There are some events in history so significant that we’ll always remember where we were when they occurred. Especially for those in the NY/NJ Bight area, 9/11 was certainly one of them.

Some of my charter fishing friends actually witnessed the attacks while fishing in Raritan Bay, but I was offshore that day and mystified by scraps of information coming over the VHF.

There had been a showing of giant tuna at the Lillian wreck off the northern New Jersey coast, and New Jersey’s greatest giant tuna skipper, the late Bob Pisano,. was intent on fishing that day despite a northwest wind forecast. The trip out wasn’t bad with the wind behind us, and fishing was possible in a moderately rough ocean. Though we weren’t very many nautical miles from N.Y.C. on a straight line, there was no indication of what was happening until we overheard some conversation on the radio about a plane crashing in the city. I was able to barely hear something on the TV, though we were too far out to understand from the scratchy audio what was happening. We had a bad feeling about the situation, and the usually unflappable Pisano decided to leave his favorite sport for a very early return. We surely would have seen the clouds of smoke over the city if not for the gusty northwester that blew the smoke low. We had no concept of how many people were being killed as we had been chunking in another world not far from one of the greatest tragedies in American history.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reports that bluefishing was very good today with a boat limit in the 3-8-pound class plus many releases. Thursday’s exotics trip wasn’t up to the previous trip’s standards, though some yellowfin tuna were caught and others lost. The Big Mohawk had an 11.2-pound doormat on Thursday along with some in the 8-pound class and several 3-5-pounders.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had lots of action for Ivan Zimmerman’s group earlier in the week as a dozen mostly on the 60-80-pound class were boated and 30 lost. At times they had to fight through skipjacks and little tunny in order to hook tuna. The Thursday special bonito trip wasn’t so special, though there were lots of chub mackerel at first along with some little tunny and Spanish mackerel. Though more tunny were located, they were tough to catch. Skilled anglers had up to six, but novices struggled.

There are small craft warnings up through Saturday afternoon. East winds at 15 knots will gust to 20, and the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands has canceled Saturday fluking due to a rough ocean which is where the only decent fluking has been lately. Check with other party boats before coming down tomorrow.

Greg Tirpak had a pleasant surprise yesterday morning when a school striper hit his lure in the wash at Mantoloking. The traditional run of mullet in the surf may get underway after this northeast blow.

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