Capt. Ron Santee says he hit the change of tide just right this morning with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands, and knew he had the right drift when the first fluke caught was a 6.4-pounder. Larger fluke kept coming as Joe Gaydos took the pool with a 7.1-pounder and added fluke of 3.1 and 6.4 pounds. Adam Dretchim wasn’t in the pool, but had the big fluke with a 27-inch, 7.2-pounder. Santee reported there were some other fluke from 4 pounds up to almost 7 — plus large porgies which are starting to show up.  He’ll try to get out tomorrow, but has already cancelled for Friday and Saturday.

The Tackle Box in Hazlet weighed a 10 1/2-pound doormat fluke which was caught Aug. 31 at the end of Sandy Hook Channel by Rich Spitzner of Jamesburg on Fisherman’s Choice squid strips marinated in crab oil. See photo below instead of here where it was supposed to insert here.

Bob Matthews reports from Fis0herman’s Den in Belmar Marina that fluking has been good in the ocean, while shorts dominate in the river. Bob weighed in an 11 3/8-pound doormat boated on the Ocean Explorer last week. He also noted that school stripers are being caught on poppers in the surf and soft plastics in the back. Snappers are abundant at the docks, and little tunny have been spotted at the inlet. 

The Golden Eagle from Belmar has cancelled bluefish trips on Thursday and Friday. The forecast for Thursday morning is northeast winds at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20, but just 5-10 in the afternoon.

The fish shown in  a recent photo for identification has been confirmed by several readers as a pompano. It was caught on shrimp at Spring Lake. Since those fish are rarely found alone, it’s surprising that others haven’t been caught by anglers fishing there for stripers with sand flies — which are the pompano’s favorite food.

Tackle Box flukeSince the incoming tide in Shark River didn’t start until well after daylight, I decided to give the local surf a shot before the big swells arrive from the hurricane.  The surf looked fine except for low water, and I soon had a small bluefish hit my Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr.   popper. On my next cast into waves breaking on shallow waters I got hit immediately and released a 26-inch striper. Unfortunately, that was it for the surf.

A move to Shark River produced bluefish again, but it was nothing like yesterday’s hot popper action when I released 17. Though there was lots of bait coming through, there was once again nothing blasting them. Yet, blind casting produced five releases of 5-and-6-pounders plus a couple lost and a few blow-ups. Vinny D’Anton was also catching blues up to 6 pounds on his Chug Bug,

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