June has been prime time for sharking along the Jersey Shore as well as on Long Island, but between the current mako regulations and the pandemic there’s been little interest in tournaments and charters — or even private boat sharking.
Last weekend’s South Jersey Shark Tournament in Cape May was the poorest ever with only 19 boats competing and very few sharks caught. There were no makos weighed in, and it appears the only two eligible entries were a 439-pound thresher on Meraki that was worth $1,260 — and a blue shark of 247 pounds by Gina L for $1,440.ournaments started decades ago with all species eligible, but over the years most switched to only makos, or makos and threshers, in order to avoid killing lots of sharks not normally desired for food. That probably hasn’t made much of an impact on mako stocks, but there’s been a huge increase in longlining for them that now involves most of the U.S. mako landings.’ve been sharking and writing about the sport since the early days on Long Island, and watched the sport change from a man against killer situation with all sharks killed to one in which almost all are released — including many with tags that provide scientific info at little cost. It’s always amazed me that makos could survive since they’ve never been abundant, have a very long gestation period, and produce only a few pups. Yet, they still have produced reasonable catches in line with what we had during those early days when there was hardly any pressure from either anglers or commercial fishermen. Small makos have often been caught in large numbers during tournaments, though they have all been released in recent years due to high minimums. However, now that NMFS has raised the minimum to 83 inches it’s much harder to boat a keeper. It appears that the biggest Long Island shark contest, the Freeport Hudson Anglers, will be contested next weekend, but the venerable Mako Mania of the Greater Point Peasant Charter Boat Association was changed to a tuna format before being cancelled due to the pandemic.
The horribly wrong calm forecast for Saturday resulted in lots of sore anglers, and it’s fortunate that everyone that believed in the 10 knot north prediction survived. Mark Roy ran down to the Resor with his Release Me from Raritan Marina in Hazlet on Friday night in order to be ready for te early bite. However, it was too rough to fish at night, and though a few fish were trolled at first light, they only caught one little tunny. t was too rough to head back in the ocean, so Roy went inside to go north and ended up trolling mojos in Raritan Bay up to dark in order to catch a striper. He also had six mojos chopped, indicating that blues have finally arrived there.
Jimmy Giles ran 15 miles off before turning back, but ran into birds working over tuna at 8 miles off. They were on sand eels, and wouldn’t hit anything.
I fished Point Pleasant Canal this morning and released two 22-inch blues on a 5-inch Z Man. That was a lot better than what’s been going in there lately.
Monday’s forecast is for 10-15 knot winds from the northeast, switching to east in the afternoon.