Close finish in SHBA Fluke Tournament

Bob Cameron of North Haledon took over the lead in the Sandy Hook Bay Fluke Tournament on Saturday with a 26-inch, 7.2-pounder, but that contest is a two-day affair — and Larry Natelli of Fords took the $3,000 first place on Sunday with a 26 1/2-inch 7.4-pound fluke. Cameron finished second for $1,000 plus $200 for the first day leader.

Jeffrey Guiliano of Salisbury Mills, N.Y. picked up $600 for third with his 26-inch. 7-pounder — while a similar fluke was fourth for $350 by Bob Moskal of Highlands. Robert Socia of Hazlet was fifth for $250 with a 25-inch 6.8-pounder. Mike Menzel of South Amboy won $125 for his sixth place 26-inch, 6.6-pound fluke. Seventh and $125 went to Emilio Ameno of Matawan for a 26 1/2-inch, 6.4-pounder  — and Joseph Ciervo from Eatontown finished the scoring with $75 for a  25 1/2-inch, 6.2-pound fluke. Debbie Gencarelli won the ladies rod and reel prize donated by Atlantic Bait & Tackle with a 23-inch, 4.4-pound fluke.  Capt. Brian Dunn noted that over 80 fluke were weighed in over the weekend at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina.

The N.J. Outdoor Alliance asks anglers to call the office of Gov. Murphy at 609 292-6000 to request he sign  bill numbers S2793/A4255 which would increase much-needed funding for marine fisheries. That increase was worked out last year between Gov. Christie and the legislature but not included in the new governor’s budget.

Veteran surfcaster Joe Milko got the surprise of his fishing career this morning when a very small striper he was reeling in was engulfed by a shark. Joe only saw the dark shape, and couldn’t identify it. Chances are good that it was a brown or sand tiger as Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park has reported that both species have been providing action there for those who specialize in fishing for sharks at night. Lots of cownose rays have also been reported there, while the best surf bet in the day has been fluking.

A boat shark fisherman also had a surprise, but not from a shark. Rob De Pietri was sharking at Shark River Reef when a N.Y. Police boat boarded his Sharky’s Machine with the explanation that they are deputized by NOAA Fisheries to enforce highly migratory species regulations everywhere. What they were doing so far from N.Y. wasn’t explained. They took a photo of the boat’s permit, and noted that not having it aboard would involve a $500 fine.  Sharking was no good, but the chum slick was full of chub mackerel.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc reported a lot more action today on his Sea Hunter, even if it was mostly from shorts. Capt. Ron Santee said the morning flood tide was poor on his Fishermen, but he found some sea bass later that included Mike Nolan’s 4 1/2-pounder.  However, the change of tide late in the trip produced a good fluke bite that enabled Santee to bail out in “overtime”. The Fishermen is chartered on Wednesday.

Vinny D’Anton took is grandsons, Brandon and Lucas Longo of Manasquan, to their local beach this morning after he caught a school striper earlier on a Chug Bug. They tried fishing with sand fleas and came up only with a skate. Just before leaving, Vinny told Lucas to make a few casts with the Chug Bug — and he hooked a 27-inch striper that fought him for eight minutes.

Costa Rica dorado & wahoo

Capt. Pete Wagner of Hyper Striper at Highlands put his daughter Nicole and niece Amanda into wahoo and small dolphin last week off Los Suenos, Costa Rica.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fluke tournaments coming up

The major fluke tournaments are coming up, and anglers have a chance to make their “fortune” in the  July 21 Grandpa Savino Fluke Tournament out of Great Kills. Staten Island The heaviest fluke over 13 pounds is worth $25,000. The contest hours are from 4 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The captains meeting is at 7 p.m. Friday, July 20 in Captain’s Marina, Great Kills. Call Walter Fisher at 917 375-7607.

The Sandy Hook Bay Anglers 37th annual Two-Day Fluke Tournament  will be run July 14 and 15 out of Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina. There are $5,700 in cash prizes plus Calcuttas. The entry fee is $100 per boat. For details visit http://www.sandyhookbayanglers.com – or call 732 787-4008.

The big Point Pleasant Elks Fluke Tournament is coming up July 21. The entry fee is $145 per boat, and there’s also a kayak division for $50 per angler. For details visit point pleasantelks.org

Fluke fishing was generally tough today. At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter said he was surprised by seeing relatively few anglers on the docks this morning despite the fine weather. Fishing was slow, though some quality fluke were boated.

Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen was happy to see a young girl win the pool with her first keeper fluke. Miss Cosgrove fought the 5-pounder to the net unaided. There were more shorts today to produce action, but fishing pretty much shut down after the change of tide. The Fishermen is chartered Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Miss Belmar Princess went right to the sea bass today as two-fish limits were easy to come by. Then they went inshore for fluke and caught some shorts and keepers.

The Tackle Box in Hazlet weighed in a rare for this season doormat fluke as Dan Lisak of Westfield used bucktail and Gulp to catch an 11-pounder in Sandy Hook Channel.Dan Lisak 11-lb fluke

Both the surf and Shark River showed some promise this morning. Vinny D’Anton of Wall fished the river at first and caught eight small stripers before joining me in the surf where I had caught a small bass on a Chug Bug and raised two others. Vinny got a small bass  on the same lure, and later added a 23-incher further south.  I cast a Storm Searchbait jig briefly at Spring Lake to catch the fattest little windowpane  I’ve ever seen. It had so much meat on it that I couldn’t see through while holding it up to the bright sun. Another one was released along with a 15-inch fluke before I switched to a brief effort with sand fleas that produced a 22-inch striper and a large skate.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Fluke fishing improving — 9.4-lb. boated

Fluke fishing is improving in northern N.J., and the largest reported to this blog was boated today on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands  — a 29-inch, 9.4-pounder boated by Scott Ure. That was his second largest fluke ever, as several years ago he caught an 11.2-pound doormat on the Fishermen. A 5-pounder took second in the pool, and Capt. Ron Santee said the morning action was much better than yesterday. The Madison Boy Scouts were aboard to enjoy the day.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc said he had tough conditions for his first fluking trip of the season — and was happy with his new full-day schedule. The Atlantic Highlands boats will try to get out Sunday despite a forecast of gusty NE winds.

Capt. Stan Zagleski was happy with the morning fluke bite on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands as some regulars managed limits among lots of shorts. Zagleski will be sailing early at 6 a.m. Sunday.

The entire bluefish fleet from Brooklyn to Point Pleasant gathered at  Shrewsbury Rocks to jig the small bluefish that have been dependable all week. I joined Bob Correll of Bay Head in his Boston Whaler to look for stripers north of Manasquan Inlet, and we ere able to snag some bunkers from occasional flips, but saw no signs of stripers. When we got to the Shrewsbury fleet there were only a very few blues being hooked amid a constant blasting of horns as party boats kept moving to jump on readings due to a lack of birds on rainfish . Bob lost the only blue he hooked, but we did jig a few small sea bass and windowpanes off bottom along with a sea robin and a skate during a brief attempt. The blues must have turned on at other times as party boats reported fair to good bluefish catches. The Golden Eagle from Belmar also added sea bass and even winter flounder.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano was part of the crew on Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club on Friday that trolled seven large stripers from Deal to Flynn’s Knoll. They were fishing in the ongoing Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Clun Striped Bas Tournament and weighed in bass of 39 and 42 pounds — but are just behind entries of 42 and 45 pounds. Di Stefano said today’s trolling reports were very spotty, but he heard there was a showing of bass on top very early in the morning off the Red Church.  Capt. Dave De Gennaro ran his Hi Flier from Barnegat all the way up there, but had no luck trolling. He bailed out in Barnegat Inlet on the way back as his party cast shads to 3-to-4-pound blues. De Gennaro said the early Barnegat Bay run of jumbo blues just didn’t happen this year after three straight great springs.