Thursday’s nasty weather may prove to be a good thing in the long run if it finally gets the fall striped bass migration started along the Shore, where water temperatures have been much too high.Though they were only down a degree to 69 at both the buoys off N.Y. Harbor and Barnegat, there should be more cooling with lowering night temperatures coming up.
Fred Golofaro, editor of the L.I. edition of The Fisherman magazine, told me there have been some stripers taken by both surfcasters and boaters off easter Long Island, but there are only modest quantities of bunkers and sand eels in that area to hold them.
Yet, there’s been some pretty good striper fishing on what are probably resident fish in the Hudson and East rivers despite 74 degree water temperatures. I joined Chuck Many of Annandale on a 10:30 a.m. trip aboard his Ty Man from Gateway Marina n Highlands during a beautiful Tuesday with a light NW wind as he found fish at every spot he tried. After five weakfish from 22 to 24 inches were released in the Hudson on sand worms and peanut bunkers, Many moved to the East River where school stripers hit the same baits along with a 36 1/2-incher that surprised me on my light conventional rig consisting off a Jigging World Black Demon 7’5″ Blackfish rod with an Avet SX reel. The most unusual catch there occurred as Many started to move up on a new drift and I felt a bump as I reeled i my sand worms. Bluefish often do that, so I lowered my rod tip and came tight with the small circle hook before reeling in a 10 1/2-inch sea bass — which is unusual in the East River and the first I’ve ever trolled!
An attempt at larger stripers in deeper water outside the river was foiled by big bluefish that hit both peanut bunkers and eels, but Many made a short run to another spot where I released a 26-pound linesider on an eel and had no bluefish problem as we left stripers biting to get back before dark with the striper release count up to 17 that included 10 over 28 inches.
Stripers residing in such warm waters often have sores on them and have to be worked in the water before swimming off, but these were all good-looking bass that shot out of our hands on the release.
Joe Massa of My Three Sons at Morgan Marina joined ex-Assemblyman Vito Talarico on his Jersey Patriot from Jersey City for a short “pre-work” eeling trip in the Hudson on Wednesday morning and caught eight stripers up to 19 1/2 pounds.
There have been a few signs of life in the surf even though conditions weren’t good until Wednesday. Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park weighed in a 47-inch, 29.85-pound striper that Steve Marshall caught on bunker in the Island Beach State Park surf last Saturday. Betty & Nick’s reported school bass hitting SP Minnows at night in the park surf before the blow.
Vinny D’Anton of Wall caught a small blue on a Chug Bug in Shark River Wenesday morning before moving to the Manasquan surf to release two stripers in the 18-to-19-inch class on that lure — plus another on a Storm Searchbait jig.
Bob Correll of Bay Head saw bait in his local surf Wednesday evening, though it stayed out of range. He did catch two hickory shad.The howling east winds pretty much killed Thursday’s ocean fishing, but Joe Melilllo at Castaway’s Tackle in Point Pleasant noted that Point Pleasant Canal is almost always fishable — and it’s loaded with blackfish while some of the pros are still catching jumbo blues on jigs and shads. I gave the canal a quick try in the morning with sandworms and hooked short tog while fighting through the small sea bass that make fishing there with soft baits difficult.
There was a big surprise from the canal on Wednesday, when Jack Webber of Point Pleasant walked in with a colorful 5 1/2-pound sheepshead that took a green crab. That’s the first one I’ve heard of in the canal.
The Golden Eagle and Miss Belmar Princess from Belmar, the Jamaica out of Brielle, and the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had been doing well with bluefish plus some bonito and little tunny before the storm, and will be looking for them as soon as the seas subside.
Porgies were keeping most pf the rest of the party boat fleets busy, but the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands is jigging blues until the stripers arrive, and the Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands is basically catch-and release fishing for blackfish except for the one allowed until the Nov. 16 opening for a 6-fish bag limit.
Last weekend’s Monmouth Beach Striper Classic, sponsored by The Tackle Box in Hazlet and FISHIN NATIONS, featured a 27.5-pound striper caught on clams by John Shearer of Middletown. The MB Striper Cup for a local resident went to young Trevor Crochet with a 25-pounder Friday night on clam. Several other bass were caught to win FISHIN NATIONS braided line surf combos.
Jersey Coast Bait & Tackle at 361 Mantoloking Rd. in Brick was closed, and has reopened as Gabrielle Tackle Co. with hours from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The phone number is 732 714-6600.
Jim Hutchinson Sr. reports for the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association as follows:
“The fishing action off Long Beach Island for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association continues to be a wide mix of fish from the inshore structure and artificial reefs along with some good action on false albacore, bonito and some bluefish.
Captain Carl Sheppard of the Star Fish is counting the days until the black sea bass season re-opens in New Jersey on October 22. He figures the sea bass will be thick along with some trigger fish for some top notch bottom fishing. Until then he plans on fishing for blues and tautog and getting out to the offshore waters for some pelagics. He terms the current fishing “good” and expects it to improve, especially when the big stripers arrive in another week or so.
Captain Lindsay Fuller of the June Bug has been catching a good number of false albacore on light tackle. He says these feisty fish provide all the action any angler could want on light tackle. He is also looking for bonito. He too is looking forward to striped bass season and is keeping his fingers crossed for some cooler weather to cool the water off.”