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Raritan Bay stripers break out on lures

Jim Louro of Spring Lake had breakthrough news this evening after fishing in Raritan Bay with Matt Del Mauro of Long Branch on an 18-foot bass boat. They went out without any bait in the afternoon to fish with lures,  and saw three seals chasing fish plus lots of bird action. I suggested giving the back of the bay a try when they called, and that worked out fine even though no fish were marked. Casting 5-inch Storm Shads in shallow 47-degree waters produced 29 stripers that were mostly over 28 inches. Jim caught a 22-pounder — and Matt a 15. This was a complete reversal of a fishery dominated by almost all shorts on bait.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar will be sailing for stripers from Belmar tomorrow to check out what the gannets have been diving on in the ocean. Also at that port, the Ocean Explorer had a good bite of blackfish on Tuesday that resulted in 20 keepers plus a bonus cod.

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, had the first report of legal blackfish being caught in Shark River Inlet. However, the winter flounder bite has never turned on at the docks — and may not happen this spring.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park noted that a surfcaster reported releasing two short stripers — one on bait and another on a lure.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will be sailing open for bottom fishing from Friday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations and info.

I’m still finding things in the basement for this weekend’s garage sale at 1552 Osprey Ct., Manasquan Park, NJ 08736. In addition to all the rods, reels, lines, lures. etc., there was a never-used planer board rigging and Chatillon hanging scales.

 

Ty Man finds lots of small stripers

Chuck Many had no lack of action today with his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands as 100 small bass were released by three anglers even though the water temperature was only 46 degrees.

Gannets were diving all over Raritan Bay and on the outside, but Many didn’t mark any big bass. It only took one throw of his cast net to get what was needed, and he said the small bass even hit bunker chunks in the running tide before really turning on to worms and clams as the current slowed. Yet, there wasn’t anything close to 28 inches among them.

The Golden Eagle is making its first striper trip out of Belmar at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. Hopefully they’ll find some under those gannets in the ocean.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar found blackfish action on bottom during Sunday’s trip, and it was good enough to produce some limits.

The Jamaica from Brielle has room on Saturday’s 1 a.m. offshore wreck trip for cod and pollock. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations on the limited trip that costs $140.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported their first surf striper — a short that hit metal.

I’ve been tied up getting ready for this weekend’s fishing tackle garage sale at my home — 1552 Osprey Ct., Manasquan Park, NJ 08736.  I keep finding things hiding in my basement, including a Penn International II  80S on a Daiwa 80-pound bent butt rod that I never got around to using. Call for info at 732 757-5531.

Ty Man catches first “20” in Raritan Bay

Chuck Many of Annandale, N.J. isn’t easily discouraged, even by a forecast of gale force winds, so he and Bob Bowden went down to his Ty Man in Gateway Marina, Highlands at dawn and found the only problem was fog covering a flat calm Raritan Bay. They had been catching lots of small stripers while clamming off Keyport, but this trip was completely different before the front blew them off the water. There were only a few hits, but Bowden caught the first 20-pound bass reported from the bay so far this spring. They also released a 30-incher and a bass only about 18 inches.  Many said the water temperature was in the narrow range of 44 to 45 degrees from the river to the bay. No bunkers were spotted in the bay, but gannets were diving in the ocean.

first 20

Capt. Chris De Stefano of Wall said he got a report of a big bluefish being caught in the Navesink River.

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, said the weather has made for tough fishing, but he finally saw six winter flounder caught from the docks on Sunday.  The Atlantic Highlands store isn’t open yet, but anglers fishing from shore in Raritan Bay have been catching school stripers.

Fly rod pro, Joe Blaze of Brielle, holder of IGFA fly rod world records for bigeye trevally, turned his attention to bonefish from March 13-18, 2018. He reports “Fished Grand Bahama Island East End Lodge and Little Abaco for bonefish and mutton snapper as a guest of Joe Jefferson Club members including Henry Matri, Peter Marron, Sean Davis, Bob LaViano, Bob Hekemian and Rich Pellizzi.  Weather and water was cool [65-75F], but significantly improving after the prior week of rain and overcast.  Fishing and catching was excellent with each member landing many bonefish each day.  A few permit spotted and one landed.  Several mutton snapper landed too.  Flies were the usual types including Crazy Charlie, Gotcha, Clouser minnows. ” 

I’ll be holding a fishing tackle garage sale with loads of new and used gear at 1552 Osprey Ct., Manasquan Park, NJ 08736 on April 14-15. More information will follow as the event gets closer.

Raritan Bay stripers turning on

The one bit of good local fishing news around the snow, rain and wind came from The Tackle Box in Hazlet as they reported lots of short stripers and some keepers caught by shore anglers on worms over the weekend. Coleen Shea of Cranford landed a 33-incher Sunday night, and released five other bass. The shop also noted that the water temperature was up to 49 degrees, and lures were starting to work.

 

Tackle box striperCapt. Joe Massa didn’t have such good fortune Saturday when he made a brief attempt with frozen clam bellies on his new My Three Sons from Morgan Marina. He chummed in very shallow waters, and got the skunk off with a short striper off Union Beach. Joe talked to Capt. Freddy Gamboa, who tried trolling in the bay on Andrea’s Toy from Keyport without success.

Gale warnings are up for Wednesday.

 

Wild giant tuna action in NC

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant has been enjoying great giant bluefin tuna action during their winter stay in North Carolina — whenever the weather permits them to get offshore. Adam La Rosa has been frustrated by so many charters being lost, but when the boat gets out the fishing has been spectacular. Seven giants to over 700 pounds were caught during the two most recent days at sea — March 19 and 24. On the first trip, the Mark Brzozowski party hooked an unheard of quadruple of giants at once after a slow morning. The next trip produced non-stop trolling action not only with giants but also yellowfin tuna and dolphin for the Matt Mozitis party. If you want to get in on this incredible bite, and are willing to wait out the weather, call Adam La Rosa at 732 272-4445.

 

The Tackle Box in Hazlet reports Matt Calabria has been picking away at small stripers in the back of Raritan Bay on bloodworms, and also caught the first keeper there.

Vinnie D’Anton  has been enjoying good light tackle casting from shorelines near his winter home in Sarasota, Fl. Spotted sea trout have been hitting 3-inch Gulp, and he topped yesterday morning’s catch with a 24-incher.