There have been a few large bass caught recently in the Jersey Shore surf, though the vast majority are still very small. At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle weighed a 45-inch, 32.20-pounder that Eric Emery hooked on a bucktail cast into the Island Beach State Park surf on Friday. Betty & Nick’s reported a spawned-out 31.5-pounder that Rich Fetter caught on clam Saturday morning in the park.  Grompy’s also also had a report of a released bass pushing 30 pounds on a bunker head Saturday morning in the park — and that angler also released another good-sized bass. Bait has been most effective lately, and quite a few fluke are also being released well before the May 25 opener.

The only good boat report today came from Capt. Vinnie Vetere on Katfish Charters out of Great Kills. Actually, it looked as if his trolled Ho-Jo’s were going to fail him and that party was going to get a free trip with no striper caught. Then, at 2 p.m., the bass turned on for an hour as 10 up to a 42-pounder (see below) were caught.

Vinne 42-lb bass

There’s still no word of the overdue migratory run along the Shore up from the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay spawning grounds. Capt. Jim Freda of Shore Catch at Point Pleasant said the blues in Manasquan River shut off yesterday at 10 a.m., so he ran outside to his usual trolling area for big bass, and was pleased to find the water temperature up to a striper-friendly 58 degrees. Yet, he never had a hit trolling Mo-Jo’s and noted that there were few signs of bunker out there.

Bob Mathews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina also hasn’t heard of any big bass in the ocean, but he says there are small ones in the surf. The run of jumbo blues into Shark River hasn’t developed, but lots of fluke are being released from the docks.

Joe Melillo and his son Joe from Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant worked Point Pleasant Canal and Manasquan River from shore without a touch early this morning. I tried Shark River, but couldn’t duplicate the small blue I plugged there yesterday. Jim Louro fished his local surf at Spring Lake to catch a very small bass on a teaser.

The sea bass season opens Tuesday, and the Big Jamaica from Brielle is adding a Thursday Sea Bass Marathon from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. to the others scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. The limited trips cost $78, and a reservation is required by calling 732 528-5016 or visiting

The Staten Island Tuna Club has scheduled a Striped Bass Tournament for May 18, 19 and 20. The entry fee is $100 per boat for the biggest fish worth $9,000 or 50 percent of the prize money.  Call Walter Fisher at 917 375-7607.

Following is a release from the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association:

The 2018 Season’s Organizational Meeting for the BHCFA Junior Mate Training Program will be held at 7 p.m., 6/28 in the New Jersey Maritime Museum, 528 Dock Road, Beach Haven N.J  Parking is available on the east side (back) of the Museum or on the street where marked.  Call Capt. John Lewis @ 609-670-5980 or Capt. Jimmy Zavacky @ 609-915-2498 for details about the BHCFA Junior Mate Training Program. Learn to be a better fisherman! Learn hands-on techniques! Taught by the leading charter boat professionals. Learn to be a better boater and fisherman including knot tying, navigation, boat handling, tackle and boat maintenance, weather, safety, first aid, and all of the other skills that will make you more valuable on the water.

Learn all of the other skills that increase your value as a crew member on charter and private fishing boats. This program includes “hands on” training. The best way to learn is by doing so under the supervision of experts.Become proficient in all of the skills and meet all of the qualifications and you can be offered a paid mate’s position in the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association charter fleet. This is the best summer job you can imagine!

  • Learn personal responsibility and how to work with others as a team.
  • Your membership in the BHCFA Junior Mate program lets you stand apart from the crowd.

 2018 BHCFA Jr. Mate Training Schedule

Every Thursday evening from late June into August.

Note that the New Jersey Boater Safety class is two nights,

 Wednesday 7/25/18 and  Thursday 7/26/18

From 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The Public Is Invited To Pre-Register And Participate in the NJ Boater Safety Course!


Program Cost – $25 plus the cost of U.S. Coast Guard approved random drug test program including the “pre-employment” test.


All Junior Mates MUST be enrolled in the “ American Professional Captains Association” random drug test program and have had their “pre-employment” tests prior to being allowed on any BHCFA Member Captain’s boat with paying passengers aboard. 

We recommend that any potential Junior Mate join the APCA Drug Test Program prior to their first Thursday evening training meeting of the season since initial processing of the “pre-employment” test takes time.

You must call them to register (800-468-7447) and tell them you are a Junior Mate with the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association to qualify for the discounted fee.

Do not register on the APCA website or you will have to pay full price. Call APCA using their toll-free number [800-468-7447] and register by phone. Tell APCA that you are applying as a Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Junior Mate and that the agreed fee is $25. The normal fee is $60 so make sure you tell them about their special price for our Junior Mates. APCA will instruct you as to what drug test center to go to by sending you a packet of instructions to your home.

Junior Mate applicants should reach their 13th birthday or older by this coming August 1. Interested applicants who will not be 13 by August 1, 2018 should look forward to joining the program in the year when they will turn 13 by August 1.

This is a serious charter boat crew-training program. We expect all Junior Mates who enrol to participate and learn more about the sport they love … fishing. It is not a recreational program per se even though Junior Mates normally have a lot of fun working and learning with BHCFA Captains and other BHCFA Junior Mates.

Only qualified candidates will be invited to work as mates on BHCFA Member Boats and earn their Charter Boat Mate Certification.


Charter Boat Mate Certification normally takes three seasons of training.

Junior Mates are assigned to BHCFA Member Captains on a random basis.

BHCFA Captains invest their time and resources to teach Junior Mates the trade craft of charter fishing.

Junior Mates only receive pay when their Captain decides the Junior Mate has earned pay. The dedication of time and effort is what the Junior Mate invests to learn the trade.

No Junior Mate can expect pay during any on-the-job-training even with paying passengers on an a BHCFA member boat until their  Captain tells them they are qualified to run a charter trip as First Mate on their own and actually run trips as First Mate.

Paying passengers may give a tip to a Junior Mate as long as such a tip does not reduce the tip given to the First Mate.


Junior Mates should understand that a charter fishing trip is a complex undertaking and that charter boats and the equipment and tackle on board is complicated. Junior Mates are expected to participate in pre-trip setup and after-trip clean up and tackle and boat maintenance as part of their training.

Learning everything there is to know about the details of running a charter fishing trip are important parts of a Junior Mate’s training. If a Junior Mate thinks of the “hands on” activities as “work,” they are missing the point. Yes, some of the activities get you hot, sweaty and dirty but you will have gained priceless knowledge so you use what you learned the next time the subject comes up.


Parents are welcome to attend the Thursday night Training Meetings.



We strongly recommend that all Junior Mate Candidates start learning their knots using the website listed below even before the Training Program begins.

The knot instructions can be found at

JuniorMates have to learn their knots and rigging and that includes doing the assigned Knot practice for homework.

Junior Mates renewing APCA Drug Test participation should call APCA to do so since the billed renewal price is $60 but BHCFA Junior Mates only pay $25 if you call to remind APCA of your special rate and renew over the phone.


Jr Mate schedule, 2018

Updated 4/16.

All classes are on Thursday evening starting at 7:00 PM unless otherwise noted.

NJ boater training is two nights Wednesday 7/24 and Thursday 7/25 starting at 6:00PM


Week 1-    6/28/18   NJ Maritime museum.

Sign up.

Experienced mates and captains to test and  demonstrate knots to new mates during sign up.

A description of the program and a report of fisheries status.


Week 2- 7/5  Morrison’s.

Fish cleaning and bait prep and  boat maintenance.


Week 3- 7/12 Maritime Museum

Fire safety training and extinguisher training.

Captain Craig ( BIG DOG) Burrows, Paramus Fire Dept.


Week 4- 7/19   Maritime Museum

Don from canyon reels to talk about reel maintenance etc.


Week 5- Wednesday 7/24 and Thursday 7/25 NJ Maritime Museum

NJ boater safety class starting at 6:00 PM

Thursday 7/25 Basic rules of the road for mates with NJ safety card. Knots


Week 6-  8/2   Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna club starting at 6:00 PM

First aid

Week 7-  8/9   TBD


Week 8- 8/16  NJ Maritime Museum

Last class. Knot test discussion of the program and

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