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Still waiting for official results of WMO

Last night’s late blog summarized the major results of the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Maryland, but I’m still waiting for the official results that were supposed to be sent today. Those would include the winners of  the release categories.

Now on to the 27th annual MidAtlantic Tournament out of Cape May from Aug. 19-24. That event had a $3.2 million purse last year. For info call 908  884-0177 — or e-mail southjerseytournaments.com.

Rain wasn’t much of a problem today along the Jersey Shore, though NYC and western Long Island got blasted.  The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported that rain held off all day,  and they caught lots of chub mackerel along with some sea bass,  ling, and fluke — plus even pollock and dolphin.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee said there was more easterly wind than forecasted, ad it combined with a strong current to create a very fast drift  requiring heavy sinkers. As a result, fishing was off from Friday’s banner bite — though some quality fluke and sea bass were boated on the Fishermen.

Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant,  reports bonito were caught at Bay Head Friday evening by anglers casting metal. Bonito are a very rare catch in the surf (I’ve only caught one myself), but they were drawn in by an abundance of rainfish. Melillo said small pods of cocktail blues were in and out there and further south this morning. He noted that crabbing remains excellent, and there are plenty of snappers around.

There had been rainfish at Manasquan yesterday morning, but I didn’t see any this morning.  The waters looked good, but I never raised a thing until my last cast before having to move my car from a spot that became prohibited at 7 a.m. Fortunately, that 23-inch striper hooked up on a Chug Bug.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro ran his Hi Flier well to the southeast last Sunday where  he anchored up to chunk tuna. Jigging produced a surprise 16-inch ilex squid which was sent out on a float  and attracted an 80-pound bluefin tuna that was fought by Matt (with yellowfin below) and Tess Tebaldi of Manahawkin. A call from Brian Ewan on Dora Lee about a yellowfin trolling bite not far away inspired a change in tactics, and ended up trolling two 40-to-50-pounders.

Matt Tebaldi Yellowfin .JPG

Two 20-to30-pound yellowfins were trolled Monday among whales and dolphins. De Gennaro switched to sharking at Barnegat Ridge  Tuesday as small Atlantic sharpnose sharks provided action for Michael Fuhrman of Cherry Hill while Steve Karl of Loveladies released about a 200-pound dusky, and Erin Froose from Altona, Pa. released a 120-pounder.

Millions at stake during last day of WMO

With 324 boats fishing the final day, there’s likely to be some changes in the distribution of  the millions involved in the White Marlin Open out of Ocean City, Maryland. I’ll have the final results later tonight after the weigh-ins have been completed.

Though the tuna fishing has been way below expectations so far, billfishing has been good with 568 marlin caught during the first four days — and 559 of them released.

The big winners at this point would be the 83-pound white marlin that took over first place yesterday for Gregory Giron on Underdog for a projected $2.6 million — and the 881-pound blue marlin boated by Joe Rahman of Wanaque, N.J, on his Auspicious for a projected $700.000. Actually, the tuna winner could be in  the same area, depending on how many Calcuttas the eventual winner has entered. Gary Sansburry took the lead yesterday at just 75.5 pounds on Buck Shot .

Inshore anglers were treated to another fine day. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a real variety as they started off with small blues, then had some Spanish mackerel before going back to blues plus chub mackerel, sea bass, ling and two 5-pound fluke. On  Thursday they also had a bonito over 5 pounds and a pollock, The Ocean Explorer at that port had good fluke fishing with many limits for those jigging Gulp baits.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro has been catching tuna on offshore trips and sharks at Barnegat Ridge with his Hi Flier from Barnegat. He’s open over the weekend, and I’ll have more about his fishing tomorrow.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo went from South Plainfield to Sandy Hook this morning along with Duke Matero of Piscataway. They found calm seas with so many rainfish in the wash that the small waves were dumping some on the beach as they tried to evade snappers. in the 78 degree waters.  John caught a couple of short fluke on Gulp, and Allen lost a keeper fluke in the wash when it  gave up its hold on a live snapper.  Duke caught a mystery fish which they thought might be a pilotfish. It’s pretty hard to identify from the photo, but it might be a banded rudderfish.

 

At Atlantic Highlands,, Capt. Ron Santee said he finally had another banner day on the Fisherman as the Columbia Bank charter had both fluke action and quality. Marty Herrman of Branchburg took the pool with an 8.22-pound fluke as he limited and added the two sea bass allowed. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter  had a similar report of good fluking.

The Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands has also had good fluke fishing this week — as shown below.

Elaine B II winning fluke

Capt. Vinny Vetere of Katfish Charters in Great Kills continues to do well with stripers. A father and son team caught bass up to 26 pounds today among lots of  big smooth dogfish. He’s open for Saturday.

Vinny D’Anton fished north of Manasquan Inlet this morning, and came across a spot where stripers were rolling in schools of rainfish. He managed to release a 27-incher and a small bass on a Chug Bug before it was over.

 

Capt. Jim Freda of Shore Catch Charter from Point Pleasant has been catching yellowfin tuna at the mid-range grounds with his Shore Catch from Point Pleasant as illustrated by this shot of Rich Brunger of the Salt Water Anglers of Bergen County party.

DDDRich Brunger yellowfin.jpg

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

 

Jerry Kramer — Hall-of- Famer & angler

It was good to see Jerry Kramer receive long-overdue accolades last night during the Hall of  Fame pre-season football game. I remember watching Kramer make a great block on the Cowboys’ Jethro Pugh to clear the way for  Bart Starr  to score on a quarterback sneak after three running plays had failed on the minus-18 degree sheet of ice in Green Bay as the Packers came from behind to win  the famed “Ice Bowl” 1967 NFL championship on their last chance with just seconds to go and no time outs left.  It was that game which cemented my interest in professional football.

Kramer was the anchor of those great Vince Lombardi  Packers teams, and he seems to have stood up well over the decades despite the beatings a guard has to take on every play.

It was many years later when I fished with Jerry in the Bahamas and teased a shark in the 150-pound class into a hit that provided him with a lengthy  battle on relatively light tackle.

That occurred during one of Bill Munro’s Mako Marine Outdoor Writers trips during which we’d run Makos from Palm Beach over to various cays in the Bahamas — invariably taking a beating either coming or going across the Gulf Stream in the center consoles.  Kramer joined us on a couple of those trips, and proved to be a friendly, unassuming partner who really enjoyed the sport.

There’s a photo of him during that battle with the shark in my Outdoorsman’s Edge Guide to Salt Water Fishing as I stand alongside with the tagging stick. Since no blue marlin were trolled during the trip, that shark release won Kramer the award for largest fish — a unique addition to what has to be a huge collection of football awards now topped by the Hall of Fame.

Though I didn’t get any notice about the Community Fire Company Fluke Masters Tournament out of Leonardo, there was a note from Ron McClelland on Facebook noting that the event has been postponed from Saturday to Sunday. The 7:30 p.m. captains meeting will go on this evening.

Ironically, the small craft warnings that have been up this week went down today. The south wind forecast for Saturday isn’t bad, and seas are only predicted to be 3 to 4 feet, though there is a likely chance of showers and thunderstorms — whereas Sunday looks to be perfect,

The statewide JCAA Fluke Tournament will go on as scheduled because there’s always protected places to fish for fluke.

The only party boat fluke report today came from the Big Mohawk out of Belmar. They had a good day with lots of action and many limits of fluke up to 7 pounds. They sailed at 6:30 a.m. and will do so until future notice.

Also at Belmar, the Golden Eagle had another good day with sea bass plus a few ling, a fluke and some chub mackerel.

Shark River shore casting was totally dead this morning as both Vinny D’Anton and I failed to get a hit despite good conditions. but no bait. He also checked the area beaches which were very shallow then — and somewhat cooler after all the south winds.

An angler who fished Point Pleasant Canal in the morning said there were schools of peanut bunkers going through, but nothing on them. He didn’t get a hit while flyrodding.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports fluking is still the best bet in the surf. Tyler Pierce brought in a 3-pound, 20.5-incher he caught on Gulp in Island Beach State Park,

Tyler Pierce

WMIT ended with few changes — Doormat on Sea Hunter

The 49th White Marlin Invitational ended Sunday evening at Beach Haven with the only big change being the weigh-ins of two respectable dolphin — 10.9 pounds on Marine Max and 12.9 pounds by Outer Limits.  The 22-boat fleet ended the tournament with mixed results as Hard Four led the way with three white marlin releases plus tuna of 59.5 and 102.5 pounds. Smokin Again, Business and Melina each had a white release, and Endless Drifter boated a 66-pound bigeye.

That brought the tournament total for 22 boats fishing two days each to 12 white marlin releases. 37 tuna weighed, four dolphin, and one blue marlin. Melina had the 356-pound blue, and was the winner on points over Hard Four, Jersey Nutz (with a Saturday catch of a white release plus bigeyes of 140.5, 115 and 111 pounds), Nora Angela, and Reel Determined. However, Jersey Nutz came out slightly ahead in Calcutta earnings with $22,308 to Melina’s $21,622.  Mary Joe (the MJ’s crew)  won their tuna specialty with Friday’s 156.2-pound bigeye and had $11,250 in Calcutta winnings. Nora Angela won $10,246, and Reel Determined earned $2,668.

The volume of bigeyes in the canyons continued to be impressive, though many weren’t much larger than yellowfins. The volume of white marlin was disappointing, though it wasn’t surprising that one large enough to weigh wasn’t brought in. So far, dolphin remain as scarce as they were in last year’s canyon tournaments, and no wahoo were encountered. There’s been no word so far on winners of the various prizes other than Calcuttas.

The first doormat fluke reported so far by the Raritan Bay fleet was boated today on the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands by Willie Meyer.  Capt. Rob Semkewyc said it weighed 11.8 pounds,  and there were also some  4-to-6-pounders as the fishing was much improved.  A couple of fares had limits and there was lots of action,

Willie Meyer-11.88

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported solid fluking with a good number of 4-5-pounders and a pool fluke of about 9 pounds. They’ll be sailing no later than 6 a. m. tomorrow.

The Golden Eagle had hot sea bass fishing for a boat limit (two per man) plus ling.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo of South Plainfield plus Duke Matero from Piscataway fished the calm Sandy Hook surf this morning, but weren’t using Gulp for long as masses of snappers were nipping their tails off. Instead, they cast snapper poppers to catch the baby blues for fluke bait.  Though no fluke hit them, Mazzeo released a 3-pound bluefish and lost another in the wash — the first blues they’ve seen in some time. Allen ended up releasing a large sea robin.

I finally raised some fish to surface  lures in Shark River this morning, but the only one I hooked came off quickly. Vinny D’Anton caught two small stripers on his Chug Bug at the same time.  Flycaster Bill Hoblitzell had earlier caught a mix of school bass and blues.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno from Point Pleasant fished for sharks at Island Beach State Park  yesterday evening to release three browns and a blacktip. on chub mackerel. Though those sharks were in the 40-pound class, much bigger sand tigers are a possibility.

Maren with shark

Matt Slobodjian at Jim’s Tackle in Cape May sent the following report: “The weather finally broke, and for the first time in a week people are starting to get out. Fluke fishing has been best at the Old Grounds the last couple of days. There have been quite a few boats coming home with limits; but the bigger fish are tight to the bottom structure. There are a lot of fish on the Cape May Reef, but a ton of shorts with only a few keepers mixed in. There is still plenty of action in the backwaters for fluke. We’ve seen some nice fluke coming from Cape May Harbor and the intercoastal waterway heading up to Wildwood. We are starting to get some reports from Brown Shoal in Delaware Bay of some decent fluke catches. Tuna are still at Massey’s Canyon. The “Hooked Up” caught 4 bluefin trolling the area around Massey’s. It was an early bite and the action was over by 8 am. The canyon bite was ok, but not on fire. There was a bite between the Wilmington and the Spencer for tuna and a few marlin were caught there as well.
The beach fishing is slow, but more kingfish are starting to show up in the surf. By far the best beach fishing has been for sharks, with multiple releases of browns, sand tigers and a few blacktip hookups.”

A few spaces remain available for the Outdoor Women of NJ Workshop, to be held Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center  off Island Beach State Park.

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 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. 

 

 

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