A string of rainy and windy days have curtailed participation in the summer flounder fishery, which opened to recreational anglers a week ago.
But those foul-weather fishermen who have wet a line in the last week have mostly targeted striped bass.
According to a majority of recent fishing reports from local shops, most anglers who hooked striped bass recently have done so by snagging and dropping live bunker within a mile or two of the shore. Surf fishing was on and off, and even boat fishing required a bit of luck to locate a pod of bunker that was also holding bass.
Some anglers found success in the back bays, however. A report from Murphy's Hook House in Toms River indicated bunker schools were found in the Toms River between Cozy Cove and West End Avenue off Island Heights.
Dennis Palmatier, the shop's owner, suggested anglers look to the ospreys to guide them to the baitfish.
The weather short-circuited many anglers' fishing efforts, but "those guys willing to put in the time are picking at some bass both on bait and swimming plugs," said John from The Dock Outfitters in a report earlier this week. There was no definitive hot spot, but anglers hooked fish in Seaside Park and Island Beach State Park recently.
In LBI, stripers were being beached by anglers up and down the island when the weather cooperated. Customer Joe Ford weighed in a 33-inch, 12-pounder Thursday at Oceanside Bait and Tackle, located in the Brighton Beach section of Long Beach Township.
Customers of Surf City Bait and Tackle in Surf City picked away at bass here and there on the beaches, and the first surf-caught fluke of the season - a 22 incher - was reported as having been hooked!
On the party boats, ling was the catch of choice on board the Dauntless out of Point Pleasant Beach, where a report from the boat indicated anglers were catching 15 to 30 fish each. A few cod have also been hooked as of late, as well as some fluke, including an 8-pound pool winner.
The Dauntless sails daily, year-round from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Farther north, the Miss Belmar Princess out of (you guessed it) Belmar had a tough time finding the fish Friday after running north, but rallied to put together a catch of bluefish and stripers on the rocks. The boat is running striper trips every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
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