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Captain's Focus

Though there had been some good striper action to the south on Friday, it was the northern fleet that had the action today -- even if it was almost all shorts. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter at Atlantic Highlands saw the armada of trollers and boats chasing birds in Raritan Bay and decided to take a ride which put him into the best striper action of the year. He estimated that over 600 bass were caught, with almost all rel eased as there were few keepers among them.  Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from that port had a similar report of wild action on plain metal jigs and small shads during a beautiful day with a calm ocean. On the other hand, the Golden Eagle from Belmar had only four Atlantic mackerel all morning before taking a long ride to get into those short stripers. Trollers had been doing very well with the ocean stripers, but that changed today. Capt. Arthur Stokes caught two 34-to-36-inch stripers in a row on Tony Maja bunker spoons in 30 feet off Lavallette from Side Job out of Brielle, but saw only two others boated in a huge fleet Small stripers provided some action for surfcasters in many locations. I fished Sea Girt and picked five up to 21 inches on a Tsunami Sand Eel and Castaways Super Teaser. Fly rod pro Bill Massey of Wall released three small bass. At Seaside Park, Betty & Nicks had a report of 33-inch stripers being caught Friday night on needlefish. Grumpy's Tackle heard of small mackerel joining the herring close to shore.

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