Steady rain kept most anglers at home this morning, but Tony Arcabascio of Bayville said some of the dedicated trollers in his area cleaned up on big stripers off Seaside with his Tony Maja bunker spoons. On Sunday, Arcabascio added another angler to his 50-pound honor roll on Maja spoons as Stephen Moran boated a 55.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc, of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, said the bass were pushing adult bunker to the surface, and the largest boated weighed 27 pounds. Capt. Russ Binns of Toms River put his crew into three stripers up to a 30-pounder full of bunkers while live-baiting off Asbury Park with his Mar-Lin on Sunday morning, but did better by leaving the mob scene to troll bunker spoons a couple of miles offshore for steady action on both bass and jumbo blues.
Matthews said many boaters did well, but we only saw one bass caught by any boat fishing around us. Most of the charter boats are fishing the wrecks on or out beyond the 20 fathom line and getting limits of nice fish almost every trip.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc said it was gorgeous by 10 a. m., and the birds stayed up all day as fares on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands caught lots of 28-to-34-inch keeper stripers plus 24-to-28-inch slots. The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported plenty of 12-to-13-pound blues, but only a few stripers.
Capt. Ron Santee said the early breeze and good current produced some keepers up to a 15-pounder and slots on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands, but there was no repeat of yesterday's hot action on the next tide change. Both the Golden Eagle from Belmar and Miss Belmar Princess reported catching a few stripers early despite lots of boat traffic before the fishing became very slow the rest of the day as the wind started howling.
Getting out for the early bite is usually so important for the Shore striped bass run that even some party boats are moving up their sailing times in order to be on the grounds when stripers are most likely to be feeding. Sandy Hook Channel has been producing stripers on eels at night, but came alive during the day on Wednesday as both blues and stripers attacked bunker schools coming through.
There was a big improvement in Raritan Bay striper fishing today for the Atlantic Highlands fleet as Sandy Hook Channel was loaded up with bunker schools being blasted by stripers and large blues. Matt Slobodjian at Jim's Tackle in Cape May reports Sea bass fishing has been very good on the wrecks in 20 fathoms.
Chuck Many of Annandale got off to a good start while loading up with bait in the back of Raritan Bay with his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands as Nellie Greer from Bethlehem Pa. released two stripers up to 25 pounds using the snag drop technique while Many and I had several bass on-and-off. The bite seemed to die on the flood, and a call from Johnny Bucktails drew Many back to Raritan Bay where birds were working during mid-day and Many released a 29-inch striper on his first cast with a Tsunami Shad.
Chunking was slow, but Many released two 35-inch stripers plus a spiny dogfish which had no business in the river. We also had lots of action with very small stripers under birds in both rivers, though Many did find a 29-incher among them on a heavier Tsunami Shad.
Boats were driving the fish down, but he did get in one good drift that produced keepers. Capt. Rob Semkewyc found bass on top right away with his Sea Hunter, but other boats put them down -- and the fish moved fast after that, He only got in two good drifts that produced several keepers.