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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mixed bag of weather and fishing

Sunday was an odd day, both in terms of weather and fishing. As noted last night, there was a forecast of showers and thunderstorms for the morning, but while I was fishing from shore in Shark River there wasn’t a sign of rain — and no wind. Therefore, I was surprised this evening to see that some boaters ran into lots of rain and rough conditions.

Miss Belmar Princess was involved in that bad weather which didn’t prevent their anglers from catching lots of sea bass to pick out keepers for the present two-sea bass limit. The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a boat limit of sea bass along with some ling and fluke plus a couple of mackerel.  There’s also an occasional small bluefish on a jig. The Big Mohawk from that port had good fluke fishing, with many limits as everyone was using jigs.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reports weekend fluke fishing was no ball of fire, with Saturday being the better of the two days.

My shore fishing started slowly when the river was quiet, but improved as the incoming tide got stronger even though there was boat traffic to contend with. I ended up with seven striper releases up to a 22-incher.

Adam La Rosa of Canyon Runner in Point Pleasant noted that not only have his boats been enjoying a great early canyon season, but so has former Canyon Runner Capt. Mark De Cabia’s who had a bigeye tuna blast recently on his own boat.

Mark DeCabia's bigeyes

White Marlin Invitational coming up

The 49th annual Beach Haven White Marlin Invitational is coming up from July 24 to 26.

With Little Egg Inlet now back to a navigable inlet, there should be a lot more boats sailing out of Beach Haven, but the Manasquan River weigh-in alternative at Hoffman’s Marina will also be available. To sign up and get details visit http://www.TheWMIT.com.

While many other areas across the country have been complaining about extreme weather, we’ve had an exceptionally pleasant summer so far. That may be modified Sunday morning by some showers and possible thunder storms, but there appears to be a lot more good weather after that.

Today’s weather was almost too nice for the Big Mohawk from Belmar. They complained about a lack of drift, but still managed a decent catch up to a 7-pound fluke. They’ll be sailing at 6 a.m. through Monday.

Surprisingly, there were no fluke reports from Raritan Bay by 6 p.m. The Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands did report a good fluke catch on Friday. There were  a couple of limits — including the one below by Iris Rivera of Saddle Brook.

 

Iris Rivera

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had another good day with sea bass as two-fish limits were no problem along with some fluke, ling and mackerel. They gave the latter a good try, but they were fussy and only a few were caught. The Jamaica from Brielle had lots of variety action on Friday that included sea bass, plenty of mackerel, and some fluke and blues. They sail daily at 6:30 a.m.

Capt. Vinny Vetere continues to limit out with large stripers on his  Katfish from Great Kills even when he has to work through dogfish and skates to get them.

Shark River school stripers weren’t quite as active this morning, but I picked four on a small paddletail jig that included a 25-incher which was the largest I’ve released there so far. Tommy Cox was casting a popper in another part of the river when a school of 4-pound blues came by to provide surface action along with a striper among then. Vinny D’Anton got into small bass with the Storm Searchbait and released six.

Jim Louro of Spring Lake took Matt, a friend from Long Island to his local beach for sand flea fishing. After Jim caught a schoolie on a shad lure, Matt made his first striper trip a success by catching a 26 1/2-incher on the crabs — but kept fishing and ended up with a 29-inch keeper. Vinny and I also gave it a short try as he missed one hit and I landed a 21-inch bass.

Sandy Hook Bay Anglers kick off N.J. fluke tournament season

The two-day Sandy Hook Bay Anglers 37th annual Fluke Tornament begins a series of N.J. fluke contests this weekend after today’s 7 p.m. captains meeting  at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina.  The entry fee is $100 per boat. For details visit http://www.sandyhookbayanglers.com.

Coming up next weekend are the Grandpa Savino Tournament out of Great Kills with the opportunity to win $25,000 for a 13-pound fluke (call Walter Fisher at 917 375-7607); the 28th annual Raritan Bay Anglers Club Charity Fluke Tournament (call 732 489-6360); and the Point Pleasant Elks Fluke Tournament with both powerboat and kayak divisions ((call732 899-7638).

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina provided the first party boat  doormat fluke report I’ve had this season. Vinny Aufiero of Midland Park boated a 10 1/8-pounder on the Capt. Cal. Benny Green had a limit up to 5 3/4 pounds on the Cat Cal.  The rental skiffs are coming in with fluke up to 6 pounds, and small snappers are now in Shark River.

Also at Belmar, the Big Mohawk had several fluke limits plus sea bass, and will be sailing tomorrow at 6 a.m. The Ocean Explorer reported fine fluke and sea bass action on a gorgeous day, including a bew seasonal pool leader of 8 8 7/8 pounds. There were also several 5-6-pound fluke.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter reported fluke fishing  was slower today, especially after the current got too strong late in the morning. Anglers should bring tackle capable of handling at least 8-ounce sinkers.

Capt. Stan Zagleski reported a fine 7 1/8-pound fluke boated Thursday on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands by Tom Guarlello of Hazlet.

Despite the continuing big swell from the offshore hurricane, there were some small stripers caught in the surf. Vinny D’Anton of Wall took his grandsons, Brandon and Lucas Longo to the Spring Lake surf for a shot at fishing with sand fleas — and Lucas did land a small bass while a couple of other hits were missed.

I cast a small jig in Shark River to release five stripers up to 20 inches, but did nothing in the surf.

I

Fluking a little better

Though there were no hot reports, fluke fishing seemed to be a bit better on another beautiful day — and despite the big ocean swell.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter reported improved fluking with one limit taken and others with two. The Fishermen had decent fishing until the current got too strong. Kurt Wieditz boated a 6.11-pound fluke to run away with the pool. but there was also a 4 1/2-pounder and a couple in the 3 pound class. Capt. Ron Santee said grandpa John Sabonis brought his 15-year-old granddaughter Slyler Mosselle who caught three fluke on her first fluke trip. Some sea bass were also caught. The Fishermen is chartered from Friday through Sunday.

At Belmar, the Ocean Explorer had good action with fluke and sea bass. There were three or four fluke in the 4-pound class. The Golden Eagle had no problem filling two-fish limits of sea bass along with some ling and keeper fluke.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant caught sea bass plus some porgies and triggerfish on Wednesday — and fought a sand tiger shark.

Tank Matraxia of Lyndhurst was invited to join a NMFS crew seeking live sea bass for studies aboard Tagged Fish from Highlands on Tuesday and Thursday. They fished in 40 feet the first day to ensure the sea bass would survive, but only ended up with small fish — though Marty Gras of Lyndhurst fought a sand tiger to the boat.  The Thursday trip to 70 feet produced bigger sea bass, including a 19-incher by Tank.

Shark River produced a pick of school stripers from 15 to 21 inches this morning as I cast a light paddletail jig to release seven plus a 20-inch bluefish that was my first there in almost a month. Vinny D’Anton had some short hits on his Chug Bug, and caught a small bass on a Zoom jig.  We then went to the surf to fight a much larger sea than yesterday’s — resulting from the far offshore hurricane. It didn’t look good for fishing, but I was shocked by a 21-inch striper that blasted my Chug Bug in the wash. That was it for us as sea weed was also a problem.

I was later surprised to hear from Allen Riley of South Plainfield, who took his wife, son Kevin of Raleigh, N.C. and two granddaughters to Sandy Hook and said it was calm there.  They managed to catch some short fluke on Gulp.

Reader John Westerdale saw lots of cownose rays in the Monmouth County surf this week, but they ignored bunker heads and lures. He’s been picking at 15-to-20-inch stripers on swim shads in Point Pleasant Canal — even during mid-day.  He fished last month on Cape Cod with Capt.  Ray Ransom on Bass River Charters at Dennis to catch lots of 15-pound stripers at Monomoy and jumbo sea bass off Chatham.

 

Capt. Pete Wagner of Hyper Striper at Highlands will be back to fluking this weekend after brief trip to Los Suenos in Costa Rica with his daughter Nicole and niece Amanda.  They fished aboard a friend’s L&H boat to get into lots of small dorado (dolphin), two small wahoo, a bigeye trevally, a cubera snapper on live bait — and Nicole’s first sailfish.

Wagner cuberaT

That cubera snapper is he same species as the one I’m pictured with at the head of this blog — which was released from Pesca Panama in March but weighed over 73 pounds by formula.

Nicole's first sail

Nicole’s first sailfish before release

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 cristori@aol.com.

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 http://www.sandyhookbayanglers.com – 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 pleasantelks.org

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!