After striper fishing went dead for most in the Raritan Bay area on Thanksgiving, the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reported it bounced back today with birds over mixed-size bass up to the 17. Though party boat striper fishing was poor on Thanksgiving, I did hear of some good catches in bunker schools by charter boats that day.
There were lots of boats on the water Thanksgiving morning, but reports were generally poor. I didn't see any great surf reports Thanksgiving morning, but managed to catch a small striper on my first cast for the second day in a row at a southern Monmouth County beach.
The Raritan Bay area striper report was better today after a slow start with lots of birds and good readings, but only a pick of small bass on shads with very few keepers - and some big blues. O'Connor fished South Amboy beach during the week and managed one keeper bass of 30 inches and three shorts on the late Gus Geant's popper that was lost to a fish he never saw.
Better weather is coming this week, and west winds should settle the surf. Lasko waded in the river during Saturday night and caught a school striper while Will Fredricks released four -- and Maren Toleno from Mantoloking outfished the guys with seven bass up to a 27-incher.
I noted in last night's blog that the hard southwest wind forecast for today might prevent a repeat of yesterday's scattered striper blitzes along the Shore. After the weigh-in list at Grumpy's Tackle in Seaside Park was loaded with big bass yesterday, there were only a few bass today-- and nothing big.
Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant also fished in Bay Head, but snagged bunkers to catch seven bass that included a 51-incher and another over 40 pounds. Indeed, the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant considers Saturday to be a blowout day and won't be sailing even though today's striper trip was good -- with the emphasis on quality rather than quantity The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands found plenty of birds and good readings, but fishing was difficult in the wind and current as they drifted at 3.
Yet, my next hookup on the same lure was a striper of about 18 inches-- a size we didn't see at all last week. The striper run in Raritan Bay continues to delight party and boat anglers who normally catch almost all small stripers during the fall run while hoping to find a keeper among them.
Chuck Many of Annandale and I released even more stripers today than during the wild casting bite with Tsunami 5-inch shads last Wednesday afternoon on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands, 54 to 51, but most of them were small bass rather than the quality fish of last week. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a decent day of striper fishing, with bass up to 25 pounds, though the bite was not up to the previous two days.