Good-sized striped bass swam the ocean, and the big ones are moving in, Capt. Ken from the Big Kid said. Fishing for them was slow at first on Saturday aboard, but picked up in the afternoon. Then the angling was banner aboard Sunday. Both trips fished white Tony Maja bunker spoons in size 4, and a Bomber lure was run down the middle of the trolling spread Sunday. Mid-week specials are available on charters. Many dates are booked, but afternoon trips are also offered. Sea bass season was opened Sunday, and trips can fish for them. Big Kid sails for any species available, from inshore to offshore.
On the party boat Jamaica II, a combo fluke and striped bass trip on Saturday scooped aboard a decent pick of fluke, but stripers “did not cooperate,” Capt. Joe wrote in an e-mail. Ed Nolan, Manasquan, bagged three fluke, including a 4-pound 14-ouncer, taking the lead in the monthly pool with the fish. On a sea bass trip Sunday, opening day of sea bass season, catches were okay, but could’ve been better. Rough seas somewhat slowed the fishing in the morning, “but those that stuck with it did okay,” Joe said. Donnito Patrick clocked a dozen sizeable sea bass and a couple of big ling. John Cartison, Hamilton, scored a cooler full of sea bass and ling. The Jamaica II is sailing for sea bass 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through next Monday, Memorial Day. On that Tuesday, May 28, two half-day trips will begin to run daily for a combo of fluke and sea bass at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. On June 3, All Day Fluke Trips will begin to fish every Monday at 7:30 a.m.
Striped bass, quite a few, were boated at Shrewsbury Rocks on Saturday, said Dave from The Reel Seat. Quite a few large stripers, like in the high 20 pounds to high 40s, were boated farther south, like off Lavallette and Seaside. Trolled bunker spoons caught the bass, and too few bunker seemed to school to snag then liveline them for stripers. Bluefish were jigged on the ocean, mostly from off Manasquan Inlet to Shrewsbury Rocks. Fluke season was opened Saturday, and fishing for them was slow on the ocean, but very good on Manasquan and Shark rivers. Someone e-mailed Dave, saying the shop’s new jigheads, made for Gulp soft-plastic lures, worked well on the flatfish. The jigs, designed by The Reel Seat, feature a lead head made to fit Gulps, with a coil to hold the soft-plastic lures, and colors that match all Gulp colors. The ocean was rough in weather Sunday, opening day of sea bass season, but a few party boats headed out for the fish. Results were yet to be heard. Ling fishing had begun to pick up on the ocean, and would probably keep improving, including because the fish would probably be pressured less, now that sea bass season was opened. In Manasquan Inlet, bluefishing slowed compared with great angling for them previously. But some were caught there, and healthy numbers of 2- to 3-pounders now ran Manasquan River. Striper fishing was so-so at the inlet, not as productive as Dave would expect this time of year. Weakfish to 8 pounds were hooked in the river in healthy numbers. Along the surf, anglers picked at stripers on both bait and lures, and not much was heard about bluefish in the local surf. Back on the ocean, a 263-pound mako shark was boated Saturday that was the season’s first weighed in at the store. The year’s first bluefin tuna was also checked in, and bluefins were decked from Lindenkohl to Baltimore canyons. The one weighed in was trolled on a Reel Seat mini green-machine spreader bar. Tilefishing was good offshore for Dave on a trip last Monday to Tuesday. Three spaces remain for a tilefish trip for beginners that he booked on the party boat Voyager from Point Pleasant Beach. Set for Tuesday to Wednesday, June 4 to 5, the trip is limited to 21 passengers, and includes a free seminar at the store on the fishing on Sunday, June 2. Anglers can call or stop in the shop for details or to sign up. Dave is an avid tilefisher, and introduced probably the first-ever off-the-rack tilefish rod this past year.