The sea bass season reopened today with a 15-bass bag limit, but there were no reports. Big bluefish were still hitting Friday night for the Golden Eagle from Belmar, but there were no reports from the Shore bluefish fleet today.
There was no agreement among the ASMFC Striped Bass Advisers from all along the coast during Wednesday's meeting in Baltimore. Since there are more recreational advisers than commercials, we never take a vote -- but rather have the chairman present the consensus from both groups to the ASMFC Striped Bass Management Board which will be meeting at the end of this month in Mystic, Ct.
Many had released a striper of about 20 pounds that was his first migratory bass of the season (with the distinctive purplish sheen) off the Rockaways before a thresher hit his live bunker and immediately cut off on the 30-pound mono outfit as it surfaced. Many's quest for bass in the Hudson River wasn't rewarded, but he finished up in the East River with short bass on peanuts and spot that brought our final release count to 23 stripers, four small blues -- and a thresher.
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.