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Captain's Focus

Striped bass fishing continued today in Raritan Bay at a high level and by a variety of methods. After a rainy and cool early morning, it turned out to be a nice day for fishing the bay. I joined Gene Graman and Fred Fessel from Middletown on Gene's That's it from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands as we trolled stripers shortly after entering the bay. The marks in that area disappeared as the weather improved, and we moved to the back of the bay for a good pick. Graman had some friend requests for fish, and a three-man limit of six bass up to 37 inches was boated before we left them biting in order to enjoy the blueberry pancakes for breakfast at the Girl's Cafe in Highlands. Only one short was encountered, and a few smaller keepers were released. Though the bass all looked healthy, there wasn't a thing in any of them. Capt. Joe Massa chunked bunkers in the back of the bay, and had fast fishing with keeper bass from his My Three Sons out of Morgan Marina. At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Scotty Hilliard was hoping for another day as good as Friday on his Prowler V as over 40 keepers up to 22 pounds were caught that day along with only a few shorts.       Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a decent pick of keepers and shorts today from his Sea Hunter, though it never developed into a hot bite. The Golden Eagle from Belmar was on the hunt for stripers today, but reported only one keeper plus some shorts on swim shads and clams. Capt. Jim McFarland said Scott Testa's party from Rockaway were out for the second day on his Big Mac from Green Harbor, Ma., and loaded up with 133 haddock plus some cod. McFarland said they've had the best haddock fishing in 30 years.    Surf conditions are improving, and should be fine on Sunday with a northwest wind. Clams are still the best bet for stripers, but the water is warming enough to make lures a possibility. Grumpy's Tackle in Seaside Park has heard of bass being hooked on metal and SP Minnows.

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