It’s that time to get in the game as fishing turns towards the prime meaty part of the season. I always look at Halloween to Christmas as the LBI Striped Bass fishing season with the early part best for quality size and the weeks around Thanksgiving as the best for quality.
Last year’s Halloween Day etched memories. I’m happy to say I enjoyed the full day of mayhem. The epic peanut bunker blitz is now marked in history as Blitz-o-ween. Unfortunate today wasn’t a repeat of last year’s action. However, as we enter November logs suggest that it’s our best month for striped bass fishing. Every year our local waters are productive for both surf and boat anglers. If you aren’t in the game yet… now’s the time to get out and start fishing.
After the weekend’s Sea Shell Striped Bass Derby the local fishery isn’t popping. Word has it, there were over 80 boats but only a handful of fish were caught. The weather wasn’t the best but it was better than some years. The Sea Chaser took the win with a 42.05 pound bass.
There are fish here. The back waters have a good population of bass from schoolie size to mid teeners. Anglers fishing the main thoroughfares and sod banks with lures and live baits are picking. The inlet has produced with some days better then others.
Anglers out trolling on the search today didn’t have much to report although rumors are some fish were picked (not a first hand report and no photos seen yet)… One said, “Lots of bait on the sounder, but not much popping on top other than a couple whales. We trolled all afternoon… not a touch.” Word from way up the beach is big bass are around. It might be worth it to burn the fuel and get into the action. Hopefully they stage up at their usual fall stomping grounds soon.
Here on Day 25 of the LBI Surf Fishing Classic Tournament, Patrick Presutto holds the lead with his 27.36 pound bass and Gary Grippaldi with his 14.12 bluefish. The latest weigh in came in yesterday (Monday) from Tony Agresta 11 pounder he got on bunker in Surf City.
For the most part the surf has been slow. Anglers fishing bait are picking skates and dogs but struggling to find bass. One customer in the shop this morning stopped in to iron out a reel issue. While here he shared, “Got one 22″ bass plugging the surf yesterday. Went for a Yo-zuri swimming plug. ” He was heading back out now that his reel is fixed. Other than that we heard of a couple small bass caught on rubber swim shads this morning.
Barnegat Inlet Tog Fishing Continues
Tom Riley of Barnegat was on the jetty fishing today. He stopped in the shop on his way off the Island to get his rod tip repaired. He reported, “Kept my one 18″ fish for the dinner table. I had numerous fish at and over 15″. Fishing was good until I blew my tip out and had to leave them biting. Once the water clears it’s only going to get better!”
Mild temps. and light wind during our Fall season albeit very pleasant, doesn’t always translate into increased fishing activity and although we did have a brisk uptick in striper activity with striped bass into the upper thirty pound range it didn’t quite progress as hoped.
Anglers aboard the Reel Fantasea had to be on their “A game” as missed opportunity equated to less to the dock by trips end. Stripers and bluefish continue to be our main focus but blackfish will start to take up some of our efforts as well as we approach November 16th [ opens to 6 per angler].
With the present weather conditions on hand and a forecast looking to shake things up we should be back on track for more progression with bay/inlet/ocean striper migration and activity!
Ryan McMinn from Hopatcong fished LBI’s mid island surf today with his father. They were on the hunt today looking for a bass or blue chunking bunker. Ryan ended up catching a puppy drum.
Speaking of red fish there was another one caught and weighed in for the LBI Surf Fishing Tournament, by Patrick Presutto. Patrick caught a 26″ 7lb+ red fish fishing bunker from the surf. Some other fish were caught off the surf too… Eric Setzer got an 8lb+ bass and Patrick Gallen got a 13lb+ bass on bunker fishing the surf.
Tog fishing at the Barnegat Inlet Jetty is rock solid. Get green crabs and go!
Reports from the boat today spoke of good but busy fishing in the inlet live bait fishing, solid striped bass action way up the beach and the albies cracking on top again too. Guys that got out to the wrecks and reefs had good sea bass fishing with other species in the mix.
Here’s on solid report from a local boat that made the run north. Captain Jeff Warford from Reel Innovations was fishing aboard the Reel Fishers and they got em on!!! Jeff reported, “We took the ride and it paid off. We found fish all to ourselves in the deeper water. Fall bass fishing was as good as it gets! 12 bass in two hours all between 30-47 pounds.”
Today our long awaited Sporting Wood Lures delivery arrived. We got both the bottles and the darters. For the last couple of years the Sport Wood Darter was one of my top five producing lures. If you love fishing darters and haven’t fished one of these I highly suggest it! Just a heads up, Sport Wood Lures are made by Larry who is a top notch plug builder and expert surf fishing anglers. He is also well known for his deadly plastic lures… North Bar Tackle!
Jack Wolfberg weighed in a 5.42 pound black sea bass today. Since the black sea bass season reopened last Sunday, the reports have been solid! Wreck fishing is great and some areas are loaded with not only humpbacks but also triggerfish, porgies and tog!
Below is Jack with his extra large catch that he checked into the Fisherman Magazine’s Dream Boat Challenge.
When the weather chills out, the fishing heats up! It’s about time… finally we are getting some cold nights and the water temps are coming down. The surf is right at the 60 degree cusp soon to break out into the nifty fifties. The bay is in the mid to upper 50’s. Both should cool some with tonight’s chill.
The past couple days we have heard about fish pushing south and west nearing our zone. There were a couple good days out east at Montauk and some reports from western Long Island are promising. Last weekend the local boats got their first taste of quality bass fishing with numerous anglers in on the action. Those in, raved and everyone had really nice fish. Since then bass fishing in the ocean has been slow. Tomorrow’s nice “west is best” forecast has lots of fisherman with high hopes. More than likely trolling will be most effective because the swell might have things spread apart. Gotta have to head out and see.
Before the blow the jetty fishing was very good with anglers catching the season’s best quality tog. Numerous reports came in from the Barnegat Light jetty about four and five pound tog. The bayside holds bass and blues with some good size ones at that.
Will be interesting to see if the albie action comes together again. With reports of fish all over the place to our north we are confident there is more light tackle drag screaming fun in our future.
21st Annual Sea Shell Striped Bass Derby
The 21st Annual Sea Shell Striped Bass Derby is this weekend, October 27 to 29. It’s always a great weekend full of fishing, fun and most of the time sour weather. This year’s contest isn’t much different. Friday looks good. Saturday as the day progresses, things turn south. Sunday a possible gale sets in. All of this is flipping back and forth with question around the timing of the frontal passage. GFS is hinting earlier while the European model hinting later. One thing is for sure, the second half of the weekend it’ll be blowing!
For those fishing the tournament we’ve got everything you need to stay warm and dry. Top quality foul weather gear from Grundens, Guy Cotten and Stormr as well as Xtra Tuf boots and a great assortment of gloves. Stop in to check out our selection.
We’ve got a tank full of live eels and will do our best to have fresh bunker and slated clam in stock. Live clam in the shell is a no go.
LBI Surf Fishing Classic
Currently on day 20 of the LBI Surf Fishing Tournament Patrick Presutto’s 27.36 pound bass and Gary Grippaldi’s 14.12 pound bluefish hold the lead in their respective divisions. Today there was a 12.8 pound bass checked in by Michael Tedesco. He caught it off of the Harvey Cedars surf on clam. The surf has been slow this past week. The previous weigh in was from last Thursday the 19th. With this cold snap hopefully we start seeing a new push of fish. For more details check the LBI Surf Fishing Tournament website.
The long awaited re-opening of black sea bass season in New Jersey finally arrived for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association, and the action did not disappoint anyone.
Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” modestly termed the fishing as “very productive.” His catch included sea bass, porgies, blackfish, and bonito. He said his crew was tired from reeling in double headers and big fish. Their coolers were filled with fish for dinner and the freezer. They were fortunate in being able to witness a show from dolphins and 4 breaching whales.
Captain Carl Sheppard had the “Star Fish” out on re-opening day under beautiful fishing conditions. The water was calm and “glistened with fish.” In two hours of fishing Irv and Muriel Stoops and their guest Greg pulled in over 80 fish, including a number of large porgies, nice sized trigger fish and scads of black bass. The keeper ratio was about one in four, perhaps the best ratio of the year. Captain Carl noted that all of the sea bass were females, some of which were over 16-inches in length.
The offshore action also is producing fish. Captain Ray Lopez had the “Miss Liane” with mates Max Goldman and John Kelly along with Andrew Goldman and Shawn Kelly out to the canyons on an overnight adventure. They first trolled around some lobster pots and picked up several mahi. That night the chunk produced a 52-pound swordfish. The next morning the crew did some more trolling and picked up multiple mahi and a 60-pound wahoo.
Captain Bob Gerkens had the “Hot Tuna” on a 50 hour, 450 mile fishing trip between Beach Haven and Morehead City, NC as Captain Bob took the boat to its winter home. He began a troll at the Baltimore Canyon after picking over 15 mahi off some pots casting artificial lures on light gear. With few other boats working the pots the action was non-stop. They trolled along the continental shelf and through the southern canyons until “the point” off Oregon Inlet. They then followed the edge of the Gulf Stream until turning in at Morehead City. They ended up releasing a nice sailfish, several more Mahi, a couple of king mackerel, and some skipjacks. The boat operation and cockpit duties were split among the crew of Dante Soriente, Jim Murry, Chris McEntee, Scott Helious, and Captain Bob.
I don’t do nearly as much canyon fishing as I use to, so when I woke up Saturday morning at 7:30 I realized there was time to make the boat. My friend, Capt. Johnny O’Kinsky was leaving for a two day canyon trip at 9AM and so far I didn’t have enough committed crew to make it a go on my own open boat trips. He wasn’t expecting me but I loaded the truck with all my gear and whatever food was in the house for rations. I figured if he had room, I would jump, and if they were too heavy with crew, I could always drive home. I got lucky and they were four guys looking for a fifth. His boat, the Inspiration is a 36 ft custom twin diesel with a 14 ft beam. We threw the ropes at 9AM and Johnny explained our float plan. Head for the warm water break in the Toms Canyon, troll till dark and set up for the overnight chunk. Troll to the Hudson Canyon and drift for tilefish. On the way back, check out the scallop boats for bluefin tuna. Upon arriving at the Toms, we trolled two small mahi. The overnight chunk yielded no tuna but we still had fun jigging squid and catching 5 to 8 lb mahi on light tackle. When they stopped hitting even live bait, I was able to free gaff three of them. Around 5AM we saw a fish break water behind the boat and I noticed the glow sticks right next to it. Turned out to be a legal sword that ate the deep rigged squid 200 feet down and charged to the surface with it without making a sound on the reel’s clicker. Soon after boating the sword we trolled to the Hudson with no bites. Capt Johnny set everyone up with tilefish rods and rigs. We dropped squid, herring, and sardine baits down 500 feet with two pounds of lead. We boated a bunch of 5 to 8 lb golden tilefish. On the second drift I set up on a fish that maxed out my 30 class outfit like I had never before seen it torqued. This fish was taking runs and head shaking all the way. I loosened the drag three times in fear that I would break it off. I had him on adequate gear, an AVET LX loaded with 65 braid on a Shimano Trevalla 80 to 200 class conventional rod. After 25 minutes, the fish came belly up on the surface and Capt Johnny gaffed my new personal best 43 lb golden tilefish. Here’s the video: youtu.be/ZqLTE3PFUeE
On the way back we stopped on the scallop boats and caught five 30 to 40 class bluefins. If we sailed with a one or two dimensional plan of a typical canyon overnight trip we would not have enjoyed the success we did with Capt Johnny O’s aggressive multi faceted attack. Well done Captain! So glad I jumped on for this one.
On the inshore scene there are big stripers on the bunker pods as well as trolling bunker spoons. Albies are still abundant and we are casting small metals on light spinning gear for them.
Thurs and Fri, Oct 26 and 27 look good with W/NW winds forecasted to allow us to get outside the inlet and chase these fish. Saturday is a wait and see with a borderline forecast for my boat anyway. If it’s too rough we have live bait to fish inside the inlet and bay for bass. I just got back from a quick two hour trip to the inlet with my friend Tim Werder. I wanted to try drifting some live bait in the inlet and it did not disappoint. We went five for eight on 26 to 34 inch fish.
I was considering this as a Plan B for this upcoming week might be good enough for Plan A! Here’s a video clip from the action: Inlet Striper: youtu.be/0jyyP5sHDm0
Sailing every day, ocean or bay, Charter or Open Boat for stripers.
Open Boat or Charter Thurs and Fri leaving at 11AM. Saturday leaving at 6AM. 7 hour trips.$175 person. Four people max. All fish are shared.
Attached pics: Capt Johnny O’Kinsky on the left and Dave DeGennaro of Barnegat NJ with Dave’s 43 lb golden tilefish. Free gaffed mahi. Scallop boat Bluefin. Dave with a Barnegat Inlet striper from this afternoon on the Hi Flier.