Chuck Many passed along the sad news that his brother-in-law, John Russell Thomas of White Township  has passed away at just 54 after a suffering a workplace accident and never waking up.

John, an ironworker,  was a member of Many’s Tyman team in numerous tournaments, especially during years of fishing the American Striper Association circuit when many victories were piled up — culminating with Chuck winning the Angler of the Year award.

Chuck called John one of the best striped bass fishermen he’s ever fished with, and the very best at freelining live eels for big stripers. — as well as getting everything working right on Tyman.

John is survived by his wife Bethany and daughters Bailey and Sydney. A memorial service will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. in United Presbyterian Church, 224 Mansfield St., Belvidere.

The captains meeting for Saturday’s Sunshine Foundation Family Fun Day and Fishing Tournament will be held at 6 p.m. today in American Legion Post 49, Little Egg Harbor.  Entrants can fish for bluefish and fluke, with the combined weight of the top two of each species on the boat determining the winners of $3.000. The entry fee is $70 a boat, and that includes a buffet at the awards party for the skipper and three crew.  Fishing tomorrow is from sunrise to final weigh-in at the American Legion by 4 p.m.

The thunderstorm forecast probably scared off some anglers today, but a few of us took our chances. Vinny D’Anton of Wall and I took a shot at Shark River, which wasn’t very productive. I eleased a small striper on my second cast with a paddletail jig, but never got another hit until a similar striper hit the same jig just before the rain started. Vinny had a couple of small splashes on his Chug Bug, and caught a mini-bass on a Storm Searchbait.  The highlight of the morning was a huge rainbow I saw driving home over the Belmar Bridge. It looked close enough to touch, and seemed to end in the marina.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported the bluefish drought continued, so they worked hills, rocks. and rubble for plenty of sea bass action as all caught the two allowed during the summer by-catch season.

The Big Mohawk from that port found the water had cooled overnight from the south wind, and they got most of their hits later in the day as many shorts and some keepers were caught.  Thy are chartered on Saturday, and will be sailing at 6 a.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

There were no fluke reports further north. The Angler from Atlantic Highlands didn’t fish in the heavy rain, but reported a 9 1/4-pound fluke was caught on July 4 by Chong Chae from Englewood — though it wasn’t in the big pools.

Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands had pretty good fluking on Thursday (shown below) as Tom Hollywood Sr. from Staten Island took the pool with a 5-pounder.

Elaine B II Thursday

Capt. Vinny Vetere said striper fishing is holding up despite water temperatures up to almost 80 degrees in the Hudson River. Katfish Charters from Great Kills had a striper limit by 7 a.m. before releasing bass to get up to 18 before going in by 8:30. It was mostly trolling with Ho-Jo’s, but dead bunker also worked and produced the biggest bass of 31 and 35 pounds. Vetere has one opening tomorrow.

Steve Mirande fished the Bay Head surf yesterday evening despite the gusty south wind, and had some light hits on his jig before an 18 1/2-inch fluke took hold.

The forecast is for a lot more wind tonight, shifting from NW to a gusty northeast on Saturday. Fortunately, that northeast is supposed to drop out tomorrow night and be very light on Sunday.

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