rolling. He released four up to 24 inches on a Chug Bug, and switched to metal when a school of small blues zipped by to catch one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pres. Trump signed billfish Conservation Act

 

President Trump Signs Amended Billfish Conservation Act!
Wild Oceans reports : We are happy to report that on August 2nd, President Trump signed into law HR 4528, the amended Billfish Conservation Act, closing a loophole in the 2012 act that allowed billfish caught under a “traditional fisheries” exemption for the Hawaiian islands to be sold in the mainland U.S., contrary to the BCA’s original intent.

Wild Oceans and IGFA began a campaign 10 years ago to Take Marlin off The Menu because we believe the future of these magnificent fish is not for sale. At the time, the United States was the largest importer of billfish.  The strengthened Billfish Conservation Act now ensures that no marlin, sailfish or spearfish can be sold in the continental United States, no matter where they are caught.

Today’s unpredicted east blow plus heavy rain probably kept everyone in this morning, but the ocean became fishable in the afternoon. Light west to southwest winds are forecasted for days to come. and the chance of showers ends on Wednesday,

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reports that the Sunday afternoon trip produced keeper sea bass among the shorts plus a large fluke and some chub mackerel.

The Jamaica from Brielle  started out with small blues Sunday morning along with a few bonito — then got blues back in the slick before chub mackerel took over. Kevin Zhong of Edison won the pool with a 7-pound bonito while adding a limit of 3-to-4-pound blues, several ling and lots of chubs.

Paul Haertel of the JCAA took his boat offshore to seek tuna for the first time in about 25 years last weekend and was delighted to boat a yellowfin tuna plus a dolphin.d

Capt. John Contello had a boat limit of fluke Sunday on his Just Sayin’ from Keyport. Included was the boat’s largest of the season — an 11-pound doormat that was a personal best for Mike Morgan.

Mike Morgan 11-lb on Just Syin.jpg

Vinny D’Anton figured Shark River would be a good place to hide from the northeaster this morning, but the only problem was a lack of fish in those protected waters.

Joe Melillo of Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant was hoping for another blast of Spanish mackerel this morning at Bay Head, but turned around after getting a blast from that east wind.

 

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