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Join JCAA Blackfish Tournament

With all their normal fundraising events lost to the pandemic, the JCAA is running a blackfish contest just as the season for that species opens in New Jersey.

Online registration and printable applications are available at www.jcaa.org

Jersey Coast Anglers Association Presents its 1st Annual
BLACKFISH TOURNAMENT

Tournament Dates
November 16th – 22nd, 2020
You choose the dates to fish but you may only fish TWO days!
Prizes Based on weight of single largest blackfish
1st Place $2000
2nd Place $1000
3rd Place $750
4th Place Magictail Tog Jigs Valued at $150
5th Place Magictail Tog Jigs Valued at $100
Cash prizes based on only 60 boats
and will be adjusted up or down proportionately depending on the number of boats that enter
Largest sea bass – Magictail Tog Jigs Valued at $100

$$$ Various 1 and 3 fish Calcuttas $$$

ENTRY FEE $125 PER BOAT
(MAXIMUM OF 6 ANGLERS PER BOAT)

For additional info call Paul at 973-943-8201
For entry forms, rules and info. go to www.jcaa.org. or visit our Facebook Page
Completed entry forms can be faxed to the Jersey Coast Anglers Association office: 732-506-6975 or
Mailed to: Jersey Coast Anglers Association, 1594 Lakewood Rd, Suite 13, Toms River, NJ 08755

ONLINE REGISTRATION may be done at www.jcaa.org or on our FB page

There will be NO Awards Ceremony this year due to the uncertainty of what
Covid-19 restrictions will be in place at the time. There is NO Captains meeting either. The important thing is that we do our best to keep everyone safe. We hope to have a nice awards ceremony next year.

Official Rules & Regulations:

Tournament Dates: Monday, November 16th (opening day for the 5 fish limit) through Sunday, November 22nd. Each boat entered may only fish two of the seven tournament days. Each entrant must text 973-943-8201 or email anglerpmh@aol.com, give their name and date(s) they are fishing by 9 PM the nights before the days they would like to fish. In the event no message is received, their designated fishing days will be Saturday November 21st and Sunday November 22nd. In the event an entrant only designates one day, their second day will be Sunday November 22nd.
Fishing Hours: Dawn until there is sufficient time to make it to the weigh-in station before they close but no later than by 7 PM on your designated fishing days. (Some weigh-in stations may close before 7 PM)
Fishing Location: Fish all NJ waters or waters in the EEZ east of the New Jersey coast that are open to the public, including the ocean, bays, inlets and rivers stretching from the Raritan Bay & Hudson River in the north to Delaware Bay in the south.
Weigh-ins Entrants must weigh in their fish at Bahr’s Landing Marina in Highlands, Fishermen’s Den in Belmar, Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant, Creekside Outfitters in Waretown, Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, Great Bay Marina in Little Egg Township, Fin-atics in Ocean City, One Stop B&T in Atlantic City or Jim’s B&T in Cape May by no later than 7 PM on their designated fishing days. Entrants should confirm that their choice of a weigh-in station will be open until that time. If not be sure to get there before they close or go to another weigh-in station. Some weigh-in stations may be closed or close early on certain days or may have restricted hours due to the weather at this time of year and the Covid-19 situation. Weights will be recorded by the weigh masters on the official tournament weigh-in sheets but entrants should make certain that they receive a receipt or take a photo of the weigh-in sheet. All fish must be weighed on the day they are caught and may not be held overnight to weigh the next day. You may weigh in as many fish as you like but only the largest 1 or 3 (for those in the 3 fish Calcutta) will be scored regardless of which of the designated days they were caught on. You do not have to catch your largest 3 on one day.
GENERAL RULES AND PROVISIONS:
• The tournament will be held rain or shine on November 16th through November 22nd. It is the sole responsibility of the entrant/captain of all entered boats to determine if weather and sea conditions are safe to fish. The Jersey Coast Anglers Association, its administrators, officers, directors, agents, committee members, sponsors and/or any and all other persons assume no responsibility or liability for any boats entered or individuals participating in the tournament.
• If weather conditions prohibit any or all boats from fishing and, as a result, an insufficient number of fish are weighed in to account for any of the prizes including Calcuttas, drawings will be held.
• It is the responsibility of all entrants and contestants to comply with all state, federal, and International Game Fish Association (“IGFA”) international angling rules, including any applicable state registry requirements.
• Each boat may have up to 6 anglers or other individuals onboard and no more than 6 lines may be in the water at one time.
• Each entrant may only win one prize in each category (blackfish/sea bass)) but may win multiple Calcuttas.
• All fish presented to the weigh master will be recorded in pounds and hundredths of pounds. The time the fish are presented for weigh-in will be recorded in hours and minutes.
• If two fish tie by weight, the first fish weighed in will hold the position on the leader board. If two fish are the same weight and weighed at the same time prizes will be split.
• Jersey Coast Anglers Association reserves the right to require a polygraph examination within 60 days, at Jersey Coast Anglers Association‘s expense, of any captain/entrant or crew member to preserve the integrity of the tournament. Failing the test or refusing to take the test will result in disqualification.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar didn’t sail today. but will be making an early departure for stripers tomorrow at 6 a.m. Make a reservation online.

Small craft warnings are up through Friday, though the north gusts to 25 knots drop to east at 10-15 knots Friday morning before shifting north in the afternoon. Rain is likely.

Bill Venizia released a 42-pound striper Tuesday on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands.

The Jamaica from Brielle has added a last canyon tuna trip that departs at 8 p.m. Sunday for yellowfins and albacore. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations. The Jamaica has also started running its far offshore wrecks trips for jumbo sea bass and porgies. They leave by reservation at 11 p.m. the night before Friday and Saturday. Suini Kanakan of Monroe Twp. had a pool winning 7.5-pound sea bass Sunday to edge a 7-pound pollock by Kenny Williams of Philadelphia for the pool. On another trip, Alberto Aponte from Brooklyn had a 12-pound cod.

Stripers hungry, but Thursday is a blowout

The fussy stripers that have been testing the patience of skippers and anglers turned on today before a change in weather that will keep most at home tomorrow.

The following report from Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands sums it up as follows:

SEA HUNTER VETERANS DAY BOAT LIMIT

Those of you who thought about coming today and did not because of the forecast your gonna kick yourself in the @#$.  Today was Excellent lots of Stripers . Everyone left with a slot and a keeper for dinner. We also had a few big fish that had to get thrown back. The biggest caught by Greg Nagy it went 50.2 lbs. His second 50 plus caught on a jig this year. With today being a holiday and not having many people show up with only a chance of rain. {Tomorrows trip is cancelled.}  We will resume fishing on Friday.  See you then, Capt. Rob

                                                                  Greg with his 50.2 

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a similar ocean report as there were lots of bonus bass plus blues and even a fat bonito and sea bass.

A small craft warning went up at 3 p.m. for south winds at 15-20 knots and showers. There will be southwest gusts to 25 after midnight. The morning forecast is north at 10-15 knots but with gusts to 25 and rain.

Berger makes a fine fly rod striper release

Capt. Gene Berger was a pioneering fly rod charter skipper fishing out of Brielle when I moved my center console from Montauk to Point Pleasant. He eventually got out of chartering, and I hadn’t heard about him in some time before Bill Hoblitzell e-mailed the following;

Hi Al
Hope you’re well . I had Gene Berger of On A Fly charter boat out of Brielle years back aboard yesterday  and he took this magnificent bass on a fly yesterday off Sea Girt. It was 38” and weighed 24 lbs. on the Boga Grip.

 At Belmar today, the Golden Eagle reported almost all keeper stripers. They had about three dozen of them plus a surprising three dozen bluefish as well as some legal sea bass. There were only two or three releases of larger stripers. They will be leaving early tomorrow at 6 a.m.

Miss Belmar Princess picked at stripers north of the inlet, and added a couple of blues.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den said most of the action has been near the three-mile line with both A-27 and A-47 jigs or by trolling tube umbrella rigs. The Capt. Cal has stuck with sea bass, and is doing well. Winter flounder up to 13 inches are hitting in the river. That fishing is best from a boat with heavy chumming.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported a good day of striper fishing on his Sea Hunter plus the first big blues in a long time. The Veteran’s Day trip looks good, but Thursday may be a problem. Capt. Ron Santee, Jr. of the Fishermen is frustrated by all the bass on top which only provide a brief bite. He feels we need a northeast blow to change things.

Vinny D’Anton said the surf remains disappointing. He saw bunkers well offshore at Manasquan, but bass never drove them in. The other pros he’s in contact with had similar reports.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for south winds at 10-15 knots before increasing with gusts to 25 and showers in the afternoon.

Now we know where the school stripers are

  • New Jersey surfcasters frustrated by the lack of school stripers well into November may have an answer to their problem. Mike Monte, the Shore native who’s lived in Nantucket for many years, has delayed his annual return to N.J. for a last shot at stripers because those fish at Nantucket have refused to start their migration to the south.
  • I never fished from shore at Nantucket, but about a half-century ago I used to join Bud Henderson, a charter skipper from Cape Cod, during his November commercial handlining trips to Nantucket so I could cast a surface plug over his handlines with my surf spinning rig.
  • There was no problem finding the fish as it appeared there was a giant garbage dump ahead with hundreds of birds over vast schools of herring and squid. The latter were so large that the gulls couldn’t fly with them and would have to drop those they picked up. Stripers would look up to us as they chased a herring alongside the trolling sea skiff. That was no delicate fishing as short handlines on rubber snubbers were trolled right through bass in the wash with Smilin’ Bill bucktails and pork rind. Most of the bass were in the 10-20-pound class, though with a few 30-and-40-pounders among them plus a very few bluefish. When the halibut box in the stern was filled with 400 pounds of bass, Henderson would head back to the Cape to send them to the N.Y. market for 25 cents a pound –or less.

The fussy large stripers in Raritan Bay and the ocean have been frustrating both skippers and anglers. Capt. Rob Semkewyc was upset when a large bass was lost on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands when a treble hook jig snagged in the net. Rob doesn’t allow them on his boat not only for the netting problem but because they may end up in someone’s arm. He also has a problem with fares who bottom bounce their jigs. That does work at times when bass are tight to the bottom, but that hasn’t been the case lately. Not only is reeling necessary to make the lure resemble a forage fish seeking to escape, but there’s another problem in that spiny dogfish are covering the ocean bottom and even hitting lures. If you’re using an expensive shad lure the tail will be chopped off quickly.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a decent day of fishing for rolling stripers as two or three dozen legal bass were caught among the bigger bass and even a few slots and shorts. The Sea Hunter also a had a good day with a variety of sizes. The only one that was too big was a 40-inch release. They also had a few shorts and even a couple of blues.

Capt. Vinny Vetere of Katfish from Great Kills has been doing well with the big stripers while picking up a few small enough to keep. Eight-year-old Caroline released this 30-pounder that she caught by herself. Katfish is open tomorrow.

Stripers swirling, but few hitting

Reports from both the ocean and Raritan Bay are of large stripers rolling on the surface while usually not hitting anything with consistency.

Dave Lilly has been struggling to catch one or two bass on bunker spoons despite all the bass he sees and records, but this morning he went further back in the bay and released seven that were in the upper teens to the lower twenties in weight. All but one hit a new color Tony Maja spoon that he described as being bronze-colored with a white keel weight and a white feather hook. The water was very clear and only 50 to 51 degrees.

Surfcasters would like to see some of those fussy bass. Allen Riley fished the Sandy Hook surf from 5-8 Friday morning under perfect conditions with no sign of fish or bait. After many such trips, Riley thinks North Jersey surfcasting has “collapsed”.

Vinny D’Anton is almost as discouraged after finding no signs of bait or the much overdue school stripers from the east. He’s in touch with many of the top surf anglers along the Shore, and they are all just as shocked by the worst surfcasting ever at this time of year.

Stripers generally cooperate

Sorry about not being able to get a blog out the last few days. I made a family trip to Florida, and lost my internet connection. That was just fixed this afternoon — I hope! Getting this out quickly before something else goes wrong.

There were mixed reports on stripers today, but lots were at least seen. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported seeing lots of stripers rolling, though they were hard to hook. They still released several dozen over 38 inches. and boated a “bunch” that were smaller and legal to keep. That boat will start limited striper trips on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays — beginning this Wednesday.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reported a decent day, though without any 50-pounders, considering the boat traffic.

Jerry Lasko reported “Some nice bass finally came into the bunker schools today and were just in range. Maren got a 38” bass on live bunker in Mantoloking this morning. “

A better forecast for tomorrow

Though yesterday’s gale was supposed to drop down after midnight, it was still blowing fairly hard early in the morning and was enough to discourage boat fishermen as there were no reports. That should change tomorrow as the forecast is for southwest at 5-10 knots until it increases to 10-15 with gusts to 20 knots in the afternoon.

The surf was in fairly good shape this morning, but I didn’t hear of any hot action — which is overdue.

Sorry about the photo in last night’s blog repeating when I published. I’ve been having a hard time with photos ever since Word Press changed the system.

Back to fishing tomorrow

Weather conditions will be back in our favor tomorrow, after today’s gale and striped bass will be the prime target with schoolies joining the great run of big bass boaters have been enjoying — such as the average one, shown below, that I released Wednesday after casting a 6.5-inch Tsunami Deep Shad while fishing with Capt. Erwin Heinrich (right) on his Scales N Tales out of Twin Lights Marina in Highlands,

Though the gale warning for west winds up to 40 knots is in effect through Tuesday morning, that wind is expected to diminish to 5-10 knots after midnight. Party boats should be sailing, and looking for the hot striper action they all left on the weekend.

There have also been some better surf reports. Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno got into some 28-30-inch bass yesterday on an Ocean County beach, and Maren caught two more this morning despite the wind. SP Minnows and needlefish did the job. Bob Correll didn’t see anything caught this morning at Bay Head, but he observed a whale blasting into bunker schools not too far offshore.

JCAA Blackfish Tournament Coming up

While striped bass are the featured species so far, blackfish will get lots of attention this month — and the JCAA is running a tournament for them as noted in the release below:

JCAA is pleased to present its 1st Annual BLACKFISH TOURNAMENT

Tournament Dates November 16th – 22nd, 2020

You choose the dates to fish but you may only fish TWO days! Prizes Based on weight of single largest blackfish 1st Place $2000 2nd Place $1000 3rd Place $750 4th Place Magictail Tog Jigs Valued at $150 5th Place Magictail Tog Jigs Valued at $100 Cash prizes based on only 60 boats and will be adjusted up or down proportionately depending on the number of boats that enter Largest sea bass – Magictail Tog Jigs Valued at $100 $$$ Various 1 and 3 fish Calcuttas $$$ ENTRY FEE $125 PER BOAT (MAXIMUM OF 6 ANGLERS PER BOAT) For additional info call Paul at 973-943-8201 For entry forms, rules and info. go to www.jcaa.org or visit our Facebook Page Completed entry forms can be faxed to the JCAA office: 732-506-6975 or Mailed to: JCAA, 1594 Lakewood Rd, Suite 13, Toms River, NJ 08755 ONLINE REGISTRATION may be done at www.jcaa.org or on our FB page There will be NO Awards Ceremony this year due to the uncertainty of what Covid-19 restrictions will be in place at the time. There is NO Captains meeting either. The important thing is that we do our best to keep everyone safe. We hope to have a nice awards ceremony next year. Official Rules & Regulations: Tournament Dates: Monday, November 16th (opening day for the 5 fish limit) through Sunday, November 22nd. Each boat entered may only fish two of the seven tournament days. Each entrant must text 973-943-8201 or email anglerpmh@aol.com, give their name and date(s) they are fishing by 9 PM the nights before the days they intend to fish. In the event no message is received, their designated fishing days will be Saturday November 21st and Sunday November 22nd. In the event an entrant only designates one day, their second day will be Sunday November 22nd. Fishing Hours: Dawn until there is sufficient time to make it to the weigh-in station before they close but no later than by 7 PM on your designated fishing days. (Some weigh-in stations may close before 7 PM) Fishing Location: Fish all NJ waters or waters in the EEZ east of the New Jersey coast that are open to the public, including the ocean, bays, inlets and rivers stretching from the Raritan Bay & Hudson River in the north to Delaware Bay in the south. Weigh-ins Entrants must weigh in their fish at Bahr’s Landing Marina in Highlands, Fishermen’s Den in Belmar, Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant, Creekside Outfitters in Waretown, Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, Great Bay Marina in Little Egg Township, Fin-atics in Ocean City, One Stop B&T in Atlantic City or Jim’s B&T in Cape May by no later than 7 PM on their designated fishing days. Entrants should confirm that their choice of a weigh-in station will be open until that time. If not be sure to get there before they close or go to another weigh-in station. Some weigh-in stations may be closed or close early on certain days or may have restricted hours due to the weather at this time of year and the Covid-19 situation. Weights will be recorded by the weigh masters on the official tournament weigh-in sheets but entrants should make certain that they receive a receipt or take a photo of the weigh-in sheet. All fish must be weighed on the day they are caught and may not be held overnight to weigh the next day. You may weigh in as many fish as you like but only the largest 1 or 3 (for those in the 3 fish Calcutta) will be scored regardless of which of the designated days they were caught on. You do not have to catch your largest 3 on one day.

There was joy at Atlantic Highlands today as party boat anglers caught plenty of stripers. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter said it started like yesterday with bass on top but hard to catch. However. as the tide slowed and changed the bass turned on. Sizes ranged from 25 inches to 47 pounds. The day was made by 9:30, and it was mostly on jigs.

Capt. Ron Santee Jr. had a similar report on his Fishermen as there were bass that could be kept plus several over 30 pounds. He said it got sporty as the outgoing tide ran into an increasing south wind, and they came in a bit early. There will be no boat fishing Monday due to the high winds forecast.

While boaters have been enjoying an exceptional run of very large stripers, fall surfcasting along the Jersey Shore has been very slow to develop. The strong northwest winds coming up should change that. Small craft warnings went up at 1p.m.– and are switched to a gale watch from this evening through Tuesday afternoon. West winds of 25-35 knots are forecast for Monday along with gusts to 45 and 5-8-foot seas.