Many said he saw some small rainfish pushed out by one of the breaking fish, and I joked that my big pencil popper was a perfect imitation of those tiny bait fish as blues blasted the plug on almost every cast into open waters even when they weren't showing. Though I've several times hooked two blues on the same plug, I released a doubleheader of a striper and a blue on the popper for the first time that day as we got great hits from unseen bass and blues at every patch of rainfish spotted.
My casts with a large white pencil popper raised bluefish on almost every cast even though there wasn't much indication of feeding activity. Yet, before we switched over to bait,I ended up keeping Many, who many years ago was a mate on the Cock Robin, busy releasing 24 blues from my single tail hook-only pencil popper.
The Golden Eagle docked at Belmar today with the best party boat tuna catch so far as they had action for three hours that produced 20 yellowfin tuna up to 100 pounds plus a couple of albacore and a swordfish. The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant was fishing for Mud Hole tuna today, but had very good jigging for blues on Monday along with chub mackerel while chumming -- plus some bonito and porgies.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a good Saturday night trip for 3-to-6-pound blues on bait, with several 12-to-15-pounders mixed in along with some big bonito. Anglers casting into Point Pleasant Canal at night continue to hook big blues while seeking stripers with jigs and live eels.
It didn't feel like fall today, but the fishing was just what we'd like it to be in the fall when I joined Jim Peters of Manalapan on his Century 32 from Morgan Marina along with Bob Correll of Bay Head and Capt. Joe Massa -- who quickly netted peanut bunkers off Keyport. Peters then made a high speed run down to Shrewsbury Rocks where we fished through lots of small sea bass and waited out a blackfish bite that produced a limit of keeper tog which included a 22-inch, 6 1 2-pounder for Massa.
We still ended up worming and releasing weakfish of 25 1 2 and 26 1 2 inches plus three blues in the 3-ro-4-pound class, a few 12-inch porgies and many tiny sea bass before moving up to the East River where Many quickly released a 31-inch striper. The Ocean Explorer from Belmar had to search around before finding good action with porgies, triggerfish and blackfish while many sea bass and some fluke were released.
Brielle dentist Pat Donnelly made a trip Sunday on his Shanakee from Point Pleasant for anything he could catch, and was surprised at he volume of small bonito he trolled on Shark River Reef before bottom fishing in deeper waters ro lessen the effect of the swells for a pick of ling and winter flounder. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands had good jigging Sunday in Raritan Bay for 3-to-5-pound blues, and will be doing that Sunday plus future weekends until stripers arrive for a switch to daily trips.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc was able to fish in Raritan Bay on Sunday with his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, and had lots of action with 2-to-5-pound blues on jigs. The waves hitting the beaches are going down, but it will take a day or two for the waters to clear before we get more big waves from Hurricane Maria next week.
I did make a few casts without success in Point Pleasant Canal around dawn, and returned later to fish very briefly with green crabs to release a small blackfish just to prove that Jose couldn't shut me out -- though he ran me off when the drizzle turned to a deluge before the strong incoming tide ever slacked. Though huge waves in the ocean and coastal flooding from the storm plus the new moon will reduce fishing options, the canal may be continue to be fishable -- and Castaways has green crabs.