Bluefish have been more abundant than ever at this time of year when Shore party boats often struggle while Raritan Bay anglers have to fight them off in order to get through to a striper. Even Pete La Boy, who had caught all three stripers during the previous week's trip couldn't get through the blues -- but when Woerner moved up the Hudson River, La Boy boated the only two bass up to about 18 pounds.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc has had the same problem finding stripers among the blues on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, but he's happy with the steady action on both bait and jigs with blues averaging 12 pounds. At Seaside Park, Betty Nick's reported 30-pound stripers pushed a school of bunkers onto the beach in town during the morning.
I thought the river fishing for big blues might be over, but after doing nothing the last two mornings in the Bradley Beach surf, I tried upriver in Manasquan River late in the afternoon and saw a few choppers taken in brief flurries despite a howling west wind. At Seaside Park, the bite of big blues in the surf that made Sunday's Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament such a success continues.
Bob Mathews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina, reported trolling is producing bass in ocean waters, and anglers working bunker schools are starting to catch big migrating stripers on snagged bunkers. Matt Slobodjian, at Jim's Tackle in Cape May, reported Striper fishing continues to be pretty good along the North Cape May beaches and rock piles.
Capt. Vinny Vetere, of Katfish Charters at Great Kills, almost had his first 50-pounder of the season in the river on Friday, but the gaff ripped open the belly of a fish that weighed only 48 pounds at the dock. A move to Bradley Beach to join Vinnie D'Anton of Shark River Hills in surfcasting for stripers didn't produce any linesiders, though D'Anton beached a bluefish of about 7 pounds with a Zoom plastic on a light jig head, and got cut off by another before I lost one that hit a Tsunami Shad.
The Seaside Park tackle shops are loaded up with bunker and clams for anglers seeking the winning blues and stripers. D'Anton then fished the surf at Bradley Beach, and broke the ice with a 24-inch striper on a shad lure.
The annual Governor's Surf Tournament will be contested Sunday at Island Beach State Park as anglers hope for a continuation of fine surfcasting for large bluefish in that area. Capt. Joe Massa said his crew fished through lots of bluefish in the West Bank area last Saturday to catch six bass while chunking and live-lining bunkers in the West bank area from My III Sons out of Morgan Marina.
Tony Arcabascio's Tony Maja bunker spoon struck again with the first big striper taken out of Barnegat Inlet. Geno Belcastro of Baltimore beached four bass up to 15 pounds on bunker in the park, and J. Christofer had a 19-pound striper plus four 18-pound blues there on bunker.
Capt. Vinny Vetere, of Katfish Charters in Great Kills, trolled Monday in the ocean from Monmouth Beach to Deal to catch eight large stripers up to 37 pounds on TGT Rattle Spoons. It wasn't on-fire as conditions weren't great with the weather and water clarity not what it should be, but we did see some nice bass caught along the North Cape May Beach.
Capt. Dave De Gennaro of Hi Flier from Barnegat reports The big gator blues are getting more aggressive as the water temp climbs just a little in the back bay. Our last visit there on Saturday kept us jumping with the big blues who invaded our clam slick for two hours but Matt Polito of Phila, PA managed a 14 pound striper in the middle of the bluefish barrage.