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Final MidAtantic press release

Following is the final press release by Jeff Mefrill on the 2018 MidAtlantic.

For Immediate Release

August 25, 2018

 

2018 MidAtlantic Comes to a Close in Record Setting Fashion!

 

The 2018 MidAtlantic, the 27th edition of sportfishing’s “Main Event,” came to an exciting close last night for the 157 participating boats and crews with award ceremonies featuring lavish buffet dinners and record cash payouts for numerous winners celebrated at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland. The week saw numerous records set once again including a cash purse of well over $3.36 million up for grabs, record single payouts for the top winners in the white marlin and tuna categories and a record number of blue marlin (55) caught and well over 750 white marlin released!

 

The final day of the 2018 MidAtlantic dawned sunny and clear with a light breeze and full moon in the sky.  Once again, a bit of tournament history was set as for the first time in the event’s 27-year history the entire fleet of 157 boats was eligible to fish on the final day.  Day Five saw several changes on the leaderboard on what has traditionally been called Moving Day at the MidAtlantic.  This event was the first billfish tournament to use the phrase in reference to the major shake-ups which occur on the leaderboard and this year would be no different.  Sea conditions improved dramatically from the previous day and the billfish bite continued its scorching pace.

 

The most significant changes occurred in the white marlin category when Captain Doug Ortlip backed Sean O’Donnell’s Cape May-based Got Game to the scales at Canyon Club in Cape May and weighed a 78-pounder for angler O’Donnell to jump to the top of the leaderboard.  O’Donnell and crew later in the evening accepted the winner’s check of $905,408 in Cape May, a record payout for white marlin!  Got Game’s 78-pounder pushed Thomas Colquhoun’s Special Situation from Ocean City, Maryland and Justin Branning’s 3’s Enough from Wall, New Jersey, leaders from Day One of the tournament, into a tie for second place as each had weighed white marlin of 73-pounds.  3’s Enough received $293,712 while Special Situation netted $134,006.  Worthy of note is the difference in payouts reflects the level of side bets, known as calcuttas, each participant enters.  Another significant change to the leaderboard on Day Five occurred when Captain Paul Robertson weighed a 69-pound white marlin for angler Joey Hurley from their Dayton,

 

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Maryland-based FFMD and moved into a tie for third place with Leonard Tallo’s Gusto from Islamorada,

Florida.  For their efforts Gusto received $169,466 while FFMD netted $141,376.

 

A record setting 55 blue marlin were caught during the tournament and two were weighed on Day Five though both fell short of the event’s 400-pound minimum weight.  As a result, the blue marlin prize money was equally divided among the winners of the white marlin category.

 

Though numerous tuna were weighed on Day Five all fell short of the leaderboard.  Ed Dunn’s DA Sea from Grasonville, Maryland captured the top prize and a record payout $571,289 for their 116-pound big eye caught on Day Two.  Captain Mark DeBlasio’s Blue Runner from Manasquan, New Jersey and Chad Jackson’s Toddy Time from Ft. Meyers, Florida tied for second place with big eyes of 114 pounds which were both caught on Day Two.  DeBlasio received $209,260 while Jackson walked away with $114,790.  Third place and $16,807 went to Curtis Campbell of Baltimore, Maryland with a 111-pound big eye caught aboard his Reel Estate on Day One.

 

Jim Rodgers’ First Light from Hobe Sound, Florida took the heaviest dolphin award and won $27,847 for his 43-pounder caught on Day Two while John League of Annapolis, Maryland finished in second place aboard his Espadon with a 34-pounder caught on Day Four and took home $54,731.  Chuck Weishaar’s The Natural from Hampstead, Maryland had the third heaviest dolphin which was also caught on Day Two at 33 pounds and won $25,004.

Ed Zajdel of Ocean City, Maryland won the wahoo category with his 71-pounder caught aboard The Zipper on Day Two and received $19,787 while Michael Chase of Villanova, Pennsylvania aboard his Contrail finished in second with his 49-pounder caught on Day Four and took home $50,149.  Chase also weighed a 46-pounder on Day Five which moved him into a tie for third place with Joe Posillico’s Torta from Farmingdale, New York who weighed his 46-pounder on Day Two.  Posillico received $23,735 while Chase received and additional $18,753.

 

Some of the boats with significant billfish catches on Day Five include Art Kontos’ Let it Ride and Tim Tanghare’s Big Oil with eight white marlin released each while Michael Savino’s Texas Tea released seven white marlin.  Thomas Colquhoun’s Special Situation, Anthony Martina’s Sea Wolf and Anthony Matarese’s Reel Chaos each let go six white marlin.  Jeff Donohue’s Hatterascal released five white marlin while John Gudelsky’s Reel Joy, Patrick Kannan’s Waste Knot, Stephen Lewis’ MR Ducks and Tom Perry’s No Limits each released four white marlin. Larry Hesse’s Goin’ in Deep let go three white marlin and a blue marlin.  Jon Duffie’s Billfisher, Kenneth Hager’s Taylor Jean, Nick Rodriquez’s Par 5, Greg Hill’s Wanted and Edward’s Bondarchuck’s Moore Bills each released a blue marlin and a white marlin.  Mike Yacco’s MJ’s released three blue marlin while Don Haines’ Shelly II and Hank Draper’s Prime Hook each released two blue marlin and a white marlin.  Ed Dunn’s DA Sea and Bill Haugland’s Lights Out each released a blue marlin.

 

Cash Prize Winners

Please note well over 60 individual cash awards are possible due to the wide variety of calcuttas.  See below the payout for the species indicated and please note payouts vary by the number of calcuttas each participant enters.  It should be noted that no less than eight winners received a payout of more than six figures and an additional eight winners received payouts of $25,000 or more!

 

* Denotes tournament record payout

 

Heaviest White Marlin – 79 lbs. – Got Game – Sean O’Donnell – Cape May, NJ – $905,408*

 

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2nd Heaviest White Marlin – Tie – 73 lbs. – 3’s Enough – Justin Branning – Wall, NJ – $293,712

Special Situation – Thomas Colquhoun – Ocean City, MD – $134,006

3rd Heaviest White Marlin – Tie – 71 lbs. – Gusto – Leonard Tallo – Islamorada, FL – $169,466

FFMD – Paul Robertson – Dayton, MD – $141,376

 

Heaviest Blue Marlin – No qualifying blue marlin weighed.  Prize money divided equally between white marlin category winners.

 

Heaviest Tuna – 116 lbs. – DA Sea – Ed Dunn – Grasonville, MD – $571,289*

2nd Heaviest Tuna – Tie – 114 lbs. – Blue Runner – Mark DeBlasio – Manasquan, NJ – $209,260

Toddy Time – Chad Jackson – Ft. Meyers, FL – $114,790

3rd Heaviest Tuna – Tie – 111 lbs. – Reel Estate – Curtis Campbell – Baltimore, MD – $16,807

 

Heaviest Wahoo – 71 lbs. – The Zipper – Ed Zajdel – Ocean City, MD – $19,787

2nd Heaviest Wahoo – 49 lbs. – Contrail – Michael Chase – Villanova, PA – $50,149

3rd Heaviest Wahoo – Tie – 46 lbs. – Torta – Joe Posillico – Farmingdale, NY – 23,735

Contrail – Michael Chase – Villanova, PA – $18,753

 

Heaviest Dolphin – 43 lbs. – First Light – Jim Rogers – Hobe Sound, FL – $27,847

2nd Heaviest Dolphin – 34 lbs. – Espadon – John League – Annapolis, MD – $54,731

3rd Heaviest Dolphin – 33 lbs. – The Natural – Chuck Weishaar – Hempstead, MD – $25,004

 

Atlantic Tackle Billfish Points Calcutta – Cape May

Most Points – 1275 – Big Oil – Tim Tanghare – Vincentown, NJ – $10,810

2nd Most Points – 900 – Canyon Lady – Jamie Diller – Stone Harbor, NJ – $6,486

3rd Most Points – 898 – 3’s Enough – Justin Branning – Wall, NJ – $4,324

 

Atlantic Tackle Billfish Points Calcutta – Ocean City

Most Points – 1650 – Billfisher – Jon Duffie – Ocean City, MD – $19,270

2nd Most Points – 1425 – Texas Tea – Michael Savino – Staten Island, NY – $11,562

3rd Most Points – 975 – Give it Away – Anne Aramendia – New Braunfuls, TX – $7,708

 

The following received calcutta winnings for various positions on the leaderboard during the tournament:

White Marlin

68 lbs. – Lucky Linda Jean – Andrew E. Hall – Chester, NJ – $27,040

67 lbs. – Tighten Up – Tighten Up LLC – Mount Airy, MD – $42,300

 

Tuna

110 lbs. – Blue Runner – Mark DeBlasio – Manasquan, NJ – $38,258

110 lbs. – Goin’ in Deep – Larry Hesse – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – $46,530

108 lbs. – Killin’ Time – John Grimberg – Rockville, MD – $17,014

102 lbs. – First Light – Jim Rogers – Hobe Sound, FL – $10,979

100 lbs. – Blue Runner – Mark DeBlasio – Manasquan, NJ – $9,964

85 lbs. – M.R. Ducks – Stephen Lewis – Ocean City, MD – $10,979

 

Dolphin

27 lbs. – Rhonda’s Osprey – Joe Drosey – Ocean City, MD – $12,502

25 lbs. – Reelin’ Feelin’ – Adam Youschak – Wildwood, NJ – $4,982

 

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19 lbs. – Pipe Dream – Ted Wills – Frederick, PA – $1,457

 

Point Winners (Trophies)

* Ties broken based on time of catch.

Most Points White Marlin – 1350 – Billfisher – Jon Duffie – Ocean City, MD

2nd Most Points White Marlin – 1275* – Big Oil – Tim Tanghare – Vincentown, NJ

3rd Most Points White Marlin – 1275* – Texas Tea – Michael Savino – Staten Island, NY

 

Most Points Blue Marlin – 600 – Shelly II – Don Haines – Berlin, MD

2nd Most Points Blue Marlin – 450 – MJ’s – Mike Yacco – Beach Haven, NJ

3rd Most Points Blue Marlin – 300 – Rhonda’s Osprey – Joe Drosey – Ocean City, MD

 

Most Points Tuna – 297 – Billfisher – Jon Duffie – Ocean City, MD

2nd Most Points Tuna – 237.5 – Blue Runner – Mark DeBlasio – Manasquan, NJ

3rd Most Points Tuna – 131 – Reel Estate – Curtis Campbell – Baltimore, MD

 

Most Points Overall – 1947 – Billfisher – Jon Duffie – Ocean City, MD

 

Worthy of note is a total of 818 billfish including 765 white marlin and 53 blue marlin were released which translates to a catch-per-unit-of-effort of 1.73 billfish per-boat per-day! That’s the second highest CPUE in the event’s 27-year history behind 2016 which saw a 1.78 CPUE with the same number of entries in the tournament.

 

2019 MidAtlantic Tournament Dates – August 18-23

 

As a reminder the 2018 MidAtlantic is accessible through the South Jersey Tournaments App. Be sure to download this free app today for your IOS or Android device from the Apple App and Google Play where you can see all the action from the entire week.

 

For further information contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177.  Be sure to visit the tournament’s official web site at www.themidatlantic.com where you’ll find all the facts, figures and information about this year’s event including a complete rundown of the winners, calcutta payouts, rules and points.  There’s also a link to purchase official tournament merchandise.  You can also review all the week’s action on Facebook at The MidAtlantic Tournament; on Twitter; @midatl and on Instagram; @themidatlantictournament.

 

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Got Game weighs big winner

Considering the fact that every boat entered in the MidAtlantic out of Cape May and Ocean City, Maryland was fishing the final day, there really wasn’t much change  — except for the big winner as Got Game weighed a 78-pound white marlin to push back the 73-pounders by 3’s Enough and Special Situation that had been leading for days.

 

white marlin got game

The only other change was a most unusual one as Contrail weighed a wahoo again, leaving them with 49 and 46 pound entries trailing the 71-pound winner by The Zipper. Wahoo are an oddity in our canyons.

The contest closed without a blue marlin being weighed, and the other leaders hung on with Da Sea taking the tuna award at 116 pounds, and First Light prevailing in dolphin at 43 pounds.  I’ll publish complete results, including pay-offs. when official results become available.

All 157 boats in the hunt as MidAtlantic concludes today

Right from the start of The MidAtlantic this week, the forecast for the final day on Friday was for beautiful weather and light winds. Therefore, all 157 boats entered in the tournament out of Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland saved  Friday for their last shot with everything on the line and all the possible award openings clear.

There’s only one huge opening as no one has been able to find a blue marlin weighing at least 400 pounds. Goin’ In Deep from Brielle won that category last year with a 680-pounder, and added the winning 184-pound tuna, both on Day 4, to win $1,110 634. They’ll surely be looking to duplicate that achievement as they presently only have bigeyes of 104 and 110 pounds which are behind the tuna leaders of 116 pounds on Da Sea, and 114 pounds on both Blue Runner and Toddy Time.

The two 73-pound white marlin caught by 3’s Enough and Special Situation remain on top in the richest category that was won last year by a last day 75-pound white that earned $796,509 for Waste Knot. Gusto moved into third yesterday with  a 69-pound white.

The 43-pound dolphin weighed in by First Light is most likely to remain there, though The Natural was pushed out of second with a 33-pounder as Espadon weighed a 34-pound dolphin yesterday.  The Zipper is looking good in wahoo with a 71-pounder, but Contrail took over second yesterday with a 49-pounder.

Billfsher went into the last day with a big lead in most points overall at 1507. Give It Away, Texas Tea and Pipe Dreamer are closest at 900 points.  Billfisher is also far ahead in most points for white marlin at 1275 — followed by  Pipe Dreamer with 900 and Canyon Lady at 825. Rhonda’s Osprey, Southern C’s and Shelly II all have two releases for 300 points in the blue marlin points category.  Blue Runner leads in tuna points with 237.5 over 131 by Reel Estate.

I’ll have a late blog after the scales close at 9 p.m. to update the results.

There was a big turnaround on fluking at Atlantic Highlands today. Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen had written a very negative report yesterday after three days of terrible conditions for fluke, but then declared today the best of the season. There was a modest .8-knot drift in contrast to the prior 2 knot drifts — and no swell. Many limits were bagged, and John Froelic jigged over 25. Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a similar report of much better fluking on his Sea Hunter with many legal fish such as the one below.

Lady with fluke on Sea Hunter

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported many fluke limits today with a pool fluke of about 9 pounds. They will sail at 6 a.m. over the weekend,

The Golden Eagle had plenty of sea bass and chub mackerel plus several 3-to-5-pound bonito and about a dozen fluke.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had better fishing today with lots of chub mackerel, sea bass and bonito before 11 a.m. — and then a pick of 2-to-5-pound blues with a high hook of eight in the afternoon.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo from South Plainfield checked the Sandy Hook surf this morning along with Duke Matero and Dan “The Tinman” Brodzinsky from Piscataway — and Marc Foley of Hawthorne. They were impressed with the mass of small bait being hounded by snappers large enough to catch on small metals. Those snappers were spitting up rainfish, spearing and peanut bunkers. Riley tried a Tsunami Swim Shad, but the snappers chewed he tail off. He and Marc snagged into 5-to-10-pound cownose rays. Only Dan  managed to jig some short fluke with one of his bucktail creations.

There wasn’t any sign of bait in the surf I fished this morning north of Manasquan Inlet, but a 21-inch striper blasted my Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper almost in the wash and soared three feet in the air for a rare striper jump.

Vinny D’Anton fished a few beaches further north and released four schoolies on his Chug Bug.

Capt. Vinny Vetere had his best live bunker fishing of the season on Thursday with his Katfish Charters from Great Kills. After a long run he got into 25 bass up to the 25-to-30-pound class. He used the big boat today for a six-man party to make the long run into Long Island Sound for a boat limit and releases. (photo at bottom of blog)Vetere may have room for two walk-ons Saturday — and is available for charter on Sunday.

Jim Hutchinson Sr. reports:

A recent highlight for the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association was the annual John Koegler Memorial Junior Mates Fishing Tournament. Over 20 junior mates spent fished on several of the boats of the association followed by a party and awards ceremony at the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club.

 Mate Max Goldman took top honors in the contest with his 5.48-pound fluke. All mates received fishing gear to mark the occasion along with a beautiful rod and reel compliments of Canyon Reels and the Koegler family.

 Captain Ray Lopez had the Janice Yates family on the “Miss Liane” for a fluke and sea bass trip. The family enjoyed non-stop action, with several keepers in the box. Happy birthday to Rich Yates! On another trip Captain Ray had the Tabacco family out for an action packed day on the water. Throughout the trip the crew caught fluke, sea bass and blues taking home enough fish for dinner.

 Captain John Lewis of the “Insatiable” reports another good week with good numbers of fluke and sea bass with the average size of the fluke increasing. He has also been catching baby brown sharks around 3-feet long that are promptly released.

 In addition to the inshore action on fluke and sea bass, the bay waters have started producing large numbers of panfish. Mixed in with the small bluefish, sea bass, and blowfish have been black drum up to 20 pounds along with some sheepshead and triggerfish.

 

The members of the BHCFA were saddened to learn of the passing of Captain Brant Whittaker, who was one of the captains of the “Miss Beach Haven” fleet. Captain Brant was an excellent captain. Condolences are extended to his family.

 

 

 

L.I. Sound bass

 

 

 

 

More white marlin weigh-ins, but the two 73-pounders remain at the top

In the race for the million dollar white marlin at the MidAtlantic out of Cape May and Ocean City, Maryland there was no change today though 124 boats trolled the canyons. The two 73-pounders remain on top, but there were several close calls.

Gusto had barely made the board at the 65-pound minimum on Tuesday, but they tacked on four more pounds today — and that 69-pounder moved into third place by a pound over Lucky Lady Jean.  Two 67-pounders were weighed by April Fool and Lighten Up.

Once again there was no 400-pound minimum blue marlin to claim that money.

Espadon boated a 34-pound dolphin to move into second by a pound over The Natural, and Rhonda’s Osprey had a 27-pound dolphin that now stands fourth. Contrail weighed a 49-pound wahoo that’s second to The Zipper’s 71-pounder. 1 believe all of the 151 boats saved the last day to wind up the contest — and they’ve got perfect weather to make the final assault on well over a million dollars tomorrow.

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$3,368,490 on the line during last two days of the MidAtlantic

After a Wednesday during which all 157 boats entered took a lay day for the first time in the event’s 14-year history, the MidAtlantic was back in action today and concludes tomorrow at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland as the distribution of the $3,368,490 purse will be determined.

Though the ocean looked good inshore yesterday, there was an offshore forecast of 20-30 knot winds. Running a canyon trolling tournament in hurricane season is always risky, but the MidAtlantic has been blessed with fishable weather after a northeast wind blew through before the first day. The first two days produced a remarkable release total of 387 white marlin and 16 blue marlin as 44 boats fished the first marginal day after the northeaster with good results — and 156 were out the next day  — as the contest averaged over two billfish per boat day.

There was also a showing of bigeye tuna after they had been absent at the recent White Marlin Open where the tuna awards went to modest-sized yellowfins.  Indeed, Capt. Mark De Blasio strained the scales Tuesday with five bigeyes on Blue Runner, and is in a second place tie with Toddy Time at 114 pounds – just behind the 116-pounder by Da Sea.  Though impressive, there’s still plenty of room for improvement in that category as the MidAtlantic record is a 254-pound bigeye on Bernard and Drew Dinardi’s Absolut-ly in 1993.

The big-money white marlin category got filled in quickly as two 73-pounders were weighed the first day by Justin Blanning of Wall, N.J. on 3’s Enough and on Special Situation.  Andrew Hall of Chester, N.J. moved into third Tuesday with a 68-pounder on Lucky Lady Jean — just ahead of Intents at 66 pounds and Gusto with a 65-pounder. None of those whites are sure things as the MidAtlantic record is 95 pounds by Topless in 2009.

Maybe I should send my wife, Kathy, down there to help out as her only white marlin was a trophy caught while sharking with me before we were married, when I kept my Mako 22 in Montauk. She hooked a white that took a small bunker drifted in Butterfish Hole. Even after being out of the water all day, it still weighed 99 1/2 pounds at Montauk Marine Basin — winning the Outdoor Life national contest that year.

As noted in yesterday’s blog, the blue marlin category remains wide open with a 400-pound minimum, despite all the smaller blues that have been released. The 43-pound dolphin by First Light appears to be the most likely entry to stand, though the contest record is higher still at 56 pounds on American Lady in 2010. The Zipper leads in wahoo at 71 pounds, which could stand even though it’s well below the MidAtlantic record of 97 pounds set by Joanna in 2009.

I’ll have a late blog with updates after the weigh-ins close at 9 p.m.

I was wondering about Climate Change this morning as I was shivering in a light jacket while casting a Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper into the surf  north of Manasquan Inlet. I’ve never before been chilled during an August morning on the beach, but that northwest wind was cool. A fat 23 1/2-inch striper hit the plug as I was about to lift it out of the water for another cast,  and I later also released my first surf bluefish of the year — a mere 17-incher.

Vinny D’Anton caught two small stripers nearby on a Storm Searchbait, and later moved further north to catch two more on a Chug Bug.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the last two days have been windy, creating a fast drift that produced good action though not as many keepers (see below) as he’d like to see on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands.

Flike on Sea Hunter

Tank Matraxia and his Lyndhurst crew had good fluking off the Rockaways with Capt. Chad Hacker on Tagged Fish from Highlands as the seven anglers totaled 21 keepers from 19 to 23 inches with only a few shorts. Tank only put ALS tags into four fluke. He had a particularly good day catching six legal fluke. Surprisingly, there was almost no variety with only a couple of sea robins boated.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a fast drift to start, but it settled down for good sea bass and chub mackerel action plus some blues and fluke along with “some nice sharks”  — a notation I’ve never before seen from a party boat.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported a variety pick of blues, chub mackerel. sea bass, blues, fluke and bonito.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported lots of fluke were caught in the surf Wednesday, particularly in Island Beach State Park. They note that the 6-inch Gulp produces more keepers though there’s less action.  Matt and Megan Roser show off their 2.1-pound blue and 1.6-pound fluke from IBSP on bunker and Gulp.

Kid's blue & fluke

Looking for a big blue marlin in the MidAtlantic

While the other categories have had entries, there’s a big hole in the MidAtlantic tournament at Cape May and Ocean City, Maryland waiting for a blue marlin of at least 400 pounds to be caught during the last two days of the contest. For the first time in MidAtlantic history, all 157 boats decided to take a lay day with fine weather forecasted for the next two days. That was surprising as there are daily awards that a boat could do very well with for almost anything caught. With no weigh-ins, there will also be no late blog.

There have been quite a few blue marlin releases, but none have been close enough to even bring to the scale. The old 300-pound standard from the early days of what was then called the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 might have made a difference.

In 1995, it seemed that giant blues were becoming more common. I was fishing with Bernard and Drew Dinardi on their Absolut-Ly in the contest on Aug. 24 when a big blue came out of nowhere in the afternoon as I was the only angler in the cockpit. After a good battle, I boated what turned out to be a 503-pound blue that was only good enough for third at that point, and got knocked off the board the last day when the new leader was weighed.

I believe that was the only blue marlin over 500 pounds in MidAtlantic history that never won a penny — though combined with a blue release it did earn the Blue Marlin Points Trophy for Absolut-Ly. The minimum was then upped to 400 pounds as a conservation effort. but giant blues aren’t always available.

It looked yesterday evening as if lightning may have struck twice for Joe Rahman of Wanaque as his Auspicious came to the scale. Rahman won over $900,000 at the White Marlin Open with a first day 881-pound blue that swept the category, but this time there was only a white to be weighed — and it fell just a pound short of the 65-pound minimum to get on the board.

The volume of billfish releases has been excellent so far. Among the top release boats yesterday were Rhonda’s Osprey with two blues and three whites;  Texas Tea and Espadon with a blue and two whites; Canyon Lady with eight whites; Buckshot and Lights Out with seven whites; and both Business and Big Oil with six whites.

Billfisher is the overall points leader with 1507, ahead of 3’s Enough at 823; First Light 688.5; and Trust Me Too plus Reel Joy at 675.

Billfisher is also way in front of white marlin points with 1275, followed by Reel Joy, Trust Me Too and 3’s Enough at 675. In the Blue Marlin Points race, Southern C’s and Rhonda’s Osprey each have 300. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Capt. Mark De Blasio brought in five bigeye tuna yesterday on Blue Runner from Manasquan to take a strong lead in tuna points with 237.5 over Reel Estate with 131. However his biggest tuna of 114 pounds was tied by Toddy Time for second — and Da Sea took over first with a 116-pound entry.

There was a huge change in dolphin as First Light weighed a 43-pounder that may be hard to beat, putting them 10 pounds ahead of The Natural. The first two wahoo were a 71-pounder on The Zipper and a 46-pounder by Torta.

Andrew Hall of Chester, N.J. took over third in white marlin behind the two 73-pound leaders as his Lucky Lady Jean weighed a 68-pounder. Intents at 66 pounds and Gusto at a just eligible 65 pounds also got on the board.

Some party boats also took another day off, but the Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a boat limit of sea bass along with chub mackerel — though not as many as yesterday. The Ocean Explorer did well with fluke as experienced anglers limited. Mostly NW winds of 5 to 10 knots with two-foot seas are in the forecast up to Sunday

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported some cocktail blues were caught in the surf on metal yesterday, but fluking was the best bet.

Tom Spiller 23-inch 4.85-lb Tom Spicer beached this 23-inch, 4.85-pound fluke and weighed it Grumpy’s Tackle.

Despite a swell more pleasing to surfers, the surf at Manasquan was very fishable this morning though I never raised anything to a T.A. Bomb Jr. popper.

The Canyon Runner fleet at Point Pleasant has room on an open night chunking trip over the weekend. The cost per angler is $899 that covers everything– including food, drinks and tip.  Call Adam La Rosa at 732 272-4445.  Below is a Canyon Runner shot below of life in the canyons — whales, dolphins (mammals), tuna, shearwaters and tuna chicksCanyon Ruunner canyon life

 

 

 

Bigeyes scramble tuna standings at MidAtlantic

With 146 boats fishing today in the MidAtlantic out of Cape May and Ocean City, Maryland there were bound to be changes — and they sure happened in the tuna division  as well as in dolphin and wahoo.

The bigeyes that were missing a couple of weeks ago in the White Marlin Open have been popping up during the first two days of this event. Blue Runner came to the scales with five bigeyes this evening, but the largest was just 114 pounds which matched a bigeye on Toddy Time while barely short of the 116-pounder on Da Sea. With three days to go, I expect there will be more tuna changes coming.  Reel Estate, yesterday’s leader, fell to a tie for fourth at 110 pounds with Blue Runner’s second bigeye.

The dolphin category was turned upside down as First Light weighed a 43-pounder, followed by The Natural at 33 pounds — and Reelin Feelin with a 25-pound dolphin.

There were no wahoo the first day. but The Zipper took the lead at 71 pounds, and there was also a 46-pounder by Torta.

The two 73-pound white marlin remained unchallenged, but third place was filled in by Lucky Lady Jean at 68 pounds to edge Intents at 66 pounds and Gusto’s 65.

There have been no blue marlin weigh-ins so far. Check tomorrow’s blog for the points standings.

Hot canyon fishing during MidAtlantic opener

Though only 44 boats out of 151 entered in the MidAtlantic Tournament out of Cape May and Ocean City, Maryland braved the NE wind forecast to fish Monday’s opener, most of those boats experienced very good fishing.

White marlin releases were reported steadily, and two 73-pounders took over the lead in that richest category for Special Situation and 3’s Enough. There were also several blue marlin releases, though none close to the 400-pound minimum for weighing.

The tuna category was a huge improvement over the recent White Marlin Open at Ocean City, where a mere 75.5-pounder won over $900,000. M.R. Ducks (below) weighed an 85-pound bigeye, but is only in third place at the MidAtlantic.

ccbigeye -85 M.R. Ducks.jpgReel Estate (below) and First Light were the tuna leaders as the former took over first, fourth and sixth with weigh-ins of 110, 77 and 74 pounds — while First Light is second at 102 pounds and fifth with a 75-pounder.

ThTheReel Estate bigeyesThe only two dolphin entered were just 18 pounds by Ringleader and 17 pounds by Game Changer.

The early points leader is Billfisher with 12 whites and a blue for 1050 points. Give It Away released eight whites. while Big Deal, First Light, Bar South and Goose had six each. Special Situation not only had the white marlin entry, but also five white releases along with Taylor Jean and Real Chaos. 3’s Enough added releases of six whites and a blue marlin to their 73-pound white.

There are 146 boats fishing today, and I’ll have another blog after the scales close at 9 p.m. to report the almost inevitable changes. By the way, the MidAtlantic recounted the purse which went up a bit to $3,368.490.

Though the ocean remained a bit nasty, some N.J. party boats got back out. The Golden Eagle from Belmar had also fished yesterday and managed sea bass plus chub mackerel and some blues  and bonito then– while today’s variety consisted of blues and little tunny.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter found the ocean to be too uncomfortable so they fished in the bay for a decent pick of keepers among good short fluke action. The Fishermen stuck it out in the ocean where some sea bass, blues and triggerfish were added to the fluke. Scott Scudieri won the pool with a 6.9-pound fluke.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall fished his local beach and released a small striper on a Chug Bug in a still somewhat rough surf. I worked Shark River and didn’t hook a fish. Fly fisherman Bill Hoblitzell had the same luck as of the time I left — and he had already tried Sea Girt with the same result. Surfcasting should improve as the waves settle somewhat in the lighter winds forecasted.

 

Two 73-pound white marlin weighed in MidAtlantic

It was probably a bit rough for boats that sailed during the first day of The MidAtlantic out of Ocean City. Maryland and Cape May, but fishing was very good with lots of marlin caught along with a showing of larger tuna.

Both Special Situation (which also released five whites) and 3’s Enough weighed 73-pound white marlin. There were quite a few blue marlin caught, but no 400-pounders to be weighed.

Reel Estate weighed a 111-pound tuna that would have run away with the recent White Marlin Open tuna money, but they’re not far ahead of a 102-pounder by First Light. M.R Ducks is third at 85 pounds,  while Reel Estate holds both fourth and sixth at 77 and 74 pounds — with First Light in between at 75 pounds.

Ring Leader leads in dolphin with an 18-pounder just one pound ahead of Game Changer. Billfisher released three whites and a blue to take the release lead with 1052  points.

MidAtlantic opens with 151 boats competing for $3,246,760

MidAtlantic Tournament opened today out of Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland with 151 boats seeking pieces of the $3,246,760 purse. Despite the northeast wind forecast,  it appears that 44 skippers decided to take their first day at sea during the opener.

Jeff Merrill told me that the forecast was better for Ocean City  boats, and there’s some windy weather forecast for Wednesday. Right now, the best day of the week for canyon fishing appears to be the final one on Friday. I’ll have the first day’s results later tonight after weigh-ins are completed at 9 p.m.

There was a lack of other fishing results today as many party boats cancelled trips in advance due to the continuing northeast forecast. Vinny D’Anton and I put in a couple of hours casting into Shark River where I released a 21 1/2-inch striper on a Z Man Swimmereez jig and lost another. Vinny moved around and came up with two small bass on a Chug Bug — and had a soft plastic jig tail bitten off by a blue.

Yesterday morning, I got hit four times in a row on a cast by what had to be one or more blues, but the bluefish-proof Z Man paddletail was unaffected even though my leader was full of chips from bluefish teeth.