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Ocean blues still hitting jigs

Despite the big swell. bluefish continue to hit jigs consistently in the ocean. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a decent catch of 3-8-pounders today plus one Spanish mackerel. Anglers had to work for the blues, and catches ranged up to a near limit.

The Jamaica from Brielle had a good catch Tuesday on their limited trip further offshore where bonito, little tunny, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel joined some bluefish. Epoxy jigs with white or pink on them have been working best.  More of those trips which require reservations by calling 732 528-5014 have been added.

Though the big swells continue, the wind forecast is southwest 10-15 knots tomorrow with gusts to 20.

Capt. Joe Bassa of My Three Sons at Morgan Marina joined his friend A.J. on the latter’s boat out of Shinnecock  on Saturday for a run to Montauk. They went to Butterfish Hole for tuna, but nothing was doing there. A move inshore for fluke didn’t even produce a short, and the striper bite was off. However, a move to Southwest Ledge off Block Island produced limits of big sea bass and porgies. Fred Golofaro of The Fisherman’s Long Island edition said the big swell killed fluking which continues there through Monday. He noted that the waves were some of the biggest he’s seen at the Point.

Porgy fishing hot

Capt. Ron Santee says he’s had five straight days of awesome porgy fishing since switching over with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands after the fluke season closed. Actually his first two drops this morning weren’t good, but he moved a half-mile and was back into the steady bite.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had another good day of bluefishing, but anglers had to work for them with jigs. Some had close to limits and others just a few.

The surf had been looking better each morning, and should have been very fishable this morning. Instead, we were greeted with booming as Jerry was pushing in big swells that were no good for fishing.. Vinny D’Anton moved to Shark River and managed to raise one fish with his Chug Bug – a 24-inch striper. I went to Point Pleasant Canal and was happy to get a hit on my Z Man paddletail — a 17-inch bluefish.

Mimi VI is sailing open for bottom fishing Wednesday at 7 a.m. from Point Pleasant. Call 732 370-8019 for a $75 reservation.

Allen Riley, John Mazzeo, Duke Matero and Tony Martino found good conditions in the Monmouth Beach surf except for the big swell. Small bait was along the shore, but only John even got a hit.

Frank Huza made the trek to the tip of Sandy Hook and cast there from 7-9 a.m. There were snappers and hickory shad, but the bait stayed out of range.

Paul Haertel spotted an error in my end of the fluke season blog when I noted that the N.Y. season ended on Sept. 21 along with N.J. I picked up that date from The Fisherman magazine’s list of regs, but Haertel said the N.Y. season actually runs to Sept. 30.

Small craft advisories are up through Wednesday afternoon due to the big swells, but the wind forecast for Wednesday is only 5-10 knots northwest before switching to southwest in the afternoon.

Blues still being jigged

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported another good day of jigging blues after a slow start. Bigger blues moved in later, with choppers up to 8 pounds being caught along with some porgies.

The forecast inshore for Tuesday is good with west winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20.

Southwest winds aren’t favorable for surf fishing, but Joe Melillo at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant says some school bass and blues are being caught on small lures in the Ocean County surf. There are also bass and blues in Point Pleasant Canal at times, along with blowfish and blackfish. I fished the Monmouth County surf, but only caught a 2-pound blue on my Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper though the big swell has moderated and conditions weren’t bad for a low tide. Vinny D’Anton managed a couple of school stripers on his Chug Bug in Shark River before trying the surf with no action.

The Seaside Park tackle shops report loads of small bluefish in the surf for those using mullet baits.

Below is Hans Kaspersetz with a yellowfin tuna in the 90-pound class, as noted in last night’s blog,Hans-Hudson yellowfin during an overnighter aboard Blue Runner. They trolled five yellowfins and an albacore in Hudson Canyon, and added a swordfish.




Below is a shot of

Blue Runner scores in Hudson Canyon

Capt. Hans Kaspersetz fished aboard the Blue Runner in Hudson Canyon over the weekend and reported they trolled a few yellowfin and albacore tuna and also hooked three swordfish. They boated one sword of about 120 pounds, and one of those they lost he figured had to be in the 500-pound class.

There were no other reports, but I’ll get caught up tomorrow.


Fluke anglers looking for something else to catch

The fluke season is closed in N.Y. and N.J., so anglers who had been chasing the elusive (at least in keeper size) flatfish will have to seek another species.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Fishermen is switching to daily porgy fishing, while the Sea Hunter is taking a break until the fall striper run in mid-October.

Though it’s not really worthwhile to go boat fishing for blackfish with the summer one-fish limit, in N.J., there’a scarcity of green crabs. Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, says he’s been unable to get any for anglers fishing in the canal — and that’s been a problem for some time,

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported another good bluefish trip with choppers from 3 to 10 pounds on jigs.  Though the inshore forecast is fine, they have cancelled their Sept. 22 canyon trip due to a rough offshore forecast. It will be moved to Oct. 6.

The inshore forecast for Sunday is west winds at 5-10 knots before increasing to 10-15 in the afternoon.

Last day for NJ & NY fluke

It’s all over but the shouting for fluke anglers in both N.J. and N.Y. Saturday as that’s the last day fluke may be retained, though surfcasters will be catching some while fishing for other species probably into November.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar will be going out with a blast as there will be a $50 pool tomorrow for those wishing to participate. They sail at 6 a.m.

Also at Belmar, the Golden Eagle reported a good day of bluefish jigging with choppers up to 10 pounds.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports lots of small blues in the surf on mullet. Polish Al had a surf fluke limit up to a 2.5-pounder yesterday.

T worked the Monmouth County surf early in hope of fishing a calmer surf with the switch to west winds. Unfortunately, a larger swell from the hurricane far offshore made it hard to find fishable water around low tide. I still got one shot in the white water, and it was a beauty as a striper charged my Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr, and threw water as he hit the 2-oz. popper. That explosion looked like a big bass, but it didn’t take any drag and didn’t feel heavy before coming unhooked.  Yet, it was one of those surface strikes that will always be remembered — especially being so unexpected. That didn’t get anything started as I never raised another fish.

There are still small craft warnings for hazardous seas posted into Saturday afternoon, but light winds are forecasted with just 5-10 knots west in the morning before switching to southwest in the afternoon. Seas up to five feet, mostly from an east swell, will drop to 2-3 feet in the afternoon.


The Jersey Shore Boat Sale & Expo will be open at First Energy Park in Lakewood from 10-6 Saturday and 10-5 Sunday. Admission is $5, except free for kids 12 and under. For details visit

There was a fine turnout this morning for Eddie “Hammer” Zimny’s funeral in Sacred Heart Church, Bay Head. His many fishing friends didn’t know that Eddie had escaped death back in 1960. Though his Navy service from 1953-1957 was no problem, he was working as a civilian aboard the aircraft carrier Constellation in Brooklyn Navy Yard when a massive fire started. Eddie escaped through a hatch and had to jump in the icy East River to escape from the fire that killed 46. He suffered from smoke poisoning, exposure and rib fractures before being plucked from the water. He had only been married three months at that time, but lived to raise a family and enjoy many years chasing stripers and bluefish in the surf and Point Pleasant Canal. — which is where Maren Toleno caught this 30-inch striper recently at dusk on a popper.

Maren 30-inch bass

NJ Boat Sale & Expo opens Friday

The N.J. Boat Sale & Expo opens Friday and continues through the weekend at First Energy Park in Lakewood.

 Following is a press release from that event:

FirstEnergy Park – Home of the Lakewood BlueClaws!

2 Stadium Way
Lakewood, NJ 08701
(732) 901-70

FirstEnergy Park – Home of the Lakewood BlueClaws!
September 20-22, 2019


This show has something for everyone, with hundreds of new boats on sale from the top dealers in the state, plus an expanded pre-owned boat section, boaters marketplace full of accessories and services, activities for the little boaters and much more. You’ll find the best selection and pricing at the Jersey Shore Boat Sale & Expo!

Purchase online and save $1 per ticket!

Anyone that purchases a ticket online for this year’s Boat Sale & Expo will automatically receive a ticket for the Lakewood BlueClaws Opening Night on April 16, 2020 as the team opens their 20th season at the Shore!

Additionally, everyone that purchases will be automatically entered into a raffle for a Luxury Suite on Opening Night. The Suite comes with 20 tickets to the game, indoor/outdoor seating, climate-control, HD-TV and other amenities. All ticket vouchers and the announcement of the Luxury Suite winner will be mailed out prior to the BlueClaws season in February. For details on the event visit

The northeaster is finally drawing to a close, and the shift to west winds should improve fishing and boating conditions for the weekend though a small craft advisory is posted to late Friday night for hazardous seas. Friday’s forecast is for 15-knot west winds gusting to 20 — plus 4-6-foot seas mostly from an east swell.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk will return to fluke fishing at 7 am. The Ocean Explorer will provide a last shot at the seasonal fluke pool as they are chartered Saturday. The Golden Eagle reported a decent Wednesday of bluefishing for 4-6-pounders on jigs as they picked away all day.

The Jamaica from Brielle had another good catch Wednesday on their limited mid-range trip for bluefins, bonito and little tunny. One tuna was caught and another lost. They’ve added more of the limited trips on both the Jamaica and Paramount. Reservations must be made by calling 732 528-5014. There’s also room available on the Jamaica’s 5 p.m. Saturday 24-hour canyon trip.

Capt. Tom Savastano reports there will be a mass at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Sacred Heart Church in Bay Head for The Hammer — Eddie Zimny, who passed away on Sept. 11. Eddie was one of the great old-timers at the Point Pleasant surf and canal.






More NE, but a change is coming

It’s more of the same tomorrow morning, but there’s hope for Friday through the weekend. The small craft advisory remains posted for northeast winds of 10-15 knots with gusts to 20. however, that’s supposed to diminish to 5-10 knots in the afternoon before switching Friday to a period of light west winds. Seas are predicted to be 4-6-feet tomorrow. The swell wasn’t too bad today, but we could still have a problem with the big swells far offshore from the hurricane.

Boating activity has been light in the northeast winds. Capt. Ron Santee said he didn’t get out today, has a charter on Friday, and is finished with fluke. He’ll switch the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands to daily porgies on Saturday.

Capt. Chris Distefano said Frank Criscola’s Crisdel got out to the canyons this week, but only trolled one yellowfin tuna in Toms Canyon before making a run out to 1700 feet to deep drop for swordfish. They had surprisingly good daytime action with eight hits in the great depths.  Swords of about 120 and 170 pounds were boated small ones released.

The Paramount from Brielle will be running a bluefin, bonito and little tunny trip on Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The fare is $80 with a limit of 40 anglers.  Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports lots of cocktail blues in the surf on mullet, though anglers casting metal next to bait fishermen aren’t getting hit.

I tried Manasquan this morning and didn’t raise a thing even though it was marginally fishable. There were three other surfcasters on the beach, and one had caught a small blue.

There was sad news this week as Capt. Tom Savastano reported that veteran surfcaster and Point Pleasant Canal angler Eddie The Hammer passed away. Ed Zimny of Point Pleasant was 86, but could still cast well enough in the canal to catch bass and blues regularly despite his hunched back. Eddie was born and raised in Elizabeth, and served in the Navy. A carpenter by trade, he died in a hospital he helped build. Eddie was one of the last old-timers from my early days in the Jersey surf — and will be missed.


Jersey Shore Boat Show & Expo opens Friday

The annual Jersey Shore Boat Sale & Expo opens Friday in the Lakewood ball park at 2 Stadium Rd., and continues through Sunday. The Marine Trades Association of New Jersey sponsors that event which runs from 11-6 Friday, 10-6 Saturday and 10-5 Sunday. Admission is $5, except free for kids 12 and under. For details visit

The northeast wind has created tough conditions for anglers. Though the forecast was for just 10-15 knots, a dry northeaster with that forecast always seems to end up 10 plus 15 knots for a stiff 25 knot blow. I tried casting into a rough sea this morning to no avail — and didn’t have any competition.

The forecast for Wednesday is similar, with 10-15 knots NE plus gusts to 30.  Small craft advisories will be posted from midnight to Thursday afternoon.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands got out today, and Capt. Rob Semkewyc tried fishing some spots out of the wind that didn’t produce much. As a result he’s cancelling Wednesday and Thursday  before finishing up the fluke season on the weekend. Anglers should check with skippers before coming down this week,

The Golden Eagle from Belmar returned from their canyon trip with loads of dolphin, but only had one tuna hit. They did add a 100-pound swordfish and lost a bigger one. There were some small oceanic species such as jacks and triggerfish.

The Jamaica from Brielle had a good mid-range special on Sunday with action on jigs from start to finish. Blues got things started before bonito and little tunny moved in. One tuna was lost. Those $85 trips which are aimed at bluefins are limited. They are scheduled for 6 a.m. Wednesday and Monday. Space is available on a 31-hour canyon trip departing at 7 a.m Thursday. About 200 dolphin were boated on the last trip plus a 125-pound swordfish. Call 732 628-5014 for reservations.

Following is a release from Nick Honachefsky:

“The 1st annual Barrier Island Beach Brawl surf fishing tournament is here! Presented by Saltwater Underground with Nick Honachefsky, Crab’s Claw Inn and Playa Bowls on October 11th and 12th. Fish from Point Pleasant to Island Beach State Park, fish the entire barrier island. 8 Cash prize payouts, multi-species weigh in and striped bass “release only” tourney with thousands of dollars worth of free raffle giveaways from: Yeti, Costa, Shimano, St. Croix, Mustad, Gamakatsu, Spro, Rapala, Tsunami, A Band of Anglers, Tactical Anglers, Magictail, Tony Maja, Jersey Mike’s, Blazing Visuals and much, much more! $40 entry gets you a million cool things without even weighing a fish. Check out all the rules, regs, free drink tix, party and prizes – reserve your spot and SIGN UP NOW Facebook and Instagram @nickhonachefsky. Anglers can also sign up at Betty and Nicks, Grumpy’s Tackle, Fisherman’s Supply and Charlie’s Bait and Tackle.”

Fluke season drawing to an end

The fluke season ends on Sept. 21 in both N.J. and N.Y., leaving anglers with just a few days to stock the freezer or seek a personal best. The northeast winds that are forecast to start gusting tonight may be a complication in that quest. That’s especially he case with the big offshore swell we’re dealing with.

That combination seemed to have a negative effect on fluking during Sunday’s Triple Challenge Fluke Tournament as Dave Lilly of Hazlet ran all the way to Atlantic Beach Reef only to find it lifeless. There was a big crowd of boats from both N.Y. and N.J. there, but Lilly said he didn’t see a fluke caught. The same applied at several offshore spots  before he ended up in Ambrose Channel (where he was shut out pre-fishing on Saturday) — though the few 3-to-4-pounders there weren’t big enough to bother weighing in.  Until then, Lilly couldn’t give a bait away even to a short or a sea bass. Hopefully, we’ll get a break from the swell by the weekend, though it might actually get bigger.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reported having to get out of the swell in Sandy Hook Bay on Sunday, but fishing was poor there. They drifted in the ocean today for a 5-pounder and some shorts plus porgies and a few sea bass releases.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported a lack of drift and slow fluking today though there was one limit.

The Monmouth County surf was fishable in a moderate surf this morning, and Vinny D’Anton released a small blue and two small stripers on his Chug Bug before I got there. I had one hit on my Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper, but lost what I suspect was a small blue in the wash. As I had a few green crabs from Castaway’s Tackle in Point Pleasant that were still usable from last week, I stopped briefly at Point Pleasant Canal even though the incoming tide was strong. I fish for sport with one-handed spinning tackle and only a few little pinch-on weights to avoid hang-ups, and was surprised by a 15-inch blackfish — my first legal tog from the canal so far though it was released. Small sea bass were sucking the meat out of the cut crabs, so I finished up with a small whole crab that attracted a better tog which hung me up. However, after slacking the line it started moving and the rod took on a serious bend as I struggled to keep it out of bottom before a releasing an 18-incher.

Grumpy’s Tackle reports lots of cocktail blues in the Surf. The Seaside Park tackle Shop noted that 95 young anglers entered in Saturday’s NJBBA Kids Tournament weighed in 95 blues.  The mullet run is well underway after the full moon.

Tuesday’s forecast is for northeast winds of 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 — but diminishing to 5-10 knots in the afternoon.