An August shore trifecta

Anglers don’t necessarily need a boat in order to enjoy New Jersey’s mid-summer variety. That was certainly the case for me this morning as I started casting from shore into Shark River, and then moved to the beach in Belmar,

Though there was little current in the river at first light, I managed to release three small stripers on a silver shad Z Man SwimmerZ. Then I tried casting a Chug Bug into an area where I hadn’t raised anything in a month, and started getting some surface action culminating in a blast by a 20-inch bluefish. Unfortunately, that was it for that spot, and I decided to give the surf a shot.

It was rough, but very fishable in an increasing SW wind. Nothing came up on the popper, but a bather told me she’d seen fins in the water. I switched to a Tsunami Shad, and it only took three casts before a cownose ray was headed offshore with my lure.  After a pitched battle for 10 minutes or so, I had the ray at the drop-off where it was able to prevent me from pulling it onto the sand until a larger wave provided  the opportunity to slide it in those last few feet. As a youngster volunteered to hold my rod, I was able to dislodge the lure and get the ray of about 40 pounds back in the water. Releasing heavy rays isn’t that easy once  they’re well above the wash as there’s no obvious gripping area. Yet, I’ve found that by potting a finger in each of the large eye sockets and pressing upwards against the solid head it’s easy to lift rays for release into deep enough surf.

Since I still had a jacket on from fishing at dawn, I worked up a sweat and decided that one ray was enough on a warm morning. I probably should have switched to fluke and added another species.

Stripers, a blue and a cownose ray all within a couple of hours and a few miles. Nice action for the shore-bound in a heavily-populated area during the dog days of summer.

Capt. Chris DiStefano  reported that there was a city at sea Saturday night in Hudson Canyon, and most of the boats there loaded up on yellowfin tuna chunking at night.  That should have set up a great trip without the mob scene for Sunday night on Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club.  Instead. there was hardly any action in the fleet. They had to troll most of the next day to jump off a small white marlin and troll three yellowfins in order to break the ice — though it looked as if the bite was developing when they headed in at 4 p.m.  Di Stefano  heard from other skippers that one boat had a mako of about 700 to 800 pounds hanging alongside Sunday night.

Adam La Rosa reports the Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant had a great weekend. The Viking was into yellowfins during the Friday to Saturday overnighter for an open boat party, while the Kevin McDermott party was fishing on the Ritchie Howell. Those boats had over 40 yellowfins, with more than half of them on the chunk.

Fishing was slower the next few trips, but the bigeye trolling bite continued. Capt. Phil Dulanie found three bigeyes for the Tom Cirsicks party.  An open boat trip produced an 68-inch bluefin as well as a blue marlin. Most of the bigeyes have been hitting Canyon Runner Green Machine spreader bars.

The weather reports must have scared off many anglers as there were few reports today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar noted that the ocean was a bit nasty today, but that didn’t bother the sea bass at all as they even hit diamond jigs and Sabicki rigs. Some ling and keeper fluke were also caught.

Capt. Vinny Vetere got into lots of big stripers up to the forties this week trolling his Ho-Jo lures from Katfish out of Great Kills. He may be running open on Thursday.Katfish striper

Hot weather — mixed fishing

One thing everyone could agree on today was that it was HOT! Unfortunately, there wasn’t a repeat of the hot Saturday fluking in Raritan Bay.

Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands said there was little drift, and power drifting didn’t help much this time.  June Benson started the day off right with a 5 13/16-pound fluke, and then added an 18-incher. However, only a few managed multiple keepers in contrast to yesterday on the Fishermen when all the fluke were at lest 19 inches.  The Sea Hunter had a similar report of decent fluking over the weekend despite the conditions.

John Vanderstad of Pompton Lakes had this pair of 6-pound fluke Saturday on the Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.

John Vanderstad 6-lb fluke

The Angler from Atlantic Highlands  settled their monthly pool yesterday as John Brock of Clifton held on all month with his 6 15/16-pounder to win $1,560.

The Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant had a last minute cancellation, and the 60-foot Ritchie Howell  is open for the July 2-3 overnighter. Yellowfin trolling has been hot as 72 were caught Saturday though the boats only trolled for seven hours.

canyon tuna on canyon runner

Mark Roy ran his Release Me from Raritan Marina in Hazlet out to the Chicken Canyon area yesterday and got into 50-to-60-pound bluefin tuna on pencil poppers. He and his crew caught four casting, and trolled a yellowfin on a spreader bar. A trip to the Hudson Canyon was fruitless, and overnighting only produced a brown shark.

There were no reports from the bluefish boats as of the time this blog was written.

It was delightful being on the Spring Lake surf this morning, but the only small striper I saw was caught by a fluke fishermen on Gulp. I switched from a popper to a Storm Searchbait jig to break the ice with a small fluke. Vinny D’Anton said he caught a short bass at Belmar on a Chug Bug, and Frank Manzi managed a 15-inch fluke on sand fleas at Spring Lake.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina is still raving about that 13 1/4-pound fluke from Shark River as reported here this week. Henny Green and Marty Westerfield have been catching lots of keepers in the river up to 4 pounds. Matthews has seen the first very small snappers in the river.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant is running open for bottom fishing on July 2, 9, 10, and 11.  Call 732 770-8019 for details.

 

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.