Some of the largest thresher sharks I’ve ever heard of in NY/NJ Bight have been boated in the last few weeks as bunker schools seem to be attracting those oceanic wanderers closer to shore. Over the years, anglers have gotten used to seeing threshers as close to the mouths of inlets; and they are often caught in smaller sizes by striper anglers fishing live bunkers. However, those huge threshers are being caught on appropriately heavy tackle where anglers have a big advantage due to the relatively shallow waters.

Capt. John Contello put his anglers on Just Sayin’ from Keyport into this monster.

Ironically when I was learning shark fishing off the south shore of Long Island many decades ago with Jesse York on his Compass Rose from Atlantic Beach, we knew threshers might be hooked, but never caught one or knew of anyone else doing so. There were lots of blues and browns just a few miles offshore plus a mako most days — and a very occasional tiger or hammerhead. Even after moving my center console to Montauk, I rarely saw a thresher brought in. Of curse. in those days, the big bunker reduction boats kept the bunker populations at a low level compared to these days.

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This 305-pounder weighed in at Hoffman’s in Brielle is more the norm in threshers.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina reported a 625-pound thresher weighed in by Shark River Inlet Charters. Also recently, Matt Calabria put his brother Kevin into a 457-pounder offshore of Raritan Bay. The IGFA all-tackle world record is 787 pounds, 3 ounces from Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Most of the line class records also come from that country- but we’re not far behind.

Tuesday is the last day for the N.J. sea bass season. The forecast is fine with west winds at 10-15 knots and a chance of showers. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported tougher sea bass fishing today due to the southwest blow, but it looks good for tomorrow when they have a few spots in the morning and more for the 4 p.m. sailing. They switch to bluefish on Wednesday. The Queen Mary from Pt. Pleasant jigged lots of blues on Father’s Day before adding sea bass.

Bob Correll reported that some hickory shad finally showed at Bay Head this morning. One surfcaster caught three

Jim Hutchinson Sr. reports as follows;

The fishing action for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association has picked up a beat lately with the arrival of some nice bluefin tuna. These hard fighting fish, which provide some excellent eating, are being caught just 25-40 miles off the coast.

Captain Ray Lopez with the crew of the “Miss Liane” departed the dock at 2am in search of some of these tuna. Fishing inshore, the crew set up to troll at first light. Once the spread was set, the crew waited to hear the reels scream, and they sure did. Within 15 minutes of each other the crew had two bluefin in the boat and packed on ice.

Meanwhile, back inshore the summer flounder bite continues to be strong despite some days with strong winds. As is typical, the bulk of the fish fall short of the 18-inch minimum size, but with persistence, keepers are going into the coolers.

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing reports he had John Akey with his mom Janine on a 4-hour bay charter. This was Janine’s annual Mother’s day gift, if a bit belated. Despite what Captain Brett termed a slower bite, the two anglers were able to eke out some nice fish. The mom and son team boxed 4 keeper fluke to 7 pounds, along with close to 20 short fish. The big fish, measuring 27-inches, was caught by Janine and was her personal best.  

It is not too late for youngsters who would like to participate in the BHCFA’s Junior Mate Program to get involved. The first session of the summer will be held Thursday, June 24, at the lower level of the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club. Start time is 7pm.

The Junior Mates Program is open to youngster who will reach the age of 12 by August 1, 2021. Information on the program can be found at the online link below or calling Lewis at 609-670-5980 or Captain Jimmy Zavacky at 609-915-2498.

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be obtained at the association website at www.BHCFA.org.

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