Friday is the last day for N.J. anglers to fish for sea bass with a 10-fish bag limit at a 12 1/2-inch minimum.
After that closure, there will be a summer by-catch season intended to accommodate summer ocean fluke fishermen from July 1 through Aug. 31 with just two sea bass allowed at the same 12 1/2-inch minimum.
New York is going in the other direction with sea bass as they re-open from June 23 to Aug. 31 with a limit of three at a 15-inch minimum — followed by a Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 season with seven at a 15-inch minimum.
Jersey anglers must be aware of the fact that regulations are different in New York. I heard of one case this summer where anglers from Morgan were catching fluke off Hoffman’s Is. and happy to have found 18-inch N.J. keepers when they were boarded by the N.Y. D.E.C Police and found their fluke were under that state’s 19-inch minimum — a costly mistake. The Angler from Atlantic Highlands fished the N.Y. side with good success one day this week while observing the 19-inch minimum.
Also at that port, Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported that today was just O.K. — with a couple of limits and a 6.8-pound pool winner on his Sea Hunter. The Sea Tiger II had their best fluke so far when Roger Lee boated a 7 1/2-pounder Wednesday afternoon.
Capt. Vinny Vetere will be sailing the maiden trip of his new Dina Maria out of Great Kills Friday morning. The usual cost is $1250 for a party of six, but the charter had to back out. Vetere wants to make the trip anyway, so he’ll take up to three walk-ons at just $150 each. Call him at 917 693-8908.The 43-footer is powered by three 350-hp Yamahas, and has a width of 13.5 feet — plus air-conditioning. Vetere says the striper fishing has been hot the last two days
Capt. Chris Di Stefano of Wall said canyon fishing wasn’t hot today as Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle worked from Lindenkohl Canyon to the Carteret for only one hit and a lonely yellowfin tuna. He only heard of about five tuna today in a big fleet attracted by the calm seas. There was a report of a blue marlin caught further south, but the whales that had been in the canyons left with the bait.
John Schachel of the Jersey Coast Shark Anglers reported their ongoing Mako Fever Tournament had its first entry yesterday when Big Nutz Required weighed a 258-pound mako. Schachel fished the contest today and found beautiful warm water far offshore that were full of life. They had 11 releases that included a mako that would have been boated before the 83-inch minimum went into effect.
Bluefishing continued to the north today. Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant said he only got into the smaller blues, but had his best volume so far. Blues up to 14 pounds were jigged yesterday.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar started out with the small blues, but got into jumbos later in the day — and even a keeper striper.
Jim Hutchinson Sr. sent the following report for the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association:
“The sea bass season is temporarily on hold, but fluke fishing action continues to remain steady for the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. A few bluefish are around the inlets, and offshore reports are very good for both yellowfin and bluefin tuna. Sharks are also making their presence known offshore.
Captain Ray Lopez and mate Liane Lopez on the “Miss Liane” reported some great family type fishing for black sea bass on inshore structure. The Occhipinti family celebrated Father’s Day in great style with “drop and reel” action.
Captain Carl Sheppard reports he too has been running family trips of up to 12 anglers on mostly half-day trips. His groups have been averaging 25 fish per trip. He has been blaming cool water for the slow action but anticipates increased action as the water has started warming. On one recent inshore trip Captain Carl had bluefin tuna breaking water around the boat, but he was unable to coax any to his lines.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing reports a definite improvement in his fishing trips over the past few days. As the water temperatures have warmed, the slime grass on the bottom is leaving, making fluke drifting much easier. Weather conditions made fishing touch recently for Ian Habich and his wife Tracey. Using the S&S Bigeye, they managed to put 3 keeper fluke in the box up to 5.5 pounds along with a catch and release short striper. The finished the day with 3-6 pound bluefish caught in the inlet. Other trips resulted in 20 short fluke along with one keeper and another with five keepers to 22-inches. The bluefish in the inlet have been completing his trips. This is a good time to book an offshore tuna trip. The weather is decent and the fish are there. For information on tuna fishing and the boats of the BHCFA go to the website at www.bhcfa.net. “
There are still no reports of dolphin in the Mid-Atlantic, but Pete Connell of Avon just returned from Islamorada after clobbering them not far from shore on his outboard. Luis Gonzalez of Palmetto Bay, Fl. ran his trailered Sheri Berri III out to 650 to 1050 feet off Triumph Reef where he and Austin Moore had a good shot of school dolphin such as we should be seeing very shortly.
The Sea Tiger fluke wanted a second showing!