The last thing I expected to see when I turned on the TV this morning was the photo of a 400-pound bluefin tuna on a sportfishing boat. That was shown on News12, and the only info about it was that the photo was provided by the Ocean County Sheriffs Dept.
I later talked to Capt. Chris Di Stefano, who described something I’ve never heard of before in May — giant tuna in 50-foot depths both to the north and south.
Chris said several giants were caught and others lost. One boater out of Shark River was fighting what he estimated to be a 100-inch giant when he was cut off by another boat. In such shallow waters, giants will strip hundreds of yards on long surface runs because they can’t dive down. That’s actually an advantage for an angler trying to catch a legitimate giant as the hardest part of a legitimate rod and reel battle is pumping up that huge fish. What you see on Wicked Tuna is strictly commercial fishing and no one cranking a tuna in a rod holder can claim to have caught a legal tuna. Yet, if tuna have to stay high in the water column they become a good possibility for even small boaters.
Rather than the spreader bars with mackerel that were used decades ago to troll early giants further offshore, Chris said these giants are hitting single balao trolled far astern.
The party boat fleet along the Shore finally got the OK to fish with limited capacities today, and all caught at least some sea bass plus ling. The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported jigs were best for bigger sea bass. They also has some winter flounder. Though booked for tomorrow, reservations are being taken for future trips.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar went offshore for big sea bass, and added some keeper pollock and cod plus a monkfish (angler). They’ll be sailing again at 7:30 a.m.
Chuck Many trolled live eels for big bass today, and that worked out well as stripers 44 and 54 pounds were released — with Dave Glassberg catching the largest.
Mark Roy worked the back of Raritan Bay with his Release Me from Raritan Marina in Hazlet, but never had a hit trolling mojos despite recording lots of fish. He reported that Capt. Chris Mahon went bottom fishing with his Kaitlyn Nicole from Sandy Hook Bay Marina. and had ling and sea bass as well as a released 12-pound blackfish for Greg Harms of Union.
Pete Grimbalas had lots of surface action Saturday with school stripers while boat fishing in Metedeconk River with Chug Bugs as Parker Lazarski (15) led the way . They released 14 bass up to 26 inches plus one small blue.
Monday morning looks good with east winds at 10-15 knots before they increase to 15-20 in the afternoon.