Watch out for whales!
It’s a thrill to watch a huge whale fly out of the water before crashing back into the ocean — unless your boat happens to be where the whale is coming down.
Joe Daley passed along some info about that happening to an unfortunate boater yesterday off D St. in Seaside Park.
An internet check of various accounts indicated that the incident occurred about 11:50 a.m. yesterday, and that the two anglers were unhurt and able to swim to the nearby surf. The estimated 25-foot boat was trailered off the beach a few hours later.
When whales were making a comeback several decades ago, I was tuna fishing on Mako outboards out of Montauk and started seeing them swimming under the boat at times as I chunked. That was a little scary at the time, but they never seemed to rise up to threaten a boat that would have been only a toy to them.
However, shallow water is a different story. Boaters are usually fishing very close to a school of bunkers that the whale may also be interested in, and there’s nothing you can do short of moving away to prevent a long-shot accident.
There may not even be any sighting involved. I once hooked a whale while casting a 1/4-ounce bucktail jig for school stripers off Ocean Beach even though I hadn’t seen it surface at any time. By unning with the annoyed whale I was able to shake the tiny hook out of tough skin that I knew it couldn’t penetrate.
Tuna fishing relatively close to shore exploded today as Capt. Dave De Gennaro put a charter on his Hi Flier out of Barnegat into “lots of unders” before tangling with a 70-inch bluefin that was fought for 2 1/4 hours on stand-up tackle.
Allen Riley fished the Sandy Hook surf this morning with Duke Matero and Frank Huza. They had ideal conditions with the water temperature way up to 64.5 degrees. Riley had a hit on his bunker bait during the first cast, but that was it as nothing was caught by any of the anglers on the beach. There were bunkers well out of casting range, and two whales put on a show for them.
Despite having to avoid an armada of kayaks, Capt, Chris Di Stefano joined Jimmy Herrick for limits of fluke again in Navesink River. Just after the limits were filled, Chris had to cut loose a 7-8-pounder.
I tried casting into Manasquan River from shore for the first time this spring and only had one hit on a 5-inch Z Man paddletail, but that was from an unexpected 19 1/2-inch fluke that felt like a doormat after only having caught shorts this spring. It was released as thanks for saving my morning.
Tomorrow starts with light south winds of 5-10 knots, but goes to 15-20 with gusts to 25 knots in the afternoon.