Following is the balance of Friday’s column that didn’t make print:
At Seaside Park, Betty Nick’s Tackle weighed a 10-pound striper that R. J. Rosamilia of Brick caught on a bunker chunk Sunday at Island Beach State Park. That was the first bass reported on bunker at the shop. Large blues got going Wednesday morning at Area 17 when Andrew Karp weighed an 8 ¾-pounder caught on bunker – and reported others being caught.
Grumpy’s Tackle weighed in six surf stripers on Saturday, including a 12.9-pounder on clam for seven-year-old Kevin Lopez. Ed Koch used bunker for a 20.4-pounder.
Brielle Tackle weighed the largest surf bass I’ve heard of so far — a 38-pound, 44-incher that hit a 9-inch Storm Shad cast into the Sea Bright surf at night by Tom Rojas of Middletown. Jim Bologna of Swansboro, N.C. (formerly from Jackson) used clam in the surf south of Manasquan Inlet for a 17-pound striper, and Dan Alpaugh from Spring Lake Heights beached an 18-pounder on clam at his local beach.
Lou Vargas of Fanwood didn’t catch any fish last week at Sandy Hook, but isn’t complaining about bad luck since his first cast with a metal lure hooked into a 10-foot Tsunami surf rod and a practically new Penn reel.
There’s another rig on the ocean floor to be recovered – and there’s a $100 reward for the one lost Sunday by Capt. Vinny Vetere from his Katfish Charters out of Great Kills. Vetere had a fine Saturday catch of stripers up to 30 pounds on live bunkers south of Shrewsbury Rocks, and went back Sunday despite the terrible forecast. It was an easy trip down with the north wind, but not nice returning even with his rugged 30-foot True World into an increasing E-NE wind. The stripers hit once again, but a big fish pulled a Seeker Hercules rod and Daiwa level-wind reel out of Vetere’s wet hands as he was pulling it out of a rod holder.
The Tackle Box in Hazlet had reports of good Raritan Bay striper catches on Saturday by boaters trolling Stretch 25 plugs. Jack Sweigart of South Plainfield caught
five to 23 pounds trolling Reach Channel, while John Korn and Paul Pilipie from Whippany
had four bass to 18 pounds. Jonathon Lantosca of South Orange
caught an 18 -pound bass from his Hobie kayak off Keansburg.
That was generally better than what most boaters did Saturday in the bay. Capt. Sal Cursi’s party aboard the Jackpot from Sewaren kept busy with bluefish on bunker chunks, though bass were hard to come by. Cursi said he heard the same thing from friends fishing throughout the bay.
Capt. John Kolias, of Reel Fun from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands, said it looked good when he went out Saturday morning as bunkers were easy to obtain. Yet, he tried chunking several spots that produced only a few bluefish — and also had no luck trolling before fog rolled in. Then a stiff south wind really put the kiss of death on the bay fishing.
At Brielle, Capt. Howard Bogan reported experienced anglers did well Saturday on his Jamaica with stripers when gannets started working at Shrewsbury Rocks. Bass up to 20 pounds were jigged, and a few blues also hit. After poor early week weather, the Jamaica got out Wednesday for a good bass catch up to a 25-pounder plus more blues.
Capt. Ryan Bogan said ling fishing was excellent Saturday on his Jamaica II. Pete LaCour of Spring Lake Heights was high hook with 107 ling.
The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had decent bass jigging Wednesday, including a 28-pound pool winner along with bluefish. Yesterday’s fishing was also acceptable, with big Krocodiles working much better than diamond jigs.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar also had a good pick of bass Wednesday while some fares added five to 10 blues.
The Elaine B. from Highlands started out Saturday morning with a slow pick on clams of Sandy Hook at the end of the tide. Some anglers switched to small hooks on the slack, and caught a half-dozen winter flounder from 1 1/4-to-1 1/2 pounds before Capt. Stan Zagleski ran into the bay. Despite wind against tide conditions there, a boat limit of stripers was completed and some shorts released. Jim Nodroff of Hasbrouck Heights won the pool with a 16-pound bass.
Considering what’s happening elsewhere, there should be bluefish in Barnegat Bay for popping plug anglers. Capt. Dave DeGennaro will be trying that light tackle fishing with his Hi-Flier from Barnegat. He can be contacted at 732 330-5674.
Tank Matraxia’s crew from Lyndhurst got clobbered yesterday in Raritan Bay by bluefish that ate their live bunkers as fast as they got them in the water from Capt. Fletcher Chayes’ Riverman out of Highlands. They did manage one legal bass in Shrewsbury River, where a short was jigged before Matraxia placed an ALS tag in it. The bunkers weren’t bothered by blues in the river, but that’s bound to change any day now. That boat had good action the previous day down the beach with both stripers and blues for Tom Fote’s party that included ex-Assemblyman John Rooney (R-Bergen).
Tony Arcabascio of Bayville reports the good striper bite earlier in April off the Ocean County Shore has dropped off sharply. One of his friends had to run up to Shark River on Wednesday in order to troll a couple. Yet, the best of the spring ocean fishery is still ahead of us — when the spawned-out big bass from Chesapeake and Delaware bays migrate north along the coast and feed on bunker schools.
Wednesday was a record day for sailfishing out of Bud-N-Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Florida. Keys. April isn’t prime time for sailfish there, but single-day sailfish release records were shattered as classic “tailing” conditions on the reef brought sails to the surface by the dozens. Capt. Scott Stanczyk and the crew of the Catch 22 set the new record with an incredible 47 releases, while his nephew Capt. Nick Stanczyk tallied 18 sails for the day on the BM. Capt. George McElveen on the Reel McCoy added another 22 releases.
The Hi-Mar Spring Striped Bass Tournament will be run on Armed Forces Day, May 19, out of Bahrs Landing in Highlands. This year’s format will be a two-bass total during one day of fishing. There’ll also be a special Veteran’s prize in addition to all the usual awards. For information visit www.hi-mar.com – or call Joe Tomaszewski at 908 514-0776.
The 18th annual JCAA Fluke Tournament kicks off the fluke contest season on June 9 – and this year also includes a striped bass category. Once again the awards ceremony will be at Trump Marina Hotel Casino in Atlantic City the following Friday night. The early entry fee is $120 per boat up to June 2 – and $150 thereafter. The optional striped bass category fee is $50. Entry forms are available at jcaa.org.