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.
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.