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SL11-15-13HOT STRIPER FISHING IN MANY AREASby Al RistoriIt appears the huge body of stripers that had been slowly moving west from Long Island has finally arrived in local waters as there have been birds working over bass along much of the coast this week with frequent blitz fishing for boaters and a few shots for surfcasters. Bottom fishermen will also get a break tomorrow when the fall season for blackfish opens with the bag limit increasing from one to six at the same 15-inch minimum through Dec.31.Just how good the striper fishing can be was illustrated by my trip on Monday with Chuck Many of Annandale on his Tyman from Gateway Marina in Highlands. Nellie Greer of Bethlehem, Pa., Many and I left them biting in the evening after 42 bass and 14 big bluefish had been released from between the channels down to Asbury Park -- and back again. Those bass were hooked on a variety of lures ranging from metal to shads and pencil poppers. There were lots of birds up between the channels, but the fish marking under them were very fussy about metal lures. With the wind not being too strong,I switched to the 7-inch Tsunami Swim Eel and it was "Fish on"every time we drifted through marks. Unfortunately, some of those hits came from lure-chopping blues that I hadn't seen between the channels recently. When we saw fish breaking under birds down the beach, I broke out a Cordell Pencil Popper and watched the exciting surface strikes as a 32-inch bass and a big blue were released before they went down. Casting that popper at scattered swirls from the Highlands Bridge to Sandy Hook later produced a 37-inch bass that ended up hooked on a tiny teaser. There were still plenty of bass between the channels yesterday as Capt. Hans Kaspersetz steered Sheri Berri from Baker's Marina on the Bay in Highlands into the bird action in rough seas , after just having returned from a trip to Germany necessitated by his mother's death. Those bass were also fussy about what they'd hit, but I had steady action with a new Hogy Epoxy jig with a black bucktail hook. Ron Bala, at Fishermen's Supply in Point Pleasant Beach, had given me a sample to try, and my first attempt with it Monday afternoon in the same area hadn't elicited a bump. Yet, to illustrate the need to carry a variety of lures, that 4-ounce jig worked perfectly on bass up to 38 inches in a very fast drift before it was broken off. A heavy Savage Eel then produced another bass before we came in early as the southwest wind was howling. Capt. Sal Cursi and Tony D'Anna of Clifton also picked some bass on a variety of lures. Tank Matraxia, and his Lyndhurst crew, were also out there in very sloppy seas with Capt. Fletcher Chayes on Two Rivers Charters from Bahrs in Highlands. They kept four bass up to about 15 pounds, and Matraxia put American Littoral Society tags into 28. Capt. Rob Semkewyc has had very good bass jigging in the rough conditions with his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands as boat traffic has been minimal and the birds stay up all day. He's found that a fast retrieve of the jig off bottom has worked best lately, and that shad lures haven't been effective on bass which are feeding on sand eels.Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina, reported the boats there are doing very well with bass and blues, but surfcasters have had to be around for occasional shots of action. That may have changed yesterday morning as many beach anglers got into a blitz of bass and blues at Sea Bright that lasted into the afternoon.There's been a pick of bass at Point Pleasant since I got lucky last Friday morning when a 31-inch striper hit my 6-inch Tsunami Swim Eel well after the sun came up. It was part of a doubleheader with a 10-inch sun dial on the teaser. Bob Clements of Point Pleasant Beach cast a needlefish plug just before daylight Wednesday to land a striper that weighed 15 1/4 pounds at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant. He also released a short.Capt. Stan Zagleski will switch to daily blackfishing at 7 a.m. tomorrow with his Elaine B. from Highlands. There was also a good striper bite to the south yesterday. The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported a boat limit of bass up to Bob Gieson's 23-pounder. For daily fishing reports visit my blog at nj.com/shore/blogs/fishing.END

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