The Shore's tuna fishing elite and his many other friends gathered today at O'Brien Funeral Home in Wall for final goodbyes to the greatest giant tuna skipper of the era, Capt. Bob Pisano. Melillo mentioned that water temperatures had moved up in the northeast winds to over 50 degrees.
Capt. Stan Zagleski said anchoring his Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands was difficult Thursday due to a lack of wind and current, but his fares caught from a couple up to 4-tog limits. I fished the Sea Girt surf at dusk Thursday with a similar lack of results, and the Seaside Park tackle shops had no reports today.
A giant tuna run had just developed in the Mud Hole, and Pisano had boated a 400-pounder the day before through the tuna door of the 36-foot Runaway rather than having to hoist it in on a gin pole as was traditionally done. A giant tuna run had just developed in the Mud Hole, and Pisano had boated a 400-pounder the day before through the tuna door of the 36-foot Runaway rather than having to hoist it in on a gin pole as was traditionally done.
I took a look from Point Peasant to Bay Head in the afternoon, but saw few anglers fishing into a rough and dirty surf. Though the wind was supposed to be light southwest, it seemed to be coming from the southeast. The forecast is for light west winds, so participation should be improved tomorrow.
Not surprisingly, there were no surf or boat reports from this morning as a hard northwest wind combined with temperatures around 10 degrees to keep even the most dedicated at home. The forecast is for much better weather the next few days, and lighter west winds should at least calm the ocean a bit.
Striped bass also seemed to prefer the warmer breezes that have prevailed this winter as I didn't hear of any caught by the regulars at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, including one who had started in Island Beach State Park. There were some anglers braving the cold when I checked Bay Head and Point Pleasant in the afternoon, but no word of any bass or the herring that have been holding them.
Tom Hollywood of Staten Island had a limit up to 8 1 2 pounds today, but Palisades Kenny was red hot with four tog from 8 1 2 to 11 pounds. I fished the same northern Ocean County beach that was loaded with herring Saturday evening and produced two short bass on Mambo Minnows for me.
Then this morning there was a 12-pound bass that Wayne Kopsky of Howell caught on a white shad at Bay Head, and a 16 1 4-pounder by Matt Smith of Greenwich, N. Y on an SP Minnow in the park. The Bay Head surf was loaded with herring all morning, but Bob Correll of that town only saw one bass taken on a snagged herring while all lures were ignored.
Pisano opted to spend his last days at home with hospice care, and I feel fortunate to have visited him a weeks ago when he was still able to discuss the glory days of Mud Hole giant tuna fishing -- of which he was a pioneer. Though there was no surf blitz to report today, the following report from Capt. Dave De Gennaro of Hi Flier out of Barnegat indicated there are still lots of stripers in our waters Sailed today with a full Open Boat and the fishing was awesome.
He saw bass of various sizes from shorts to 25 pounds plus 10-to-15-pound blues pushing adult bunkers up on the beaches even as the northeast wind made it difficult to cast even heavy lures. I have caught school stripers almost to the end of January some years when water temperatures didn't drop too low, but asking for another big bass blitz and even bluefish in January is truly praying for a miracle even though the water remains warm enough.