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Hawaii entry won July 4 Blue Marlin World Cup

There were 148 boats over much of the world fishing for a giant blue marlin during the July 4 World Cup competition. Blues over 500 pounds proved elusive until a last minute bite and overtime battle produced a 780.5-pound blue marlin for Troublemaker at Kona, Hawaii. With a $5,000 entry fee plus a Calcutta, that fish should be worth over a half-million dollars. Bermuda. which had a local tournament going at the same time, had the largest fleet with 38 boats that released 26 blues not big enough to win.

There wasn’t anything that exciting going on locally this weekend, but Capt. Ron Santee said some large fluke were caught from his Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands during the two hours of ebb tide available this morning. A 6.8-pound fluke beat out a 6-pounder for the pool. The action dropped off to only a keeper here or there after the tide change.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter at that port reported weekend fluking wasn’t as  good as it had been.

Allan Zertuvo

Allan Zertuvo of Old Bridge with a recent fluke catch to 6 1/8 pounds on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands

The bluefish boats didn’t look for the elusive choppers today, but rather took advantage of the sea bass abundance on bottom. Virtually everyone on the Golden Eagle and Miss Belmar Princess from Belmar had their two-sea bass limit. The latter also mentioned some ling, and a couple of days ago had the odd fish of the week — a remora (shark sucker).

The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported a pick of fluke in many areas plus sea bass. Fluke catches ran up to a few limits, and the pool winner was about 7 1/2 pounds. They will be sailing at 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, but are chartered Wednesday.

As soon as I wrote in last nights blog about the complete lack of bluefish in Shark River, Vinny D’Anton caught a cocktail blue on a jig there this morning. There was no repeat of the hot school striper bite on Saturday, but Vinny plugged a 21-incher and I got a small bass on a Kettle Creek jig. Vinny then checked the surf and found a trough where he released four small bass on sand fleas. The last one was attacked by a pit bull being walked on the beach, but Vinny saved it without thinking about what he was tearing it away from. Fishing can be a dangerous business!

Great gain for recreational fishing due to Reef Rescue

There was some very good news for recreational fishermen from NOAA Fisheries this week as the final rule to implement Special Management Zone status for artificial reefs in federal waters off New Jersey was approved. That rule, long ago requested by the N.J. D.E.P. and approved by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, restricts allowable gear for fishing on those reefs to handlines, rod and reel, and spears. Commercial fishermen must remove their pots by Aug. 8. That gear conflict was a problem for anglers attempting to drift the reefs which were created for recreational fishing, paid for primarily  by the public, and maintained in large part by funds coming from the excise tax on fishing tackle,

This was a huge victory for Capt. Pete Grimbilis and reef creator Bill Figley who formed Reef Rescue well over a decade ago to save the reefs for their original purpose. The inshore reefs have received some protection through a compromise plan, but the new rule will protect such popular reefs as Sea Girt and Shark River plus most of those off South Jersey. I’ll have more about this in future blogs.

Today’s northeast wind put a big crimp in fishing, and resulted in some party boat trips being cancelled. The Golden Eagle from Belmar sailed into a very nasty sea and didn’t even look for bluefish,. Instead they found plenty of bottom action with sea bass, ling and fluke. Two sea bass per person can be kept during the summer by-catch season.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had a slow start until the tide changed, but then had a decent pick of up to two keeper fluke and many shorts. The pool winner of 5 9/16 pounds was boated at the end of the day. Capt. Ron Santee said a big swell from the northeast wind slowed the bite in the channels.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant cancelled due to the conditions, and they are chartered tomorrow.

The northeast wind was dropping off during the afternoon, and is only supposed to be 5 knots on Sunday. Indeed, there isn’t any wind over 10 knots in the forecast right through Thursday.

Vinny D’Anton got into a blind blitz of small stripers in Shark River this morning. They weren’t showing, and wouldn’t look at a popper, but the 18-to-20-inchers hit a variety of plastic jigs.  Frank Manzi and I also got into the action. Usually those small bass are only picked at in the river, but they may be enjoying the complete lack of bluefish there this summer. I haven’t caught or heard of a blue in Shark River since June 13.

 

 

My Christine wins Bluefin Open at 191.5 pounds

The Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club took advantage of the improved bluefin tuna fishing this year, and sponsored a successful first annual Bluefin Open tournament that was won by Neil Franzoni’s My Christine with a 191.5-pound bluefin that took the basic entry $7,040 prize. Douglas Johnson was second on Double D at 180.5 pounds, and Robert Wedeking third on Over Ride with a 155-pounder. Haley Adyson took the day 3 prize with a 132-pound bluefin. The yellowfin tuna Calcutta was won by The Right Place with a 64.55-pound entry, and the small boat Calcutta (35 feet or smaller) went to On The Line for a 48.7-pound bluefin. No one could come up with a dolphin for that prize.

The MRMTC Jack Meyer Trolling Tournament also concluded with a big change after Frank Criscola’s Crisdel had a sweep going until the end. Pete Torcicollo on Clean Livin took over first with an 81.20-pound yellowfin, followed by Rob Wedeking’s Over Ride at 53.60 pounds — while Crisdel hung on for third with a 48.65-pound yellowfin.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano said the big yellowfin bite in the canyons cooled off as the waters blended and most of those trolled were small.

That jumbo bluefish jigging that the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant found Sunday and Monday wasn’t repeated today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported the blues didn’t cooperate so they switched to bottom fishing for a boat limit of sea bass (two per man) plus some porgies and a couple of ling. They will sail at 7:30 a.m. for July 4 blues. Miss Belmar Princess stayed with the bluefish hunt until mid-morning before switching to sea bass and porgies. They’ll also be seeking blues on July 4 at 7:30 a.m.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported it was a lot cooler on the water today than forecasted, and fluking was OK with a showing of 3-to-6-pounders plus a pool fluke just under 7 pounds. They note that spinning rods and Gulp have proven to be a “huge game changer”.

The Sea Hunter had the only report from Atlantic Highlands, and Capt. Rob Semkewyc notes that he only had a few anglers aboard due to the weather forecast — though the heat wasn’t bad at all today as they had a slow start before finishing up well. A 5.6-pound fluke took the pool.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had a tight finish for the pool during Monday’s trip with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands as Bob Evans of Waldwick (center) and Anthani Limaxes from New Milford each had 7 1/16-pound fluke — but were nosed out when young Dominic Rocco of Parsippany boated his first keeper fluke on his first fluke trip at 7 1/4 pounds.

Elaine B three 7's

Vinny D’Anton of Wall found the right trough in the surf this morning and released seven small stripers on his Chug Bug. I tried Shark River and quickly caught a 21-inch striper on a jig, but never had another hit.

Steve Mirande, a follower of this blog, reports he was catching fluke from the Bay Head surf on Monday morning when he was surprised by a 23-inch striper that hit his jig.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be bluefishing at 7:30 a.m. on July 4. A $15 coupon for adult or senior fares is available on their web site.

Hot weather — mixed fishing

One thing everyone could agree on today was that it was HOT! Unfortunately, there wasn’t a repeat of the hot Saturday fluking in Raritan Bay.

Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands said there was little drift, and power drifting didn’t help much this time.  June Benson started the day off right with a 5 13/16-pound fluke, and then added an 18-incher. However, only a few managed multiple keepers in contrast to yesterday on the Fishermen when all the fluke were at lest 19 inches.  The Sea Hunter had a similar report of decent fluking over the weekend despite the conditions.

John Vanderstad of Pompton Lakes had this pair of 6-pound fluke Saturday on the Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.

John Vanderstad 6-lb fluke

The Angler from Atlantic Highlands  settled their monthly pool yesterday as John Brock of Clifton held on all month with his 6 15/16-pounder to win $1,560.

The Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant had a last minute cancellation, and the 60-foot Ritchie Howell  is open for the July 2-3 overnighter. Yellowfin trolling has been hot as 72 were caught Saturday though the boats only trolled for seven hours.

canyon tuna on canyon runner

Mark Roy ran his Release Me from Raritan Marina in Hazlet out to the Chicken Canyon area yesterday and got into 50-to-60-pound bluefin tuna on pencil poppers. He and his crew caught four casting, and trolled a yellowfin on a spreader bar. A trip to the Hudson Canyon was fruitless, and overnighting only produced a brown shark.

There were no reports from the bluefish boats as of the time this blog was written.

It was delightful being on the Spring Lake surf this morning, but the only small striper I saw was caught by a fluke fishermen on Gulp. I switched from a popper to a Storm Searchbait jig to break the ice with a small fluke. Vinny D’Anton said he caught a short bass at Belmar on a Chug Bug, and Frank Manzi managed a 15-inch fluke on sand fleas at Spring Lake.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina is still raving about that 13 1/4-pound fluke from Shark River as reported here this week. Henny Green and Marty Westerfield have been catching lots of keepers in the river up to 4 pounds. Matthews has seen the first very small snappers in the river.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant is running open for bottom fishing on July 2, 9, 10, and 11.  Call 732 770-8019 for details.

 

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.

 

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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

Moist Saturday kept most anglers home

The bad news is that there is hardly any fishing news as the rain and wind forecast kept most anglers home. The good news is that the east wind dropped out in the afternoon — and Sunday’s forecast is good.

I was among the few who ignored the forecast in order to join Vinny D’Anton and Frank Manzi casting in Shark River. Conditions were fine with clear waters, and a strong outgoing current. There was never more than a mist that didn’t require rain gear, but none of us got so much as a bump.

With a 20-mph east wind churning up the surf, we didn’t even try there — though Jim Louro of Spring Lake did brave the conditions to fish sand fleas briefly without a hit.

It appears that few boats sailed. even in partially protected Raritan Bay. That should all change tomorrow. The weather next week is also looking generally good.

The Jamaica from Brielle should have good drifting conditions on their tilefish trip that sails at 10 p.m. Sunday. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

jamaica tilefish new1

Capt. Vinny Vetere had a good maiden voyage with his new Pursuit S408 out of Great Kills on Friday. He said it ate up the rough seas that day, and was very stable while fishing due to the expensive Seakeeper Gyro System.  Striper trolling was good with his Ho-Jos, but the only really large bass hooked was lost in a tangle at boatside. It was estimated in the 40-pound class.

Vinnie's Pursuit

It’s Mako Mania time

The 33rd Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association’s Mako Mania Tournament gets started this evening with a 6:30 p.m. captains meeting at Wehrlen Brothers Marina on Princeton Ave. in Brick. N.J.  Anglers can fish either of the next two days — or opt to fish both by paying two entry fees. All boats sail out of Manasquan Inlet, and weigh-ins are from 4 to7 each day at Capt. Bill’s Lamding in Point Pleasant.

There’s expected to be about $250,000 in cash prizes, and Lester Glenn Auto Group will present a 2018 Chevy Silverado to the angler who breaks the state shortfin mako record of 856 pounds.  There’s also a provision this year that if no mako making the new 83-inch minimum length (a straight line measurement from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail) is weighed, the largest thresher shark of at least 66 inches will be eligible for all prizes.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Remember that each boat is limited to one shark. If last weekend’s BTB Mako Rodeo is any guide,  it doesn’t appear that they’ll be any problem in finding a few big makos among a large fleet.

Nor’Easter put a 729-pound mako on the scale at Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle to run away with that contest and blew away the old tournament record of 401 pounds. Other makos and threshers were weighed in, and Fin-Ominal won the first mako Calcutta with a 242-pounder.

The 40th Jersey Coast Shark Angler’s Mako Fever continues through Sunday. Anglers entered in that contest were relieved to find that Nor-Easter’s mako wasn’t also in Mako Fever. However, Big Nutz Required jumped on top of the leaderboard this week with a 258-pound mako.

The N.J. sea bass season concluded today. so there will be more pressure on ocean fluking.  Raritan Bay fluking wasn’t very good today, and Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands said he couldn’t fish every spot as it got a bit nasty at times in the east wind. Yet, there was one limit, and the pool fluke was 4.5 pounds.

Tank Matraxia joined the family and friends fluke charter arranged by Marty Gras of Lyndhurst today on the Bingo out of Atlantic Highlands. He said fluking was a tough pick in the bay with only a few keepers, though the kids caught a couple of 23 1/2 and 24 inches. With about 30 people aboard, there were only 30 short fluke big enough to be tagged by the American Littoral Society volunteers aboard.

The bluefish fleet in Raritan Reach had a tough day of jigging. The Golden Eagle from Belmar  reported it was nothing like the last four days as they only got a few brief shots of big blues. Miss Belmar Princess only got a shot of small blues early before scratching out some up to 12 pounds as there was none of the surface action they had been seeing.

Point Pleasant Canal was quiet this morning except for one very excited little girl who fought a 30-inch striper to the landing net.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall was happy to catch two small stripers on his Chug Bug in Shark River before heading to the surf. The east wind created good white water conditions for fishing sand fleas, and he quickly caught two stripers — including a 32-incher. I went down to take pictures of his fish, and gave it a try that resulted in a 29 1/4-inch release before losing two others on-and-off with circle hooks.

Vinny’s bass was so fat that we expected it was full of sand fleas. Yet, it turned out that it only had hard-shell calico crabs and a rock crab in the stomach — and was still carrying roe though the spawning period was over a month ago. Some stripers don’t spawn every year, and reabsorb their roe.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be making another tilefish trip that departs at 10 p.m. Sunday. Call 732 528-5014 for details and reservations.

Those who would like to fish fresh waters in New York State have the opportunity to do it for free this weekend.

Maren Toleno of Point Pleasant was surprised by this houndfish while casting a popper on the bay side of Island Beach State Park recently, but Jerry Lasko’s dog Bunker was properly wary of those small, but sharp teeth

Bunker & houndfish.jpg

Big money mako shark contests coming up

There will be lots of money at stake in the upcoming mako shark tournaments which get started this weekend.

The opening tournaments were somewhat disappointing, but that might have been due to the late and cool spring. However, water temperatures are up to 60 degrees and betting closer to the 64 degrees usually favored by makos.

Last weekend’s South Jersey Shark Tournament at Cape May only produced one mako at the new 83-inch minimum. Another mako didn’t make the contest’s 200-pound minimum, and there were only 29 mako releases by the 68-boat field. Gina L. ran off with $117,826 for their 269-pound mako.

I happened to come across a round-up of the 2002 South Jersey contest by Nick Honachefsky for comparison. During that contest, the winning mako was 443 pounds, and 1,115 sharks were caught. That included 264 makos, with 19 boated and 245  released.  Blue sharks are usually a pest early in the season, and 844 were caught in 2002.  This is the only N.J. contest that offers a prize for a blue shark, but only 54 were caught this year — and none of them made the 200-pound minimum for the prize money.

The official results for the Warriors for Warriors Charity Shark Tournament out of Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle produced just one mako of 86 inches and 225 pounds that swept the mako Calcuttas for Tra Sea Ann. Just Bill Me had the big shark with a 243-pound thresher. The new tuna division was no contest for Miss Tres at 121 pounds, with Taylor Jean second at 35 pounds.

The 17th annual Brett T. Bailey Mako Rodeo will be contested out of Hoffman’s Marina West in Brielle from June 14-16 with a new 48-hour format.  The captains meeting is on June 14 at the marina. Visit http://www.btbmakorodeo.com for details.

The Jersey Coast Shark Anglers also jump into action with a new format as their 40th annual Mako Fever runs from June 16 to 24 — allowing contestants to pick good weather days and fish as many as they want to by paying entry fees for each day. The captains meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on June 15 in Manasquan River Club, Brick. For details visit http://www.jcsa.org

The Greater Point Pleasant Charter Coat Association waits until June 23-24 for their 33rd annual Mako Mania which will be run out of  Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant. The captains meeting is on Friday June 22 in Wehrlen Bros, Marina on Princeton Ave. in Brick. For info call 732 892-3666 or visit gppcba.com

Matt Slobdjian reports from Jim’s Tackle in Cape May as follows: “The tuna bite really turned on last week in the canyons. The fishing moved from north to south throughout the week. The water was in the Lindenkohl and the Spencer canyons mid-week and moved down from the Spencer to the Wilmington by Saturday. There were good numbers of yellowfin, bluefin, and also some bigeye tuna caught through the weekend. A couple of large blue marlin were sighted, but not hooked up in the same areas.
Drumfish are still biting, but have slowed down a bit. They are still being caught at Tussy’s Slough and in the lower Bayshore Channel.
We are starting to get some fluke reports from the artificial reefs. The bite is not great yet, but some nice fish are being caught on the party boats and private boats fishing the reefs.
Small blues are starting to show up around the inlet rockpiles early morning and again in the evening. There are still some weakfish around the inlet as well.
The surf was slow last week, but we did see the first few kingfish come from the Point, and we weighed the first nice fluke from Sunset Beach for George Barnard from Folcroft Pa.  — a 4.23lb., twenty-two incher caught on a bucktail with a squid trailer.”

Capt. Chris Di Stefano of Wall got word from offshore that the good water has moved out, and canyon boaters are on the prowl again.

CR canyon tuna

Canyon Runner tuna last week

The forecast of some rain seemed to scare off most party boat anglers today. The Sea Hunter didn’t get out from Atlantic Highlands after having a good pick of fluke, including some 4-to-6-pounders, Tuesday until the SE wind shut it down. That wind also hurt the afternoon trophy striper trip as some areas weren’t fishable. Some bass were marked, and Capt. Rob Semkewyc saw a few caught by trollers — but there were no hits on bait. He’s giving it another try at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Also at that port, the Angler reported that their 7 a.m. sailing time put them into a good fluke bite Tuesday morning, including their best drift of the year with 22 keepers coming aboard. Dennis Fuchs of Cranford won the pool for the second straight day with a 5-pounder. Juan Cortez of Bayonne had a very long 35-inch fluke for Sunday’s pool, but it was so thin that it only weighed 5 1/2 pounds.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle got into lots of small blues splashing under birds today — and they stayed up most of the day even though they were a bit fussy. Jigs and teasers also produced some sea bass and a short striper.

I was satisfied with the light tackle casting in Shark River this morning, as I released two 3-pound blues and a small striper on a Z Man 6-inch Swimmerz jig, but there wasn’t much life despite a complete lack of boat traffic. I only had one other bump, and Vinny D’Anton of Wall raised just one small fish to his Chug Bug — which got off before being identified. Jim Louro of Spring Lake barely beat the rain to release a 26-inch striper on sand fleas at the beach. He caught a smaller bass and a 20-inch fluke there Tuesday morning when D’Anton caught two small bass and an 18-inch fluke on the bugs. There doesn’t seem to be any volume of bass in the surf, but the good news is that all being caught are in perfect shape — with none of those red blotches seen on almost every surf bass last summer.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield was surprised to see a rough surf Tuesday morning at Sandy Hook even though there was no wind. His bunker chunks produced only a 13-inch fluke and a “huge” sea robin, while Lou Vargas of Fanwood released a 16.5-inch fluke on bunker.

SH surf

Tank Matraxia and his crew from Lyndhurst fished Tuesday with Capt. Fletcher Chayes on Two Rivers Charters from Highlands as they worked Shrewsbury River for nine legal fluke including one over 5 pounds while using Gulp, killies and squid. Matraxia placed 15 ALS tags in the shorts.   He also received info from the American Littoral Society of a tag return from a 23-inch striper he tagged on Nov. 29, 2017 while fishing off Sandy Hook with Chayes. It was recaptured on June 7 at the west end of Nantucket, but the angler didn’t supply the length. That was Matraxia’s 203rd  ALS tag return.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reports Tuesday’s surfcasting was improved, with a pick of blues on bunker in the evening in the park — and a few bass — including the release of a 36-incher on bait

Gina L. won SJ Shark Tournament with a 269-pound mako

The 38th annual South Jersey Shark Tournament out of South Jersey Marina in Cape May had great weather Thursday and Friday, but catches were well below their normal standards. That was no problem for Joe Zuccarelli on Gina L as Patrick Sheehan fought a 269-pound mako from the 31 Bertram. They weren’t in the biggest Calcuttas, but still ended up with $117,826.

El Cid III, a 28 Mako, boated a 278-pound thresher  that earned $36,434,  while My Time took home $2,323 for a 249-pound thresher.

South Jersey winnerOne other mako didn’t qualify, and 29 were released. The blue shark money wasn’t claimed as only one short of the 200-pound minimum was brought in while 53 were released.  Other releases by the 68-boat fleet included a brown, three tigers and two duskies as the cold spring waters seem to have delayed the usual shark migratory pattern.

The Warriors for Warriors Charity Shark Tournament out of Hoffman’s Marina West in Brielle hasn’t posted any official results as yet, but the last leaderboard indicated that Tra Sea Ann weighed an 86-inch, 225-pound mako.  Just Bill Me had a 243-pound thresher. Miss Tress was way ahead in the tuna division with a 131-pounder, and Taylor Jean was on the board with a 35-pound tuna.

Warrior's mako

Despite the early morning rain, there were some fluke fishermen who braved the weather at Atlantic Highlands. Capt. Ron Santee was happy with the morning bite on the change of tide as Rich Mullenbrock limited up to a 6 7/16-pound fluke on the Fishermen.  Capt. Rob Semkewyc said conditions were horrible where he had been catching with the Sea Hunter, but there were still a few limits and fluke of 5.5 and 4.7 pounds.

Party boats along the Shore cancelled, but sea bass fishing has been very good for bottom fishermen who’ll  be glad to get back to them tomorrow. The Golden Eagle at Belmar and Miss Belmar Princess will be looking for the 5-to-8-pound bluefish they got into last week. Those blues weren’t hitting very well Sunday after a good jig bite Saturday.  The forecast for Tuesday features light southeast winds.

The Surf Kings almost held their home ground at Sea Girt during a weekend afternoon surf contest with the Hudson River Fisherman’s Association and American Angler as Tim MacMahon had an 18-inch fluke before a 34 3/4-inch blue hit a clam fished by Ron Stesney of America Angler late in the afternoon.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that fluke are hitting in Shark River, and some big stripers are being trolled in the ocean. Ray Soyka of Lincroft put a 52-pounder on his boat. Brett Thibedeau was trolling with his father two miles off Belmar when he fought a 48-pound striper. They also caught another over 40 pounds.  Matthews says clams are producing mostly short stripers in the surf.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall waited for the rain to stop this morning before trying to bait stripers in the surf, but they didn’t turn on.