1000's of NJ Saltwater Fishing Reports, Dozens of Sources, Maps, Wrecks, Historical Search

Captain's Focus

The Marine Fisheries Council has taken advantage of the ASMFC offer to allow a limited reduction in summer flounder minimum length for shore fishermen. JCAA President Paul Haertel was at yesterday’s meeting when the council voted in favor of a tightly-monitored limit of two fluke at a 16-inch minimum in Island Beach State Park. That opportunity won’t be available for a while as it must go through legal requirements at the DEP — where dates will be set and monitoring regulations developed. The ASMFC allowed Connecticut to provide that opportunity for shore anglers last year, and other states can now take advantage of it. Additional sites could be added in the future if they can be properly monitored. Haertel noted that the council also urged opposition to dredging sand off coastal ridges and lumps in order to provide the material for beach replenishment — and to coastal seismic testing especially during times of the year when fish are likely to be abundant. It took a while to get started, but striped bass fishing turned hot in Raritan Bay before the mid-week rain and strong east winds put a temporary crimp in the action. Those baiting with clams and bunker plus trollers with Stretch plugs and bunker spoons all shared in the action, which should resume as the waters clear. This week’s heavy rains will surely muddy the bay to some extent, though a few tide changes may be all we need to turn the bite on. Check my daily blog at nj.com/shore/blogs/fishing for updates on those conditions and the fishing. TOP CATCHES Party boat skippers along the Shore are hoping that the east winds brought some ocean stripers in for the spring jigging we’ve become used to the last few years. They’ve had to run all the way up to Raritan Bay for any action so far. Chuck Many of Annandale got off to a late start Monday with his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands, and had to be back by noon. Yet, after Nellie Greer of Bethlehem, Pa., loaded the live well with bunkers on a single throw of the castnet, Matt Calabria of Hazlet and I helped bring the boat’s release total up to 12 bass that hit live and chunked bunker in the middle of the bay. The only bass caught casting a shad lure was the largest, a 24.6-pounder hooked by Calabria that was a short, fat fish bursting with roe which will be shed any day now in the Hudson River to perpetuate the stock that provides most of our striper fishing. Capt. Sal Cursi anchored in the same general area with Jim Curcio’s Shananagans from Morgan Marina, and had a hot bite with several bass over 25 pounds and up to a 36-pounder. Most unusual was a 25-pound bass that was full of milt — an exceptionally large size for a male striper. Capt. Stan Zagleski took a break from striper fishing with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands over the weekend to satisfy his blackfish regulars with two days of tog fishing before the end of the spring season on April 30. Cold bottom waters have hurt that fishery, and the first drop Saturday was no good. A mix of keepers and shorts was found at the next spot, primarily on clams. Sunday’s fishing was tough, though Bob Clary of Belleville took the pool with a cod. Striper clamming was slow when Zagleski returned to that fishery on Monday. Only a few bass were caught, but Greg Barnett of Trenton was happy with his 18-pound pool winner. Stretch plug trolling wasn’t good in the back of the bay that day. I had fished there Saturday with Gene Graman and Freddie Fessel of Middletown on Graman’s That’s It from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands as a limit of six bass up to 37 inches hit chartreuse Stretch 25 plugs while a couple of other keepers and a 27-incher were released before Graman left them biting in order to head in for breakfast. Yet, on Monday there were only a couple of hits. Carlos Rebelo of Keyport boated an 18-pound bass that had a partially-digested bunker in it — which is news because the bass I’ve seen cleaned have had no bait in them. I’ve heard the same thing from other skippers, which is surprising considering there are enough bunkers in the bay to draw the interest of bunker seiners. Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant trailered his small boat up to Keyport on Monday and did nothing trolling Stretch plugs after only catching a few small shorts on clams. Fortunately, he marked bass in 8-foot depths on the way back and released two of 17 and 19 pounds that hit a slow-trolled Daiwa SP Minnow near the surface. Joe Massa had a hot bunker chunking bite Saturday in the back of the bay on his My Three Sons from Morgan Marina, and Dave Lilly of Hazlet trolled Tony Maja bunker spoons for stripers in the twenties near Raritan Reach. The Bi-State Shad Contest drew 217 anglers who fished the Delaware River out of Phillipsburg for four days under ever-changing conditions. Dave Perruso, of Palmer Township, Pa. said the weather varied from sunny to thunderstorms to 30 mph winds to 35 degree wind chills and blowing rain. His boat ended up catching a total of 125 shad in the four days, but the largest of 5.45 pounds wasn’t big enough for a prize. Tom Mammano of Easton won the $3,000 first prize with a 5.96-pound shad. Bully Morgan of Phillipsburg was fifth for $450, but took the senior bonus award for anglers 75 and up with a 5.814-pounder The 2014 FCA Manhattan Cup will be run out of N.J. for the first time on Friday, May 16. The new site is Liberty Landing Marina at 80 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City. There are four levels of boat selections for this charity event that includes breakfast, box lunch and the services of a professional guide or top-notch private fisherman — and is capped off with an awards dinner. For details visit www.manhattancup.com. There was good news from the surf on Sunday, as Joe Melillo at Castaway’s Tackle in Point Pleasant reported Gerald CeCe released two 27-inch bass from a local beach on a metal-lipped swimmer. The surf has been rough since then, but Jim Gates of Bay Head was able to release a keeper that hit a clam Tuesday morning — and also lost another bass on a plug.

Report Conditions


Ocean Temps

Moon and Sun

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Web Analytics