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.

Big money July 4 tournaments

A lot of money is at stake on the Fourth of July for those fishing winner take all blue marlin tournaments, with one along the Atlantic coast and the other covering the world.

South Jersey Marina in Cape May is sponsoring the local contest in which boaters may leave from any port to troll for blue marlin with a 106-inch fork minimum during specified hours that day before weighing in at stations from Hoffman’s in Manasquan to Rudee Inlet, Virginia.

The Blue Marlin World Cup has been contested for many years, and has a minimum of 500 pounds with a lines in period of 8:10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the time zone fished. The entry fee is $8,000.

Sorry about the grammatical errors In last night’s blog. The cursor in my computer went wild and wouldn’t let me make corrections, so I decided to publish at that point rather than losing everything.

The Montauk Marine Basin Shark Tournament last weekend was topped by a 436-pound thresher on Emily Rose. Slim Shady was next in that species with a 317-pounder

Apelia led in makos at 242 pounds. There was also a 324-pound tiger shark weighed by Wireless..

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had both a limit of sea bass and then a limit of bluefish today. The blues could be seen chasing jigs in the very clear waters. The Wednesday afternoon free trip for healthcare workers produced two-fish sea bass limits. Those workers can still sign up with the Golden Eagle for those trips.

The Jamaica from Brielle is sticking with ling fishing and doing very well with them. Roger Johnson of Roselle won today’s pool with a 4-pounder. Some cod and flounder are picked along with the two sea bass allowed in the summer.

Bob Correll took his wife Mary Agnes up to the Rocks in his Sea Vee this morning for a good fluke bite though none quite made legal size. The sea bass limits were no problem.

The Fischers were at it again this morning as they fluked around Sandy Hook where Phil boated a 28-incher on the skinny side that still weighed 9 pounds. Two others were in the 4-5-pound class.

Keeper stripers from the surf have been rare, bur Greg Tirpak beached a 37-incher on a popper at Mantoloking on June 29.

Friday’s forecast is for northwest winds at 5-10 knots becoming southeast in the afternoon when showers and thunder storms are possible.

Summer stripers cooperate in N.Y. Harbor

The spring run of stripers in the N.Y. Harbor area has long been over, but some bass can be caught all summer if you have patience and knowledge — which is what Chuck Many has plenty of. I had missed all the early fishing due to the pandemic, but made up for some of that when I joined Chuck on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands at 4:30 a.m. That timing turned out t be critical as the first stop provided a few marks before the anchor was dropped. Chunking only attracted smooth dogfish at first, but bass were there also. We had to release 15 dogfish in order to release four hefty summer bass from 16 to 28 pounds — and later added a 34-incher on a live bunker on the surface,

All of those bass were bright stripers without a mark on them, and none needed any help to shoot away when released. Surprisingly, the usually abundant small stripers in the Hudson and East rivers showed no respect for Chuck’s $90 a flat sandworms and we caught only two small fluke and a 14 3/4-inch porgy with them.

Bob Correll reported a successful school tuna trip on Mike Heaney’s new Cabo 42 from Clarks Landing in Point Pleasant as the crew trolled 15 “unders” near the Texas Tower. Two much larger bluefins were lost as one broke 80-pound line after a long battle, while another was eaten by a big shark near the boat.

Also at Clarks, the Canyon Runner reported continued great canyon trolling with catches such as seven bigeyes, 13 yellowfins and a big blue marlin for the Mike Davie party. The Peter Wilcox party had an 400-pound class giant tuna. One open boat seat has opened up for July 8-9. Call 732 272-4445.

Frank Criscola is back from Florida with his Crisdel out of Brielle Yacht Club. Capt. Chris De Stefano was part of the crew this week when they trolled the Carteret for six yellowfins and a blue marlin before releasing a 50-70-pound daytime swordfish — the first reported to this blog so far.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar picked away at small blues with some limit catches over the weekend, and had a few fat bonito mixed in. Today they started inshore for bigger blues , but had a hard time hooking them. There were shots of the smaller blues offshore though they didn’t last long.

Phil Fischer looked for a big fluke on the weekend out of Highlands, but was instead surprised by a 25-pound black drum on a strip of squid. A move out to Scotland resulted in good ling fishing — and he just made it back as the rain hit.

Bigger blues show in ocean

Bluefish in the 6-8-pound class were reported among the abundant 2-5-pounders today by the Golden Eagle out of Belmar. Though a slow drift made it harder to fool them, there were many five-fish limits.

Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary from Point Pl easant says some of his trips have been providing “old time” bluefish jigging with enough 5-pounders among them to provide several meals. He also saw his first bonito last week as they were jigging blues, but knows there were lots more as a gillnetter in the area caught 700 pounds.

The Jamaica from Brielle has switched to ling fishing which has been good. Frank Amaya of Mays Landing had a 24-inch cod to win yesterday’s pool, and a 23-incher won today for Greg Stewart from Sharon Hill, Virginia. Anglers can now board without reservations and pay on the boat.

Capt. Ron Santee Jr. had John Uhl of Plugbaits aboard his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands yesterday as samples of the Gulp-like bait were passed out and produced good numbers of shoert and keeper fluke up to a 4-pound pool winner. The Tackle Box in Hazlet is handling that new product. Santee noted that he’s fishing in the ocean where medium action rods are required to handle 6-8-ounce sinkers.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports bait has been the best bet in the surf. A 15-pound striper was weighed in today, and there was word of two bass over the 38-inch maximum being released. They also noted that rays have been spotted — so don’t walk away from rods being fished out of sand spikes!

Tomorrow’s forecast is for southwest winds at 5-10 knots before going south at 10-15 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.

What a difference a day can make

Capt. Rob Semkewyc was surrounded by stripers yesterday on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, as was noted in yesterday’s blog. Yet, he said today it was like the Sahara Desert in the same area. Only one small group of bass came up, and just one striper was boated. Of course, as fast as they can disappear, they could well be right back tomorrow.

Frank Jones was at the right place Saturday as he and his son Kyle livelined four stripers up to 48 inches in the fog off the Red Church while fishing on Bob Murzada’s Knee Deep before heading out to the Farms for limits of sea bass.

There was a surprising lack of reports today in such fine weather. There was one report of very cold water in the surf after days of south wind upwellings. The northwest wind is predicted to continue at 10-15 knots into the morning, which could help improve that situation before turning to southwest in the afternoon.

Point Pleasant Canal was dead this morning though conditions weren’t bad except for the usual weekend boat traffic. Yet, I saw only one angler get a hit. I stuck it out to the end of the outgoing and finally hooked a 17-inch striper on a Z Man 5-inch white Swimmereez. As far as I know, that was the only fish caught here this morning.

Vinny D’Anton is still in Sarasota. and had a fine morning of wade casting as snook turned on just as waves from the tropical storm started building up in the Gulf of Mexico. He ended up releasing 16 on the DOA Shrimp.

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.

Be wary of scam with party boat ads

The Jamaica from Brielle has reported a scam that’s been also going on with other party boats in which a good deal is promoted on what appears to be their site offering a buy one, get one $100 gift certificate. If you see anything like this on any site, be sure to call the boat to determine if it’s legitimate. The Jamaica’s number is 732 528-5014.

Word Press has changed their site that I’ve been using, and I haven’t been able to post photos on it so far — but will keep trying.

The Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands missed the striped bass season they normally begin with while awaiting approval from the governor to start fishing. However, Capt. Rob Semkewyc is going to run a special striper trip on Wednesday by reservation. Call 732 291-4468.

The Raritan Bay striper run has continued in high gear. Chuck Many has had many trips releasing bug bass, including one with his family aboard Ty Man.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano joined his buddy from Sea Bright on Saturday as they located big bass in the bay by trolling Tony Maja bunker spoons before switching to jigging Flutter Spoons and ending up casting poppers when the bass came up. They caught about 25, and Chris finally got one small enough to keep — a 38-incher.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had another good sea bass trip today after a slow start. Some ling and even Atlantic mackerel were added. After a windy start, it turned out to be a fine day.

Surf weigh-ins have been lacking so far, but Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Park weighed a 33-inch, 10 1/2-pound striper today after it hit clam at Seaside Heights.

Vinny D’Anton is still down in Sarasota while enjoyinade fishing. A few days ago he released 22 snook up to a 33-incher while casting a variety of lures including a Storm Searchbait, a Z Mann white paddletail, and a DOA Shrimp.

Bob Correll of Bay Head went down to his local beach this morning and found bunkers within casting range while small blues and hickory shad were hitting jigs.

Fluke better today for northern boaters

The lack of reports from boats fishing for fluke in the Raritan Bay area had me worried about that fishery, but Capt. Ron Santee noted that both short and keeper fluke responded better today on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. The action was on incoming tide, and one fare managed a three-fish limit.

Bad news from there was relayed by Scott Leadbeater, who saw a boat on fire this morning in mid-bay at 8:30. He heard that the people aboard were rescued. A few stripers were being picked in the Old Orchard area by boaters fishing a variety of lures and baits.

Sea bass held up for the Golden Eagle as anglers on that Belmar party boat had big bass plus some ling during a fine day. A “nice” striper was lost due to a broken line.

If you get lucky while bottom fishing you might catch a 12-pound blackfish like Greg Harms of Untion did while fishing recently on Kaitlyn Nicole out of Sandy Hook Bay Marina recently. Capt. Chris Mahon released the trophy tog which was out of season

blackfish - 12 lbs

Chuck Many continues to release big stripers from his Ty Man out of Gateway Marina in Highlands. He had Ian Gardner and Alex Katyan aboard Saturday as 22 up to 48 pounds were caught — 15 on eels and six on live bunkers.

Small craft warnings go down tonight, and the morning forecast is for just 5-10 knot southeast winds plus patchy fog.

Bumpy morning turns out well

The only report I could find today came from the Golden Eagle out of Belmar which reported a bumpy start before an unexpected calming of the ocean which resulted in a good catch of sea bass along with some ling and winter flounder.  Some anglers anglers managed sea bass limits.

The Queen Mary did not sail from Point Pleasant, but will be going Monday.

The Jamaica from Brielle is sold out for Memorial Day, but is taking reservations for Tuesday and the rest of the week.

There was a lack of wind and poor drifting conditions for the Raritan Bay fluke fleet yesterday, but no reports today when there was east wind that should have been good in Sandy Hook Bay.

The Little Hawk from Atlantic Highlands posted a video of releasing a 52-pound striper on Friday which was far larger than this year’s 38 inch maximum¬† in N.J. waters.

Capt. Jim Freda reports it’s been slow developing, but he got into bluefish Friday in Manasquan River with his Shore Catch.

Freda blue

Small craft warnings are up tonight with northeast gusts to 20 knots, but it’s forecast to drop to east at just 5-10 knots by morning as seas settle to 3 to 5 feet.