LONG BEACH ISLAND REGION — Weather has made fishing a bit of an “on again, off” again proposition. The reports I am getting reveal that structure fishing in the ocean has been very good with some great catches of black sea bass along with tautog and roaming bluefish.
On the striped bass scene, the migrating bass have not yet arrived. I have been hearing of huge schools of bunker to the north with big bass in that same vicinity. Last week there were catches of stripers off Long Island and in Raritan Bay.
There have been very few reports of bass south of Manasquan at the time I write this. There were a couple fish landed off Island Beach State Park and a handful of fish caught on the beaches of Long Beach Island and entered in the LBI Classic.
Max Goldman, a student at Barnegat High School sent me a report that pretty much sums up what is happening. Last Friday he took his boat out with a few friends in search of stripers. They caught a few shorts and had some knockdowns on the troll. Those knockdowns could have been bass or bluefish.
On Saturday he mated for Captain Carl Sheppard on the “Star Fish” out of Beach Haven for a group having a birthday celebration. The anglers caught over 130 fish including sea bass, blues, porgies and some false albacore. Some 11 sea bass and 17 blues ended up in the fish box.
On Sunday he and Jon Kelly headed out to the Lemke’s Canyon in search of some mako shark. After an hour of fishing in a chum slick they hooked up and boated a 341-pound thresher shark. That is some fish and thresher sharks are good to eat.
I tried for some striped bass in the bay waters around Holgate on Sunday with some live spots. Although it seems we might have had some interest from some small stripers, we came up empty handed.
Some of the fishing guides who fish in the Barnegat Inlet area tell me that they are finding schoolie bass on practically every trip with a few keepers mixed in at times. Captain Alex Majewski of Light House Sportfishing says he is catching fish from 20-30 inches. He is using artificials along with live baits. A trip on Saturday produced 10 bass to 28-inches.
I get similar stories from Captain Steve Purul of “Reel Fantasea Fishing” and Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing.” They are having no problems hooking up with bass but do have to sort through the fish for keepers.
Fisherman’s Headquarters reports that after 14 days of the surf fishing Classic three have been three striped bass weighed in. The most recent and current leader was caught by Brandon Pomykacz. He caught a fish weighing 19.46 pounds on swim bait. One of their customers caught a bass on a Super Strike Popper while another good-sized weakfish was reported off the surf.
This weekend is the annual Sea Shell Striped Bass Derby sponsored by the Sea Shell Motel in Beach Haven. This boats only event is a really cool tournament with great food, fishing, comradeship and topnotch prizes.
Every year the proceeds from the contest go to a local worthy group. This year the Junior Mates of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are the recipients to help with their reef re-building project. This project will be a real boost for area recreational fishing.
The event will take place from Friday, October 25 through Sunday, October 27. The captains of the BHCFA are urging all local anglers to participate in the tournament this year. Complete information on the tournament including rules and signup information can be downloaded at the Sea Shell’s website https://theseashellresort.com/striped-bass-derby