It’s Mako Mania time

The 33rd Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association’s Mako Mania Tournament gets started this evening with a 6:30 p.m. captains meeting at Wehrlen Brothers Marina on Princeton Ave. in Brick. N.J.  Anglers can fish either of the next two days — or opt to fish both by paying two entry fees. All boats sail out of Manasquan Inlet, and weigh-ins are from 4 to7 each day at Capt. Bill’s Lamding in Point Pleasant.

There’s expected to be about $250,000 in cash prizes, and Lester Glenn Auto Group will present a 2018 Chevy Silverado to the angler who breaks the state shortfin mako record of 856 pounds.  There’s also a provision this year that if no mako making the new 83-inch minimum length (a straight line measurement from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail) is weighed, the largest thresher shark of at least 66 inches will be eligible for all prizes.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Remember that each boat is limited to one shark. If last weekend’s BTB Mako Rodeo is any guide,  it doesn’t appear that they’ll be any problem in finding a few big makos among a large fleet.

Nor’Easter put a 729-pound mako on the scale at Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle to run away with that contest and blew away the old tournament record of 401 pounds. Other makos and threshers were weighed in, and Fin-Ominal won the first mako Calcutta with a 242-pounder.

The 40th Jersey Coast Shark Angler’s Mako Fever continues through Sunday. Anglers entered in that contest were relieved to find that Nor-Easter’s mako wasn’t also in Mako Fever. However, Big Nutz Required jumped on top of the leaderboard this week with a 258-pound mako.

The N.J. sea bass season concluded today. so there will be more pressure on ocean fluking.  Raritan Bay fluking wasn’t very good today, and Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands said he couldn’t fish every spot as it got a bit nasty at times in the east wind. Yet, there was one limit, and the pool fluke was 4.5 pounds.

Tank Matraxia joined the family and friends fluke charter arranged by Marty Gras of Lyndhurst today on the Bingo out of Atlantic Highlands. He said fluking was a tough pick in the bay with only a few keepers, though the kids caught a couple of 23 1/2 and 24 inches. With about 30 people aboard, there were only 30 short fluke big enough to be tagged by the American Littoral Society volunteers aboard.

The bluefish fleet in Raritan Reach had a tough day of jigging. The Golden Eagle from Belmar  reported it was nothing like the last four days as they only got a few brief shots of big blues. Miss Belmar Princess only got a shot of small blues early before scratching out some up to 12 pounds as there was none of the surface action they had been seeing.

Point Pleasant Canal was quiet this morning except for one very excited little girl who fought a 30-inch striper to the landing net.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall was happy to catch two small stripers on his Chug Bug in Shark River before heading to the surf. The east wind created good white water conditions for fishing sand fleas, and he quickly caught two stripers — including a 32-incher. I went down to take pictures of his fish, and gave it a try that resulted in a 29 1/4-inch release before losing two others on-and-off with circle hooks.

Vinny’s bass was so fat that we expected it was full of sand fleas. Yet, it turned out that it only had hard-shell calico crabs and a rock crab in the stomach — and was still carrying roe though the spawning period was over a month ago. Some stripers don’t spawn every year, and reabsorb their roe.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be making another tilefish trip that departs at 10 p.m. Sunday. Call 732 528-5014 for details and reservations.

Those who would like to fish fresh waters in New York State have the opportunity to do it for free this weekend.

Maren Toleno of Point Pleasant was surprised by this houndfish while casting a popper on the bay side of Island Beach State Park recently, but Jerry Lasko’s dog Bunker was properly wary of those small, but sharp teeth

Bunker & houndfish.jpg

Still time for anglers to enter Friday’s Manhattan Cup

The weather forecast for the revival of the Manhattan Cup on Friday looks great, with sunshine and light west winds. That should be a big change from many of the past events which were held earlier in the spring. The first I fished featured wind and rain which turned to sleet — before ending in thunder and lightning. I’m looking for a much nicer day Friday in the contest to benefit wounded warriors which will be held at the much more accessible Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City.  There’s still room for anglers on charter and private boats that were volunteered for the fundraiser being promoted by the Recreational Fishing Alliance.  Any angler wishing to join in the fishing and the festivities from breakfast to a big dinner and prize party at Liberty Landing Restaurant should call Capt. Frank Crescitelli at 917 468-4817 or Gary Caputi  at 732 740-9982.

Fluke fishing was surprisingly tough today.  Capt. Stan Zagleski expected much better with a extra hour of outgoing in the morning, but the early bite on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands didn’t hold up.  There were some limits, and decent keepers (as shown below), but shorts dominated.

Elaine B Weds, fluke

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee  of the Fishermen reported it was a pick for a couple of hanfulls of keepers among many shorts. One angler released 14 shorts. The pool went to a 4.3-pound fluke.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a similar story on his Sea Hunter as he had to do a lot of moving for a few limits up to 4 pounds while some fares only caught shorts.

At Belmar, both the Golden Eagle and Miss Belmar Princess jigged some fussy small blues early before switching to sea bass to add to the catch.

Capt. Vinny Vetere was disappointed in the striper trolling from his Katfish out of Great Kills as only smaller bass up to 25 pounds cooperated even though he stayed out an extra hour. He’s open both Thursday and Friday.

 

Vinny D’Anton of Wall had a fine morning of shore fishing when he caught a couple of stripers up to a 25 1/2-incher and four cocktail blues on his Chug Bug in Shark River before going to a local beach to fish with sand fleas. After starting with a short, the bass turned on and he kept a 28-incher before staying much longer than expected to end up with six up to 31 and 35-inch releases. His bass had calico crabs in its stomach along with some sand fleas and a clam-baited hook from some unfortunate angler who has probably been telling stories about the big one that got away.  I got to the river late, but was surprised by a 21 1/2-inch stripers that blasted a relatively large Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper, and also released a small blue that destroyed a Kettle Creek soft plastic.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported that surfcasters fishing clams for mostly short stripers are catching ever-larger black drum up to over 26 pounds. The only surf blues have been hitting bunker chunks.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno of Point Pleasant cast poppers on the bay side of IBSP in the morning, but the only hit came from a houndfish that grabbed Maren’s popper. Those tropical needlefish aren’t normally seen this far north until late summer.