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Grumpy's Tackle in Seaside Park reported that sand eels have finally returned to the surf. John Bushell had the same information at Betty & Nick's. He said it's been six years since they were there in quantity. Their presence will not only attract game and food fish, but hold them. He noted good action with bass and blues at the south end of Island Beach State Park. One angler fished overnight with a needlefish for a good catch. There's been a big improvement in afternoon striper fishing, though bunkers are still hard to obtain for bait. Capt. Chris Di Stefano of Wall fished with Frank Criscola on his North Rip from Brielle Yacht Club this afternoon, and they got into breaking bass around 5 p.m. as two in the 30's were boated and others lost before they had to get back. Capt. Rob Semkewyc got an assist from Capt. Pete Wagner on Hyper Striper from Twin Lights in Highlands wih a castnet full of bunkers during his Tuesday Magic Hours trip with the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands and boated several stripers from 30 to 46.5 pounds. He is planning another such trip next Tuesday by reservation. Capt. Stan Zagleski finally got better conditions today, and had decent fluking in several sreas as most fares on Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands had a fluke to take home. At Belmar, the Golden Eagle got into good bluefishing on jigs. The Ocean Explorer had a "massacre" of sea bass with limits for all even in Tuesday's wind and rain. Capt. Kenny Namowitz has openings on his Mimi IV from Point Pleasant on Thursday for bottom fishing that's been producing limits of sea bass and winter flounder. Call 732 370-8019. My fishing has been slowed by having to get ready for the weekend garage sale at 1552 Osprey Ct. in Manasquan Park. There will be a wide variety of new and used tackle from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. E-mail me at cristori@aol.com for details.

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