The northeast wind seems to have kept boaters in port today, but the forecast is for a shift to southeast at 10-15 knots after midnight — and south at 10-15 Saturday. Seas are predicted to drop from 4-7 feet to 3-5 tomorrow — though a small craft advisory is up through Saturday afternoon. Check with skippers before coming down in the morning. Dave Lilly reported that the Triple Challenge Fluke Tournament was postponed to Sunday.
Though the Big Mohawk from Belmar only casually mentioned it in their Thursday report, Vinnie Bazaz boated what might have been the largest doormat fluke on a party boat this year at 14 pounds, 5 ounces — and he tried to release it! Unfortunately, the giant fluke was bleeding too badly. Fluking in the ocean was slow that day.
With the surf out of the question this morning, I started in Shark River, but found it to be too high and switched to Point Pleasant Canal. Anglers casting jigs were doing nothing there, though they had seen some big breaks. Jim Gates caught a cocktail blue, and I lost another that jumped off as I had it within a few feet of the wall. There wasn’t a touch after that, and I was about to give up casting when I was shocked by a solid hit on my Z Man 6-inch white Swimmereez. That fish took off at high speed with the strong current, and I was pulled along with it before I saw a large bluefish jump. It turned out to be a 25-incher before being released. We often take blues for granted, but a totally unexpected hit like that when it seemed the only hope was for a cocktail blue is a real thrill.
The Big Jamaica from Brielle ended up with lots of variety on this week’s special trip aimed at school bluefin tuna. George Perez of Lakewood boated a 35-pounder for the pool, and another bluefin was released. In addition to the targeted bonito and little tunny, there were also both Spanish and king mackerel, sea bass, fluke, bluefish and dolphin caught. Both today’s special trip and the night tuna departure were cancelled due to the weather, but a weekend special trip will be run Saturday at 6:30 a.m. for a fare of $80 and a limit of 55 fares. Next week’s weather looks good, and special trips will be run at 6 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for $85 with a limit of 35. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.