It took two 50’s to win Waretown F.D. Tournament

Paul Haertel passed along some very interesting results from the weekend Waretown Fire Department Striped Bass Tournament that I’d never heard of and wasn’t even included in The Fisherman’s list of events. It’s hard enough to catch a 50-pound striper at any time, but in that small contest it took two to win!

Balls Deep won with the two bass total of 112.7 pounds as that included a 52.7-pounder to earn the female award for Sara. Jerzy Boyz was second at 95.7 pounds — barely edging Lucky Stripers at 95.2 pounds. Balls Deep won the Calcutta for biggest single bass at a huge 59 pounds.  A mere 5-pounder took the bluefish prize. Paul wasn’t sure how those bass were caught, but he suspects they were trolled.

Capt. Tom Savastano ran north from Manasquan Inlet on Sunday to find big schools of bunkers on the surface, but couldn’t get a hit either trolling or live baiting before finishing up with sea bass.

Party boats sailing out of Atlantic Highlands have had a hard time getting the stripers they mark to hit. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said it was the same story today as trollers were catching while fares on his Sea Hunter caught only a short bass and some blues. As a result, he’s only going to run one more striper trip on Thursday before switching to fluke from 8-2 when the season opens on Friday. The Fishermen will also make the switch on Friday. Capt. Hal Hagaman of Sea Tiger II was surprised by a couple of what would be keeper fluke during the Sunday afternoon trip which produced only one blue in the strong south wind. There had been a keeper striper and some blues on the morning trip.  John Andrea reported that his partner trolled a dozen blues between 15 and 20 pounds Saturday by Buoy 19. That’s the first report I’ve had of big blues in the back of the bay as those chunking have been mentioning small blues.

Daytime bluefishing has been getting tougher in rivers and bays. While Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno have been catching big blues at night in Point Pleasant Canal, there have been very few at dawn and dusk. Bill Hoblitzell and I did nothing Sunday morning casting jigs in the canal before going out on his Sea Vee from Mc Carthy’s for a couple of hours along with Jerry Gilbert from Pa. I scratched out a 3-pound blue working a small Z Man jig off bottom, before later getting a blind strike on one of Frank Cresscitelli’s Guide’s Choice Zara Spook versions for the only large blue of about 9 pounds. When blues come hot and heavy you take them for granted, but the way it was Sunday I really savored the strike and the fight. We also had a few follows and a couple of shad tails bit off — but that was it.

Al's big blue.JPG

I was surprised to see Capt. Dave Gennaro in Manasquan Inlet with his Hi Flier from Barnegat — where the big blues were supposed to be. He said the bay is now full of 1-pound blues, and was waiting for the change of tide to resume ocean trolling after coming up along the shore without a hit. He managed a few blues in the river by trolling small plugs. Trolling back to Barnegat Inlet didn’t produce, but he ended up getting into big blues on poppers by Oyster Creek Channel.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported that Sunday’s sea bass fishing was tougher than it had been as high hooks had from six to seven. Tuesday’s forecast is for northwest winds of 10-15 knots with gusts to 20l That switch from south will be welcomed as anglers have been blaming that wind plus the full moon for any fishing that hasn’t been up to par.

I’ve been checking the web  all day for results of Sunday’s Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament, and also made a couple of calls to the DEP, but still haven’t come up with anything. Hopefully I’ll find that info tomorrow.





Blues bite at Aberdeen Family Fun Contest

Frank Huza of Aberdeen Township reports there was finally a fishing contest where the fish cooperated!  Last year bluefish were scarce everywhere, while last evening only bluefish were caught.

“What a beautiful evening at Cliffwood Beach, with a beautiful moon rise over the gazebo on the sea wall. ”

Adult Winners:
1st Place:   Matt Hoffman of Aberdeen. 25.25″
2nd.            Delvin Caries of Trenton.      25.00″
3rd.             Enrique Vargas of Perth Amboy 22.25″

Teen Winners:
1st Place:    Anthony Colon of Trenton.  25.00″
2nd.             John Yahara of Hazlet.         19.5″

Youth Winners:
1st Place.    Matthew Samaniego of Scotch Plains  24″
2nd.             Hudson Yahara of Hazlet.                      18″
3rd.              Olivia Genitr

There have been no results received from Saturday’s Triple Challenge Tournament, but Chuck Many noted on Facebook that he fished with Capt. Bryan Pieros on his boat along with Dave Donahue to win the two-fish Calcuttas with weigh-ins 40.8 and 39.95 pound stripers, .
Daytime bluefish casting has slowed up in the rivers and bays, but Nick Honachefsky got into 3-5-pounders in the Lavallette surf with metal on Friday after first catching sea bass with Capt. Charlie Mancuso. It may be turning to a night bite as Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno plugged big blues in Point Pleasant Canal  Saturday night. Jerry also hooked a striper he couldn’t stop before it broke 30-pound braid,
The Big Mohawk from Belmar had good sea bass and ling fishing today, but is taking a pass for tomorrow due to the weather — with small craft warnings up to tomorrow afternoon.
I’ll catch up with the Governor’s Cup and other reports tomorrow.

Governor’s Fishing Tournament at IBSP on Sunday

The annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament will be held Sunday at Island Beach State Park. Those not pre-registered can start signing up at 5 a.m. in Pavillion #1.

The weather looks good with south winds of 10-15 knots, though they do increase in the afternoon to15-20 with gusts to 25. That shouldn’t be a problem in the surf during the fishing hours. The Seaside Park tackle shops report blues are finally showing on the beach and hitting plugs and metal as well as fresh bunker which is available at the shops. Some stripers are also in the surf, and there were reports yesterday of bunker schools within range.  Be sure to carry a snag hook as your best shot at a big fish would be with a snagged bunker.

Party boats from Atlantic Highlands had a hard time with stripers today though they had marks and watched trollers catching them.

Sea bass fishing remains very good, and the Big Mohawk from Belmar also had lots of ling today,

Lots of tackle left at my garage sale

There was a surprisingly good turnout at this morning’s block garage sale at 1552 Osprey Ct., Manasquan Park, NJ 08736. That’s the first time I’ve ever exhibited on a Friday. Yet, there’s still plenty left for the conclusion Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Call me at 732 757-5531 or e-mail to with any questions.

There was good surf news at Seaside Park as Grumpy’s Tackle weighed the biggest surf bass so far. Brian Chiasson beached a 40-inch, 17.7-pound bass on cut bunker from the local surf. There were also some 3-5-pound clues in the surf , which bodes well for Sunday’s Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament on Sunday at Island Beach State Park. There’s also a free Summer Fun Day there from 11-3 Saturday. Go to Swimming Area 1 for the activities. The state is doing the same thing Sunday at the Sandy Hook unit of Gateway National Park. A visit to the marine lab is included.

Nick Honachefsky of Saltwater Underground and Mickey Malchiondo had lots of action on bunker chunks this week at IBSP with 16 choppers in the 2-4-pound class.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported a very tough day on his Sea Hunter though lots of fish were recorded. Only one short bass and a blue were caught, but the bite has been fluctuating wildly from day to day.

Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen had a similar problem Thursday before running west in the bay and using both clams and bunkers to catch some small bass plus blues before winding up with four legal stripers on the change of tide.

Sea bass fishing remains good for all. The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported they were feeding on sand eels today, and drifting was best as anglers casting jigs did better than bait fishermen. They recommend bringing jigs with sand eel teasers.

Miss Belmar Princess got into some 2-pound blues Thursday before snagging bunkers which didn’t attract any big stripers. They wound up adding sea bass to the fish bags.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar found only a few blues for jigging this morning, but went offshore to add sea bass and a pollock despite a wind against current situation.

Jim Hutchinson Sr. reports for the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association that  big stripers are starting to show for trollers.





School bluefin tuna made an appearance for BHCFA Junior Mates on an experimental trip.



Fishing Tackle garage sale Friday & Saturday

My block is having a garage sale the next two days, and I’ll be including fishing tackle at 1552 Osprey Ct., Manasquan Park, NJ 08736. The hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Call 732 757-5531 for additional info.

All sea bass reports have been very good during the first two days of the season.  Capt. Stan Zagleski said it was limits for all on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands — and that seemed to be the case for all.

Tank Matraxia and his crew from Lyndhurst fished aboard Lock & Load from Neptune and were limited in short order. Tank not only put ALS tags in sea bass, but also in an 18 1/2-inch cod that Marty caught as part of a double with a ling on a jig.

Chuck Many had his nephews from Slate Hill N.Y.  aboard Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands as we wormed in Shrewsbury River for a pick of school stripers up to 16 inches, though the bass were very fussy. An afternoon attempt to catch big stripers in the ocean with live bunkers didn’t produce as no bait was marked.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the hot gigging bite of large stripers in Raritan Bay wasn’t repeated. He had to change locations and go to bait to put a few keepers aboard the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands.

John De Bona of The Fisherman magazine reported there was hot bluefishing from the docks at Belmar Marina this morning.

The forecast for the morning is southwest winds at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 — and a chance of afternoon showers.

Another fishing tackle garage sale this weekend

Though my recent garage sale went well, there’s still lots of fishing tackle left — and I found some more that hadn’t surfaced  during the last sale. Since my block is having an area sale this weekend, I’ll be adding my tackle to my wife’s household goods. The address is 1552 Osprey Ct., Manasquan Park, NJ 08736. I’ll have details in tomorrow nights blog. My phone is 732 757-5531.

The few reports received so far from today’s sea bass opener were good. The Golden Eagle from Belmar started out jigging bluesh from 2-10 pounds before heading offshore for sea bass which were 75 percent keepers. They’ll be doing the same thing at 7 a.m.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant had many sea bass limits plus ling. They sail open for $75 the next two days. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.

It was a good day for Atlantic Highlands party boat seeking stripers in Raritan Bay. The Sea Hunter limited out with bass up to a 30-pounder on jigs and shads — and added many releases. The Fishermen had a similar report as ganetts were diving and two 24-pounders tied for the pool.


It was so cold this morning in Point Pleasant Canal that I thought an Ice Age was upon us. Never before have I experienced cold hands in mid-May. I had to take a break for awhile to warm my hands at Castaways Tackle in Poiny Pleasant, but managed to pick four blues on a 3-ounce bucktail tipped with a Z Man, Only a few other blues were caught while I was there.

The party boat fleet was fishing inside Manasquan Inlet, but I didn’t see shore anglers catching when I checked it.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports big blues are still thick in Barnegat Bay, and there should be more in the surf for Sunday’s Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament.

Allen Riley, John Mazzeo and Mitchell Mc Kee fished the Sandy Hook surf this morning with fresh cut bunker. Allen caught bass of 19, 21 and 22 inches and missed two others. John released a 5-6-pound blue, and Mitchell released a 3-4-pounder. The water was barely over 45 degrees, and the air was 44 degreeThe forecast is for southwest winds at 10 knots in the morning with a 60 percent chance of showers.

Good weather for sea bass opener in NJ

It’s looking good for Wednesday’s sea bass season opener in New Jersey. Moderate northwest winds should knock down the swell, and gusts to 20 knots from that direction shouldn’t be a problem on near-shore wrecks and reefs. As noted in last night’s blog, the limit is 10 sea bass at a 12 1/2-inch minimum. Some boats will be running limited trips which require reservations — so be sure to check with your favorite boat before coming down.

The Point Pleasant Canal bluefish bite wasn’t up to yesterday’s, but I still managed five that were all large — three over 10 pounds and two six-pounders. One of the latter engulfed the 3-ounce bucktail tipped with a Z-Man paddletail — and then gulped it down as I was trying to get it out. I also added a 22-inch striper before the bite died out.

Castaway’s Tackle in Point Pleasant is stocked up with clams and squid for the sea bass,

Despite much better weather, it appears that most party boats didn’t get out. The Golden Eagle from Belmar will be sailing at 7:30 for a mixture of stripers, blues and sea bass. .

Nasty weather brings winter back

After a near perfect day on Saturday, Sunday turned out to be a real bummer with rain and strong winds followed by winter-like temperatures this afternoon with a gale advisory up.

Monday doesn’t look great either as east winds in the morning drop to 15-20 knots with gusts to 25. Light rain and drizzle is supposed to die out early, but return later in the afternoon. Dress for winter if you’re out early.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park Reports that big blues made their first real showing Saturday evening in the surf with 6-10-pounders on both bait and lures. The bay remained hot for big blues. Gene Topoleski and his son loaded up on jumbos to 15.7 pounds.

Chuck Many reported on Facebook that he and Dave Donahue fished with Bryan Pieros on his Bid Time in the Battle o the Border. They didn’t catch many bass, but all were big up to the 42.3-pounder that won the contest. All of the bass were released, including the winner.

Capt. Stan Zagleski has finished striper fishing after only finding three shorts on Saturday, which was a terrible day for the party boats. He switches Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands to sea bass on Wednesday’s opener.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno dressed in full rain gear this morning and got into a hot bite of mixed-size blues from shore in Manasquan River. They fished in IBSP Saturday evening where Maren released stripers of 36 and 32 inches on an SP Minnow along with a small bass and blue.

Maren IBSP bass.jpg

Haertel & LaGrossa were double winners in N.J. Skillful Anglers Contest

Paul Haertel of Clifton  had an unusual double win in the 2018 N.J. Skillful Anglers Contest as he trolled a 54-pound striped bass on May 28 off Asbury Park on a Tony Maja bunker spoon, and in Sept.  added a 30-pound, 9.5-ounce cod on an offshore wreck.

Phil LaGrossa of Toms River started off the year right by boating a 10 1/8-pound weakfish in Barnegat Bay which also stood up all year in the Fisherman magazine Dream Boat Challenge to win that division. Then LaGrossa added an 11 1/2-pound doormat fluke on Aug,. 5 with Gulp.

Surprisingly, there were no bluefish entries, along with many other species. Stacy Fowler from Pa. won with a 16-inch, 1.32-pound kingfish.

In the release category there was a double winner as Christopher Pereira of Hopatcong fished Sandy Hook Reef in August to release a 20-inch black sea bass and a 30-inch fluke. Larry Newman of Brick released a 35.5-inch bluefish  on May 25 from his kayak in Barnegat Bay.

It was a beautiful day, but the only striper and blue report I got was of a tough day for Capt. Ron Santee on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. He spent six hours just looking for a bite even though he read bait and some fish, He went into overtime to avoid the doughnut, and that payed off in a late two keeper stripers and a short. There will be no trips Sunday and Monday due to the forecast.

East winds gusting to 25 knots come in after midnight, and the gusts increase to 30 knots tomorrow.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar had plenty of bottom fishing action with some ling they could keep and lots of sea bass that will be a target on Wednesday’s season opener. They won’t be fishing again until then.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park weighed a 34-inch, 12.6-pound striper caught on bunker in IBSP by Roger K.  Bluefishing was slowed somewhat yesterday by the south winds, but some up to 17 pounds have been recorded.

Doing well in school payed off for Keegan Rothman (13) as his father, Dan, took him to Zihuatenejo, Mexico to catch several exotic fish plus this trophy yellowfin tuna that weighed in at 89 kilos after a 45 minute battle.

Keegan yellowfin.png





Manhattan Cup coming up in J.C. on June 7

The Manhattan Cup, presented by Yamaha Outboards,  is returning to its new base at Liberty Landing Marina and Restaurant in Jersey City on June 7.  Entrants can fish in their own boats or with some of the best charter skippers in the Metropolitan area. Combat vets, many of whom are disabled, will join in  enjoying a day of striped bass and bluefish fishing in fly, artificial lure and bait divisions while being treated to a big breakfast, a gourmet lunch box, and then oysters on the half shell before a great dinner. The awards dinner also features a massive auction to benefit the vets and fishery conservation. I’ll have more about the Manhattan Cup in future blogs, but don’t hesitate to sign up for it now by calling Capt. Frank Crescitelli at 917 468-4867 or Gary Caputi at 732 740-9982.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the ocean was too rough for comfortable fishing, so he fished his Sea Hunter in the bay where there was good action with short stripers plus a few keepers The forecast for Saturday may present an opportunity to get back in the ocean, but it doesn’t look good for Sunday and Monday.

Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen also got into lots of shorts plus a few keepers up to 15 pounds in the bay,

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, said big blues up to 16 pounds have moved into all of the local rivers and inlets. Quite a few fluke are being caught by anglers fishing for other species, and Bob asks anglers to carefully release them before the season opens on May 24. Blowfish are a good bottom fishing target now. Everyone is getting ready for the May 15 sea bass opener, and some party boats are booking special extended hours trips for that day.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing Saturday for blues and stripers at 7:30 a.m. — and then daily until the sea bass opener.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports excellent fishing for big blues in Barnegat Bay, but only a few small blues seem to be in the surf along with some stripers that are mostly on cut bunker

Mother’s Day is usually the starting point of bluefishing in the surf. Hopefully there will be some anglers trying it this weekend.

Saturday’s forecast is for northwest winds of only 10-15 knots. However, Sunday is a different story with east winds of 15-20 knots plus gusts to 25 — and likely rain.