Big sea bass and porgies have been biting on the far offshore deep water wrecks that the Jamaica from Brielle normally fishes all winter. After missing a couple of hits there Sunday morning, I returned to the Bay Head surf this morning and managed to release two small stripers while also missing another one on the 6-inch Tsunami Swim Eel despite a big swell from an offshore storm.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc reports there were even more patches of short stripers for anglers on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands this morning, and a single bass close to 15 pounds was boated from among them. Joe Melillo, at Castaway's Tackle in Point Pleasant, said he dropped two hooked bass from a local beach this morning, but he saw a few small stripers released.
Capt. Russ Binns of Toms River ended up 27 miles south of Manasquan Inlet without finding anything before he got into a few 20-inch bass close to the beach at a couple of stops on the way back. Capt. Ryan Bogan, of Jamaica II at Brielle, said bottom fishing was very good for ling, with some sea bass also being boated.
That fishing dropped off, but Bob Matthews at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina said there was some good surf action before the storm from Sandy Hook to Asbury Park for school bass up to 25 inches. Conditions should be much better for surfcasters today, and boaters will probably find plenty of bass to work onA sturgeon of about six feet was the highlight of last Friday's trip with Chuck Many of Annandale on his Tyman from Gateway Marina in Highlands along with Nellie Greer from Bethlehem, Pa. and Brad Knecht of Nazareth, Pa.
I checked Bay Head this morning and talked to one angler who had braved the bitter cold to release two legal stripers on a needlefish plug before daylight despite the shallow waters due to a low tide and and the northwest wind that blows water off the beach. I returned around noon when the water was up,and only needed my Tsunami Marlin boat boots to walk the calm surf, but the water was crystal clear and with no bait showing it didn't look promising.
Nothing much went on this morning in the local surf, but a couple of bass were hooked at Point Pleasant. Bob Correll of Bay Head fished his local surf late in the afternoon to catch a hickory shad, but watched young Ryan McCabe catch his first striper ever -- a 20-incher on metal.
Many left the hot afternoon bite of small schoolies to try drifting live eels and large peanut bunkers in Ambrose Channel and the Hudson River for a big fish, but had no hits. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands had another good early jigging bite between the channels, and ended up releasing lots of short bass to get some keepers plus a few blues.