$3,368,490 on the line during last two days of the MidAtlantic

After a Wednesday during which all 157 boats entered took a lay day for the first time in the event’s 14-year history, the MidAtlantic was back in action today and concludes tomorrow at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland as the distribution of the $3,368,490 purse will be determined.

Though the ocean looked good inshore yesterday, there was an offshore forecast of 20-30 knot winds. Running a canyon trolling tournament in hurricane season is always risky, but the MidAtlantic has been blessed with fishable weather after a northeast wind blew through before the first day. The first two days produced a remarkable release total of 387 white marlin and 16 blue marlin as 44 boats fished the first marginal day after the northeaster with good results — and 156 were out the next day  — as the contest averaged over two billfish per boat day.

There was also a showing of bigeye tuna after they had been absent at the recent White Marlin Open where the tuna awards went to modest-sized yellowfins.  Indeed, Capt. Mark De Blasio strained the scales Tuesday with five bigeyes on Blue Runner, and is in a second place tie with Toddy Time at 114 pounds – just behind the 116-pounder by Da Sea.  Though impressive, there’s still plenty of room for improvement in that category as the MidAtlantic record is a 254-pound bigeye on Bernard and Drew Dinardi’s Absolut-ly in 1993.

The big-money white marlin category got filled in quickly as two 73-pounders were weighed the first day by Justin Blanning of Wall, N.J. on 3’s Enough and on Special Situation.  Andrew Hall of Chester, N.J. moved into third Tuesday with a 68-pounder on Lucky Lady Jean — just ahead of Intents at 66 pounds and Gusto with a 65-pounder. None of those whites are sure things as the MidAtlantic record is 95 pounds by Topless in 2009.

Maybe I should send my wife, Kathy, down there to help out as her only white marlin was a trophy caught while sharking with me before we were married, when I kept my Mako 22 in Montauk. She hooked a white that took a small bunker drifted in Butterfish Hole. Even after being out of the water all day, it still weighed 99 1/2 pounds at Montauk Marine Basin — winning the Outdoor Life national contest that year.

As noted in yesterday’s blog, the blue marlin category remains wide open with a 400-pound minimum, despite all the smaller blues that have been released. The 43-pound dolphin by First Light appears to be the most likely entry to stand, though the contest record is higher still at 56 pounds on American Lady in 2010. The Zipper leads in wahoo at 71 pounds, which could stand even though it’s well below the MidAtlantic record of 97 pounds set by Joanna in 2009.

I’ll have a late blog with updates after the weigh-ins close at 9 p.m.

I was wondering about Climate Change this morning as I was shivering in a light jacket while casting a Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper into the surf  north of Manasquan Inlet. I’ve never before been chilled during an August morning on the beach, but that northwest wind was cool. A fat 23 1/2-inch striper hit the plug as I was about to lift it out of the water for another cast,  and I later also released my first surf bluefish of the year — a mere 17-incher.

Vinny D’Anton caught two small stripers nearby on a Storm Searchbait, and later moved further north to catch two more on a Chug Bug.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said the last two days have been windy, creating a fast drift that produced good action though not as many keepers (see below) as he’d like to see on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands.

Flike on Sea Hunter

Tank Matraxia and his Lyndhurst crew had good fluking off the Rockaways with Capt. Chad Hacker on Tagged Fish from Highlands as the seven anglers totaled 21 keepers from 19 to 23 inches with only a few shorts. Tank only put ALS tags into four fluke. He had a particularly good day catching six legal fluke. Surprisingly, there was almost no variety with only a couple of sea robins boated.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a fast drift to start, but it settled down for good sea bass and chub mackerel action plus some blues and fluke along with “some nice sharks”  — a notation I’ve never before seen from a party boat.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported a variety pick of blues, chub mackerel. sea bass, blues, fluke and bonito.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported lots of fluke were caught in the surf Wednesday, particularly in Island Beach State Park. They note that the 6-inch Gulp produces more keepers though there’s less action.  Matt and Megan Roser show off their 2.1-pound blue and 1.6-pound fluke from IBSP on bunker and Gulp.

Kid's blue & fluke

Big change in weather coming tomorrow

Northeast winds gusting to 25 mph are forecast for later tonight, and it certainly should be cooler for fishing  tomorrow — but hopefully not too rough.

Getting a drift shouldn’t be the problem it was today for Capt. Rob Semkewyc on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. He said there was too much bottom current in the deep, but the drift didn’t cover much ground. As a result, action was off from yesterday, the high hook only caught 12 to 15 shorts and there was just a pick of keepers.

Capt. Stan Zagleski said he left the strong bottom currents in the deep and found a fair number of keepers among shorts in shallower waters with his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.

The hot bluefishing of the last few days along the Shore wasn’t repeated after yesterday afternoon’s hard south winds lowered the inshore water temperatures. At Belmar, the Golden Eagle reported blues were hard to tempt. though better anglers managed about a dozen before they headed offshore for variety bottom fishing and jigging that produced some sea bass and chub mackerel plus a couple of 4-to-5-pound fluke among shorts.  The Ocean Explorer noted that the weatherman was wrong about the weather and they had a beautiful day for fluking.

The Jamaica from Brielle had hot jigging for small blues on their Friday morning trip along with some bonito, A move offshore added sea bass, fluke and chub mackerel. The Big Jamaica has another tilefish trip coming up on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 10 p.m.  Call 732 528-5014 for reservations. John Gorman boated a 50.2-pound tilefish on the last trip.

Jamaica variety below.

Jamaica varietyAt least there were no reports of whales overturning small boats today. This week’s incident off Deal serves as an alert for boaters, though there really isn’t anything you can do to prevent such a rare occurrence. Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant had a whale almost do the same thing as he was running at high speed out of Manasquan Inlet a few years ago.

The northeast wind may upset casting for semi-tropical species, but I got a report of a cobia being caught yesterday at Manasquan Inlet.

Capt. Vinny Vetere had to do a lot of running with his Katfish from Great Kills on Friday, but he found striped bass that would hit trolled Ho Jos and live bunker in the western L.I. Sound, though chunking was no good. He may have an opening tomorrow.

There was no such excitement in Shark River this morning, but I had light tackle sport with four school stripers on the Z-Man Swimmereez jig.  Frank Manzi did the same on a jig, and finished up with a small bluefish. Vinny D’Anton had caught a schoolie on a Chug Bug in the surf at Belmar the last time I talked to him.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported lots of bait and small blues in the surf on Friday along with fluke and some exotics.

The MidAtlantic opens tomorrow with 4:30 p.m. captains meetings at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland. Fishing for a purse that should be well over a million dollars starts Monday and continues through Friday.

 

 

Get some Spanish mackerel while they last

The present abundance of rainfish has attracted great numbers of small blues to the Jersey Shore, along with some bonito, little tunny, chub mackerel and even Spanish mackerel. The latter is a semi-tropical species which is only spotted here during some late summers. and normally is hard to get a shot at as they only arc out of the water and disappear.  Though Spanish mackerel are commonly caught from the surf on both sides of Florida, they’re a relative rarity here. Like bonito, they usually respond best to small, very fast moving lures such as small metals and bucktails.

The Spanish mackerel we see here are normally small. Yet I can testify to the fact that they grow larger. When I was a Navy officer stationed at the Naval Base in Trinidad, West Indies in 1961 I used to troll many of them in the Caribbean from a 20-foot pirogue carved from a single tree and powered by an old West Bend 12 hp outboard. Most were just a couple of pounds, and I’d never caught one over 5 pounds until Oct. 18 that year when I was shocked to boat an 11-pounder on a small white feather. The IGFA didn’t keep world records for Spanish mackerel until many decades later and the present world record isn’t much larger — at 13 pounds from Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina. Thus, I suspect my personal best will continue to stand. Nick Honachefsky took this shot of his surf-caught Spanish mackerel this week.Spanish.JPG

Bonito are also unusually abundant close to shore, though mostly quite small.  Nick Honachefsky, of the Saltwater Underground daily video, got into a big blast of them during an afternoon trip outside  Manasquan Inlet this week with Jerry Malanga and Alex Kondas as over 30 were caught among all the bluefish.

bonito on boat.JPG

They also fished killies at pots further offshore to catch some chicken dolphin.  The cold front predicted for this weekend could be a problem for our semi-tropical fishing.

Joe Melillo of Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant ran his small boat out the inlet yesterday evening and said there were so many birds working over feeding blues that he could only cast side arm to keep the line low and avoid tangling birds on every cast.

At Atlantic Highlands, there was a big improvement in fluke fishing as drifting conditions were good all day. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter said the bottom of Ambrose Channel seemed to be paved with fluke even though most are shorts. A couple of fares caught over 30, but there was a 4.5-pound pool winner.  Semkewyc said a basic rig was best with just a Gulp and spearing worked off bottom.

Capt. Ron Santee had a charter with McCarter & English on his Fishermen as everyone went home with dinner.  Pink Slime Gulp  with a fresh peanut bunker worked well.

The Angler had a new leader in both the Big and monthly pools Wednesday when Lance Reis of Morristown boated an 8 3/8-pound fluke — but Jim Custer boated an identical fluke the next day to share the lead.

Tank Matraxia joined friends from Lyndhurst on a charter aboard the Bingo today, The boat was anchored off Sea Bright for porgies, but very few were caught along with some sea bass. Tank caught a good-sized grey triggerfish.  A few anglers cast bucktails off the stern and boated a few legal fluke while Tank put 4 ALS tags in the shorts.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had another great start with hot jigging for 1-to-3-pound blues, plus some bonito and chub mackerel mixed in,  before that died late in the morning — and then went off to add some fluke and sea bass.

My second cast into Shark River this morning produced a 20-inch striper on a Kettle Creek paddletail, but the next hit resulted in a missing tail. I switched to a bluefish-proof Z Man Swimmereez to end up with three stripers plus two blues in the 3-pound class. Frank Manzi caught a 22-inch bass on a popper.  Vinny D’Anton worked the beach and released five bass in the 18-inch class that hit his Chug Bug.

 

West wind worked for some

Today’s west wind was just what the Ocean Explorer from

 

Belmar wanted, and they reported red hot fluke fishing with lots of keepers up to 8 pounds. Pink and white were the best jig colors once again.

Fluke reports from Atlantic Highlands weren’t as good. Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen said a hard south current combined with the west wind to create rough conditions where they had fished yesterday. A move to rocky bottoms resulted in calmer waters and a decent pick.  Yesterday was much better as a 6.8-pounder was boated before Capt. Ron Sr. added a 6.2-pound fluke. The skipper’s son, Ron Jr., boated a 5-pounder and most fares did well. Capt. Rob Semkewyc wasn’t happy with the west wind that was harder than forecast, but ended up with a decent catch on his Sea Hunter.

Small blues provided Shore party boats with a shot of good jigging action. The Golden Eagle from Belmar then went offshore to add chub mackerel and some sea bass.

The Jamaica from Brielle got into small blues yesterday morning, but they were hard to catch. As a result, they set up for chumming offshore to load up on chub mackerel plus a few ling and sea bass — while dolphin also invaded the slick.

Jamaica dolphin

 

Adam La Rosa is looking forward to the MidAtlantic Tournament in Cape May, where the Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant has been in the money four of the last five years. They have only one charter date left in August for chunking yellowfins

Mike Barrasso of Bay Head went to his local beach at 3:30 yesterday afternoon and was finally able to reach surfacing bonito to catch not only one –but a doubleheader on a hammered metal and a Joe Melillo Castaways Tackle teaser.

Outdoor writer Nick Honachefsky has caught bonito from the local surf before, but never a Spanish mackerel until this morning. After a series of mishaps at Point Pleasant, he made a blind cast before leaving and broke the ice.

Vinnie D’Anton fished north of Manasquan Inlet and was at the right place when some stripers started rolling. He released four up to 24 inches on a Chug Bug, and switched to metal when a school of small blues zipped by to catch one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Official results of WMO in as MidAtlantic nears

Official results of last week’s White Marlin Open at Ocean City, Maryland (see below) were received, including the release winners, just as many boaters are on their way to what may be an even bigger tournament in Cape May — the MidAtlantic. That contest operates out of Cape May plus a satellite port in Ocean City, Maryland. The festivities start on Aug. 19, and boaters then fish three out of five days for what’s expected to be an over $3 million purse.  The minimum sizes are 65 pounds for white marlin; 400 pounds for blue marlin; and 50 pounds for tuna — with no minimum on dolphin and wahoo. For entry information call tournament director  Aaron Hoffman at 609 884-0177.

$2.58 MILLION DOLLAR WINNER TOPS IMPRESSIVE 2018 EVENT

August 13, 2018

In a close finish, Pascual Jimenez from Puerto Aventuras, Mexico edged out all competitors to win a world record $2,584,260* in the 45th White Marlin Open.  Fishing on the Weldor’s Ark out of Morehead City, NC,  Jimenez weighed an 83-pound white marlin on the final day of the 5-day event held in Ocean City, MD to take the top individual prize in the 382-boat field.  Gregory Giron and the Under Dog from VA Beach took 2nd place money for their 83-pound white worth $129,784 with the Lights Out from Ocean Reef, FL taking 3rd and $85,804 for the 75-pound white marlin caught by Bill Haugland of Coconut Grove, FL on Day 2.

Two world records were set during the 2018 event.  The $2.58 million-dollar payout was the most ever awarded for the catch of a billfish, and the $5.45 million-dollar purse was the most ever paid in any fishing tournament.

The Blue Marlin Category and the $924,936 purse was safely held all week by Joe Rahman from Wanaque, NJ. His 881-pound monster caught Monday aboard the Auspicious out of Palm Beach, FL was never challenged as it was the only qualifying blue marlin weighed the week.

WMO blue marlin

The Tuna Division  edged closer to anointing the first million-dollar tuna as Gary Sansburry from  Hobe Sound, FL won $904,851 while fishing off the Buckshot out of Ocean City, MD.  The 75.5-pound tuna was the biggest of a close group that split up the rest of the tuna purse of $1,300,000.  The Blinky IV out of Freeport, MA was second with a 73.5-pound tuna weighed by  angler Charles Matattal from Blackstone, Massachusetts good for $135,421.  The Brass Monkey and Jake Pilkerton all from Leonardtown, MD did well with the 71-pound tuna caught on the first fishing day.  It took the 3rd place tuna money and the top small boat tuna money good for a total of $215,916.

The Wahoo Division also saw a big winner come in the last day when Kevin Graybill of Morgantown, PA weighed a 63-pounder while fishing aboard the Over Board out of Ocean City, MD.  The wahoo took 1st place money and, parleyed with winning the Small Boat Big Fish category gave Graybill a total of $115,271.   The other wahoo money went to the Desperado from Virginia Beach, VA with $1,846, and the Canyon Hunter from Indian River, DE with $21,471.

Dolphin provided action all week with the top winners:  Fin-Nominal from Indian River, DE – $19,464,   Rigged Up from Manteo, NC  – $18,646,  the Moxie Boys from Ocean City, MD $16,646, the  Sea Note out of Oregon Inlet, NC and the local Bonnie Lynn each took $15,300.

When most think of the White Marlin Open, they think of the excitement at the scales, the million-dollar winners, and energy of the crowds at the “World’s Largest & Richest Billfishing Tournament.”  While that show plays out on the Big Stage at Harbour Island, the true test of man, machine and crew takes place out of the spotlight or the streaming lenses.  The best anglers and crew aren’t necessarily measured by the money won or by the largest fish caught but buy the skills needed  to catch and release the most fish.

This division is won by skill and teamwork and the sheer love of the sport.  The exceptional white marlin fishing found off Ocean City, Md provides a great venue to compete against some of the best saltwater sports fisherman in the world.

The great fishing during the 2018 event created intense competition for the release divisions and the abundance of blue marlin tilted the advantage for those lucky enough to add blue marlin release points to their totals.

The Top Boats in the Release division were also the Top Release Boats for 2018 WMO.

The Viking 72 out of New Gretna, NJ topped all comers with 10 white marlin and 1 blue marlin released good for 875 points.  The Billfisher was second with 12 released white marlin for 840 points.  The Fin Planner from Oregon Inlet, NC had 11 white marlin releases good for 770 points.  Uno Mas from Ft Lauderdale, Fl and Special Station from Palm Beach, FL each had 8 white marlin and 1 blue marlin release for 735 points.

The individual Top Angler awards are based on billfish points accumulated over the 5-day event.  The Top Individual Anglers in the 2018 White Marlin Open are:

Ron Kawaja on the Fin Planner with 8 white marlin releases for 560 points.  2nd was Joe Rahman from Wanaque, NJ, 3 white marlin release and a 881-pound blue marlin boated for a total of 503 points while fishing aboard Auspicious out of Palm Beach, FL.  Greg Lentz aboard the Trust Me Too had 3 whites, a blue marlin and a spearfish release for 455 points and Lawrence Julio fishing aboard Ocean City’s Rhonda’s Osprey also earned 455 points with 3 whites, a blue and a spearfish release.

*How does the prize money awarded in the White Marlin Open stack up against top individual awards paid in other major sporting events?  The comparisons show that the White Marlin Open payouts do very well as they top almost every other professional  sport in the world.

The individual award of $2.58 million dollars paid to Pascual Jimenez for his winning 83-pound white marlin was more money than was paid the winner of the 2018 Master’s Golf Championship, ($1.98 million), the 2018 U.S. Open Golf Championship, ($2.16 million) or any other major golf championship in history.*

The 2018 Kentucky Derby paid future Triple Crown Winner “Justify” $1.24 million for winning this year’s Derby.  2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods presented 2018 winner Jordan Lee the top of $300,000 for winning their top event.  The few events that do pay more than the WMO top prize are Wimbledon and U.S. Open Tennis that are paying $2.96 million to the single’s men’s and women’s champion.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere hooked another huge striper Sunday afternoon with his Katfish from Great Kills as he once again turned to trolling his Ho-Jo’s after bunker were hard to come by. A 52-pounder is pictured below Vetere is open for a last minute charter tomorrow.

Katfish 52

At Atlantic Highlands, the Angler had a memorable Sunday trip as Alex Turco of Midatlantic, Fl. boated a 10 1/4-pound doormat fluke — only to be edged for the pool by a 12 1/8-pounder hooked by Bruno Da Silva of Oakhurst. Yet, those doormats weren’t in the monthly pool which is led by a 6 7/8-pounder.  The Sea Hunter fished Monday in all that wind and rain, but still had lots of short action even though keepers were scarce.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that the party boats are doing well with fluke up to 9 pounds, but the rain and dire forecasts are killing business. There are some stripers in the surf, and Bob fought two cownose rays in one morning.

Vinny D’Anton fished north of Manasquan Inlet and used his Chug Bug to release stripers of 24 and 20 inches. I went the other way and did nothing casting metal into fishable seas at Bay Head — though at low tide.

 

Millions at stake during last day of WMO

With 324 boats fishing the final day, there’s likely to be some changes in the distribution of  the millions involved in the White Marlin Open out of Ocean City, Maryland. I’ll have the final results later tonight after the weigh-ins have been completed.

Though the tuna fishing has been way below expectations so far, billfishing has been good with 568 marlin caught during the first four days — and 559 of them released.

The big winners at this point would be the 83-pound white marlin that took over first place yesterday for Gregory Giron on Underdog for a projected $2.6 million — and the 881-pound blue marlin boated by Joe Rahman of Wanaque, N.J, on his Auspicious for a projected $700.000. Actually, the tuna winner could be in  the same area, depending on how many Calcuttas the eventual winner has entered. Gary Sansburry took the lead yesterday at just 75.5 pounds on Buck Shot .

Inshore anglers were treated to another fine day. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a real variety as they started off with small blues, then had some Spanish mackerel before going back to blues plus chub mackerel, sea bass, ling and two 5-pound fluke. On  Thursday they also had a bonito over 5 pounds and a pollock, The Ocean Explorer at that port had good fluke fishing with many limits for those jigging Gulp baits.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro has been catching tuna on offshore trips and sharks at Barnegat Ridge with his Hi Flier from Barnegat. He’s open over the weekend, and I’ll have more about his fishing tomorrow.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo went from South Plainfield to Sandy Hook this morning along with Duke Matero of Piscataway. They found calm seas with so many rainfish in the wash that the small waves were dumping some on the beach as they tried to evade snappers. in the 78 degree waters.  John caught a couple of short fluke on Gulp, and Allen lost a keeper fluke in the wash when it  gave up its hold on a live snapper.  Duke caught a mystery fish which they thought might be a pilotfish. It’s pretty hard to identify from the photo, but it might be a banded rudderfish.

 

At Atlantic Highlands,, Capt. Ron Santee said he finally had another banner day on the Fisherman as the Columbia Bank charter had both fluke action and quality. Marty Herrman of Branchburg took the pool with an 8.22-pound fluke as he limited and added the two sea bass allowed. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter  had a similar report of good fluking.

The Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands has also had good fluke fishing this week — as shown below.

Elaine B II winning fluke

Capt. Vinny Vetere of Katfish Charters in Great Kills continues to do well with stripers. A father and son team caught bass up to 26 pounds today among lots of  big smooth dogfish. He’s open for Saturday.

Vinny D’Anton fished north of Manasquan Inlet this morning, and came across a spot where stripers were rolling in schools of rainfish. He managed to release a 27-incher and a small bass on a Chug Bug before it was over.

 

Capt. Jim Freda of Shore Catch Charter from Point Pleasant has been catching yellowfin tuna at the mid-range grounds with his Shore Catch from Point Pleasant as illustrated by this shot of Rich Brunger of the Salt Water Anglers of Bergen County party.

DDDRich Brunger yellowfin.jpg

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.

Are the bluefish in?

Bluefish are overdue by the standards of recent springs, and I still didn’t have any confirmed reports from shore fishing sources as of this morning. Yet, while checking the striper report of the Golden Eagle from Belmar this afternoon there was a mention of a bluefish blitz on the Manasquan Inlet jetties. I’ll be checking that out tomorrow!

The Golden Eagle did boat a couple of keeper stripers and lost a few others — which was still better than previous trips and provides some hope for tomorrow.

I made my first surf attempt of the year in the morning at Sea Girt, but the surf was rough and there were no hits. A couple of other anglers there did likewise. Jim Louro of Spring Lake took a look at his local surf and switched to Shark River. The water was fine there, but he and Frank Manzi had no hits. Capt. Chrid Di Stefano of Wall lost a fish that hit a lure in the river during the week, and saw a fly fisherman catch a small bass.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Tolano of Point Pleasant combined for 10 small stripers this morning at Island Beach State Park though conditions weren’t good. The switch to west winds should improve surf conditions over the next few days.

Castaway’s Tackle in Point Pleasant is now open after a winter renovation took longer than expected. Joe Melillo said flounder fishing has been good at both ends of Point Pleasant Canal, and some stripers are also being caught in the canal.

Blackfish anglers are running out of time as that season closes at the end of the month. Bottom fishing party boats will be concentrating on them tomorrow.

Trolling was once again the best bet for stripers in Raritan Bay. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said he had some shorts and keepers on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, but not nearly enough. On the other hand, outdoor writer Nick Honachefsky made a late morning trip on Bunkertown, a Contender from Shrewsbury River, after the fog lifted enough for safe navigation. They had a good bite on mo-jos, with chartreuse being the hot color.  There was a mixture of sizes, but a 41.8-pounder reeled in by George Marc-Aurele was by far the largest. She was weighed on a hand scale before being released to spawn in the Hudson River within a couple of weeks.

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