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.
After an amazing day of December blitz fishing in the surf, there were no positive reports from anyone today as big seas were crashing on the beaches. While most party boats have stopped seeking stripers and blues, Capt. Dave De Gennaro is counting on those west winds to provide suitable boating conditions for even smaller boats, as he's ready to get back to sea for stripers, blues, and even school bluefins should they show inshore.
Amberg said a friend released a blue of about 15 pounds, a keeper striper, and a short bass when those fish trapped bunkers between a jetty and the beach. He saw blues in the 10-to-15-pound class plus bass ranging from barely short up to 25 pounds being caught on shad lures and metals as bunkers were pushed onto the beach.
There were lots of anglers on Ocean County beaches today after the reports of big stripers being hooked there Saturday. There was also a report from a group in Island Beach State Park that had caught seven short stripers and saw a 33-incher hooked by another fisherman.
Yet, there was a sudden rush to the beaches in the Seaside Park area today after Betty Nick's Tackle in that town posted reports of big bass in the surf this morning. Grumpy's Tackle in Seaside Park had an earlier report of a 38-inch, 15. 75-pound striper that hit an SP Minnow cast by Jay Thompson on Christmas Day.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) kicked off the final phase of a massive beach replenishment project from Sea Bright to Manasquan last week. Despite the ecological damage involved, there was no way to stop the project involving 86,722,210 in Sandy aid federal funding as broad beaches are important to Shore communities.
Sunday night's far offshore wreck trip produced a sea bass limit for Jack Aydelotte of Harrisburg, Pa. plus 10 porgies, seven blues, and a pool-winning 10-pound pollock. The Jamaica II was into lots of jumbo porgies during Wednesday's bottom fishing trip, along with some sea bass and a few cod.
After two brutal winters that shut surf fishing down early, we were hoping for better during a mild winter that is keeping water temperatures in the 50s. Jay Amberg reports from Sea Girt that the waters are beautiful, but there's no sign of bait or stripers in the surf.
Fishing for jumbo sea bass along with porgies and come cod and pollock on far offshore wrecks remains the best bet for anglers -- especially since the inshore bluefish and striper run cooled off. Capt. Howard Bogan reported Sunday's fishing on his Jamaica from Brielle remained very good with many limits of sea bass up to 6 pounds plus porgies, bluefish and a 10-pound pollock.