According to forecasts, the ocean had stabilized by Sunday after a few days of big waves caused by Hurricane Lee and many fishing boats were back in action and catching bluefish and fluke.
That was, of course, after tragedy struck Thursday evening when a 31-foot AquaSport hit the rocks of Manasquan Inlet and overturned. Three people entered the water but only two came out. An intense search and rescue mission followed that night and the next day. A US Coast Guard spokesman said they called off the rescue on Friday night, and on Sunday state police conducted diving operations in the inlet.
State Police spokesman Sgt. Phillip Carey said as of Monday afternoon, the time of deadline for this story, they had not found the missing boater, 21-year-old Derek Narby of Brick. The stern portion of the vessel was located in about 30 feet of water off the North Pier of the Port of Manasquan on Sunday, Carey said. Police dive crews returned to the water on a rainy Monday morning to search for him.
Capt. William Eggerter Jr. of Dauntless was out Thursday morning and fished Sandy Hook Reef for porgies. He came home in the early afternoon and shortly after the swelling became more severe. Like the rest of the fleet it was grounded for the next two days but returned north on Sunday.
more:Hurricane Lee grounded the fishing fleet, and the captains hope to fish again on Sunday
He fished to the east of the reef, thinking the waves might have pushed the pigs further out. He said his wages consisted of six to eight porgies each, to go with some shell catches and about a dozen triggerfish. He noticed good numbers of bass right away, which is a good sign when the season starts again on October 1.
Party boats Golden Eagle and Queen Mary returned to the bluefish run on Sunday. Captain Rich Falcon of the Golden Eagle said they had no problem finding the fish. He said they put together some nice long drifts with some wave action where they had several fish at once. Dances were the primary treatment. He said the fish was worth 6 to 8 pounds.
The lucky boats had some success on Sunday. Capt. Ryan Bogan aboard the Jamaica 2 said it was a little slow but his fares had a good amount of keeper fish. He said the bottom was still settling Sunday, so he expects the fishery to improve over the final week or so of the season.
Grumpy’s Tackle at Seaside Park weighed a 17-pound mahi-mahi on Sunday for David Bennett. He would catch lobster in his pots and make the fish bite by throwing clam bait at them.
more:What’s the Biting: Get the latest fishing reports here
When Jersey Shore native Dan Radle isn’t reporting the news, you can find him in a college classroom where he works as a history professor. Contact him @danielradelapp; 732-643-4072; email@example.com.