Uncertainty about fishing

The striped bass fishery is underway, but there’s a lot of uncertainty about whether we’ll be able to fish.

I read Gov. Murphy’s N.J. shutdown order, but it didn’t refer specifically to fishing or boating at all.  Yet, the state parks and Wildlife Management Areas are open for public use — though with offices and rest rooms closed. I’ll try to get more detailed info tomorrow.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park closed today until further notice. Apparently bait and tackle shops are considered nonessential, but the governor is allowing liquor stores to operate. Isn’t an obsession with healthy fishing better than one with booze?

You won’t be missing much tomorrow weather-wise. There are small craft warnings up into the afternoon. East winds at 20-25 knots with gusts to 30 plus rain and 4-6-foot seas are predicted.

Bigeyes scramble tuna standings at MidAtlantic

With 146 boats fishing today in the MidAtlantic out of Cape May and Ocean City, Maryland there were bound to be changes — and they sure happened in the tuna division  as well as in dolphin and wahoo.

The bigeyes that were missing a couple of weeks ago in the White Marlin Open have been popping up during the first two days of this event. Blue Runner came to the scales with five bigeyes this evening, but the largest was just 114 pounds which matched a bigeye on Toddy Time while barely short of the 116-pounder on Da Sea. With three days to go, I expect there will be more tuna changes coming.  Reel Estate, yesterday’s leader, fell to a tie for fourth at 110 pounds with Blue Runner’s second bigeye.

The dolphin category was turned upside down as First Light weighed a 43-pounder, followed by The Natural at 33 pounds — and Reelin Feelin with a 25-pound dolphin.

There were no wahoo the first day. but The Zipper took the lead at 71 pounds, and there was also a 46-pounder by Torta.

The two 73-pound white marlin remained unchallenged, but third place was filled in by Lucky Lady Jean at 68 pounds to edge Intents at 66 pounds and Gusto’s 65.

There have been no blue marlin weigh-ins so far. Check tomorrow’s blog for the points standings.

White Marlin Open moving toward an exciting finish

There were 213 boats fishing today in the White Marlin Open out of Ocean City , Md. , and if they don’t shake up the standings  it will almost surely happen tomorrow since 335 boats still have a day of eligibility to fish the conclusion.

Nothing is unbeatable, but Joe Rahman must be comfortable with the 881-pound blue marlin he opened the contest with. If no others are weighed, he’s good for $700.000. A blue was brought in yesterday on Sea Note, but it didn’t make the 114-inch minimum length to be weighed.

The big winner so far is Bill Haughland  on Lights Out with a 75-pound white marlin worth $2.4 million. He’s had to sweat out a few smaller whites brought in that made the minimum length but not the 70-pound minimum weight.

Also looking good is the dolphin leader of 50 pounds caught by Louis Genello on Fin-Nominal. Large dolphin have been scarce during tournaments since last year.  The wahoo lead changed again last night after I had done my late blog. Kenny Sexton brought in a 58-pounder on Desperado just three minutes before the scale closed.

It’s the tuna category that’s prime for a shake-up. Only medium yellowfins have been weighed so far, and not many of them. The Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant has had record-breaking bigeye tuna fishing this year, and both boats are in this contest. However, the northern canyons are beyond the 100-mile limit from Ocean City.  There was a big change yesterday as Blinky IV from Point Lookout, N.Y. took over first for $520,000 with a 73.5-pounder,

I’ll have an update on today’s weigh-ins later tonight.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc had good news about fluke action today on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. Everyone caught lots of fluke though keepers weren’t easy to come by.

The Jamaica from Brielle caught a dolphin and some bonito among the small blues, chub mackerel and sea bass on Wednesday’s trip. They have several August specials.  Go to their web site for savings.

Capt. Vinny Vetere continues to catch stripers up to 35 pounds from his Katfish out of Great Kills. He lost the bunkers for bait after waters were clouded from heavy rains, but they’re back. He’s open for Saturday.

There are some small stripers in the surf, but finding them isn’t easy. I tried the Belmar surf this morning, It was beautiful, but I never raised a thing. Vinny D’Anton was fishing a few miles south of there and came upon a area where he raised seven bass to his Chug Bug and released three from about 17 to 23 inches. Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported some small blues were caught in the surf on metal last evening. Fluke fishing remains the best surf bet. Some rays and brown sharks are being caught at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you say hot? Despite the heat inland, the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are finding beautiful conditions once they clear the inlet on their fishing trips. The water is clean, the seas have been calm, and the temperatures are much more comfortable than onshore. When you throw in some nice catches of fish, It adds up to ideal fishing conditions.

 

As an example, the “StarFish with Captain Carl Sheppard along with mates Marlyn Graham and Max Goldman had a group of avid anglers out on their second trip of the year. According to Max, they “threw back tons of fluke” while boating six fluke up to 23-inches. The ocean temperatures were a balmy 74-degrees with the calm breezes making for long slow drifts.

There is action offshore also. Captain Ray Lopez had the Senker group out on the “Miss Liane” for a non-stop day of tuna fishing about 50 miles offshore. The crew left the dock at 2am and began trolling early in the morning. The fish cooperated as the group put four yellowfin tuna in the box ranging from 30 to over 40-pounds. The offshore action is as hot as the weather.

 

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A once in a lifetime catch — again!

Just last week I wrote a blog noting the lack of southern species showing up to the north so far this season, but I’ll have to take that opinion back after fishing Sunday morning with Chuck Many of Annandale on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands.

We were drifting sandworms at the mouth of the Hudson River for school stripers and weakfish and trying to work through bait-stealing porgies when I hooked a fish that fought just like one of those species with short runs against a tight drag. Peering into waters somewhat discolored by recent heavy rains, as the fish came toward the surface I was shocked to see the black bars on a roundish body of a big sheepshead.

Many quickly got the net under a sheepshead that was 23 inches long and weighed 9 1/4 pounds on my Garcia Abu Combi scale before we released it after a few quick photos.

sheepshead

As mentioned in my blog last week, I had been shocked once before by a sheepshead in the north. That was on Sept. 7, 2013 off a rock pile in Raritan Bay while seeking weakfish with Joe Massa on his My Three Sons out of Morgan Marina. Not wanting to use up the last few sandworms, I switched my jig head to a Gulp Jerk Shad and hooked a 20-inch, 7-pound sheepshead.

Since I’d never heard of a sheepshead in Raritan Bay before (and haven’t since), I figured that was a once in a lifetime experience.  That sheepshead was also larger than any I’ve caught in Florida, but Sunday’s second “catch of a lifetime” made the earlier fish seem small.

It’s likely that sheepshead were more common in northern waters over a century ago when channel bass (red drum) were the primary inshore game fish up to the central N.J. Shore.  Though large sheepshead are caught with some regularity in South Jersey up to the south jetty of Barnegat Inlet, they’re unusual north of there.

Sheepshead normally fight like a giant porgy, with lots of head-shaking, but the latest did none of that. In fact they are a giant porgy, being  one of the largest members of the porgy family Sparidae. which is represented by many species in temperate and tropical waters worldwide.  In addition to the prominent black bars, the crab-crushing teeth are a sure identifier.

Porgies were a problem when we  first started drifting worms at 7 a.m. in Shrewsbury River for school stripers. Some bass in the 20-inch class beat the porgies to our worms, but the scup even hooked up on my circle hook. Some were large for the river, up to a 14 1/8-incher. Many castnetted a tank full of peanut bunkers. and we snagged a few adult bunkers before filling our appointment with the sheepshead.

Porgies were also a problem in the Hudson, though we managed some small stripers among them before coming in to pick up Alex and Susan Katyan for the afternoon tides. There was just a pick of very small stripers on both worms and peanuts before Many made a move. The East River was clearer than expected, and produced some small bass plus a couple over 28 inches by Alex. Many then moved to deeper waters in the Hudson where we used the few large bunkers that had been snagged in the morning plus a few more snagged on the spot. I released a 23-pound striper and another a bit smaller, while Susan lost two large fish after she had caught her first few small stripers on worms earlier in the trip. We ended up with 20 striper releases for the day along with many porgies, the sheepshead and the only small bluefish which Susan hooked.

Joe Greco from Ft. Myers, Fl.  (formerly of Edison) is up north for the summer, and joined relatives plus several old friends (including the famed Capt. Wood – Gene Graman) on a Sunday charter with Capt. Chad Hacker on Tagged Fish from Highlands. Greco  said they picked at sea bass for their two-fish limits while adding the one blackfish now allowed — and loading up with ling.

The White Marlin Open began today in Ocean City, Maryland. I’ll be adding a blog later with the first day weigh-ins.

At Brielle, the Big Jamaica reported another day with lots of chub mackerel Sunday plus some small blues and a few ling and sea bass. Paul Farrell of Howell won the pool with a reported 3-pound mackerel which would be huge for a chub.

The Jamaica II had a good week for fluke with lots of 4-to-6-pounders plus sea bass up to 4 3/4 pounds. Mike Collins of Toms River took the lad in the monthly contest with a 7 1/2-pound fluke.

There were good fluke reports today from Atlantic Highlands. The Fishermen finally saw more large fluke as the swell dropped down, and a 7.9-pounder took the pool. The Sea Hunter reported a pleasant surprise as most fares caught keepers, and one limited among lots of shorts. Midships Mike (below) took the pool at 6 1/4 pounds.

 

Midship Mike on S.H.It was the best of days and the worst of days during Saturday’s JCAA Fluke Tournament for James Gurski of Nazareth, Pa.  as he had the rare good fortune of boating a 12.40-pound fluke that was big enough to win the contest’s $50,000 grand prize for the largest fluke exceeding 12 pounds.  The only problem was that Gurski hadn’t paid the extra $25 to enter that portion of the tournament.  To top it off, he also wasn’t in the overall Calcutta. As a result, he only ended up with $4569 for the Sandy Hook port prize and the two Calcuttas there. The second largest fluke was an 11.79 doormat entry from Absecon Inlet that was caught by Matthew Cornman of Gloucester City to win the Southern Region, He was less than four ounces short of the $50,000 prize — but did win the overall Calcutta to bring his earnings up to $4,569. There was yet a third doormat, and Joe Spero of Lincroft was in both Jersey City Calcuttas to become the biggest winner at $8,638.

The complete results from Paul Haertel of the JCAA follow:

24th ANNUAL FLUKE TOURNAMENT
PORT PRIZE WINNERS

Come to the Awards Ceremony at The Clarion Hotel in Toms River
Thursday evening, August 9th, 2018
Come early to register (3 PM to 7 PM)
Awards Presentation and Drawings start at 7:00 PM

The 24th Annual JCAA Fluke Tournament took place on August 4th. The weather forecast of thunderstorms throughout the day along with big waves and heavy winds resulted in only 221 entries competing in 7 regions throughout our state. Though the weather was in fact bad in some areas during the morning, most areas had sun during the afternoon. The fishing turned out to be very good for many of our contestants.

There were three true doormats exceeding 10 lbs. weighed in during the tournament. The largest fluke weighed in was 12.40 lbs., 30” and was caught by James Gurski of Nazareth, Pa. He weighed it in at Gateway Marina in the Sandy Hook Region. James did not add the extra $25 to enter our doormat fluke category that would have won him $50,000 for catching the largest fluke exceeding 12 lbs. However, he and his team did win both Sandy Hook Region Calcuttas along with the 1st place region prize for a total of $4,569.

The second largest fluke in the tournament was caught by Matthew Cornman of Gloucester City. He did enter the doormat fluke category but his fish weighed 11.79 lbs., less than 4 ounces away from winning the $50,000 prize. Mathew caught his fish in Absecon Inlet and weighed it in at One Stop Bait and Tackle Store in Atlantic City. He only entered the $50 overall Calcutta but along with the 1st place region prize his winnings totaled $4569.

Joe Saro’s 10.59 lb. fluke was the third largest caught in the tournament. It was weighed in at Liberty Landing Marina. Joe was the biggest winner in this year’s tournament as he won the $100 overall Calcutta along with both Jersey City Region Calcuttas and the 1st place region prize for a total of $8,638.

Harvey Karp of Kearny, NJ had the smallest fish this year which won a region prize weighing in at 2.02 lbs. at Liberty Landing Marina in the Jersey City Region. Harvey was a previous overall winner in 2016 winning $13,319. All the winners from each region are listed below.

All told, JCAA will pay out a total of $31,852 in cash along with region prizes and door prizes worth thousands of dollars.

This annual tournament provides funds to help the Jersey Coast Anglers Association continue its fight for sound management of our fisheries and our marine environment while seeking to protect or enhance fishing opportunities for our recreational anglers. We are currently seeking more reasonable regulations for our recreational anglers.

The Clarion Hotel in Toms River is the host for the 24th Annual Jersey Coast Fluke Tournament Awards Ceremony. The Clarion Hotel invites tournament entrants to come and enjoy their facilities both before and after the awards ceremony. You can meet JCAA Executive Board members and representatives from our sponsors.

By attending the awards ceremony this is your chance to win the drawing for the boat, motor and trailer Grand Prize. In fact, 19 of the last 20 Grand Prize winners did not weigh in a qualifying prize fish in the tournament. Someone from your boat must be present to win the Grand Prize and any of the fifty or so great door prizes.

We want to thank all tournament participants and especially our sponsors for making the tournament a success. Our nationally known sponsors include Yamaha Motors, Starcraft Boats, Yacht Club Trailers, Tica Fishing Tackle, Fuel Ox, Costa Sunglasses, The Fisherman Magazine, and ICOM. The $1,200 First Place Port Prizes were sponsored by Fisherman’s Headquarters (for Long Beach Island), South Harbor Marina (for Barnegat Bay), and Liberty Landing Marina (for Jersey City) and the remaining ports by the JCAA. Jersey Coast Fluke Tournament T-shirts and hats will be on sale as long as supplies last.

The JCAA Fluke Tournament GRAND PRIZE Registration will be at the Clarion Hotel on Route 37W on Thursday evening, August 9th. Follow the signs to find the registration site. We will be in the Ballroom. Registration is between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM. At least one person from your boat must attend at the time of the drawing in order to win a prize. We expect a large turnout so please come early. Please bring your registration affidavit to save yourself time at the registration desk. There will be free hamburgers, hot dogs, mozzarella sticks and soft drinks served from 5-7PM. A cash bar will be open throughout the event. All winning numbers will be announced in the ballroom. We will also be distributing the port prizes for those in attendance. The registration desk will issue one ticket which is good for both the Grand Prize and for the door prizes. Additionally, we will be holding a huge a 50-50 raffle. Last year’s winner took home just under $2000. We really appreciate both your participation and patience and are sure everyone will have a great time. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you for your support.

2018 Fluke Tournament Port Prize List
(10 Identical Prizes for Each Port)

1st – $1200
2nd – Costa sunglasses and accessories
3rd – Canyon 5000 spinning reel
4th – Icom M-36 portable vhf radio
5th – Tsunami 4000 Shield spinning reel and Sapphire rod
6th – Tica Taurus TP5000S spinning reel and 12’ surfcasting rod
7th – Fishermen Magazine basket including assorted items and a 1 year subscription
8th – Fuel Ox additive, t-shirts and a Tony Maja bunker spoon
9th – Fenwick rod, JCAA t-shirt and hat
10th – Two dinner tickets to the JCAA Sportsperson of the Year Banquet

Also, any of the 1st through 9th place prize winners may exchange their prizes for two tickets to the JCAA Sportsperson of the Year Banquet which will be held on 11/11/18 at the Crystal Point Yacht Club. Tickets cost $80 each.

HERE ARE THE WINNERS FOR 2018
* Denotes $50 Port Calcutta Winner
** Denotes $100 Port Calcutta Winner
$ Denotes $50 Overall Tournament Calcutta Winner
$$ Denotes $100 Overall Tournament Calcutta Winner
1. Jersey City Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Saro, Joe *, ** $$ Lincroft, NJ 219 10.59 29.50
2nd Atlas, Marc Fairview, NJ 149 8.80 28.00
3rd Reily, William Morganville, NJ 216 5.65 25.50
4th Mastrangelo, Damon Cliffside Park, NJ 102 5.03 24.50
5th Semit, Dave Matawan, NJ 173 4.94 24.00
6th Cordano, Daniel Bayonne, NJ 133 4.60 23.00
7th Napolitano, Nick Fort Lee, NJ 206 3.79 22.00
8th Kinney, Jason Lebanon, NJ 222 3.39 21.25
9th Karp, Harvey Kearny, NJ 90 2.02 18.50
10th None
48.81 216.25
2. Sandy Hook Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Gurski, James *, ** Nazareth, PA 125 12.40 30.00
2nd Evens, Allan Jr Union Beach, NJ 163 8.43 27.50
3rd Manzi, Vito Morganville, NJ 204 8.36 27.00
4th Kelly, Steve Jersey City, NJ 171 8.04 26.25
5th Drumm, Jerry Upper Darby, PA 108 7.59 26.25
6th Herbert, Rick Ringwood, NJ 199 6.67 25.50
7th Smith, James Clark, NJ 129 6.34 25.75
8th Jakubik, Todd Colts Neck, NJ 46 5.63 25.00
9th McCarthy, Patrick Sayreville, NJ 232 5.17 24.00
10th Natelli, Jack Monroe, NJ 187 4.65 23.00
73.28 260.25

3. Shark River Inlet Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Dudinetz, Andy *, ** Brownsville, NJ 81 7.63 26.50
2nd Young, Billy Howell, NJ 230 7.57 27.50
3rd Schoch, Herman Paulsboro, NJ 83 7.57 25.75
4th Temple, Chuck Wrightstown, NJ 4 6.94 26.00
5th Ricca, Philip Westfield, NJ 217 6.37 24.50
6th Cronin, Pat Wall, NJ 96 5.83 24.00
7th Montgomery, Dylan Franklinville, NJ 233 5.64 24.50
8th Gurrieri, Joe Howell, NJ 211 5.42 24.50
9th Mizsak, George Hamilton, NJ 174 5.39 24.50
10th Goetz, John Cream Ridge, NJ 212 5.02 23.00
63.38 250.75

4. Manasquan River Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Coutant, Joseph * Brick, NJ 106 8.02 27.00
2nd Aives, Doug ** Old Bridge, NJ 35 7.92 26.00
3rd Houlman, Rodger Keyport, NJ 52 6.52 25.50
4th Remishofski, John Wall, NJ 39 6.35 27.00
5th Cameron, Bob North Haledon, NJ 36 6.03 25.00
6th Haley John Kendall Park, NJ 191 5.91 25.00
7th McCleary, Jason Jackson, NJ 208 5.9 25.50
8th Pleszia, Anthony Linwood, NJ 205 5.56 25.00
9th Cuba, William Piscataway, NJ 31 5.08 24.50
10th Wolf, Doug Stanhope, NJ 182 4.86 25.00
62.15 253.00

5. Barnegat Bay Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Chudzinski, John * Cherry Hill, NJ 122 7.40 26.00
2nd Majewski, Alex ** Barnegat, NJ 135 6.80 26.00
3rd Costanzo, George Barnegat, NJ 192 6.67 26.00
4th Bonilla, Peter Whiting, NJ 45 5.00 24.50
5th Caruso, Camille Forked River, NJ 158 4.96 23.50
6th Fay, John Forked River, NJ 88 4.78 24.00
7th Sorrentino, Matt Ship Bottom, NJ 198 4.59 23.50
8th Tice, Ed Beachwood, NJ 80 4.46 22.75
9th Engle, Tom Medford, NJ 162 4.38 22.75
10th Kostick, John Jr Lakewood, NJ 44 4.25 22.00
53.29 241.00

6. Long Beach Island Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Cliver, Kevin *, ** Sellersville, NJ 82 8.64 27.00
2nd Phillips, Richard Southampton, NJ 95 4.90 23.13
3rd Paoalella ,Dean Springfield, NJ 200 4.34 22.50
4th McKinnon, John Jackson, NJ 84 4.13 22.38
5th Trembula, Tom Cookstown, NJ 40 3.81 21.38
6th Rust, Brian Cinnaminson, NJ 53 3.81 21.25
7th Czamik, Jason Philadelphia, PA 111 3.70 21.00
8th Klebossis, Bob Manahawkin, NJ 137 2.92 20.38
9th Hoover, John Moorestown, NJ 183 2.85 20.00
10th Dean, Tom Little Egg Harbor, NJ 121 2.36 19.88
41.46 218.88

7. Southern Region (GB, OC, AC, CM, Port)
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Cornman, Matthew $ Gloucester City, NJ 226 11.78 30.00
2nd Trainor, Roy *, ** Wildwood, NJ 234 6.93 25.50
3rd Mosloskie, Tony Essington, PA 34 6.63 25.00
4th Schafer, Dan Del Haven, NJ 209 4.89 23.50
5th Fitzick, Tim Somers Point, NJ 33 4.08 23.50
6th DeChurch, Daniel Moorestown, NJ 103 3.62 21.00
7th Choynowski, Michael North Arlington, NJ 143 3.44 21.00
8th Spiro, John Browns Mills, NJ 148 3.29 20.75
9th Murray, Chris Northfield, NJ 71 3.23 20.50
10th Olswfski, Tony Florence, NJ 184 3.11 20.75
50.99 231.50

Total Weight/Length-Ft 423.66 151

 

White Marlin Open starts Monday with record $5.45 Million purse

The White Marlin Open at Ocean City, Md. gets underway Monday with 382 boats competing for a record purse of $5.45 million. I’ll have daily updates on the event, including an extra one at night after all weigh-ins are completed.

Sorry about the late blog, but I joined Chuck Many on a quest for NY-NJ stripers in 82 degree waters. It turned out to be a very interesting and very long trip which will be covered in the next blog.

There wasn’t much change in the few reports I’ve seen. The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reported it’sbeen pretty much the same since Tuesday with plenty of action when conditions are good, but not everyone finds 18-inch keepers among the many fluke caught.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported Sunday’s bottom fishing wasn’t quite as good as Saturday’s, but they still caught lots of sea bass  along with some ling and a fat fluke. That boat is chartered on Monday.

Waiting for the late summer variety

The usual surge of late summer visitors from the south hasn’t really started yet despite very warm waters,

There haven’t been any red drum reports so far, after some indications last year that those semi-tropical fish might be moving north with climate change as NMFS has been predicting.  I caught a puppy drum two days in a row from Point Peasant Canal last August, and wrote an article about several northern N.J. red drum catches which has been published in the August New Jersey-Delaware Bay edition of The Fisherman magazine.

Those who followed my columns and blogs in the Star-Ledger are aware of the fact red drum were not only present in N.J. waters a century ago — but were the primary inshore game fish of the central Jersey coast.

They were called channel bass in in those days. and almost all of them were over 20 pounds rather than the few small red drum we see today. The first two world records for the species came from the central Shore as anglers all over the country flocked to Barnegat Inlet to seek 40-pounders in late summer and early fall.

The minimum size for red drum in N.J. is only 18 inches, but there’s also a maximum set by the ASMFC at 27 inches. Thus, the 55-pounder caught in Great Bay in 1985 by Dan Yaniro (now owner of Captains Quarters Bait & Tackle on Long Beach Island) will stand until regulations may be changed in the future.

The first southern visitors I heard about were caught several weeks ago.  Raritan Bay pro Matt Calabria caught a small cobia there while fluking — just as I had done many years ago while weakfishing in the bay with Lou Grazioso. Then Maren Toleno caught a houndfish on a popper in Barnegat Bay, behind Island Beach State Park. Capt. Al Crudele of Bayhound from Sea Isle City  had a report on Facebook of several cobia in his area this week,

Southern species such as gray triggerfish and cownose rays have become regular summer visitors to northern shores, but sheepshead remain common only up to the south jetty of Barnegat Inlet — and unheard of in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

Paul Haertel of the JCAA  sends the following reminder:

JCAA Fluke Tournament 8/4 – Win 50 K – Last Call

The JCAA fluke tournament is this Saturday. You may register online until 11:59 PM on 8/3. You may also call the office and register on the phone during the day today or Friday. The recent marine forecast has improved as has the fluke fishing during the last week or so. This is our biggest fund raiser so we really need your support so that we can continue to work on behalf of our recreational fishermen.

Visit http://www.jcaa.org to register.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk took a rare day off, but the Ocean Explorer reports the weatherman was wrong as the ocean was calm and they picked away at fluke. The Golden Eagle continues to enjoy good action with sea bass along with some ling and fluke.

The Jamaica from Brielle had plenty of chub mackerel on its Tuesday and Wednesday trips along with some small blues plus sea bass and ling. John Sanecki (10) won a pool with a 4-pound sea bass.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands reports it was mostly short fluke today, but more keepers were taken than yesterday.

Joe Melillo reports from Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant that blackfish became legal again on Aug. 1, even though it’s only one at a 15-inch minimum. Green crabs are in stock, and one of the regulars had a 4-pound tautog to open the season in Point Pleasant Canal.

Shark River shore fishing was very slow the last two days. I managed only two small stripers on jigs Tuesday evening (down from four the previous evening) and just one this morning when Vinny D’Anton hooked a 23-inch striper on a 7 1/2-inch Sluggo.  Tommy Cox quickly plugged four blues on a white popper Tuesday afternoon, but never had another hit.

 

 

 

 

 

Great opening to WMIT

The Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club’s 49th annual White Marlin Invitational was a week late in terms of good weather, and thus took a beating in entrees as only 22 boats hung in with the contest that was  moved back to provide for better fishing weather. Even then, no boats sailed into still lumpy seas on Thursday. It came down to a three-day tournament for each boat to get in two days of fishing, and only nine boats took a shot at Friday — which turned out to be probably one of the best in WMIT history despite a wicked late afternoon  thunder storm the held up the weigh-ins.

Every boat caught or released fish. The total reported came to only five white marlin releases and one 8.95-pound dolphin — but the expected 15 yellowfin tuna and the hoped-for eight bigeye tuna plus a rarely-seen blue marlin weigh-in.

Melina, a BHMTC boat, had a great day with the blue marlin longer than the contest minimum, which weighed 356 pounds, plus three bigeyes from 86.3 to 117 pounds.  However, their bigeyes weren’t big enough as Mary Joe (bigeye specialists MJ’s) took the tuna lead with a 156.2-pounder. The first day was already a huge improvement over last year when Jersey Nutz won the Treasure Chest with only a 62.5-pound tuna

Though only 22 boats are involved, the Calcutta total up for grabs is $67,500. After yesterday’s fine fishing, there should be plenty of action at the weigh-ins this afternoon. The results came in much too late last night due to the storms, but there shouldn’t be any problem in getting another blog out when results are in tonight.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands did well all day with sea bass and mixed-size fluke despite a lack of current for drifting.

The Jamaica from Brielle reported a hot Friday bite of chub mackerel plus a few blues and lots of ling and sea bass’

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had another busy day today with sea bass to get the two-fish limits plus ling.

Capt, Dave De Gennaro is going to run open on Sunday for a trip to Barnegat Ridge with his Hi Flier from Barnegat for bonito and sharks  — and hopes the weather continues to look good Monday for the mid-range offshore areas that have been producing bluefin tuna.

 

There was no lack of boat traffic in Shark River this morning as stir-crazy boaters rushed out to sea. I managed a couple of small stripers casting from shore right away, but soon moved to the still somewhat rough surf where  I did nothing on poppers. Frank Manzi stuck it out with the small bass in the river and ended up with nine, while Vinny D’Anton got three there (including one on a Chug Bug) before adding another on that popper in the Belmar surf.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar found an 8 3/4-pound fluke that was close to the seasonal leader despite still large swells Friday. The Big Mohawk from Belmar did even better today as Joe Links boated a 10 3/4-pound doormat fluke.

TBM-Joe Links

Last minute mako wasn’t legal

Unfortunately, the last minute mako brought in by Seaquested to win Mako Mania turned out to be short when brought over to be weighed for Mako Fever.  The skipper had made the measurement on a curved fork length as with tuna. Yet, as I noted in my blog about the tournaments, sharks must be measured on a straight line basis. The measurement at Mako Mania was done while the shark was on the scale and with a Conservation Officer present, but when laid flat at Mako Fever it was inches short of their 83-inch caliper — and wasn’t weighed. Already disqualified there, that entry also awaits its fate when the Mako Mania committee meets. More about all this tomorrow.

Just ounces short of $100,000

Winning a tournament is a thrill for any angler, but the joy is modified somewhat when it turns out that the winning fish fell just ounces short of being worth $100,000.

John Frione from Ct. was fishing with Joe Bartnecki on KB3 from Shark River in the Staten Island Tuna Club’s Saturday contest that had a $100,000 prize for the largest striped bass over 50 pounds. Anthony Arcabascio Jr. was trolling near them off Sandy Hook when Frione trolled a bass of about the right size on one of Anthony’s father’s lures — a Tony Maja Magic Mojo. Frione was a runaway winner of the modest contest purse, but the scale recorded 48.9 pounds — just short of the magic $10,000 50-pound mark.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere was fishing the contest with his Katfish Charters from Great Kills, and managed to put together a striper catch — but without a bass to challenge the leader. He noted that Frione is a friend, and on the next day another friend caught the bass he needed the day before as Capt. Rudy on Lady L. II boated a 52-pounder.

h17 oz from $100,000

 

Yet another “50” was caught on Father’s Day — the eighth to be weighed so far this season at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina. Jason Hadzimichalis was trolling a Tony Maja bunker spoon from High Life off Asbury Park with his father William when the 54-pounder hit.

Father's day 54  The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant almost never has room on any of their canyon tournament trips, but the group scheduled for the Ocean City, Md. Tuna Tournament from July 13-15 fell apart. The Canyon Runner fleet has won lots of money in canyon tournaments, and this is an unusual opportunity for a group to pick up at the last moment.

It’s taken some time to track down last weekend’s shark weigh-ins at Brielle, but it appears that a 729.5-pound mako was weighed at Hoffman’s Marina for the Brett T. Bailey Mako Rodeo from Nor’ Easter. Capt. Tom Savastano had heard about that weigh-in over the weekend, but thought it wasn’t in a contest. I couldn’t find it on Hoffman’s web site, but came across it on their Facebook today. The Mako Rodeo organizers don’t send out press releases or maintain their web site. Last year it took weeks and many requests before I could find any results from that contest. In addition to the huge mako, there were other weigh-ins for Mako Rodeo listed in Hoffman’s facebook as follows: A 242-pound mako on Fin-ominal; a 206.5-pound thresher from Tra Sea Ann; and even a 196-pound bluefin tuna from Lucky Strike.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc was surprised to see very few fluke fishermen at Atlantic Highlands this morning. They must have read weather reports from earlier in the week that had predicted possible showers and thunderstorms in the morning. I didn’t see any of that in the forecast last night, and it was a picture perfect day. Semkewyc said fluking was also pretty good on his Sea Hunter with a couple of limits and a couple of 5-pounders.

The Jamaica from Brielle was in on yesterday’s big bluefish jigging bite that started out with 2-to-4-pounders. It was topped by the largest bluefish I’ve heard of this year — reported as a 20-pounder by Stephen Chesonis of Hopatcong. If he’s a Fisherman subscriber that blue would blow away the current leader in that division of the Dream Boat Challenge which is just 16.56 pounds from Long Island. As noted here last night, four of the 10 places in bluefish have been filled due to the 15-pound minimum. Golden Eagle from Belmar reported blues up to 18 pounds yesterday, but there was no report when this blog was published,

Speaking fof big blues, Vinny D’Anton of Wall was shocked to hook a 36-incher this morning in the Belmar surf on his Chug Bug. He said the fight lasted at least 15 minutes before he was able to release the chopper which may have been the largest in the Jersey surf during this disappointing season.  D’Anton also plugged two stripers up to 25 inches.

I had been casting at Spring Lake, but never raised anything to my popper there. A quick stop at Point Pleasant Canal on the way home around 7:30 revealed no one fishing at the public access, but I decided to make a few casts with the Z Man 6-inch jig — and I was surprised to catch two small stripers.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park had a big surf bass weighed in Monday as Terry Mcquad used bunker to attract a 42-inch, 31.10-pound striper.

Those attending tonight’s meeting of the Salt Water Anglers of Bergen County are in for a treat as famed fluke pro Dave Lilly of Hazlet is the guest speaker.  Lilly is a regular winner in almost every fluke tournament along the Jersey Shore. The 8 p.m. meeting is at the American Legion, 33 W. Passaic St., Rochelle Park.

Mimi VI from Point Pleasant has scheduled a Hudson Canyon open trip that will leave at 10 p.m. Monday night and return at that time Tuesday. It’s limited to 12 at a $400 fare.  Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.. That boat is also open for bottom fishing at 7 a.m. on Friday.

Manhattan Cup was a success

“Following is the report on Friday’s Manhattan Cup as provided by Garry Caputi of the RFA, who organized the event along with Capt. Frank Crescitelli:

 The Manhattan Cup is Back

 

On Friday, June 8th the return of the legendary Manhattan Cup Charity Striped Bass Tournament—presented by Yamaha—was held and proved to be a huge success. After a hearty buffet breakfast at the Liberty House 28 boats departed Liberty Landing Marina for a special two column blast off, the columns honoring those who lost their lives in the Twin Towers attack on 9/11. This was the 18th time the event was held, and it is back after a two-year hiatus.

 

“The fishing was tough,” said tournament co-director Capt. Frank Crescitelli, “but some of the teams, including the many donated boats carrying the 22 wounded warriors attending as tournament’s guests, caught a mix of striped bass and bluefish. Bluebird weather can make it hard to put together a good catch, but it did make for a great day on the water for everyone.”

 

The FCT Manhattan Cup included fishing teams in private boats fishing alongside boats donated for the day by the area’s top charter and light tackle guides. Its goals are to highlight the amazing fishery that exists within sight of downtown New York City, provide a great day on the water for at-risk veterans and generate funds for fisheries conservation. The event is all charity, with donations to the Fisheries Conservation Trust and toward sponsoring warriors who were assembled by our very own Robert Gil, a hero veteran of the Iraq War. He returned with physical and physiological wounds and credits the Manhattan Cup with saving his life. Today Robert is the Cups official warrior liaison and favorite son.

 

After a full day on the water the boats returned to the docks, the teams turned in their score cards and headed inside for beverages, dinner and festivities inside Liberty House a stone’s throw away from the docks. Crescitelli reprieved his role as master of ceremonies, as raffles and the live auction got underway raising money for the charities. Celebrity angler and astronaut Bruce Melnick—two-time space shuttle veteran and a hero Coast Guard rescue helicopter pilot—address the crowd and then auctioned off autographed replicas of the Shuttles Discovery and Endeavor, which he flew. Among the many exceptional auction items was a fishing trip for six aboard Wicked Tuna multi-season winner Capt. Greg Meyers’ Fishing Frenzy out of Oregon Inlet, NC and a $1500 fly fishing outfit by Redington and Sage.

 

“Many companies stepped up to help us put on the 18th Manhattan Cup,” said tournament co-director Gary Caputi,” and we can’t begin to express our gratitude and the appreciation of our warrior heroes who fished with us. A special thanks to Yamaha Marine for taking on the top sponsor roll recognizing the importance of this very special event.”

 

Sponsors included Liberty Landing Marina, Costa del Mar, Gray Taxidermy, Yeti, D&R Boat World, Raymarine, Mojo Sportswear, Maui Jim, AllTackle.com, AFW/Hi-Seas, Pettit, Tony Maja Tackle, Tsunami Tackle, The Fisherman magazine, Princeton Tec, Interlux, the Recreational Fishing Alliance, Guides Secret Fishing Gear, Fin Chasers TV and Mustad. Thank you all for donating.

 

The winners of the 18th FCT Manhattan Cup are:

 

Manhattan Cup Champion

Largest Striped Bass Overall– Steve Liesman fishing with Capt. Howard Owens

 

Bluefish Categories:

Largest Bluefish Private Boat – Al Ristori fishing with Guy Talarico

Largest Bluefish on Artificial – Bruce Melnick fishing with Capt. Frank Crescitelli

Largest Bluefish on Bait – Rick Dunn fishing with Capt. Vince Trapani

Largest Bluefish on Fly – Steve Liesman fishing with Capt. Howard Owens

 

Striped Bass Categories:

Largest Striped Bass on Private Boat – Marc Kennis fishing with Dave Rooney

Largest Striped Bass on Artificial – Karl Anderson fishing with Capt. Howard Owens

Largest Striped Bass on Bait – Steve Liesman fishing with Capt. Howard Owens

Largest Striped Bass on Artificial – Robert Gil fishing with Capt. Frank Crescitelli

Smallest Striped Bass –  Alex Folmar fishing with Capt. Pete Santero

 

Warrior Division:

Largest Bluefish – Robert Gil fishing with Capt. Frank Crescitelli

Largest Striped Bass – Roger Totten fishing with Capt. Ted White

 

Celebrity Division:

Largest Bluefish – Bruce Melnick fishing with Capt. Frank Crescitelli

Largest Striped Bass – Kim Melnick fishing with Capt. Frank Crescitelli