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,

Bigeyes blast

Multiple canyon trolling catches of bigeye tuna have been almost common lately, but if recent seasoms are any guide they will become scarce come big money tournament time. Reports from the Canyon Runner out of Point Pleasant follow.:

Capt. Deane Lambros & Capt. Mike Zajac had a very busy past week getting in 4 overnighters with highlights on each trip. From dozens of big-eyes, to multiple 20 yellowfin/Big-eye trips, to perhaps the best hour of fishing in a decade.
Specific highlights included the Peter Wilcox charter with 3 nice big-eyes and 17 fat yellowfin, the Frank Tedesco charter with our biggest big-eye this year well over 200 pounds, the Jason Hutt family with 4 more big-eyes and a hold full of yellowfin and finally the Mike Davie charter just loading up with perhaps the best one hour of fishing in a decade – 3 passes over the edge in the first hour in the canyon and they had 7 big-eyes and 3 yellowfin – they finished up with 7 big-eyes, 13 big yellowfin and a big blue marlin.
But what’s really got us excited is when we look at our Canyon Runner Coaching and Fishing Report Member reports plus Deane’s and Mark DeCabia’s – they’ve accounted already for over 100 big-eyes this year.
And the fishing isn’t just in one spot – on one day a few days back between the Member’s and Mark and Deane we had big-eyes caught in Block, Dip, Babylon, Jones, Hendrickson, Spencer, Wilmington, Baltimore and Poormans Canyons. Just all out epic fishing!!!

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a boat limit of 2-5-pound bluefish this morning and released many more on jigs. A few fluke were caught and sea bass released.

The report in last night’s blog about the Queen Mary’s bluefish and sea bass catches were actually from Monday’s fishing.

The first day of daily 6 a.m. fluke fishing on the Big Mohawk from Belmar produced some limits as those fishing with spinning tackle and Gulp badly outfished the bait draggers.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for west winds at 5 knots — shifting to the south in the afternoon.

Better fluking to north

Though today’s fluke fishing on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands wasn’t anything like the big fluke Bonanza that Dave Lilly had yesterday, it was a big improvement in party boat action during a season when three fish limits have been unusual.

Capt. Ron Santee reported a good bite of keepers and shorts that resulted in three limits being bagged and a 3 1/2-pound pool fluke.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had a good bite of sea bass and bluefish early , but Capt. Dave Riback said “The rest of the day stunk”.

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant will be running a free canyon overnighter for the Military and First Responders from June 29-30. Those who qualify should call 732 272-4445 right away.

I’ll have more about the great tuna action the Canyon Runner has had in tomorrows blog, but I also talked to another angler who was frustrated yesterday on a day trip.

There were more whales than he’s ever seen in Lindenkohl Canyon, and lots of bait. Yet, they couldn’t troll a thing. After hearing there had been an early bite in Spencer Canyon, they moved there only to see the same signs and no hits while only one boat in the fleet was hooking up.

Striped bass from the surf big enough to weigh have been rare so far, but Betty and Nick’s in Seaside Park weighed a 23-pounder caught on clam this morning right from the local surf.

I tried casting a plug in the Bay Head surf after dawn, but there was so little water that it was a waste of time. Despite how bad Point Pleasant Canal has been, I went there and found no change though one small striper hit my Z Man paddeltail to save the day.

The morning forecast is for south winds at 10-15 knots with a possibility of showers and thunder storms.

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.

MyCharge a Father’s Day choice for night fishing

Having a virtually unlimited source of power with you while fishing at night comes in very handy for anglers putting in long hours seeking big stripers, blues and sharks from beaches. That makes MyCharge a fine Father’s Day gift for such fishermen as not only is light available for tying rigs, baiting hooks and, hopefully unhooking fish — but your cell phone and other devices can also be charged via two built-in USB ports. The 500 lumens LED lamp has four levels of brightness and a flashing SOS mode. An anti-corrosive metal kickstand is included. MyCharge is also handy to have in the house in the event of a power outage.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar caught its usual sea bass, ling and fluke today, but also tangled with a big one that got away. A very large thresher shark grabbed a hooked sea bass and was fought briefly. Threshers have such small teeth that some are actuallty caught by fluke fishermen with mono leaders, but this one was much too big. The Golden Eagle has some reservations available for weekend afternoon trips.

The Big Jamaica from Brielle has been catching many limits of sea bass as that season comes to an end on Monday — and will then switch to general bottom fishing for the ling plus some flounder and cod which are also hitting. A half-night ling trip will be run Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m.

At Seaside Park, John Bushell Jr. at Betty and Nick’s noted that the sixth straight day of northeast wind has made the surf dirty and full of babbage, but bluefish have been cooperating in both inlets for those who are on the scene when they flurry in.

I tried the Manasquan surf this morning, but found it to be quite rough and somewhat dirty.

The forecast for Friday is for south winds at merely 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 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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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.