Jim Hutchinson Sr. reports the long-awaited re-opening of the sea bass season finally arrived for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association and none were disappointed. Captain Bob Gerkens had the Hot Tuna on a 50 hour, 450 mile fishing trip between Beach Haven and Morehead City, NC as Captain Bob took the boat to its winter home.
The NW wind never blew very much, but It's supposed to be stronger on Thursday -- which should help knock the swell down and clear the waters. Capt. Chris Di Stefano of Wall didn't get a striper report, but one friend had a good little tunny bite in Sandy Hook Channel.
Capt. Chris De Stefano of Wall reported that Frank Criscola ended up trolling to the south in 50 feet on Monday afternoon with his Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club to boat their only bass of the day -- a 41-pounder. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar, noted the sea bass catches made by bottom boats during Sunday's opener, as well as some large stripers trolled and small ones in the surf
Lasko managed to land a little tunny. There wasn't such good surf news from Vinnie D'Anton of Wall along with his friends, including Mike Monte from Nantucket, fishing baches north of Shark River as they were shut out.
Pete Connell of Avon fished his favorite sea bass numbers at the Farms on the opening day for that species, but caught only a couple and one porgy before very big dogfish drove him off. The sea bass season is finally open and there seems to be good numbers of larger fish on the wrecks in the 30 mile range.
The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had lots of jumbo porgies plus small tog, a couple of flounder, and even a fluke. Dave Brink, Middletown, NJ, took the pool with his largest of 21 legal sized blackfish he caught today.
It sure looks good a mile off the beach with schools of adult bunkers showing in many areas, but I'm not getting any reports of big bass in them. The daily bag limit for black sea bass is 15 fish, and limit catches are a distinct possibility.
I joined Capt. Joe Massa on his My Three Sons from Morgan Marina for a Saturday morning trip to the Hudson that produced a 33 1 2-pound striper for me right away before we added about 10 releases of bass over 28 inches plus a few big bluefish after going though two dozen eels The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands had a good catch of bass and blues in the Hudson that day, but fishing there on Sunday produced only a few, and George Cullen boated the only striper on Wednesday. Chuck Many of Annandale ran his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands up there Wednesday with Nellie Greer of Bethlehem, Pa., Alex Katyan from Clinton Twp., and me as we ended up totaling 15 striper releases, including 11 keepers up to about 20 pounds on eels and sandworms, plus 15 weakfish up to 27 1 2 inches on sandworms, six blues, four porgies, a few little sea bass, and a hickory shad caught casting under birds in Raritan Bay.
and I joined Chuck Many of Annandale on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands to fish the Hudson and East rivers where we ended up releasing 15 stripers (including 11 over 28 inches and up to about 20 pounds), 15 weakfish up to 27 1 2 inches, 6 blues in the 3-to-4-poind class, 3 porgies, several small sea bass,and a hickory shad that hit a lure in Raritan Bay, I'll have more about this in Friday's column. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands was also up in the Hudson, but didn't have a good bite as George Cullen boated the only striper.