Page 3 of 54

Crisdel’s bigeye may be hard to beat

Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club had to wait in a long line to weigh-in their bigeye tuna yesterday evening at the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Maryland, but the wait was worthwhile as Russ Garufi’s catch took over first in tuna by a mile at 201 pounds. That put Crisdel in line for $940,000. The only tuna even close to it was then weighed at 101 pounds for Chuck Metz on Theresa Jean.

Though bigeyes get much bigger, it’s not easy to come up with such a fish during the few days of a tournament, and while fishing under IGFA rules. Crisdel boated a 265-pounder about a week ago after a very long fight on 50-pound,

The information in the final blog last night was wrong except for the white marlin. I waited an hour after the scales closed to get the day’s final results, but the tournament hadn’t updated their leaderboards.

The tuna board going into today had Bar South third at 77.5 pounds, followed by M.R, Ducks at 72 and Eastbound at 69 pounds. There was no dolphin leaderboard at all last night, but Game Changer has the lead at 35.5 pounds, followed by Ditchdigger Too at 30.5 pounds and Top Notch at 27 pounds. Rather than no wahoo, there were enough to fill the board. The Natural had a 82-pounder that was the sixth largest in the 46 years of the WMO. That’s going to be a tough one to beat! Camecelin is second at 54.5 pounds, and Sweetums has third with a 50.5-pounder. There were no blue marlin big enough to weigh, but a 277.5-pound mako shark was weighed by Greg Robinson on Polerizer. That division doesn’t pay much, but the mako leads the Big Fish Calcutta worth $225,000.

As noted last night, there are two white marlin weighed for the biggest pay-offs — with Chasin Tail first at 74 pounds and Reel Chaos at 70 pounds.

There were lots of whites released the first day, with the count at 415 plus eight long enough to be brought to the scales. There were 17 blue marlin releases. Fish brought to the scales included eight tuna, eight dolphin, four wahoo and one shark. However, there were 389 of the 404 boats fishing yesterday. Today there are 335 boats fishing, which means there won’t be as many boats fishing the last two days as is normally the case.  I’ll try to get today’s “really final” results for a later blog after the scales close at 9:15.


There was a little flurry of striper action yesterday morning when the tide turned in at Shark River as I switched to a Tsunami Sand Eel since there didn’t appear to be any blues around — and caught two 23-inch bass while losing another I later added a smaller bass on the way out, Vinny D’Anton had the turn timed for 7:15 this morning, and we waited around for it. I released a 25-inch striper right at 7:15, but there was no blitz, I added a 20-incher, and Vinny caught a 24-incher on a Chug Bug before everyone left. Vinny had caught five smaller bass early, when I caught the only blue — a 4-pounder on a Z Man Swimmerez.

Both Tommy Cox and Frank Manzi did as well working Monmouth County beaches this morning despite the very low tides.

Dan Brodzinski once again proved that it pays to have a rod with you any time you go to the beach. He took his wife to Sandy Hook for a beach supper Sunday evening, but waded out in the shallow water to catch a short fluke. He then saw something move aand switched to his Tin Teaser to get hit by what turned out to be a cownose ray of about 40 pounds which he fought for an hour before getting it close enough to cut off.

There’s a small craft advisory posted for Wednesday morning to night, with seas building to 4-6 feet. South winds at 10-15 knots in the morning increase to 15-20 with gusts to 25 in the afternoon — when there’s a chance of showers and thunderstorms.


The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported catching blues and bonito on jigs this morning before switching to chub mackerel sea bass and ling later.

Capt. Vinny Vetere said weekend striper fishing was tough, and he had to work hard to cover his striper guarantee on Katfish from Great Kills.



Paul Haertel sent the following notice:
REMINDER – SAVE $25 BY ENTERING BY 8/9. Jersey Coast Anglers Association New Format Fluke Tournament 8/16-8/18
The Jersey Coast Anglers Association is pleased to announce that we will be running a second fluke tournament this summer on August 16th, 17th and 18th. We are going to try an exciting new format and see how much interest it generates. For seven years in a row, we have had bad weather or a bad weather forecast on the day of our tournament. Therefore, this tournament will run for three days with hope that we will have good weather on at least one day. We realize that not everyone can fish two or three days, so to be fair to everyone, each boat will be limited to fishing only one day. However, each entrant will be able to choose the day they fish. The other major change is that the 1st through 5th place prizes will be based on the total weight of each entrant’s three largest fluke. This will take some of the luck factor out of the tournament and we are also limiting the number of anglers to 4 per boat to keep it a level playing field. Based on a minimum of 250 boats, 1st place will be $5000, 2nd place $2500, 3rd place $1500 and there will be gift certificates from our sponsors for 4th and 5th place. Additionally, there will be a $1000 prize for the largest fluke in caught in the tournament. We will also have $50 and $100 three fluke Calcuttas, $50 and $100 single fluke Calcuttas and even a $50 single seabass Calcutta.
This tournament is being run on short notice so there will only be four weigh-in stations this year, located in central part of our state. The weigh-in stations will be Fishermen’s Den in Belmar, Capt. Bills Landing Marina in Manasquan, Creekside Outfitters in Waretown and Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom. However, if this new format works, we will add more weigh-in stations to the north and south next year. We hope to take the best features of both of our tournaments and combine them into one really good tournament next year.
The awards ceremony and Country Style Barbeque will be held at the Brick Athletic League Building from 5-9 PM on August 18th. Barbequed chicken, pulled pork, sausage & peppers, baked beans, corn on the cob, coleslaw, macaroni salad, soda and water will be served and you can BYOB as well. We will have a 50/50 and live entertainment will be provided by Ken and the Escorts!
Entry fee per boat (up to 4 anglers) is $125 by 8/9 or $150 after 8/9. The entry fee includes two admissions to the Awards Ceremony/BBQ but additional tickets may be purchased for $25 each. You may sign up online until 11:59 PM on 8/15. For complete details and to print and application or to register online go to [url][/url] ,visit our Facebook page or call Paul at 973-943-8201.
Below are some direct links:
Rules, Prize Format and Awards Ceremony [url][/url]
Printable application

Good start at WMO

Almost the entire fleet sailed on the opening day of the 46th White Marlin Open at Ocean City, Maryland.

Two eligible whites were weighed as Chasin Tail had a 74-pounder, and Reel Chaos a 70-pounder.

There were no big tuna, but Bar South took the lead at 77.5 pounds, followed by M.R. Ducks at 72 and Eastbound at 69. There was no dolphin leaderboard posted, but Hellsea had the early lead at 22.5 pounds. I saw Top Notch weigh a 27-pounder on the Marlin Cam. There were no blue marlin or wahoo weigh-ins.

Great cobia fishing in Virginia

Chuck Many took a break from striper fishing in NY/NJ Bight last week for a trip to Cape Charles, Va. that proved well worthwhile.

While a cobia is a rare catch up here (much more common in South Jersey), they are a regular visitor to Virginia waters. Chuck fished with Capt. Capt. Clinton Lessard of SHO NUF Charters as they saw 54 cobia during a 6-hour trip, and hooked 13 up to a 57-incher estimated at 52 pounds. All were released.


The 46th White Marlin Open began today out of Ocean City, Md. with the boat count up one from yesterday to 404 — with the purse up to $6,143,000. With the weather right for canyon trolling, almost everyone sailed as 389 boats used their first day.

Though the scales didn’t open until 4 p.m., there’s already the first white marlin weigh-in as Nathan Walker on Chasin Tail brought in a 74-pounder to take the lead for 3,450,000. There was also a tuna to get that board started for about $2 million dollars as Jon Hartman on De Bait Able weighed a 61.5-pounder. The dolphin board got started with a 22.5-pounder by Don Smily’s Hellsea to take the lead for $115,000.

The scales are open to 9:30, and with all those boats fishing there are bound to be lots of fish weighed.  I’ll add a blog when all of the day’s results are in.

The ASMFC is meeting in Arlington, Va., and striped bass anglers will be looking forward to the Thursday afternoon decision on what cuts to make in order to reduce mortality of the overfished stock,

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported good variety action over the weekend with chub mackerel, sea bass, blues and some Spanish mackerel. Today’s fishing was decent for chub mackerel plus sea bass, ling and blues.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo from South Plainfield fished Sandy Hook this morning where the tide was very low and fishing dead with no bait in the wash. On the positive side, with the light northeast wind there were no flies.

`dolphin - Nick

Nick Honachefsky used a home-tied bucktail to catch a dolphin in the 25-pound class Sunday while casting in the Glory Hole. That’s a very large dolphin for inside the canyons.



White Marlin Open draws 403 boats competing for $6.1 million

The 46th White Marlin Open at Ocean City, Md. gets underway tomorrow with 403 boats in the hunt for $6.1 million in cash awards. I’ll add a late blog to cover the first day’s fishing after the scales close each night.

Raritan Bay fluking was tough this morning when I joined Debi Decker of Monroe and Jan Navara from Milltown on Capt. Joe Onorato’s Fish N Trish from Gateway Marina in Highlands. There weren’t even many shorts around the TC Buoy, and little drift to work with. It was a little better with shorts in Ambrose Channel, where Joe also caught a legal sea bass. When the tide turned in Sandy Hook Channel we finally got steady action with shorts, but couldn’t get over 17 3/4 inches. Adding Fisherman’s Choice squid strips to Gulp seemed to make the difference. Those strips soaked in Fin Essence shedder crab oil are available at the Tackle Box in Hazlet.

Bottom fishing pro Capt. Kenny Namowitz will be running open Tuesday at 7 a.m. with his Mimi Vi from Point Pleasant. Make reservations for that $75 trip by calling 732 370-8019.

Below is a report from Jeff Merrill about the recent Stone Harbor Marlin Tournament:

Billfish Bite Breaks Wide Open!
Polarizer Takes Top Honors at Yacht Club of Stone Harbor Billfish Tournament!
Cape May Inlet Puts Participants in the Heart of the Action!
It was a wild weekend of billfish action and the timing couldn’t have been any better for
participants at the 53rd Annual Yacht Club of Stone Harbor Billfish Tournament which was held
July 25-28 out of Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey. Not only did the
weatherman cooperate, the white marlin and blue marlin showed in force as well. Over the two
days of fishing in this all-release billfish event the tournament fleet found solid action and
Canyon Club Resort Marina via Cape May Inlet was the perfect vantage point to get in on the
bite at the middle and northern canyons. The fleet of 26 boats racked up an impressive 143
billfish releases including 133 white marlin and 10 blue marlin! That translates to nearly three
billfish per boat per day! Team Polarizer led by George Robinson, President of South Jersey
Yacht Sales, took 1st Place Boat honors with 14 white marlin. The 2nd Place Boat award was
captured by Joe Zerbo’s Fishaholic with eight white marlin and two blue marlin while 3rd Place
Boat accolades went to Tom Kilareski’s Intuition for 10 white marlin.
Team awards were also presented and teams consisting of three boats each were drawn at
random at the Captain’s Meeting. The 1st Place Team award went to the team of Polarizer, Tom
Byrne’s Insure and CJ Eni’s On a Role who together tallied 2700 points. In addition to
Polarizer’s 1400 points, Insure added 900 points for eight white marlin and one blue marlin
while On a Role added 400 points for one blue marlin and three white marlin. The 2nd Place
Team tallied 2100 points and included Fishaholic, Mark Colyar’s Gigabyte 2 and Tom Russell’s
Pursuit 38. Fishaholic added 1000 points for eight white marlin and two blue marlin while
Gigabyte 2 scored 900 points for nine white marlin and Pursuit 38 added 200 points for two
white marlin.
Several individual angler awards were also handed out and as the tournament is always a familyoriented
event, IGFA and non-IGFA rule compliant angler awards were awarded. Rachel Linus
aboard Bob Barbaro’s Badger took 1st Place Angler and 1st Place Female Angler with 600 points
for five white marlin and one blue marlin. Joe Albano aboard Dave Anderson’s Krazy Salts
received the 2nd Place Angler award with 600 points for six white marlin while 3rd Place Angler
went to Noah Citron aboard dad Jeff’s Singularis with 400 points for four white marlin. Kurt
Vonseekam aboard Polarizer won 1st Place IGFA Angler with 600 points for six white marlin
and 2nd Place IGFA Angler went to Matt Sullivan on Fishaholic with 400 points for three white
marlin and one blue marlin. The 3rd Place IGFA Angler was Jesse Bowman aboard Intuition
with 300 points for three white marlin. Top Junior Angler was won by Camryn Diller aboard
dad Jamie’s Canyon Lady with 300 points for three white marlin.

Bob Belansen’s Beast received the Warren Buckingham Memorial Trophy awarded for the Most Outstanding Catch which was a 124-pound yellowfin tuna caught by Tommy Belansen after a three hour battle on light-tackle. Bill Davis, captain of the Polarizer, received the Walt Hendee Captain’s Award presented to the 1st Place Boat Captain. Worthy of note is Polarizer was Top Boat on Day One with 600 points and Intuition was Top Boat on Day Two with 800 points releasing their last billfish of the day a scant one minute before Polarizer!
August is just a few days away and the two highlight events on the 2019 billfish tournament calendar are on tap. With a combined cash purse last year well north of $8.8 million, the White Marlin Open and MidAtlantic offer an opportunity to win a life-changing cash payout and Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey puts you in the heart of the current billfish bite. The White Marlin Open is set for August 5-9 followed by the MidAtlantic which runs August 18-23. For those planning on fishing both events, Canyon Club Resort Marina would like to welcome you to our award winning 300 slip world-class facility and offer free dockage for the week between the two tournaments! That’s right! As a satellite port for the White Marlin Open and the venerable home port annually for the MidAtlantic tournament you can compete in two of the most popular and prestigious billfish events each summer from Canyon Club Resort Marina and save as much as 1/3rd on your transient dockage! There are no tricks, gimmicks or hidden costs. Enjoy a week with family, friends or crew together with other White Marlin Open and MidAtlantic tournament participants at Canyon Club Resort Marina where you’re centrally located to the middle and northern canyons and just minutes from great shopping, dining, beaches and historical sites along one of the most beautiful areas of the Jersey shore. At Canyon Club Resort Marina we put the Mid in MidAtlantic! You don’t need to be a pro angler or even an expert because it only takes one bite from the right marlin or tuna to capture a windfall of cash. Come join us for three memorable weeks in August! See ya on the docks!
To reserve your slip and for more information contact Dockmaster/Ship Store Manager Paul Hoffman at 609-884-0188. For MidAtlantic tournament information contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177. You can also visit the tournament’s website at

White Marlin Open gets underway

Hundreds of boats will be seeking big money billfish and tuna when the Ocean City, Md. White Marlin Open gets underway Monday. Last year that contest drew 382 boats and over 3,000 anglers contesting for a purse of $5.4 million. The winning white marlin was worth over $2.5 million.

As always, I’ll keep track of results and post an additional blog when the scales are closed each day.


The hot bluefin tuna bite continues at the mid-range grounds off the northern N.J. Shore. Capt. Jim Freda of Shore Catch out of Manasquan Inlet put the Lee Santipal party into  three “over ” bluefins on jigs, releasing two.  The largest was 54 inches — and they added two “unders”.

There was a big improvement in fluking out of Atlantic Highlands on Friday as Capt. Ron Santee finally saw a volume of large fluke being netted on his Fishermen. Dave Bachovin was close to the doormat mark with a 9 7/16-ound fluke, and added four more from 3 1/2 to 6 5/8 pounds. Joe Sullivan had four from 7 1/4 to 5 11/16 pounds — and Anthony Barker boated an 8 7/16-pounder.  Capt. Rob Semkewyc also did well with keepers that day, but today it was back to shorts as one angler caught 27 without a keeper on the Sea Hunter.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported chub mackerel didn’t hit well, but they added sea bass, bluefish, ling and Spanish mackerel.

The Shark River blues didn’t cooperate again, but I did catch one and lost another on a popper.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported more fluke in the surf on Gulp — and it was reported that those fish were spitting out sand eels.

The blackfish season has reopened in N.J., but for just one tog at a 15-inch minimum through 11/15. Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant has green crabs in stock.

Bob Correll reported from Bay Head that the cocktail blues failed to hit metal in t he surf for the second day in a row.



The forecast is for southwest winds at 5-10 knots with a slight chance of a shower into early morning.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant is chartered Sunday morning.



Letizia boats near-doormat

John Letizia, one of the regulars at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, is better known for his Point Pleasant Canal eeling for stripers, but pursues all inshore species with his boat — and came up with a beauty yesterday at Shrewsbury Rocks.

His fluke would have blown away all of the entries in last Saturday’s Point Pleasant Elks Fluke Tournament, but was just shy of doormat size at 9 3/4 pounds.

The 10-pound fluke ranks up in northern fishing accomplishments along with the 50-pound striper and 20-pound bluefish. There’s no official definition of a doormat fluke, but dedicated fluke fisherman recognize it as 10 pounds — and such fluke are very few and far between in NY/NJ Bight waters. A few more ounces would have been great, but John was thrilled with his outstanding catch — and will have even more incentive to beat it.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported some fluke limits Thursday for jiggers, but noted that those dragging bait caught NOTHING! That’s a pretty good indication of how you should be fluking in the ocean. The Big Mohawk sails at 5:30 a.m. on the weekend.

The Golden Eagle had a good catch today which included chub mackerel, bluefish, sea bass, ling and fluke. Though the mackerel were swimming around the boat, they were hard to catch. The Golden Eagle is adding a 16-hour trip for tuna, dolphin and other exotics on Tuesday, Aug. 13 from 1 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 732 681-6144 for reservations.

The Shark River bluefish that provided lots of topwater action on poppers yesterday morning weren’t there this morning. I did release one 4-pounder on a Z Man Swimmerz paddletail plus a small striper, and later added a 23-inch striper that hit a Band of Anglers Dart Spin I was reeling in fast to make another cast.

Joe Blaze of Brielle fished Manasquan River from his Boston Whaler last evening, but only came up with short fluke on his fly rod before dusk — when bluefish up to 8 pounds hit his 3-inch Lefty’s Deceiver. Joe said the river was loaded with tiny bait (probably spearing) which was never attacked.

Calm weather continues as Saturday’s forecast is for west winds at 5-10 knots — though there’s a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Bonito & Spanish mckerel at Carnegat Ridge

Light tackle trolling appears to be rounding into shape  at Barnegat Ridge  which is fishable most days even for relatively small boats.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro has been into that fishing with his Hi Flier out of Barnegat, and will be running open to the Ridge tomorrow, He charges $150 with a limit of four on the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ridge trips. On Sunday, Hi Flier will run off for tuna to the mid-range grounds or even to the canyons if necessary. Call 732 330-5674 for info.

bonito & Spanish

Chris has been finding some legal weakfish and fluke in Barnegat Bay. However, on Monday only one weak was caught before he took Wayne Hopkins of Kutztown, Pa. and Jim Soch from West Milford, N,J. into the inlet where they cast with light tackle to release 12 stripers from 22 to 27 inches.

Another open boat tuna possibility may be Saturday to Sunday on the Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant. Call 732 272-4445 about that canyon overnighter.

Capt. Chris De Stefano  was aboard Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club last week when they fought a bigeye tuna on 50-pound for two hours before subduing the 265-pounder.  That would be a sure big money-winner in the Ocean City White Marlin Open which runs from Aug. 5-9 in Maryland. Chris has heard that white marlin have been hitting in Wilmington Canyon, but there haven’t been any tuna there.

Capt. Vinny Vetere reports striper fishing has been good every day from his Katfish out of Great Kills. He has room Friday and Saturday. Call 917 693-8908.

Shark River bluefish disappeared when Mike Casella was up here from Sarasota this week, but there was a flurry of top water action again this morning. I released three from 4 to 6 1/4 pounds on a Pili Popper, before catching another on a Z-Man paddle tail.





Last minute stripers made Casella’s trip north a success

Vinny D’Anton got Mike Casella into wade fishing during the winter in Sarasota, and he became interested in broadening his fishing horizons after hearing Vinny’s accounts of N.J, fishing. Unfortunately, his first two mornings with Vinny didn’t produce a bass in Shark River or in the surf — and he only had a few hours this morning to change his luck before returning to Florida.

Though conditions looked perfect in Shark River this morning, only two bass were raised to poppers by all the anglers there. It wasn’t until we were walking off that I made a cast with a Band of Anglers Dart Spin that was hit in the strong current by a schoolie — and Casella saw his first striped bass. Though he was satisfied with that, Vinny took him to Spring Lake for an attempt to catch a striper with sand fleas.  Surprisingly, the mole crabs were hard to rake in bait sizes, but we had enough to fish with in the short period before the life guards would move us off the beach. Vinny proved there were stripers there by catching a mini-bass on his Chug Bug, but there wasn’t a hit on the crabs until the last minute when Casella’s rod bent and another last shot striper was beached. That 23-incher looked like a carbon copy of the bass I had released in the river. Mike left on a high note!

Casella surf

My mention of the Queen Mary’s cutlassfish in yesterday’s blog came at the right time for Dr. George Gabuzda of Wall who was then able to identify after catching it from his boat out of Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle while fluking with spearing and squid. The hand surgeon cut the leader after seeing those fangs, but they are actually easy to handle by pressing on the gill covers.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a busy tuna trip yesterday as three bluefins were boated up to 100 pounds — but 18 were lost, including some at boatside. There were also a dozen 5-10-pound bluefish caught, and a thresher shark of 250-300 pounds broke off.  They were back at the local chumming today and did well with chub mackerel, blues, sea bass and ling.




Cutlassfish a big surprise on Queen Mary

Capt. Dave Riback found dirty water offshore Sunday with his Queen Mary from Point Pleasant, but moved back inside to chum chub mackerel that were joined by blackfin sharks and bonito — plus what he called a very unusual ribbonfish. See lower right photo below among those taken that day.

That’s a common name for the cutlassfish, one of the oddest species in the world — but a widely-distributed fish found not only in the Atlantic but also in the Indian and western Pacific oceans. To top it off, cutlassfish are normally a nocturnal fish.


I became quite familiar with cutlassfish while serving as a Navy officer at the U.S. Naval Station in Trinidad, West Indies. They were the most common species caught under the lights at our piers, and were easy to catch by jigging small silvery metals or on the small live baits that also gathered under the lights. There didn’t appear to be much flesh on the flat sides, but the Trinidadians said they were very good eating.

According to McClane’s Field Guide to Saltwater Fishes of North America, these fang-toothed fish with only a filament tail grow to about 38 inches and a weight of about 2 pound. I missed out on another “trash fish” world record long before the IGFA began accepting any species, as my personal record is a 45-incher caught on the night of Oct. 16, 1961 at Pier 5. That cutlassfish weighed 3 1/4 pounds on my hand scale.

I also caught them at night along the Texas coast on lures, where ribbonfish are prized as trolling bait for big king mackerel. At dawn in Venezuela I saw local skiffs returning with fish boxes full of cutlassfish caught in the depths at night, and watched the cleaning of a swordfish caught by Guy Harvey that was full of cutlassfish. Ironically, those long fish weren’t in a jumbled mess in the stomach, but neatly stacked side by side as if someone had arranged them like that.

Mike Casella flew up from Sarasota to fish from shoreCutlessfish for stripers with Vinny D’Anton, who got him into fishing during the winter in Florida. Unfortunately, the last two days haven’t worked out well for that effort. Vinny did raise a few bass to his Chug Bug at Manasquan this morning, but only one was hooked — and it got off just before being landed. Mike has one more morning to come up with a northern fish.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield said there was a pick of short fluke yesterday morning in the Sandy Hook surf, and small bait was in the wash. However, black flies also made a showing.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle had a good Monday catch of blues, chub mackerel and sea bass, but are further out at sea on a tuna trip today. The Big Mohawk had some fluke limits Monday, and a pool winner of about 7 1/2 pounds. Jigging was most effective.

Though the swell creates a slightly rough surf, light winds continue to prevail. It should be south at 10 knots in the morning, but there’s a possibility of thunder storms in the afternoon.




Super doormat on Katfish

Vetere flukeThough all the anglers competing in Saturday’s Point Pleasant Elks Fluke Tournament couldn’t come up with a fluke larger than 8.6 pounds, Capt. Vinnie Veter of Katfish from Great Kills did much better the day before by weighing in the largest doormat of the year I’ve heard of so far — while he was running a striper charter in the Hudson River.

A really large doormat can swallow a live adult bunker, and that’s what this one did. It was weighed at the Soft Mud Yacht Yacht Club at 15 pounds, 6 ounces.

The fish was hooked by the mate and passed to a charter member, and they never realized what they had until it was at boatside. Though not eligible for any contests, it was bigger than Capt. John Contello’a 14-pounder from NY/NJ Bight — and well over The Fisherman magazine Dream Boat +Fishing Challenge leader (which covers the coast from N.C. to Maine) of 13.6 pounds as of 7/16/19.

Vetere emphasizes that he’s a striper skipper and doesn’t want any fluke charters as this catch was truly a shot in the dark. He may have room for one angler tomorrow, and has more room on upcoming trips.


The powerboat winners of the Elks contest were listed in this morning’s blog. In addition, there were veteran’s prizes in that division. Overall winner Nick Polacco  added $1,000 to his winnings with the 8.6-pounder. Frank Vander Beth was second in both and added $500 with his 7.4-pounder. Frank Fishler won $250 in vet’s money for a third place 5.55-pounder. W. Vander Noot won $175 for his fourth place 4.5-pounder, and Kevin Allmann had a 4.4-pound fluke worth $75 for fifth.

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar reports small stripers are in the surf at dawn and dusk, Party boats are doing well with bonito and small blues offshore, and picking some keeper fluke inshore. The biggest fluke weighed this week was a 9 1/2-pounder by John Bovie of Neptune. Snappers are providing action for kids at the docks, and tuna remain a good bet offshore.

Joe Melillo at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said epoxy jigs are producing cocktail blues in the surf before the sun gets high.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports crabbing in the bay is hot after a slow start.  Cocktail blues are hitting mullet or small pieces of bunker in the surf, while kingfish prefer Fishbites. Gulp is the ticket for surf fluke,

South winds at 10 knots are predicted for the morning before increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon,