The Golden Eagle from Belmar started out catching smaller blues and bonito before making a 5-mile run offshore to find jumbo blues up to 20 pounds. I went to Belmar, and again had a single strike on a Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper which came from a 23-inch striper.
Bluefish aren't everywhere, but there are still opportunities to get into hot fishing, such as I had in the Hudson River last week when Chick Many handled his Ty Man and took care of the releases as I caught 24 blues in less than an hour on a big pencil popper before a short striper beat them to it. There have been a few stripers plus big blues in Point Pleasant Canal for those fishing jigs or live eels (which Castaways has in stock) at night.
The surf was rough this morning, but Vinny D'Anton of Wall released a 24-inch striper that hit a Chug Bug at Belmar, and Joe Melillo at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant reported a few bass are being caught in the local surf on metal. The Seaside Park tackle shops are reporting small blues in the surf, with a few bass among them.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a great first hour of jigging with Run-Off Hammer jigs this morning as jumbo blues up to 22 pounds were boated Most were in the 15-ro-20-pound class, but after that there was a long pause before some little tunny were hooked. The party boats have been targeting a mixed bag of fish mostly blues, small weakfish, and some tog and triggerfish.
There was some good news from the surf this morning, as Vinnie D'Anton of Wall found a school of mullet at Belmar and lost a keeper-size striper on a Chug Bug before landing a 33-incher that weighed 11 5 8 pounds at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina. Five short tog were also caught from among the many small sea bass during the brief period of relatively slack current.
The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported fine porgy fishing and some blackfish despite a large ground swell. As the current slowed, I switched to casting sandworms on light spinning for a good blackfish bite that produced releases of 10 short tog up to 14 1 2 inches from among numerous very small sea bass.
At Seaside Park, Grumpy's Tackle reports some small bass are being caught in the surf on shads along with small blues on bait -- while big blues are hitting off local docks on bunker. Capt. Joe Massa joined Jim Peters of Manalapan on his Century 32 at Morgan Marina for live eel fishing in the Hudson River that produced six legal stripers including Massa's 28-pounder.
I fished sandworms in Point Pleasant Canal, but it's been difficult to get past the baby sea bass that cover the bottom there in order to catch blackfish or stripers. Big blues are in the canal, as Ray Sorriente can attest to after watching one chop off a blackfish he was reeling in right behind the head a couple of days ago.
Many said he saw some small rainfish pushed out by one of the breaking fish, and I joked that my big pencil popper was a perfect imitation of those tiny bait fish as blues blasted the plug on almost every cast into open waters even when they weren't showing. Though I've several times hooked two blues on the same plug, I released a doubleheader of a striper and a blue on the popper for the first time that day as we got great hits from unseen bass and blues at every patch of rainfish spotted.
My casts with a large white pencil popper raised bluefish on almost every cast even though there wasn't much indication of feeding activity. Yet, before we switched over to bait,I ended up keeping Many, who many years ago was a mate on the Cock Robin, busy releasing 24 blues from my single tail hook-only pencil popper.