It’s unusual for a fluke tournament out of an inshore port to be postponed, as there’s always someplace to fish for fluke in protected waters, but that’s what the Raritan Bay Anglers did with their 30th annual fluke contest.
I didn’t receive a press release about that contest, but became aware of it when fluke pro dave Lilly called after Thursday’s captains meeting to inform me that those seeking a postponement so the ocean might be fishable after the tropical storm outvoted those willing to settle the contest in Raritan Bay today. Big swells are bad news for an ocean fluke
Below is the official press release from the July 4 event
964-Pound Fish Caught in Cape Verde Islands Wins the2020 Blue Marlin World Cup Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, 116 teams competed in the 2020 Blue Marlin World Cup Tournament, a one-day event held around the world. Blue marlin weighing more than 500 pounds are the only eligible species and competing teams fish in their respective time zones from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Entries are weighed on certified government scales at local marinas. The first qualifying fish reported to Tournament Director Robert “Fly” Navarro was hooked four minutes into the team’s allowable time frame. Lady Rebecca (Capt. Stephen Brexel), fishing from Boat Harbour in The Bahamas, got on the leaderboard with a 504-.8-pound entry. Although it was later topped, that catch represented a victory for the island nation, which is still recovering from last year’s devastating Hurricane Dorian. Blue Rampage was the second to record a qualifier with a 545-pound blue landed in Portugal. The boat typically fishes in Madeira, an historic big fish hot spot, but virus travel restrictions forced Capt. Gerhard Drescher and his crew to stay in their home waters. Previous World Cup Champion and million-dollar winner Done Deal, a 70 Viking run by Capt. Jason Buck, also stayed near home, focusing on the productive central Gulf of Mexico. Capt. Wilks Hammock was in the chair to wind in the boat’s 667.2-pound blue. That fish, which measured 120 inches from the lower jaw to the fork of the tail, was weighed at the Cypress Cove Marina in Venice, Louisiana. As multiple contestants released smaller blue marlin throughout the day, Navarro got word from several sources that a serious contender had been boated. La Onda Mila was fishing in the Cape Verde Islands for this year’s World Cup. Sam Peters, president of Release Marine, had booked the boat and competed with Capt. Marty Bates previously. But when Peters couldn’t fly to the islands because of virus restrictions, another local skipper, Olaf Grimkowski, took his place. Grimkowski cranked in a qualifier that measured 142 inches long, with a 70-inch girth and a 19-inch tail measurement. After a three-hour return trip, that fish would tip the scales at 964 pounds to earn the 2020 World Cup title and $464,000. Done Deal would claim the Big Blue Challenge consolation prize of $339,200.
The Tournament entry fee for the World Cup is $5,000 per team. The optional Big Blue Challenge (BBC) is an additional $8,000. There is a winner for the Tournament and the BBC. If the team with the biggest blue is entered in both categories, they take home all the money in this winner-take-all format. La Onda Mila did not enter the BBC. The corona virus created very unique circumstances this year. The travel restrictions impacted several teams. Normally Hawaii and Bermuda are popular World Cup destinations, but this year a number of teams fished closer to home or were not able to enter the Tournament. We had 11 boats competing from Cape May, Ocean City and North Carolina. The Gulf of Mexico fielded 34 teams, the most of any area worldwide. Although the Tournament expected a big drop in overall participation, the total number of entries was only down 23 percent. A number of participants expressed their thanks that they were able to maintain some sense of normalcy in their lives by being able to fish the 2020 Blue Marlin World Cup. All things considered the 2020 World Cup was a resounding success! Due to this success, the Tournament can continue its support of the IGFA and The Billfish Foundation by contributing to their ongoing conservation work. Next year’s Blue Marlin World Cup will be held July 4, 2021. For more information or to register, please visit: www.bluemarlinworldcup.com
Sorry for last night’s computer problem. Today is a blowout with Tropical Storm Fay working up the coast, but there was some good fishing esterday. Kevin Kuriawa and his brother Mikee were limited on fluke out of Manasquan Inlet by 10:30 and also released shorts, but the big thrill for Mike was seeing his first whale blow up close to the boat.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar had small blues chasing bait around the boat as fares limited on both them (5) and sea bass (2). There were also some Spanish mackerel, fluke and ling.
Canyon trolling was very poor Monday when Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club only boated one 50-pound yellowfin and lost another. However, that boat has been specializing in deep drop daytime swordfishing — and soon shifted gears.
Capt. Chris Di Stefano, who was part of the fishing crew, noted that they had lost a sword of at least 300 pounds at boatside during the last trip, and this time they had a surprise hook-up on the very deep line that turned out to be a bigeye tuna in the over 200-pound class. That was followed by the swordfish they were seeking which was estimated at 170-200 pounds.
Word Press cut off the end of last night’s blog at the mention of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant. I mentioned that they were on a tuna trip — and that turned out to be very successful as they limited on “under” bluefins up to 40 pounds and released a few. Today they had limits of bluefish and sea bass plus some fluke.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported hot bluefishing yesterday morning as limits were filled on them plus sea bass. They also added some fluke up to a 7-pounder which would win almost any pool on a fluke boat this season — and added a winter flounder. Today was just decent with steady blues up to 3 pounds as the five blues and two sea bass limits were filled plus some ling.
The Bay Head surf was dead with low water at daylight, and Frank Huza found the same thing later in the morning when he came down from Aberdeen.
The morning forecast is for southeast winds at 5-10 knots.
The following report was received from Capt. Chris De Gennaro of Hi Flier at Barnegat:
It’s been a busy couple of weeks fishing on the Hi Flier. Inshore we connected with bluefish, weakfish (only one), fluke, and spinner sharks. The weakie hit a jig tipped with shedder crab, it was only a 20 minute try so I am optimistic about going on the hunt for them again. There are 3 to 5 pound blues all around the inlet. The spinner sharks are terrorizing the bunker pods just a few miles outside our inlet, we caught them on the snag and drop. They were 40 lb class, maybe 4 footers.
Offshore we ran to the mid range grounds (50-70 miles) for bluefin and connected on the troll, 5 for 9 on 20 to 50 pound fish. We ran two trips to the southern canyons, 4 for 4 on the first with 30 to 50 lb yellowfins and then yesterday we went 2 for 2, a 50 and 80 lb yellowfin, all trolling Chatter Side Tracker bars. We also jumped off a white marlin. We are also trolling albacore with a few bonita mixed in at Barnegat Ridge. Thurs and Fri, July 9 and 10 are available for charter to fish inshore or the bay for any number of species. Sat, Sun, and Monday, July 11, 12, 13 are also available for charter or we will run Open Boat for Barnegat Ridge or Mid Range Tuna. Things are really heating up with both of these fisheries. PICS: Vinny Imbimbo of Millington, NJ with AlbacoreJeff Frazier of Toms River, NJ with 40 lb Bluefin Tuna (plaid shorts, black sleeveless shirt)Frank Posci of Barnegat, NJ with 35 lb Bluefin Tuna (black t-shirt)Howard Culang of North Beach, NJ with a 16″ weakfishGreg Borras of Keyport, NJ with 80 lb Yellowfin Tuna (navy shirt with green lettering on sleeve)
The annual July 4 worldwide hunt for the biggest blue marlin turned out to be a runaway when Marty Bates brought a 964-pounder into Cape Verde.
Very impressive, but still well behind in the winner-take-all contest were a 667.2-pound blue on Done Deal in the Gulf of Mexico, and a 545-pounder on Blue Rampage in Portugal. I hope to have more details tomorrow.
After a good showing the previous two mornings, Spanish mackerel were missing today in the Bay Head surf. I was happy to just get one hit when an aggressive 15 1/2-inch fluke hit my teaser fly.
The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had excellent bluefishing Monday morning before heading out at 11 p.m. for her first tuna trip of the season.
The forecast is for `southeast winds at 10 knots plus a chance of showers — with thunder storms possible in the afternoon.
There was an answer yesterday to the question posed in my blog last month –Will the Spanish mackerel be back? Some surfcasters picked a few Spanish mackerel in the Bay Head surf on long casts, and did so again this morning. That didn’t do me any good as I started casting in the canal to no avail, and only a few very small blues were still being picked when I arrived. Greg Tirpak did much better slightly further south as he totaled eight Spanish and 30 small blues.
Anglers to the north didn’t see any of those fish. Jon Falkowski fished Sandy Hook to no avail, and Allen Riley was at Monmouth Beach, where he started out with two short fluke but only had a few hits from them after that while seeing no bait in the 75 degree waters. Dan the Tinman used his jigs and 4-inch Gulp at Sea Bright to catch 16 short fluke and a keeper.
Capt. Ron Santee Jr. reports some better fluke being caught from his Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands. The monthly pool leader moved up to 6.1 pounds Sunday when there were also fluke of 5.1 and 4.9 pounds boated.
The morning forecast is for southeast winds at 5-10 knots with possible showers. There could be thunder storms again in the afternoon, but hopefully not as bad as those we had this afternoon.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a pick of blues Saturday, when they also had a few whiting, . It was better Sunday when there were some Spanish mackerel Today there were lots of blues to 3 pounds while a few 7-8-pounders were hooked but all lost. Some fares had limits of both blues and sea bass.
Phil Fischer yesterday proved that a small boater can both get into some tuna action without running 90 miles offshore — and without $125 sidetracker spreader bars.
He ran east from Highlands toward the HA Buoy and trolled old-fashioned red/white feathers plus a couple of small Green Machines. As the HA came within sight, a short bluefin was released. That was followed by two more short releases before a 47-incher was boated. Trolling along the edge of the Mud Hole produced a bonito, and the two more on a course to the Farms.
Joe Massa had a good shot of New York Harbor stripers one day this week when he released eight on bunkers. However, today was a different story when I joined him on My Three Sons from Morgan Marina, We had no trouble netting bunkers, and there wasn’t the crowd we expected to see on a Sunday morning. Best of all, there were plenty of marks. Yet, the bass we were marking didn’t seem interested in live bunkers. Even staying into the start of the outgoing didn’t help much as I managed just a fat 30-inh striper and dropped another, while Joe released a 27 1/2-incher and lost two others. We also missed a few hits as it appeared that we were into small bass with big baits.
The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported Saturday’s bluefishing was slow though some bonito were mixed in and jigging produced some quality sea bass.
The forecast is for west winds at 5-10 knots, going to south in the afternoon when thunder storms are possible.
There are two very different memorable catches Ill be writing about today — but for different reasons.
Some e-mails from Nick Honachefsky of Saltwater Underworld never showed up on my AOL mail, which happens at times when multiple photos are included. That’s how I missed a very impressive bluefin tuna catch that Nick made last month when he was fishing with Capt. Brien Keating on Defiance and a 180-pound bluefin hit a Savage lure cast on a Shimano Sragrossa 10000.
The battle lasted well over an hour, but I assured him that it could have been a lot worse. About a decade ago I hoked what turned out to be a 170-pound yellowfin tuna off Panama on a Yo-Zuri Bull popper — and that tuna soon sounded in the “bottomless” depths of the Pacific. That resulted in a backbreaking 5 1/2-hour battle that I thought was never going to end because there’s no resting with spinning tackle as is the case with conventional and a harness. There was plenty of braid on the big Shimano Stella, but I could hardly gain any for hours while the tuna was in its comfort zone. When I finally bot it up, she didn’t move a fin when gaffed.
Fighting a tuna that size in our area is a better deal for the angler, as it will surely stay down, but the deepest water during the Nick’s epic battle was “only” 250 feet. Nick is a lot younger, but I can assure you that I never want to battle another tuna that large on spinning!
Kenneth Abeles was fishing for sea bass on the Farms yesterday when he was surprised by a 10-12-pound monkfish. He said that was the first he’s seen in fishing off the N.J. coast for 50 years. The proper name of that ugly fish is angler, but they’re also referred to as goosefish, headfish, and all mouth. They’re actually not rare. Commercial fishermen catch large numbers on bottom longlines and nets. However, angling catches are all random — but therefore memorable. I can remember every one of the few I’ve caught from the first on a N.Y. party boat while fishing for whiting at Ambrose to my personal record 42-pounder that hit an umbrella rig being trolled for pollock off Block Island. Though different sizes, they’ve also been on different lures or bait. Ken released his monkfish, which is a name made up by the market to tempt people to try one of the best eating fish of all. You’ll never see one in a fish store as they’re cleaned at sea into a large hunk of boneless meat.
So much for the northeast 5-10 knot forecast this morning. I was faced with nothing but white waters when I cast into breaking waves at Sea Girt. It turned out to be a typical dry northeaster that dies out later in the morning, but it felt like Oct. 4 on the beach,
Tomorrow’s forecast is for northwest at 5-10 knots before going to south at 10-15 in the afternoon.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar got into jigging bluefish early this morning, but that bite didn’t last long. Some limits were caught before a switch to sea bass produced the two allowed for some fares. A few ling and fluke were added.
Bob Correll ran up to Shrewsbury Rocks from Manasquan Inlet yesterday afternoon where he and his wife Mary Agnes had good action with short fluke plus a few keeper sea bass. He followed that up this afternoon with a family trip on his Sea Vee, but there was little current and almost no action. Bob managed a 16 1/4-inch fluke while son Kevin hooked a small sea bass — but the trip turned out to be successful as the whale action captured everyone’s attention!
Tomorrow is forecast to start with northeast winds at just 5-10 knots before going east in the afternoon.
A lot of money is at stake on the Fourth of July for those fishing winner take all blue marlin tournaments, with one along the Atlantic coast and the other covering the world.
South Jersey Marina in Cape May is sponsoring the local contest in which boaters may leave from any port to troll for blue marlin with a 106-inch fork minimum during specified hours that day before weighing in at stations from Hoffman’s in Manasquan to Rudee Inlet, Virginia.
The Blue Marlin World Cup has been contested for many years, and has a minimum of 500 pounds with a lines in period of 8:10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the time zone fished. The entry fee is $8,000.
Sorry about the grammatical errors In last night’s blog. The cursor in my computer went wild and wouldn’t let me make corrections, so I decided to publish at that point rather than losing everything.
The Montauk Marine Basin Shark Tournament last weekend was topped by a 436-pound thresher on Emily Rose. Slim Shady was next in that species with a 317-pounder
Apelia led in makos at 242 pounds. There was also a 324-pound tiger shark weighed by Wireless..
The Golden Eagle from Belmar had both a limit of sea bass and then a limit of bluefish today. The blues could be seen chasing jigs in the very clear waters. The Wednesday afternoon free trip for healthcare workers produced two-fish sea bass limits. Those workers can still sign up with the Golden Eagle for those trips.
The Jamaica from Brielle is sticking with ling fishing and doing very well with them. Roger Johnson of Roselle won today’s pool with a 4-pounder. Some cod and flounder are picked along with the two sea bass allowed in the summer.
Bob Correll took his wife Mary Agnes up to the Rocks in his Sea Vee this morning for a good fluke bite though none quite made legal size. The sea bass limits were no problem.
The Fischers were at it again this morning as they fluked around Sandy Hook where Phil boated a 28-incher on the skinny side that still weighed 9 pounds. Two others were in the 4-5-pound class.
Keeper stripers from the surf have been rare, bur Greg Tirpak beached a 37-incher on a popper at Mantoloking on June 29.
Friday’s forecast is for northwest winds at 5-10 knots becoming southeast in the afternoon when showers and thunder storms are possible.