Calm weather produced stripers for boaters

Calm weather made fishing bearable for boaters this morning, and striper fishing seemed to be good for them.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a light crowd for Black Friday on his Sea Hunter, but they ended up with a boat limit of bass over 28 inches plus slots and shorts. Capt. Ron Santee had good striper action on the Fishermen and noted that red-tailed jigs were most effective. He emphasized that anglers must turn the handle in this fishery rather than just bouncing bottom with jigs.  My usual technique is to hit bottom, give a good bounce like a sand eel coming out of the sand — and then retrieve to about 1/3 of the way to the surface before pausing. A lot of hits come on the pause. Then drop down and do it again.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a good mixed jigging catch of short, slot and keeper stripers plus some blues.

Capt. Stan Zagleski said blackfishing was picky on his Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands, but those who worked at it did well.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will be sailing open for tog at 7 a.m. Call 732 370=8019 for reservations at $75.

The Big Jamaica is sailing from Brielle at 11 p.m. for jumbo sea bass on far offshore wrecks. There are some spots open. Call 732 528-5014. They’ll be striper fishing Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

I was armed with hand warmers this morning, but didn’t see any of the birds dipping on tiny bait at Point Pleasant Beach — and didn’t brave the cold as anglers didn’t seem to be doing anything. I made a brief try at sun-down in “balmy” 32 degree temperatures and released a small bass on an old J&J lead quid with a swiveling green tube. That  was the only one I saw caught on the beach,

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno found a pick of school stripers in the Seaside surf during the day, and saw a few 30-inch bass caught from among them.

 

 

 

hooked a couple of small blues recently in the Point Pleasant surf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackfish season for five fish opens

This is a second blog for today as I forgot to include the very important information that the blackfish season for five at a 15-inch minimum opened today and extends through the rest of the year. I doubt if anyone took advantage of that opportunity today unless they fished in Point Pleasant Canal or in the inlets. However, the bottom fishing fleet should be in business starting tomorrow with good weather ahead.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had already postponed his first trip for his specialty with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands to Saturday at his daily sailing time of 7 a.m.

Loads of small blues for boaters

It was just a few days ago that I was discussing the lack of bluefish this season with some other writers, but all that has changed for boaters. Shore party boats are running into whitewater action with mostly 1-to-3-pound blues as their anglers catch 15-fish limits quickly before the boats head offshore to chum large quantities of chub mackerel and possibly some slightly larger blues while hooking sea bass, ling and fluke on bottom. Joe Melillo of Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said he counted 37 boats fishing in front of Manasquan Inlet during the middle of the morning.

A few bonito, Spanish mackerel and small little tunny may be mixed in with the blues. Surfcasters get shots at those fish, but the action is sporadic with low tides at dawn and dusk while beaches are full of bathers and parking is often impossible during the day. While fishing the Manasquan surf early this morning, I saw a young angler cast metal at some fish that popped up within casting range and catch two very small bonito.

Nick Honachefsky  managed to catch his first Spanish mackerel casting from shore in N.J. yesterday morning.

Nick Spanish.jpg

The Jamaica from Brielle had one of those slightly larger blues offshore yesterday when Bruce Bates of Philadelphia won the pool with a 4-pounder.

Atlantic Highlands party boats had to fight strong currents today in their quest for fluke.  Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen said he never had to work so hard with so little to show for it. The Ambrose current was strong on the bottom while running in the opposite direction on top. A run offshore resulted in more current problems, while there was no drift further inshore. There was finally a bite late in the day, but it was mostly shorts. Yet, the pool fluke was just under 7 pounds, and there were a couple of very large sea bass boated.  The Fishermen is chartered Friday morning.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc was also frustrated by the poor drifting conditions on his Sea Hunter, but put together a catch of keepers among the shorts.

Capt. Stan Zagleski  didn’t fight the current conditions and went into shallower waters to pick some keepers on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reports it was such a nice day that there was little drift offshore. Fluking was way off from the previous day, but some fluke and sea bass were picked during short drifts on rock piles.

 

 

Boaters avoided tough ocean

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

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

Pieros fluke

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

Denny Coleman fluke

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

 

 

White Marlin Invitational coming up

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

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

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

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

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

 

Iris Rivera

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

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

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

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

Hawaii entry won July 4 Blue Marlin World Cup

There were 148 boats over much of the world fishing for a giant blue marlin during the July 4 World Cup competition. Blues over 500 pounds proved elusive until a last minute bite and overtime battle produced a 780.5-pound blue marlin for Troublemaker at Kona, Hawaii. With a $5,000 entry fee plus a Calcutta, that fish should be worth over a half-million dollars. Bermuda. which had a local tournament going at the same time, had the largest fleet with 38 boats that released 26 blues not big enough to win.

There wasn’t anything that exciting going on locally this weekend, but Capt. Ron Santee said some large fluke were caught from his Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands during the two hours of ebb tide available this morning. A 6.8-pound fluke beat out a 6-pounder for the pool. The action dropped off to only a keeper here or there after the tide change.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter at that port reported weekend fluking wasn’t as  good as it had been.

Allan Zertuvo

Allan Zertuvo of Old Bridge with a recent fluke catch to 6 1/8 pounds on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands

The bluefish boats didn’t look for the elusive choppers today, but rather took advantage of the sea bass abundance on bottom. Virtually everyone on the Golden Eagle and Miss Belmar Princess from Belmar had their two-sea bass limit. The latter also mentioned some ling, and a couple of days ago had the odd fish of the week — a remora (shark sucker).

The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported a pick of fluke in many areas plus sea bass. Fluke catches ran up to a few limits, and the pool winner was about 7 1/2 pounds. They will be sailing at 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, but are chartered Wednesday.

As soon as I wrote in last nights blog about the complete lack of bluefish in Shark River, Vinny D’Anton caught a cocktail blue on a jig there this morning. There was no repeat of the hot school striper bite on Saturday, but Vinny plugged a 21-incher and I got a small bass on a Kettle Creek jig. Vinny then checked the surf and found a trough where he released four small bass on sand fleas. The last one was attacked by a pit bull being walked on the beach, but Vinny saved it without thinking about what he was tearing it away from. Fishing can be a dangerous business!

Mako Fever results

 

Though third place money is in escrow due to a legal challenge, John Schachel of the Jersey Coast Shark Anglers was able to confirm the following payouts from the recent JCSA Mako Fever Tournament:

Big Nutz Required ran away with first place by boating a 258-pound mako worth $45,645. Tra Sea Ann took second for $10,252.50 with a 236-pound mako. The fourth place money of $16,900 (including the thresher Calcutta) went to Retainer for their  316-pound thresher.

Capt. Danny McGivney  had this fine mako alongside his Megan Beth from Clarks Landing in Point Pleasant during Mako Mania, but it was short of the 83-inch  minimum and had to be released. Photo courtesy of Capt. Dan McGivney.

Mako - McGivney

The legal dispute over Seaquester’s mako that turned out to be short of the 83-inch minimum when brought to Mako Fever has also held up results from Mako Mania where it had ween weighed at 207 pounds when measured incorrectly on the scale at a legal 83 1/4 inches.

It was another tough day of drifting for fluke in Raritan Bay due to light winds, but the long period of calm winds is coming to an end with SW winds into Friday and a NE blow on Saturday. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands said he scratched out a catch today topped by one angler who bagged three fluke. The pool went to a 4.5-pounder.

Also at that port, Capt. Ron Santee said his July 4 trip with the Fishermen was good for Big Mike from the Atlantic Star who caught five fluke of keeper size including the 5 11/16-pound pool winner.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had little drift on July 4 with his Elaine B.II from Bahrs in Highlands. but Ken Peters of Maplewood had two keepers up to the 4 11/16-pound pool winner. The youngster in the photo was happy with his two keepers.

Happy kid

There were no bluefish reports today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar limited with the two sea bass per person now permitted.   They also noted there were some mackerel on Tuesday afternoon’s trip, but didn’t specify Boston mackerel as on July 2. Boston is just a nickname for the Atlantic mackerel — a cold water fish which would be very unusual in the present very warm waters. The mackerel that were so abundant during the last few summers were chubs, and a shark fishermen told me he had chub mackerel in his Mud Hole slick recently.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported a hot porgy bite on July 4.

 

Jim Hutchinson Sr. filed the following report for the Beach Haven Charter Boat Association as follows:

“The Fourth of July has arrived in Beach Haven with hot, summer-like temperatures, and the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are finding the fishing action heating up in a similar fashion.

Captain Jimmy Zavacky had the Robinson family out on the “Reel Determined” for an enjoyable day on the water. With the help of first time junior mate Zach Rietmann and experienced mate Liane Lopez, they boated many sea bass and sea robins while fishing on a local reef.

Last Sunday the “Hot Tuna” with Captain Bob Gerkens at the helm did the 90-mile run to the Baltimore Canyon. Weather conditions were excellent as the boat was able to cruise at 25-knots in both directions. The group of anglers had a good day of trolling yellowfin tuna as four were caught. Capt. Bob reports he has been hearing of a good inshore bluefin tuna bite also.

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” has been running two trips a day in local waters for fluke, and the fish are keeping his anglers busy. He had Stanley Gola of S&S Bucktails out with his sons who managed to box three nice keepers. That same afternoon he had Ali Gurko, her brother Vince, and Corey Cordell out. Vince served his country in United States Army for 4 years. Wind against the tide made it tough, but the group managed three keepers to 24.5 inches. Another trip he had Rich Sanborn of Levittown, Pa, out with his two sons Sean and Ryan. Sean is home for a week from the United States Navy. They worked quite a few areas with the S&S Bigeye bucktail, and the trio boated over 30 fluke with 4 keepers-24, 21.5, 19.5, and 18 inches.

The first Junior Mates Class was held with 17 eager youngsters on hand to learn about fishing. Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.bhfca.net

Allen Riley of South Plainfield fished the Sandy Hook surf with Gulp this morning nder good conditions, but only came up with a short fluke.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall caught four small stripers on his Chug Bug at Belmar, and Frank Manzi added another release this morning. I couldn’t raise a thing to the Chug Bug at Sea Girt, but saw a couple of mini-bass such as we had in the surf last fall caught on small jigs.

Fluke tournaments are coming up, with the Sandy Hook Bay Anglers running their 37th annual 2-day contest on July 14 and 15 for a guaranteed $5,700 in cash prizes out of Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina.  For info visit http://www.sandyhookbayanglers.com.

 

My Christine wins Bluefin Open at 191.5 pounds

The Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club took advantage of the improved bluefin tuna fishing this year, and sponsored a successful first annual Bluefin Open tournament that was won by Neil Franzoni’s My Christine with a 191.5-pound bluefin that took the basic entry $7,040 prize. Douglas Johnson was second on Double D at 180.5 pounds, and Robert Wedeking third on Over Ride with a 155-pounder. Haley Adyson took the day 3 prize with a 132-pound bluefin. The yellowfin tuna Calcutta was won by The Right Place with a 64.55-pound entry, and the small boat Calcutta (35 feet or smaller) went to On The Line for a 48.7-pound bluefin. No one could come up with a dolphin for that prize.

The MRMTC Jack Meyer Trolling Tournament also concluded with a big change after Frank Criscola’s Crisdel had a sweep going until the end. Pete Torcicollo on Clean Livin took over first with an 81.20-pound yellowfin, followed by Rob Wedeking’s Over Ride at 53.60 pounds — while Crisdel hung on for third with a 48.65-pound yellowfin.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano said the big yellowfin bite in the canyons cooled off as the waters blended and most of those trolled were small.

That jumbo bluefish jigging that the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant found Sunday and Monday wasn’t repeated today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported the blues didn’t cooperate so they switched to bottom fishing for a boat limit of sea bass (two per man) plus some porgies and a couple of ling. They will sail at 7:30 a.m. for July 4 blues. Miss Belmar Princess stayed with the bluefish hunt until mid-morning before switching to sea bass and porgies. They’ll also be seeking blues on July 4 at 7:30 a.m.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported it was a lot cooler on the water today than forecasted, and fluking was OK with a showing of 3-to-6-pounders plus a pool fluke just under 7 pounds. They note that spinning rods and Gulp have proven to be a “huge game changer”.

The Sea Hunter had the only report from Atlantic Highlands, and Capt. Rob Semkewyc notes that he only had a few anglers aboard due to the weather forecast — though the heat wasn’t bad at all today as they had a slow start before finishing up well. A 5.6-pound fluke took the pool.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had a tight finish for the pool during Monday’s trip with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands as Bob Evans of Waldwick (center) and Anthani Limaxes from New Milford each had 7 1/16-pound fluke — but were nosed out when young Dominic Rocco of Parsippany boated his first keeper fluke on his first fluke trip at 7 1/4 pounds.

Elaine B three 7's

Vinny D’Anton of Wall found the right trough in the surf this morning and released seven small stripers on his Chug Bug. I tried Shark River and quickly caught a 21-inch striper on a jig, but never had another hit.

Steve Mirande, a follower of this blog, reports he was catching fluke from the Bay Head surf on Monday morning when he was surprised by a 23-inch striper that hit his jig.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be bluefishing at 7:30 a.m. on July 4. A $15 coupon for adult or senior fares is available on their web site.

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

Little change in council appointments

NOAA Fisheries made very few changes to fishery management councils in this year’s appoinement process. with almost everyone reappointed to new three-year terms.

The New England Council will have Matthew McKenzie of Ct.; Terry Alexander of Maine; John Quinn from Maine; and Eric Reid of R.I. in the obligatory seats plus Vincent Balzano of Maine at-large.

In the Mid-Atlantic, Tony Dilernia  of N.Y. returns along with Adam Nowalsky of N.J., Peter Defur of Vir., and Sara Windslow from North Carolina.

It appears that the early thunder and lightning scared off most fishermen as there were no reports. The marine forecast had warnings for hazardous seas into tonight, though the wind forecasts for the rest of the week are only 5-10 mph from the west.

 

Capt. Stan Zagleski of Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands reports fluke being cleaned on his boat often have mantis shrimp in their stomachs. That strange-looking creature has long been a favorite of stripers and weakfish in Raritan Bay. They’re also a great permit bait in Northwest Channel at Key West if you can find them in shrimp boat “trash” (by-catch)

mantis shrimp.jpg