|President Trump Signs Amended Billfish Conservation Act!
|President Trump Signs Amended Billfish Conservation Act!
A very unusual showing of Spanish mackerel within range of surfcasters occurred today. Some years we see a few jumping a little too far out, but that semi-tropical species does come in closer at times. You just have to be at the right place at the right time.
I was at the right place this morning as I cast a popper for stripers at Bay Head around dawn without raising anything or seeing any bait. Joe Melillo, of Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, arrived as I left and caught two big sea robins casting a Run Off Sand Eel jig — and was still there when the Spanish showed up. He could barely reach them, but caught three on that jig. I also heard that Joe Milko was fishing north of Manasquan Inlet when he saw another angler catch a Spanish on a metal before he switched to a metal and also caught one. The best bet for them is to make long casts to where they are showing and reel the jig as fast as possible.
Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park didn’t report ant exotics, but noted some small blues are hitting metal in the surf — and fluking in the surf remains very good. They say all you need is Gulp and a bucktail. The Gulp 4-inch Swimming Mullet is standard, but those using the 5-inch Gulp Swinning Mullet or 6-inch Grub are catching more keepers while not getting as many hits.
Shell E. Caris is a famed surf striper pro, but even he is giving fluking some time. This 22-incher weighed 3.55 pounds.
There was lots of short fluke action out of Atlantic Highlands today. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said there were DEP employees aboard his Sea Hunter today who selected several anglers to check. Paul Schuckalo kept them busy as he caught 26 shorts and two keepers. Capt. Ron Santee was into that short action on the Fishermen, but Scott Ure and his son combined for five keepers. Despite the forecast, it was a beautiful day without a drop of rain.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar had catches of up to a bucket of chub mackerel today along with some sea bass, blues and ling.
Joe Massa decided to make a mid-afternoon trip with his My Three Sons from Morgan Marina after it became obvious that the dire predictions weren’t likely to occur. The only problem with going out then is that bait is a lot harder to castnet than early in the morning. We couldn’t find any adult bunkers, and only a few peanuts, but gave the Hudson River a quick shot anyway. I got a good fight out of a 15-pound striper on light conventional tackle before the release, and Joe released a similar bass before we ran back as the south wind started to blow harder.
Last night’s late blog summarized the major results of the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Maryland, but I’m still waiting for the official results that were supposed to be sent today. Those would include the winners of the release categories.
Now on to the 27th annual MidAtlantic Tournament out of Cape May from Aug. 19-24. That event had a $3.2 million purse last year. For info call 908 884-0177 — or e-mail southjerseytournaments.com.
Rain wasn’t much of a problem today along the Jersey Shore, though NYC and western Long Island got blasted. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported that rain held off all day, and they caught lots of chub mackerel along with some sea bass, ling, and fluke — plus even pollock and dolphin.
At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee said there was more easterly wind than forecasted, ad it combined with a strong current to create a very fast drift requiring heavy sinkers. As a result, fishing was off from Friday’s banner bite — though some quality fluke and sea bass were boated on the Fishermen.
Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, reports bonito were caught at Bay Head Friday evening by anglers casting metal. Bonito are a very rare catch in the surf (I’ve only caught one myself), but they were drawn in by an abundance of rainfish. Melillo said small pods of cocktail blues were in and out there and further south this morning. He noted that crabbing remains excellent, and there are plenty of snappers around.
There had been rainfish at Manasquan yesterday morning, but I didn’t see any this morning. The waters looked good, but I never raised a thing until my last cast before having to move my car from a spot that became prohibited at 7 a.m. Fortunately, that 23-inch striper hooked up on a Chug Bug.
Capt. Dave De Gennaro ran his Hi Flier well to the southeast last Sunday where he anchored up to chunk tuna. Jigging produced a surprise 16-inch ilex squid which was sent out on a float and attracted an 80-pound bluefin tuna that was fought by Matt (with yellowfin below) and Tess Tebaldi of Manahawkin. A call from Brian Ewan on Dora Lee about a yellowfin trolling bite not far away inspired a change in tactics, and ended up trolling two 40-to-50-pounders.
Two 20-to30-pound yellowfins were trolled Monday among whales and dolphins. De Gennaro switched to sharking at Barnegat Ridge Tuesday as small Atlantic sharpnose sharks provided action for Michael Fuhrman of Cherry Hill while Steve Karl of Loveladies released about a 200-pound dusky, and Erin Froose from Altona, Pa. released a 120-pounder.
The scales just closed at the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Maryland, and there were just a couple of significant changes from the 324 boats fishing the final day.
One was very significant as Veldor’s Ark tied for the white marlin lead at 83 pounds with Under Dog, but the Calcuttas each were in resulted in a huge $2.5 million payoff to the new white, while Under Dog drops to only $130,000. I’ll try to get the explanation for that in Saturday’s blog when everything is official.
The other major change was at the top of the wahoo category as Over Board weighed a 63-pounder for $110,000. Joe Rahman of Wanaque was secure in blue marlin with his first day 881-pounder for $7000,000, but also made a move to get into the white marlin money when his Auspicious returned with a legal length white that only weighed 67 1/2 pounds — below the 70-pound minimum.
There also should be news tomorrow about the Release Classic standings where Viking 72 and Uno Mas each had nine white marlin releases plus one blue marlin after the first four days.
With 324 boats fishing the final day, there’s likely to be some changes in the distribution of the millions involved in the White Marlin Open out of Ocean City, Maryland. I’ll have the final results later tonight after the weigh-ins have been completed.
Though the tuna fishing has been way below expectations so far, billfishing has been good with 568 marlin caught during the first four days — and 559 of them released.
The big winners at this point would be the 83-pound white marlin that took over first place yesterday for Gregory Giron on Underdog for a projected $2.6 million — and the 881-pound blue marlin boated by Joe Rahman of Wanaque, N.J, on his Auspicious for a projected $700.000. Actually, the tuna winner could be in the same area, depending on how many Calcuttas the eventual winner has entered. Gary Sansburry took the lead yesterday at just 75.5 pounds on Buck Shot .
Inshore anglers were treated to another fine day. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a real variety as they started off with small blues, then had some Spanish mackerel before going back to blues plus chub mackerel, sea bass, ling and two 5-pound fluke. On Thursday they also had a bonito over 5 pounds and a pollock, The Ocean Explorer at that port had good fluke fishing with many limits for those jigging Gulp baits.
Capt. Dave De Gennaro has been catching tuna on offshore trips and sharks at Barnegat Ridge with his Hi Flier from Barnegat. He’s open over the weekend, and I’ll have more about his fishing tomorrow.
Allen Riley and John Mazzeo went from South Plainfield to Sandy Hook this morning along with Duke Matero of Piscataway. They found calm seas with so many rainfish in the wash that the small waves were dumping some on the beach as they tried to evade snappers. in the 78 degree waters. John caught a couple of short fluke on Gulp, and Allen lost a keeper fluke in the wash when it gave up its hold on a live snapper. Duke caught a mystery fish which they thought might be a pilotfish. It’s pretty hard to identify from the photo, but it might be a banded rudderfish.
At Atlantic Highlands,, Capt. Ron Santee said he finally had another banner day on the Fisherman as the Columbia Bank charter had both fluke action and quality. Marty Herrman of Branchburg took the pool with an 8.22-pound fluke as he limited and added the two sea bass allowed. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter had a similar report of good fluking.
The Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands has also had good fluke fishing this week — as shown below.
Capt. Vinny Vetere of Katfish Charters in Great Kills continues to do well with stripers. A father and son team caught bass up to 26 pounds today among lots of big smooth dogfish. He’s open for Saturday.
Vinny D’Anton fished north of Manasquan Inlet this morning, and came across a spot where stripers were rolling in schools of rainfish. He managed to release a 27-incher and a small bass on a Chug Bug before it was over.
Capt. Jim Freda of Shore Catch Charter from Point Pleasant has been catching yellowfin tuna at the mid-range grounds with his Shore Catch from Point Pleasant as illustrated by this shot of Rich Brunger of the Salt Water Anglers of Bergen County party.
There were almost bound to be changes with 213 boats fishing in the White Marlin Open out of Ocean City, Maryland — and that’s what happened.
The 75-pound white marlin which was a 2.4 million dollar fish for Lights Out fell to a “mere” $130,000 after Gregory Giron on Under Dog weighed an 83-pounder that is in line for $2.6 million. The tuna lead shifted to Gary Sansburry on Buckshot with a 75.5-pounder that could be worth $900,000. There was also another huge dolphin boated as George Mess on Rigged Up weighed a 41-pounder to take over second in that species. Instigator had a 43-pound wahoo which ranks fourth in that category.
The event concludes Friday with 335 boats eligible to fish. Many will be looking for a bigeye blast that could wipe out the tuna leaderboard. Check Friday’s blogs for more info.
There were 213 boats fishing today in the White Marlin Open out of Ocean City , Md. , and if they don’t shake up the standings it will almost surely happen tomorrow since 335 boats still have a day of eligibility to fish the conclusion.
Nothing is unbeatable, but Joe Rahman must be comfortable with the 881-pound blue marlin he opened the contest with. If no others are weighed, he’s good for $700.000. A blue was brought in yesterday on Sea Note, but it didn’t make the 114-inch minimum length to be weighed.
The big winner so far is Bill Haughland on Lights Out with a 75-pound white marlin worth $2.4 million. He’s had to sweat out a few smaller whites brought in that made the minimum length but not the 70-pound minimum weight.
Also looking good is the dolphin leader of 50 pounds caught by Louis Genello on Fin-Nominal. Large dolphin have been scarce during tournaments since last year. The wahoo lead changed again last night after I had done my late blog. Kenny Sexton brought in a 58-pounder on Desperado just three minutes before the scale closed.
It’s the tuna category that’s prime for a shake-up. Only medium yellowfins have been weighed so far, and not many of them. The Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant has had record-breaking bigeye tuna fishing this year, and both boats are in this contest. However, the northern canyons are beyond the 100-mile limit from Ocean City. There was a big change yesterday as Blinky IV from Point Lookout, N.Y. took over first for $520,000 with a 73.5-pounder,
I’ll have an update on today’s weigh-ins later tonight.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc had good news about fluke action today on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. Everyone caught lots of fluke though keepers weren’t easy to come by.
The Jamaica from Brielle caught a dolphin and some bonito among the small blues, chub mackerel and sea bass on Wednesday’s trip. They have several August specials. Go to their web site for savings.
Capt. Vinny Vetere continues to catch stripers up to 35 pounds from his Katfish out of Great Kills. He lost the bunkers for bait after waters were clouded from heavy rains, but they’re back. He’s open for Saturday.
There are some small stripers in the surf, but finding them isn’t easy. I tried the Belmar surf this morning, It was beautiful, but I never raised a thing. Vinny D’Anton was fishing a few miles south of there and came upon a area where he raised seven bass to his Chug Bug and released three from about 17 to 23 inches. Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported some small blues were caught in the surf on metal last evening. Fluke fishing remains the best surf bet. Some rays and brown sharks are being caught at night.
Can you say hot? Despite the heat inland, the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are finding beautiful conditions once they clear the inlet on their fishing trips. The water is clean, the seas have been calm, and the temperatures are much more comfortable than onshore. When you throw in some nice catches of fish, It adds up to ideal fishing conditions.
As an example, the “StarFish with Captain Carl Sheppard along with mates Marlyn Graham and Max Goldman had a group of avid anglers out on their second trip of the year. According to Max, they “threw back tons of fluke” while boating six fluke up to 23-inches. The ocean temperatures were a balmy 74-degrees with the calm breezes making for long slow drifts.
There is action offshore also. Captain Ray Lopez had the Senker group out on the “Miss Liane” for a non-stop day of tuna fishing about 50 miles offshore. The crew left the dock at 2am and began trolling early in the morning. The fish cooperated as the group put four yellowfin tuna in the box ranging from 30 to over 40-pounds. The offshore action is as hot as the weather.
There weren’t many weigh-ins by the 129 boats fishing today at the White Marlin Open in Ocean City. Md., but one of the big money categories had an upheaval as Charles Matattal on Blinky IV from Pt. Lookout. N.Y. took over first in tuna with a 72.5-pounder that’s in line for $520.000. That moved Brass Monkey to second at 71 pounds, and Dialed In to third at 69 pounds. Needless to say, all of those tuna are relatively small and would be pushed back by almost any bigeye tuna,
There was also a change in wahoo, as Charles Dawson on Canyon Hunter boated a 55-pounder to take the lead from The Right Place with a 47-pounder caught yesterday.
There’s been such a lack of bluefish this year that even a showing of “cocktail” blues is exciting. That happened yesterday morning north of Shark River Inlet as anglers on the Golden Eagle from Belmar and Miss Belmar Princess got into whitewater jigging to quickly fill limits with the 1-to-2-pounders. The boats then switched to bottom fishing for sea bass. Unfortunately, those blues didn’t show in force this morning. Miss Belmar Princess found a little surface showing that produced only a few small blues before the switch to sea bass.
Vinny D’Anton had seen that action from the beach yesterday morning, but it was further south, off Manasquan, this morning. He released a small striper on a Chug Bug early, but that was it as even a switch to fluke didn’t produce. There were no boats on the birds, and they were out of range for surfcasters. Schools of rainfish have been the attractor, and schools of them were also reported further north. I didn’t see any bait during a short try early in the Bay Head surf, but did get a solid hit on a Tsunami Sand Eel.
Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that the Big Mohawk and Ocean Explorer have been doing very well with fluke up to 9 pounds as many limits have been recorded. The inlet and L St. Pier have also been producing more keeper fluke — but most surf fluke have been shorts. There are lots of snappers to keep the kids busy.
Today’s Ocean Explorer report was very good as there were many 3-to-5-pounders and a pool fluke about 7 pounds as high hooks caught over 30 fluke with double limits even though only three could be kept. Pink or white bucktails were most effective. The seasonal pool is up to over $3200.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc was surprised to see relatively few fishermen at Atlantic Highlands this morning, but those aboard his Sea Hunter all went home with a fluke. Also at that port, the Dorothy B. has been running Monday and Tuesday for porgies and sea bass which worked out very well last week, but were poor this week. A 7.5-pound pool winner topped today’s fluke trip.
The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant reports good bottom fishing for ling and sea bass, and is running open tomorrow along with Aug. 15. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations on the 7 a.m. trips costing $75.
A correction from last night’s yellowfin report from Capt. Jim Freda. The photo was of his son and mate Tommy.
As noted in last night’s late blog about the dollar Marlin Open in Ocean City, Md., there was a 75-pound white marlin boated yesterday to take the lead for a 2.4 million prize if it stands up. There were 320 billfish caught the first two days, with 312 being released. There were 129 boats fishing today in a continuation of calm seas. I’ll have a late blog after the weigh-ins are concluded.
…has also been reported further north.
Though several white marlin have been weighed at the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Md. that made the minimum length but not the 70-pound minimum weight, all that changed today when Bill Haughland brought in a 75-pounder on Lights Out to take the lead for a payout of $2,600,000.
That’s a large white marlin, but very beatable. On the other hand, the 881-pound blue marlin boated on Auspicious yesterday is going to be hard to beat. The same applies to the 50-pound dolphin weighed today by Louis Genello on Fin-Nominal to blow the 36-pounder on Moxie Boys out of first for $17,000.
There was also the first wahoo entry, and it was a good one at 47 pounds for Leo Cantillo on The Right Place.
The tuna category looked ready for an assault by the 150 boats fishing today, but the only movement was by a 62-pounder for Bob Howes on Game Changer to move into third place. Where are all the bigeyes that had been so abundant?