WMO Open will be humming the next four days

Though the tropical storm passed by quickly, only 35 of the 433 boats entered in the White Marlin Open at Ocean City, Maryland opted to fight the remaining seas today with four days of predicted good weather ahead of them in which to utilize their three fishing days.

There was no one waiting when the scales opened at 4 p.m., but I’m sure there will be lots to write about by the time the scales close at 9:15. I’ll have another blog around that time to bring you up to date.

There was an early arrival at the scales on Monday, as Restless Lady II was anxious to weigh their 114.5-pound tuna which still leads that division entering the day. Most skippers would continue to fish out the day rather then return early with a good entry, but getting the maximum weight out of the fish is another consideration. Ounces are rarely important in big fish events, but the Big Rock Tournament at Morehead City. N.C. in June proved otherwise as less than a pound separated the three top blue marlin which were all over 400 pounds. Swords Fish from Indian River, Delaware is currently second in tuna with a 92-pounder, and Wrecker from Ocean City is third at 57..

There wasn’t much white marlin action the first day though one was weighed in. Whites must be 68 inches in order to be weighed, but have to be 70 pounds to get on the leaderboard. Unfortunately, that white only weighed 63 1/2 pounds. A revision of the white marlin release count for Monday brought that figure up to 11 plus the one boated for a total of 12 whites that day along with four eligible {50-pound minimum) tuna. Amazingly, there were no dolphin which have to be at least 20 pounds.

It’s likely that almost every boat will be sailing tomorrow with a forecast of northeast winds at just 5-10 knots which switch to east in the afternoon.

Thursday at 11:59 p.m. is the deadline for entering the JCAA Heavy Hitters Fluke Tournament which runs out of N.J. ports from Friday to Sunday. Each entrant can select the day he wants to fish by text or e-mail the night before. Boats are limited to four people, and only four lines can be fished at a time. The total weight of three fluke wins, and there are also various Calcuttas. Enter on-line by visiting http://www.jcaa.org. You can also call Paul Haertel for details at 973 943-8201.

Tank Matraxia had a fine time yesterday while fishing for sea bass on the charter boat Albacore out of Nantucket. His party of four limited with sea bass that ran up to 21 inches before adding keeper-sized fluke.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar was kept in port by the storm, but will be sailing into fine weather at 7:30 tomorrow morning.

Early entry for JCAA Heavy Hitter Fluke Tournament ends today

Though the annual statewide JCAA Fluke Tournament fell victim to the pandemic, that organization is going ahead with the Heavy Hitter contest that Paul Haertel started last year. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to promote that event before my computer went down — and the early entry for the Aug. 7 -9 fishing days ends tomorrow..

Anglers can fish only one day in any N.J. waters,and must declare for that day the night before by text or e-mail. The total weight of three fluke determines the winners. There is no captains meeting or awards party due to the virus. There’s a $5,000 first prize and many Calcuttas that may be entered. The $125 early entry must be postmarked by Aug. 1, and the fee goes to $150 after that. For details visit jcaa.org, or call Paul at 973 943-8201.

The fluke all those anglers will be looking for next week was caught yesterday in Sandy Hook Bay. The Tackle Box in Hazlet reports “Inny P.” boated a 10-pound doormat from his kayak while fishing with a bucktail teaser rig.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported a 9 1/4-pound pool winning fluke yesterday when “many” 4-5-pounders were caught among the shorts.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant hit it right on their Tuna Tuesday trip as a dozen yellowfins up to 70 pounds were caught. Two were on bait, but the rest were jigged. They have space on tuna trips set for Aug.25 and Sept.15. Lots of blues up to a 4.5-pounder were jigged Thursday morning.

The Jamaica from Brielle reported limits of blues during Thursday’s trip along with some Spanish and chub mackerel plus bonito and sea bass. Bruce Tucker of Philadelphia won the pool with a 4.5-pound sea bass. Night bluefish trips will be run Friday and Saturday at 6:30 P.M. Reservations are being taken for 40-70-mile tuna trips on Aug. 2,3,9,10,and 17.

The only thing anglers at Point Pleasant Canal got this morning was wet! Fishing has been poor there for some time, but one angler hit a bite of blues and stripers the previous morning late in the tide. Unfortunately, the drizzle turned into rain before we could determine if there would be a repeat.

The marine forecast is for northeast winds at 5-10 knots, shifting to southeast in the afternoon.

Spanish mackerel being caught from surf

There was an answer yesterday to the question posed in my blog last month –Will the Spanish mackerel be back? Some surfcasters picked a few Spanish mackerel in the Bay Head surf on long casts, and did so again this morning. That didn’t do me any good as I started casting in the canal to no avail, and only a few very small blues were still being picked when I arrived. Greg Tirpak did much better slightly further south as he totaled eight Spanish and 30 small blues.

Anglers to the north didn’t see any of those fish. Jon Falkowski fished Sandy Hook to no avail, and Allen Riley was at Monmouth Beach, where he started out with two short fluke but only had a few hits from them after that while seeing no bait in the 75 degree waters. Dan the Tinman used his jigs and 4-inch Gulp at Sea Bright to catch 16 short fluke and a keeper.

Capt. Ron Santee Jr. reports some better fluke being caught from his Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands. The monthly pool leader moved up to 6.1 pounds Sunday when there were also fluke of 5.1 and 4.9 pounds boated.

The morning forecast is for southeast winds at 5-10 knots with possible showers. There could be thunder storms again in the afternoon, but hopefully not as bad as those we had this afternoon.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a pick of blues Saturday, when they also had a few whiting, . It was better Sunday when there were some Spanish mackerel Today there were lots of blues to 3 pounds while a few 7-8-pounders were hooked but all lost. Some fares had limits of both blues and sea bass.

Some school tuna within small boat range.

Phil Fischer yesterday proved that a small boater can both get into some tuna action without running 90 miles offshore — and without $125 sidetracker spreader bars.

He ran east from Highlands toward the HA Buoy and trolled old-fashioned red/white feathers plus a couple of small Green Machines. As the HA came within sight, a short bluefin was released. That was followed by two more short releases before a 47-incher was boated. Trolling along the edge of the Mud Hole produced a bonito, and the two more on a course to the Farms.

Joe Massa had a good shot of New York Harbor stripers one day this week when he released eight on bunkers. However, today was a different story when I joined him on My Three Sons from Morgan Marina, We had no trouble netting bunkers, and there wasn’t the crowd we expected to see on a Sunday morning. Best of all, there were plenty of marks. Yet, the bass we were marking didn’t seem interested in live bunkers. Even staying into the start of the outgoing didn’t help much as I managed just a fat 30-inh striper and dropped another, while Joe released a 27 1/2-incher and lost two others. We also missed a few hits as it appeared that we were into small bass with big baits.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported Saturday’s bluefishing was slow though some bonito were mixed in and jigging produced some quality sea bass.

The forecast is for west winds at 5-10 knots, going to south in the afternoon when thunder storms are possible.

Blues bit early

The Golden Eagle from Belmar got into jigging bluefish early this morning, but that bite didn’t last long. Some limits were caught before a switch to sea bass produced the two allowed for some fares. A few ling and fluke were added.

Bob Correll ran up to Shrewsbury Rocks from Manasquan Inlet yesterday afternoon where he and his wife Mary Agnes had good action with short fluke plus a few keeper sea bass. He followed that up this afternoon with a family trip on his Sea Vee, but there was little current and almost no action. Bob managed a 16 1/4-inch fluke while son Kevin hooked a small sea bass — but the trip turned out to be successful as the whale action captured everyone’s attention!

Tomorrow is forecast to start with northeast winds at just 5-10 knots before going east in the afternoon.

NJ sea bass ending with a flourish

Sea bass stoks off the N.J. coast have been taking a beating this month as ocean fluking has been poor, but they still appear to be abundant as the season ends tomorrow.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported limit catches today as those using jigs and teasers greatly outfished fares sticking with bait.

Capt. Ron Santee Jr, gave the edge of the channel a try this morning with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands, but only drifted short fluke before dogfish took over. Then he ran down the beach where some sea bass and ling were taken among the shorts while a whale put on a show. However, the best news came at the dock when Ron’s son showed up unexpectedly after flying in from L.A. for Father’s Day.

The small blues that have been providing some action for surfcasters at Bay Head the last two days didn’t show up this morning, but Jim Gates got a surprise hit in the wash from a decent school striper that he released.

Andrea’s Toy had a great tilefish trip last week with 30 up to 30 pounds before adding tuna on the surface during the trip home.

Paul Haertel of the JCAA had a real variety trip offshore of Barnegat Inlet last week with two tuna, one cod, one pollock, one bluefish, one fluke, two ling and some sea bass.

The forecast continues good with southwest winds of 5-10 knots — increasing to 10-15 in the afternoon.

MyCharge a Father’s Day choice for night fishing

Having a virtually unlimited source of power with you while fishing at night comes in very handy for anglers putting in long hours seeking big stripers, blues and sharks from beaches. That makes MyCharge a fine Father’s Day gift for such fishermen as not only is light available for tying rigs, baiting hooks and, hopefully unhooking fish — but your cell phone and other devices can also be charged via two built-in USB ports. The 500 lumens LED lamp has four levels of brightness and a flashing SOS mode. An anti-corrosive metal kickstand is included. MyCharge is also handy to have in the house in the event of a power outage.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar caught its usual sea bass, ling and fluke today, but also tangled with a big one that got away. A very large thresher shark grabbed a hooked sea bass and was fought briefly. Threshers have such small teeth that some are actuallty caught by fluke fishermen with mono leaders, but this one was much too big. The Golden Eagle has some reservations available for weekend afternoon trips.

The Big Jamaica from Brielle has been catching many limits of sea bass as that season comes to an end on Monday — and will then switch to general bottom fishing for the ling plus some flounder and cod which are also hitting. A half-night ling trip will be run Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m.

At Seaside Park, John Bushell Jr. at Betty and Nick’s noted that the sixth straight day of northeast wind has made the surf dirty and full of babbage, but bluefish have been cooperating in both inlets for those who are on the scene when they flurry in.

I tried the Manasquan surf this morning, but found it to be quite rough and somewhat dirty.

The forecast for Friday is for south winds at merely 5-10 knots.

Worst weather forecast of the year

Sorry for no blog yesterday, but AOL kept putting me off the internet. Perhaps that may have been for the nest as I was going to pass along a fine weather forecast that was totally inaccurate.

That forecast was for north winds at 5-10 knots, but the reality was a strong north wind that turned the ocean into a mass of whitecaps. It was barely fishable for those trolling the medium range grounds for bluefin tuna. Not surprisingly, I only heard of a few isolated tuna on the marine radio. Even little tunny were generally scarce in the sloppy seas during a morning that turned out to be quite chilly as Joe Massa and I trolled the Resor area to no avail with Bob Correll on his Sea Vee 32 from Crystal Point Marina in Point Pleasant.

Just like yesterday, when Mike Heaney and I trolled Little Italy with Correll, we saw only a few scattered tuna chicks, no whales or slicks and no other surface signs of tuna. At least yesterday there were a few large little tunny and a couple of early arriving bonito hitting the tuna lures.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had good bottom fishing yesterday in fine conditions as sea bass and ling cooperated along with two

cod.

There were no reports today from the Seaside Park tackle shops, but they will be open for normal business on Monday.

Capt. Vinniy Vetere is back to chartering his Katfish out if Great Kills, and is catching lots of stripers — though most are too big to keep.

If you can believe it, there’s some good weather coming after tomorrow. Today’s afternoon forecast is northwest at 5-10 knots. After midnight it goes to northeast at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20. That holds for the morning, but changes in the afternoon to 5-10 knots.

Too much south wind

Small craft warnings went up at 4 p.m. and extend to Thursday afternoon. Some boats are already cancelling Thursday trips, so be sure to check with your skipper before making a trip in the morning. Jon Falkowski of Linden reports yesterday’s sea bass fishing on the Golden Eagle from Belmar wasn’t as good as two weeks ago . After an unsuccessful attempt at bluefishing, the sea bass were finicky as he only caught seven — of which there were four keepers. A current developed that became so strong he couldn’t hold bottom with 12 ounces. The Golden Eagle reported getting a good shot at 2-4-pound blues this morning before other boats broke them up. There were a lot of sea bass marked, but they didn’t bite well. Some ling and fluke were added. The Thursday trip is cancelled due to the wind forecast.

Sea Hunter — Hundreds of bass rolling

After getting shut out during his first striper trip on Wednesday, Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a far different experience as he reported bunkers and bass up all day, with hundreds of bass rolling on the surface. The only problem was that they were hard to catch — though some were boated.

The photos supplied looked like bass in the teens and possibly a bit larger, but I’m still unable to post photos in the new Word Press system.

Mark Roy wasn’t into those stripers with his Release Me from Raritan Marina in Hazlet, but the mojo he was trolling did attract a “rare” species with teeth as a bluefish of about 28 inches cut the leader next to the boat off Staten Island.

It was quite a different story when I joined Bob Correll on his Sea Vee from Crystal Point Marina in Point Pleasant for a mid-morning run to the south. We saw some bunker flips off Normandy Beach, and had no trouble snagging baits close to the beach. One small whale was spotted there, but there were no surface bunker schools or any signs of stripers during a few drifts. Moving down to Seaside didn’t provide any more hope, and there were no boats fishing during the run back to Manasquan Inlet on a beautiful day when there would usually be lots of boats working bunker schools for stripers or drifting for fluke at this time of year. There were also no reports from the Seaside Park tackle shops of the popping plug action with large bass on bunkers that occurred earlier in the week.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro ran his Hi-Flier from Barnegat and live-lined a 42-inch bass off the IBSP bathing beach, but did mothing else in the morning before finding a 28-incher off Barnegat Inlet on a bunker. He found bunker and the early bass in just 8 feet of water close to the surf.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported good sea bass fishing today. Capt. Dave Riback has noted an increase in bunkers, and is going to start striper trips on June 10,11,15 and 18.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported good sea bass fishing plus ling. Some spots are open for Sunday’s afternoon trip.

I fished Point Pleasant Canal early this morning, and was pleased to find it finally free of the weed we’ve been fighting there. However, fishing wasn’t good. I had one cast with six hits and fish on-and-off that were probably very small blues. Then a striper of about 20 inches hit my 5-inch white ZMan, but that was it. The only blue I saw caught was a cocktail.

The upcoming weather looks great, with northwest winds at 10-15 knots in the morning before dropping to 5-10 in the afternoon.