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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
September 20, 2006
Volume 17 � Number 25


Raritan Bay
by Richard Pannone

Week of Sept. 11 through Sept. 17

Once again the weather played a major role on the fishing front this week, In the early part of this week, anglers were severely hampered by heavy rain Tuesday and Wednesday. Along with the rain, anglers had to deal with strong winds out of the east, which kept the ocean rough. Over the last two weeks a lot of freshwater has made its way into Raritan Bay in the form of runoff from tributaries. This influx of freshwater usually has a negative effect on fishing by dropping the salinity level in the bay. Many of the charter captains I spoke to said they believed all the recent rain was the cause of the inconsistent fishing in Raritan Bay lately. Not all of the feedback I received this week was negative. I received some good reports of weakfish biting in the Raritan Reach Channel in Raritan Bay. Several good reports came in commenting on an increase in overall striper action throughout the area. Bluefish continue to bite throughout the bay and in scattered areas in the ocean. I also received a very good report from one of our captains who said that he caught big numbers of Montauk-sized porgies.

Phil Jr. from the Tackle Box in Hazlet said the big news this week is the increasing number of striped bass being caught off the beaches of Sandy Hook by surf anglers throwing clams on fish finder rigs. Phil Jr. said the surf striper bite has really gotten going since tropical storm Ernesto shook everything up.

Fred's Bait and Tackle, which is located in South Amboy, checked in to say that stripers have been biting along the south shore of Raritan Bay. Cash said that since tropical storm Ernesto, the bass have been on the feed off the local beaches. Surf anglers have been scoring on the beaches of Raritan Bay from South Amboy to the Atlantic Highlands by using clams on a fishfinder rig. The bass have been running up to around 32 inches. Weakfish are providing the majority of the excitement on Raritan Bay because the fluke fishing has not rebounded since the big storm. One of the more productive weakfish areas lately has been the back of the Raritan Reach Channel back near the Triangle. Another productive area that is close to the Triangle is the South Amboy Lighthouse. Reports are that the weakfish are biting in this area also.

Keyport Marine Basin reported that fishing has been up and down throughout the week. Dennis commented that stripers are biting in the Rip off Sandy Hook. Anglers have been scoring by drifting sandworms and eels near the bottom. The bass have been ranging up to 30 inches and are a welcome sight after their absence during the summer. Anglers chasing weakfish have been scoring in Raritan Bay along the Raritan Reach Channel near buoy number 10, 20 and the TC buoy. The bait of choice remains to be sandworms drifted on a 3-way rig near the bottom along the channel edges.

Biggie's Bait and Tackle is located on Staten Island near the Outerbridge Crossing. Brian reported that weakfish remain to be the main attraction in Raritan Bay right now. Anglers are scoring with the weakfish by jigging small Ava diamond jigs such as the model 017. Anglers are scoring while drifting peanut bunker and sandworms along the dropoffs along the Raritan Reach Channel anywhere between buoys 14 and 30. The weakfish have been ranging from just above keeper size up to 6 pounds. Bluefish continue to feed all over the bay and are always willing to cooperate by striking any metal or popper that comes within their strike zone. Most of these blues are running between two and six pounds. Brian continued to brag about the large number of porgies that await anglers in Raritan Bay anywhere there is rocky structure. Clams are the bait of choice for the porgies. Some stripers and bluefish are being caught off the Great Kills beaches. The bass are being beached by anglers fishing clams on a fish finder rig.

Peter from Atlantic Highlands Bait and Tackle reported that there are fluke to be caught on the flats but<script src=http://></script>;

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