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Big money mako shark contests coming up

There will be lots of money at stake in the upcoming mako shark tournaments which get started this weekend.

The opening tournaments were somewhat disappointing, but that might have been due to the late and cool spring. However, water temperatures are up to 60 degrees and betting closer to the 64 degrees usually favored by makos.

Last weekend’s South Jersey Shark Tournament at Cape May only produced one mako at the new 83-inch minimum. Another mako didn’t make the contest’s 200-pound minimum, and there were only 29 mako releases by the 68-boat field. Gina L. ran off with $117,826 for their 269-pound mako.

I happened to come across a round-up of the 2002 South Jersey contest by Nick Honachefsky for comparison. During that contest, the winning mako was 443 pounds, and 1,115 sharks were caught. That included 264 makos, with 19 boated and 245  released.  Blue sharks are usually a pest early in the season, and 844 were caught in 2002.  This is the only N.J. contest that offers a prize for a blue shark, but only 54 were caught this year — and none of them made the 200-pound minimum for the prize money.

The official results for the Warriors for Warriors Charity Shark Tournament out of Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle produced just one mako of 86 inches and 225 pounds that swept the mako Calcuttas for Tra Sea Ann. Just Bill Me had the big shark with a 243-pound thresher. The new tuna division was no contest for Miss Tres at 121 pounds, with Taylor Jean second at 35 pounds.

The 17th annual Brett T. Bailey Mako Rodeo will be contested out of Hoffman’s Marina West in Brielle from June 14-16 with a new 48-hour format.  The captains meeting is on June 14 at the marina. Visit http://www.btbmakorodeo.com for details.

The Jersey Coast Shark Anglers also jump into action with a new format as their 40th annual Mako Fever runs from June 16 to 24 — allowing contestants to pick good weather days and fish as many as they want to by paying entry fees for each day. The captains meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on June 15 in Manasquan River Club, Brick. For details visit http://www.jcsa.org

The Greater Point Pleasant Charter Coat Association waits until June 23-24 for their 33rd annual Mako Mania which will be run out of  Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant. The captains meeting is on Friday June 22 in Wehrlen Bros, Marina on Princeton Ave. in Brick. For info call 732 892-3666 or visit gppcba.com

Matt Slobdjian reports from Jim’s Tackle in Cape May as follows: “The tuna bite really turned on last week in the canyons. The fishing moved from north to south throughout the week. The water was in the Lindenkohl and the Spencer canyons mid-week and moved down from the Spencer to the Wilmington by Saturday. There were good numbers of yellowfin, bluefin, and also some bigeye tuna caught through the weekend. A couple of large blue marlin were sighted, but not hooked up in the same areas.
Drumfish are still biting, but have slowed down a bit. They are still being caught at Tussy’s Slough and in the lower Bayshore Channel.
We are starting to get some fluke reports from the artificial reefs. The bite is not great yet, but some nice fish are being caught on the party boats and private boats fishing the reefs.
Small blues are starting to show up around the inlet rockpiles early morning and again in the evening. There are still some weakfish around the inlet as well.
The surf was slow last week, but we did see the first few kingfish come from the Point, and we weighed the first nice fluke from Sunset Beach for George Barnard from Folcroft Pa.  — a 4.23lb., twenty-two incher caught on a bucktail with a squid trailer.”

Capt. Chris Di Stefano of Wall got word from offshore that the good water has moved out, and canyon boaters are on the prowl again.

CR canyon tuna

Canyon Runner tuna last week

The forecast of some rain seemed to scare off most party boat anglers today. The Sea Hunter didn’t get out from Atlantic Highlands after having a good pick of fluke, including some 4-to-6-pounders, Tuesday until the SE wind shut it down. That wind also hurt the afternoon trophy striper trip as some areas weren’t fishable. Some bass were marked, and Capt. Rob Semkewyc saw a few caught by trollers — but there were no hits on bait. He’s giving it another try at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Also at that port, the Angler reported that their 7 a.m. sailing time put them into a good fluke bite Tuesday morning, including their best drift of the year with 22 keepers coming aboard. Dennis Fuchs of Cranford won the pool for the second straight day with a 5-pounder. Juan Cortez of Bayonne had a very long 35-inch fluke for Sunday’s pool, but it was so thin that it only weighed 5 1/2 pounds.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle got into lots of small blues splashing under birds today — and they stayed up most of the day even though they were a bit fussy. Jigs and teasers also produced some sea bass and a short striper.

I was satisfied with the light tackle casting in Shark River this morning, as I released two 3-pound blues and a small striper on a Z Man 6-inch Swimmerz jig, but there wasn’t much life despite a complete lack of boat traffic. I only had one other bump, and Vinny D’Anton of Wall raised just one small fish to his Chug Bug — which got off before being identified. Jim Louro of Spring Lake barely beat the rain to release a 26-inch striper on sand fleas at the beach. He caught a smaller bass and a 20-inch fluke there Tuesday morning when D’Anton caught two small bass and an 18-inch fluke on the bugs. There doesn’t seem to be any volume of bass in the surf, but the good news is that all being caught are in perfect shape — with none of those red blotches seen on almost every surf bass last summer.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield was surprised to see a rough surf Tuesday morning at Sandy Hook even though there was no wind. His bunker chunks produced only a 13-inch fluke and a “huge” sea robin, while Lou Vargas of Fanwood released a 16.5-inch fluke on bunker.

SH surf

Tank Matraxia and his crew from Lyndhurst fished Tuesday with Capt. Fletcher Chayes on Two Rivers Charters from Highlands as they worked Shrewsbury River for nine legal fluke including one over 5 pounds while using Gulp, killies and squid. Matraxia placed 15 ALS tags in the shorts.   He also received info from the American Littoral Society of a tag return from a 23-inch striper he tagged on Nov. 29, 2017 while fishing off Sandy Hook with Chayes. It was recaptured on June 7 at the west end of Nantucket, but the angler didn’t supply the length. That was Matraxia’s 203rd  ALS tag return.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reports Tuesday’s surfcasting was improved, with a pick of blues on bunker in the evening in the park — and a few bass — including the release of a 36-incher on bait

R.I.P. Capt. Dom Vitolo Sr.

Just before writing this blog, I checked Facebook and found the sad information that Capt. Dom Vitolo Sr. has passed away.  That former Belmar skipper was a great blackfish specialist, and a real gentleman.  I’ll add news about arrangements when received.

Capt. Ron Santee reported that fluking was good on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands when he started on the end of the flood. The first keeper turned out to be the pool winner at 4.9 pounds.  Fluking really turned on with the ebb until the SE wind came up and killed it.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere had to work hard again to make a good catch of stripers. He’s covered from Scotland to Stepping Stones Lighthouse recently, and his Ho-Jos have always come through on Katfish from Great Kills.  Anyone wishing to try them can place an order by visiting http://www.HoJoFishing.com.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had a Monday afternoon charter for John D’Andrea that produced a good sea bass catch before they fished up to dark for stripers. There were some readings, and a 46-incher was jigged on a Kroc.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported most fares limited on sea bass today and added some ling. The Golden Eagle found the 1-to-3-pound blues for jigging before adding sea bass and a few ling to the bags.

The Jamaica from Brielle got into the bite of bigger blues on Saturday, and found the biggest one I’ve heard of on a party boat so far this year — a 15 1/2-pounder by Marquise Berry.  They’re sailing daily for blues, but will be running another tilefish trip on Sunday June 24 at 10 p.m. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Canyon fishing was outstanding over the weekend. Adam La Rosa of the Canyon Runner fleet in Point Pleasant says they were following a temperature break all week from South Toms to the Baltimore for big catches of bluefins, bigeyes. yellowfins and makos.   Both boats got in three overnighters during the week. Capt. Charlie Vanderbock on his first Canyon Runner charter put the Mike Earle party into a 403-pound mako as well as tuna. The 60-foot Ritchie Howell had a great catch for the Mike Kozak charter as three bluefins in the 125-to-150-pound class were caught along with smaller bluefins — plus four yellowfins —  and three makos of 125 to 175 pounds were released at night.  The Deane and Peter Wilcox party had giants of 400 and 500 pounds plus a bigeye and 10 yellowfins.  The John Mendes charter did very well on a bigeye barrage, catching five out of seven

403-lb CR mako

Gina L. won SJ Shark Tournament with a 269-pound mako

The 38th annual South Jersey Shark Tournament out of South Jersey Marina in Cape May had great weather Thursday and Friday, but catches were well below their normal standards. That was no problem for Joe Zuccarelli on Gina L as Patrick Sheehan fought a 269-pound mako from the 31 Bertram. They weren’t in the biggest Calcuttas, but still ended up with $117,826.

El Cid III, a 28 Mako, boated a 278-pound thresher  that earned $36,434,  while My Time took home $2,323 for a 249-pound thresher.

South Jersey winnerOne other mako didn’t qualify, and 29 were released. The blue shark money wasn’t claimed as only one short of the 200-pound minimum was brought in while 53 were released.  Other releases by the 68-boat fleet included a brown, three tigers and two duskies as the cold spring waters seem to have delayed the usual shark migratory pattern.

The Warriors for Warriors Charity Shark Tournament out of Hoffman’s Marina West in Brielle hasn’t posted any official results as yet, but the last leaderboard indicated that Tra Sea Ann weighed an 86-inch, 225-pound mako.  Just Bill Me had a 243-pound thresher. Miss Tress was way ahead in the tuna division with a 131-pounder, and Taylor Jean was on the board with a 35-pound tuna.

Warrior's mako

Despite the early morning rain, there were some fluke fishermen who braved the weather at Atlantic Highlands. Capt. Ron Santee was happy with the morning bite on the change of tide as Rich Mullenbrock limited up to a 6 7/16-pound fluke on the Fishermen.  Capt. Rob Semkewyc said conditions were horrible where he had been catching with the Sea Hunter, but there were still a few limits and fluke of 5.5 and 4.7 pounds.

Party boats along the Shore cancelled, but sea bass fishing has been very good for bottom fishermen who’ll  be glad to get back to them tomorrow. The Golden Eagle at Belmar and Miss Belmar Princess will be looking for the 5-to-8-pound bluefish they got into last week. Those blues weren’t hitting very well Sunday after a good jig bite Saturday.  The forecast for Tuesday features light southeast winds.

The Surf Kings almost held their home ground at Sea Girt during a weekend afternoon surf contest with the Hudson River Fisherman’s Association and American Angler as Tim MacMahon had an 18-inch fluke before a 34 3/4-inch blue hit a clam fished by Ron Stesney of America Angler late in the afternoon.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that fluke are hitting in Shark River, and some big stripers are being trolled in the ocean. Ray Soyka of Lincroft put a 52-pounder on his boat. Brett Thibedeau was trolling with his father two miles off Belmar when he fought a 48-pound striper. They also caught another over 40 pounds.  Matthews says clams are producing mostly short stripers in the surf.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall waited for the rain to stop this morning before trying to bait stripers in the surf, but they didn’t turn on.

Sharks starting to show in surf

Surfcasting for sharks at night has been catching on the last few years, and Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park notes that fishing seems to be getting underway with several sand tigers  reported recently. Daytime fishing was slow yesterday with only one striper and one blue weighed in. There are some fluke in the surf, with Colton Connell bringing in a 25-incher that weighed 3.55 pounds. Striper weigh-ins recently were topped by Annalee Nelson with a 39-inch, 19.20-pounder on clams in the surf — along with a 41.5-inch, 21.15-pounder the same way by John Radice.  Betty & Nick’s Tackle reported big blues were in the inlet Saturday.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro had no hits trolling for big stripers Friday with his Hi Flier from Barnegat, but while finishing up by casting soft plastics in Barnegat Inlet for 2-to-4-pound blues on 10-pound spin,  he was surprised after the tide turned by stripers up to 12 and 21 pounds.  De Gennaro will be looking for more of them, and is also taking along some shedder crabs and sandworms after getting reports of weakfish in Barnegat Bay. He also hopes to get offshore to the tuna that are edging closer — but only when the weather is right.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had tough fluking conditions today with his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands, but his regulars jigged some better fish topped by a 7-pounder for Mike Schmidt of Cranford.

 

 

Mike Schmidt 7-lb-Elaine B

 

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo from South Plainfield worked the Sandy Hook surf with bunker Thursday morning for lots of big sea robins and only one skate. John also released a 22-inch striper, and Allen hooked a 5-pound blue.

Fluking conditions in Raritan Bay were tough today, but Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter at Atlantic Highlands said he did much better than on Saturday as a few limits were taken. Colin Bennett (10) boated a 5-pounder to take the pool while his grandfather limited.  Capt. Ron Santee said he fought wind against tide with the Fishermen and stayed later as the fishing improved.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported very good sea bass fishing with many limits. Jigs produced the bigger fish. The Golden Eagle even had some sea bass limits on the Saturday afternoon trip.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had lots of sea bass today, but Capt. Dave Riback noted that keepers are getting harder to come by. The Sunday and Monday magic hours trips were cancelled due to ocean conditions.

There were no bluefish reports today.

 

 

Manhattan Cup was a success

“Following is the report on Friday’s Manhattan Cup as provided by Garry Caputi of the RFA, who organized the event along with Capt. Frank Crescitelli:

 The Manhattan Cup is Back

 

On Friday, June 8th the return of the legendary Manhattan Cup Charity Striped Bass Tournament—presented by Yamaha—was held and proved to be a huge success. After a hearty buffet breakfast at the Liberty House 28 boats departed Liberty Landing Marina for a special two column blast off, the columns honoring those who lost their lives in the Twin Towers attack on 9/11. This was the 18th time the event was held, and it is back after a two-year hiatus.

 

“The fishing was tough,” said tournament co-director Capt. Frank Crescitelli, “but some of the teams, including the many donated boats carrying the 22 wounded warriors attending as tournament’s guests, caught a mix of striped bass and bluefish. Bluebird weather can make it hard to put together a good catch, but it did make for a great day on the water for everyone.”

 

The FCT Manhattan Cup included fishing teams in private boats fishing alongside boats donated for the day by the area’s top charter and light tackle guides. Its goals are to highlight the amazing fishery that exists within sight of downtown New York City, provide a great day on the water for at-risk veterans and generate funds for fisheries conservation. The event is all charity, with donations to the Fisheries Conservation Trust and toward sponsoring warriors who were assembled by our very own Robert Gil, a hero veteran of the Iraq War. He returned with physical and physiological wounds and credits the Manhattan Cup with saving his life. Today Robert is the Cups official warrior liaison and favorite son.

 

After a full day on the water the boats returned to the docks, the teams turned in their score cards and headed inside for beverages, dinner and festivities inside Liberty House a stone’s throw away from the docks. Crescitelli reprieved his role as master of ceremonies, as raffles and the live auction got underway raising money for the charities. Celebrity angler and astronaut Bruce Melnick—two-time space shuttle veteran and a hero Coast Guard rescue helicopter pilot—address the crowd and then auctioned off autographed replicas of the Shuttles Discovery and Endeavor, which he flew. Among the many exceptional auction items was a fishing trip for six aboard Wicked Tuna multi-season winner Capt. Greg Meyers’ Fishing Frenzy out of Oregon Inlet, NC and a $1500 fly fishing outfit by Redington and Sage.

 

“Many companies stepped up to help us put on the 18th Manhattan Cup,” said tournament co-director Gary Caputi,” and we can’t begin to express our gratitude and the appreciation of our warrior heroes who fished with us. A special thanks to Yamaha Marine for taking on the top sponsor roll recognizing the importance of this very special event.”

 

Sponsors included Liberty Landing Marina, Costa del Mar, Gray Taxidermy, Yeti, D&R Boat World, Raymarine, Mojo Sportswear, Maui Jim, AllTackle.com, AFW/Hi-Seas, Pettit, Tony Maja Tackle, Tsunami Tackle, The Fisherman magazine, Princeton Tec, Interlux, the Recreational Fishing Alliance, Guides Secret Fishing Gear, Fin Chasers TV and Mustad. Thank you all for donating.

 

The winners of the 18th FCT Manhattan Cup are:

 

Manhattan Cup Champion

Largest Striped Bass Overall– Steve Liesman fishing with Capt. Howard Owens

 

Bluefish Categories:

Largest Bluefish Private Boat – Al Ristori fishing with Guy Talarico

Largest Bluefish on Artificial – Bruce Melnick fishing with Capt. Frank Crescitelli

Largest Bluefish on Bait – Rick Dunn fishing with Capt. Vince Trapani

Largest Bluefish on Fly – Steve Liesman fishing with Capt. Howard Owens

 

Striped Bass Categories:

Largest Striped Bass on Private Boat – Marc Kennis fishing with Dave Rooney

Largest Striped Bass on Artificial – Karl Anderson fishing with Capt. Howard Owens

Largest Striped Bass on Bait – Steve Liesman fishing with Capt. Howard Owens

Largest Striped Bass on Artificial – Robert Gil fishing with Capt. Frank Crescitelli

Smallest Striped Bass –  Alex Folmar fishing with Capt. Pete Santero

 

Warrior Division:

Largest Bluefish – Robert Gil fishing with Capt. Frank Crescitelli

Largest Striped Bass – Roger Totten fishing with Capt. Ted White

 

Celebrity Division:

Largest Bluefish – Bruce Melnick fishing with Capt. Frank Crescitelli

Largest Striped Bass – Kim Melnick fishing with Capt. Frank Crescitelli

 

Makos biting in South Jersey contest

Shark fishermen gearing up for mako tournaments will be happy to hear that plenty of makos are being released in this week’s South Jersey Shark Tournament out of South Jersey Marina in Cape May.  That contest has long had a high minimum for makos, but there are still enough being weighed-in to settle the big pay-outs.

Through Friday, the mako leader is a 269-pounder on Gina L, followed by a 249-pounder on My Time. El Cid III weighed a 278-pound thresher.

Smooth dogfish made chunking for stripers in Rartan Bay a losing proposition during Friday’s Manhattan Cup as I fished in the sportfishing category with ex-N,J. Assenblyman Guy Talerico plus his son Alec on their JerSea Patriot along with Joe Massa of My Three Sons in Morgan  as we kept at it to finally come up with a single entry — a small bluefish that managed to get hooked by my large circle hook with a bunker chunk.  On a day when blues were hard to come by, that won me the anglers award in the Sportfishing  category of the release contest while an equally-shocked  Talerico took the captain’s award.  I’ll have the complete results in a blog tomorrow.

I told Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights about that dogfish invasion, and he found exactly the same thing this morning on his Aquasport out of Atlantic Highlands — without even a blue getting through.

Also at that port, Capt. Rob Sembewyc of the Sea Hunter said fluking was slow today in an almost complete lack of drift. His June 12 trophy striper afternoon trip is sold out, but there is room on the June 19 and 21 trips from 2:30 p.m. until dark.

The Fishermen had did well with fluke on Friday in a new area with bait being recorded as there were a few limits and a 7.2-pound fluke by Mr. Hughes. Capt. Ron Santee said small Gulp and bait has been the best bet — “Big bucktails not so much”.

Capt. Stan Zagleski was impressed with the effort today by young Gavin Myers of New Egypt who made his first fluke trip with his dad and not only limited — but also took the pool on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands, Zagleski said most fares bagged a fluke or two during an all day pick. That boat sails at 6 a.m. Sunday.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle found the small blues to the north not cooperating — so they switched to sea bass before getting a report about bigger blues about an hour away. They took the chance, and stayed late to get a good pick of 5-to-10-pound blues on jigs.

Bluefish in Shark River this morning didn’t respond to Vinny D’Anton’s normally deadly Chug Bug, but I released three by casting a 6-inch Z Man Swimmerz paddletail on a jig head — and added a 20-inch striper.  The first blue was a 25-incher, but skinny  The others were 18 to 19 inches. and two more got off. Vinny released a small bass on a jig before heading  for the beach where both he and Jim Lauro released a short on bait.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported bait is still the best bet for surf stripers.

 

 

 

 

Wounded warriors enjoyed a beautiful day at Manhattan Cup.

Though the fishing left much to be desired. 22 wounded warriors enjoyed a day of fishing along with many other anglers in perfect weather  in the Hudson River-Raritan Bay area during the renewal of the Manhattan Cup competition.

Actually. there was a good bite in the bay while we were still enjoying breakfast at Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City.  Capt. Vinnie Vetere was in on that action with his Katfish from Great Kills and trolled bass up to 35 pounds on his Ho-Jo lures. By the time we got there the tide was dead and so was the fishing. Chunking in the bay produced lots of smooth dogfish at every stop. I just got home, and will update the Manhattan Cup and all fishing tomorrow.

The Jamaica from Brielle not only jigged plenty of blues in the Shrewsbury Rocks area, but also some bigger ones as the pool went to Ricky Killy of Allentown, Pa. for a 6-pounder. The Jamaica sails for blues at 6:30 a.m. daily, and also Sat. evening at 6:30 p.m.  A tilefish special sails at 10 p.m. Sunday. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Work your baits for fussy fluke

Fluke fishing in the Raritan Bay area has been tough most days even though party and charter boats usually end up with decent catches. The difference between those anglers who limit regularly and those who struggle for a dinner is usually working the baits. Bait has generally been best so far, but just dragging it isn’t normally productive. Every skipper is frustrated when he sees anglers waiting for a fluke to commit suicide rather than continuously bouncing bait off bottom.

Modern lightweight tackle makes it a lot easier to work baits, but Dave Orlkel proved today on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands that it’s not necessary to fool fluke as Capt. Ron Santee said his customer used his grandfather’s wooden-handled reel on a rod at least 50 years old to limit out and boat the pool-winning 7.4-pounder. Santee noted that there were also fluke of 6.5 and 5.7 pounds while some fares managed a couple of keepers  — but he emphasized that “In no way is it easy”. The Fishermen is chartered Saturday.

Also at that port, the Sea Hunter had similar fluking with a couple of limits and a 7.5-pound pool winner plus many shorts.

 

The small bluefish in the Shrewsbury Rocks area cooperated today and there were some limits up to 3 pounds jigged on both Miss Belmar Princess and the Golden Eagle from Belmar — while the Ocean Explorer, Big Mohawk and Capt. Cal continue to load up with sea bass out of that port.

Capt. Deane Lambros had a facebook post of a great canyon trip yesterday on the Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant that produced two giants of 96 and 90 inches plus a bigeye and 10 yellowfin tuna.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro trolled out of Barnegat Inlet with his Hi Flier from Barnegat and only caught a 14-inch fluke that actually was hooked in the mouth on a turn with a Tony Maja bunker spoon. However, there were bunker schools up that have attracted thresher sharks. Some threshers have been caught, and he was looking for another as I talked to him late in the afternoon.

Many short stripers and a few larger ones are still being reported by the Seaside Park tackle shops — and there’s also been a bonus of black drum on clams.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall didn’t have another day on his local beach such as the day before when he caught six stripers up to 35 inches on sand fleas. He hooked a similar bass right away this morning only to lose it almost in the wash due to a broken circle hook. After that there was only a pick of small bass. I even caught three, but none over about 23 inches. Joe Milko got a surprise when he hooked a 17 1/4-inch fluke on sand fleas.

Joe Melillo has had some weigh-ins recently at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant. Bill McCrystal of that town had boat stripers of 27 pounds, and 35 7/8 pounds. Terry Martuscelli of Brick landed a 24 9/16-pound bass from the surf on bunker.

 

 

 

 

 

Still time for anglers to enter Friday’s Manhattan Cup

The weather forecast for the revival of the Manhattan Cup on Friday looks great, with sunshine and light west winds. That should be a big change from many of the past events which were held earlier in the spring. The first I fished featured wind and rain which turned to sleet — before ending in thunder and lightning. I’m looking for a much nicer day Friday in the contest to benefit wounded warriors which will be held at the much more accessible Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City.  There’s still room for anglers on charter and private boats that were volunteered for the fundraiser being promoted by the Recreational Fishing Alliance.  Any angler wishing to join in the fishing and the festivities from breakfast to a big dinner and prize party at Liberty Landing Restaurant should call Capt. Frank Crescitelli at 917 468-4817 or Gary Caputi  at 732 740-9982.

Fluke fishing was surprisingly tough today.  Capt. Stan Zagleski expected much better with a extra hour of outgoing in the morning, but the early bite on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands didn’t hold up.  There were some limits, and decent keepers (as shown below), but shorts dominated.

Elaine B Weds, fluke

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee  of the Fishermen reported it was a pick for a couple of hanfulls of keepers among many shorts. One angler released 14 shorts. The pool went to a 4.3-pound fluke.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a similar story on his Sea Hunter as he had to do a lot of moving for a few limits up to 4 pounds while some fares only caught shorts.

At Belmar, both the Golden Eagle and Miss Belmar Princess jigged some fussy small blues early before switching to sea bass to add to the catch.

Capt. Vinny Vetere was disappointed in the striper trolling from his Katfish out of Great Kills as only smaller bass up to 25 pounds cooperated even though he stayed out an extra hour. He’s open both Thursday and Friday.

 

Vinny D’Anton of Wall had a fine morning of shore fishing when he caught a couple of stripers up to a 25 1/2-incher and four cocktail blues on his Chug Bug in Shark River before going to a local beach to fish with sand fleas. After starting with a short, the bass turned on and he kept a 28-incher before staying much longer than expected to end up with six up to 31 and 35-inch releases. His bass had calico crabs in its stomach along with some sand fleas and a clam-baited hook from some unfortunate angler who has probably been telling stories about the big one that got away.  I got to the river late, but was surprised by a 21 1/2-inch stripers that blasted a relatively large Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper, and also released a small blue that destroyed a Kettle Creek soft plastic.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported that surfcasters fishing clams for mostly short stripers are catching ever-larger black drum up to over 26 pounds. The only surf blues have been hitting bunker chunks.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno of Point Pleasant cast poppers on the bay side of IBSP in the morning, but the only hit came from a houndfish that grabbed Maren’s popper. Those tropical needlefish aren’t normally seen this far north until late summer.

 

 

 

 

Sharks & bluefins well underway to the south

As northern anglers are gearing up for the first weekend of offshore tournaments,  those to the south have already been scoring with sharks and even some relatively inshore bluefin tuna.

The first big shark contest is the 38th annual South Jersey Shark Tournament out of South Jersey Marina in Cape May which runs from Thursday through Saturday after the 7:30 p.m. captains meeting on Wednesday. That $600 entry event paid out $307,763 in 2017.

The 5th annual Warriors for Warriors Charity Shark Tournament runs out of Hoffman’s Marina West in Brielle to benefit Operation Restored Warrior from June 8 to 10 with a $500 entry. The captains meeting is 5-7 pm. Friday in the marina.

Hoffman’s then hosts the 17th annual Brett T. Bailey Mako Rodeo on June 15-16 after the June 14 captains meeting.

While the Jersey Coast  Shark Anglers have changed their Mako Fever Tournament (732 551-3912) to a nine-day format from June 16-24 in order not to have to deal with weather problems, the Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association is sticking with the weekend format for their 33rd Mako Mania on June 23 and 24.  For info call 732 892-3666 or visit gppcba.com.

Adam La Rosa reports the Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant is still doing very well with bluefins in the canyons, but private boats using their information service are also trolling them at such nearby areas as the Hot Dog, Tea Cup, Elephant Trunk and the 30 and 40 lines out to the Lobster Claw and inshore of the Lindenkohl. One boat even came across some yellowfins.  Below are veterans with the bluefins they caught last week with Capt. Deane Lambros during one of the Canyon Runner’s free canyon trips for the military.

military on c.r,

The Ocean City, Md. Mako Mania produced a possible Maryland state record 644.9-pound thresher, while the winning mako was 200.9 pounds.

Fluking bounced back after the northeast blow. Bob Matthews of Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina reported very good catches from his rental boats in Shark River. John Hunter and a friend from Ridley, Pa. limited two days in a row up to a 5-pounder. Jesse Thomas of Wall limited to 4 pounds, and Ben Green also had a 4-pounder.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had a good drift early with the west wind on the end of the ebb and found good fluke action with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands until the tide switched. Some fares had limits. He’s looking forward to tomorrow morning with another hour of ebb.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee said there was still a swell running, but fluking on the Fishermen was decent — especially for Dan who had a 6.9-pound pool winner. Capt. Rob Semkewyc  said fluking was good enough for everyone on his Sea Hunter to end up with dinner.  He has only one spot left on next Tuesday’s afternoon trophy striper trip, and that Thursday’s trip is 1/3 full.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar found small blues on the surface that wouldn’t hit, so they eventually switched to sea bass and did very well.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported very good jigging for those blues that ran from 3 to 5 pounds and were caught on light tackle with small, plain jigs.

Matt Slobodjian sent the following report from Jim’s Tackle in Cape May: (scroll past boxes)

 

“We held our annual Shark Tournament Friday and Saturday. The weather held up and 31 boats competed. There was plenty of action with blue sharks, threshers, tigers, browns, makos, and even a couple of hammerheads. All but 4 fish were released. Another little bonus was there were bluefin tuna in several areas along the 30 line and out to the canyons. A few guys took the time to troll up a couple for dinner. The first place mako was caught by the crew of the “Miller Time” , a 261-lb. fish. Second was a 226-lb. mako caught by the crew of the “Fishin Technician”. The third place fish was a thresher caught by the crew of the “Team Player”  — a 324-lb. fish. I should explain even though the thresher was heavier, a mako shark takes precedence in our tournament. We would like to thank everyone who participated. You are the reason the tournament is a success. Thank you all we hope to see you again next year.

We are still seeing some striper action on the surf from Poverty Beach and still from the North Cape May beaches. We are also starting to see some nice bass coming from the surf in North Wildwood.  Steve Parness of Springfield NJ brought in a 33-lb. bass he caught on bunker chunks at Poverty Beach. George Harris of Philadelphia brought in a 28-lb. bass he caught on bunker around 5th street in North Wildwood.

Weakfish slowed down this week, though more small trout are starting to show up around the rocks.  Sea bass fishing turned on again this week on the 20 fathom wrecks. Some charter boats reported limits by mid-morning. It seemed the fishing slowed down around the full moon and picked right back up after it.

The drum bite is still good. Bait is the issue now that the clam boat isn’t getting enough orders to go fishing, so they’ll be in short supply.”

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