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.
Striped bass have been few and far between for northern party boats in both the ocean and Raritan Bay, so skippers really appreciate the current abundance of big bluefish. Blues from 10 to 16 pounds were blasting poppers and swimmers in Barnegat Bay for anglers fishing with Capt. Dave De Gennaro on his Hi-Flier from Barnegat.
Ocean striper and bluefish jigging has been poor despite the abundance of blues in the rivers and bays. Capt. Joe Massa put his crew on My III Sons from Morgan Marina into five stripers among non-stop blues while chunking in the West Bank area before finishing off with live bunkers that produced another bass.
Sunday morning looks best, with southwest winds finally arriving at 10 to 15 mph before ending up at 25 mph in the afternoon. At Seaside Park, Grumpy's Tackle reported that town's docks are producing big blues on bunker chunks -- while metal and bucktails are producing in the inlets.
Bluefish should also be available to shore anglers in Raritan Bay and Navesink River, but haven't been as much of a problem for striper fishermen as is usually the case in Raritan Bay at this time. Betty Nick's Tackle reported big blues on bucktails Wednesday morning at the south end of Island Beach State Park.