Watch out for whales!

It’s a thrill to watch a huge whale fly out of the water before crashing back into the ocean — unless your boat happens to be where the whale is coming down.

Joe Daley passed along some info about that happening to an unfortunate boater yesterday off D St. in Seaside Park.

An internet check of various accounts indicated that the incident occurred about 11:50 a.m. yesterday, and that the two anglers were unhurt and able to swim to the nearby surf. The estimated 25-foot boat was trailered off the beach a few hours later.

When whales were making a comeback several decades ago, I was tuna fishing on Mako outboards out of Montauk and started seeing them swimming under the boat at times as I chunked. That was a little scary at the time, but they never seemed to rise up to threaten a boat that would have been only a toy to them.

However, shallow water is a different story. Boaters are usually fishing very close to a school of bunkers that the whale may also be interested in, and there’s nothing you can do short of moving away to prevent a long-shot accident.

There may not even be any sighting involved. I once hooked a whale while casting a 1/4-ounce bucktail jig for school stripers off Ocean Beach even though I hadn’t seen it surface at any time. By unning with the annoyed whale I was able to shake the tiny hook out of tough skin that I knew it couldn’t penetrate.

Tuna fishing relatively close to shore exploded today as Capt. Dave De Gennaro put a charter on his Hi Flier out of Barnegat into “lots of unders” before tangling with a 70-inch bluefin that was fought for 2 1/4 hours on stand-up tackle.

Allen Riley fished the Sandy Hook surf this morning with Duke Matero and Frank Huza. They had ideal conditions with the water temperature way up to 64.5 degrees. Riley had a hit on his bunker bait during the first cast, but that was it as nothing was caught by any of the anglers on the beach. There were bunkers well out of casting range, and two whales put on a show for them.

Despite having to avoid an armada of kayaks, Capt, Chris Di Stefano joined Jimmy Herrick for limits of fluke again in Navesink River. Just after the limits were filled, Chris had to cut loose a 7-8-pounder.

I tried casting into Manasquan River from shore for the first time this spring and only had one hit on a 5-inch Z Man paddletail, but that was from an unexpected 19 1/2-inch fluke that felt like a doormat after only having caught shorts this spring. It was released as thanks for saving my morning.

Tomorrow starts with light south winds of 5-10 knots, but goes to 15-20 with gusts to 25 knots in the afternoon.

Fluke fishing improving — 9.4-lb. boated

Fluke fishing is improving in northern N.J., and the largest reported to this blog was boated today on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands  — a 29-inch, 9.4-pounder boated by Scott Ure. That was his second largest fluke ever, as several years ago he caught an 11.2-pound doormat on the Fishermen. A 5-pounder took second in the pool, and Capt. Ron Santee said the morning action was much better than yesterday. The Madison Boy Scouts were aboard to enjoy the day.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said he had tough conditions for his first fluking trip of the season — and was happy with his new full-day schedule. The Atlantic Highlands boats will try to get out Sunday despite a forecast of gusty NE winds.

Capt. Stan Zagleski was happy with the morning fluke bite on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands as some regulars managed limits among lots of shorts. Zagleski will be sailing early at 6 a.m. Sunday.

The entire bluefish fleet from Brooklyn to Point Pleasant gathered at  Shrewsbury Rocks to jig the small bluefish that have been dependable all week. I joined Bob Correll of Bay Head in his Boston Whaler to look for stripers north of Manasquan Inlet, and we ere able to snag some bunkers from occasional flips, but saw no signs of stripers. When we got to the Shrewsbury fleet there were only a very few blues being hooked amid a constant blasting of horns as party boats kept moving to jump on readings due to a lack of birds on rainfish . Bob lost the only blue he hooked, but we did jig a few small sea bass and windowpanes off bottom along with a sea robin and a skate during a brief attempt. The blues must have turned on at other times as party boats reported fair to good bluefish catches. The Golden Eagle from Belmar also added sea bass and even winter flounder.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano was part of the crew on Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club on Friday that trolled seven large stripers from Deal to Flynn’s Knoll. They were fishing in the ongoing Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Clun Striped Bas Tournament and weighed in bass of 39 and 42 pounds — but are just behind entries of 42 and 45 pounds. Di Stefano said today’s trolling reports were very spotty, but he heard there was a showing of bass on top very early in the morning off the Red Church.  Capt. Dave De Gennaro ran his Hi Flier from Barnegat all the way up there, but had no luck trolling. He bailed out in Barnegat Inlet on the way back as his party cast shads to 3-to-4-pound blues. De Gennaro said the early Barnegat Bay run of jumbo blues just didn’t happen this year after three straight great springs.