It looks as if I didn't miss anything up here today, and small craft warnings are still up for gusty south winds. We're looking forward to the northwest winds predicted for Sunday that will knock down the seas.
The surf was pretty ugly today, but Joe Melillo of Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said there are small stripers in Manasquan River and blackfish in the canal. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina, had heard of the big stripers caught Friday by Bob Lake on a bunker school off Manasquan Inlet, but noted that bass were both small and few in the surf.
Nellie Greer of Bethlehem, Pa. and I watched Many release a striper in thr 20-pound class on a live bunker around bunker schools off the Rockaways -- and also lose a thresher on its first jump. After Many moved back to the Ambrose area, I used peanut bunkers to release bass of 28 and 29 1 2 inches.
Grumpy's Tackle in that town noted that in addition to the small blues in the surf there are a few stripers being caught at night on SP Minnows. I diverted my trip to the surf this morning as the wind and rain picked up and instead fished Point Pleasant Canal where I put some old sand worms to good use despite a moving current to release blackfish of 13 1 2 and 16 inches on one-handed spinning tackle before the rain forced me to quit while I was ahead.
While there have been lots of small blues in the Seaside to Island Beach State Park area, only a few were being caught north of there until Thursday. Today those small blues were in many areas south of Manasquan Inlet, feeding on schools of small rainfish close to the surf.
Despite Tuesday's gusty south winds, Chuck Many of Annandale fished most of his summer spots in the Raritan Bay area with Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands and marked bass in many of them though the bite wasn't good. Arcabascio said the fall run of big stripers in that area started last year on Oct. 28, and he feels the volume of bait there bodes well for this year.
The wind forecast for Tuesday was pretty bad, with small craft warnings posted for south winds gusting to over 25 mph. We're still working on local stripers, as the water temperature in the bay is still very high at 66 degrees -- and must drop considerably before the migratory run gets started.
The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported good jigging for the large blues today, and the Golden Eagle from Belmar noted good Friday and Saturday night action with 8-to-16-pounders on bait as well as Sunday jigging. Betty Nick's Tackle in Seaside Park reports lots of small blues on mullet at the end of the paved road along with short stripers and out-of-season fluke.