Though all the anglers competing in Saturday’s Point Pleasant Elks Fluke Tournament couldn’t come up with a fluke larger than 8.6 pounds, Capt. Vinnie Veter of Katfish from Great Kills did much better the day before by weighing in the largest doormat of the year I’ve heard of so far — while he was running a striper charter in the Hudson River.
A really large doormat can swallow a live adult bunker, and that’s what this one did. It was weighed at the Soft Mud Yacht Yacht Club at 15 pounds, 6 ounces.
The fish was hooked by the mate and passed to a charter member, and they never realized what they had until it was at boatside. Though not eligible for any contests, it was bigger than Capt. John Contello’a 14-pounder from NY/NJ Bight — and well over The Fisherman magazine Dream Boat +Fishing Challenge leader (which covers the coast from N.C. to Maine) of 13.6 pounds as of 7/16/19.
Vetere emphasizes that he’s a striper skipper and doesn’t want any fluke charters as this catch was truly a shot in the dark. He may have room for one angler tomorrow, and has more room on upcoming trips.
The powerboat winners of the Elks contest were listed in this morning’s blog. In addition, there were veteran’s prizes in that division. Overall winner Nick Polacco added $1,000 to his winnings with the 8.6-pounder. Frank Vander Beth was second in both and added $500 with his 7.4-pounder. Frank Fishler won $250 in vet’s money for a third place 5.55-pounder. W. Vander Noot won $175 for his fourth place 4.5-pounder, and Kevin Allmann had a 4.4-pound fluke worth $75 for fifth.
Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar reports small stripers are in the surf at dawn and dusk, Party boats are doing well with bonito and small blues offshore, and picking some keeper fluke inshore. The biggest fluke weighed this week was a 9 1/2-pounder by John Bovie of Neptune. Snappers are providing action for kids at the docks, and tuna remain a good bet offshore.
Joe Melillo at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said epoxy jigs are producing cocktail blues in the surf before the sun gets high.
Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports crabbing in the bay is hot after a slow start. Cocktail blues are hitting mullet or small pieces of bunker in the surf, while kingfish prefer Fishbites. Gulp is the ticket for surf fluke,
South winds at 10 knots are predicted for the morning before increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon,