The species count provided by the White Marlin Open for last week’s tournament is impressive, though there were some species which were in short supply.
The white marlin count was 804 released plus 57 boated for a 93 percent release rate. Unfortunately, there were too many whites brought in that barely made the 68-inch minimum length but were well short of the 70-pound minimum to get on the board. That continued even after 72 pounds was established as the bottom line for prize money during the last two days. The WMO should consider moving that minimum length up a few inches. It’s just the opposite with blue marlin as the 114-inch minimum left the category empty even though 47 blues were released. The WMO didn’t list any boated because the one boated on Mojito didn’t make the measurement.
There were also releases of three sailfish and one spearfish. Tuna have to make 50 pounds to be eligible, and there were only 19 of them weighed in. Dolphin were also scarce, with just 15 weighed, but there were some huge specimens among them. A 73.5-pounder by Matt Wagner on Backlash set a WMO record and beat out likely winners of 54 pounds on Security and 58.5 pounds on Jenny Poo. Only three eligible wahoo were weighed, topped by 60.5-pounder on Magic Moment.
Most unusual were the two swordfish. One turned out to be a big money winner as that 273.5-pounder by pro bass fisherman Kyle Gagliardi on Jersey Girl won $375,000 in the Big Fish Calcutta.
There’s still time to get involved in the Hudson River Fisherman’s Assn. Catfish Chaos Derby on Saturday. The entry fee is $20 for adults and $10 for those under 16. Call Scott Havner at 845 300-1562 or go to the HRFA web site for details.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar started jigging bluefish this morning, but the blues didn’t hit well and they ended up adding some sea bass and fluke. This week’s tuna trip produced some 30-60-pounders, but three dozen were lost. That was the last mid-range trip, but canyon trips are coming up next month.
The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had some better fluke today as Capt. Ron Santee said it was in the top three of trips this year. There were several limits, and the 7-pound pool fluke was followed by others of 6.2 and 5 1/2.
Greg Tirpak sent an e-mail after the blog went in yesterday about a good pick of 3-5-pound blues on poppers at Bay Head that morning. About 30 were caught in a couple of hours. I tried there this morning, but only saw three tiny blues caught on metal before switching to river casting for four 2-3-pound blues on a Pili popper. Jim Gates said one of yesterday’s Bay Head blues spit out a large sand eel.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar weighed in near-doormat fluke during last weekend’s JCAA Heavy Hitters Tournament. He notes that there are kingfish in the surf at the Eighth Ave. Jetty in Asbury Park, plus some blackfish in Shark River Inlet and Point Pleasant Canal. Snappers are pleasing kids at the Belmar docks, and his rentals plus kayak anglers have had some limit catches of fluke in the river.
Thursday’s forecast is for southeast winds at 5 knots — but northeast winds are coming Friday.