Though daytime surfcasting remains very picky, there has been some action with mostly short bass in the dark -- particularly around the high tides. Joe Melillo, at Castaway's Tackle in Point Pleasant, got into a few bass Thursday night at Bay Head, and said everyone fishing from there to Mantoloking seemed to do well on plugs.
Though there were no large splashes, I made a few casts with the 5-ounce Tactical Anglers Sea Pencil and was surprised to hook a bass just short of 28 inches. We had sand eels between the channels then, and Quon with his friends from Brooklyn jigged lots of bass in the teens and twenties when they sailed on Sheri Berri at dawn under a canopy of birds before trollers put the bass down.
Gary Quon, of Tady Lure Co. in California, is in N. J. to test his jigs on our stripers, so Capt. Hans Kaspersetz and I made a special effort to get him out this afternoon in between gale warnings on Sheri Berri from Baker's Marina on the Bay in Highlands. We found lots of bird action off the Highlands Bridge, but had already heard from Capt. Rob Semkewyc on the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands that there were only fussy short stripers under them.
With all the NW wind the surf should be flat calm tomorrow, but that wind will also blow the water off shallow beaches. There were lots of sea bass and jumbo porgies Sunday along with a few cod and pollock, two triggerfish and a lobster.
Joe Melillo, at Castaway's Tackle in Point Pleasant, weighed several surf stripers from Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Gerald CeCe of Point Pleasant plugged two of 12 1 2 and 19 1 2 pounds in Bay Head.
Tady jigs worked fine as that boat fished to the east, but only blues and short bass cooperated -- with just a couple of keeper bass on the boat. He noted that unless we get a run of sand eels and a shot of migrating bass from the north this could be the worst fall fishery in memory.
Bob Longo of Brick had a 14-pounder plugging at Manasquan, and Jesse Shore from Point Pleasant caught a 12 5 8-pound bass on a teaser at Bay Head. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina, reported lots of bass caught by boaters while surfcasters cast plugs and teasers at night to hook shorts plus a few keepers up to 15 pounds.
Yet, there's reason to expect good action simply because the bunker schools returned this week and many large stripers have been taken by boaters all along the Shore. Castaways also reports good flounder fishing in the Point Pleasant Canal area.
Capt. Rob Semkowyc has been jigging a mix of short and keeper bass plus large blues on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, though every day is completely different as he's fished from Raritan Bay to as far east as Debs Inlet. The huge 2011 Chesapeake Bay year class should be providing a lot of small bass along the coast, but I never saw any until Tuesday while fishing with Chuck Many of Annandale on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands.
Bob Correll of Bay Head joined Mike Heaney of Allendale on his 32-foot Sea Vee, Four Reel, from Crystal Point in Point Pleasant along with Joe Holl and Joe Farrell from Ramsey as they worked bunker schools Tuesday morning from Bay Head to Seaside and caught 11 bass averaging 18 pounds and up to a 41-incher. Joe Melillo, of Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, caught a short bass on metal in the Bay Head surf on Tuesday and lost another.