WMIT ended with few changes — Doormat on Sea Hunter

The 49th White Marlin Invitational ended Sunday evening at Beach Haven with the only big change being the weigh-ins of two respectable dolphin — 10.9 pounds on Marine Max and 12.9 pounds by Outer Limits.  The 22-boat fleet ended the tournament with mixed results as Hard Four led the way with three white marlin releases plus tuna of 59.5 and 102.5 pounds. Smokin Again, Business and Melina each had a white release, and Endless Drifter boated a 66-pound bigeye.

That brought the tournament total for 22 boats fishing two days each to 12 white marlin releases. 37 tuna weighed, four dolphin, and one blue marlin. Melina had the 356-pound blue, and was the winner on points over Hard Four, Jersey Nutz (with a Saturday catch of a white release plus bigeyes of 140.5, 115 and 111 pounds), Nora Angela, and Reel Determined. However, Jersey Nutz came out slightly ahead in Calcutta earnings with $22,308 to Melina’s $21,622.  Mary Joe (the MJ’s crew)  won their tuna specialty with Friday’s 156.2-pound bigeye and had $11,250 in Calcutta winnings. Nora Angela won $10,246, and Reel Determined earned $2,668.

The volume of bigeyes in the canyons continued to be impressive, though many weren’t much larger than yellowfins. The volume of white marlin was disappointing, though it wasn’t surprising that one large enough to weigh wasn’t brought in. So far, dolphin remain as scarce as they were in last year’s canyon tournaments, and no wahoo were encountered. There’s been no word so far on winners of the various prizes other than Calcuttas.

The first doormat fluke reported so far by the Raritan Bay fleet was boated today on the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands by Willie Meyer.  Capt. Rob Semkewyc said it weighed 11.8 pounds,  and there were also some  4-to-6-pounders as the fishing was much improved.  A couple of fares had limits and there was lots of action,

Willie Meyer-11.88

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported solid fluking with a good number of 4-5-pounders and a pool fluke of about 9 pounds. They’ll be sailing no later than 6 a. m. tomorrow.

The Golden Eagle had hot sea bass fishing for a boat limit (two per man) plus ling.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo of South Plainfield plus Duke Matero from Piscataway fished the calm Sandy Hook surf this morning, but weren’t using Gulp for long as masses of snappers were nipping their tails off. Instead, they cast snapper poppers to catch the baby blues for fluke bait.  Though no fluke hit them, Mazzeo released a 3-pound bluefish and lost another in the wash — the first blues they’ve seen in some time. Allen ended up releasing a large sea robin.

I finally raised some fish to surface  lures in Shark River this morning, but the only one I hooked came off quickly. Vinny D’Anton caught two small stripers on his Chug Bug at the same time.  Flycaster Bill Hoblitzell had earlier caught a mix of school bass and blues.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno from Point Pleasant fished for sharks at Island Beach State Park  yesterday evening to release three browns and a blacktip. on chub mackerel. Though those sharks were in the 40-pound class, much bigger sand tigers are a possibility.

Maren with shark

Matt Slobodjian at Jim’s Tackle in Cape May sent the following report: “The weather finally broke, and for the first time in a week people are starting to get out. Fluke fishing has been best at the Old Grounds the last couple of days. There have been quite a few boats coming home with limits; but the bigger fish are tight to the bottom structure. There are a lot of fish on the Cape May Reef, but a ton of shorts with only a few keepers mixed in. There is still plenty of action in the backwaters for fluke. We’ve seen some nice fluke coming from Cape May Harbor and the intercoastal waterway heading up to Wildwood. We are starting to get some reports from Brown Shoal in Delaware Bay of some decent fluke catches. Tuna are still at Massey’s Canyon. The “Hooked Up” caught 4 bluefin trolling the area around Massey’s. It was an early bite and the action was over by 8 am. The canyon bite was ok, but not on fire. There was a bite between the Wilmington and the Spencer for tuna and a few marlin were caught there as well.
The beach fishing is slow, but more kingfish are starting to show up in the surf. By far the best beach fishing has been for sharks, with multiple releases of browns, sand tigers and a few blacktip hookups.”

A few spaces remain available for the Outdoor Women of NJ Workshop, to be held Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center  off Island Beach State Park.

R. I P. Walter F. Johnson III

The Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club got their White Marlin Invitational underway today, and I’ll add a blog later if there are any weigh-ins this evening. The registration gathering last night was stunned with the news that the club’s greatest striped bass fisherman has died. As best I can determine at this time, Walter F. Johnson III was only 66.

Walt’s proudest catch among many he made was a 59.40-pound striper  boated in 2008. I had the privilege of fishing with him and his daughter Allison from Vermont aboard Chuck Many’s Tyman from Highlands a couple of years ago. I’ll have more information about the passing of one of New Jersey’s famed anglers as it becomes available.

Walter Johnson III

Speaking of huge stripers, Fred Golofaro reports from the Long Island edition of The Fisherman magazine that quite a few 50-and-60-pound trophy bass have been caught at Montauk and Block Island this summer. However, Capt. Vinnie Vetere  has been proving that there are still similar lunkers to the west. He did a crew trip earlier this week with his Katfish from Great Kills and trolled his Ho-Jos to not only boat a 60.10-pounder himself — but added a 53 for a friend. He was hoping he’d found the ultimate honey hole for huge stripers, but a charter party the next day had to settle for a limit up to the twenties.

Vetere -62

Though many boats sailed into much better weather conditions today, there were few reports.   The Golden Eagle from Belmar had no trouble filling the two-fish limits of sea bass once again along with some fluke and ling plus a few of the targeted, but so far scarce bluefish.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc wasn’t happy with the fluking is found on a beautiful day with his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. It wasn’t nearly as good as yesterday as there were relatively few keepers among the shorts.

Shore fishermen benefited from the poor weather earlier in the week when there was no boat traffic. That changed today, and I only released two school stripers in Shark River. However, Vinny D’Anton caught two before I arrived on jigs, and later waded to an area where his Chug Bug raised bass up to a 24-incher during a brief flurry that was the first surface showing in some time.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported better surf conditions and continued good fluking  there. Rays also returned to the calmer surf.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield didn’t have high hopes for Sandy Hook this morning, but found the surf to be quite fishable. There were some snappers popping out of range, and they didn’t bother his Gulp in the wash that produced two small fluke while another hit a bunker chunk.

The big money Grandpa Savino Memorial Fluke Tournament will be contested out of Great Kills on Saturday after having been postponed last Saturday due to the weather forecast.

The weather forecast for the weekend sounds pretty good if you can handle the forecasted 5-10-knot winds.

Fluking a little better

Though there were no hot reports, fluke fishing seemed to be a bit better on another beautiful day — and despite the big ocean swell.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter reported improved fluking with one limit taken and others with two. The Fishermen had decent fishing until the current got too strong. Kurt Wieditz boated a 6.11-pound fluke to run away with the pool. but there was also a 4 1/2-pounder and a couple in the 3 pound class. Capt. Ron Santee said grandpa John Sabonis brought his 15-year-old granddaughter Slyler Mosselle who caught three fluke on her first fluke trip. Some sea bass were also caught. The Fishermen is chartered from Friday through Sunday.

At Belmar, the Ocean Explorer had good action with fluke and sea bass. There were three or four fluke in the 4-pound class. The Golden Eagle had no problem filling two-fish limits of sea bass along with some ling and keeper fluke.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant caught sea bass plus some porgies and triggerfish on Wednesday — and fought a sand tiger shark.

Tank Matraxia of Lyndhurst was invited to join a NMFS crew seeking live sea bass for studies aboard Tagged Fish from Highlands on Tuesday and Thursday. They fished in 40 feet the first day to ensure the sea bass would survive, but only ended up with small fish — though Marty Gras of Lyndhurst fought a sand tiger to the boat.  The Thursday trip to 70 feet produced bigger sea bass, including a 19-incher by Tank.

Shark River produced a pick of school stripers from 15 to 21 inches this morning as I cast a light paddletail jig to release seven plus a 20-inch bluefish that was my first there in almost a month. Vinny D’Anton had some short hits on his Chug Bug, and caught a small bass on a Zoom jig.  We then went to the surf to fight a much larger sea than yesterday’s — resulting from the far offshore hurricane. It didn’t look good for fishing, but I was shocked by a 21-inch striper that blasted my Chug Bug in the wash. That was it for us as sea weed was also a problem.

I was later surprised to hear from Allen Riley of South Plainfield, who took his wife, son Kevin of Raleigh, N.C. and two granddaughters to Sandy Hook and said it was calm there.  They managed to catch some short fluke on Gulp.

Reader John Westerdale saw lots of cownose rays in the Monmouth County surf this week, but they ignored bunker heads and lures. He’s been picking at 15-to-20-inch stripers on swim shads in Point Pleasant Canal — even during mid-day.  He fished last month on Cape Cod with Capt.  Ray Ransom on Bass River Charters at Dennis to catch lots of 15-pound stripers at Monomoy and jumbo sea bass off Chatham.

 

Capt. Pete Wagner of Hyper Striper at Highlands will be back to fluking this weekend after brief trip to Los Suenos in Costa Rica with his daughter Nicole and niece Amanda.  They fished aboard a friend’s L&H boat to get into lots of small dorado (dolphin), two small wahoo, a bigeye trevally, a cubera snapper on live bait — and Nicole’s first sailfish.

Wagner cuberaT

That cubera snapper is he same species as the one I’m pictured with at the head of this blog — which was released from Pesca Panama in March but weighed over 73 pounds by formula.

Nicole's first sail

Nicole’s first sailfish before release

Mako Fever results

 

Though third place money is in escrow due to a legal challenge, John Schachel of the Jersey Coast Shark Anglers was able to confirm the following payouts from the recent JCSA Mako Fever Tournament:

Big Nutz Required ran away with first place by boating a 258-pound mako worth $45,645. Tra Sea Ann took second for $10,252.50 with a 236-pound mako. The fourth place money of $16,900 (including the thresher Calcutta) went to Retainer for their  316-pound thresher.

Capt. Danny McGivney  had this fine mako alongside his Megan Beth from Clarks Landing in Point Pleasant during Mako Mania, but it was short of the 83-inch  minimum and had to be released. Photo courtesy of Capt. Dan McGivney.

Mako - McGivney

The legal dispute over Seaquester’s mako that turned out to be short of the 83-inch minimum when brought to Mako Fever has also held up results from Mako Mania where it had ween weighed at 207 pounds when measured incorrectly on the scale at a legal 83 1/4 inches.

It was another tough day of drifting for fluke in Raritan Bay due to light winds, but the long period of calm winds is coming to an end with SW winds into Friday and a NE blow on Saturday. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands said he scratched out a catch today topped by one angler who bagged three fluke. The pool went to a 4.5-pounder.

Also at that port, Capt. Ron Santee said his July 4 trip with the Fishermen was good for Big Mike from the Atlantic Star who caught five fluke of keeper size including the 5 11/16-pound pool winner.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had little drift on July 4 with his Elaine B.II from Bahrs in Highlands. but Ken Peters of Maplewood had two keepers up to the 4 11/16-pound pool winner. The youngster in the photo was happy with his two keepers.

Happy kid

There were no bluefish reports today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar limited with the two sea bass per person now permitted.   They also noted there were some mackerel on Tuesday afternoon’s trip, but didn’t specify Boston mackerel as on July 2. Boston is just a nickname for the Atlantic mackerel — a cold water fish which would be very unusual in the present very warm waters. The mackerel that were so abundant during the last few summers were chubs, and a shark fishermen told me he had chub mackerel in his Mud Hole slick recently.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported a hot porgy bite on July 4.

 

Jim Hutchinson Sr. filed the following report for the Beach Haven Charter Boat Association as follows:

“The Fourth of July has arrived in Beach Haven with hot, summer-like temperatures, and the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are finding the fishing action heating up in a similar fashion.

Captain Jimmy Zavacky had the Robinson family out on the “Reel Determined” for an enjoyable day on the water. With the help of first time junior mate Zach Rietmann and experienced mate Liane Lopez, they boated many sea bass and sea robins while fishing on a local reef.

Last Sunday the “Hot Tuna” with Captain Bob Gerkens at the helm did the 90-mile run to the Baltimore Canyon. Weather conditions were excellent as the boat was able to cruise at 25-knots in both directions. The group of anglers had a good day of trolling yellowfin tuna as four were caught. Capt. Bob reports he has been hearing of a good inshore bluefin tuna bite also.

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” has been running two trips a day in local waters for fluke, and the fish are keeping his anglers busy. He had Stanley Gola of S&S Bucktails out with his sons who managed to box three nice keepers. That same afternoon he had Ali Gurko, her brother Vince, and Corey Cordell out. Vince served his country in United States Army for 4 years. Wind against the tide made it tough, but the group managed three keepers to 24.5 inches. Another trip he had Rich Sanborn of Levittown, Pa, out with his two sons Sean and Ryan. Sean is home for a week from the United States Navy. They worked quite a few areas with the S&S Bigeye bucktail, and the trio boated over 30 fluke with 4 keepers-24, 21.5, 19.5, and 18 inches.

The first Junior Mates Class was held with 17 eager youngsters on hand to learn about fishing. Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.bhfca.net

Allen Riley of South Plainfield fished the Sandy Hook surf with Gulp this morning nder good conditions, but only came up with a short fluke.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall caught four small stripers on his Chug Bug at Belmar, and Frank Manzi added another release this morning. I couldn’t raise a thing to the Chug Bug at Sea Girt, but saw a couple of mini-bass such as we had in the surf last fall caught on small jigs.

Fluke tournaments are coming up, with the Sandy Hook Bay Anglers running their 37th annual 2-day contest on July 14 and 15 for a guaranteed $5,700 in cash prizes out of Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina.  For info visit http://www.sandyhookbayanglers.com.

 

Queen Mary jigs jumbo blues

Capt. Dave Riback welcomed jumbo blues back to Raritan Bay with his Queen Mary from Point Pleasant. The long ride was worthwhile as his fares jigged blues up to about 18 pounds — and he had them to himself today.

Riback said bigger jigs worked best as the blues are chasing bunkers, and they did better working on readings rather than when the choppers came up on the bunkers. As is always the case with large blues, many were lost. The Queen Mary is chartered the mornings of July 3, 8,15 and 21. Below are some of Sunday’s blues.

Queen Mary blues

Fluking was a lot tougher today in Raritan Bay due to the continuing lack of drift. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said he still managed a decent catch on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands though some only hooked shorts.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield surprised even himself during a beautiful morning in the Sandy Hook surf. He had only caught a sea robin early on a 4-inch Gulp fluorescent Swimming Mullet, and was about to retreat from the rising heat when a 23-inch fluke slammed his lure. It weighed 4 pounds at the Tackle Box in Hazlet.

Riley fluke

Vinny D’Anton managed another small striper on his Chug Bug this morning at Belmar, while I tried the same lure at Manasquan and Sea Girt without success.

The state budget problem was settled in time to allow fishing to continue at Island Beach State Park on Sunday, but Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Park noted that flies were a problem though fluke were also biting. Be sure to bring repellent if it’s calm or there’s a west wind.

The Jamaica from Brielle is running a fishing and Long Branch fireworks trip from 5-9:30 p.m. on July 4. There’s a $15 discount coupon on their web site.

 

Hot canyon trolling continues

Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club was posting a sweep in the ongoing Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club’s Jack Meyer’s Trolling Tournament after boating 13 yellowfin tuna Wednesday in Toms Canyon, but that lead may not last through today.

The yellowfins weighed in by Crisdel were of 48.65, 56.55 and 43.85 pounds. However, Capt. Chris Di Stefano heard that My Christine had boated a bigeye today in Wilmington Canyon estimated at 135 pounds. Provided My Christine arrives in time this evening, that bigeye will be the new leader.

The MRMTC also has their first annual Bluefin Tournament in which most prizes are for the biggest bluefin under 73 inches. There are Calcuttas for bluefins over 73 inches as well as for the largest yellowfin and dolphin. That contest started June 28 and runs to July 1.

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant has had limits of yellowfins on the last six canyon trips. They have had a last minute opening for a July 5-6 overnighter  on the Viking 48. The entire boat is available — or else they’ll take open boat reservations. Call Adam La Rosa at 732 272-4445.

canyon tuna on canyon runner

Big fluke were also in the news today. Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported a decent pick of keepers aboard his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands that included their largest of the season — a 9. 54-pounder by John Corvino from the Catskills.

There was also a Facebook posting of a 13 1/4-pound doormat at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina. That giant hit Gulp fished by Kevin Newberg of Avon in Shark River. If he’s a Fisherman magazine subscriber, that fluke would take over first place in the coastal Dream Boat Contest.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere reported a limit of large stripers up to a 44-pounder trolling in the Hudson River with his Ho-Jo;s from Katfish out of Great Kills. He’s open on Saturday.

Tom Fote reports there was a decent turnout at last night’s Bluefish Public Hearing in Toms River. I had intended to make that hearing, but was tied up all afternoon in my wife’s purchase of a new car and got back too late. Fote said a few party boat captains testified, and everyone seemed to oppose any changes until a new stock assessment is available.

Bluefishing has been very tough this year so far, except for a couple of localized spurts. There was no change in that today as Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant frankly reported “Friday was very nice on the water, but that’s the only good news.” He’s chartered on the mornings of June 3, 8, 15 and 21,

Allen Riley of South Plainfield fished the Sandy Hook surf for fluke with plastics under ideal conditions this morning to catch four and a half short fluke. The “half” was actually a mere 10-incher that managed to inhale a 4-inch Gulp Swimming Mullet.

I cast a jig in Shark River to catch a small striper within a few casts — and never got another touch. Vinny D’Anton later walked to another area and released four of those small bass\ on the Storm Searchbait jig.

 

f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

giant was caught on Gulp in Shark River by Kevin Newberg of Avon.

 

Bluefish hearings being conducted

Public hearings on the Bluefish Allocation Amendment continue tonight at 6 p.m.  in Ocean City, N.J. Public Library , 1735 Simpson Ave. — and Thursday at 6 in Ocean County Administrative Bldg. , 101 Hooper Ave. Toms River, N.J.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc reports today’s fluking in Raritan Bay aboard his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands wasn’t nearly as good as yesterday due to wind against tide conditions. The Thursday morning forecast of showers and thunderstorms is marginal, but he’ll be shaping up in case it turns out to be fishable.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle reported a good Tuesday afternoon trip for ling after the morning trip had produced only  a few small blues and some porgies on jigs.

The Big Mohawk had some fluke limits during Tuesday’s trip. They will sail at 7 a.m. Thursday and Friday, but at 6 a.m. on the weekend. Light winds are forecast right through Monday.

Capt. Vinny Vetere has been trolling stripers every trip with his Katfish from Great Kills, and has openings Thursday, Saturday and Monday.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall had the hot hand in Shark River this morning as he quickly caught three small stripers on jigs before later adding another on his Chug Bug. I got there a but late, but managed one small bass on a Tsunami shad.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported a few big blues being caught in the surf on bunker, while fluking is good on bucktails and Gulp. Crabbing from the bay docks is picking up.

Sun-up at Sandy Hook. Photo by Allen Riley

Sun-up at Sandy Hook.jpg

Canyon fishing has been hot

Adam La Rosa reports the spring canyon season has left little to be desired for his Point Pleasant boats. The two boats combined for 42 yellowfin tuna, 10 bluefin tuna, four mako sharks, and two bigeye tuna during one overnight trip. The makos caught at night were released as they were short of the new 83-inch minimum. Though most of those fish were caught in the canyons, some of the bluefins were trolled coming or going in the Glory Hole — such as the one below.

ffCR Glory Hole bluefin

Fluke fishing was surprisingly good for the northern party boats depite the east wind being against the current all day as skippers used their engines to create drift. At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc had five limits on his Sea Hunter, while Capt. Ron Santee, Sr. put on a clinic by catching fluke of 5 and 7 pounds on his son’s Fishermen while others were happy with the number of  3-5 1/2-pound fluke sprinkled in. Capt. Stan Zagleski reported a 5 1/2-pound pool winner for Mike Pylypyshyn of Little Egg Harbor on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.   \

 

 

Elaine B limitAs good as the fluking was in Raritan Bay, it was the opposite when Tank Matraxia and his Lyndhurst crew fished in the normally productive and protected waters of the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers with Capt. Fletcher Chayes on Two Rivers Charters from Highlands as only a few shorts and sea robins hit.

The bluefish fleet had another tough day after being spoiled by all those huge blues jigged last week in Raritan Reach.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere lost last Saturday to the weather, but made up for it Sunday with a good striper catch on Katfish Charters from Great Kills.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall had a hot hand in the Spring Lake surf Monday morning when he caught three 21-inch stripers on a MirrOlure  plug, and later added two more releases to 24 inches on his Chug Bug — before finishing up with a 23-incher on sand fleas. There were three anglers, including me, keeping Vinny company this morning, but nothing was caught.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo of South Plainfield fished the Sandy Hook surf early Monday morning, and enjoyed the great sunrise while catching only a very small fluke and a few sea robins on Gulp.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park is encouraged with two verified reports of sand eels in the local surf.

Blues show up in ocean again

It’s been a poor season for bluefish, but there was some hope this morning when the Golden Eagle from Belmar got into jigging blues ranging from 4 to 10 pounds. Up to this point, there’s only been off-and-on ocean jigging north of Shark River for small blues except for one short-lived shot of the bigger choppers that used to provide the basic charter and party boat action all summer. As it’s been so far, bluefish boats have had to switch to sea bass during the day after any early bluefish bite in order to send their fares home with some fish. However, that sport has been getting tougher as shorts remain abundant while keepers are a different story. The Capt. Cal II from Belmar has switched to fluke, which are showing signs of improving as ocean water temperatures rise.

The early inshore run of big blues was a flop after a few years when river and bay fishermen had great sport with heavy blues. That problem seems to affect the whole coast as there have been only three entries so far with the 15-pound minimum in The Fisherman’s 2018 Dream Boat Fishing Challenge which covers from North Carolina to Maine.

By the way, I only this week realized that The Fisherman has swapped out yellowfin tuna as one of their eligible species for something the average fishermen is much more likely to encounter — the sea robin. The ten spots in that category have been filled with a minimum size of 2 pounds. The leader so far weighed 3.9 pounds and came from Long Island  — as did all of the other entries.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc was looking forward to a south wind today for a good fluke drift on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, but it was actually SW, and didn’t help at all until it switched to SE. His anglers still picked away with fluke up to the pool fish of just under 5 pounds.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield said the sunrise was the only feature of this morning’s Sandy Hook surf fishing. Lures produced nothing in the calm, 67-degree surf, and only a skate ate the bunker he also fished as crabs feasted on that bait.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall found Shark River to be dead this morning, but was then pleased to release two stripers up to 24 inches that hit his Chug Bug in the local surf. I couldn’t hook a fish in Point Pleasant Canal this morning, though I did have a few bumps. A scattering of small blues provided most of the action for other anglers.

Kevin Kuriawa fished Raritan Bay on Father’s Day with his 97-year-old dad plus his brother and son. He was only 1 1/2 miles from the dock when the day became even more special as he hooked a 26.5-inch, 8-pound fluke.

Kevin 8-lb

 

 

First bluefish in surf

We’ve been waiting for the bluefish to arrive in force as they usually do by the end of April, but nothing has been happening in N.J. — and Fred Golofaro of The Fisherman, Long Island edition had the same report from another early location at Fire Island Inlet. However, just before writing this blog I got a photo from outdoor writer Nick Honachefsky of Normandy Beach of a surfcaster with a good-sized bluefish. I picked a logbook from 1998, and found that my charter party was inundated with blues on May 1 in Raritan Bay. Yesterday, Honachefsky caught eight small bass (a 26-inch and micros) plus five hickory shad on a fly rod in the surf.

First surf blue

There have still been no reports of blues up there, and a message from Rob Rommel noted that he fished with Chuck Many on Ty Man as they released 20 stripers up to a 38-pounder.  in Yesterday’s release count when I was with them was 30 bass up to 33 pounds, but I forgot to credit Many with his best catch — the first sea robin reported from the bay,  an aggressive little fish that hit a 6-inch shad cast into small bait off Staten Island.

Reel Fun from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands had the Sean Basilone party with six legal stripers just a half-hour from the dock this morning, but Capt, John Kolias said they couldn’t come up with an over 43-incher.   Kolias usually trolls.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported they had some bass chasing their jigs, but none were caught. After yesterday’s hot early jigging reports from Raritan Bay, there were no reports today from Atlantic Highlands boats.

Capt. Vinny Vetere of Katfish Charters in Great Kills reported small bass dominated early as he trolled his Ho-Jo’s, but bigger bass hit as the tide ebbed. Green chartreuse was the hot color.

Jim Louro of Spring Lake fished Raritan Bay in an outboard during the afternoon and had to fight the southwest wind while trolling mo jo’s and casting shads. He said they marked fish, but had no hits and didn’t see anything caught on other boats. The forecast for the next two days is similar with light SW in the morning before gusty winds in the afternoon.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield was happy with his Tuesday morTodayndy Hook surf. After catching a very small bass on a Tsunami Shad before sun-up, small bass turned on to sandworms fished on a very light rod. He released bass of 22, 24, 25 and 28 inches before the bite ended at 8 am. John Mazzeo of South Plainfield fished a bunker chunk to release a 26-incher.