Gale warning for tomorrow

No sooner did party and charter boats in N.J. get a chance to sail again than the weather is going to shut them out for a couple of days.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle and Ocean Princess both reported good sea bass fishing today along with ling and some pollock and winter flounder, but the small craft warnings up now will go to a gale watch through Tuesday afternoon. It will be northeast 20-25 knots by morning along with gusts to 40 — plus 7-10-foot seas.  The Golden Eagle, which also pursued some bluefish reports to no avail,  has canceled through Thursday.  The Ocean Explorer has only called off trips through Wednesday so far. At least it now appears we’re not going to get much rain from Arthur. Photo below reflects Covid-19 bottom fishing variety on the Golden Eagle.

GE-COVID 19

It looks better for the opening of the fluke season on Friday. Capt. Chris Di Stefano saw a boat with a hook & line commercial fluke permit loading up in Sandy Hook Bay today, while shore anglers were casting for cocktail blues.  Unfortunately for Chris, he was in the bay because the Raritan Bay striper bite was off. His friend from Highlands had lots of releases Sunday, but bunker spoons only produced a large male of 22 pounds that had an eel in its stomach. Chris said he only saw one other bass caught, and a couple of charter boats that braved a run to the Romer Shoal area came back quickly. Chris noted that some bass were trolled in the ocean on Sunday.

Phil Fischer said he was trolling bass in Raritan Bay yesterday morning before moving into Sandy Hook Bay where two 30-pounders hit. He noted that those bass had a lavender coloration which is typical of stripers migrating in from the ocean.

 

 

N.J. party boat fleet loses two great ones

Two of the great veterans of New Jersey’s party boat business have passed away.

Norma Keller, owner of the Norma K. fleet in Point Pleasant was a fixture in that town for decades. Capt. Art Hilliard was part of a famed fishing family sailing out of Atlantic Highlands. He was best known as skipper of the large group charter boat Eagle. I’ll try to get details for the next blog.

A gale warning is going up for Tuesday.  The morning starts with south winds at 15-20 knots plus gusts to 30 before going southwest and gusting to 40 in the afternoon Showers and possible thunderstorms are predicted.

A real garage sale Sunday — rain or shine

The weather forecast isn’t good for Sunday, but the garage sale will go on –in the garage. There was a good crowd today, and it was a pleasure to meet many of my readers. There’s still dozens of rods plus reels, and countless lures and line in all sizes. The 130–pound Internationals are gone, but other big game outfits remain along with the planer boards and many accessories. Free fishing magazines are available with any purchase. We’ll be there again Sunday from 8-2 at 1552 Osprey Ct., Manasquan Park, NJ 08736.

Though the weather was fine today, fishing reports were generally modest. The Golden Eagle from Belmar heard of some stripers being trolled, but there wasn’t much reported on bait or lures. They won’t be sailing Sunday or Monday as small craft warnings tonight are being upgraded to gale warnings tomorrow.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar found good bottom life on Friday with decent catches of keeper and short blackfish plus a few keeper cod.

The Prowler 5 started its season out of Atlantic Highlands today, and reported some keeper stripers plus shorts. They won’t be sailing again until next weekend.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle notes there’s  some stripers in the surf, but still no solid bluefish reports.

Joe Blaze of Brielle tried the backside of Island Beach State Park this morning. Conditions were good and he saw some bait, but there was no sign of fish. There were some good-looking bars showing on the surf side, but nothing was going on there either.