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Posted By Jim Hutchinson, Jr., May 25, 2020
Capt TJ aboard Vitamin Sea had the first ‘50’ on one of the new 3-ound Tony Maja casting mojos over the weekend (it’s the eighth 50-pound plus fish caught on a “Maja” so far in 2020). This 52-inch, 54-pound trophy striper caught by Gerad Who swam away strong after the release.

So why is it that the last three hours of any three-day weekend is always the nicest weather-wise? Just as the passenger restriction was upped from 10 to 25 aboard for-hire boats at the Jersey Shore - and on the very same day that the 2020 fluke season opened - the weather began to turn pretty dismal heading into the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Many folks hope to see summery weather arrive for the Memorial Day start of the season; this year we just had hoped for a little touch of spring! While fluking overall was a bit slow due undoubtedly to lower water temps, the stripers are still making a big splash in the northern part of the state.

“The big news along the northern coast this past week was the influx of giant stripers in the 40- to 50-pound plus class bending rods in the later part of the week,” said North Jersey field editor JB Kasper, who said rods were bent, pictures were taken and fish were released in good numbers. “After heavy winds made for some tough fishing some better conditions on Friday and Saturday turned the big fish on,” Kasper noted, adding that there are plenty of bluefish around to boot. “The first reports on the fluke fishing showed mostly short fish in the cold waters of the bay and some bigger fluke being caught in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers, with good catches coming from Shark River and Inlet,” he added

In Central Jersey, reporter Ashley Viola said fluke are on the chew in Manasquan and back behind Barnegat and Little Egg inlets hitting Gulp with spearing and squid in the bay and rivers. Not gangbusters by any means, but the weather trend for the week should warm those back waters to get the fish chewing this week. “Our head boats are now allowed to carry up to 25 passengers,” she noted, adding “Those who sailed got many limits of sea bass out off the wrecks as well as ling, cod, and pollock.” The Central Jersey surf has been yielding both stripers and blues with bunker being the “go to” bait. Plenty of bunker around; in fact a pod of whales put on quite the show in Point and Bayhead on Sunday afternoon in tight to shore.

“Crazy weather here in South Jersey this past week,” reported field editor Anthony Califano. “Those fishing right after the big northeast blow found that there were plenty of drum in the bays and sea bass on the wrecks and reefs. Those fishing through the unsettled weather found that stripers, blues and weakfish were not aware of the deteriorating weather conditions and were caught from the Atlantic City down to the Cape May Point Jetties.” Our South Jersey editor, Anthony said the opening day of flounder season started off with cold wet weather, but was quick to point out that those fish too were also cold and wet. “Some limits were caught while others caught only shorts along the ICW and inlets,” Anthony added.

NICK - Rough surf hampered a lot of angler participation but those that went were rewarded with a new moon chew of stripers as plenty of shorty fish, slot fish and throwback trophies were caught up and down the coast. An influx of small 2 to 3 pound blues have started to show up in some force while scattered weakies down south are providing some surprise catches. Fluke season opened up with mixed results, but jetty hoppers at the inlets are picking away at keeper class fish. With Memorial Day passed, let’s start getting into the summertime swing of things!

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