It took some time before I finally got a glimpse of the fish in the crystal clear waters, and determined it was a bonefish -- but a monster!As Richard lifted it in by the 20-pound leader, the leader broke and the bonefish catch of a lifetime had his release before those last shots.
Dave Perruso, of Palmer Township, Pa. reports shad fishing busted wide open over the weekend in the Easton Phillipsburg area of the Delaware River. I thought that might have been the first blue from the Raritan Bay area, but Mark Roy called to report he's been chunking in the bay for everal days with little striper action -- though three blues have been caught from his Release Me out of Raritan Bay Marina.
We had some interesting fishing (more about that later in the week), before I drove up to Islamorada to fish for tarpon Friday evening out of Bud Mary's Marina with old friend and retired marina owner Richard Stanczyk the pioneer of daytime swordfishing. As I was fighting that tarpon, Stanczyk noted that there must be an accident on the bridge as everything was stopped.
The word he got from other skippers Saturday afternoon is that Raritan Bay stripers weren't responding to trolling as they had been lately. Just the day before, Capt. John Kolias had started his charter season with Reel Fun from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands as the Bob Kagan party enjoyed that boat's best opener in 13 years by limiting with four bass over 20 pounds plus six releases from 7 45 to 10 a. m.
Striped bass fishing was good Friday morning in Raritan Bay for Capt. Vinnie Vetere of Katfish Charters in Great Kills. The Tackle Box in Hazlet weighed a 40-pound bass trolled Thursday in the Reach on a bunker spoon by Harry Mesbay of Robbinsville.
Last Friday's International Game Fishing Association Banquet in Spring Lake was another big success as N. J. IGFA rep Jeff Merrill reported a sell-out crowd of 170 raised 18,000 for the IGFA Junior Angler and Conservation programs. Capt. Joe Massa got into some fine redfishing on the flats near Venice, La. last Saturday, but the north wind had dropped off when he flew into Newark Sunday morning so he called me to make a late afternoon trip in the bay on his My III Sons out of Morgan.
BLOG4 Blackfishing turned on Sunday for anglers fishing aboard the Ocean Explorer and Big Mohawk out of Belmar Marina. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den in that marina, reported that Rock Bottom Charters limited out and released others.
Though some stripers have been caught trolling and by casting jigs in Raritan Bay, those fish have been slow to turn onto the bunkers which have been abundant there for weeks. Massa released a similar bass on the next drift before we headed in after proving our point with three bass and a couple of other hits on just four bunkers.
Given that water temperatures of 45 to 47 degrees in the ocean aren't much lower than in Raritan Bay (where stripers are active), it seems likely that bass are also feeding along the coast. Capt. Steve Dellaportas of the charter boat Striper Sniper had one just over 10 pounds on Saturday.