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.
The wind forecast for Tuesday was pretty bad, with small craft warnings posted for south winds gusting to over 25 mph. We're still working on local stripers, as the water temperature in the bay is still very high at 66 degrees -- and must drop considerably before the migratory run gets started.
The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported good jigging for the large blues today, and the Golden Eagle from Belmar noted good Friday and Saturday night action with 8-to-16-pounders on bait as well as Sunday jigging. Betty Nick's Tackle in Seaside Park reports lots of small blues on mullet at the end of the paved road along with short stripers and out-of-season fluke.
By far the largest surf bass of the fall that I've heard of was landed before daylight in Island Beach State Park by Frank Stone. There was a decent bite of yellowfins and albacore from false light to 9 a. m.
Most anglers will be hoping that the forecast of west winds up to 30 knots tonight will come true, as that will knock down the big swell we've been dealing with and help clear waters stirred up by Saturday's strong south winds. Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, said the surf was unfishable early Saturday morning due to the south wind and rain.
There were also lots of blues for surfcasters at Seaside Park and Island Beach State Park -- though those are small blues that hit consistently on mullet while also taking metal and poppers at times. Instead, I tried Sea Girt after high tide in the afternoon, and did nothing with metal into fishable surf -- though another angler released a 25-inch bass.
That issue was number two among those to be considered in development of the Comprehensive Summer Flounder Amendment to the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Plan by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Capt. Joe Bogan, of Jamaica II at Brielle, is also awaiting reopening of the sea bass season on Oct. 18.
Betty Nick's Tackle reported one angler caught 50 blues in two hours on metal and a teaser at the end of the paved road in Island Beach State Park. I took a look at the Bay Head surf early, but with the low tide and the northeast blowing down the beach it didn't look like I'd even be able to cast metal into fishable waters.