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.

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.

 

 

 

 

Sharks & bluefins well underway to the south

As northern anglers are gearing up for the first weekend of offshore tournaments,  those to the south have already been scoring with sharks and even some relatively inshore bluefin tuna.

The first big shark contest is the 38th annual South Jersey Shark Tournament out of South Jersey Marina in Cape May which runs from Thursday through Saturday after the 7:30 p.m. captains meeting on Wednesday. That $600 entry event paid out $307,763 in 2017.

The 5th annual Warriors for Warriors Charity Shark Tournament runs out of Hoffman’s Marina West in Brielle to benefit Operation Restored Warrior from June 8 to 10 with a $500 entry. The captains meeting is 5-7 pm. Friday in the marina.

Hoffman’s then hosts the 17th annual Brett T. Bailey Mako Rodeo on June 15-16 after the June 14 captains meeting.

While the Jersey Coast  Shark Anglers have changed their Mako Fever Tournament (732 551-3912) to a nine-day format from June 16-24 in order not to have to deal with weather problems, the Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association is sticking with the weekend format for their 33rd Mako Mania on June 23 and 24.  For info call 732 892-3666 or visit gppcba.com.

Adam La Rosa reports the Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant is still doing very well with bluefins in the canyons, but private boats using their information service are also trolling them at such nearby areas as the Hot Dog, Tea Cup, Elephant Trunk and the 30 and 40 lines out to the Lobster Claw and inshore of the Lindenkohl. One boat even came across some yellowfins.  Below are veterans with the bluefins they caught last week with Capt. Deane Lambros during one of the Canyon Runner’s free canyon trips for the military.

military on c.r,

The Ocean City, Md. Mako Mania produced a possible Maryland state record 644.9-pound thresher, while the winning mako was 200.9 pounds.

Fluking bounced back after the northeast blow. Bob Matthews of Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina reported very good catches from his rental boats in Shark River. John Hunter and a friend from Ridley, Pa. limited two days in a row up to a 5-pounder. Jesse Thomas of Wall limited to 4 pounds, and Ben Green also had a 4-pounder.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had a good drift early with the west wind on the end of the ebb and found good fluke action with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands until the tide switched. Some fares had limits. He’s looking forward to tomorrow morning with another hour of ebb.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee said there was still a swell running, but fluking on the Fishermen was decent — especially for Dan who had a 6.9-pound pool winner. Capt. Rob Semkewyc  said fluking was good enough for everyone on his Sea Hunter to end up with dinner.  He has only one spot left on next Tuesday’s afternoon trophy striper trip, and that Thursday’s trip is 1/3 full.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar found small blues on the surface that wouldn’t hit, so they eventually switched to sea bass and did very well.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported very good jigging for those blues that ran from 3 to 5 pounds and were caught on light tackle with small, plain jigs.

Matt Slobodjian sent the following report from Jim’s Tackle in Cape May: (scroll past boxes)

 

“We held our annual Shark Tournament Friday and Saturday. The weather held up and 31 boats competed. There was plenty of action with blue sharks, threshers, tigers, browns, makos, and even a couple of hammerheads. All but 4 fish were released. Another little bonus was there were bluefin tuna in several areas along the 30 line and out to the canyons. A few guys took the time to troll up a couple for dinner. The first place mako was caught by the crew of the “Miller Time” , a 261-lb. fish. Second was a 226-lb. mako caught by the crew of the “Fishin Technician”. The third place fish was a thresher caught by the crew of the “Team Player”  — a 324-lb. fish. I should explain even though the thresher was heavier, a mako shark takes precedence in our tournament. We would like to thank everyone who participated. You are the reason the tournament is a success. Thank you all we hope to see you again next year.

We are still seeing some striper action on the surf from Poverty Beach and still from the North Cape May beaches. We are also starting to see some nice bass coming from the surf in North Wildwood.  Steve Parness of Springfield NJ brought in a 33-lb. bass he caught on bunker chunks at Poverty Beach. George Harris of Philadelphia brought in a 28-lb. bass he caught on bunker around 5th street in North Wildwood.

Weakfish slowed down this week, though more small trout are starting to show up around the rocks.  Sea bass fishing turned on again this week on the 20 fathom wrecks. Some charter boats reported limits by mid-morning. It seemed the fishing slowed down around the full moon and picked right back up after it.

The drum bite is still good. Bait is the issue now that the clam boat isn’t getting enough orders to go fishing, so they’ll be in short supply.”

  4 Attached Images