Two 14-lb. tog tie in SWABC contest

The Salt Water Anglers of Bergen County held their annual Past President’s Dinner Tuesday night in Mountainside Inn at Clifton. Big fish awards were presented, including a surprising tie at 14 pounds for blackfish caught by Rey Munez and Craig Zincavage. What are the odds of two such trophy fish being enterted in a club fishing  contest?

Munez also won for a 23-pound, 2-ounce cod. Another outstanding catch was Dan Tobia’s 45-pound striper. Other winners were Bill Fish with a 3-pound flounder; Joe Salib for an 11.8-pound fluke; Serge Radossi with a 10 1/4-pound pollock; Rick Swarthe for a 2.95-pound porgy; and Lou Castellano with a 5 1/8-pound sea bass. 7The SWABC was formed in 1937 with the late outdoor writer Bill Backus as the first president. John Toth been president since 2014, as well as seven other years. For information about membership visit

Winter flounder fishing has been very poor so far, but Bob Matthews of Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina knew of three being caught from the docks there yesterday,

Jim Louro of Spring Lake launched his new Vicki Lynn (named for his deceased mother) at Toms River yesterday. A couple of small stripers were jigged in the river, but the southeast wind killed the fishing.

I made a few casts into Point Pleasant Canal early this morning with a Tsunami Shad, but didn’t stick it out in the light rain very long. The regulars at Castaways Tackle in Pount Pleasant said they had tried the canal during the night without success. There are some stripers in the ocean as dead bass have been floating up on the beach after being ripped out of a gillnetter’s net deployed near shore.

The weather is turning on us as small craft advisories are up  through Friday afternoon. Tonight’s southeast winds up to 30 knots switch to west at up to 30 knots in the morning and into Saturday.


IGFA Dinner coming up on April 20

New Jersey IGFA Annual Fundraising Banquet and Auction

The International Game Fish Association’s New Jersey Representatives will hold their 21st Annual Fund Raising Banquet and Auction on Friday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in Doolan’s Shore Club located on Route 71 in Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey.

Hosted by New Jersey representatives Rich Keller, Dave Matagiese, Jeff Merrill and Gene Nigro, proceeds from the evening will benefit IGFA’s Junior Angler and Conservation Programs. Last year 150 guests attended and well over $12,000 was raised for these IGFA programs. Over the past 20 years this event has raised over $280,000 making it one of IGFA’s most successful fundraising events on their annual calendar.

A cocktail hour precedes a deluxe hot and cold buffet dinner followed by the popular Fishing Tackle Bonanza Auction where thousands of dollars worth of fishing tackle including rods, reels, line and lures donated by major tackle manufacturers and local tackle shops, plus jewelry, marine artwork and other fishing related items and accessories will be given away. Numerous fishing trips have also been donated by local charter boat captains. The popular Grand Raffle is back again and includes two Maxel Ocean Max rod and reel combos as well as several other valuable prizes. A silent auction and a Tricky Tray raffle will also be held and will include fishing trips, tackle, clothing, gifts, artwork and more! Every attendee will receive a commemorative gift from IGFA.

The $75 tickets are limited to the first 100 sending a check payable to the IGFA to Jeff Merrill, 218 Houston St., South Plainfield, NJ 07080. For additional info call Jeff at 908 451-1110, or e-mail jeffmerrill2@verizon,net

The Canyon Runner fleet at Point Pleasant is almost sold out for canyon trips before September. The best tuna bite in the canyons last year was very early, and there are just a few charters or open boat reservations available by calling Adam La Rosa at 732  272- 4445.


The Jamaica from Brielle has scheduled 1 1/2-day tilefish trips departing at 10 p.m. Sundays. The first two will be on April 12 and 27. The fare is $360, and tackle can be rented for $40. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Though there’s a chance of rain tomorrow, the wind is only predicted to be southeast at 10-15 knots early before increasing to 15-20 later.

Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, reports some small stripers are being caught on small plugs in Manasquan River and the canal — where a few flounder are also hitting.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park has had good and bad reports on school striper action in the back bay as the fish seem to be spreading out. Flounder are also finally feeding as one regular had a limit up to almost 17 inches.  Bloodworms are the best bet for both species. There’s been nothing from the surf so far.

There was the usual big crowd last night at the Salt Water Anglers of Bergen County Past Presidents Dinner. I’ll have more about that tomorrow.

Darrell Lowrance was a man for the ages

The news that Darrell Lowrance had passed away from a stroke at just 80 was a shock to me as he was the most vibrant man I’ve ever known. The founder of Lowrance Electronics revolutionized fishing by allowing anglers to view underwater structure and fish when he introduced the “little green box) with its flashing signal that required a lot of interpretation, before developing much more advanced units that provided a picture of the underwater world.

Yet, Darrell was much more than an innovative businessman as he pursued every challenge in his path as a great angler, speedboater and pilot  His contributions to angling were recognized with his induction into the IGFA Hall of Fame.

Despite all his accomplishments, Darrell was a modest man always ready to help others. I enjoyed teaming up with him at Mako Outdoor Writers Tournaments when we ran Mako center consoles from Florida to the Bahamas, and invariably took a beating crossing the Gulf Stream either coming or going. Only Darrell really enjoyed the rough trips, as he had a smile on his face while getting drenched with every wave and wouldn’t give up the wheel to take a break. He didn’t like the cold, but bundled up to fish with me on my Mako at Montauk a few decades ago to troll Shagwong Reef for big stripers at night.

Following are some comments from the internet:

A pilot, Lowrance told people he conceived of the idea for fish finders after flying an airplane over Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in Oklahoma in the 1950s. The water was clear and he could see the schools of fish and he wondered if sonar developed to locate submarines could be used to locate those schools.

He developed the famous “little green box” device along with his father, Carl, and his brother, Arlen, to help fishermen and boaters monitor water depth and find fish. The product was introduced in 1959 and it revolutionized fishing.

First in Joplin, Mo. and later based in Tulsa, Okla. the company once employed more than 3,000 people and produced more than 1 million devices per year. In addition to locators, Lowrance also produced a variety of electronics for the U.S. military. In retirement he lived in Plano Texas and also had a home in Port Orange, Fla.

“To his credit there are more anglers fishing with Lowrance in the Classic than all other brands combined so that’s certainly reflects his commitment,” Sprouse said.

Tennessee angler Bill Dance said Darrell Lowrance and his father Carl both hold special places in his memory bank.

“We had some good times together and I learned a lot about electronics from Darrell and I was shocked and very saddened to hear what happened. The industry lost a real keeper I can tell you that. He did a lot for the industry, he really did. He helped fishermen in those days not only with finding places to fish but to return to that same spot and catch them again.”

Special among them is a trip to catch striped bass in eastern Tennessee when the weather turned cold. “He had on so many clothes you couldn’t recognize him,” Dance laughed. “He had on a ski mask and big hood and these Arctic boots. He could hardly walk and you couldn’t hear him when he talked it was just mumble, mumble mumble.”

Dance remembered his friend as a good and versatile angler and “super intelligent.”

“Sometimes he would get to talking about something and get so in depth I’d have to stop him and say, ‘Darrell, I don’t know what you’re talking about, you have to remember I only know two big words, Chevrolet and mayonnaise and I don’t know how to spell either one,’ and he’d giggle, he’d get so tickled, but he was a very intelligent guy I can tell you that.”

Longtime employee and family friend Linda Colt of Tulsa described Lowrance as an employer dedicated to his staff and as a religious man.

“Heaven certainly received a good man,” she said. “He was truly a man of love and respect for his employees. Every year we would have an employee company picnic and fishing tournament and I would reserve a shelter and camp spaces and we had a great time.”

Colt said she still plans luncheons twice a year for former employees and that Darrell and his wife recently joined them.

“He was truly a great man of faith, knowledge, integrity, and caring, who gave so much to the wonderful world of fishing and the marine industry. His dad Carl was as well. Darrell used to swim under the boat while they were testing the old Green and Red Box sonars to test them. He always shared so many of those stories with us, and about learning how to use Sonar correctly. He gave me the paper graph he used to look for the Loch Ness monster in Operation Deep Scan, along with an autographed Green Box, and an old flasher I will forever treasure.”

Lowrance was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2013 and Colt was his honored guest. He was ill the night of the event but pressed on without anyone realizing it to give a great acceptance speech, she said.

Lowrance, in his address, offered some fitting words. “Fact of the matter is there is just no security here on Earth,” Lowrance said. “There is an eternal security at it’s the only security that counts because, stop and think about it, there isn’t one of us in this room this isn’t going to die, so where’s the security? I’m not going to preach to you, as I used to tell ‘em, ‘read your bible and you can figure it out,’ because it’s the only thing worth living for.”