The striped bass fishing was so good Monday the party boat captains were heading home early with boats limits of fish before the clocks hit noon.
Just how long this torrid pace will continue is hard to say but last year the run lasted deep into the fall. As long as the bait remains local, the bass will likely stay near the beaches, fattening up.
Capt. Rich Falcone on the Golden Eagle party boat reported a boat limit by about 10 a.m. in the morning on Monday. That followed an excellent day of fishing on Sunday where they experienced hour-long drifts of non-stop fishing. Falcone said the readings of bass were tremendous on the fish finder. The schools were full of fish in the 28 to 31 inch range, the current size limit, and slot size bonus tag fish, so his fares walked off the boat with a food for the table.
The Queen Mary was in early, having limited out by mid-morning with keeper as well as bonus tag fish. Capt. Dave Riback said diamond jigs were responsible for most of the fish his fares landed.
The big body of fish the boats were on Monday were mostly south of Manasquan Inlet. There are still fish off the northern Monmouth County coastline though. Giglio’s Tackle in Sea Bright had reports of a crazy bird life diving on the bait in the area of Sea Bright to Sandy Hook. The shop said lots of fishermen had bites from schoolie size bass on topwater plugs and swim shads.
The smaller bass have hit Long Beach Island. There was a flurry of fish landed starting last week by surf anglers competing in the island’s surfing fishing classic. These fish are right around the keeper mark which should make the last three weeks of the tournament very competitive if it keeps up. As is, there is new leader as of Friday when Jay Shayne weighed in an 11.60 pound striped bass. The fish just made it, at 30 ⅞ inches. Shayne caught the fish at 1:30 a.m. in the Barnegat Light surf with a lure.
The blackfish season, or tog as some call it, is underway. The bag limit is now five fish per angler, per day. Capt. Ron Kish on the Capt. Cal II out of Belmar has been out hitting the inshore rubble pretty hard, aided by some wind to help anchor the boat. He’s had a few anglers with their limits so far in this young season.
When Jersey Shore native Dan Radel is not reporting the news, you can find him in a college classroom where he is a history professor. Reach him @danielradelapp; 732-643-4072; firstname.lastname@example.org.