Judge takes white marlin lead at MidAtlantic

The scales just closed at Day 2 of the MidAtlantic, when the big news was the movement in the big money white marlin division.  Judge took over first with a 68-pound entry that was just one pound more than Sea Mistress had the first day. Auspecious moved into third at the 65-pound minimum, and several boats weighed legal length whites that fell just short.

Not surprisingly, there was a new wahoo leader as Chain Reaction had a 35-pounder to move ahead of yesterday’s 29-pounder by Special Situation.  In the dolphin category, Top Dog matched Reel Estate’s 33-pounder. Dem Boys remained well ahead in tuna at 96 pounds, but Sushi moved into second at 80 pounds — pushing Blue Runner to third with yesterday’s 79-pounder. Lucky Lady Jean boated a 77-pounder for fourth.  I’ll pass along Jeff Merrill’s official report in the morning.

Tackle dealer spoke at White House

It’s probably never happened before, but a tackle shop owner was invited to speak at the White House last month. Bruce Hrobak, who used to own Jersey Coast Bait & Tackle (now Gabrial Tackle) in Brick, N.J. , now has the Billy Bones tackle shops in Port St. Lucie and Stuart Florida. He came up to speak at President Trump’s news conference about his environmental positions. Hrobak thanked the President for expediting funds to work on the Lake Okeechobee Dam after the blue-green algae bloom problem last year contaminated St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon to such an extent that sportfishing-oriented firms were practically put out of business.  Hrobak noted that the ecosystem is starting to come back, but much remains to be done.

He was accompanied by his son Tanner (21) who has survived several brain cancer operations, and helps manage the shops. I’ve fished with Tanner, and can testify to the fact that he’s a skilled and enthusiastic angler. Below are Bruce & Tanner with the First Lady. Bruce & Tanner

Bluefish are finally putting in an appearance both inshore and in the ocean. Party boats have been jigging limits of them regularly in the 1-2-pound class, along with some bonito, chub mackerel and Spanish mackerel. Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant was surprised by large blues yesterday morning while casting metal in Manasquan Inlet.

Shark River has had some mostly 3-pound blues hitting poppers this week, but I also caught a couple of 6-pounders yesterday morning and one around 8 pounds this morning. Even though the sun was high, those occasional blues kept me casting — and I got a big blast I figured was a jumbo chopper as it ran off and fought deep before coming up and showing its tail. To my great surprise, it was a 30 1/2-inch husky striper that provided a “shot in the sun” on a Storm Rattlin’ Bug popper before being released. That was my largest from Shark River which produces schoolies up to 26 inches at times, but hardly anything larger.

As noted in last night’s late blog, the first day of the MidAtlantic out of Cape May plus Ocean City, Md. produced lots of fish for the 138 boats which used the first of their three fishing days, but none that look like sure winners of the millions at stake Sea Mistress is all alone in the big money white marlin division with a 67-pounder as several others which qualified to be weighed by length failed to weigh the minimum of 65 pounds. At the White Marlin Open from Ocean City a couple of weeks ago, it took a 79.5-pounder to walk away with over $1.4 million, so chances are that the 67-pounder won’t hold up.

As noted in the late blog, there was a 364-pound blue marlin weighed by The Chaser, but that was short of the 400-pound minimum. MJ’S later brought in another big blue only to fall short at 367 pounds. The White Marlin Open has a better system which requires a 114-inch minimum length to make the blue official regardless of weight. It’s much easier to determine length at boatside than to guess the weight of such large fish. As it is, blues that don’t make 400 pounds don’t even count in the points categories for trophies.

Lots of dolphin and wahoo were brought in as there is no minimum weight for them. Reel Estate leads in dolphin at 33 pounds, followed by Big Deal and Canyon Lady at 27 pounds. At the White Marlin Open it took a 41-pound dolphin to win. There were an unusual number of relatively small wahoo trolled. Special Situation leads at just 29 pounds. It took a 91-pounder to win at the White Marlin Open.

There were no hundred-pounders taken in the tuna division, but Dem Boys was close at 96 pounds. At the White Marlin Open, Frank Criscola’s Crisdel boated a 201-pound bigeye the first day and cruised to victory.  Blue Runner got off to a good start with tuna of 79, 68 and 68 pounds for second, fifth and sixth. Viking 72 had an appropriate 72-pound tuna.

I’ll have another late blog after the scales close at 9 p.m.

In local news, the Golden Eagle from Belmar had their 16-hour tuna trip today, and read lots of bluefins that wouldn’t hit. They had one on for a short time, but lost it. There were lots of bonito that provided a good catch. Monday’s bluefishing was slow, perhaps because there were 300 blacktip sharks feeding on bait fish. Six of them were hooked, and one was released.



67-lb. white marlin tops first day of The MidAtlantic

A million dollar white marlin of 67 pounds was caught by Sea Mistress on the first day of the MidAtlantic Tournament out of Cape May plus Ocean City, Md. That was the only white that made the 65-pound minimum, and probably won’t stand up all week. Indeed there aren’t any fish on the leaderboards that are likely to survive the week. The best bets may be the 96-pound tuna leader on Dem Boys (though one blast of bigeyes would change that) and the 33-pound dolphin on Reel Estate.  Blue Runner took second, fifth and sixth in tuna with entries of 79, 68 and 68 pounds.  There were a surprising number of relatively small wahoo weighed in that category which has no minimum. A 364-pound blue marlin was weighed by The Chaser, but it fell short of the 400-pound minimum.

The official report from Jeff Merrill follows:

Crews were anxious to get offshore on Day One as the 2019 MidAtlantic got off to a busy start with 138 of the 156 boat fleet, including 60 from Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May and 78 from Sunset Marina in Ocean City, heading out before daybreak. A light breeze and moderate chop at the canyons was reported and while late afternoon rain may have cleared the beaches of vacationers, it did little to dampen the enthusiasm at the tournament! It was a late night and busy morning for tournament staff compiling the final entry data and while all calcutta entries are still being tabulated a new tournament record cash purse of over $3.5 million is anticipated! This total would mark the sixth consecutive year a record cash purse has been up for grabs at sportfishing’s “Main Event!” Keep in mind with the wide range of calcuttas (side bets) available to all boats often more than three places will be noted during the week as being “in the money.”
The headline story of the day came from Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May where Avalon, New Jersey’s John Raimondo weighed a 67-pound white marlin for angler Bill Dever aboard Raimondo’s Sea Mistress. No other qualifying white marlin were weighed at either tournament venue so second and third place remain vacant. Additionally, no qualifying blue marlin were weighed.
In the tuna category, Dem Boys hailing from Isle of Palms, South Carolina weighed a 96-pound yellowfin for Tommy Hancock to take the early lead. Mark Deblasio’s Blue Runner from Manasquan, New Jersey sits in second place with a 79-pound yellowfin. Pat Healey’s Viking 72 based out of New Gretna, New Jersey is currently third with a 72-pound yellowfin.
The scales at both tournament venues saw numerous dolphin and wahoo weighed on Day One and the leaderboard was constantly changing. Currently the heaviest dolphin belongs to Baltimore, Maryland’s Curtis Campbell at 33 pounds caught aboard his Reel Estate. Ed Russo of Carlstadt, New Jersey weighed a 27-pounder from his Big Deal to sit in second place tied with Jamie Diller of Stone Harbor, New Jersey aboard his Canyon Lady. Talkin’ Trash and Joseph Stein III of Marriotsville, Maryland aboard his Marli are tied for third place at 25 pounds.
Ocean City, Maryland’s Thomas Colquhoun aboard his Special Situation leads the wahoo category at 29 pounds
followed closely by Hilltown, Pennsylvania’s Andy Schlotter aboard his My Time with a 28-pounder. Currently
tied for third heaviest wahoo are Westfield, New Jersey native Walter Koller aboard his Nasty Habit and Todd
Willard of Greenville, Delaware aboard his Fish On as both weighed 27-pound ‘hoos on Day One.
Some of the boats with significant billfish releases include Brooks Smith’s Uno Mas with seven white marlin and
Tom Gessler’s Boy’s Toy with six white marlin. Mike Penza’s Oil Slick, Todd Dickerson’s Top Dog and Andrew
Hall’s Lucky Linda Jean each released four white marlin. Marty Judge’s Judge released four white marlin and one
blue marlin while Jeffrey Scannelli’s April Fool and David Johnson’s JT each released two white marlin and a blue
marlin. Jim Smith’s Mjolnir let go two blue marlin and a white marlin while Joe Roberts’ Love Boat released two
blue marlin.

Little tunny run starts

The Jamaica from Brielle made a run offshore today in order to concentrate on bonito, but also came across the first signs of the late summer little tunny run off the Shore. They found them 16-20 miles from port, along with bonito as both jigs and bait worked.

Just as occurred over a decade ago, little tunny showed up offshore with school bluefins in June — and were a problem for tuna trollers. Yet, once again, they disappeared in a couple of weeks rather than moving inshore.

Effective lures for the toughest fighting inshore fish in our waters included epoxy jigs, Avas, Crippled Herring and Deadly Dicks. Nicholas Publicze from Bethlehem, Pa. won the pool with a 8-pounder.  The Jamaica will make that trip again tomorrow at 7:30 a.m.

Apt. Vinny Vetere reports striper action on bunkers has been good in Hudson River from his Katfish out of Great Kills. He has room for one or two tomorrow — and is also open Thursday and Saturday.

The forecast for Tuesday is north at 5-10 knots, switching to southeast in the afternoon.

The MidAtlantic is underway, with 138 boats fishing the first day. I’ll add a blog after the scales close at 9 p.m.

JCAA doormat.jpg

Tony Pacititti struck it rich in the JCAA new format fluke tournament , led by Dave Pacitti’s 10.86-pound doormat. as they swept all fluke Calcuttas.

The leaderboard below shows all the standings down to Kevin Cole’s 3.31-pound sea bass that won a valuable Calcutta. Cole has been doing very well in the fluke tournaments this year.


JCAA leaderboard



Pacitti sweeps fluke Calcuttas at JCAA for almost 10 grand

Dave Pacitti swept all the fluke Calcuttas in the first  JCAA new format fluke contest when he weighed a 10.8-pound doormat from Flounder Wet Spot at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Mina to win $9, 906.

Sorry for the late blog, but I just got back from the awards party in Brick for the JCAA Tournament. I’ll have all the details tomorrow.

The MidAtlantic is all set to go on Monday out of Cape May and Ocean City, Md. with about 150 boats and a purse of over $6 million. I’ll be doing late blogs this week with results each day after the scales close at 9 p.m.

The Jamaica from Brielle reported a slow start to their daily 7:30 a.m. trip, but ended up with a good mix of blues, bonito, chub mackerel and sea bass. Joe Andros of Bound Brook won today’s pool with a 5-pound bonito.  On Monday they will run offshore to concentrate on bonito.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will run open at 7 a.m. for bottom fishing. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.

The forecast for Monday is southwest winds at 5 knots, increasing to 10-15 in the afternoon,.

Party boat blues still biting

The 2-4-pound bluefish that provided lots of jigging action for party boat anglers in northern N.J. yesterday were back again today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported another day of good weather and steady fishing as some bonito, chub mackerel, sea bass and fluke were added to the catch.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant called yesterday the best bluefishing of the season as the hi-hook caught 35, and there were many limits plus bonito and chub mackerel.

There shouldn’t be any weather problem in getting to those fish on Sunday as the forecast is for south winds at just 5-10 knots with 3-foot seas.

There was no bluefish bite in Shark River this morning. Frank Manzi lost two small fish that he thinks were stripers, and I had one small fish hit on a popper. A seiner left lots of spearing and peanut bunker on the shore , and I took a few of them to the Spring Lake surf to get the skunk off by quickly releasing three short fluke up to 16 inches despite lots of weed in the surf.

Paul Haertel was pleased to get 61 boats in the new-format JCAA Fluke Tournament that winds up tomorrow.

The multi-million-dollar MidAtlantic begins with the captains meeting in Cape May tomorrow. Offshore trollers have another contest coming up right after it with the Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club’s 39th annual Offshore Open from Aug. 24-31. There will be an estimated $200,000 in cash prizes for tuna (except bluefins), swordfish, dolphin and wahoo plus white marlin and blue marlin releases. Ray Catena Audi sponsors Challenges for yellowfin tuna and albacore that don’t require any fee in addition to the basic tournament entry of $500.  The captains meeting will be on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Crystal Point Yacht Club.  A small boat category is included for boats 35 feet or less.  Brochures are available at area tackle shops and marinas.

The bluefin tuna jigging at mid-range grounds continues. This one was caught on a popper cast by Joe Massa.

Massa's bluefin

Party boat blues break open

Bluefish have been hard to come by most of the time this season, but there was finally a breakthrough today as the Golden Eagle from Belmar reported “Super Crazy Bluefishing” today. To be sure, they were only 2-4-pounders, but any-sized blues in quantity are unusual these days. That fishing was on jigs, and they also had chub mackerel, bonito and sea bass.

The Jamaica from Brielle also had blues yesterday mixed in with bonito, chub mackerel,  Spanish mackerel, and a few sea bass. They recommend epoxy jigs and A-17 diamonds.

Vinny D’Anton reported some 3-pound blues were caught this morning in Shark River on poppers. He hooked the only small striper among them.

Capt. Vinny Vetere had a good day with stripers upriver on Wednesday. His Katfish from Great Kills may be available for charter or open boat on Saturday. Call 917 393-8908.

The surf at Manasquan was still rough and fishless this morning, but with light winds forecast the surf should be calm and clear tomorrow.

Nick Honachefsky of Saltwater Underground reports tropical waters have moved in within three miles of the Jersey Shore. He used Williamson Flash Feathers to catch both Spanish mackerel and “chicken” dolphin out there today.


Southeast winds at just 5-10 knots are forecast for tomorrow. Sunday should be south at 5-10 knots with patchy fog and 3-foot Crisdel bigeyeseas.

The JCAA new format fluke tournament is underway, and the MidAtlantic has its captains meeting in Cape May on Sunday.

The official  results from the recent White Marlin Open at Ocean City, Md. are in, and they set a high standard for the MidAtlantic . You’ll notice that several Brielle boats were in the money, but Frank Criscola’s tuna champ Crisdel was listed as from Ocean City rather than  Brielle Yacht Club.

The official release follows:

AUGUST 11, 2019 Final Tournament Summary
The 46th White Marlin Open can be considered the most successful tournament yet for a number of reasons: 404 boats fishing for a World Record $6,186,870 in prize money is a good start. The red hot billfishing set a tournament record for the number of billfish caught and released. The prize money paid included two anglers that each won over $1,500,000, a blue marlin won $962,165, a tuna that took $935,915, a dolphin that won $74,900, and a shark that won $231,300.
As impressive as the payouts were, equally remarkable was the huge number of marlin caught & released. By definition nobody saw them at the scales, but the release flags flew all week. The tournament record was 1,358 whites caught in 2016 but the anglers toped that by over 100 fish. The final count was 1,459 whites caught with 1,429 released with the top release boat, “Big Deal” out of Brielle, NJ breaking a 39-year-old record for most billfish releases by boat. The previous record was 26 white taken by the “Escapade” in 1980. In addition to the white marlin, the boats took 47 blue marlin with 46 released, and 13 sailfish were released as were the 2 spearfish caught. The total number of all billfish caught in the 46th Open was a staggering 1,521.
In the money divisions, basically, the big fish in most categories on Thursday held their spots after the last day of fishing. Ocean City, Maryland native Tommy Hinkle weighed a 79.5-pound white marlin on Thursday while fishing aboard the “Fish Whistle out of Indian River DE. The fish took 1st place and netted Tommy $1,504,720. Hinkle had also won the top white marlin in 2008 making Tommy the first angler in tournament history to win the top white marlin twice! The “Backlash” out of VA Beach, VA kept their $1,502,450 for the 73.5-pound white caught on Monday by angler Michael Wagner from La Plata, MD. “Chasing Tails” with angler Nate Walker, both from VA Beach, VA caught their 74-pound white on Monday and earned $135,000 (they were entered in fewer added entry levels than Backlash).
The 465.5-pound blue marlin caught on Tuesday by Craig Dickerson from Pasadena, MD aboard the “Haulin N Ballin” out of Ocean City, MD was the only qualifier in that division and Dickerson won $962,165 for his blue.
The “Crisdel” out of Ocean City, MD weighed in a 201-pound bigeye caught by Russell Garufi from Bishopville, MD on Monday and stayed in first the whole week to kept $935,915. The “Seakeeper” from Wilmington, DE weighed a 150.5-pound Allison tuna on Friday. The angler was Andrew Semprevivo from Mystic Island, NJ who took 2nd place and won $135,432 for his efforts. Ocean City native Ronnie Fields weighed a 145.5-pound tuna off the “Mjolnir” out of Bay Point, FL on Tuesday and held on to win $128,675.
The 277.5-pound mako shark caught Monday by Greg Robinson aboard the “Polarizer” out of OC, MD was the only shark weighed and held onto $231,300 won from the “Big Fish” pool.
The “Give It Away” out of Jupiter FL took over 1st place in the wahoo division with a monster
91-pound fish caught by Anne Aramandia from New Braufels, TX who won $24,475. Other
winners in the wahoo division were the “The Natural,” who won $23,475, “Keepin It Reel” who
won $20,475 and the “Nighthawk” out of Brielle, NJ with angler Jay Monteverdi, also from
Brielle who won $20,475.
The big winner in the dolphin division was the “Miss-Tress” out of Brielle, NJ with Randy Drozd
also from Brielle. The “Miss-Tress” was in the small boat dolphin division and the 38-pound
dolphin weighed on Friday won $74,900. The 1st place 41-pounder taken off the “Playmate”
out of OC, MD won $20,380 while the 2nd place dolphin was caught off the Stewart, FL boat
“Irene”. Angler Frank Sinito form Jupiter, FL won just $3,000 as the boat was not entered in
extra added skill levels.
In the Small Boat Division, it was Tommy Hinkle with the top white which helped his winnings
grow to $1,504,720. The heavy fish was taken by the “Reeldiculous” angler Graham Ward who
caught a 121-pound yellowfin good for $108,000.
Top Release Anglers
White Marlin Open Grand Champion
Ed Russo from Carlstadt, NJ
Fishing on “Big Deal” out of Brielle, NJ
1,190 points, 17 white marlin released
2nd Place Angler
Robert Wedeking from Princeton, NJ
Fishing on “Override” out of Brielle, NJ
910 points, 13 white marlin released
3rd Place Angler
Victor Roof, Jr.
Fishing on “Game On” out of Charleston, SC
875 points, 10 white marlin and 1 blue marlin released
4th Place Angler
Nicholas Rodriguez from Dover, DE
Fishing on “Par Five” out of Dover, DE
735 points, 8 white marlin and 1 blue marlin released
5th Place Angler
Dante Rodriguez from Egg Harbor, NJ
Fishing on “MJs” out of Cape May, NJ
735 points, 8 white marlin and 1 blue marlin released
Top Release Boats
1st Place Boat
“Big Deal” out of Brielle, NJ
1,960 points, 27 white marlin released*
2nd Place Boat
“Uno Mas” out of Ocean City, MD
1,785 points, 23 white marlin and 1 blue marlin released
3rd Place Boat
“Tar Heel” out of Wanchese, NC
1,750 points, 25 white marlin released
* Broke a 39-year-old Tournament Record for most release points by a boat. The previous
record was 1,949 billfish pts. by the “Escapade “ in 1980 which consisted of 24 white marlin
released and 2 boated. The “Big Deal” out of Brielle, NJ caught and released 27 white marlin
to earn the WMO top release boat ever.

Tournament deadlines coming up

Anglers are running out of time to enter some tournaments this weekend.

As detailed in the release from Paul Haertel of the JCAA in last night’s blog, entry in their new format fluke tournament ends at 11:59 p.m. tonight. Entrants can pick one day from Aug. 16-18 to fish. Check that blog for details.

The Hudson River Fisherman’s Association closes entries for their Catfish Chaos Derby at 8 p.m. Friday. That Hudson River contest has weigh stations on both sides , and costs only $20 for adults and $10 for kids under 16. For info visit hrfa.org or Facebook@HRFA Catfish Derby – or call Scott Havner at 845 300-1562.

The captains meeting for the big-money MidAtlantic offshore trolling tournament is on Sunday. Read the press release a by Jeff Merrill at the end of this blog.

The bonito are back. The Jamaica from Brielle sent a report about them just after last night’s blog went in. High hooks had over 20 of the bonito that had been scarce for a few days. Bon Thach won the pool with a 6-pounder. Some blues and chub mackerel were also boated. In addition to those daily 7:30 a.m. trips, the Jamaica has a tilefish trip which sails at 10 p.m. Sunday and returns at 4 a.m. Tuesday.  A 31-hour tuna trip has been set for 7 a.m., Thursday Sept. 5. Reservations for those trips can be made by calling 732 528-5014.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar also got into the bonito yesterday, especially when they went into overtime during an afternoon blitz. They had already caught some blues, chub mackerel and keeper sea bass and fluke.  They went back to the same area today for a repeat of that action.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands fished inside today due to the rough ocean, but still had plenty of action with mostly short fluke. There was one limit catch.

The northeast wind created what appeared to be ideal surf conditions for striped bass. When the Shark River regulars didn’t find much doing there, they all rushed to the surf only to find the same thing. I talked to an angler who had been at Manasquan since 5 a.m. trying everything without a touch in beautiful rough but fishable waters. Vinnie D’Anton and I even tried sand fleas at Spring Lake without a hit in the white water conditions that are usually best for fishing with mole crabs.

Bob Correll fished the Bay Head surf early and caught a small blue on his first cast — but nothing after that.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for east winds 10 knots, while it goes northeast again on Saturday — but at just 5-10 knots.

Below is a shot of the cutlassfish that Alvin M. Trotter caught while fluking off Belmar. As you can see, there’s no confusing cutlassfish with anything else!




Jeff Merrill’s press release:

Sizzling Billfish Bite Sets the Stage for Another Exciting MidAtlantic!
Middle Canyons Hot and Cape May is Ideal Location!
You could run out of adjectives describing the current billfish bite along the canyons off the mid-Atlantic coast but safe to say “it doesn’t get much better then this!” A combination of cobalt blue water, abundant schools of forage species and ideal weather have produced incredible action with white marlin and blue marlin for those making the run offshore. And, with the 2019 MidAtlantic tournament just days away, this world-class bite couldn’t happen at a better time! That’s right! We’re just a few days away from sportfishing’s “Main Event” on the tournament calendar and preparation for this year’s event has reached a feverish pace. Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey put the Mid in MidAtlantic and, as always, will be “home base” for the tournament which is set for its annual run the week of August 18-23. At Canyon Club Resort Marina participants are right smack in the middle of the action enjoying the best access to the fish whether running north to the Hudson Canyon or south to the Norfolk Canyon as well as every canyon in between! In fact, during the recent White Marlin Open, Ed Russo garnered the Top Angler award for the tournament among a field of over 2000 anglers and 400 boats with 17 white marlin released and his boat, Big Deal, won the prestigious Top Boat award for 28 white marlin released during three days of fishing including 15 in one day while sailing from Canyon Club Resort Marina for the event!
Tournament entries have been flowing in at a steady pace and while Canyon Club Resort Marina is filling up, some slips are still available for vessels of various sizes. Join the tournament fleet at Canyon Club Resort Marina along with many of the MidAtlantic’s previous winners who sail from Cape May each year. Besides a world class marina that offers all the amenities to pamper tournament participants, family, crew and friends during the best week on the tournament calendar, you’ll also be at the tournament’s epicenter with access to the “Big Top” tent which includes the “Sponsors Midway” where you’ll find the latest in gear and services offered by MidAtlantic exhibiting sponsors. For dockage information and slip reservations give Paul Hoffman a call at 609-884-0199.
The tournament’s base entry fee of $3000 includes all dockside social activities for up to six people. Proceeds from ten optional calcuttas with fees ranging from $1000 to $6000 provide the prize money for the tournament. Last
year well over $3 million was paid out and the MidAtlantic continues to be, boat-for-boat, the richest big game
fishing tournament in the world. The event’s prize structure provides numerous big payouts each year and last year
eight winners walked off the awards podium with checks greater than six figures while eight others won $25,000 or
Participants will select three days to fish during the week of August 19-23 with cash prizes awarded in various
ways for white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, dolphin and wahoo weighed as well as billfish released. Minimum
weights are 65 pounds for white marlin, 400 pounds for blue marlin and 50 pounds for tuna (big eye, yellowfin or
true albacore) to win cash. All boats must fish within 125 miles of the Cape May Sea Buoy regardless of sailing
The MidAtlantic gets underway on Sunday, August 18 when late registration, calcutta entries and a cocktail
reception will take place from 1 – 4:30 p.m. at Canyon Club Resort Marina and the event’s only satellite venue,
Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland. For your convenience registration can also be completed online prior to
the tournament at http://www.themidatlantic.com. You’ll also find complete rules, schedule, calcutta information, points
and prize breakdowns and a link to purchase 2019 tournament apparel. For additional tournament information
contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177. Be sure to follow the action via the South Jersey
Tournaments App which can be downloaded for free on any IOS or Android device from the Apple App and
Google Play stores. Additionally, follow the tournament on Facebook at The MidAtlantic Tournament; on Twitter;
@midatl and on Instagram; @themidatlantictournament.
It’s the 2019 MidAtlantic! It’s only a few days away and it’s gonna be another dandy! Come join the fun and
perhaps you’ll have the opportunity to join the winners on the podium and be in a photo with a big check.

State record cobia in South Jersey

A state record cobia was caught Friday around McCrie Shoal by Len Andalis. As best I can piece together the article which appeared in the Atlantic City Press, the angler was fishing for fluke on his Franchesca Rose and cast a 6-ounce Spro jig to the fish which was probably spotted.  It took the jig as soon as it hit the water and ran uff 100 yards. The fight went on for 1 1/2 hours. The cobia was weighed at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, and at  90.6 pounds was clearly larger than the listed record of 87 pounds. Ironically, the state spearfishing record for cobia was also broken on Sunday with a 74.5-pounder speared three miles off Sea Isle City.

Speaking about summer surprises in N.J., there was another cutlassfish caught. Alvin Trotter was fluking off Belmar, not far from the inlet, when he hooked the long, flattish silvery fish with a mouth full of sharp teeh. He e-miled me a request to identify it, and even before seeing the photo I knew what it was as several have been caught lately. As previously noted. I caught many of those odd fish while fishing the piers of the U.S. Naval Station in Trinidad, West Indies while serving as a Navy officer there from 1961-1963 — but only at night under the lights.  They are an important market fish in many tropical countries, being caught in great depths at night where swordfish feed on them,

The photo below was supposed to be of the cutlassfish, but Word Press has been inserting different photos than selected on a few occasions lately. I’ll try the cutlassfish tomorrow.  Worst of all, I couldn’t match that shot at Manasquan this morning. I didn’t raise a thing on a popper, and know of only one bass caught under good conditions. I switched to Fisherman’s Choice squid strips soaked in shedder crab oil to release two short fluke up to 16 inches.

Al-23-inch surf bass.JPG

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, says ocean fluking has improved. Gianna Murphy of Lake Como weighed a 6-pound, 5 ounce fluke she caught off the Trade Winds on a strip of salmon belly.  There are plenty of fluke in Shark River, but keepers are hard to come by. Kingfish plus small blues and stripers are in the surf, and inlet anglers are catching snappers while getting some shots at Spanish mackerel.

Kingfish were abundant Monday afternoon when Nick Honachefsky of Saltwater Underground fished the Lavallette surf to release over 20 up to a relatively large 13 inches. Spanish mackerel were jumping, but wouldn’t hit.

Paul Haertel of the JCAA submitted the following notice:

The Jersey Coast Anglers Association’s is second fluke tournament this summer on August 16th, 17th and 18th. The weather looks good and the fluking is finally picking up. Now is the time to start filling your freezer and perhaps win some cash!  We are going to try an exciting new format and see how much interest it generates. For seven years in a row, we have had bad weather or a bad weather forecast on the day of our tournament. Therefore, this tournament will run for three days with hope that we will have good weather on at least one day. We realize that not everyone can fish two or three days, so to be fair to everyone, each boat will be limited to fishing only one day. However, each entrant will be able to choose the day they fish. The other major change is that the 1st through 5th place prizes will be based on the total weight of each entrant’s three largest fluke. This will take some of the luck factor out of the tournament and we are also limiting the number of anglers to 4 per boat to keep it a level playing field. Based on a minimum of 250 boats, 1st place will be $5000, 2nd place $2500, 3rd place $1500 and there will be gift certificates from our sponsors for 4th and 5th place. Additionally, there will be a $1000 prize for the largest fluke in caught in the tournament. We will also have $50 and $100 three fluke Calcuttas, $50 and $100 single fluke Calcuttas and even a $50 single seabass Calcutta.
This tournament is being run on short notice so there will only be four weigh-in stations this year, located in central part of our state. The weigh-in stations will be Fishermen’s Den in Belmar, Capt. Bills Landing Marina in Manasquan, Creekside Outfitters in Waretown and Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom. However, if this new format works, we will add more weigh-in stations to the north and south next year. We hope to take the best features of both of our tournaments and combine them into one really good tournament next year.
The awards ceremony and Country Style Barbeque will be held at the Brick Athletic League Building from 5-9 PM on August 18th. Barbequed chicken, pulled pork, sausage & peppers, baked beans, corn on the cob, coleslaw, macaroni salad, soda and water will be served and you can BYOB as well. We will have a 50/50 and live entertainment will be provided by Ken and the Escorts!

Entry fee per boat (up to 4 anglers) is $150. The entry fee includes two admissions to the Awards Ceremony/BBQ but additional tickets may be purchased in advance for $25 each. Extra tickets will not be available at the door. You may sign up online until 11:59 PM on 8/15. For complete details and to print and application or to register online go to www.jcaa.org ,visit our Facebook page or call Paul at 973-943-8201.


States will select regs to reduce striper mortality

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) issued the following press release after last week’s summer meeting:

Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board Approves

Draft Addendum VI for Public Comment

Arlington, VA – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board (Board) approved Draft Addendum VI for public comment. The Addendum was initiated in response to the 2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment which indicates the resource is overfished and experiencing overfishing. The Draft Addendum explores a range of management alternatives designed to end overfishing and reduce fishing mortality to the target level in 2020.

“The Draft Addendum is a critical first step to stem overfishing as quickly as possible and begin efforts to rebuild the biomass,” said Board Chair Dr. Michael Armstrong with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. “Following approval of the Addendum, the Board will likely initiate a new amendment to consider a longer term strategy to fully rebuild the resource.”

The Draft Addendum proposes management options for both commercial and recreational sectors in the ocean and in Chesapeake Bay in order to reduce total fishery removals by 18% relative to 2017 levels. The proposed measures include reduced quotas for commercial fisheries, and changes in bag limits, minimum sizes, and slot size limits for the recreational sector. Since catch and release practices represent a significant component of overall fishing mortality, the Draft Addendum also explores the mandatory use of circle hooks when fishing with bait to reduce release mortality in recreational striped bass fisheries.

It is anticipated the majority of Atlantic coastal states will conduct public hearings on the Draft Addendum; a subsequent press release will announce the details of those hearings once they become finalized. Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. The Draft Addendum will be available on the Commission website (www.asmfc.org) under Public Input by August 19th. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on September 27, 2019 and should be forwarded to Max Appelman.

Speaking of striped bass, this morning couldn’t have started any better for me when I got to the beach at first light. I was reeling in my second cast on open beach and already starting to walk toward a more likely spot when my Storm Big Bug popper was nailed almost in the wash. I was sliding a 25-inch striper out of the water wnen Vinny D’Anton arrived and said “They’re here. We should have a good morning.” Long story short — no one raised another fish before I left to give Point Pleasant Canal a try for blackfish.

Some sandworms left over from fishing with Chuck Many Friday evening were immediately attacked in the canal — but by the young-of-the-year sea bass that have arrived in force. It’s hard to get through the 5-7-inch sea bass with soft baits. I released a couple of tog to 14 inches yesterday morning on the slack, and a 13-incher today among all the sea bass. Green crabs are the best bet for blackfish in the canal as usual.

Though the weather forecast kept many anglers home, it was a very fishable day. Capt. Ron Santee said he hit the change of tide just right in the morning, and there was a good pick of keeper fluke as everyone went home with a fluke dinner from the Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had mostly sea bass on Sunday, but also a surprise tuna.


Jon Falkowski of Linden fished aboard the Misty Morn from Morgan yesterday and was pleased with the results. He had a keeper fluke plus nine shorts. There were seven keepers among nine fares — which isn’t bad for Raritan Bay this year.

Scott Leadbeater has been frustrated by the lack of bluefish to cast to in the bay from his 20-footer out of Atlantic Highlands he managed a consolation prize of two legal fluke in Swash Channel and at the towers.

The forecast is for northwest winds at 5-100 knots in the morning.