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Canon Runner calls early canyon bite the best ever

Adam La Rosa of the Canyon Runner fleet at Point Pleasant has been calling this year’s early season canyon fishing the best they’ve ever had. That view was reinforced over the weekend as they hosted a total of 12 military and veterans for the fishing trips of their lives. All caught all the yellowfins they could handle during the July 3-4 and 4-5 overnighters. One of those catches is illustrated below:

Miltary on CR with yellowfins

The Canyon Runner may have a spot open on Saturday’s open trip. The cost is $899, but that includes food, drinks and tips. Call Adam at 732 272-4445.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere had friends aboard his Katfish from Great Kills on Monday when big stripers turned on to his Ho-Jo lures for just 15 minutes of trolling — but that was enough to produce one of the biggest bass of the year for the skipper — a 57.3-pounder. They added others of 29. 34 and 46 pounds.

Fluke fishing was slow today in Raritan Bay. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter was once again surprised by the relatively few anglers at Atlantic Highlands this morning. Fishing was just a pick during the beautiful day. Capt. Ron Santee reported a very fast drift that made fishing difficult, though some fares managed two keepers. The Fishermen is chartered from Friday through Sunday.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar found no blues today, and ended up with two-fish sea bass limits plus a pick of ling and several keeper fluke among shorts. They did find a few blues Tuesday, and heard of a bluefish concentration 50 to 100 miles southeast that they’re hoping will eventually move a lot closer.

Shark River was unusually cold this morning, but I still managed six stripers from 18 to 20 inches on a small paddletail jig. Vinny D’Anton released four bass up to a 21-incher. A short attempt with sand fleas in the surf didn’t even result in a bite. The big swell from the offshore.  hurricane  seemed to turn off the surf fluke as I only caught three windowpanes while briefly casting a Storm Searchbait.

Tommy Cox used his fly rod in the Spring Lake surf to hook 15-inch stripers early, but switched to a Chug Bug to land a 23-incher further north.

Oliver Anderez (9) of Miami throws a great castnet for bait, and he used one of the pinfish he caught at Sanibel Island on the west coast of Florida to hook a trophy snook which he released.  Other readers are encouraged to send info about their catches and photos if they care to. E-mail to

Oliver castnetting


Oliver with snook.jpg

Fluke tournaments coming up

The major fluke tournaments are coming up, and anglers have a chance to make their “fortune” in the  July 21 Grandpa Savino Fluke Tournament out of Great Kills. Staten Island The heaviest fluke over 13 pounds is worth $25,000. The contest hours are from 4 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The captains meeting is at 7 p.m. Friday, July 20 in Captain’s Marina, Great Kills. Call Walter Fisher at 917 375-7607.

The Sandy Hook Bay Anglers 37th annual Two-Day Fluke Tournament  will be run July 14 and 15 out of Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina. There are $5,700 in cash prizes plus Calcuttas. The entry fee is $100 per boat. For details visit – or call 732 787-4008.

The big Point Pleasant Elks Fluke Tournament is coming up July 21. The entry fee is $145 per boat, and there’s also a kayak division for $50 per angler. For details visit point

Fluke fishing was generally tough today. At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter said he was surprised by seeing relatively few anglers on the docks this morning despite the fine weather. Fishing was slow, though some quality fluke were boated.

Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen was happy to see a young girl win the pool with her first keeper fluke. Miss Cosgrove fought the 5-pounder to the net unaided. There were more shorts today to produce action, but fishing pretty much shut down after the change of tide. The Fishermen is chartered Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Miss Belmar Princess went right to the sea bass today as two-fish limits were easy to come by. Then they went inshore for fluke and caught some shorts and keepers.

The Tackle Box in Hazlet weighed in a rare for this season doormat fluke as Dan Lisak of Westfield used bucktail and Gulp to catch an 11-pounder in Sandy Hook Channel.Dan Lisak 11-lb fluke

Both the surf and Shark River showed some promise this morning. Vinny D’Anton of Wall fished the river at first and caught eight small stripers before joining me in the surf where I had caught a small bass on a Chug Bug and raised two others. Vinny got a small bass  on the same lure, and later added a 23-incher further south.  I cast a Storm Searchbait jig briefly at Spring Lake to catch the fattest little windowpane  I’ve ever seen. It had so much meat on it that I couldn’t see through while holding it up to the bright sun. Another one was released along with a 15-inch fluke before I switched to a brief effort with sand fleas that produced a 22-inch striper and a large skate.






Legal fluke biting in Shark River

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina thinks this year’s fluke fishing is better than last year’s so far. The party boats are doing well enough in the ocean with fluke up to 9 pounds, and his rental skiffs and private boats are finding plenty of keepers in Shark River.  Ben Green of Ocean Township limited up to 22 inches. Shane Mahler of Croyden, Pa. limited to 7 pounds, and Brenda Kreitz from Gilbertsville, Pa. also had a 7-pound fluke. Matthews notes that sea bass are biting offshore, and the two-fish limits are easy to come by. Small stripers are in the surf, and small blues have been coming into the inlets the last few days. Cownose rays are showing up. Though I haven’t seen any in the surf so far, Matthews said Marty Westerfield and Jesse Thomas fought a big one in Shark River from Jesse’s boat  for a long time before getting the release.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar couldn’t find any bluefish today, and went to sea bass fishing for a boat limit of two per man. Miss Belmar Princess went right to sea bass and had plenty of action with shorts and keepers. The Big Mohawk had picky fluking, though there were some limits plus sea bass. The pool fluke was about 7 pounds. They are chartered on Wednesday, but sailing at 6 a.m. other days this week.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc said he had better fluking today on his Sea Hunter, but it still wasn’t good by his standards. Capt. Ron Santee had great wind and tide conditions to start with on his Fishermen, but a long ride to get a lengthy drift didn’t work out. After that it was a pick as the conditions were never good again.  Some fares got two or three keepers up to a 5-pounder, but there were relatively few shorts. Capt. Ron Sr. is almost always high hook, but couldn’t come up with a keeper while fishing next to a fare who limited.

A big offshore swell created a somewhat rough surf, and that was complicated at Belmar by lots of weed in the water after the NE wind. Vinny D’Anton managed a 22-inch striper on his Chug Bug, but that was all we could catch through the weed.  A move south to fish with sand fleas produced some action with small stripers that made my 23-incher look big.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield fished the Sandy Hook surf with Gulp in ideal conditions, but never had a hit in waters that had cooled.




Hawaii entry won July 4 Blue Marlin World Cup

There were 148 boats over much of the world fishing for a giant blue marlin during the July 4 World Cup competition. Blues over 500 pounds proved elusive until a last minute bite and overtime battle produced a 780.5-pound blue marlin for Troublemaker at Kona, Hawaii. With a $5,000 entry fee plus a Calcutta, that fish should be worth over a half-million dollars. Bermuda. which had a local tournament going at the same time, had the largest fleet with 38 boats that released 26 blues not big enough to win.

There wasn’t anything that exciting going on locally this weekend, but Capt. Ron Santee said some large fluke were caught from his Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands during the two hours of ebb tide available this morning. A 6.8-pound fluke beat out a 6-pounder for the pool. The action dropped off to only a keeper here or there after the tide change.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter at that port reported weekend fluking wasn’t as  good as it had been.

Allan Zertuvo

Allan Zertuvo of Old Bridge with a recent fluke catch to 6 1/8 pounds on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands

The bluefish boats didn’t look for the elusive choppers today, but rather took advantage of the sea bass abundance on bottom. Virtually everyone on the Golden Eagle and Miss Belmar Princess from Belmar had their two-sea bass limit. The latter also mentioned some ling, and a couple of days ago had the odd fish of the week — a remora (shark sucker).

The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported a pick of fluke in many areas plus sea bass. Fluke catches ran up to a few limits, and the pool winner was about 7 1/2 pounds. They will be sailing at 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, but are chartered Wednesday.

As soon as I wrote in last nights blog about the complete lack of bluefish in Shark River, Vinny D’Anton caught a cocktail blue on a jig there this morning. There was no repeat of the hot school striper bite on Saturday, but Vinny plugged a 21-incher and I got a small bass on a Kettle Creek jig. Vinny then checked the surf and found a trough where he released four small bass on sand fleas. The last one was attacked by a pit bull being walked on the beach, but Vinny saved it without thinking about what he was tearing it away from. Fishing can be a dangerous business!

Great gain for recreational fishing due to Reef Rescue

There was some very good news for recreational fishermen from NOAA Fisheries this week as the final rule to implement Special Management Zone status for artificial reefs in federal waters off New Jersey was approved. That rule, long ago requested by the N.J. D.E.P. and approved by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, restricts allowable gear for fishing on those reefs to handlines, rod and reel, and spears. Commercial fishermen must remove their pots by Aug. 8. That gear conflict was a problem for anglers attempting to drift the reefs which were created for recreational fishing, paid for primarily  by the public, and maintained in large part by funds coming from the excise tax on fishing tackle,

This was a huge victory for Capt. Pete Grimbilis and reef creator Bill Figley who formed Reef Rescue well over a decade ago to save the reefs for their original purpose. The inshore reefs have received some protection through a compromise plan, but the new rule will protect such popular reefs as Sea Girt and Shark River plus most of those off South Jersey. I’ll have more about this in future blogs.

Today’s northeast wind put a big crimp in fishing, and resulted in some party boat trips being cancelled. The Golden Eagle from Belmar sailed into a very nasty sea and didn’t even look for bluefish,. Instead they found plenty of bottom action with sea bass, ling and fluke. Two sea bass per person can be kept during the summer by-catch season.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had a slow start until the tide changed, but then had a decent pick of up to two keeper fluke and many shorts. The pool winner of 5 9/16 pounds was boated at the end of the day. Capt. Ron Santee said a big swell from the northeast wind slowed the bite in the channels.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant cancelled due to the conditions, and they are chartered tomorrow.

The northeast wind was dropping off during the afternoon, and is only supposed to be 5 knots on Sunday. Indeed, there isn’t any wind over 10 knots in the forecast right through Thursday.

Vinny D’Anton got into a blind blitz of small stripers in Shark River this morning. They weren’t showing, and wouldn’t look at a popper, but the 18-to-20-inchers hit a variety of plastic jigs.  Frank Manzi and I also got into the action. Usually those small bass are only picked at in the river, but they may be enjoying the complete lack of bluefish there this summer. I haven’t caught or heard of a blue in Shark River since June 13.



R.I.P John Thomas


Chuck Many passed along the sad news that his brother-in-law, John Russell Thomas of White Township  has passed away at just 54 after a suffering a workplace accident and never waking up.

John, an ironworker,  was a member of Many’s Tyman team in numerous tournaments, especially during years of fishing the American Striper Association circuit when many victories were piled up — culminating with Chuck winning the Angler of the Year award.

Chuck called John one of the best striped bass fishermen he’s ever fished with, and the very best at freelining live eels for big stripers. — as well as getting everything working right on Tyman.

John is survived by his wife Bethany and daughters Bailey and Sydney. A memorial service will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. in United Presbyterian Church, 224 Mansfield St., Belvidere.

The captains meeting for Saturday’s Sunshine Foundation Family Fun Day and Fishing Tournament will be held at 6 p.m. today in American Legion Post 49, Little Egg Harbor.  Entrants can fish for bluefish and fluke, with the combined weight of the top two of each species on the boat determining the winners of $3.000. The entry fee is $70 a boat, and that includes a buffet at the awards party for the skipper and three crew.  Fishing tomorrow is from sunrise to final weigh-in at the American Legion by 4 p.m.

The thunderstorm forecast probably scared off some anglers today, but a few of us took our chances. Vinny D’Anton of Wall and I took a shot at Shark River, which wasn’t very productive. I eleased a small striper on my second cast with a paddletail jig, but never got another hit until a similar striper hit the same jig just before the rain started. Vinny had a couple of small splashes on his Chug Bug, and caught a mini-bass on a Storm Searchbait.  The highlight of the morning was a huge rainbow I saw driving home over the Belmar Bridge. It looked close enough to touch, and seemed to end in the marina.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported the bluefish drought continued, so they worked hills, rocks. and rubble for plenty of sea bass action as all caught the two allowed during the summer by-catch season.

The Big Mohawk from that port found the water had cooled overnight from the south wind, and they got most of their hits later in the day as many shorts and some keepers were caught.  Thy are chartered on Saturday, and will be sailing at 6 a.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

There were no fluke reports further north. The Angler from Atlantic Highlands didn’t fish in the heavy rain, but reported a 9 1/4-pound fluke was caught on July 4 by Chong Chae from Englewood — though it wasn’t in the big pools.

Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands had pretty good fluking on Thursday (shown below) as Tom Hollywood Sr. from Staten Island took the pool with a 5-pounder.

Elaine B II Thursday

Capt. Vinny Vetere said striper fishing is holding up despite water temperatures up to almost 80 degrees in the Hudson River. Katfish Charters from Great Kills had a striper limit by 7 a.m. before releasing bass to get up to 18 before going in by 8:30. It was mostly trolling with Ho-Jo’s, but dead bunker also worked and produced the biggest bass of 31 and 35 pounds. Vetere has one opening tomorrow.

Steve Mirande fished the Bay Head surf yesterday evening despite the gusty south wind, and had some light hits on his jig before an 18 1/2-inch fluke took hold.

The forecast is for a lot more wind tonight, shifting from NW to a gusty northeast on Saturday. Fortunately, that northeast is supposed to drop out tomorrow night and be very light on Sunday.

Mako Fever results


Though third place money is in escrow due to a legal challenge, John Schachel of the Jersey Coast Shark Anglers was able to confirm the following payouts from the recent JCSA Mako Fever Tournament:

Big Nutz Required ran away with first place by boating a 258-pound mako worth $45,645. Tra Sea Ann took second for $10,252.50 with a 236-pound mako. The fourth place money of $16,900 (including the thresher Calcutta) went to Retainer for their  316-pound thresher.

Capt. Danny McGivney  had this fine mako alongside his Megan Beth from Clarks Landing in Point Pleasant during Mako Mania, but it was short of the 83-inch  minimum and had to be released. Photo courtesy of Capt. Dan McGivney.

Mako - McGivney

The legal dispute over Seaquester’s mako that turned out to be short of the 83-inch minimum when brought to Mako Fever has also held up results from Mako Mania where it had ween weighed at 207 pounds when measured incorrectly on the scale at a legal 83 1/4 inches.

It was another tough day of drifting for fluke in Raritan Bay due to light winds, but the long period of calm winds is coming to an end with SW winds into Friday and a NE blow on Saturday. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands said he scratched out a catch today topped by one angler who bagged three fluke. The pool went to a 4.5-pounder.

Also at that port, Capt. Ron Santee said his July 4 trip with the Fishermen was good for Big Mike from the Atlantic Star who caught five fluke of keeper size including the 5 11/16-pound pool winner.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had little drift on July 4 with his Elaine B.II from Bahrs in Highlands. but Ken Peters of Maplewood had two keepers up to the 4 11/16-pound pool winner. The youngster in the photo was happy with his two keepers.

Happy kid

There were no bluefish reports today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar limited with the two sea bass per person now permitted.   They also noted there were some mackerel on Tuesday afternoon’s trip, but didn’t specify Boston mackerel as on July 2. Boston is just a nickname for the Atlantic mackerel — a cold water fish which would be very unusual in the present very warm waters. The mackerel that were so abundant during the last few summers were chubs, and a shark fishermen told me he had chub mackerel in his Mud Hole slick recently.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported a hot porgy bite on July 4.


Jim Hutchinson Sr. filed the following report for the Beach Haven Charter Boat Association as follows:

“The Fourth of July has arrived in Beach Haven with hot, summer-like temperatures, and the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are finding the fishing action heating up in a similar fashion.

Captain Jimmy Zavacky had the Robinson family out on the “Reel Determined” for an enjoyable day on the water. With the help of first time junior mate Zach Rietmann and experienced mate Liane Lopez, they boated many sea bass and sea robins while fishing on a local reef.

Last Sunday the “Hot Tuna” with Captain Bob Gerkens at the helm did the 90-mile run to the Baltimore Canyon. Weather conditions were excellent as the boat was able to cruise at 25-knots in both directions. The group of anglers had a good day of trolling yellowfin tuna as four were caught. Capt. Bob reports he has been hearing of a good inshore bluefin tuna bite also.

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” has been running two trips a day in local waters for fluke, and the fish are keeping his anglers busy. He had Stanley Gola of S&S Bucktails out with his sons who managed to box three nice keepers. That same afternoon he had Ali Gurko, her brother Vince, and Corey Cordell out. Vince served his country in United States Army for 4 years. Wind against the tide made it tough, but the group managed three keepers to 24.5 inches. Another trip he had Rich Sanborn of Levittown, Pa, out with his two sons Sean and Ryan. Sean is home for a week from the United States Navy. They worked quite a few areas with the S&S Bigeye bucktail, and the trio boated over 30 fluke with 4 keepers-24, 21.5, 19.5, and 18 inches.

The first Junior Mates Class was held with 17 eager youngsters on hand to learn about fishing. Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at

Allen Riley of South Plainfield fished the Sandy Hook surf with Gulp this morning nder good conditions, but only came up with a short fluke.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall caught four small stripers on his Chug Bug at Belmar, and Frank Manzi added another release this morning. I couldn’t raise a thing to the Chug Bug at Sea Girt, but saw a couple of mini-bass such as we had in the surf last fall caught on small jigs.

Fluke tournaments are coming up, with the Sandy Hook Bay Anglers running their 37th annual 2-day contest on July 14 and 15 for a guaranteed $5,700 in cash prizes out of Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina.  For info visit


Some July 4 thoughts

A most unusual annual July 4 contest is going on across the world as this is being written. The Blue Marlin World Cup is a one-day, one-species tournament with a $5,000 entry fee per boat and a winner-take-all pay-off. Since blue marlin are found in most offshore tropical and temperate waters around the globe, it will take some time before the results are in from all time zones. It will probably take a blue of over 500 pounds to win — and likely areas include Bermuda, the Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

While cleaning up my office this morning, I came across one of my Star-Ledger columns from 2002 that had some interesting July 4 news about doormat fluke which have been missing from party boat reports so far this year.

Back then, Rob Larsen of Sayreville boated a giant 14.72-pound doormat fluke on the July 4 trip of the Sea Tiger from Atlantic Highlands — the largest by far from northern N.J. that year and a record for the Sea Tiger, breaking one that he had set himself two years earlier with a 13.8-pounder. Yet, just eight days later, Larsen not only lost his coastal honor but also his boat record when Mike Whiter of Middletown clearly beat Larsen’s giant with a 15.64-pound doormat weighed at Julian’s Tackle. Capt. Hal Hagaman reported both super doormats were caught near the tip of Sandy Hook on live snappers.

There were no doormat reports from Atlantic Highlands so far today, but Capt. Ron Santee said Tuesday’s fluking on the Fishermen was better as Capt. Ron Sr. boated a 6-pound fluke before Steve “Chaos”  caught a 5 11/16-pounder to take his second pool in two weeks.  Power drifting was required to make up for the lack of drift. That was still a problem on the holiday. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter said it wasn’t a stellar day, though they picked away.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall celebrated July 4 with a school striper as soon as he started casting a Sluggo into the Belmar surf this morning, and later got another on a Chug Bug, but the hot topwater bite he had the previous morning didn’t develop as Frank Manzi and I couldn’t raise a thing. D’Anton later moved south and added one more schoolie.



Dolphin haven’t even been mentioned in any reports I’ve received off the NJ coast, and there wasn’t a single entry in the dolphin Calcutta of the Bluefin Open. However, there are dolphin way to the south like this bull plus many more caught trolling baleo today in 1100 feet off Miami by my daughter Cyndi. She was carrying on the tradition aboard Sheri Berri III, Luis Gonzalez’s trailered boat out of Palmetto Bay.






My Christine wins Bluefin Open at 191.5 pounds

The Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club took advantage of the improved bluefin tuna fishing this year, and sponsored a successful first annual Bluefin Open tournament that was won by Neil Franzoni’s My Christine with a 191.5-pound bluefin that took the basic entry $7,040 prize. Douglas Johnson was second on Double D at 180.5 pounds, and Robert Wedeking third on Over Ride with a 155-pounder. Haley Adyson took the day 3 prize with a 132-pound bluefin. The yellowfin tuna Calcutta was won by The Right Place with a 64.55-pound entry, and the small boat Calcutta (35 feet or smaller) went to On The Line for a 48.7-pound bluefin. No one could come up with a dolphin for that prize.

The MRMTC Jack Meyer Trolling Tournament also concluded with a big change after Frank Criscola’s Crisdel had a sweep going until the end. Pete Torcicollo on Clean Livin took over first with an 81.20-pound yellowfin, followed by Rob Wedeking’s Over Ride at 53.60 pounds — while Crisdel hung on for third with a 48.65-pound yellowfin.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano said the big yellowfin bite in the canyons cooled off as the waters blended and most of those trolled were small.

That jumbo bluefish jigging that the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant found Sunday and Monday wasn’t repeated today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported the blues didn’t cooperate so they switched to bottom fishing for a boat limit of sea bass (two per man) plus some porgies and a couple of ling. They will sail at 7:30 a.m. for July 4 blues. Miss Belmar Princess stayed with the bluefish hunt until mid-morning before switching to sea bass and porgies. They’ll also be seeking blues on July 4 at 7:30 a.m.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported it was a lot cooler on the water today than forecasted, and fluking was OK with a showing of 3-to-6-pounders plus a pool fluke just under 7 pounds. They note that spinning rods and Gulp have proven to be a “huge game changer”.

The Sea Hunter had the only report from Atlantic Highlands, and Capt. Rob Semkewyc notes that he only had a few anglers aboard due to the weather forecast — though the heat wasn’t bad at all today as they had a slow start before finishing up well. A 5.6-pound fluke took the pool.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had a tight finish for the pool during Monday’s trip with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands as Bob Evans of Waldwick (center) and Anthani Limaxes from New Milford each had 7 1/16-pound fluke — but were nosed out when young Dominic Rocco of Parsippany boated his first keeper fluke on his first fluke trip at 7 1/4 pounds.

Elaine B three 7's

Vinny D’Anton of Wall found the right trough in the surf this morning and released seven small stripers on his Chug Bug. I tried Shark River and quickly caught a 21-inch striper on a jig, but never had another hit.

Steve Mirande, a follower of this blog, reports he was catching fluke from the Bay Head surf on Monday morning when he was surprised by a 23-inch striper that hit his jig.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be bluefishing at 7:30 a.m. on July 4. A $15 coupon for adult or senior fares is available on their web site.

Queen Mary jigs jumbo blues

Capt. Dave Riback welcomed jumbo blues back to Raritan Bay with his Queen Mary from Point Pleasant. The long ride was worthwhile as his fares jigged blues up to about 18 pounds — and he had them to himself today.

Riback said bigger jigs worked best as the blues are chasing bunkers, and they did better working on readings rather than when the choppers came up on the bunkers. As is always the case with large blues, many were lost. The Queen Mary is chartered the mornings of July 3, 8,15 and 21. Below are some of Sunday’s blues.

Queen Mary blues

Fluking was a lot tougher today in Raritan Bay due to the continuing lack of drift. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said he still managed a decent catch on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands though some only hooked shorts.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield surprised even himself during a beautiful morning in the Sandy Hook surf. He had only caught a sea robin early on a 4-inch Gulp fluorescent Swimming Mullet, and was about to retreat from the rising heat when a 23-inch fluke slammed his lure. It weighed 4 pounds at the Tackle Box in Hazlet.

Riley fluke

Vinny D’Anton managed another small striper on his Chug Bug this morning at Belmar, while I tried the same lure at Manasquan and Sea Girt without success.

The state budget problem was settled in time to allow fishing to continue at Island Beach State Park on Sunday, but Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Park noted that flies were a problem though fluke were also biting. Be sure to bring repellent if it’s calm or there’s a west wind.

The Jamaica from Brielle is running a fishing and Long Branch fireworks trip from 5-9:30 p.m. on July 4. There’s a $15 discount coupon on their web site.