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The WMIT is set to roll

The Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club’s White Marlin Invitational begins the summer series of offshore tournaments with lots of money involved. That contest begins Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. with registration at the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club, followed by fishing from Thursday through Sunday after everything had to be moved forward a day due to offshore weather forecasts.. Fishing hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In addition to the Beach Haven weigh-in, there will be another at Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle.  For details visit http://www.thewmit.com — or call Dave Ridley at 908 963-5924′

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant will be fishing that contest with high hopes after doing very well with bigeye tuna this summer.  Indeed, Friday’s bigeye catches were unprecedented as the Viking 48 had 14 and the 60-foot Ritchie Howell added nine. bigeyes on canyon rnunner

Bigeyes were scarce during last year’s tournaments, and Jersey Nutz won $78,000 in the WMIT Treasure Chest with a “mere” 62.5-pound tuna. Almost any bigeye should be large enough to clear yellowfins off the leaderboard.

The lack of bigeyes  was a problem during the July 11-14 South Jersey Yacht Sales Offshore Showdown at Cape May as Jack Beattie won the tuna division with a 52-pounder that was barely ahead of three 51-pounders, a 50 and a 49.

The Canyon Runner fleet has an unusual open Saturday overnighter on both boats which can be chartered — or seats reserved on an open boat basis for $899. Call La Rosa at 732 272-4445.  They will also be fishing the fifth HUK Big Fish Classic that will be run out of ports from N.J. to Virginia from July 27-29  for overnight fishing. For info on that contest visit bigfishclassic.com.

Thanks to Al Hrehowsik for sending the results of Saturday’s Raritan Bay Anglers Fluke Tournament out of Perth Amboy that was won by Manual Prado of Union with a 7.85-pounder worth $1098. That fluke hit Gulp fished near the Verrazano Bridge as he and Cassiano Dos Santos added five other keepers up to 4 pounds.  See photo below with the trophy presentation.

Second and $500 went to a 5.57-pounder that Billy Anderson of Bedminster caught while fishing with Bryan Pieros of Leonardo on his Bid Time in Ambrose Channel. Brian Cleary from Bayonne was third for $323 as he used Gulp in N.Y. Harbor to catch a 5.4-pound fluke from Jason Zebrowski’s boat. Scott and Kathy Jo Kaelin of Parlin won $210 for fourth with a 4.92-pounder as both had limits in Raritan Reach.

 

A tug and tow ended up stuck on the sand bars at Lavallette this morning, and efforts to pull it off during low tides were fruitless. Hopefully, that can be accomplished om the high tide tonight. Bob De Pietri of Sharky’s Machine took the following shots:

barge aground off Lavallette

 

tug on beachThe weather forecast probably kept most anglers home today. I didn’t see a single boat while casting from shore in Shark River, but didn’t see many fish either. I managed two small stripers on a jig, and Bill Hoblitzell  got one on a fly while Frank Manzi raised a fish to his popper.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported some fluke were caught in the surf despite rough and dirty waters yesterday morning. They note that snappers are getting larger and more common both in the bay and surf. That’s bad news for surfcasters using Gulp as they’ll be sacrificing a lot of Gulp tails to snappers from now on. Grumpy’s also noted that before the rough seas there were “tons” of cownose rays in the surf.

Joe Melillo. at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant says fluke are being caught at the south end of Point Pleasant Canal — and boaters are doing very well with them from there into Barnegat Bay. Crabbing has been outstanding.

The only boat report today came from Capt. Rob Semkewyc, who barely had enough customers to sail his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. The south wind was a problem right away — and then it got worse. Semkewyc had to fish calmer waters that produced mostly short fluke as there were fewer keepers than yesterday. With the forecast of more wind plus rain for tomorrow, the Sea Hunter won’t be sailing until Thursday.

 

Sportfshing groups hail House passage of Modern Fish Act

Major Step Toward Becoming Law

The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed H.R. 200, a bipartisan bill that includes the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 (Modern Fish Act). This historic vote marks the first time the priorities of the recreational fishing sector are included in the reauthorization of our nation’s primary marine fisheries law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Recreational fishing organizations, led by the American Sportfishing Association, unified to pass this legislation which incorporates the recommendations of the Morris-Deal Commission — allowing alternative management tools for recreational fishing which is enjoyed by 11 million saltwater anglers who have a $163 billion economic impact and support 440,000 jobs.

Unfortunately, some so-called environmental groups fought against the interests of the recreational fishing public. Though H.R. 200 passed by a vote of 222 to193, the bipartisan bill was opposed by Democrats 178 to 9.

The Natural Resources Defense Fund (NRDF) portrayed the bill as opposing protections for fish stock rebuilding  while displaying an almost child-like view of the accuracy of marine science. As the organizer and director of the Emergency Committee to Save America;s Marine Resources in the fight for the 200-mile fisheries limit, and a member of the first Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, I can testify as to the accuracy of the science we operate under.  The NRDF appears to be completely unaware that the two largest volume fisheries in the NY-NJ Bight have almost completely disappeared under that science — the annual migration of Atlantic mackerel and the Mud Hole whiting (silver hake) fishery — both of which came back after the devastations of the foreign fleets but are now only a memory.

That science has also come up with such estimates as New Jersey’s  shore fishermen catching 168,000 more tautog than the entire party/charter fleet along the whole east coast caught in March/April, 2010 — when any fisherman or marine biologist can tell you there are few, if any, blackfish in shallow waters during very low water temperatures.  Yet, crazy numbers like that are used to set regulations. More recently, there was a similar big number for N.J. shore fishermen on sea bass. We do catch lots of very small young-of-the year sea bass from late summer to fall, but I’ve never heard of a legal sea bass caught from shore in New Jersey. If any reader knows where that can be done, I’d appreciate knowing about it.

The New Jersey House delegation was split in it’s support of recreational fishing, with long-time sportfishing supporter Rep. Frank Pallone being the only state Democrat in support as Gottheimer, Norcross, Pascrall,, Sires, Payne and Watson-Coleman all voted against the interests of their sportfishing constituents. Republicans LoBiondo, McArthur, Smith, and Frelinghuysen voted in favor — but Leonard Lance was one of just 15 House Republicans to vote no,

The next step is to get Senate approval before an almost sure presidential signature.

The Raritan Bay Anglers 28th annual Charity Fluke Tournament starts off a busy fluke contest weekend, but the captains meeting for that Saturday contest is this evening at 7 in the Moose Lodge, 989 Convery Blvd., Perth Amboy. There will be $11,220 in prize money (based on 200 boats). Call 732 489-6360 for information.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported better fluking today for anglers on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands as they also enjoyed a picture perfect day.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported catching lots of chub mackerel and sea bass during Wednesday’s trip — but also their first dolphin of the season and a blacktip shark.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported good surf fluking, and noted that all you need is Gulp. Every fluke weighed there so far has been on Gulp. Betty & Nick’s reports outstanding crabbing in the bay, where snappers are building up for perfect big fluke bait.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall was surprised to find a rough surf at Belmar this morning despite the lack of wind, but he still managed one small striper on a Chug Bug. Three more were added in Shark River on small Storm Searchbait and Zoom jigs, but when some small bait showed up on the surface later in the morning the only thing that worked on the small bass was a 7-inch Sluggo. that was much larger than the bait fish.

Gluggo

Close finish in SHBA Fluke Tournament

Bob Cameron of North Haledon took over the lead in the Sandy Hook Bay Fluke Tournament on Saturday with a 26-inch, 7.2-pounder, but that contest is a two-day affair — and Larry Natelli of Fords took the $3,000 first place on Sunday with a 26 1/2-inch 7.4-pound fluke. Cameron finished second for $1,000 plus $200 for the first day leader.

Jeffrey Guiliano of Salisbury Mills, N.Y. picked up $600 for third with his 26-inch. 7-pounder — while a similar fluke was fourth for $350 by Bob Moskal of Highlands. Robert Socia of Hazlet was fifth for $250 with a 25-inch 6.8-pounder. Mike Menzel of South Amboy won $125 for his sixth place 26-inch, 6.6-pound fluke. Seventh and $125 went to Emilio Ameno of Matawan for a 26 1/2-inch, 6.4-pounder  — and Joseph Ciervo from Eatontown finished the scoring with $75 for a  25 1/2-inch, 6.2-pound fluke. Debbie Gencarelli won the ladies rod and reel prize donated by Atlantic Bait & Tackle with a 23-inch, 4.4-pound fluke.  Capt. Brian Dunn noted that over 80 fluke were weighed in over the weekend at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina.

The N.J. Outdoor Alliance asks anglers to call the office of Gov. Murphy at 609 292-6000 to request he sign  bill numbers S2793/A4255 which would increase much-needed funding for marine fisheries. That increase was worked out last year between Gov. Christie and the legislature but not included in the new governor’s budget.

Veteran surfcaster Joe Milko got the surprise of his fishing career this morning when a very small striper he was reeling in was engulfed by a shark. Joe only saw the dark shape, and couldn’t identify it. Chances are good that it was a brown or sand tiger as Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park has reported that both species have been providing action there for those who specialize in fishing for sharks at night. Lots of cownose rays have also been reported there, while the best surf bet in the day has been fluking.

A boat shark fisherman also had a surprise, but not from a shark. Rob De Pietri was sharking at Shark River Reef when a N.Y. Police boat boarded his Sharky’s Machine with the explanation that they are deputized by NOAA Fisheries to enforce highly migratory species regulations everywhere. What they were doing so far from N.Y. wasn’t explained. They took a photo of the boat’s permit, and noted that not having it aboard would involve a $500 fine.  Sharking was no good, but the chum slick was full of chub mackerel.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported a lot more action today on his Sea Hunter, even if it was mostly from shorts. Capt. Ron Santee said the morning flood tide was poor on his Fishermen, but he found some sea bass later that included Mike Nolan’s 4 1/2-pounder.  However, the change of tide late in the trip produced a good fluke bite that enabled Santee to bail out in “overtime”. The Fishermen is chartered on Wednesday.

Vinny D’Anton took is grandsons, Brandon and Lucas Longo of Manasquan, to their local beach this morning after he caught a school striper earlier on a Chug Bug. They tried fishing with sand fleas and came up only with a skate. Just before leaving, Vinny told Lucas to make a few casts with the Chug Bug — and he hooked a 27-inch striper that fought him for eight minutes.

Costa Rica dorado & wahoo

Capt. Pete Wagner of Hyper Striper at Highlands put his daughter Nicole and niece Amanda into wahoo and small dolphin last week off Los Suenos, Costa Rica.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

i

Capy. Ron Santee

Bluefish hearings being conducted

Public hearings on the Bluefish Allocation Amendment continue tonight at 6 p.m.  in Ocean City, N.J. Public Library , 1735 Simpson Ave. — and Thursday at 6 in Ocean County Administrative Bldg. , 101 Hooper Ave. Toms River, N.J.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc reports today’s fluking in Raritan Bay aboard his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands wasn’t nearly as good as yesterday due to wind against tide conditions. The Thursday morning forecast of showers and thunderstorms is marginal, but he’ll be shaping up in case it turns out to be fishable.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle reported a good Tuesday afternoon trip for ling after the morning trip had produced only  a few small blues and some porgies on jigs.

The Big Mohawk had some fluke limits during Tuesday’s trip. They will sail at 7 a.m. Thursday and Friday, but at 6 a.m. on the weekend. Light winds are forecast right through Monday.

Capt. Vinny Vetere has been trolling stripers every trip with his Katfish from Great Kills, and has openings Thursday, Saturday and Monday.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall had the hot hand in Shark River this morning as he quickly caught three small stripers on jigs before later adding another on his Chug Bug. I got there a but late, but managed one small bass on a Tsunami shad.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported a few big blues being caught in the surf on bunker, while fluking is good on bucktails and Gulp. Crabbing from the bay docks is picking up.

Sun-up at Sandy Hook. Photo by Allen Riley

Sun-up at Sandy Hook.jpg

Canyon fishing has been hot

Adam La Rosa reports the spring canyon season has left little to be desired for his Point Pleasant boats. The two boats combined for 42 yellowfin tuna, 10 bluefin tuna, four mako sharks, and two bigeye tuna during one overnight trip. The makos caught at night were released as they were short of the new 83-inch minimum. Though most of those fish were caught in the canyons, some of the bluefins were trolled coming or going in the Glory Hole — such as the one below.

ffCR Glory Hole bluefin

Fluke fishing was surprisingly good for the northern party boats depite the east wind being against the current all day as skippers used their engines to create drift. At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc had five limits on his Sea Hunter, while Capt. Ron Santee, Sr. put on a clinic by catching fluke of 5 and 7 pounds on his son’s Fishermen while others were happy with the number of  3-5 1/2-pound fluke sprinkled in. Capt. Stan Zagleski reported a 5 1/2-pound pool winner for Mike Pylypyshyn of Little Egg Harbor on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.   \

 

 

Elaine B limitAs good as the fluking was in Raritan Bay, it was the opposite when Tank Matraxia and his Lyndhurst crew fished in the normally productive and protected waters of the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers with Capt. Fletcher Chayes on Two Rivers Charters from Highlands as only a few shorts and sea robins hit.

The bluefish fleet had another tough day after being spoiled by all those huge blues jigged last week in Raritan Reach.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere lost last Saturday to the weather, but made up for it Sunday with a good striper catch on Katfish Charters from Great Kills.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall had a hot hand in the Spring Lake surf Monday morning when he caught three 21-inch stripers on a MirrOlure  plug, and later added two more releases to 24 inches on his Chug Bug — before finishing up with a 23-incher on sand fleas. There were three anglers, including me, keeping Vinny company this morning, but nothing was caught.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo of South Plainfield fished the Sandy Hook surf early Monday morning, and enjoyed the great sunrise while catching only a very small fluke and a few sea robins on Gulp.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park is encouraged with two verified reports of sand eels in the local surf.

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.

Big money mako shark contests coming up

There will be lots of money at stake in the upcoming mako shark tournaments which get started this weekend.

The opening tournaments were somewhat disappointing, but that might have been due to the late and cool spring. However, water temperatures are up to 60 degrees and betting closer to the 64 degrees usually favored by makos.

Last weekend’s South Jersey Shark Tournament at Cape May only produced one mako at the new 83-inch minimum. Another mako didn’t make the contest’s 200-pound minimum, and there were only 29 mako releases by the 68-boat field. Gina L. ran off with $117,826 for their 269-pound mako.

I happened to come across a round-up of the 2002 South Jersey contest by Nick Honachefsky for comparison. During that contest, the winning mako was 443 pounds, and 1,115 sharks were caught. That included 264 makos, with 19 boated and 245  released.  Blue sharks are usually a pest early in the season, and 844 were caught in 2002.  This is the only N.J. contest that offers a prize for a blue shark, but only 54 were caught this year — and none of them made the 200-pound minimum for the prize money.

The official results for the Warriors for Warriors Charity Shark Tournament out of Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle produced just one mako of 86 inches and 225 pounds that swept the mako Calcuttas for Tra Sea Ann. Just Bill Me had the big shark with a 243-pound thresher. The new tuna division was no contest for Miss Tres at 121 pounds, with Taylor Jean second at 35 pounds.

The 17th annual Brett T. Bailey Mako Rodeo will be contested out of Hoffman’s Marina West in Brielle from June 14-16 with a new 48-hour format.  The captains meeting is on June 14 at the marina. Visit http://www.btbmakorodeo.com for details.

The Jersey Coast Shark Anglers also jump into action with a new format as their 40th annual Mako Fever runs from June 16 to 24 — allowing contestants to pick good weather days and fish as many as they want to by paying entry fees for each day. The captains meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on June 15 in Manasquan River Club, Brick. For details visit http://www.jcsa.org

The Greater Point Pleasant Charter Coat Association waits until June 23-24 for their 33rd annual Mako Mania which will be run out of  Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant. The captains meeting is on Friday June 22 in Wehrlen Bros, Marina on Princeton Ave. in Brick. For info call 732 892-3666 or visit gppcba.com

Matt Slobdjian reports from Jim’s Tackle in Cape May as follows: “The tuna bite really turned on last week in the canyons. The fishing moved from north to south throughout the week. The water was in the Lindenkohl and the Spencer canyons mid-week and moved down from the Spencer to the Wilmington by Saturday. There were good numbers of yellowfin, bluefin, and also some bigeye tuna caught through the weekend. A couple of large blue marlin were sighted, but not hooked up in the same areas.
Drumfish are still biting, but have slowed down a bit. They are still being caught at Tussy’s Slough and in the lower Bayshore Channel.
We are starting to get some fluke reports from the artificial reefs. The bite is not great yet, but some nice fish are being caught on the party boats and private boats fishing the reefs.
Small blues are starting to show up around the inlet rockpiles early morning and again in the evening. There are still some weakfish around the inlet as well.
The surf was slow last week, but we did see the first few kingfish come from the Point, and we weighed the first nice fluke from Sunset Beach for George Barnard from Folcroft Pa.  — a 4.23lb., twenty-two incher caught on a bucktail with a squid trailer.”

Capt. Chris Di Stefano of Wall got word from offshore that the good water has moved out, and canyon boaters are on the prowl again.

CR canyon tuna

Canyon Runner tuna last week

The forecast of some rain seemed to scare off most party boat anglers today. The Sea Hunter didn’t get out from Atlantic Highlands after having a good pick of fluke, including some 4-to-6-pounders, Tuesday until the SE wind shut it down. That wind also hurt the afternoon trophy striper trip as some areas weren’t fishable. Some bass were marked, and Capt. Rob Semkewyc saw a few caught by trollers — but there were no hits on bait. He’s giving it another try at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Also at that port, the Angler reported that their 7 a.m. sailing time put them into a good fluke bite Tuesday morning, including their best drift of the year with 22 keepers coming aboard. Dennis Fuchs of Cranford won the pool for the second straight day with a 5-pounder. Juan Cortez of Bayonne had a very long 35-inch fluke for Sunday’s pool, but it was so thin that it only weighed 5 1/2 pounds.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle got into lots of small blues splashing under birds today — and they stayed up most of the day even though they were a bit fussy. Jigs and teasers also produced some sea bass and a short striper.

I was satisfied with the light tackle casting in Shark River this morning, as I released two 3-pound blues and a small striper on a Z Man 6-inch Swimmerz jig, but there wasn’t much life despite a complete lack of boat traffic. I only had one other bump, and Vinny D’Anton of Wall raised just one small fish to his Chug Bug — which got off before being identified. Jim Louro of Spring Lake barely beat the rain to release a 26-inch striper on sand fleas at the beach. He caught a smaller bass and a 20-inch fluke there Tuesday morning when D’Anton caught two small bass and an 18-inch fluke on the bugs. There doesn’t seem to be any volume of bass in the surf, but the good news is that all being caught are in perfect shape — with none of those red blotches seen on almost every surf bass last summer.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield was surprised to see a rough surf Tuesday morning at Sandy Hook even though there was no wind. His bunker chunks produced only a 13-inch fluke and a “huge” sea robin, while Lou Vargas of Fanwood released a 16.5-inch fluke on bunker.

SH surf

Tank Matraxia and his crew from Lyndhurst fished Tuesday with Capt. Fletcher Chayes on Two Rivers Charters from Highlands as they worked Shrewsbury River for nine legal fluke including one over 5 pounds while using Gulp, killies and squid. Matraxia placed 15 ALS tags in the shorts.   He also received info from the American Littoral Society of a tag return from a 23-inch striper he tagged on Nov. 29, 2017 while fishing off Sandy Hook with Chayes. It was recaptured on June 7 at the west end of Nantucket, but the angler didn’t supply the length. That was Matraxia’s 203rd  ALS tag return.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reports Tuesday’s surfcasting was improved, with a pick of blues on bunker in the evening in the park — and a few bass — including the release of a 36-incher on bait

Sharks starting to show in surf

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

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

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

 

 

Mike Schmidt 7-lb-Elaine B

 

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

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

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

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

There were no bluefish reports today.

 

 

Makos biting in South Jersey contest

Shark fishermen gearing up for mako tournaments will be happy to hear that plenty of makos are being released in this week’s South Jersey Shark Tournament out of South Jersey Marina in Cape May.  That contest has long had a high minimum for makos, but there are still enough being weighed-in to settle the big pay-outs.

Through Friday, the mako leader is a 269-pounder on Gina L, followed by a 249-pounder on My Time. El Cid III weighed a 278-pound thresher.

Smooth dogfish made chunking for stripers in Rartan Bay a losing proposition during Friday’s Manhattan Cup as I fished in the sportfishing category with ex-N,J. Assenblyman Guy Talerico plus his son Alec on their JerSea Patriot along with Joe Massa of My Three Sons in Morgan  as we kept at it to finally come up with a single entry — a small bluefish that managed to get hooked by my large circle hook with a bunker chunk.  On a day when blues were hard to come by, that won me the anglers award in the Sportfishing  category of the release contest while an equally-shocked  Talerico took the captain’s award.  I’ll have the complete results in a blog tomorrow.

I told Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights about that dogfish invasion, and he found exactly the same thing this morning on his Aquasport out of Atlantic Highlands — without even a blue getting through.

Also at that port, Capt. Rob Sembewyc of the Sea Hunter said fluking was slow today in an almost complete lack of drift. His June 12 trophy striper afternoon trip is sold out, but there is room on the June 19 and 21 trips from 2:30 p.m. until dark.

The Fishermen had did well with fluke on Friday in a new area with bait being recorded as there were a few limits and a 7.2-pound fluke by Mr. Hughes. Capt. Ron Santee said small Gulp and bait has been the best bet — “Big bucktails not so much”.

Capt. Stan Zagleski was impressed with the effort today by young Gavin Myers of New Egypt who made his first fluke trip with his dad and not only limited — but also took the pool on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands, Zagleski said most fares bagged a fluke or two during an all day pick. That boat sails at 6 a.m. Sunday.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle found the small blues to the north not cooperating — so they switched to sea bass before getting a report about bigger blues about an hour away. They took the chance, and stayed late to get a good pick of 5-to-10-pound blues on jigs.

Bluefish in Shark River this morning didn’t respond to Vinny D’Anton’s normally deadly Chug Bug, but I released three by casting a 6-inch Z Man Swimmerz paddletail on a jig head — and added a 20-inch striper.  The first blue was a 25-incher, but skinny  The others were 18 to 19 inches. and two more got off. Vinny released a small bass on a jig before heading  for the beach where both he and Jim Lauro released a short on bait.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported bait is still the best bet for surf stripers.