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Hot weather — mixed fishing

One thing everyone could agree on today was that it was HOT! Unfortunately, there wasn’t a repeat of the hot Saturday fluking in Raritan Bay.

Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands said there was little drift, and power drifting didn’t help much this time.  June Benson started the day off right with a 5 13/16-pound fluke, and then added an 18-incher. However, only a few managed multiple keepers in contrast to yesterday on the Fishermen when all the fluke were at lest 19 inches.  The Sea Hunter had a similar report of decent fluking over the weekend despite the conditions.

John Vanderstad of Pompton Lakes had this pair of 6-pound fluke Saturday on the Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.

John Vanderstad 6-lb fluke

The Angler from Atlantic Highlands  settled their monthly pool yesterday as John Brock of Clifton held on all month with his 6 15/16-pounder to win $1,560.

The Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant had a last minute cancellation, and the 60-foot Ritchie Howell  is open for the July 2-3 overnighter. Yellowfin trolling has been hot as 72 were caught Saturday though the boats only trolled for seven hours.

canyon tuna on canyon runner

Mark Roy ran his Release Me from Raritan Marina in Hazlet out to the Chicken Canyon area yesterday and got into 50-to-60-pound bluefin tuna on pencil poppers. He and his crew caught four casting, and trolled a yellowfin on a spreader bar. A trip to the Hudson Canyon was fruitless, and overnighting only produced a brown shark.

There were no reports from the bluefish boats as of the time this blog was written.

It was delightful being on the Spring Lake surf this morning, but the only small striper I saw was caught by a fluke fishermen on Gulp. I switched from a popper to a Storm Searchbait jig to break the ice with a small fluke. Vinny D’Anton said he caught a short bass at Belmar on a Chug Bug, and Frank Manzi managed a 15-inch fluke on sand fleas at Spring Lake.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina is still raving about that 13 1/4-pound fluke from Shark River as reported here this week. Henny Green and Marty Westerfield have been catching lots of keepers in the river up to 4 pounds. Matthews has seen the first very small snappers in the river.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant is running open for bottom fishing on July 2, 9, 10, and 11.  Call 732 770-8019 for details.

 

Best day of Raritan Bay fluking

It’s not often that a flat calm sunny and hot summer day turns out to provide the best Raritan Bay fluking of the year — except for shorts!

The early start that Capt. Stan Zagleski had with his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands enabled John Vanderstad of Pompton Lakes to limit by 6:55 a.m. — before other party boats had even left the dock.  He ended up taking his limit out of seven keepers that included two 6-pounders that won the pool. There were several other limits, and some of the fluke were spitting out sand eels — something Zagleski never saw last year.

Capt. Ron Santee said the drift was poor and he had to power drift with the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands — but there wasn’t a fluke under 19 inches. There were several limits, and the pool fluke was 7 3/16 pounds. Young Marcus Coe was fishing with his dad and caught a fluke over 5 pounds that he wanted to release. He did just that, and the skipper rewarded him with a Fishermen tee-shirt for his conservation spirit.

Lady Christine took the lead in the first Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club Bluefin Open. Capt. Chris Di Stefano had originally heard that boat was bringing in a bigeye from Wilmington canyon (which was noted in last night’s blog), but it turned out that Neil Franzoni boated a 191.5-pound bluefin at the Bacardi to move ahead of Douglas Johnson on Double D at 180.5 pounds.  That left Frank Criscola still with all three places in yellowfin tuna on his Crisdel in the Jack Meyer Trolling Tournament

The Golden Eagle from Belmar jigged some 1-to-3-pound blues along with porgies. Some sea bass were released, but they’ll be able to keep them Sunday when the two sea bass by-catch season starts.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported nice action with the porgies.

Kevin Markow of the Surf Kings at Sea Girt reported catching a 28-inch striper just before daylight on a small swimmer despite the dead low tide.

Jim Louro of Spring Lake fished his local surf Fridy evening to release a 26 1/2-inch striper on sand flies — and added a 26-incher this morning.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reports good fluking in the surf where cownose rays are also being reported. Betty & Nick’s reported a 31-inch striper was caught.

 

 

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Capy. Ron Santee

Hot canyon trolling continues

Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club was posting a sweep in the ongoing Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club’s Jack Meyer’s Trolling Tournament after boating 13 yellowfin tuna Wednesday in Toms Canyon, but that lead may not last through today.

The yellowfins weighed in by Crisdel were of 48.65, 56.55 and 43.85 pounds. However, Capt. Chris Di Stefano heard that My Christine had boated a bigeye today in Wilmington Canyon estimated at 135 pounds. Provided My Christine arrives in time this evening, that bigeye will be the new leader.

The MRMTC also has their first annual Bluefin Tournament in which most prizes are for the biggest bluefin under 73 inches. There are Calcuttas for bluefins over 73 inches as well as for the largest yellowfin and dolphin. That contest started June 28 and runs to July 1.

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant has had limits of yellowfins on the last six canyon trips. They have had a last minute opening for a July 5-6 overnighter  on the Viking 48. The entire boat is available — or else they’ll take open boat reservations. Call Adam La Rosa at 732 272-4445.

canyon tuna on canyon runner

Big fluke were also in the news today. Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported a decent pick of keepers aboard his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands that included their largest of the season — a 9. 54-pounder by John Corvino from the Catskills.

There was also a Facebook posting of a 13 1/4-pound doormat at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina. That giant hit Gulp fished by Kevin Newberg of Avon in Shark River. If he’s a Fisherman magazine subscriber, that fluke would take over first place in the coastal Dream Boat Contest.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere reported a limit of large stripers up to a 44-pounder trolling in the Hudson River with his Ho-Jo;s from Katfish out of Great Kills. He’s open on Saturday.

Tom Fote reports there was a decent turnout at last night’s Bluefish Public Hearing in Toms River. I had intended to make that hearing, but was tied up all afternoon in my wife’s purchase of a new car and got back too late. Fote said a few party boat captains testified, and everyone seemed to oppose any changes until a new stock assessment is available.

Bluefishing has been very tough this year so far, except for a couple of localized spurts. There was no change in that today as Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant frankly reported “Friday was very nice on the water, but that’s the only good news.” He’s chartered on the mornings of June 3, 8, 15 and 21,

Allen Riley of South Plainfield fished the Sandy Hook surf for fluke with plastics under ideal conditions this morning to catch four and a half short fluke. The “half” was actually a mere 10-incher that managed to inhale a 4-inch Gulp Swimming Mullet.

I cast a jig in Shark River to catch a small striper within a few casts — and never got another touch. Vinny D’Anton later walked to another area and released four of those small bass\ on the Storm Searchbait jig.

 

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giant was caught on Gulp in Shark River by Kevin Newberg of Avon.

 

Little change in council appointments

NOAA Fisheries made very few changes to fishery management councils in this year’s appoinement process. with almost everyone reappointed to new three-year terms.

The New England Council will have Matthew McKenzie of Ct.; Terry Alexander of Maine; John Quinn from Maine; and Eric Reid of R.I. in the obligatory seats plus Vincent Balzano of Maine at-large.

In the Mid-Atlantic, Tony Dilernia  of N.Y. returns along with Adam Nowalsky of N.J., Peter Defur of Vir., and Sara Windslow from North Carolina.

It appears that the early thunder and lightning scared off most fishermen as there were no reports. The marine forecast had warnings for hazardous seas into tonight, though the wind forecasts for the rest of the week are only 5-10 mph from the west.

 

Capt. Stan Zagleski of Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands reports fluke being cleaned on his boat often have mantis shrimp in their stomachs. That strange-looking creature has long been a favorite of stripers and weakfish in Raritan Bay. They’re also a great permit bait in Northwest Channel at Key West if you can find them in shrimp boat “trash” (by-catch)

mantis shrimp.jpg

Bluefish hearings being conducted

Public hearings on the Bluefish Allocation Amendment continue tonight at 6 p.m.  in Ocean City, N.J. Public Library , 1735 Simpson Ave. — and Thursday at 6 in Ocean County Administrative Bldg. , 101 Hooper Ave. Toms River, N.J.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc reports today’s fluking in Raritan Bay aboard his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands wasn’t nearly as good as yesterday due to wind against tide conditions. The Thursday morning forecast of showers and thunderstorms is marginal, but he’ll be shaping up in case it turns out to be fishable.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle reported a good Tuesday afternoon trip for ling after the morning trip had produced only  a few small blues and some porgies on jigs.

The Big Mohawk had some fluke limits during Tuesday’s trip. They will sail at 7 a.m. Thursday and Friday, but at 6 a.m. on the weekend. Light winds are forecast right through Monday.

Capt. Vinny Vetere has been trolling stripers every trip with his Katfish from Great Kills, and has openings Thursday, Saturday and Monday.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall had the hot hand in Shark River this morning as he quickly caught three small stripers on jigs before later adding another on his Chug Bug. I got there a but late, but managed one small bass on a Tsunami shad.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported a few big blues being caught in the surf on bunker, while fluking is good on bucktails and Gulp. Crabbing from the bay docks is picking up.

Sun-up at Sandy Hook. Photo by Allen Riley

Sun-up at Sandy Hook.jpg

Canyon fishing has been hot

Adam La Rosa reports the spring canyon season has left little to be desired for his Point Pleasant boats. The two boats combined for 42 yellowfin tuna, 10 bluefin tuna, four mako sharks, and two bigeye tuna during one overnight trip. The makos caught at night were released as they were short of the new 83-inch minimum. Though most of those fish were caught in the canyons, some of the bluefins were trolled coming or going in the Glory Hole — such as the one below.

ffCR Glory Hole bluefin

Fluke fishing was surprisingly good for the northern party boats depite the east wind being against the current all day as skippers used their engines to create drift. At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc had five limits on his Sea Hunter, while Capt. Ron Santee, Sr. put on a clinic by catching fluke of 5 and 7 pounds on his son’s Fishermen while others were happy with the number of  3-5 1/2-pound fluke sprinkled in. Capt. Stan Zagleski reported a 5 1/2-pound pool winner for Mike Pylypyshyn of Little Egg Harbor on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.   \

 

 

Elaine B limitAs good as the fluking was in Raritan Bay, it was the opposite when Tank Matraxia and his Lyndhurst crew fished in the normally productive and protected waters of the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers with Capt. Fletcher Chayes on Two Rivers Charters from Highlands as only a few shorts and sea robins hit.

The bluefish fleet had another tough day after being spoiled by all those huge blues jigged last week in Raritan Reach.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere lost last Saturday to the weather, but made up for it Sunday with a good striper catch on Katfish Charters from Great Kills.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall had a hot hand in the Spring Lake surf Monday morning when he caught three 21-inch stripers on a MirrOlure  plug, and later added two more releases to 24 inches on his Chug Bug — before finishing up with a 23-incher on sand fleas. There were three anglers, including me, keeping Vinny company this morning, but nothing was caught.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo of South Plainfield fished the Sandy Hook surf early Monday morning, and enjoyed the great sunrise while catching only a very small fluke and a few sea robins on Gulp.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park is encouraged with two verified reports of sand eels in the local surf.

Stop commercial attempt to take part of the public’s bluefish allocation

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the ASMFC are holding scoping hearings to gather information to be considered in the Bluefish Allocation Amendment which is being pushed by commercial interests seeking to slice off a greater percentage of the bluefish allocation for commercial fisheries. This wouldn’t be acceptable under any circumstances, but is particularly dangerous at this time when bluefish abundance seems to be declining.

Recreational fishermen are being punished for releasing such a large percentage of their bluefish catch, which makes it appear that they’re not interested in that fishery.  In actuality. we’ve generally had a hard time seeking blues in recent years

The Long Island hearing will be on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the NYDEC Division of Marine Resources, 205 North Belle Mead Road, Suite 1 , East Setaucket.

There are two N.J. meetings. with the first on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Ocean City Library, 1735 Simpson Ave,\Ocean City. The next is Thursday at 6 p.m. in Ocean County Administrative Bldg., 101 Hooper Ave., Toms River.

The controversy continues about the mako tournament incidents described in last nights blogs. The Mako Mania committee is considering the issue, and Wednesday”s awards dinner  has been postponed until everything is straightened out.

The Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant has been enjoying great canyon action, and also adding bluefin tuna in the Glory Hole. More about that fishing tomorrow.

At Belmar, Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den that Shark River fluke fishing has been good. Jay Rosenberg of Roxboro, Pa, boated a 6 1/2-pounder, and Jesse Thomas of Wall caught four that ran up to 4 1/2 pounds. The average rental boat catch includes two to four keepers and five times as many shorts. Small stripers are being caught in the surf on clams and crabs, and there were reports of some kingfish on sandworms at Asbury Park. The Golden Eagle reported from that marina that bluefishing was poor today, though they did jig some small blues and big porgies.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had poor fishing today, though that was better than on Sunday after Saturday’s blow. They are chartered Tuesday, and also on the morning of July 3.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the west wind really howled  today and fluking on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands wasn’t up to par. Also at that port. the Angler reported Kang Artly boated a 7-pound fluke on Sunday, but wasn’t in the big and monthly pools which are both worth over $1,400 and led so far by a 6 15/16-pound fluke.

 

 

 

 

Matt Slobodjian, at Jim’s Tackle in Cape May reports “We’ve gotten some good fluke reports this week from Del Reef Site #11 and the Wildwood Reef. There are also more fish starting to show up in the backwaters around Cape May. Fluke and weakfish are around the Cape May Point jettys. The best time to fish for the trout is early AM or just before dark. Fluke will hit all day long.

We are starting to see some sheepshead come in from around the bridges and rocks in the area. Sand fleas, shedder crabs, and fiddlers will all work on these fish.
The tuna bite has been very good in the canyons. There are bluefin, yellowfin, and bigeyes being caught on the troll.  A few white and blue marlin are starting to show up, but no real good numbers yet. There have been some bluefin hanging around the 20 fathom line, but they’re spotty following schools of sand eels.
We are also starting to catch some kingfish in the rips and on the surf in Cape Ma

Last minute mako wasn’t legal

Unfortunately, the last minute mako brought in by Seaquested to win Mako Mania turned out to be short when brought over to be weighed for Mako Fever.  The skipper had made the measurement on a curved fork length as with tuna. Yet, as I noted in my blog about the tournaments, sharks must be measured on a straight line basis. The measurement at Mako Mania was done while the shark was on the scale and with a Conservation Officer present, but when laid flat at Mako Fever it was inches short of their 83-inch caliper — and wasn’t weighed. Already disqualified there, that entry also awaits its fate when the Mako Mania committee meets. More about all this tomorrow.

Mako tournaments got their winners despite 83-inch minimum

Mako tournament organizers were sweating out the new 83-inch mako minimum, but so far they’ve all been able to just barely get by.

Capt. Pete Grimbilas said the Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association’s Mako Mania got a mako winner at the last moment when Seaquester brought in a mako that was just a quarter-inch over the minimum and weighed 207 pounds.

There was a provision in this year’s Mako Mania that a thresher could take the prizes if there was no legal mako. It looked as if that was going to happen when Miss Ginny brought in a 467-pound thresher despite losing an engine.

The ongoing Jersey Coast Shark Angler’s Mako Fever Tournament already had a potential mako winner when Big Nutz Required weighed a 258-pounder Thursday. Tra Sea Ann added a 236-pound mako on Friday. Seaquester’s mako was also entered in Mako Fever, and a 316-pound thresher was weighed today. I’ll have more about these contests tomorrow.

Capt. Stan Zagleski said he had no wind for drifting in the morning, and then wind against tide later as anglers on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands worked hard for their fluke.  Michael  Stashluk of Denville caught four legal fluke, keeping his limit which included the pool;

Capt. Rob Semkewyz reported his worst keeper  fluking so far on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. Yet, the boat’s largest fluke of the season was boated — a just under 8-pounder by Pat Lassen.

S.H. pool fluke

The Golden Eagle from Belmar jigged some small blues early, but later had a few shots at 8-to-15-pounders.

The Big Mohawk from that port reported the big swell hurt ocean fluking today, but a few limits were caught and the pool fluke was about 5 pounds.

Moist Saturday kept most anglers home

The bad news is that there is hardly any fishing news as the rain and wind forecast kept most anglers home. The good news is that the east wind dropped out in the afternoon — and Sunday’s forecast is good.

I was among the few who ignored the forecast in order to join Vinny D’Anton and Frank Manzi casting in Shark River. Conditions were fine with clear waters, and a strong outgoing current. There was never more than a mist that didn’t require rain gear, but none of us got so much as a bump.

With a 20-mph east wind churning up the surf, we didn’t even try there — though Jim Louro of Spring Lake did brave the conditions to fish sand fleas briefly without a hit.

It appears that few boats sailed. even in partially protected Raritan Bay. That should all change tomorrow. The weather next week is also looking generally good.

The Jamaica from Brielle should have good drifting conditions on their tilefish trip that sails at 10 p.m. Sunday. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

jamaica tilefish new1

Capt. Vinny Vetere had a good maiden voyage with his new Pursuit S408 out of Great Kills on Friday. He said it ate up the rough seas that day, and was very stable while fishing due to the expensive Seakeeper Gyro System.  Striper trolling was good with his Ho-Jos, but the only really large bass hooked was lost in a tangle at boatside. It was estimated in the 40-pound class.

Vinnie's Pursuit