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Captain's Focus

The overdue herring made a showing today, ensuring that there will be forage to hold stripers and blues in local waters for a while after peanut bunkers move south. Though I got to Lavallette after the action was over, I arrived just as a surfcaster beached a 28-inch bass on a popper by casting blind. Within 15 minutes after that the moderate northeast wind started picking up and cutting down casting distance. Those who had been there earlier said bass had come within casting range, and that they were chasing herring.  It had been a lot different in Mantoloking earlier in the morning. Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant had been doing well with small stripers in the surf before daylight. He lost a bass in the wash on his first cast at 5 a.m., and figured that was the start of a hot bite. Yet, it was some time before the same thing happened. Then, at first light, we both hooked up with 20-inch class bass on black Mambo Minnows. We each added another in what turned out to be a 5-mimute "blitz", though other anglers picked a few small bass after that. Joe Melillo had quite a few striper weigh-ins over the weekend at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant. Lasko, and Mark Blacco of Tuckerton topped the list with  15-pounders, followed by Bob Longo of Brick at 14 1/2 pounds. Russel Scortino of Howell had a 14 1/4-pound striper. and Mike Longo from Brick weighed a 13 1/4-pounder. Capt. Dave Riback completed his season with the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant on Monday with another fine catch of stripers for his regulars. The Jamaica from Brielle had another big catch of jumbo sea bass and porgies plus a few bluefish on Sunday's offshore wreck trip. They are sailing every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday , with departures at 11 p.m. the previous night. Those booked Tuesday and Thursday have the option of switching to a better forecast on Wednesday, which is a limited trip at $190.  Call 732 528-5014 for reservations and changes.

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