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The WMIT is set to roll

The Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club’s White Marlin Invitational begins the summer series of offshore tournaments with lots of money involved. That contest begins Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. with registration at the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club, followed by fishing from Thursday through Sunday after everything had to be moved forward a day due to offshore weather forecasts.. Fishing hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In addition to the Beach Haven weigh-in, there will be another at Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle.  For details visit http://www.thewmit.com — or call Dave Ridley at 908 963-5924′

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant will be fishing that contest with high hopes after doing very well with bigeye tuna this summer.  Indeed, Friday’s bigeye catches were unprecedented as the Viking 48 had 14 and the 60-foot Ritchie Howell added nine. bigeyes on canyon rnunner

Bigeyes were scarce during last year’s tournaments, and Jersey Nutz won $78,000 in the WMIT Treasure Chest with a “mere” 62.5-pound tuna. Almost any bigeye should be large enough to clear yellowfins off the leaderboard.

The lack of bigeyes  was a problem during the July 11-14 South Jersey Yacht Sales Offshore Showdown at Cape May as Jack Beattie won the tuna division with a 52-pounder that was barely ahead of three 51-pounders, a 50 and a 49.

The Canyon Runner fleet has an unusual open Saturday overnighter on both boats which can be chartered — or seats reserved on an open boat basis for $899. Call La Rosa at 732 272-4445.  They will also be fishing the fifth HUK Big Fish Classic that will be run out of ports from N.J. to Virginia from July 27-29  for overnight fishing. For info on that contest visit bigfishclassic.com.

Thanks to Al Hrehowsik for sending the results of Saturday’s Raritan Bay Anglers Fluke Tournament out of Perth Amboy that was won by Manual Prado of Union with a 7.85-pounder worth $1098. That fluke hit Gulp fished near the Verrazano Bridge as he and Cassiano Dos Santos added five other keepers up to 4 pounds.  See photo below with the trophy presentation.

Second and $500 went to a 5.57-pounder that Billy Anderson of Bedminster caught while fishing with Bryan Pieros of Leonardo on his Bid Time in Ambrose Channel. Brian Cleary from Bayonne was third for $323 as he used Gulp in N.Y. Harbor to catch a 5.4-pound fluke from Jason Zebrowski’s boat. Scott and Kathy Jo Kaelin of Parlin won $210 for fourth with a 4.92-pounder as both had limits in Raritan Reach.

 

A tug and tow ended up stuck on the sand bars at Lavallette this morning, and efforts to pull it off during low tides were fruitless. Hopefully, that can be accomplished om the high tide tonight. Bob De Pietri of Sharky’s Machine took the following shots:

barge aground off Lavallette

 

tug on beachThe weather forecast probably kept most anglers home today. I didn’t see a single boat while casting from shore in Shark River, but didn’t see many fish either. I managed two small stripers on a jig, and Bill Hoblitzell  got one on a fly while Frank Manzi raised a fish to his popper.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported some fluke were caught in the surf despite rough and dirty waters yesterday morning. They note that snappers are getting larger and more common both in the bay and surf. That’s bad news for surfcasters using Gulp as they’ll be sacrificing a lot of Gulp tails to snappers from now on. Grumpy’s also noted that before the rough seas there were “tons” of cownose rays in the surf.

Joe Melillo. at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant says fluke are being caught at the south end of Point Pleasant Canal — and boaters are doing very well with them from there into Barnegat Bay. Crabbing has been outstanding.

The only boat report today came from Capt. Rob Semkewyc, who barely had enough customers to sail his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. The south wind was a problem right away — and then it got worse. Semkewyc had to fish calmer waters that produced mostly short fluke as there were fewer keepers than yesterday. With the forecast of more wind plus rain for tomorrow, the Sea Hunter won’t be sailing until Thursday.

 

Rockaway Reef .expanded

Important note: Due to the offshore forecasts, the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club has moved everything in their White Marlin Invitational back a day. Thus, registration at the club will be on Wednesday evening instead of Tuesday, and fishing days will be from Thursday through Sunday. More about this in tomorrow’s blog.

Following is a release from the N.Y. DEC regarding additions to Rockaway Reef:

DEC Announces New Marine Habitat Created at Rockaway Reef as Part of Largest Artificial Reef Expansion in New York State History

Expansion of State’s Network of Artificial Reefs Will Provide New Marine Habitats, Promote Biodiversity and Restore Fishery Resources

Ongoing Efforts Will Bolster Economy Through Increased Opportunities for Tourism and Recreation

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the deployment of materials to create a new marine habitat at Rockaway Reef as part of the Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ongoing initiative to develop a stronger, more diverse marine ecosystem and provide shelter for fish and other marine life off New York’s shores.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Governor Cuomo’s innovative approach to expand New York’s network of artificial reefs is a visionary plan that will create healthier, more vibrant and diverse aquatic ecosystems while bolstering the economies of New York’s coastal communities. Today’s addition of material to Rockaway Reef will provide new habitat for countless marine species and increased recreational opportunities for the region’s sport fishing and diving industries, and is the latest example of the Governor’s recognition that our environment and economy are inextricably linked.”

Rockaway Reef is a 413 acre site located 1.6 nautical miles south of Rockaway Beach in the Atlantic ocean, with depths ranging from 32-40 feet. Through the largest artificial reef expansion in state history, this week materials from the Tappan Zee Bridge, including concrete columns, deck panels, and pipes, were added to Rockaway Reef to improve habitat and recreational opportunities at this site.

As directed by Governor Cuomo in April, and with unprecedented, multi-agency coordination, recycled materials from the Department of Transportation, Canal Corporation, and the Thruway Authority are being used to enhance New York’s artificial reef sites, including Rockaway Reef.

Construction of New York’s first artificial reef dates back to 1949, and this latest initiative marks the state’s first coordinated effort to stimulate the full environmental and economic benefits of artificial reefs. The artificial reef expansion will increase the biodiversity of habitats for a variety of fish and crustacea, promote biodiversity and environmental sustainability, and boost New York’s recreational fishing, sport fishing, and diving industries. DEC manages the state’s 12 artificial reefs, which include two reefs in Long Island Sound, two in the Great South Bay, and eight in the Atlantic Ocean.

New York’s marine resources are critical to the state’s economy, supporting nearly 350,000 jobs and generating billions of dollars through tourism, fishing and other industries. More than 500,000 anglers in the region will reap the benefits of this initiative, supporting the region’s growing marine economy which accounts for approximately 9.7 percent of Long Island’s total GDP.

The materials are being added to Rockaway, Smithtown, Shinnecock and three additional reef sites that will be enhanced this year, including Moriches, Fire Island, and Hempstead.

Materials used for the reef expansion are being strategically placed and built out of hard, durable structures such as rock, concrete, and steel pipes, and usually in the form of surplus or scrap materials that are cleaned of contaminants to mitigate potential impacts to sea life before being recycled on the reef sites. Once materials and vessels settle to the sea floor, larger fish like blackfish, black seabass, cod, and summer flounder, move in to build habitats within the new structures, and encrusting organisms such as barnacles, sponges, anemones, corals, and mussels cling to and cover the material. Over time, these recycled structures will create a habitat similar to a natural reef. Today’s enhancement of Rockaway reef follows recent expansions of Shinnecock and Smithtown Reefs.

Artificial reef construction is part of Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. Visit DEC’s website for more information about the Artificial Reef Program.

A map, site coordinates and additional information on New York State’s Artificial Reefs (PDF, 914 KB) are available to plan trips to a New York State reef site.

Before visiting one of New York’s artificial reefs, please bfamiliar with the current NYS Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations. View DEC’s artificial reef building video on YouTube and learn more about our volunteer observation program on DEC’s website.

Due to the wind forecast. it appears that few boats sailed today.  There was certainly no boat traffic problem in Shark River when I fished there from shore this morning. The waters were clear, but fishing was tough as I only released two small stripers on a jig — and didn’t have another bump.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that Mother Nature has put a big dent in fishing activity. The largest fluke he weighed this weekend was a 5 1/4-pounder caught by Aiden Mulred of Wall

Capt. Rob Semkowyc .was surprised to see some anglers at Atlantic Highlands this morning in view of the weather forecast. He got them out aboard his Sea Hunter, but had to fish in Sandy Hook Bay due to rough conditions. It was mostly short fluke there, but one fare managed his three keepers.

The Raritan Bay Anglers Charity Fluke Tournament results have been received, and I’ll run them in tomorrow’s blog.

 

 

 

 

Boaters avoided tough ocean

The forecast of strong south winds on an already rough ocean was enough to keep most of the fleet ashore today, and there were no reports.

The Raritan Bay Anglers Charity Fluke Tournament was fished in rough  conditions on Saturday, but I’ve been unable been unable to get official results.  Bryan Pieros did report having been in the lead with the fluke caught by Billy Anderson, but ended up being pushed back to second place.

Pieros fluke

Capt. Stan Zagleski said his Saturday regulars on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands were rugged enough to fish open waters while most of the fleet hid in Sandy Hook Bay. They did have shots at keepers during the first two drifts before drifting conditions deteriorated. Denney Coleman of Short Hills bagged his limit including fluke of 4 13/16 and 5 3/8 pounds to win the pool.

Denny Coleman fluke

Reader Steve Mirande said he hooked a cownose ray first, but “luckily” it got off so he could catch four fluke up to a 19-incher on a 1/2-ounce white jig tipped with a Zoom Fluke plus a few sundials on the teaser during a late afternoon trip to the Bay Head surf last week.

 

 

Last chances for JCAA Fluke Tournament early entry

 

The 34th annual JCAA Fluke Tournament is coming up on August 4 with seven regions and 11 weigh-in stations from Jersey City to Cape May. Those planning to fish that event should take advantage of the early entry fee of $130 per boat which must be paid by July 23. After that the fee is $160.

Each region features a $1200 first prize plus other prizes through tenth — and there’s also a Doormat Fluke Category worth $50,000 for the largest fluke over 12 pounds.

To top it off, this unique contest provides an opportunity for any entrant to be a big winner as all are eligible for prize drawings at the awards on Thursday, Aug. 9 in the Clarion Motel, Toms River. Topping those prizes is a boat combo consisting of a 14-foot Starcraft, Yamaha outboard and Yacht Club trailer. That grand prize is usually won by someone who never even weighed a fluke. To enter visit http://www.jcaa.org and use your credit card.

As noted last night, the Grandpa Savino Memorial Fluke Tournament was postponed to next Saturday due to the weather forecast, and the Point Pleasant Elks cancelled their contest at the last moment — but don’t have a make-up date as yet.  The Raritan Bay Anglers Charity Fluke Tournament was contested in poor conditions. I’ll have those results in tomorrow’s blog.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a nice start to bottom fishing, but the ocean got “cranky” in short order. They still caught quite a few sea bass, some ling and a 5-pound fluke. Following tonight’s gale warning and rain, Sunday is forecast to be very windy — and the Golden Eagle will not sail.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported a tough day for fluking on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands as he had to end up hiding from rough waters. The Sea Hunter will not sail Sunday.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant didn’t sail today, but reported lots of chub mackerel plus sea bass and ling on Friday’s trip. They will not sail Sunday.

Shark River was very pleasant early this morning, but shore fishing was slow. I scratched out two small stripers on jigs, and flyrodder Bill Hoblitzell also caught two. The previous morning he had caught three 4-to-5-pound blues on fly poppers and got bitten off by another — but there was no sign of them today. I made a few casts into the Belmar surf that was marginally fishable in the east wind — but full of marsh weed.

Bluefish haven’t only been scarce in Shark River this summer. Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights has found very few in Raritan Bay even though he sees many bunker schools there.

A loss and a win from the surf

Surfcasting along the Jersey Shore is frustrating under the best of circumstances, and especially during the dog days of summer. We rarely see any large stripers except during the spring and fall migratory runs, and there’s usually so little bait present during the summer that the resident school stripers have little to feed on except crabs.

That’s not a good situation for casting lures, but persistence may provide the occasional bass. I was trying for that needle in a haystack yesterday evening despite the low tide at Sea Girt and didn’t raise anything to a popper before switching to a 4-inch white Tsunami Shad that had saved the evening during my previous two trips there with a small striper hitting it in the wash at dusk,

That lure is light enough to swim in very shallow waters, small enough to attract even small predators — and large enough not to be passed up by a big fish. It came through again yesterday evening, but I knew what smashed it immediately as line started pouring off my Canyon spinning reel. A cownose ray was heading for the horizon as I tightened down the drag, not being afraid to straighten the hook with my 30-pound braid. That slowed it down, and I had enough capacity to carry out what should have been a protracted but successful battle with what was probably a 30-to-50-pound fish — except that I couldn’t stop it from going across the tip of an adjacent jetty. I tried to get a clearing angle, but it had likely run my line around an underwater rock.  I sure wasn’t going out on those moss-covered jetty rocks in bare feet, and eventually had to break off — leaving only some mono backing for re-rigging last night.

This morning started off better as I released three small stripers on jigs in Shark River.  Vinny D’Anton released four small bass there, and then made a move to try sand fleas in the Spring Lake surf. I went down there to make a few casts with a Shug Bug in order to tighten up the braid I’d wound on last night. I made a half-hearted cast about 50 feet out into white water hitting the sand  and was sjocked to see the popper smashed by a fish that started taking line. That 28 1/2-inch first cast miracle fish was released — but proved that anything is possible if you have a lure in the water. Of course , we didn’t raise another fish during a brief attempt before having to leave the beach for bathers.

Those anglers entered in the Grandpa Savino Memorial Fluke Tournament at Great Kills will have to put off spending the $25,000 they were planning on winning for the heaviest  doormat over 13 pounds. The Staten Island Tuna Club has postponed the contest to next Saturday since gale warnings have been posted for tomorrow evening — though it may be fishable early in the day despite east winds.

The captains meeting for Saturday’s  Point Pleasant Elks Fluke Tournament is going on this evening,. and they are going ahead as Sunday will also be windy. Fluke can be caught in protected river and bay waters if it’s too rough in the ocean.

The Raritan Bay Anglers Charity Fluke Tournament is also set for Saturday.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said Raritan Bay fluke fishing wasn’t even nearly as good as on Thursday for anglers on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported good ocean fluking with a 9-pound pool winner.

The Golden Eagle had another good day of sea bass fishing along with quite a few ling, a few blues, a couple of chub mackerel, and good fluking though mostly shorts. Since you’re only allowed two sea bass. it pays to wait for big ones!

Sea bass on GE

Some of those big ocean fluke are starting to show up. The Jamaica II from Brielle reported that Ed Nolen of Manasquan took the lead in the Monthly pool on Monday when he boated an 8.4-pounder in the morning  — only to watch  Rich Caputo deck a 10.1-pounder that afternoon — only the second party boat N.J. doormat reported so far. Fluking has been best during days with a fast drift, and sea bass up to 5 pounds are being added.  The Jamaica II sails half-day trips at 8 and 2 — except for Monday’s Fluke Marathon from 7:30 to 4:30.

Jim Hutchinson Sr, reports:

“The fishing action in the Beach Haven area is getting interesting for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. The water is warming, and fish from the southern climes are joining the mix.

 

Captain Jimmy Zavacki had the Cramer family out on the “Reel Determined” and they caught good numbers of short fluke and black sea bass. One of the anglers made an unusual catch when he reeled in an Atlantic Angel Shark.

 

Captain Ray Lopez had the Duston Lehman Group from Arizona aboard the “Miss Liane.” They caught many fish while enjoying a beautiful day on the water. The Arnett Group made up another group and caught a boatload of sea bass and fluke out on a local reef.

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Captain John Lewis reports a good week on the “Insatiable” with keeper sea robins, sea bass and fluke. Each day the fishing was different. One day the Di Salvo party took home a mixed bag of tasty robins, sea bass and fluke. Another day the Marquis family wanted to only “catch and release” their fish. The family caught a total of 37 fish including some of the largest sea bass of the year.  On Saturday the Hovan party caught mostly fluke up to 22-inches as well as an abundance of shorts.

 

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Fantasea” Sportfishing has been busy running seven days a week with quite a few double-charter days. He has been concentrating his efforts in the bay but will be heading out to the ocean very shortly. His bay fishing has been averaging anywhere between 20 to 35 fish per trip and keeper numbers ranging from 1 to 5 per trip.  His anglers have scored some 5, 6, and 8 pound fish.  The key has been finding biting fish, which at times has been a little challenging.

 

For the second year in a row the “Hot Tuna” with Captain Bob Gerkens won the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club’s First Offshore Tournament.  This year it was with a 42.5-pound yellowfin tuna. Captain Bob was joined by Bryan Medford, Justin Crisp, John Humphries and John Clementson. The Hot Tuna also released a white marlin and had several smaller yellowfin. The fish were all caught inshore. 

 

 

Sportfshing groups hail House passage of Modern Fish Act

Major Step Toward Becoming Law

The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed H.R. 200, a bipartisan bill that includes the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 (Modern Fish Act). This historic vote marks the first time the priorities of the recreational fishing sector are included in the reauthorization of our nation’s primary marine fisheries law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Recreational fishing organizations, led by the American Sportfishing Association, unified to pass this legislation which incorporates the recommendations of the Morris-Deal Commission — allowing alternative management tools for recreational fishing which is enjoyed by 11 million saltwater anglers who have a $163 billion economic impact and support 440,000 jobs.

Unfortunately, some so-called environmental groups fought against the interests of the recreational fishing public. Though H.R. 200 passed by a vote of 222 to193, the bipartisan bill was opposed by Democrats 178 to 9.

The Natural Resources Defense Fund (NRDF) portrayed the bill as opposing protections for fish stock rebuilding  while displaying an almost child-like view of the accuracy of marine science. As the organizer and director of the Emergency Committee to Save America;s Marine Resources in the fight for the 200-mile fisheries limit, and a member of the first Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, I can testify as to the accuracy of the science we operate under.  The NRDF appears to be completely unaware that the two largest volume fisheries in the NY-NJ Bight have almost completely disappeared under that science — the annual migration of Atlantic mackerel and the Mud Hole whiting (silver hake) fishery — both of which came back after the devastations of the foreign fleets but are now only a memory.

That science has also come up with such estimates as New Jersey’s  shore fishermen catching 168,000 more tautog than the entire party/charter fleet along the whole east coast caught in March/April, 2010 — when any fisherman or marine biologist can tell you there are few, if any, blackfish in shallow waters during very low water temperatures.  Yet, crazy numbers like that are used to set regulations. More recently, there was a similar big number for N.J. shore fishermen on sea bass. We do catch lots of very small young-of-the year sea bass from late summer to fall, but I’ve never heard of a legal sea bass caught from shore in New Jersey. If any reader knows where that can be done, I’d appreciate knowing about it.

The New Jersey House delegation was split in it’s support of recreational fishing, with long-time sportfishing supporter Rep. Frank Pallone being the only state Democrat in support as Gottheimer, Norcross, Pascrall,, Sires, Payne and Watson-Coleman all voted against the interests of their sportfishing constituents. Republicans LoBiondo, McArthur, Smith, and Frelinghuysen voted in favor — but Leonard Lance was one of just 15 House Republicans to vote no,

The next step is to get Senate approval before an almost sure presidential signature.

The Raritan Bay Anglers 28th annual Charity Fluke Tournament starts off a busy fluke contest weekend, but the captains meeting for that Saturday contest is this evening at 7 in the Moose Lodge, 989 Convery Blvd., Perth Amboy. There will be $11,220 in prize money (based on 200 boats). Call 732 489-6360 for information.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported better fluking today for anglers on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands as they also enjoyed a picture perfect day.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported catching lots of chub mackerel and sea bass during Wednesday’s trip — but also their first dolphin of the season and a blacktip shark.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported good surf fluking, and noted that all you need is Gulp. Every fluke weighed there so far has been on Gulp. Betty & Nick’s reports outstanding crabbing in the bay, where snappers are building up for perfect big fluke bait.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall was surprised to find a rough surf at Belmar this morning despite the lack of wind, but he still managed one small striper on a Chug Bug. Three more were added in Shark River on small Storm Searchbait and Zoom jigs, but when some small bait showed up on the surface later in the morning the only thing that worked on the small bass was a 7-inch Sluggo. that was much larger than the bait fish.

Gluggo

Matraxia boats first doormat

Tank Matraxia of Lyndhurst is an enthusiastic fluke fisherman who charters the best skippers in the northern N.J. area to pursue that species, but he hadn’t been fortunate enough to catch a doormat even though he did hook a 9 1/2-pounder last year.  Though casual anglers often refer to any large fluke as a “doormat”,  serious flukers know that the only fluke entitled to that designation has to make double digits in order to join that exclusive “club” — just as striper anglers often spend a lifetime trying to catch a 50-pounder to join the exclusive top rung of the sport in the “’50-pound club”.

Tank's doormat

Ironically, Tank broke through during a poor year for doormats. I haven’t had a single doormat report from the Raritan Bay party boat fleet as yet, and only one from a Shore party boat — on the Capt. Cal from Belmar last week. As of the July 12 edition of The Fisherman magazine , their coastal (N.C. to Maine) Dream Boat contest for subscribers only had six doormats entered up to a 12.63-pounder from Long Island. Tank’s fluke probably would have fit into fourth place at this time

Matraxia was fishing today with Capt. Chad Hacker on Tagged Fish from Highlands and not doing very well as they started off Coney Island before moving back to rough bottom near Sandy Hook.  Tank had been bucktailing, but switched to a bottom rig with Gulp and a fish strip when he literally dropped it into the mouth of a fluke that weighed just short of 12 pounds on the BogaGrip. He was going to get an official weight at  Julian’s Tackle in Atlantic Highlands, but the mate filleted the doormat on the way in.

Tank's doormat

Tank’s so proud of that fluke that the blog printed the photo twice!

Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands said it was not only a beautiful day on the water, but fluke fishing was better with action all day. The pool fluke went 5 3/4 pounds, and Santee also put his fares into some sea bass.

The Jamaica from Brielle reported very good Tuesday variety fishing for chub mackerel and sea bass. Vladimir Savon of  Fair Lawn won the pool with a 4-pound sea bass Some bluefish have been reported offshore, and will hopefully move inshore soon.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar also had very good action Tuesday with sea bass and mackerel plus some fluke and ling as well as “tommycod” which I expect were actually spotted hake as tomcod are virtually unknown in offshore waters.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall fished the surf to the north with his Chug Bug to catch four school stripers. I found very little water in the Manasquan surf, but hooked a bass that hit a Chug Bug in the wash — but got off.

I was a week early on the White Marlin Invitational

I should have double-checked the dates on the White Marlin Invitational. Boaters have plenty of time to sign up, as the final registration is actually next Tuesday, July 24, at the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club — with fishing from that Wednesday through Saturday.

White Marlin Invitational opens during bigeye blitz

Boaters registering this evening for the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club’s 49th annual White Marlin Invitational will be anxious to start fishing Wednesday in what Adam La Rosa of the Canyon Runner fleet in Point Pleasant calls possibly the best bigeye tuna bite ever.

Bigeyes have been hard to come by during offshore tournaments in recent years, and just one can wipe all the yellowfins off the board in an instant — and possibly win the big money if no white marlin large enough to weigh is brought in. Yet, La Rosa says bigeye caches have ranged up to an incredible 12 by Capt. Mark De Cabia.

Capt. Deane Lambros came in from an overnighter with “only” two bigeyes on the Canyon Runner in the course of catching over 50 yellowfins during an overnighter — which would ordinarily be considered a fine bigeye catch. bigeye being leadered

La Rosa has a last minute opening for a Friday overnighter that can be filled for the entire boat or on an open boat basis of $899 per person “all-in”.  Call him at 732 272-4445.

The Beach Haven registration is from 6 to 8 p.m. today in the clubhouse at Beach Haven. Fishing days run from Wednesday through Saturday — with the awards ceremony+ at 9 p.m. that night.

Chairman Dave Ridley expects there will be over 50 boats competing in the contest which also permits weigh-ins at Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle as well as at the headquarters. For information visit wmit@bhmtc.com or call Ridley at 908 963-5824.

There was a lack of reports today. Joe Melillo . at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said the best bet has been crabbing which has been good everywhere — but especially at the Mantoloking Bridge. He weighed an impressive 6.5-pound fluke this week that was caught from a kayak at the south end of the canal by Doug Withstandley of Point Pleasant.

The Queen Mary from that town got into a showing of small blues during their Monday afternoon trip to go along with chub mackerel, sea bass and ling. They are sailing in the morning, but are chartered on Thursday and Saturday  mornings

Close finish in SHBA Fluke Tournament

Bob Cameron of North Haledon took over the lead in the Sandy Hook Bay Fluke Tournament on Saturday with a 26-inch, 7.2-pounder, but that contest is a two-day affair — and Larry Natelli of Fords took the $3,000 first place on Sunday with a 26 1/2-inch 7.4-pound fluke. Cameron finished second for $1,000 plus $200 for the first day leader.

Jeffrey Guiliano of Salisbury Mills, N.Y. picked up $600 for third with his 26-inch. 7-pounder — while a similar fluke was fourth for $350 by Bob Moskal of Highlands. Robert Socia of Hazlet was fifth for $250 with a 25-inch 6.8-pounder. Mike Menzel of South Amboy won $125 for his sixth place 26-inch, 6.6-pound fluke. Seventh and $125 went to Emilio Ameno of Matawan for a 26 1/2-inch, 6.4-pounder  — and Joseph Ciervo from Eatontown finished the scoring with $75 for a  25 1/2-inch, 6.2-pound fluke. Debbie Gencarelli won the ladies rod and reel prize donated by Atlantic Bait & Tackle with a 23-inch, 4.4-pound fluke.  Capt. Brian Dunn noted that over 80 fluke were weighed in over the weekend at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina.

The N.J. Outdoor Alliance asks anglers to call the office of Gov. Murphy at 609 292-6000 to request he sign  bill numbers S2793/A4255 which would increase much-needed funding for marine fisheries. That increase was worked out last year between Gov. Christie and the legislature but not included in the new governor’s budget.

Veteran surfcaster Joe Milko got the surprise of his fishing career this morning when a very small striper he was reeling in was engulfed by a shark. Joe only saw the dark shape, and couldn’t identify it. Chances are good that it was a brown or sand tiger as Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park has reported that both species have been providing action there for those who specialize in fishing for sharks at night. Lots of cownose rays have also been reported there, while the best surf bet in the day has been fluking.

A boat shark fisherman also had a surprise, but not from a shark. Rob De Pietri was sharking at Shark River Reef when a N.Y. Police boat boarded his Sharky’s Machine with the explanation that they are deputized by NOAA Fisheries to enforce highly migratory species regulations everywhere. What they were doing so far from N.Y. wasn’t explained. They took a photo of the boat’s permit, and noted that not having it aboard would involve a $500 fine.  Sharking was no good, but the chum slick was full of chub mackerel.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported a lot more action today on his Sea Hunter, even if it was mostly from shorts. Capt. Ron Santee said the morning flood tide was poor on his Fishermen, but he found some sea bass later that included Mike Nolan’s 4 1/2-pounder.  However, the change of tide late in the trip produced a good fluke bite that enabled Santee to bail out in “overtime”. The Fishermen is chartered on Wednesday.

Vinny D’Anton took is grandsons, Brandon and Lucas Longo of Manasquan, to their local beach this morning after he caught a school striper earlier on a Chug Bug. They tried fishing with sand fleas and came up only with a skate. Just before leaving, Vinny told Lucas to make a few casts with the Chug Bug — and he hooked a 27-inch striper that fought him for eight minutes.

Costa Rica dorado & wahoo

Capt. Pete Wagner of Hyper Striper at Highlands put his daughter Nicole and niece Amanda into wahoo and small dolphin last week off Los Suenos, Costa Rica.