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.

Smooth dogfish taking over in Raritan Bay

Capt. Rob Semkewyc  was hoping to finish up his daytime striped bass fishing on the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands with a good catch, but wherever he went today there were smooth dogfish and no bass. He did report that trollers were catching stripers, and the first two blues of his season were boated. That was a complete mystery as blues were usually interfering with Raritan Bay striper fishing by May 1 — not June 1. The Sea Hunter switches to fluke from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, but some evening striper trips will be added.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano confirmed those trolling reports from Crisdel out of Brielle Yacht Club. He was part of Frank Criscola’s crew as they picked at large bass trolling mo-jos from Flynn’s Knoll to Deal. They had a couple of bass in the 40-pound class aboard  before the deadline for weigh-in at the Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club Tournament

Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights  ran his old 20-foot Aquasport out of Atlantic Highlands this afternoon and was trolling a mo-jo on a spinning rod in Swash Channel when a fish almost spooled him. An angler in another boat watched the battle and offered Leadbeater a scale to weigh his 46-inch bass at 41 pounds before releasing the largest striper of his life. He noted that the bass was spawned out.

Stripers haven’t been easy for anglers fishing live bait. Tank Matraxia and his crew from Lyndhurst never had a hit on lively bunkers fished yesterday  from Two Rivers Charters out of Highlands.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle and Miss Belmar Princess have been getting into lots of jigging action to the north with 1-to-3-pound blues.  Sea bass have been the targets on other boats there, and the Big Mohawk reported an early boat limit today.  Take advantage of that action on Saturday, because lots of NE wind is forecasted for Sunday.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant has been working on both the small blues and sea bass. They report that magic hours trips have been tough so far. The only remaining openings for the evening bite are on June 3, 5,10, 12 and 14.

Capt. Ron Santee  said he fished into overtime to bail out a slow trip with a late bite on the Fishermen up to Iris’ fluke of over 5 pounds.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had his best fluke action today from Elaine B. II out of Bahrs in Highlands on the incoming tide as almost all had a keeper and there were some limits.

 

If you’ve ever wanted to take advantage of a big price break in order to fish at world-famous Pesca Panama, there’s an opportunity coming up this month. Mike Augat has one boat open from June 17-22 for two to three anglers at a $1,500 reduction per person. He says the tuna bite has been red hot, and cuberas and roosterfish to over 50 pounds have been caught. Contact him at pescapanama.com

Chuck Many with a 46-pound striper release down the beach this week

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