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Following is Friday's column as submitted: SL9-12-14 Ristori for Friday, Sept. 12 NORTHEASTER MAY GET FALL FISHERIES STARTED by Al Ristori The northeaster that blew in this week disrupted fishing, and resulted in many party boat cancellations. Yet, it could prove helpful in the long run by getting the fall fishery underway. Striped bass fishing with eels in the channels could get started, and small bluefish may finally be located under birds in both Raritan Bay and off the beaches. Little tunny could provide surfcasters with their hard-earned occasional shots, and the already good canyon tuna fishing may get even better. The one negative may be fluking, as a storm at this time of year often pushes fluke out to their offshore spawning areas earlier than normal -- perhaps even before the closure after Sept. 27. My blog at nj.com/shore/blogs/fishing has predictions for the weekend, but that daily blog won't resume until next Friday as I'm fishing a tuna tournament in the Azores . There was some good fishing before the wind came on hard. Bob Matthews said Bob Duggan of Bloomfield came in with his son to buy a Snapper Popper at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina and fished the local surf before returning with the most unexpected catch of the weekend on that lure -- a 25-pound striper. He said stripers were right in the wash when they hooked up. It was only blowing about 15 mph early Monday morning at Bay Head when I cast a Tsunami Slimwave metal and small Joe Blaze teaser fly to release 13 hickory shad and a small bluefish. After that bite backed off, a few casts with a small jig and Gulp into the rising wind produced a small fluke that spit up a partially-digested snapper almost half its length. The seaweed problem that had been making it difficult to fish there was gone -- but replaced by eel grass on every cast The Department of Environmental Protection holds their annual WILD Outdoor Expo the next two days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township. Admission and parking are free, and there are lots of exhibits and activities that will provide a fine family outing.   Public hearings on the ASMFC Draft Addendum IV to Amendment 6 of the Striped Bass Management Plan that will help determine the future of that fishery continue on Monday in Toms River Town Hall at 33 Washington Street. Though the degree to which striper fishing has declined is very controversial, there's no question but that the catch is down even though the the 2013 benchmark assessment states the stock is not overfished. Yet, that assessment also notes that mortality (F) was above the proposed F in 2012 -- and female spawning stock biomass (SSB) has been steadily declining below the target since 2006. As a result, SSB will likely fall below the threshold in the coming years -- and a similar decline has been observed in total harvest. Anglers in New England have been experiencing a much more serious decline in their striper fisheries than has been the case locally, as the Hudson River spawning stock has been providing us with fine spring fisheries in Raritan Bay the last two years even as the later coastal migration coming up from Chesapeake Bay has been disappointing. Yet, the Hudson River stock may not be that robust after the beating those spawners took during the unusual summer fishery in Raritan Bay when greed often prevailed in a Bonanza fishery and the internet came alive with photos of spawners piled up in coolers just as in the "bad old days" before the virtual disappearance of striped bass in the 1980s. After years of watching anglers maintain a recovering fishery by releasing big bass to spawn again, it seemed as if many fishermen felt they could only prove their "skill" by dropping big bass on the docks.   The Draft Addendum includes a suite of management options to reduce recreational and commercial harvest along the coast and in Chesapeake Bay under three reduction time frames as follows: (1) reducing F to its target in one year with a 25 percent reduction of the 2013 harvest in 2015 -- or (2) reducing F to its target with a 17 percent reduction in 2015, or (3) reducing F to its target within three years with a 7 percent reduction in harvest for three consecutive years starting in 2015. Then there are specific options to be considered , including bag, size, slot and trophy size limits for the recreational sector and commercial quotas. There are many different perspectives on this. Some anglers want to virtually eliminate keeping any large bass in order to maximize spawning potential after several poor year classes. Brad Burns, president of the no-fee internet organization Stripers Forever (which fights for game fish status all along the coast), says most of his members favor Option B3, which would allow just one bass at a 32-inch minimum.   Paul Haertel, president of the JCAA and a Stripers Forever member, also endorses that option as a 95 percent release angler who occasionaly keeps a trophy bass. He thinks it's important to protect the 2011 year class, the last big spawning year in Chesapeake Bay. Haertel says those bass are around 18 inches now, and won't reach the 28-inch spawning size until 2016 or 2017. Haertel noted there was also support for one bass at 28 inches (B1), and the slot options at the first hearing in Galloway Township. The Draft Addendum is available on the ASMFC website (www.asmfc.org) under Public Input. Haertel found good variety fishing Saturday at wrecks not far offshore for fluke, sea bass and dolphin. Kyren Dooley set a boat record for dolphin when he hooked 42-inch, 13.2-pounder before Haertel fought a long battle on light tackle with 49-incher that weighed 24.35 pounds. Shimano rep Doug Rusch ran a family trip Sunday on his Fin Fun from Manasquan as his sister, Valerie Klimas of Scotch Plains, got arm weary reeling in little tunny and bonito trolled on the lumps. A big surprise for Brian Klimas was the 4-foot houndfish that was hooked on a 3/4-ounce feather trolled far astern. Jeff Dement of the American Littoral Society was happy to get a tagging card from Bill Klimas on a little tunny released during that trip, and urges taggers to concentrate on those fish about which there really isn't much information. There was some great fluke fishing in the surf before the storm -- and it could occur again when the waters clear. The Tackle Box in Hazlet reported Jim Leone and Sam Holladay caught over 40 up to a 25-incher over the weekend in the Deal surf on bucktails and Gulp. At Seaside Park, Betty & Nick's Tackle reports Jon Velez caught over 30 fluke up to 4 1/4 and 5 pounds in the surf. Grumpy's Tackle weighed their largest surf fluke when Mike Jasinsky landed a 7.75-pounder on a Deadly Dick. Shimano Pro-Staffer Roy Leyva will be at Grumpy's from 4 to dusk today to demonstrate Shimano's new Long Cast Surf System. At Brielle, the Jamaica had a very good canyon tuna trip Sunday night, and Capt. Howard Bogan has added a trip at 5 p.m. Sunday to the regular schedule. Bogan noted that 60-to-85-pound yellowfins started biting 15 minutes after he anchored, and continued to sunrise with up to five on at a time. There were some limits, and most fares had one or two tuna. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations. Jamaica II had hot fluke fishing on wrecks and rough bottoms Saturday under ideal drifting conditions as many limits were bagged. The largest fluke at Fisherman's Den at Belmar Marina this week was an 11 3/16-pound doormat boated in the ocean by Joe Verasse.   The Golden Eagle got into big blues several days, and on Saturday they had a shot at some from 18 to 21 pounds which raised hopes that last year's super-sized choppers might be returning. Though it got so rough Monday that they had to return early, some big blues were boated along with a 15-pound dolphin. Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant fished the southwest edge of the Sea Girt Reef last Thursday with his small boat for five fluke over 25 inches and a 23-inch sea bass as Matt Hauke from Vermont boated an 8 1/2-pound fluke. Lasko broke off a jig tipped with squid that day, and returned on the weekend to a crowded reef where he was surprised to snag into that jig which still had the squid on it! Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, reports blackfishing in Point Pleasant Canal with green crabs remains very good for the one that may be kept at this time. END Al Ristori cristori@aol.com

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