An unsuccessful attempt to catch a school striper yesterday morning in Shark River ended up providing one of the most unusual catches of my life when the heavy fish that hit my Z Man 5-inch pearl blue glimmer DieZel MinnowZ jig turned out to be a cownose ray of at least 30 pounds. Not only was that a lengthy fight on my light spinning rig, but I was hoping I had enough braid on my small Canyon reel as it ran with the current.

I’d never seen or heard of a cownose in the river before, and they’re not what you want to hook while wading as unhooking a ray in the water can be a bit of a problem. However, that once in a lifetime experience was one for my memory bank until I made my first cast this morning and immediately announced that I had hooked another cownose. The heavy weight and long run without any head-shaking was a sure clue. Fortunately, I was able to get the cownose up on some mud to remove the jig from its mouth. Then I switched to a small Pili Popper for small blues because I’ve caught cownose on many different baits and lures from boats and the surf — but have never heard of one hitting a popper.

That’s a species that’s not involved in Nick Honachefsky’s Barrier Islands Beach Brawl coming up on Oct. 9 and 10, That surf contest has a $40 entry fee, but there are lots of prizes , many of which are raffled off so that you may come out ahead without even catching a fish. Visit

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported that Saturday’s fluking on his Sea Hunter was poor for keepers, but he took revenge today as there were three limits including one by his daughter.

Capt. Ron Santee Jr. had a big fish day on his Fishermen as Jung Kim boated a 28-inch fluke which weighed 8.11 pounds. They also released many large sea bass which are now out of season.

Following is a last minute yellowfin tuna opportunity on the Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant.

Last Minute Open Boat SpotSeptember 8-9$995/person

It’s hard to believe but the yellowfin have been feeding on the chunk for weeks now mostly during the day and there just doesn’t seem to be much of an end to it.


  1. Hi Al. This is Bill and I fish on my boat the Stinker. I caught an unusual fish today off Mantoloking. I was if you could identify it. Please let me know where to email you.



  2. We spotted cownose rays fishing the Shrewsbury basin by Seven Bridges. We haven’t seen them in the Navesink but I’m pretty sure they’ve invaded.


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