LONG BEACH ISLAND REGION - This is the time of the year when Southern Ocean County fishermen seem to enjoy the most. We are still in the midst of catching the spring fish such as striped bass, black drum, and big bluefish. Suddenly, the summer-like fish start to arrive in the form of black sea bass, summer flounder, and even a few weakfish.
Captain Dave DeGennaro of Back Bay Adventures out of Waretown passed along the news to me last week that the big stripers had arrived off Island Beach State Park. Thanks to some heavy seas, Dave missed out on the first day or two but heard of 30-40 pounders being caught on trolled bunker spoons. In addition to the big bass outside, Dave has noticed some decent sized bass inside Barnegat Inlet being tempted by clam chum and clam baits.
Andy Tonnesen at Tony’s Bait and Tackle in Manahawkin reports 6-12-pound bluefish along with stripers from 20-40 pounds are being caught on bunker in the LBIs surf and BL jetty. He has gotten quite a few trolling reports on stripers including a 390pounder caught by Shannon Welsh and Robin Winkelried on a white bunker spoon.
Gina Lawrenson from the “Carolyn Ann III” tells me the fishing for black sea bass has been excellent when the weather allows them to fish. On the first day of the season they had lots of limits by anglers including a nice quality of big fish. The pool winner was a 5-pound sea bass caught by Len Smith of Florence. Gina terms it “the best sea bass fishing we have seen in years.”
Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Captain Larry Rosica of the “Dreamliner” went on a short prospecting trip this week just north of Barnegat Inlet and found a nice pair of bass. One was taken while trolling a white bunker spoon and the other on a plug.
Some of the BHCFA Junior Mates ventured out recently with Tucker Blanchard, Jon Kelly, and Raymond Stack finding some good action on bluefin tuna. Another day Maxwell Goldman and Tucker Blanchard had a great day bottom fishing with close to 25 keeper sized black sea bass to 3-pounds.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing recently had Rich Sanborn and family out looking for bass despite some strong winds against the tide conditions. The group worked through the conditions with the Minn Kota trolling motor setup helping produce good drifts. They managed a dozen short bass to 25-inches along with a 26-inchblue. A large bass was on for a while near the end of the trip but could not be brought to the boat.
Greg at Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom reports the inshore striper troll bite along LBI and Island Beach is “going off.” He has heard of quite a few 30-40-poundfish along with a surprising number of 50-pounders. Store staffer was trolling a Magic Tail Mojo and boated a 55-pound striper.
Greg says the surf has a steady pick of striped bass and blues on fresh bunker chunks along the entire stretch of the island. Chris Masino landed a 32-pound,3-ounce bass off the south end surf to take the lead in the LBI Spring Surf Fishing Derby. Chris reports he has also been into bluefish regularly.
The members of the Lacey Township High School Fishing Club under the direction of advisor Jeremy Muermann had a great fishing trip last weekend on the Mary M IV with Sam Resigno and Sam Levy. The kids had a field day on the black sea bass.
For those of you who are loyal followers of Captain Eddie Yates and his boat the “Hunter”, he now has a new and bigger boat berthed at Viking Village. It is the aluminum boat Susan Hudson, and the knowledgeable and affable captain is still catching the fish. If you have not yet seen the boat, it is a beauty and you should take a drive to Barnegat Light and check her out. Ed tells me he is slaying the black sea bass already.
In other news the BHCFA presented their plans to the Beach Haven Borough Council regarding the reef re-nourishment project started by the Junior Mates Program. Also addressing the Council was Junior Mate Liane Lopez who described the deterioration of the current reefs and the need to maintain them. The evening went well as the Council issued a proclamation supporting the project which will be sent to the other towns on Long Beach Island urging their support for the program.
If you are a serious striper fisherman, you will want to be fishing in the Striper Invitational sponsored by the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club. The captain’s meeting is Friday at the club with fishing on Saturday. This is a great event with some cash prizes. For info go to www.lbicup.com.
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