The Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club’s 49th annual White Marlin Invitational was a week late in terms of good weather, and thus took a beating in entrees as only 22 boats hung in with the contest that was moved back to provide for better fishing weather. Even then, no boats sailed into still lumpy seas on Thursday. It came down to a three-day tournament for each boat to get in two days of fishing, and only nine boats took a shot at Friday — which turned out to be probably one of the best in WMIT history despite a wicked late afternoon thunder storm the held up the weigh-ins.
Every boat caught or released fish. The total reported came to only five white marlin releases and one 8.95-pound dolphin — but the expected 15 yellowfin tuna and the hoped-for eight bigeye tuna plus a rarely-seen blue marlin weigh-in.
Melina, a BHMTC boat, had a great day with the blue marlin longer than the contest minimum, which weighed 356 pounds, plus three bigeyes from 86.3 to 117 pounds. However, their bigeyes weren’t big enough as Mary Joe (bigeye specialists MJ’s) took the tuna lead with a 156.2-pounder. The first day was already a huge improvement over last year when Jersey Nutz won the Treasure Chest with only a 62.5-pound tuna
Though only 22 boats are involved, the Calcutta total up for grabs is $67,500. After yesterday’s fine fishing, there should be plenty of action at the weigh-ins this afternoon. The results came in much too late last night due to the storms, but there shouldn’t be any problem in getting another blog out when results are in tonight.
The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands did well all day with sea bass and mixed-size fluke despite a lack of current for drifting.
The Jamaica from Brielle reported a hot Friday bite of chub mackerel plus a few blues and lots of ling and sea bass’
The Golden Eagle from Belmar had another busy day today with sea bass to get the two-fish limits plus ling.
Capt, Dave De Gennaro is going to run open on Sunday for a trip to Barnegat Ridge with his Hi Flier from Barnegat for bonito and sharks — and hopes the weather continues to look good Monday for the mid-range offshore areas that have been producing bluefin tuna.
There was no lack of boat traffic in Shark River this morning as stir-crazy boaters rushed out to sea. I managed a couple of small stripers casting from shore right away, but soon moved to the still somewhat rough surf where I did nothing on poppers. Frank Manzi stuck it out with the small bass in the river and ended up with nine, while Vinny D’Anton got three there (including one on a Chug Bug) before adding another on that popper in the Belmar surf.
The Ocean Explorer from Belmar found an 8 3/4-pound fluke that was close to the seasonal leader despite still large swells Friday. The Big Mohawk from Belmar did even better today as Joe Links boated a 10 3/4-pound doormat fluke.