The remnants of Hurricane Nicole faded. The storm had enough gusty wind and swell to keep ships docked on Saturday, but the wind shifted to the west in time to settle the ocean to save Sunday.
Anglers caught another break as the storm had little to no impact on the fall run. Bunkers and bass were right where they left off off the north coast of Monmouth County and Sunday proved to be another explosive day on the water with captains throwing around the word “epic” to describe it.
Heavy action was in sight from the scenic hills of the Atlantic Highlands, although anglers did try elsewhere.
Capt. Dave DeGennaro in the Hi Flyer left Barnegat Inlet and headed north. He didn’t have any left until Seaside Heights. He got good readings on decoys and bird diving there, but no bass. He continued north to Belmar and observed a few boats looking for a bunker, but saw no one fighting a fish or a net.
That’s when he got a call from Capt. Gene Linder at the Shark River Inlet Side Chick that the bass were on the surface of the beach in Monmouth Beach to the Sandy Hook area. DeGennaro said once it settled in, they had fish on immediately and the bite seemed to get better as the day went on.
He said they were caught on topwater or live bunker baits taken straight out of the water and placed on circle hooks. Many of the fish were between 26 and 36 inches, which meant his four men could catch a keeper fish.
Fishing was just as good Monday morning.
Capt. Cole Riback on the Queen Mary off Point Pleasant Beach said the day started with them landing a big striped bass early in the morning. Most of these fish had to be released as they were over the 38 inch size limit. Then he went up the coast looking for smaller bass to keep his rates.
The surf was also busy, especially on the same stretch from Monmouth Beach to Sandy Hook. Giglio’s Tackle in Sea Bright said plenty of quality bass were reeled in that were caught on a rod and reel combo for beginners using poppers, plastic swim sombreros and tin tails.
It was quieter on the beaches of Ocean County. Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park had a couple of weights and reports from the beach. On Long Beach Island, however, only one bass was brought in over the weekend at the Long Beach Island Fall Surf Fishing Classic.