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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
The 33rd Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association’s Mako Mania Tournament gets started this evening with a 6:30 p.m. captains meeting at Wehrlen Brothers Marina on Princeton Ave. in Brick. N.J. Anglers can fish either of the next two days — or opt to fish both by paying two entry fees. All boats sail out of Manasquan Inlet, and weigh-ins are from 4 to7 each day at Capt. Bill’s Lamding in Point Pleasant.
There’s expected to be about $250,000 in cash prizes, and Lester Glenn Auto Group will present a 2018 Chevy Silverado to the angler who breaks the state shortfin mako record of 856 pounds. There’s also a provision this year that if no mako making the new 83-inch minimum length (a straight line measurement from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail) is weighed, the largest thresher shark of at least 66 inches will be eligible for all prizes.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Remember that each boat is limited to one shark. If last weekend’s BTB Mako Rodeo is any guide, it doesn’t appear that they’ll be any problem in finding a few big makos among a large fleet.
Nor’Easter put a 729-pound mako on the scale at Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle to run away with that contest and blew away the old tournament record of 401 pounds. Other makos and threshers were weighed in, and Fin-Ominal won the first mako Calcutta with a 242-pounder.
The 40th Jersey Coast Shark Angler’s Mako Fever continues through Sunday. Anglers entered in that contest were relieved to find that Nor-Easter’s mako wasn’t also in Mako Fever. However, Big Nutz Required jumped on top of the leaderboard this week with a 258-pound mako.
The N.J. sea bass season concluded today. so there will be more pressure on ocean fluking. Raritan Bay fluking wasn’t very good today, and Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands said he couldn’t fish every spot as it got a bit nasty at times in the east wind. Yet, there was one limit, and the pool fluke was 4.5 pounds.
Tank Matraxia joined the family and friends fluke charter arranged by Marty Gras of Lyndhurst today on the Bingo out of Atlantic Highlands. He said fluking was a tough pick in the bay with only a few keepers, though the kids caught a couple of 23 1/2 and 24 inches. With about 30 people aboard, there were only 30 short fluke big enough to be tagged by the American Littoral Society volunteers aboard.
The bluefish fleet in Raritan Reach had a tough day of jigging. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported it was nothing like the last four days as they only got a few brief shots of big blues. Miss Belmar Princess only got a shot of small blues early before scratching out some up to 12 pounds as there was none of the surface action they had been seeing.
Point Pleasant Canal was quiet this morning except for one very excited little girl who fought a 30-inch striper to the landing net.
Vinny D’Anton of Wall was happy to catch two small stripers on his Chug Bug in Shark River before heading to the surf. The east wind created good white water conditions for fishing sand fleas, and he quickly caught two stripers — including a 32-incher. I went down to take pictures of his fish, and gave it a try that resulted in a 29 1/4-inch release before losing two others on-and-off with circle hooks.
Vinny’s bass was so fat that we expected it was full of sand fleas. Yet, it turned out that it only had hard-shell calico crabs and a rock crab in the stomach — and was still carrying roe though the spawning period was over a month ago. Some stripers don’t spawn every year, and reabsorb their roe.
The Jamaica from Brielle will be making another tilefish trip that departs at 10 p.m. Sunday. Call 732 528-5014 for details and reservations.
Those who would like to fish fresh waters in New York State have the opportunity to do it for free this weekend.
Maren Toleno of Point Pleasant was surprised by this houndfish while casting a popper on the bay side of Island Beach State Park recently, but Jerry Lasko’s dog Bunker was properly wary of those small, but sharp teeth
Friday is the last day for N.J. anglers to fish for sea bass with a 10-fish bag limit at a 12 1/2-inch minimum.
After that closure, there will be a summer by-catch season intended to accommodate summer ocean fluke fishermen from July 1 through Aug. 31 with just two sea bass allowed at the same 12 1/2-inch minimum.
New York is going in the other direction with sea bass as they re-open from June 23 to Aug. 31 with a limit of three at a 15-inch minimum — followed by a Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 season with seven at a 15-inch minimum.
Jersey anglers must be aware of the fact that regulations are different in New York. I heard of one case this summer where anglers from Morgan were catching fluke off Hoffman’s Is. and happy to have found 18-inch N.J. keepers when they were boarded by the N.Y. D.E.C Police and found their fluke were under that state’s 19-inch minimum — a costly mistake. The Angler from Atlantic Highlands fished the N.Y. side with good success one day this week while observing the 19-inch minimum.
Also at that port, Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported that today was just O.K. — with a couple of limits and a 6.8-pound pool winner on his Sea Hunter. The Sea Tiger II had their best fluke so far when Roger Lee boated a 7 1/2-pounder Wednesday afternoon.
Capt. Vinny Vetere will be sailing the maiden trip of his new Dina Maria out of Great Kills Friday morning. The usual cost is $1250 for a party of six, but the charter had to back out. Vetere wants to make the trip anyway, so he’ll take up to three walk-ons at just $150 each. Call him at 917 693-8908.The 43-footer is powered by three 350-hp Yamahas, and has a width of 13.5 feet — plus air-conditioning. Vetere says the striper fishing has been hot the last two days
Capt. Chris Di Stefano of Wall said canyon fishing wasn’t hot today as Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle worked from Lindenkohl Canyon to the Carteret for only one hit and a lonely yellowfin tuna. He only heard of about five tuna today in a big fleet attracted by the calm seas. There was a report of a blue marlin caught further south, but the whales that had been in the canyons left with the bait.
John Schachel of the Jersey Coast Shark Anglers reported their ongoing Mako Fever Tournament had its first entry yesterday when Big Nutz Required weighed a 258-pound mako. Schachel fished the contest today and found beautiful warm water far offshore that were full of life. They had 11 releases that included a mako that would have been boated before the 83-inch minimum went into effect.
Bluefishing continued to the north today. Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant said he only got into the smaller blues, but had his best volume so far. Blues up to 14 pounds were jigged yesterday.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar started out with the small blues, but got into jumbos later in the day — and even a keeper striper.
Jim Hutchinson Sr. sent the following report for the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association:
“The sea bass season is temporarily on hold, but fluke fishing action continues to remain steady for the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. A few bluefish are around the inlets, and offshore reports are very good for both yellowfin and bluefin tuna. Sharks are also making their presence known offshore.
Captain Ray Lopez and mate Liane Lopez on the “Miss Liane” reported some great family type fishing for black sea bass on inshore structure. The Occhipinti family celebrated Father’s Day in great style with “drop and reel” action.
Captain Carl Sheppard reports he too has been running family trips of up to 12 anglers on mostly half-day trips. His groups have been averaging 25 fish per trip. He has been blaming cool water for the slow action but anticipates increased action as the water has started warming. On one recent inshore trip Captain Carl had bluefin tuna breaking water around the boat, but he was unable to coax any to his lines.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing reports a definite improvement in his fishing trips over the past few days. As the water temperatures have warmed, the slime grass on the bottom is leaving, making fluke drifting much easier. Weather conditions made fishing touch recently for Ian Habich and his wife Tracey. Using the S&S Bigeye, they managed to put 3 keeper fluke in the box up to 5.5 pounds along with a catch and release short striper. The finished the day with 3-6 pound bluefish caught in the inlet. Other trips resulted in 20 short fluke along with one keeper and another with five keepers to 22-inches. The bluefish in the inlet have been completing his trips. This is a good time to book an offshore tuna trip. The weather is decent and the fish are there. For information on tuna fishing and the boats of the BHCFA go to the website at www.bhcfa.net. “
There are still no reports of dolphin in the Mid-Atlantic, but Pete Connell of Avon just returned from Islamorada after clobbering them not far from shore on his outboard. Luis Gonzalez of Palmetto Bay, Fl. ran his trailered Sheri Berri III out to 650 to 1050 feet off Triumph Reef where he and Austin Moore had a good shot of school dolphin such as we should be seeing very shortly.
The Sea Tiger fluke wanted a second showing!
After some lean years of ocean spring bluefishing, we’re finally seeing some old-fashioned action with large choppers. The Shore party boat fleet had been happy when small blues showed up for jigging after a terrible spring striper run in the ocean, but they’re now into blues of a size we haven’t been seeing much of until the fall in recent years.
The Golden Eagle reported that those blues were once again up on the surface chasing bunkers today, and they ranged up to 17 pounds. The action was on jigs, and many of those fish are lost by anglers who haven’t been hooking such sizes in a long time.
The Jamaica from Brielle was into that fishing yesterday as Abdullah Samardeen of Philadelphia took the pool with an 18-pounder.
Jumbo blue yesterday on the Jamaica
At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported lots of short fluke on his Sea Hunter along with decent catches of keepers up to a few limits and 5 pounds. That skipper has cancelled his afternoon trophy striper trips because the bass haven’t been responding to live bunkers.
Capt. Ron Santee was pleased with fluking on his Fishermen during a beautiful day. John Sabonis took the pool with a 5 3/4-pound fluke, and Gary Thompson had a 5 3/16-pounder. The Fishermen is chartered Saturday.
Jon Falkowski of Linden reported he caught eight short fluke on spearing and Gulp during the Tuesday evening trip of Misty Morn from Morgan, but keepers were hard to come by.
Capt. Vinny Vetere reported a epic striper trip today on his Katfish from Great Kills as the party caught 10 large bass on bunkers and 10 more trolling Vetere’s Ho-Jos.
Vinny D’Anton of Wall put in the time this morning, and after not finding anything to the north ended up catching a couple of short stripers on his Chug Bug at Spring Lake during mid-morning. One of those bass had a bloated stomach that felt full of sand fleas, yet an angler fishing that bait couldn’t get a hit.
Capt. Dave De Gennaro made the long run from Barnegat to Wilmington Canyon under ideal conditions Saturday — and it payed off for his party on Hi Flier as they filled the box with legal yellowfins plus a 40-and-50-pounder. On the way back they spotted some bluefins on the surface and Jarett Powell of Tuckerton fought a 50-pounder on a 20-pound rig for 45 minutes to top off the catch.
Winning a tournament is a thrill for any angler, but the joy is modified somewhat when it turns out that the winning fish fell just ounces short of being worth $100,000.
John Frione from Ct. was fishing with Joe Bartnecki on KB3 from Shark River in the Staten Island Tuna Club’s Saturday contest that had a $100,000 prize for the largest striped bass over 50 pounds. Anthony Arcabascio Jr. was trolling near them off Sandy Hook when Frione trolled a bass of about the right size on one of Anthony’s father’s lures — a Tony Maja Magic Mojo. Frione was a runaway winner of the modest contest purse, but the scale recorded 48.9 pounds — just short of the magic $10,000 50-pound mark.
Capt. Vinnie Vetere was fishing the contest with his Katfish Charters from Great Kills, and managed to put together a striper catch — but without a bass to challenge the leader. He noted that Frione is a friend, and on the next day another friend caught the bass he needed the day before as Capt. Rudy on Lady L. II boated a 52-pounder.
Yet another “50” was caught on Father’s Day — the eighth to be weighed so far this season at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina. Jason Hadzimichalis was trolling a Tony Maja bunker spoon from High Life off Asbury Park with his father William when the 54-pounder hit.
The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant almost never has room on any of their canyon tournament trips, but the group scheduled for the Ocean City, Md. Tuna Tournament from July 13-15 fell apart. The Canyon Runner fleet has won lots of money in canyon tournaments, and this is an unusual opportunity for a group to pick up at the last moment.
It’s taken some time to track down last weekend’s shark weigh-ins at Brielle, but it appears that a 729.5-pound mako was weighed at Hoffman’s Marina for the Brett T. Bailey Mako Rodeo from Nor’ Easter. Capt. Tom Savastano had heard about that weigh-in over the weekend, but thought it wasn’t in a contest. I couldn’t find it on Hoffman’s web site, but came across it on their Facebook today. The Mako Rodeo organizers don’t send out press releases or maintain their web site. Last year it took weeks and many requests before I could find any results from that contest. In addition to the huge mako, there were other weigh-ins for Mako Rodeo listed in Hoffman’s facebook as follows: A 242-pound mako on Fin-ominal; a 206.5-pound thresher from Tra Sea Ann; and even a 196-pound bluefin tuna from Lucky Strike.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc was surprised to see very few fluke fishermen at Atlantic Highlands this morning. They must have read weather reports from earlier in the week that had predicted possible showers and thunderstorms in the morning. I didn’t see any of that in the forecast last night, and it was a picture perfect day. Semkewyc said fluking was also pretty good on his Sea Hunter with a couple of limits and a couple of 5-pounders.
The Jamaica from Brielle was in on yesterday’s big bluefish jigging bite that started out with 2-to-4-pounders. It was topped by the largest bluefish I’ve heard of this year — reported as a 20-pounder by Stephen Chesonis of Hopatcong. If he’s a Fisherman subscriber that blue would blow away the current leader in that division of the Dream Boat Challenge which is just 16.56 pounds from Long Island. As noted here last night, four of the 10 places in bluefish have been filled due to the 15-pound minimum. Golden Eagle from Belmar reported blues up to 18 pounds yesterday, but there was no report when this blog was published,
Speaking fof big blues, Vinny D’Anton of Wall was shocked to hook a 36-incher this morning in the Belmar surf on his Chug Bug. He said the fight lasted at least 15 minutes before he was able to release the chopper which may have been the largest in the Jersey surf during this disappointing season. D’Anton also plugged two stripers up to 25 inches.
I had been casting at Spring Lake, but never raised anything to my popper there. A quick stop at Point Pleasant Canal on the way home around 7:30 revealed no one fishing at the public access, but I decided to make a few casts with the Z Man 6-inch jig — and I was surprised to catch two small stripers.
Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park had a big surf bass weighed in Monday as Terry Mcquad used bunker to attract a 42-inch, 31.10-pound striper.
Those attending tonight’s meeting of the Salt Water Anglers of Bergen County are in for a treat as famed fluke pro Dave Lilly of Hazlet is the guest speaker. Lilly is a regular winner in almost every fluke tournament along the Jersey Shore. The 8 p.m. meeting is at the American Legion, 33 W. Passaic St., Rochelle Park.
Mimi VI from Point Pleasant has scheduled a Hudson Canyon open trip that will leave at 10 p.m. Monday night and return at that time Tuesday. It’s limited to 12 at a $400 fare. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.. That boat is also open for bottom fishing at 7 a.m. on Friday.
It’s been a poor season for bluefish, but there was some hope this morning when the Golden Eagle from Belmar got into jigging blues ranging from 4 to 10 pounds. Up to this point, there’s only been off-and-on ocean jigging north of Shark River for small blues except for one short-lived shot of the bigger choppers that used to provide the basic charter and party boat action all summer. As it’s been so far, bluefish boats have had to switch to sea bass during the day after any early bluefish bite in order to send their fares home with some fish. However, that sport has been getting tougher as shorts remain abundant while keepers are a different story. The Capt. Cal II from Belmar has switched to fluke, which are showing signs of improving as ocean water temperatures rise.
The early inshore run of big blues was a flop after a few years when river and bay fishermen had great sport with heavy blues. That problem seems to affect the whole coast as there have been only three entries so far with the 15-pound minimum in The Fisherman’s 2018 Dream Boat Fishing Challenge which covers from North Carolina to Maine.
By the way, I only this week realized that The Fisherman has swapped out yellowfin tuna as one of their eligible species for something the average fishermen is much more likely to encounter — the sea robin. The ten spots in that category have been filled with a minimum size of 2 pounds. The leader so far weighed 3.9 pounds and came from Long Island — as did all of the other entries.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc was looking forward to a south wind today for a good fluke drift on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, but it was actually SW, and didn’t help at all until it switched to SE. His anglers still picked away with fluke up to the pool fish of just under 5 pounds.
Allen Riley of South Plainfield said the sunrise was the only feature of this morning’s Sandy Hook surf fishing. Lures produced nothing in the calm, 67-degree surf, and only a skate ate the bunker he also fished as crabs feasted on that bait.
Vinny D’Anton of Wall found Shark River to be dead this morning, but was then pleased to release two stripers up to 24 inches that hit his Chug Bug in the local surf. I couldn’t hook a fish in Point Pleasant Canal this morning, though I did have a few bumps. A scattering of small blues provided most of the action for other anglers.
Kevin Kuriawa fished Raritan Bay on Father’s Day with his 97-year-old dad plus his brother and son. He was only 1 1/2 miles from the dock when the day became even more special as he hooked a 26.5-inch, 8-pound fluke.
The Jersey Coast Anglers’ Mako Fever Tournament is underway, but no makos have been weighed in to that contest which continues through next weekend.
The biggest shark tournament on Long Island was won as usual by a thresher, but makos were also well-represented.
The big shark in the 46th Freeport Hudson Anglers Shark Tournament was a 329.6-pound thresher that was worth $52,740 to Kenneth Owens. Second was a 293.8-pound mako that was worth more as Kevin Jinks on Grand Slam pocketed $73,332. Lana Ann took third with a 290.6-pound mako — and fourth went to Fatal Attraction with a 282.8-pound thresher. Over 100 boats competed.
Raritan Bay fluke reports were mixed. At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc complained about a slow drift all day with his Sea Hunter that produced mostly shorts, but Capt. Ron Santee was happy with results on his Fishermen where Moe took the pool with a 6 7/16-pound fluke. Capt. Stan Zagleski was also pleased with the drift on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands that produced more keepers than yesterday. Dylan Myers came up from Egg Harbor to win the pool with 6 5/16-pound fluke.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar jigged some blues this morning, but switched over to sea bass for more action and some keepers,
The initial reports Capt. Chris Di Stefano got from the canyons today weren’t that good as two boats reported only one strike — though they were good ones. Miss Christina boated a 216-pound bigeye tuna, and Out of Sight had a 63-inch bluefin tuna.
Though there’s been some good canyon tuna reports this year, I haven’t heard a word about dolphin. Maybe they’re all still in Florida where my daughter Cyndi’s boy friend, Luis Gonzalez throlled this one in 450 feet off Key Largo yesterday.
There doesn’t appear to be any shortage of sea bass off the Jersey Shore as the spring season draws to a close on June 22. After that the bag drops from 10 at 12.5 inches to a by-catch of just two at the same minimum during the summer season from July 1 to Aug. 31. The only problem now is getting through all the shorts to catch a limit — especially on the heavily-fished inshore reefs and wrecks.
Jigging has been the best bet for getting through to the bigger sea bass, The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported that today’s most successful angler was loading up on a sand eel teaser.
It was a beautiful calm day until the afternoon west wind, and another fine day seems sure for tomorrow.
Capt. Chris Di Stefano was fishing aboard Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club yesterday as they trolled for eight hours without a hit from Raritan Bay to the Shore. Ricky Stavola was a guest angler fishing the Navesink-Shrewsbury Club contest, and he got busy in the afternoon when seven bass, all in the forties, hit bunker spoons. shad rigs and mo-jos off Monmouth Beach.
Di Stefano also had reports that canyon trollers were enjoying great yellowfin action from Lindenkohl to Baltimore canyons.
There was a Friday blitz of school stripers in Point Pleasant Canal, but lots of boat traffic put an end to that this morning. The miracle was that there was still a pick of small bass even though canal anglers had to wait for openings between boats in order to cast. I released three stripers up to 21 inches on a Z Man jig and lost an even smaller one.
Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno of Point Pleasant caught a couple of 26-inch stripers yesterday evening on sand fleas at Island Beach State Park before skates took over at dusk. Maren released a 30-inch striper there on that bait last Sunday.
Conditions weren’t great for Raritan Bay fluking today as Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the wind came up against the tide when it switched. His fares on Sea Hunter still managed to pick away. Also at Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee was happy with his results on the Fishermen as 3-to-4-pounders were hooked by many anglers, and a pool winner over 6 pounds was boated at the end.
The fluke below was caught on the Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands last week, but had no chance of being accepted in the pool as the doormat was obviously stone dead and falling apart when snagged on the bottom.