A tournament in which 30-40-pound stripers weren’t worth as much as some small species winners weighing ounces ! Nick Honachefsky reported the results of his weekend Barrier Islands Beach Brawl as follows:
“Thank you to all participants, sponsors, tackle shops and facebook groups who made the 4th Annual Barrier Island Beach Brawl a success! The swell from Hurricane Ian left us on Friday morning and Bass action exploded on Saturday.
A total of 55 bass were reported via catch, photo, release and nearly every fish was in the 43 to 50-inch range of 30 to 50 pounds. A mess of super snapper blues of 8 to 10 inches along with some chopper blues to 3 pounds were caught in the mix with hundreds reported. Blackfish settled into a solid bite at the North Jetty of Barnegat and the south jetty at Squan inlet. Filling in the blanks for serious cash and prizes were hickory shad and kingfish with even a few blowfish caught in the surf.
For the Locals Classics category, 1st place was won by the skin of his teeth as Bill Zbrozek brought in a 3.63-pound blackfish with only a half hour left in the weigh ins, 2nd place honors went to Tom Paolini and his 3.30-pound tog and 3rd was claimed by Cole Speiser and a 2.86-pound blackfish. The Wildcards category was interesting as 1st place went to a 1.01-pound hickory shad by Dave Engleheart, 2nd was won by a .97 pound kingfish by Frank Hubscher and 3rd claimed by a .90-pound kingfish by Cole Speiser. Goes to show, big things come from small beginnings. The Striped Bass release category usually has 1 winner but with so many bass released, 3 winners were randomly chosen that included Jon Peck, Payton Wolfarth and Virginia Murphy.
Capt. Joe Massa reported that huge bunker schools moved into Raritan Bay today with plenty of stripers averaging 40 inches on them for non-stop live bunker action. A whale even followed them into the bay.
The forecast is for west winds at a mere 5-10 knots.
The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported improved sea bass action, though it’s necessary to fish through lots of shorts.
Capt. Ron Santee had a similar report on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands, but the sea bass
are the best bet since porgies have been scattered since the storm.
Chuck Many is back from Hilton Head and on his usual striped bass NY/NY Bight stripers with Tyman.
More about the Beach Brawl from Nick: “While $25,000 of free door prizes were given away, the real top prize was that 50 pounds of fresh fish fillets were donated to St. Gregory’s Pantry in Point Pleasant to feed the homeless and those in need of a meal and $1100 from the 50/50 was donated to St. Judes Hospital.
Again, the Beach Brawl is all about bringing friends and family together and remembering old friends of past like Ronny Bala and Mike Malek to which the tourney is dedicated. The tradition continues! Thank you all for coming and if you missed it, we hope to see you next year at the 5th Annual Barrier Island Beach Brawl!”
Capt. Joe Massa reported that schools of bunkers moved into Raritan Bay
A hot offshore report was filed by Andreas Toy out of Perth Amboy as follows:
Got to the grounds in a few hours and landed over 18 fish in an hour on fish up to 80lbs. Towards the end we used strictly poppers. Before heading home we had a big bluefin feeding in our slick. I fed her a squid and she gulped it down, fought her for an hour and got her close enough to guesstimate her over 73 inches so we cut her loose. Great way to end the trip!
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