The party boat Atlantic Star fished a few drops on Monday’s daily trip for blackfish, Capt. Tom said. Some of the tautog were picked at every spot, and not all anglers bagged a keeper, but more did than didn’t. The high hook bagged five, and another customer tackled a 7-3/4-pounder. No trips fished since in the weather. Tom expected to shape up for today’s trip and see whether anglers showed up in forecasts. The Atlantic Star is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
Few fished in weather including rain the past few days, said Jay from
Julian’s Bait & Tackle. But catches are still being made, including striped bass from boats and the surf. From boats, the fish were found on the ocean, in New York Harbor toward the Statue of Liberty and at Raritan Bay toward Staten Island. The harbor and that part of the bay always hold the fish this time of year. Many boaters trolled Mojos, bunker spoons and umbrella rigs. They eeled for stripers at night, he guessed. In the surf, plenty of stripers, smaller fish, swam. Some were up to 35 or 38 inches, and none was huge. A wave of the fish seemed to migrate south toward Lavallette and Seaside recently. But stripers still remained in the surf locally. A second wave seemed to remain there well. Giant bluefish were around for boaters and surf-casters. There were tons, and bait schooled everywhere: bunker from peanuts to hand-sized. More boaters blackfished than sailed for other catches, including because of the six-blackfish bag limit. They were meat anglers. All baits are stocked, including green crabs and fresh bunker and clams. The bunker heads were most popular for stripers. White crabs can be ordered.
Bait schooled the surf everywhere Sunday and Monday from Sandy Hook to Long Branch, said Chris from Fisherman’s Den North. Striped bass weren’t on the bait throughout the stretch, but big areas gave up the bass for surf anglers there. The stripers weren’t huge, but some were decent-sized. Peanut bunker have been the bait in the surf. Previously, surf fishing was off the hook, some of the best he’s seen, from the Sunday before Thanksgiving through Thanksgiving. Mostly stripers, not a lot of bluefish, were beached. Nothing was heard about catches from Raritan Bay’s shore. Stripers were boated in the back of the bay, like toward the Amboys, the last Chris heard, about a week ago. Weather prevented fishing in past days. But stripers are probably still there, he thought. Blackfishing was good, still a pick but catching, when boats last sailed. Even party boats were docked in past days. The shop, new this year, is the sister store to Fisherman’s Den in Belmar. It’s located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal, down the dock from party, charter and private boats.