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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

First bluefish in surf

We’ve been waiting for the bluefish to arrive in force as they usually do by the end of April, but nothing has been happening in N.J. — and Fred Golofaro of The Fisherman, Long Island edition had the same report from another early location at Fire Island Inlet. However, just before writing this blog I got a photo from outdoor writer Nick Honachefsky of Normandy Beach of a surfcaster with a good-sized bluefish. I picked a logbook from 1998, and found that my charter party was inundated with blues on May 1 in Raritan Bay. Yesterday, Honachefsky caught eight small bass (a 26-inch and micros) plus five hickory shad on a fly rod in the surf.

First surf blue

There have still been no reports of blues up there, and a message from Rob Rommel noted that he fished with Chuck Many on Ty Man as they released 20 stripers up to a 38-pounder.  in Yesterday’s release count when I was with them was 30 bass up to 33 pounds, but I forgot to credit Many with his best catch — the first sea robin reported from the bay,  an aggressive little fish that hit a 6-inch shad cast into small bait off Staten Island.

Reel Fun from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands had the Sean Basilone party with six legal stripers just a half-hour from the dock this morning, but Capt, John Kolias said they couldn’t come up with an over 43-incher.   Kolias usually trolls.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported they had some bass chasing their jigs, but none were caught. After yesterday’s hot early jigging reports from Raritan Bay, there were no reports today from Atlantic Highlands boats.

Capt. Vinny Vetere of Katfish Charters in Great Kills reported small bass dominated early as he trolled his Ho-Jo’s, but bigger bass hit as the tide ebbed. Green chartreuse was the hot color.

Jim Louro of Spring Lake fished Raritan Bay in an outboard during the afternoon and had to fight the southwest wind while trolling mo jo’s and casting shads. He said they marked fish, but had no hits and didn’t see anything caught on other boats. The forecast for the next two days is similar with light SW in the morning before gusty winds in the afternoon.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield was happy with his Tuesday morTodayndy Hook surf. After catching a very small bass on a Tsunami Shad before sun-up, small bass turned on to sandworms fished on a very light rod. He released bass of 22, 24, 25 and 28 inches before the bite ended at 8 am. John Mazzeo of South Plainfield fished a bunker chunk to release a 26-incher.

 

 

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