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Captain's Focus

Striped bass jigging was good all day for Chuck Many of Annandale on his Tyman from Gateway Marina in Highlands as Nellie Greer of Bethlehem, Pa. and I joined him at 6 a.m. to end up the day with 42 striper releases plus 14 large bluefish set free. Though there were lots of birds spotted between the channels as soon as we got out, the fish under them wouldn't hit the large jigs that were easy to use with the NW wind and strong current. I finally caught a 12-pound bluefish -- a species that had been completely missing when I fished that area last week. Despite that, I decided to try the 7-inch Tsunami Swim Eel on all those fish that were marking, but not hitting. After that there was no trouble getting hits. If the fish marked, they hit the Tsunami eel. Unfortunately, I did have some problem with the 8-to-12-pound choppers, and lost other eels because I used a 30-pound teaser rig on my light surf rod and lost lures due to doubleheaders breaking them off. The morning bass were keepers with most in the 30-to-32-inch class, with a couple of 34-inchers being the largest.Many moved down the beach, seeking a hot spot with no competition. He didn't find that, but picked away on shad lures while also putting me into surfacing fish where I was able catch both a bass and a blue by casting a Cordell Pencil Popper. On the way back, Many came across scattered birds over occasional splashes off Sandy Hook. Shad lures worked best, but I stayed with the popper -- and got one good shot at an explosion as the cast landed on the spot and I was hooked up before I could turn the handle. That fish took me around the boat before Many netted our largest of the day at 37 inches with the little reaser in its head and my popper broken off. Many finished up to the north, where we left them biting on the Tsunami 6-inch Swim Eel which we managed to get deep enough for the bass. That's the size I use for surfcasting. Allen Riley of South Plainfield fished the Monmouth Beach surf this morning, but said there was no bait and no fish. Jay Russell was successful Sunday evening at Spring Lake with both a keeper and two shorts while casting a plug and teaser. Shimano rep Doug Rusch ran his Fin Fun from Manasquan to Seaside on Sunday as Bill Klimas of Scotch Plains with his son Brian, plus Folsom rep Nick Cicero jigged and trolled to boat four stripers while releasing others plus big blues.

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