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.
There might be a window of opportunity Saturday morning in Raritan Bay in a lighter southeast wind before it switches to a howling northwester in the afternoon. The southeast is bad news for surfcasters as Betty Nick's in Seaside Park reported there was a big sea there this morning.
President Gerald Ford signed the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Management Act on April 13, 1976, culminating a sad period in American history during which massive foreign fishing fleets destroyed our marine resources as close as 12 miles from shore. There was no Recreational Fishing Alliance to turn to in those days, so I called together those party boat captains plus sportsmen and conservationists aboard Capt. Les Baletti's Palace II at Hoboken on a February night in 1972 to form an organization to fight for a 200-mile limit just as Ecuador had done to protect their waters from American tuna seiners.
Gary Quon, of Tady Lures, had received a photo of a nice striper that Cat. Unfortunately, there were gale warning up for south winds offshore as this was written -- and it appears it will be windy every day through Monday.
That should be perfect for chasing stripers in Raritan Bay, or even for offshore fishing before the winds change -- though it will be very cold before the sun gets high in the sky. Capt. Vinnie Vetere hasn't started running his Katfish Carters out of Great Kills as yet, but he's very happy with the fishing vacation he enjoyed at Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rica.
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) holds their 1th annual Fundraising Banquet Auction from 7 to 11 p. m. Friday at Doolan's Shore Club in Spring Lake, Cocktails are followed by a hot and cold buffet before the 20,000 Fishing Tackle Bonanza Auction. With wind and cold in the forecast, there probably won't be much fishing on Tuesday, but there might be a window of opportunity Wednesday morning in between strong north winds and the switch to a gusty southeast that afternoon.