Correction to bluefish comments address

The e-mail address in yesterday’s blog for comments on bluefish not submitted at last month’s bluefish scoping hearings was incorrect. It should be mseeley@mafmc.org. Your bluefish comments can be submitted prior to midnight.

I emphasized the fact that the Mid-Atlantic Council and ASMFC have to take part of the responsibility for he bluefish decline by allowing unused recreational quota to be transferred to commercial fisheries even as the shortage was developing. There was no provision in the management plan for such transfers, and it’s vital that such actions must be specifically prohibited by amendment to the plan.

Comments on fluke will also be accepted before midnight by e-mail to jbeaty@asmfc.org. My response emphasized the fact that NOAA Fisheries estimated the recreational summer flounder catch in 1970 (before management started) was 39 million pounds — nearly seven times the commercial landings. Yet, the management plan provided 60% of the quota to commercial interests in one of the worst abuses of the public trust since fisheries management started. The result has been ever-larger minimum sizes, short seasons and small bag limits for the public while dozens of party and charter boats have gone out of business.

The ASMFC has cancelled its spring meeting from May 4-7 in Arlington, Va. due to the pandemic. One day may be added to the summer meeting in August, and issues demanding quick action can be handled through webinars or by conference calls.

One more day of fishable weather is coming up as the forecast for Wednesday is for north winds at 5-10 knots before going to southeast in the afternoon — and blowing up to 15-20 after midnight along with rain.

The Ocean Explorer is planning to sail from Belmar for cod on Wednesday at 7:30 a.m.

Betty & Nicks Tackle in Seaside Park notes that the restaurant remains open though no one will be seated or waitress service provided. Orders will be delivered to your car.

Good flounder bite at Belmar

It’s not often that a report from a tackle shop is modest about fishing in their area, but that seems to have been the case with the Fisherman’s Den assessment of winter flounder action Sunday  from the Belmar Marina docks. Tom O’Connor sent an e–mail noting that he had a keeper flounder within 40 minutes, and ended up catching six over the 12-inch  minimum in a couple of hours — keeping his two-fish limit with 14-and-16-inchers. Furthermore, Tom said everyone he talked to that was fishing with sandworms caught least one.

That doesn’t sound like any big deal unless you consider how bad flounder fishing has been in recent years. Sunshine and warm weather is perfect for that early season fishery. That’s what we have now, though small craft advisories are up for tonight, and the forecast for the morning is southwest at 10-15 knots with gusts to 25.

Betty & Nick’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported that a customer fished from local docks Sunday and caught a legal flounder plus three “decent” stripers. They’ll have bloodworms in stock by Friday.

Pete Kearns of Point Pleasant Beach was at his local beach around 6:30 p.m. Sunday when he spotted 12-18 dolphins swimming north about a hundred yards off the beach. He noted that’s something he doesn’t usually see until July.

Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rico reports there’s been a hot bite there recently of big roosterfish and yellowfin tuna. A 150-pound marlin also showed up among the tuna and jumped on a live bait. For info e-mail Gregg@thezancudolodge.com.

roosterfish-Zancudo

Fluke were caught in spite of some rain

The forecast of showers and thunderstorms put a big dent in fishing participation today, and even caused postponement of the Fluke Masters Tournament to Sunday — but the fluke didn’t mind.  Sunday’s weather looks great if you can deal with 5 knot winds.

The JCAA Fluke Tournament came off as scheduled. I’ll post results when they become available.

At Belmar, the Ocean Explorer reported running through rain on the way out, but ended up fishing under good conditions for a pick of fluke and sea bass. The Big Mohawk had a similar report with very little rain and decent fluking. They’ll be sailing at 6:30 in the morning.

Golden Eagle sea bass

The Golden Eagle had another good day of sea bass action plus a fluke, a few ling and some chub mackerel.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee fished in the ocean each of the last two days and had a decent mix of keeper and short fluke plus some sea bass on his Fishermen despite a large swell.

Capt. Stan Zagleski said fluking started off well Friday morning on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands, but conditions went bad after a thunderstorm and then gusty south winds. Dave Brink of Middletown had two keepers up to the 5-pound pool-winning fluke.

Dave Brink - 5-lb-EBII

The Jamaica from Brielle reported continued good variety fishing on Friday as they had lots of chub mackerel, plus some small blues, ling, and two-fish sea bass limits. Tony Pugh Sr. of Vineland won the pool with a 4.25-pound sea bass. The next tilefish trip will depart at 10 p.m. Aug. 12. Call732 528-5014 for reservations.

The White Marlin Open gets underway in Ocean City, Md. on Aug. 6. More about that tomorrow.

After all that south wind, I could feel cold air coming off the Manasquan surf as I cast into relatively shallow waters without any results.

At Seaside Park, Betty & Nick’s reported the water temperature had dropped to 65 degrees.

Best day of Raritan Bay fluking

It’s not often that a flat calm sunny and hot summer day turns out to provide the best Raritan Bay fluking of the year — except for shorts!

The early start that Capt. Stan Zagleski had with his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands enabled John Vanderstad of Pompton Lakes to limit by 6:55 a.m. — before other party boats had even left the dock.  He ended up taking his limit out of seven keepers that included two 6-pounders that won the pool. There were several other limits, and some of the fluke were spitting out sand eels — something Zagleski never saw last year.

Capt. Ron Santee said the drift was poor and he had to power drift with the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands — but there wasn’t a fluke under 19 inches. There were several limits, and the pool fluke was 7 3/16 pounds. Young Marcus Coe was fishing with his dad and caught a fluke over 5 pounds that he wanted to release. He did just that, and the skipper rewarded him with a Fishermen tee-shirt for his conservation spirit.

Lady Christine took the lead in the first Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club Bluefin Open. Capt. Chris Di Stefano had originally heard that boat was bringing in a bigeye from Wilmington canyon (which was noted in last night’s blog), but it turned out that Neil Franzoni boated a 191.5-pound bluefin at the Bacardi to move ahead of Douglas Johnson on Double D at 180.5 pounds.  That left Frank Criscola still with all three places in yellowfin tuna on his Crisdel in the Jack Meyer Trolling Tournament

The Golden Eagle from Belmar jigged some 1-to-3-pound blues along with porgies. Some sea bass were released, but they’ll be able to keep them Sunday when the two sea bass by-catch season starts.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported nice action with the porgies.

Kevin Markow of the Surf Kings at Sea Girt reported catching a 28-inch striper just before daylight on a small swimmer despite the dead low tide.

Jim Louro of Spring Lake fished his local surf Fridy evening to release a 26 1/2-inch striper on sand flies — and added a 26-incher this morning.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reports good fluking in the surf where cownose rays are also being reported. Betty & Nick’s reported a 31-inch striper was caught.

 

 

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Capy. Ron Santee

More 50-pounders added to Tony Maja honor roll

In addition to the previously-reported striped bass over 50 pounds trolled on Tony Maja  bunker spoons by Capt. Jim Freda of Shore Catch from Point Pleasant and by Paul Haertel, Tony Arcabascio notes that others have claimed a spot on the Tony Maja Honor Roll this spring.

Dave Carano had a 54.4-pounder on a chartreuse spoon, and Jerry Malanga  had the same size bass on a green spoon. Greg Davidson used a white Maja mo-jo for his 51 1/2-pounder from Obsessions. Mike Timez trolled the white #1 spoon for his 55.1-pounder. Capt. Jim Freda is pictured below with the 50 -pounder he trolled recently from Shore Catch out of Point Pleasant.

Freda -48-inchBluefish haven’t cooperated for the Shore party boat fleet the last two days, but the Golden Eagle, Miss Belmar Princess and Queen Mary  have all had good sea bass action with some porgies mixed in. The Golden Eagle also had a keeper fluke Thursday.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a slow start today with fluke on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands as the west wind was still blowing hard. Once it let down the fishing was good. That was also the case with sea bass fishing on the Big Mohawk and Ocean Explorer from Belmar.

Capt. Vinny Vetere had a wind against tide situation everywhere he went this morning  with Katfish from Great Kills, until getting into good conditions in the western Sound for a hot bite.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano fished aboard Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle yesterday as they trolled everywhere from Raritan Bay to Shrewsbury Rocks before catching a double  of stripers in the forties on a shad rig and a bunker spoon.

At Seaside Park, Betty & Nick’s reported a 22-pound striper weighed in yesterday by Ryan Seaman of Toms River.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharks starting to show in surf

Surfcasting for sharks at night has been catching on the last few years, and Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park notes that fishing seems to be getting underway with several sand tigers  reported recently. Daytime fishing was slow yesterday with only one striper and one blue weighed in. There are some fluke in the surf, with Colton Connell bringing in a 25-incher that weighed 3.55 pounds. Striper weigh-ins recently were topped by Annalee Nelson with a 39-inch, 19.20-pounder on clams in the surf — along with a 41.5-inch, 21.15-pounder the same way by John Radice.  Betty & Nick’s Tackle reported big blues were in the inlet Saturday.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro had no hits trolling for big stripers Friday with his Hi Flier from Barnegat, but while finishing up by casting soft plastics in Barnegat Inlet for 2-to-4-pound blues on 10-pound spin,  he was surprised after the tide turned by stripers up to 12 and 21 pounds.  De Gennaro will be looking for more of them, and is also taking along some shedder crabs and sandworms after getting reports of weakfish in Barnegat Bay. He also hopes to get offshore to the tuna that are edging closer — but only when the weather is right.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had tough fluking conditions today with his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands, but his regulars jigged some better fish topped by a 7-pounder for Mike Schmidt of Cranford.

 

 

Mike Schmidt 7-lb-Elaine B

 

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo from South Plainfield worked the Sandy Hook surf with bunker Thursday morning for lots of big sea robins and only one skate. John also released a 22-inch striper, and Allen hooked a 5-pound blue.

Fluking conditions in Raritan Bay were tough today, but Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter at Atlantic Highlands said he did much better than on Saturday as a few limits were taken. Colin Bennett (10) boated a 5-pounder to take the pool while his grandfather limited.  Capt. Ron Santee said he fought wind against tide with the Fishermen and stayed later as the fishing improved.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported very good sea bass fishing with many limits. Jigs produced the bigger fish. The Golden Eagle even had some sea bass limits on the Saturday afternoon trip.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had lots of sea bass today, but Capt. Dave Riback noted that keepers are getting harder to come by. The Sunday and Monday magic hours trips were cancelled due to ocean conditions.

There were no bluefish reports today.

 

 

An unusual surf release

I’ve been trying to do some catch and release surf fishing the last couple of days, but I haven’t gotten the “catch” part figured out yet. After trying Sea Girt, Shark River and Spring Lake, I finally came across something to release without catching it when I spotted a turtle above the surf line at Spring Lake. It wasn’t a marine turtle, and I assumed it was dead until I nudged it with my boot. Surprisingly, it stuck its head out and tried to move toward the water with its claws.  Even though I gave it some help, the waves tossed the turtle on its back. Vinny D’Anton, a retired science teacher, was casting nearby. He thought it was a snapping turtle that might have gotten washed out of Shark River along with lots of wood and other trash that was cast up on the beach today. I was amazed that a freshwater turtle could be surviving in saltwater, but it appeared as lively as turtles usually are — so Vinny released it on the calm side of a jetty. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch any finny critters to release.

The Sea Hunter didn’t get out from Atlantic Highlands today, and tomorrow will be their last morning striper trip before switching to fluke on Saturday. Fluking worked out well for the Fishermen from that port today as Capt. Ron Santee reported their largest so far.  Mike Nicholas boated a 27 1/2-incher which weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces. That beat out a 6 5/16-pounder for the pool, and there were also a couple of five-pounders. One fare caught over 20 fluke to put two in his cooler.

Bob Correll of Bay Head fished with a corporate group yesterday afternoon on Two Rivers Charters out of Highlands. Capt. Fletcher Chayes said there had been a big bass bite morning and evening off the Highlands Bridge, but he noted that it hadn’t happened when he was down there that morning. Therefore, they fished in the bay with live bunkers where one large bass was boated. Correll had a powerful fish tearing line off his reel, but the circle hook pulled.

One that didn’t get away this week was Paul Haertel’s 54.8-pound  personal record that was noted in yesterday’s blog.

Paul 54.8

Capt. Vinnie Vetere said it was picky striper fishing today in the Hudson River from his Katfish out of Great Kills. He marked bait, but few stripers, and the bass didn’t want live bunkers. His dependable Ho-Jos did the job  as usual and trolling filled the box.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle once again got into the small blues north of the inlet and lots up to 2 1/2 pounds were boated. That boat has room on a Friday afternoon striper trip at 3:30. Reservations are required by calling 732 681-6144. The Ocean Explorer reported another great day of sea bass fishing with limits for most.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle weighed a 24.65-pound striper caught in the surf on clams by John Grodzicki.  Betty & Nick’s said there was a hot Wednesday evening bite on bunker by bass and blues while the usually reliable clam was ignored.

The Jamaica from Brielle is fishing daily at 7:30 a.m. for stripers and blues, but also gearing up for a tilefish trip departing at 10 p.m. Sunday.  Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

 

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Check Out times: via text to 732-551-3912
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For additional info please visit http://www.jcsa.org

Opening day fluking was promising

The opening day of the N.J. fluke season was probably better than most anglers expected as weather conditions were perfect.

Capt. Ron Santee was pleased with the drift in Raritan Bay as wind and the outgoing tide were together for anglers on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. Fluke were located in many areas. and keepers were well represented.  Robert Neilsen and his wife combined for five. The pool fluke was a 6.3-pounder.

Capt. Stan Zagleski said his early start with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands gave him a jump on the competition as fluke were found in several areas and there were some limits. He’ll continue to sail at 6 a.m. through Memorial Day.

Elaine B fluke

Capt. Rob Semkewyc is sticking with the striped bass on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands . The last couple of days have been slower, but today’s catch was topped by a 27-pounder fought by Jon  Keidel. The skipper hopes the full moon coming up will spark the striper action.

Capt. Sal Cursi relocated to Florida. but didn’t forget everything he learned from years of running his Cathy Sea from Sewaren. He Joined Capt. Hans Kaspersetz and his crew on Sheri Berri from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands as they scratched out a few fussy stripers plus some opening day fluke.

Cursi said they only had one bluefish at a time of year when we used to be overrun with them. Yet, Nick Honachefsky reports that Keith Schaudecker got into 15 gator blues up to 16 pounds Wednesday off Port Monmouth on live bunkers from his Castaway.

It took awhile to find them, but Bob Correll of Bay Head and I had plenty of action with 3-to-4-pound blues while casting Thursday afternoon in Manasquan River from his Boston Whaler. Metal was the best bet, but Bob also got hits flycasting.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle had no luck with stripers and blues before switching to sea bass for a good pick along with a few ling. Miss Belmar Princess ran north, but didn’t find stripers and blues before finishing up with sea bass.

At Point Pleasant, the Queen Mary had a good catch of sea bass today, Don Marantz and his party fished yesterday on Barb-Gail for limits of sea bass and some ling. Mimi VI will be sailing open on Tuesday. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported surfcasting was slower Thursday, but bluefish are hitting bunker chunks off local docks.  Billy Martin checked into Betty & Nick’s early this morning with two 19-inch fluke taken in IBSP on a white bucktail with a chartreuse Gulp.

Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant,  weighed a 35-pound, 14-ounce striper caught from a boat for Bill McCrystal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boaters had to fight a hard west wind

The west wind blew even harder than predicted today, but some anglers fought through it.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc  said the wind blew a steady 30 mph with gusts to 40 — and it was raw as the few fares on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands picked at some shorts and keepers during every drop. That wind is predicted to drop down tonight, and only be 10-15 mph tomorrow.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar managed to finish up the spring blackfish season with food action and some limits despite the roaring west wind as they were close enough to shore that the sea was calm. They’ll be taking a day off to decide what fishing to pursue before the sea bass season opens on May 15.

Capt. Vinny Vetere continued to load up with stripers over the weekend while trolling his Ho Jo’s from Katfish out of Great Kills.  However, he hasn’t been able to get into the bass by chunking bunkers due to seals finding the baits first.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar caught some stripers over the weekend, but one day it was all on plastics, and the next only on bait. Their report about bluefish blitzing at the Manasquan Inlet jetties on Saturday didn’t check out as I’ve still had no bluefish reports from anyone. I talked to a regular at the inlet this morning who said he’s been there every day and hasn’t seen a blue as yet — though very small stripers hit the small bucktail he’s been casting.

I tried the Sea Girt surf this morning, and only got cold hands for my effort. It was hard to believe that the air temperature was only in the 30s just hours before May 1. The surf wasn’t flat, but very fishable. Jim Louro of Spring Lake caught a small striper on a 4-inch shad this morning, and hooked a 26-incher the previous afternoon.

Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant had no hits in Island Beach State Park this morning, but the Seaside Park tackle shops had some good reports. Grumpy’s had good surf reports on shorts, but also weighed two stripers. Though both were only 29 inches, Dick Kenny’s that hit a Mag Darter was a hefty 12.45 pounds — while the other on a shad was only 9 pounds.  Betty & Nick’s reported one angler caught 12 bass to 16 inches in two hours at  three spots in the park.

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant is sold out of canyon trips in May and June, and only has a few left in July and August. They do have an opening for an active military or retired veteran for a free striper trip on May 7. Call Adam La Rosa at 732 272-4445.

Dave Perruso reports the Bi-State Shad Contest on the Delaware River was a big success with 100 sponsors and 890 anglers fishing over the weekend. The largest shad was a 5.942-pounder worth $20,000 to Jake Kocsis. Many others were just ounces smaller. Zack Zupan took $3,000 for second at 5.768 pounds, and Bob Leciston was third for $2,500 at 5.686 pounds.

Chuck Many will be doing a striped bass seminar on Wednesday from 7-9 p.m. in Great Kills Yacht Club. All anglers are welcome to attend the event. For information call Walter Fisher at  917 335-7607. The Staten Island Tuna Club is sponsoring this presentation.

Chuck striper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The canyon Runner from Point Pleasant is almost

 

Last days for NJ blackfish

The N.J. spring season for blackfish concludes with the end of April. Blackfish anglers should have fishable weather this weekend to get their last licks in. The Big Mohawk and Ocean Explorer will be sailing for their target species plus a shot at a cod or two. The Paramount from Brielle will be bottom fishing both days from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Elaine B. II from Highlands sails the next two days for tog at 7 a.m., but then won’t fish Monday and Tuesday before switching to stripers at 7 daily on Wednesday.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be seeking stripers at 7:30 a.m. the next two days before starting daily trips on May 4. The Golden Eagle sails for stripers from Belmar

Atlantic Highlands party boats had action with short stripers today, but added some keepers. The Sea Hunter started slowly, but ended up with a good flurry despite “lousy” conditions.

Trolling was a different story for Capt. Vinny Vetere of Katfish in Great Kills as at least 40 stripers from 31 to 44 inches hit his Ho-Jo’s.

Ho-jo's bass

Both Grumpy’s Tackle and Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Park reported a hot Thursday night bite of small bass in the surf on bait plus small bucktails and shads. The shops have fresh bunker in stock plus some clams. Grumpy’s runs an ODM rods demo Saturday from 10-1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bait fishing for stripers was mostly shorts today for Atlantic Highlands party boats. The Sea Hunter started slowly, but ended up with a good shot of keepers despite “lousy” conditions. The Fishermen also had legal bass, but they were all under 30 inches.

Trolling was a much different story for Capt. Vinny Vetere. who was using his Ho-jo’s from Katfish Charters out of Great Kills to catch at least 40 stripers from 31 to 44 inches. The largest bass preferred the pink infused models. Ho-jo's bass