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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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Old 06-13-2008, 10:01 AM
biggstriper biggstriper is offline
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Default Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

Big bass abound
By JOHN GEISER • CORRESPONDENT • June 13, 2008



The current run of big striped bass — as with the June and early July runs of the last few years — gives beginners a real opportunity to bring a trophy home.

Capt. Chris Hueth wanted to talk about fluke Wednesday. He had logged another rewarding trip on the Elberon grounds where he drifted with his Big Mohawk out of Belmar Marine Basin.

Hueth is a veteran bass fisherman. His father was an old school bass fisherman. He and his brothers were brought up fishing for bass, jumping jetties at night with rigged eels, tossing plugs in The Rip at Sandy Hook, and live-lining alewives in a hundred places they had memorized while they were still in grade school.

"What about these big bass?"

"I don't even want to talk about it," Hueth said. "There's no challenge now. Anyone can do it."

The run of big fish up the beach has occurred at this time, or a little later, every summer since 2005. Thirty-, 40- and even some 50-pound bass are there for the taking.

Bob Matthews of the Fisherman's Den, Belmar, said there was a constant parade of anglers with big bass this week, but no catch raised eyebrows like the 49-pounder that was brought in.

Matthews said the 50-inch trophy would have surpassed the 50-pound mark, if Rory Rooney of Wall had not pulled out the big bunker the fish had wolfed down its gullet.

Rooney said his five-year-old daughter, Amber, cranked the fish in while the rod remained in the rod holder of his 16-foot boat. At first they were going to release it, but decided it was a trophy and feat worth recording.

Matthews said Mel Martens of the Asbury Park Fishing Club came in with three bass — 26, 27 and 33 1/2pounds — he caught on a pencil popper; Bill Bertsch of the same club had two bass on a popper — 22 and 38 1/2 pounds; Brian Biedinger, also of the Asbury club, had a 30 1/4-pounder; and Andrew DiFranco of the Shark River Surf Anglers, had a 34 1/2-pounder.

Tony Grubiak, Shark River Surf Anglers, landed a 36 1/2-pound bass on a pencil popper, and Rick Bell Jr. and Sean Bell, both of the Shark River club, had 29- and 30-pound bass.

Jim Muller, Hazlet, stopped at the Tackle Box, Hazlet, with two bass — 27 and 31 pounds — that he caught on pencil poppers off the beach at Sandy Hook. Werner Muller, Hazlet, had a 33 1/2-pound bass on a popper in the Sandy Hook surf. Frank Petillo Sr. and Jr., Middletown, were out Sunday, and stopped at Julian's Bait and Tackle, Atlantic Highlands, to report their catch of 17 striped bass to 24.18 pounds. They kept three fish. All were taken on poppers in the Monmouth Beach surf.

The Petillos were back out Tuesday, and stopped at Julian's to report they had caught 23 striped bass. The heaviest — 38.12 pounds — was weighed in. They also had a dozen bluefish to 16 1/2 pounds.

Ernie Hammer of Avon fished Long Branch with a popping plug, and caught two bass — 36.5 pounds and 27.3 pounds - that he weighed at Scott's Bait and Tackle, Bradley Beach.

Paul Curran, Colts Neck, stopped at Scott's with a 39.1-pound bass that he caught on a bunker at Long Branch. Rick Hightower of Asbury Park had a 30.15-pound bass on a bunker, and Chris Whitt, Asbury Park Fishing Club, had a 34.6-pound bass on a popper in the Deal surf.

Meredith and Charlie Serad, Jackson, fished along the beach in their boat, and caught two bass on bunker - 24.2 pounds and 27.9 pounds. Steve Smutko, Bradley Beach Surfcasters, fished Deal with bunker, and weighed two bass at Scott's - 29.4 pounds and 25 1/2 pounds.

Mike McGuigan, Bradley Beach Surfcasters, and teammate Kevin Devlin fished off Avon in the former's boat, and they caught four bass. Mike had a 40 1/2-pounder and a 25.4-pounder, and Kevin had a 31 1/2pounder and a 20.1-pounder.

Jack Monteiro, owner of Surfside Bait and Tackle, Long Branch, said Jim Valerio's 47.5-pound bass was the heaviest weighed there.

Mark Nietzec came in with a 34.7-pound bass, Vance Valente had a 35.6-pound bass, and Peter Juen had one that went 38.3 pounds. Others who weighed bass in included: Charles Wienkofsky, 35.7; Rich Carter, 38.3; im Reynolds, 30.9; Tom Hogan, 32.6; and Joe Ciervo, 28.4.

Tony Clems, Hazlet, headed a party of five anglers who fished the Shrewsbury Rocks, and came back to Crabby's Bait and Tackle, Keyport, with a 42-pound bass. The party limited out.

Tommy Kilgannon of Pell's Fish and Sport, Brick, said R. J. and Dan Dunn, Brick, caught their limit of bass up to 30 pounds on bunker.

Tom Wolfe of Jersey Coast Bait and Tackle, Brick, said Ray Nebus of Seaside Heights led the long list of wigh-ins at his shop with a 45 1/2-pound bass that he caught Sunday. John Klumpp, Brick, came in with an 8 1/2-pound fluke.

Barbara Biancone, Jim's Bait and Tackle, Long Branch, said John Bellingeri, Deal, came in with a 32-pound, 5-ounce bass. She said Brighton Ave., West End, produced a number of 35- to 40-pound bass this week.
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Old 06-14-2008, 03:41 PM
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

What year is this, Big? Besides, could Jersey be like RI where everbody wants their name in the paper?
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:54 PM
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

Boat payments to make, long weekend coming up (July4th), people not taking unnecessary trips (gas prices) but just maybe true. Take it with a grain of salt I say!

Of course by this time the bass have moved on.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:47 PM
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

Nah, they are still around, you just have to be there at the right time, which I haven't... Geiser like to mention names in his articles
You shouldn't take the info printed and run out and fish spot A or B, but use it to know that the fish are around. I'm sure most who visit here know that...
Now if they would just move closer to the beach. Thats one thing that bothered me about his reports, even going years back. Mostly boats, rarely surf...
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

I have it from a very reliable source that these reports are right on the button.

Of course I haven't been in on it as usual...
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:25 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

I have no doubt that this report is true. It gives names and weights, not estimates. In addition, everything in it is reasonable.

It's as easy to identify the truth as it is to spot the BS.

CL
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

Not all reporters but I think a lot of them, knowing that it is BS, absolve themselves from any responsibility by just saying "Joe Blow caught his limit in wrasse at the Guzzles on clam bellies." and he goes on from there. He didn't say it, Joe Blow did. You want to read the reports in my area. All journalistic house pets reporting in who want to either become outdoor writers or charter skippers.
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:14 AM
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

Its kind of depressing. The reports are true. There are gangs of hundreds of surfcasters driving up and down the North Jersey shore with pencils and snag rigs. There are miles upon miles of bunker just over the bar and boats, kayaks, and surf fisherman are getting tons of big bass.

People who never fished in their lives are getting 30 and 40 lb fish. I saw around 100 surfcasters in about 125 yards windmilling at a small pod of bunker for hours last Tuesday. It so bothered me I have not been back down. I know for a fact that good fish have been taken almost every night since. My good friends are calling me and giving strong reports.

But I am have a really hard time reconciling my place in that mess. I am heartbroken to see so many of these fish fall to poor, or beginner anglers. I had a guy in board shorts, no shoes, and thats all fishing a jetty ask me; "if a 36# bass was big" He did not know,,, it was his first time fishing. Not taking anything away from him personally, but it kills me to know how special that fish is and how meaninglessly she died. And worst yet was the fact that he did not even grasp or appreciate what he just did.

I have been working on my flower beds and going on bike rides with the kids. I am sad.
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:16 AM
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

So...Shipwreck...why do you get mad when beginners catch fish? I'm a beginner, so how long do I have to fish before I get your stamp of approval to catch a nice fish? How may hours do I need before I "deserve" it? What if I take all of the advice from this site, from Muller or Daignault's books and use that advice to catch a 40lb+ tonight. Not good enough? I don't get it... I'm not a beginner fisherman, just beginner striper fisherman. I've put in plenty of time for bass, does that count? Is there a calander or something that I should get so I know when the time has come for me to "deserve" it? Thanks in advance for an information.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:37 PM
biggstriper biggstriper is offline
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

It's "Gangbang boat and surf fishing"- in the daylight no less.

Cell phones rule here.

I don't get excited when I hear about this happening. The kid who told me about it was all excited. It doesn't seem like anything special- just be there with a snag hook and put up with the googans.

I'll pass and wait till they go home.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StrawMan82 View Post
How may hours do I need before I "deserve" it? .
Five years.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:40 PM
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

It's the most wonderful time of the year
By JOHN H. OSWALD ? STAFF WRITER ? June 13, 2008



Forget Christmas. For Rick Donofrio, the most wonderful time of the year is June, when the big bass appear in Shore waters and he spends every waking moment in pursuit of them.

"I figure I'm going to be dead a long time and I want to get out there every chance I get. I'm not much of a sleeper any way. I should of have been a milk man," Donofrio said.

By his own admission, he's got an serious addiction to striped bass fishing.

Speaking of death, thanks to Donofrio, I, too, can now die a happy man.

Big bass have always eluded me. Fish with big baits I was told, cast big lures, fish on the downside of the full moon, act like you know what you're doing . . . none of it worked. I've caught my share of bass in the surf, but I think 25 pounds may have been my biggest. I wanted to catch one whose head was as big as mine ? but better looking.

And Donofrio made it happen.

We had made plans to go bass fishing several times since early May aboard the Jayme D, his 26-foot May-Craft named after his daughter, but we were thwarted every time due to bad weather or less than ideal fishing conditions. So when he called last Saturday, and said the time was now ? even the tone of his voice indicated destiny awaited.

Now that I think about it, he may have been stalling until June arrived. If so, the tactic worked.

He'd caught fish that morning, and the day before, and the June run was on.

So we met Donofrio and his fishing partner of 15 years, Phil Miller, a retired sergeant from the Ocean Township Police Department, who resides in Shark River Hills, as does Donofrio. Donofrio said it was a good relationship. Each knows what the other is doing so sometimes they don't even speak on the boat.

We met at the Shark River Beach and Yacht Club at 4:45 a.m., 15 minutes earlier than originally planned. Donofrio had a feeling it would make a difference. We left the dock in search of bass that were biting as fiercely as the no-see-ums were biting us on a very warm Tuesday morning.

As plans go, this one couldn't be simpler: find a school of bunker, snag one, leave it there and, hopefully, a big bass will eat it. Bunker had been appearing in increasing numbers over the past several weeks and now it looked like they had arrived in force.

"My eyes are such that I can't read a phone book or a pharmacy label, but I can always spot bunker," Donofrio said.

He didn't have to look too far. Right out of Shark River Inlet, we came upon a school and we immediately set to work snagging bait. Donofrio and Miller tossed weighted treble hooks into the bait with conventional tackle, while I, a surfcaster by birth, used a spinning reel on a plugging rod. The two veteran bass fishermen politely rolled their eyes when I brought it on board.

As is often the case, there was bait, but no fish. So we headed north ? where we ran into the competition. A pod of dolphin were out for breakfast.

"It's great to see them," Donofrio said, "but they chase the bunker and the bass go with them."

While scanning the water, Donofrio also is on his cell phone talking to other boats to see what's going on. He knows everybody out there and they all let one another know who's found the fish. It's a wonderful thing to see such cooperation among fishermen and it is very much the rule, not the exception.

Thanks to the cell, we turned back south and Donofrio spotted a school of bunker close to the beach off Spring Lake. There I realized the error of my ways and switched to one of the conventional reels and a rod with some more backbone. On our last stop, I had snagged two bunker on a single hook and even they proved too much for the light rod.

Donofrio and Miller got fishing right away, while I wrestled with the conventional reel and tried to snag some bait. This school of bunker was very active ? the dinner bell had been rung and they were today's special.

Phil Miller hooked up almost immediately. After a spirited battle, Miller got the fish close enough to the boat and Donofrio was quick with the gaff and landed a beautiful striper close to 30 pounds. Then just as quickly Donofrio was back fishing and he soon had a fish on.

He was kind enough to offer me the rod as I was still trying to snag a bunker. With what little pride I had left, I declined, figuring if I wanted to catch the fish, I had to at least catch the bait. Donofrio soon landed another nice bass.

While I was still bunkerless, Donofrio hooked up again, and again he offered the rod. This time, with the pride needle on empty, I took it. At this point, I figure, I should at least learn what a large bass feels like.

It felt great. The constant, powerful pressure from that big tail seemed much different from the give-and-take fight from the beach.

Donofrio then put the boat back on the school of bunker and we started again. Feeling a little more proficient with the conventional reel, I manage to snag a bunker and hope for the best.

And it happened. The twitching bunker at the end of the line suddenly turned into a dramatic steady pull and a big fish was on. Then he was off. Then, as I pulled the line to the boat he was on again ? this time to stay.

While my experience with these big bass is limited ? one fish ? I could tell this one was larger than the last. And for the second time in my life, I was right.

All I could do was hang on and wait till he tired out, and when he did, Miller was there with the gaff. While I was fighting my fish, Donofrio was similarly occupied and he landed another beauty.

And then it was over.

The fish had attracted a crowd and a number of boats arrived on the scene, getting into the action. The bunker remained, slapping the water, but the stripers that had been feasting on them disappeared.

It was all over in about a half an hour and we had six nice fish in the cooler. Donofrio guessed that had we left the dock any later, we might have missed them altogether. The sign of a good captain is foresight.

Who knows where they went. The fish may have had their fill or the presence of so many boats may have sent them elsewhere.

As we set off in search of more fish, Donofrio, who owns Jersey Shore Florist on Route 33 in Neptune, talked about how the resurgence of bunker in New Jersey waters has made this kind of fishing possible.

"The reduction boats from Virginia would come in here and just take all the bunker. There's no way you'd get these big fish in here without the bunker. There was nothing to feed on," he said. "And if you did get a fish, say 45-inches long, it would weigh 19- or 20-pounds. It was emaciated."

Donofrio, an animated and passionate angler, started fishing as a kid and never stopped. He has worked as a mate, got his captain's license and ran his own charter business. And fishing is in the family. His brother, Jim, is the executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, the only full-time lobbying group created to protect the rights of recreational fisherman. The RFA is largely credited with putting an end to the taking of bunker from New Jersey's coastal waters by the reduction boats.

"Those boats would come in and take out 90 million pounds of bunker in two weeks," Jim Donofrio said. "As you can imagine, the loss of forage for the stiped bass had a devastating impact on the local fishery."

Thankfully, the bunker are back.

And that means Rick Donofrio, recognized by many as one of the best bass fisherman around, can get out every morning in June for a chance to catch big fish..

And it gave me a chance to catch the biggest bass of my life.
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:10 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

This thread has taken some interesting turns. Shipwreck is distraught because ling jerkers are nailing cows.....I know the feeling. Strawman is bent out of shape because he believes that newbies are not necessarily undeserving.....there's validity in that.

As long as I fished, and it was for a pretty long time, there were instances of googans stepping into it.....it will always be so. I understood it.....lightning can strike, and I just chalked it up to "s--t happens" and kept on fishing.

As tackle improved, and more guys could afford boats and ready made beach buggies.....and spinning made fishermen out of klutzes, it happened more and more. Bunker fishing created many instant heroes, and then in the 1970's monster bass started committing suicide in droves on live eels. What was once a tough endeavor for a few die hards had become easy pickings for the masses. Green kids were catching near record size bass. And modern lures just blew away those of the old days.

Compared to the way it was a half century ago, bass fishing has become very easy. Some old timers deal with it by trying new areas or different techniques. I abandoned the surf in the 1970's and found enjoyment in my little tin boat, fishing the quiet coves of Long Island Sound. Others I know have taken to the backwaters of Long Island's South Shore and of Cape Cod. For me, it went from serious business to casual pleasure. There was no longer any point in knocking myself out.....the crowd had caught up.

There's no point in fretting about the big scores of those who haven't "paid their dues".....the truth is that striped bass fishing is no longer the challenge that it once was.

CL
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:15 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

Hey Bigstriper, what are you gonna post next.....War and Peace?

CL
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: Frank: Read this NJ Striped Bass fishing report.

Maybe.
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