The first fluke of the year were netted on Monday as the season kicked off despite some early morning rain showers.
The wet weather may have kept some anglers home as they weren’t many at the docks to go out on what was the earliest start to fluke season in recent memory. Capt. Tom Buban of the Atlantic Star said there was only enough people for one party boat to sail from the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina.
The conditions were fair enough for drifting the rivers and bays. Along with the intermittent rain, the day started with fog on the water and southeast winds, which shifted to the east as the day progressed.
Capt. Jerry Postorino of the Fish Monger II charter boat in Point Pleasant Beach made drifts in the river as the ocean water temperature is still too cold for fluke fishing. His party of anglers all had an 18-inch or over fluke by early afternoon and Postorino was on the hunt for slot fish.
While Buban didn’t get out Monday, he did catch and release a couple of fluke during striped bass trips this weekend on the Sandy Hook and Raritan bays. He said he caught one himself on a flutter spoon that would have been a keeper had the season been open. He said the bay temps are chilly, fluctuating between 49 and 51 degrees.
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Striped bass fishermen had pretty good fishing on Friday and Saturday. Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park sold out of clams due to the number of surf fishermen headed to the beach.
They got a flood of reports of big fish from their customers. Several of the bass were in the 40-inch class and released. Almost all the fish from the surf were landed on clams.
Bunker baits also worked. Cortland Foos caught a 22-pound striped bass at Brant Beach on Long Beach Island on bunker, according to Jingle’s Bait & Tackle in Beach Haven. The fish was just a hair under 38 inches in length. It also gave Foos the lead in the Long Beach Island spring striper derby.
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Capt. Ron Santee on the Fisherman out of Atlantic Highlands said the bass fishing turned on Saturday after the change of tide. Before that, he said they only had one short. After the change, they couldn’t keep the bass off the swim shads. He reported fish up to 36 inches.
Sunday however, was a different story as he only landed a few stripers despite trying a few areas. Santee said there was heavy boat traffic, which may have scared the bass off.
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; [email protected]