White Marlin Open coming up next week

The big game tournament season moves into high gear next week as the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Maryland runs from Aug. 2 to 6. Most of the N.j. entries will actualy be sailing out of Cape May to join the huge fleet competing for what will probably be well over a million dollars. The bigeye tuna bite was excellent during the recent Jimmy Johnson Quest for the Ring Tournament in Atlantic City (see photo below), and that fishery will draw attention from those not concentrating on white marlin with much lighter tackle.

There was a lack of fishing reports today as many anglers seemed to think it was going to rain before the end of the day. If anything develops, it will be over by tomorrow with dry northwest winds at 15-20 knots before gusting to 30 in the afternoon.

Party boats get into some yellowfins

New Jersey party boats have gotten into decent jigging during offshore trips for small bluefin tuna. but yesterday they set their sights much higher with yellowfin tuna.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported that they were running 75 to 80 pounds and a “handful” were boated with three times as many lost. The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant only noted that some quality yellowfins were caught.

The Golden Eagle was back to bluefishing this morning. and that fishing was good for 2-7-pounders on jigs which also produced some sea bass, fluke and ling before more sea bass hit on bait.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter reported another good fluke day with quality fish topped by a 7-pounder that beat a 6.5-pound fluke. There were also some sea bass and two blues. That boat is taking tomorrow off.

The Fishermen had a similar report of quality fluke as Merg Anthony boated a 5 11/16-pounder to take the pool.

Betty & Nick’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported there was a bluefish blitz on spearing in Island Beach State Park — where fluke were also caught.

Thursday’s forecast is for southeast winds at 10-15 knots plus possible showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Big bluefins jumping closer to shore

School bluefin tuna have often been hooked relatively close to the northern N.J. Shore this summer, and they may be coming even closer now.

Tank Matraxia was fluking yesterday at Scotland aboard Tagged Fish from Highlands when Capt.Chad Hacker pointed out medium bluefins jumpimg nearby. That’s become a familiar sight lately. but those fish are often very difficult to fool.

That wasn’t the case recently for Capt. Jim Freda on his Shore Catch out of Manasquan Inlet as he put Liam Kelly of the Manasquan High School Fishing Club into position to hook a 71-inch bluefin that hit a popper. cast well within sight of shore.

Matraxia said fluking was slow yesterday due to a lack of drift, though he managed a limit. There was a better report today from the Sea Hunter out of Atlantic Highlands as they got into quality fish with a 7-pounder edging a 6 for the pool — while two limits were recorded

The nice weather continues into the morning with north winds at 5 to 10 knots before a possibility of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Capt, Chris DiStefano joined a friend on Raritan Bay yesterday morning to get his grandson Luke Burns (13) into his first stripers. They cast poppers that raised a 29-incher for Luke to fight — and then advanced to a 37-incher;Allen Riley and John Mazzeo fished Sandy Hook this morning and found it to be pretty dead; Allen got a very short fluke on his first cast, but they never had a touch after that — even on supermarket shrimp. The water tenperature was only 72 degrees, and there were no signs of bait — but plenty of black flies.

Blues hit again — and some were big

Both the Golden Eagle from Belmar and the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported getting into both small blues and much larger choppers today. The former noted that they added sea bass plus some ling, congers and Spanish mackerel. Both boats are tuna fishing tomorrow, but will be back to the blues Wednesday.

Speaking of tuna, there’s a last minute opportinity to make an offshore trip on the Mimi VI from Point Pleasant which will be running a 32-hour trip at 7 a.m. The fare is $480. Call 732 370-8019.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reported tough conditions over the weekend with either no drift or too much current. Pool winners are ranging from 4 to 6.5 pounds. Tuesday’s forecast is fine with north winds at 5 knots shifting to the southwest in the afternoon.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar fished in rough weather on Sunday, but got back into big fluke.

Queen Mary has best bluefishing in 10 days

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported a roigh morning, but the best bluefishing in 10 days as most fares limited early. That boat is sold out on its Tuesday tuna trips until next month.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar managed some blues in the rough seas before switching to cooperative sea bass plus some lng.

Capt. Ron Santee described today’s fluke trip on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands as “painful’ — but is looking forward to Monday’s southwest winds at 5-10 knots.

Nick Honachefsky waded out yesterday afternon at dead low tide in the Seaside area to cast a Williamson 30 gram Gomoku jig to Spanish mackerel and was surprised to hook one that was stripping line. He said it was 38 inches and released it before realizing it might be a record.

Capt. Dave Degennaro has been enjoying great bait fishing for bluefin tuna from 30 to100 pounds only 30 miles or so offshore from his Hi Flier out of Barnegat. He has room on Monday and Tuesday trips from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. at $350 a man. Call 732 330-5674;

I got a northern fluke report from Florida as Capt. Sal Cursi said Jillian Martinko boated a 28-inch, 10-pound fluke Friday while fishing a killie in Raritan Reach.

Capt. Joe Massa decided to try light tackle fishing for triggerfish Friday at Srewsbury Rocks. He bought frozen shrimp, and caught 20 by himself on My Three Sons from Morgan Marina.

Small craft advisory for Sunday

With all the good weather we’ve been having, we can’t really complain about tomorrow’s bad forecast..

Unfortunately, warnings are up for south winds at 15-20 knots plus gusts to 25 and likely showers in the morning.

The full moon before dawn looked so close that I suspect there was a very strong current. Indeed, the Big Mohawk from Belmar blamed the slowest day of fluking in some time on a very stong current from the north. There were still some limits recorded, plus decent action with shorts. Due to the forecast, they are taking a pass for tomorrow.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar got into good bluefish action as 2-to-6-pounders bit well before boat traffic built up on a beautiful day. A move to sea bass produced a boat limit. Some ling and a Spanish mackerel were also caught. .They are planning to sail in the morning.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands saw a drop-off in Friday’s fuking due to too much current, though a 7-pounder was boated.

As noted in yesterday’s blog, I’ve been having some Word Press problems. I couldn’t scroll down to correct errors at the end. My e-mail is still cristori@aol.com.

Bay Head surfcasters have hit a few blues some mornings this week, but I put a hex on them this morning and never saw anything hooked. I talked to an angler who caught a cownose ray yesterday at Lavallette on a bucktail — the first i’ve heard of so far.

As noted in yesterday’s blog, I’ve been gaving some Word press problem– and couldn;t edit my last paragraph. My e-mail is still cristori@aol.om

RIP “Young Stan” Zagleski

My blog was already published yesterday when Dave Lilly called with the shocking news that Stan Zagleski Jr. had died in Shrewsbury River.

Stan mated on his father’s Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands for many years as they built up a reputation for finding doormat fluke and as experts in wreck fishing. When I was saltwater editor of the Star-Ledger, I enjoyed long phone conversations with Stan Sr. who always referred to his son as “Young Stan”, and was proud of his accomplihments as a scuba diver in the winter as well as on the boat.

Unfortunately, the senior skipper passed away from cancer over the winter, and Stan (54)took over the wheel as the boat’s success continued. What happened yesterday is still a mystery, but from what I can piece together from Police reports and other sources, it appears that Stan was walking around the dock around 10:30 after too few anglers showed up for the daily trip despite beautiful weather. He either triped and fell into the river between the dock and his boat or may have suffered a medical condition which prevented hiim from swimming to safety. There was quite likely a head blow during the fall, but the actual problem hasn’t been determined as yet. Two boaters at Gateway Marina saw him struggling, but didn’t get to him in time.

Pray not only for Stan, but also for Elaine who has lost both of her Stans within months.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar picked away at bluefish from 2 to 5 pounds on long drifts this morning before running off to limit the boat with the two sea bass a man presently allowed, They also had some ling, fluke and Spanish mackerel. There were also sea bass limits on yesterday’s 4:30 p.m. trip.

Dave Lilly had easy limits of good-sized fluke again yesterday despite a roaring current that required 16-ounce sinkers

.At Atatlantic Highlands, fluking was also good yesterday on the Fishermen for both shorts and keepers as a 7 11/16 pound fluke edged a 6 9/16-pounder for the pool.

A northeast wind is forecast for tomorrow — but at only 5 knots.

I’m always happy to answer phone calls, but don’t text. Gill, who was at my garage sale, sent a text which disappeared. Give a call or e-mail cristori@alristoriThoughoptimum seems to have my internet connection fixed, there have been some problems with WordPress — including a paragraph from a previous column that showed up in the middle when I published.

Blues turning on to chum

. Boaters have been doing well most of this summer by jigging blues, but the choppers have been fussy lately and now seem to seeking out chum lines which also attract chub mackerel.The Jamaica from Brielle reported limits of both blues up to an 8-pounder and sea bass today along with the chubs.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a beautiful calm day with blues and sea bass biting along with the chubs, ling and even two big blackfish that had to be released.

Dan Sheehan had exciting, but frustrating, news from Sea Bright where Spanish mackerel were feeding in close on small bait — but would’t hit lures.

I cast in the Mantoloking surf where there was no sign of bait, but released a small striper that hit a Tactical Anglers Crossover popper. Greg Tirpak had caught seven schoolies in that area on Monday. A couple of blues had been caught at Bay Head, but anglers saw Spanish mackerel jumping well beyond range.

There was no further word today of the crazy white marlin that was spotted recently in the Long Beach Island surf and showed up off Mount St. in Bay Head on Monday afternoon.

Ocean fluke fishing has improved. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reported lots of shorts with enough keepers among them as three fares had llimits.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar has been doing very well every day and had an 8-pound pool winner yesterday.

The morning forecast is for northwest winds at 5-10 knots before going southwest in the afternoon.

Cobia rules in place

Cobia are an unusual catch in N.J. , but some are caught every year — and anglers must be aware of the new rules for that species which allow for one 36-inch total length minimum cobia per vessel per day with no seasonal restriction.

Cobia on the surface are often mistaken for a shark, and may hit many types of lures and baits — or can be very fussy. They are fine game fish, and one of the best on the plate.

Bluefish were splashing when the Golden Eagle from Belmar started fishing today, but few could be tempted to hit jigs. Fortunately, sea bass were hitting and everyone caught their two-bass limit while there were also some ling, porgies and triggerfish though the big one got away — a 20-pound dolphin,

The Big Mohawk from Belmar has been doing very well with fluke, and yesterday reported the first North Jersey doormat I’ve heard of — a 10 1/2-pounder.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands had a good day of fluking which included a couple of limits.

Mark Roy covered a lot of ocean yesterday with his Release Me from Raritan Marina, but the mob scene offshore killed the tuna bite.

Chuck Many isn’t finding “monster” stripers for his crews on Tyman from Highlands, but he’s tagging and releasing some very respectible stripers for July.

Yesterday’s surf action south of Manasquan Inlet wasn’t repeated,but I did get my first Spanish mackerel surf report as one was caught at Pt. Pleasant. The last two years they had shown in the surf during June.

There’s thunder outside the window as I write this, but it’s looking better for tomorrow with north winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20 before going west at 5-10 in the afternon.

Too many boats spoil the tuna bite

The Golden Eagle from Belmar tried to repeat last week’s successful Exotics trip. but found “hundreds of boats” on the inshore bluefin tuna grounds.

That’s been a problem on weekends, but was a shocker on a weekday. As a result they only caught and lost a few bluefins while also losing a couple of yellowfins — but added some little tunny and bluefish.

Capt. Dave Riback said Sunday’s inshore jigging on his Queen Mary from Pt. Pleasant was horrible as both blues and sea bass wouldn’t hit after all the lightning the night before, but heard that it bounced back today. He reported that the charter boat Purple Jet manged to boat fve bluefins up to 50 pounds today.

Bluefish made a showing this morning in many surf areas south of Manasquan Inlet. Tjere was also the first little tunny in the surf report at Bay Head.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter reported many keepers among the short fluke on Monday, but the smaller fish prevailed during today’s steady action

The Fishermen had several larger fluke Monday, including a season leader for Joe plumber at 9.1 pounds. Bill Ciavanni Jr. almost matched that today with an 8 5/8-pounder.