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.

 

Slow start to NJ fluke

It was a beautiful day for fishing, but I didn’t get many reports of hot fishing.

The only report from the northern fluke boats came from Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. He said it started very slowly, with only a couple of shorts before the tide turned and brought in warmer waters from the river. After that they picked away with a couple of fares bagging their three fluke limit. A 3-pounder took the pool. Santee emphasized the importance of reserving a spot as Gov. Murphy is allowing only up to 25 anglers on a party boat.

Bob Correll had to work his way through a fluke fleet to get out of Manasquan River with his Sea Vee to fish Axel Carlsen Reef for a pick of sea bass on the drift. He heard on the radio that some boaters did well with fluke in the back, though the mob working the inlet did little. Some cocktail blues were also caught in the river.

Capt. Arthur Stokes fished Shark River with his 16-foot trailered boat as his son (8) boated the only keeper among shorts. There had been lots of fluke there before the season opened, but Arthur said the water felt very cold.

Party boat sea bass reports were better. At Belmar, the Ocean Explorer limited out as jigs and sand eel teasers worked best. Some ling and a few cod were also caught. The morning trip is sold out, but there are openings on the 3:30 p.m. weekend sailings.

The Golden Eagle reported a slow start in a strong current before they ended up with many limits of sea bass plus ling.

Frank Huza of Aberdeen made the long walk at Sandy Hook to find cold water and both sides of the tip closed to all uses. He saw the fleet of party and private boats drifting off the Bug Light. That spot will be even more crowded Sunday as it’s perfect in a northeast wind which is predicted for the afternoon after starting at just 5 knots from the east. The wind builds up to 10-15 northeast with gusts to 20 knots. Showers are also forecast.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported Monday was the best surf day with many 22-to- 27-inch stripers caught on clam and bunker, though lures weren’t producing. Small blues have been best in the south end of the bay, along with good numbers of blowfish.

John Bushell, Jr. at Betty & Nick’s said he’s heard that large blues are hitting in the bay, though only at night.

 

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.

 

Not a day for boats

What a difference a day makes! From fine weather to northeast wind and buckets of rain. I doubt if any boats fished today except in completely protected waters. However, there were a few surfcasters out early as Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park  weighed a 48-inch, 37.95-pound striper caught by Kevin Reilly on clam. Joe Applegrove used an SP Minnow to land a 31-inch, 8.6-pound bluefish.  Betty & Nick’s had a 29-pound bass on the scale that Pete E. hooked on clam at Top of the Mast in Seaside Park.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro was frustrated at not getting out Saturday due to a bad forecast that was wrong. The day before he trolled a 36-pound striper on a Tony Maja #4 bunker spoon off Seaside on Hi Flier from Barnegat, but had a tough trip back in 3-to-4-foot seas kicked up by a surprisingly strong S-SE wind.  The weather looks a lot better for Memorial Day, with the NE wind expected to drop down with only a chance of a shower.  De Gennaro is sailing open 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow — and then through Friday from noon to 7 p.m. The cost is $175. Call 732 330-5674.

 

 

 

Hi Flier 42A 42-pound striper on Hi Flier last week

 

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that big stripers are being caught by trollers and on live bunkers, while small bass are in the surf. Fluking was very good before the season opened Friday, but keepers haven’t been abundant since. Capt. Chris Di Stefano of Wall had the same experience Thursday upon returning to Shark River after trolling a trophy 53 3/4-pound striper for his son Boomer. They made a few drifts in the river and could have filled several limits, but when Boomer fished for them a couple of days later it was mostly shorts.

Jeff Merrill fished Manasquan River on Saturday and reported 22 fluke were caught up to 23-and-24-inchers.

Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights finally got to use his Aquasport 20 out of Atlantic Highlands this week, and was happy to troll some blues one day at Chapel Hill — and both blues and stripers the next morning.

One of my blog readers, Capt. Greg Simba, reported there was a blitz of 22-to-26-inch bluefish in the mouth of Manasquan Inlet yesterday around 2 p.m. — and it lasted for an hour. I don’t how many times I’ve checked the inlet for blues this spring without ever seeing a bird dip.

Sorry for the boxes below that I was left with after transferring Matt Slobodjian’s report from Cape May that you’ll find by scrolling down.

 Matt Slobodjian reports from Jim’s Tackle in Cape May that “drum fishing continues to be pretty good although some of the action has moved into a little deeper water. Boats are still picking fish in the Bayshore Channel close to the canal, but a good bite has come on at Tussy’s Slough. Fresh clam is the bait, and it has to be ordered a few days in advance due to a limited supply.  Fluking was good for some anglers who fished the backwaters. It was pretty rough out in the ocean, so we haven’t gotten any reports from the reefs as of yet.

The sea bass fishing has held up pretty well on the 20 fathom line. There are a lot of throwback fish, but putting together a catch hasn’t been a problem. Striper fishing on the North Cape May beaches slowed down a little towards the weekend — but there were still some nice fish landed by the bait fisherman this week.

We will be holding our annual Mako Tournament next weekend, June 1st and 2nd. Anybody looking to fish it can call the store for details at -884-3900. We did get the first report of a nice mako caught by an Ocean City, Maryland boat. The fish was reported to be in the 290lb. range. The laws have changed on pelagic shark fishing, so anglers wishing to get an HMS permit have to visit the NOAA site and check out the changes.”

 

First party boat striper jigging catch reported

The first significant party boat striper jigging catch was taken today by the Brooklyn VI out of Sheepshead Bay. They reported a near boat limit catch with a pool bass of about 25 pounds. It wasn’t specified whether that jigging took place in the ocean or Raritan Bay. They will also be carrying bait tomorrow, but don’t expect to need it.

There was also good news on bait, from the Sea Hunter out of Atlantic Highlands. Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a slow Saturday, and Sunday started out the same. However, a move resulted in a hot bite of both shorts and keepers. They ended up with a boat limit of bass from 28 inches up to a pool winner in the 20-pound class.

That was the only report from Atlantic Highlands today, though the Atlantic Star had a 20-pound pool winner Saturday morning, and a 25 1/2-pounder on the Saturday afternoon trip.  The Sea Tiger II had a boat limit of legal bass on Saturday running up to one over 20 pounds.

At Belmar, the Ocean Explorer reported a lively bottom that produced a good mixture of short and keeper blackfish on a flat calm ocean created by west winds. A few legal cod were also boated. The blackfish season closes after the Monday trip which should have similar conditions from continuing west winds.

Saturday’s report from the Golden Eagle about a bluefish blitz on the Manasquan Inlet jetties led to my checking out Manasquan River early this morning, where a few anglers were doing nothing –before moving to the inlet, where there was no one casting on either side in the light rain. It didn’t look as if a blitz had occurred the day before.

There was good news from Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park as they had their first two striper weigh-ins of the year on Saturday. Doug Cobb had a 30-inch, 9.05-pounder on clam from the back bay, but Dave Hankins came in late Saturday with a 37-inch, 19.85-pound bass that hit an SP Minnow in the surf. That fish was a new arrival full of sea lice.

The surf was clearing today, and should be calm by the morning.

Chuck Many, with a recent striper released from his Ty Man, will be doing a seminar on striper fishing at the Staten Island Tuna Club on Wednesday evening. Details in tomorrow’s blog.Chuck striper