The event begins at 1 p. m. Northwest winds gusting to over 30 mph kept most boats in port today, but the Golden Eagle from Belmar continued the search for ocean stripers. The Jamaica from Brielle is sold out Saturday and Sunday.
After only releasing a couple, we started running out to the ocean to a report of a hot jigging bite, but Many made a brief stop under some birds in the mouth of the bay so I could throw a Tactical Anglers 5-ounce Sea Pencil to release a 38-inch striper that blasted it on the surface. Surfcasting has been mostly spotty, but it doesn't have to get any better for Brian Lytle of Keyport as the Tackle Box in Hazlet reports he made the long walk Thursday morning to the rip at Sandy Hook and found bass driving peanut bunkers to the beach.
Capt. Russ Binns of Toms River ran south to bunker schools he'd spotted from shore the day before, but said he heard of very few bass caught in large fleets off Seaside during a pretty day. Other than trolling a bluefish on a Stretch plug, the highlight was snagging a large squid out of a bunker school.
Capt. Dave De Gennaro trolled a striper and a blue at Shrewsbury Rocks from his Hi-Flier out of Manasquan Inlet, and then ran south to Ocean Beach where it was solid big blues on the troll. Though Joe Melillo didn't have any surf reports today at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, he had weighed a 20-pound striper caught in the surf during the storm by Keith Speidel of Point Pleasant, and a 13 1 4-pounder from the surf on Sunday by Roger Bauer of Avon.
Today's northwest gale following Saturday's northeaster should be good in the long run, as it will settle the rough ocean, but it wasn't very fishable today. When I stopped by the canal earlier, when the tide was running, it looked like the ocean with a short steep swell that would have been tough to navigate for small boats.
I had to cast a large Tactical Anglers Sea Pencil toward the beach in order to raise jumbo blues to 17 pounds and a striper while Chuck and Art surprisingly couldn't get a hit casting soft plastic jigs toward the beach. Vinny D'Anton was on the beach at Monmouth Beach where he caught stripers of 16 and 26 pounds on poppers along with big blues.
Many decided to run out to a hot jigging bite in the ocean, but first stopped under some birds over a few blow-ups where I cast the large Tactical Anglers Sea Pencil to release a 38-inch striper. All we found further off was more bluefish, and Many finished up in the calmer Raritan Bay where he added our last striper release on a bunker -- though there was no late afternoon blast such as had occurred the previous day for Capt. Joe Massa of My III Sons from Morgan Marina.
The Board adopted Option B1 -- a coastal recreational limit for 2015 of one striped bass at a minimum of 28 inches with all conservation equivalency measures equal to a 25 percent or greater reduction in harvest -- down from the present two stripers at 28 inches. At Brielle, the Paramount came back from poor sea bass fishing on Tuesday to enjoy a banner day Wednesday as limits were common along with some porgies and triggerfish.