Big swell hurts ocean fishing

The ocean swell was big enough today to make Shark River Inlet so rough that the Big Mohawk turned around and returned to its berth in Belmar.  They’ll give it another try at 7 a.m. Friday — and at 6:30 am. from Saturday through Monday to finish out the spring N.J. blackfish season which closes at the end of the month.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that winter flounder still haven’t produced much action at the docks there, with more fluke taking the baits. Small stripers are being caught in the surf. However, Jim Louro of Spring Lake said he gave up quickly this morning due to the big swell. The forecast for Friday is for moderate east winds with small craft warnings plus rain before west winds should produce better conditions over the weekend.

The Sea Hunter got out into Raritan Bay from Atlantic Highlands this morning, but Capt. Rob Semkewyc said it was just a pick of shorts with an occasional keeper that kept him on the first drop for the rest of the tide rather than taking a chance by moving from the modest bite. He noted that trollers were doing better.

Capt. Joe Massa made a short Wednesday evening trip with John D’Andrea on My Three Sons from Morgan Marina and had good trolling in greater depths than the fleet has been fishing. They caught five bass of legal size, which had sea lice on them, plus two shorts.

Capt. Hans Kaspersetz is back from serving as an observer at a billfish tournament in the Dominican Republic, and ready to start chartering Sheri Berri from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands. If you’d like to fish with Hans and me on that fast 25-foot Regulator, send a e-mail to me at cristori@aol,com. — or call 732 757-5531.

 

Hank Matri - March 2018 - East End Lodge - Grand Bahama Is

A touch of the tropics. Hank Matri with a Bahamas bonefish on a fly before the release in March

Fishing resuming in N.J.

The head photo is of the huge Pacific cubera snapper described in yesterday’s blog just before release from the Pesca Panama Oceanmaster I was fishing aboard last week.

The late March northeaster put a big dent in northern fishing activity, but things are looking up this week. The Ocean Explorer from Belmar plans to sail for cod on Wednesday and the rest of the week, while the Golden Eagle from that port resumes fishing on Friday at 7:30 a.m. for herring and mackerel until stripers get started next month. The Ocean Explorer got into some 12-to-15-pound cod during the last trip before the storm — and finally saw water temperatures up to 40 degrees. Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports small stripers hitting small plugs in the back bay.

Inshore waters remain very cold, though that should change quickly. Joe Melillo, of Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said it’s even been too cold for the largemouth bass in his local ponds. The shop is being refurbished, but they’re shooting for an opening next week.

Sometimes the one that got away makes a day more memorable than the catches. That was the case yesterday when I fished with my daughter Cyndi and her boyfriend Luis Gonzalez of Palmetto Bay, Fl. Luis ran his trailered 22-foot Pursuit, Sheri Berri III, to Pacific Reef off Miami. While the yellowtail snapper bite was slow, Cyndi suddenly found herself hooked up to a big fish on a very light spinning rod. My former mate on Sheri Berri II, when I had that boat at Point Pleasant and Brielle, did a fine job running around the boat with what we suspected was a toothy critter that had eaten a small fish on her line. Despite having no leader to a tiny jig, Cyndi hung on to the fish for quite some time and got a ray of hope when we saw the silver side of a big barracuda underwater before it finally cut the light mono. It was fun while it lasted!

Cyndi pic