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Makos biting in South Jersey contest

Shark fishermen gearing up for mako tournaments will be happy to hear that plenty of makos are being released in this week’s South Jersey Shark Tournament out of South Jersey Marina in Cape May.  That contest has long had a high minimum for makos, but there are still enough being weighed-in to settle the big pay-outs.

Through Friday, the mako leader is a 269-pounder on Gina L, followed by a 249-pounder on My Time. El Cid III weighed a 278-pound thresher.

Smooth dogfish made chunking for stripers in Rartan Bay a losing proposition during Friday’s Manhattan Cup as I fished in the sportfishing category with ex-N,J. Assenblyman Guy Talerico plus his son Alec on their JerSea Patriot along with Joe Massa of My Three Sons in Morgan  as we kept at it to finally come up with a single entry — a small bluefish that managed to get hooked by my large circle hook with a bunker chunk.  On a day when blues were hard to come by, that won me the anglers award in the Sportfishing  category of the release contest while an equally-shocked  Talerico took the captain’s award.  I’ll have the complete results in a blog tomorrow.

I told Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights about that dogfish invasion, and he found exactly the same thing this morning on his Aquasport out of Atlantic Highlands — without even a blue getting through.

Also at that port, Capt. Rob Sembewyc of the Sea Hunter said fluking was slow today in an almost complete lack of drift. His June 12 trophy striper afternoon trip is sold out, but there is room on the June 19 and 21 trips from 2:30 p.m. until dark.

The Fishermen had did well with fluke on Friday in a new area with bait being recorded as there were a few limits and a 7.2-pound fluke by Mr. Hughes. Capt. Ron Santee said small Gulp and bait has been the best bet — “Big bucktails not so much”.

Capt. Stan Zagleski was impressed with the effort today by young Gavin Myers of New Egypt who made his first fluke trip with his dad and not only limited — but also took the pool on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands, Zagleski said most fares bagged a fluke or two during an all day pick. That boat sails at 6 a.m. Sunday.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle found the small blues to the north not cooperating — so they switched to sea bass before getting a report about bigger blues about an hour away. They took the chance, and stayed late to get a good pick of 5-to-10-pound blues on jigs.

Bluefish in Shark River this morning didn’t respond to Vinny D’Anton’s normally deadly Chug Bug, but I released three by casting a 6-inch Z Man Swimmerz paddletail on a jig head — and added a 20-inch striper.  The first blue was a 25-incher, but skinny  The others were 18 to 19 inches. and two more got off. Vinny released a small bass on a jig before heading  for the beach where both he and Jim Lauro released a short on bait.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported bait is still the best bet for surf stripers.

 

 

 

 

Still time for anglers to enter Friday’s Manhattan Cup

The weather forecast for the revival of the Manhattan Cup on Friday looks great, with sunshine and light west winds. That should be a big change from many of the past events which were held earlier in the spring. The first I fished featured wind and rain which turned to sleet — before ending in thunder and lightning. I’m looking for a much nicer day Friday in the contest to benefit wounded warriors which will be held at the much more accessible Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City.  There’s still room for anglers on charter and private boats that were volunteered for the fundraiser being promoted by the Recreational Fishing Alliance.  Any angler wishing to join in the fishing and the festivities from breakfast to a big dinner and prize party at Liberty Landing Restaurant should call Capt. Frank Crescitelli at 917 468-4817 or Gary Caputi  at 732 740-9982.

Fluke fishing was surprisingly tough today.  Capt. Stan Zagleski expected much better with a extra hour of outgoing in the morning, but the early bite on Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands didn’t hold up.  There were some limits, and decent keepers (as shown below), but shorts dominated.

Elaine B Weds, fluke

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee  of the Fishermen reported it was a pick for a couple of hanfulls of keepers among many shorts. One angler released 14 shorts. The pool went to a 4.3-pound fluke.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc had a similar story on his Sea Hunter as he had to do a lot of moving for a few limits up to 4 pounds while some fares only caught shorts.

At Belmar, both the Golden Eagle and Miss Belmar Princess jigged some fussy small blues early before switching to sea bass to add to the catch.

Capt. Vinny Vetere was disappointed in the striper trolling from his Katfish out of Great Kills as only smaller bass up to 25 pounds cooperated even though he stayed out an extra hour. He’s open both Thursday and Friday.

 

Vinny D’Anton of Wall had a fine morning of shore fishing when he caught a couple of stripers up to a 25 1/2-incher and four cocktail blues on his Chug Bug in Shark River before going to a local beach to fish with sand fleas. After starting with a short, the bass turned on and he kept a 28-incher before staying much longer than expected to end up with six up to 31 and 35-inch releases. His bass had calico crabs in its stomach along with some sand fleas and a clam-baited hook from some unfortunate angler who has probably been telling stories about the big one that got away.  I got to the river late, but was surprised by a 21 1/2-inch stripers that blasted a relatively large Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. popper, and also released a small blue that destroyed a Kettle Creek soft plastic.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported that surfcasters fishing clams for mostly short stripers are catching ever-larger black drum up to over 26 pounds. The only surf blues have been hitting bunker chunks.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno of Point Pleasant cast poppers on the bay side of IBSP in the morning, but the only hit came from a houndfish that grabbed Maren’s popper. Those tropical needlefish aren’t normally seen this far north until late summer.

 

 

 

 

Not a day for boats

What a difference a day makes! From fine weather to northeast wind and buckets of rain. I doubt if any boats fished today except in completely protected waters. However, there were a few surfcasters out early as Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park  weighed a 48-inch, 37.95-pound striper caught by Kevin Reilly on clam. Joe Applegrove used an SP Minnow to land a 31-inch, 8.6-pound bluefish.  Betty & Nick’s had a 29-pound bass on the scale that Pete E. hooked on clam at Top of the Mast in Seaside Park.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro was frustrated at not getting out Saturday due to a bad forecast that was wrong. The day before he trolled a 36-pound striper on a Tony Maja #4 bunker spoon off Seaside on Hi Flier from Barnegat, but had a tough trip back in 3-to-4-foot seas kicked up by a surprisingly strong S-SE wind.  The weather looks a lot better for Memorial Day, with the NE wind expected to drop down with only a chance of a shower.  De Gennaro is sailing open 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow — and then through Friday from noon to 7 p.m. The cost is $175. Call 732 330-5674.

 

 

 

Hi Flier 42A 42-pound striper on Hi Flier last week

 

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that big stripers are being caught by trollers and on live bunkers, while small bass are in the surf. Fluking was very good before the season opened Friday, but keepers haven’t been abundant since. Capt. Chris Di Stefano of Wall had the same experience Thursday upon returning to Shark River after trolling a trophy 53 3/4-pound striper for his son Boomer. They made a few drifts in the river and could have filled several limits, but when Boomer fished for them a couple of days later it was mostly shorts.

Jeff Merrill fished Manasquan River on Saturday and reported 22 fluke were caught up to 23-and-24-inchers.

Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights finally got to use his Aquasport 20 out of Atlantic Highlands this week, and was happy to troll some blues one day at Chapel Hill — and both blues and stripers the next morning.

One of my blog readers, Capt. Greg Simba, reported there was a blitz of 22-to-26-inch bluefish in the mouth of Manasquan Inlet yesterday around 2 p.m. — and it lasted for an hour. I don’t how many times I’ve checked the inlet for blues this spring without ever seeing a bird dip.

Sorry for the boxes below that I was left with after transferring Matt Slobodjian’s report from Cape May that you’ll find by scrolling down.

 Matt Slobodjian reports from Jim’s Tackle in Cape May that “drum fishing continues to be pretty good although some of the action has moved into a little deeper water. Boats are still picking fish in the Bayshore Channel close to the canal, but a good bite has come on at Tussy’s Slough. Fresh clam is the bait, and it has to be ordered a few days in advance due to a limited supply.  Fluking was good for some anglers who fished the backwaters. It was pretty rough out in the ocean, so we haven’t gotten any reports from the reefs as of yet.

The sea bass fishing has held up pretty well on the 20 fathom line. There are a lot of throwback fish, but putting together a catch hasn’t been a problem. Striper fishing on the North Cape May beaches slowed down a little towards the weekend — but there were still some nice fish landed by the bait fisherman this week.

We will be holding our annual Mako Tournament next weekend, June 1st and 2nd. Anybody looking to fish it can call the store for details at -884-3900. We did get the first report of a nice mako caught by an Ocean City, Maryland boat. The fish was reported to be in the 290lb. range. The laws have changed on pelagic shark fishing, so anglers wishing to get an HMS permit have to visit the NOAA site and check out the changes.”

 

NJ fluke opens Friday

The New Jersey fluke season opens Friday with a limit of three fish at a minimum of 18 inches in all waters except for three at 17 inches in Delaware Bay and its tributaries — and two at 16 inches from shore in Island Beach State Park. Check with your favorite skipper in case he’s sailing early. Capt. Stan Zagleski will be sailing his Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands at 6 a.m. through Memorial Day before returning to his regular 7:30 a.m. daily schedule on Tuesday.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano of Wall went striper fishing this morning with his son Boomer on the latter’s 17-foot Angler from Shark River. After hearing the trolling bite at Shrewsbury Rocks was off, hey trolled off Asbury Park with a green bunker spoon Chris has had for 36 years. They only had one hit on the wire line outfit, but he knew it was a big one as Boomer fought a trophy striper that weighed 54 pounds at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported that striper fishing was slower today in Raritan Bay from his Sea Hunter out of Atlantic Highlands, but they still had six keepers plus shorts. A big bas was lost at the gaff. Stripers came up at one point. but they only managed to catch one at that time.

Capt. Dave De Gennaro  trolled a 42-pound striper Wednesday from his Hi-Flier out of Barnegat. That bass hit a big white mo-jo. Some bunkers were up, but he stuck with the trolling.

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant has an opening on a free canyon trip for active duty or retired military. It’s first come – first served. Call Adam La Rosa at 732 272-4445.

The Staten Island Tuna Club Striped Bass Tournament that was set for last weekend was postponed due to small craft warnings, and has been moved to this weekend.  The captains meeting is from 5-6 Friday evening in Captain’s Marina, Staten Island. Call Robert Ludwig at 201 538-5252 for info.

The New York fluke season has been open for some time. and ocean fluking has been very good to the east. The Hampton Lady from Shinnecock has had big catches including doormats. The following recent shot should excite every fluke angler.

Hampton Lady