Former Rutgers star tight end Clark Harris, who went on to an NFL career and is presently the long snapper for the Cincinnati Bengals, ran away with big striper honors at Friday’s Manhattan Cup out of Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City.
Harris was fishing with his half-brother, Jim Hutchinson of the Fisherman magazine, aboard Jersey Devil when two big bass hit live bunkers down the beach. They were quickly measured, tagged and released. Clark’s bass was the largest at 48 inches and gained all the glory while Jim’s didn’t earn any awards despite being by far the second largest of the contest.
Wounded veteran Elfain Diaz was supposed to fish with a boat that broke down on the way to Jersey City, and was welcomed aboard My Three Sons from Morgan Marina by Joe Massa to fish along with Guy Talarico and me. That turned out well for him even though we had a tough bite in the back of the bay. Diaz released a 34-inch striper that was the largest by a vet, and earned the new Chris Raguso Memorial award in honor of that hero who died in the course of saving others. Talarico caught the only other eligible fish in the boat, and his blue of about 7 pounds won a private boat award. I lost a big blue that bit through the 40-pound leader.
I haven’t received the full list of winners yet, and will fill in when they become available. The most interesting catches weren’t involved in the contest as Manhattan Cup founder Capt. Frank Crescitelli found a school of big black drum in the bay. One over 50 pounds was released on a bucktail, and another on a fly!
The Golden Eagle from Belmar had to make a very long run today, but located a school of jumbo blues up to 15 pounds on jigs.
The first good party boat fluke report came in from Capt. Stan Zagleski of Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands. He reported more keepers today including a few limits — and also more shorts. As has been the case lately, many fluke are spotting up small porgies. The pool went to Mike Scher of Long Branch with a 5-pounder.
Vinny D’Anton of Wall fished his local beach yesterday with sand fleas to release bigger stripers of 28 and 26 inches. However, it was back to smaller bass this morning as Vinny picked a 21-incher and I released a 22 1/2-incher — though we had a few other hits.