A once in a lifetime catch — again!

Just last week I wrote a blog noting the lack of southern species showing up to the north so far this season, but I’ll have to take that opinion back after fishing Sunday morning with Chuck Many of Annandale on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands.

We were drifting sandworms at the mouth of the Hudson River for school stripers and weakfish and trying to work through bait-stealing porgies when I hooked a fish that fought just like one of those species with short runs against a tight drag. Peering into waters somewhat discolored by recent heavy rains, as the fish came toward the surface I was shocked to see the black bars on a roundish body of a big sheepshead.

Many quickly got the net under a sheepshead that was 23 inches long and weighed 9 1/4 pounds on my Garcia Abu Combi scale before we released it after a few quick photos.

sheepshead

As mentioned in my blog last week, I had been shocked once before by a sheepshead in the north. That was on Sept. 7, 2013 off a rock pile in Raritan Bay while seeking weakfish with Joe Massa on his My Three Sons out of Morgan Marina. Not wanting to use up the last few sandworms, I switched my jig head to a Gulp Jerk Shad and hooked a 20-inch, 7-pound sheepshead.

Since I’d never heard of a sheepshead in Raritan Bay before (and haven’t since), I figured that was a once in a lifetime experience.  That sheepshead was also larger than any I’ve caught in Florida, but Sunday’s second “catch of a lifetime” made the earlier fish seem small.

It’s likely that sheepshead were more common in northern waters over a century ago when channel bass (red drum) were the primary inshore game fish up to the central N.J. Shore.  Though large sheepshead are caught with some regularity in South Jersey up to the south jetty of Barnegat Inlet, they’re unusual north of there.

Sheepshead normally fight like a giant porgy, with lots of head-shaking, but the latest did none of that. In fact they are a giant porgy, being  one of the largest members of the porgy family Sparidae. which is represented by many species in temperate and tropical waters worldwide.  In addition to the prominent black bars, the crab-crushing teeth are a sure identifier.

Porgies were a problem when we  first started drifting worms at 7 a.m. in Shrewsbury River for school stripers. Some bass in the 20-inch class beat the porgies to our worms, but the scup even hooked up on my circle hook. Some were large for the river, up to a 14 1/8-incher. Many castnetted a tank full of peanut bunkers. and we snagged a few adult bunkers before filling our appointment with the sheepshead.

Porgies were also a problem in the Hudson, though we managed some small stripers among them before coming in to pick up Alex and Susan Katyan for the afternoon tides. There was just a pick of very small stripers on both worms and peanuts before Many made a move. The East River was clearer than expected, and produced some small bass plus a couple over 28 inches by Alex. Many then moved to deeper waters in the Hudson where we used the few large bunkers that had been snagged in the morning plus a few more snagged on the spot. I released a 23-pound striper and another a bit smaller, while Susan lost two large fish after she had caught her first few small stripers on worms earlier in the trip. We ended up with 20 striper releases for the day along with many porgies, the sheepshead and the only small bluefish which Susan hooked.

Joe Greco from Ft. Myers, Fl.  (formerly of Edison) is up north for the summer, and joined relatives plus several old friends (including the famed Capt. Wood – Gene Graman) on a Sunday charter with Capt. Chad Hacker on Tagged Fish from Highlands. Greco  said they picked at sea bass for their two-fish limits while adding the one blackfish now allowed — and loading up with ling.

The White Marlin Open began today in Ocean City, Maryland. I’ll be adding a blog later with the first day weigh-ins.

At Brielle, the Big Jamaica reported another day with lots of chub mackerel Sunday plus some small blues and a few ling and sea bass. Paul Farrell of Howell won the pool with a reported 3-pound mackerel which would be huge for a chub.

The Jamaica II had a good week for fluke with lots of 4-to-6-pounders plus sea bass up to 4 3/4 pounds. Mike Collins of Toms River took the lad in the monthly contest with a 7 1/2-pound fluke.

There were good fluke reports today from Atlantic Highlands. The Fishermen finally saw more large fluke as the swell dropped down, and a 7.9-pounder took the pool. The Sea Hunter reported a pleasant surprise as most fares caught keepers, and one limited among lots of shorts. Midships Mike (below) took the pool at 6 1/4 pounds.

 

Midship Mike on S.H.It was the best of days and the worst of days during Saturday’s JCAA Fluke Tournament for James Gurski of Nazareth, Pa.  as he had the rare good fortune of boating a 12.40-pound fluke that was big enough to win the contest’s $50,000 grand prize for the largest fluke exceeding 12 pounds.  The only problem was that Gurski hadn’t paid the extra $25 to enter that portion of the tournament.  To top it off, he also wasn’t in the overall Calcutta. As a result, he only ended up with $4569 for the Sandy Hook port prize and the two Calcuttas there. The second largest fluke was an 11.79 doormat entry from Absecon Inlet that was caught by Matthew Cornman of Gloucester City to win the Southern Region, He was less than four ounces short of the $50,000 prize — but did win the overall Calcutta to bring his earnings up to $4,569. There was yet a third doormat, and Joe Spero of Lincroft was in both Jersey City Calcuttas to become the biggest winner at $8,638.

The complete results from Paul Haertel of the JCAA follow:

24th ANNUAL FLUKE TOURNAMENT
PORT PRIZE WINNERS

Come to the Awards Ceremony at The Clarion Hotel in Toms River
Thursday evening, August 9th, 2018
Come early to register (3 PM to 7 PM)
Awards Presentation and Drawings start at 7:00 PM

The 24th Annual JCAA Fluke Tournament took place on August 4th. The weather forecast of thunderstorms throughout the day along with big waves and heavy winds resulted in only 221 entries competing in 7 regions throughout our state. Though the weather was in fact bad in some areas during the morning, most areas had sun during the afternoon. The fishing turned out to be very good for many of our contestants.

There were three true doormats exceeding 10 lbs. weighed in during the tournament. The largest fluke weighed in was 12.40 lbs., 30” and was caught by James Gurski of Nazareth, Pa. He weighed it in at Gateway Marina in the Sandy Hook Region. James did not add the extra $25 to enter our doormat fluke category that would have won him $50,000 for catching the largest fluke exceeding 12 lbs. However, he and his team did win both Sandy Hook Region Calcuttas along with the 1st place region prize for a total of $4,569.

The second largest fluke in the tournament was caught by Matthew Cornman of Gloucester City. He did enter the doormat fluke category but his fish weighed 11.79 lbs., less than 4 ounces away from winning the $50,000 prize. Mathew caught his fish in Absecon Inlet and weighed it in at One Stop Bait and Tackle Store in Atlantic City. He only entered the $50 overall Calcutta but along with the 1st place region prize his winnings totaled $4569.

Joe Saro’s 10.59 lb. fluke was the third largest caught in the tournament. It was weighed in at Liberty Landing Marina. Joe was the biggest winner in this year’s tournament as he won the $100 overall Calcutta along with both Jersey City Region Calcuttas and the 1st place region prize for a total of $8,638.

Harvey Karp of Kearny, NJ had the smallest fish this year which won a region prize weighing in at 2.02 lbs. at Liberty Landing Marina in the Jersey City Region. Harvey was a previous overall winner in 2016 winning $13,319. All the winners from each region are listed below.

All told, JCAA will pay out a total of $31,852 in cash along with region prizes and door prizes worth thousands of dollars.

This annual tournament provides funds to help the Jersey Coast Anglers Association continue its fight for sound management of our fisheries and our marine environment while seeking to protect or enhance fishing opportunities for our recreational anglers. We are currently seeking more reasonable regulations for our recreational anglers.

The Clarion Hotel in Toms River is the host for the 24th Annual Jersey Coast Fluke Tournament Awards Ceremony. The Clarion Hotel invites tournament entrants to come and enjoy their facilities both before and after the awards ceremony. You can meet JCAA Executive Board members and representatives from our sponsors.

By attending the awards ceremony this is your chance to win the drawing for the boat, motor and trailer Grand Prize. In fact, 19 of the last 20 Grand Prize winners did not weigh in a qualifying prize fish in the tournament. Someone from your boat must be present to win the Grand Prize and any of the fifty or so great door prizes.

We want to thank all tournament participants and especially our sponsors for making the tournament a success. Our nationally known sponsors include Yamaha Motors, Starcraft Boats, Yacht Club Trailers, Tica Fishing Tackle, Fuel Ox, Costa Sunglasses, The Fisherman Magazine, and ICOM. The $1,200 First Place Port Prizes were sponsored by Fisherman’s Headquarters (for Long Beach Island), South Harbor Marina (for Barnegat Bay), and Liberty Landing Marina (for Jersey City) and the remaining ports by the JCAA. Jersey Coast Fluke Tournament T-shirts and hats will be on sale as long as supplies last.

The JCAA Fluke Tournament GRAND PRIZE Registration will be at the Clarion Hotel on Route 37W on Thursday evening, August 9th. Follow the signs to find the registration site. We will be in the Ballroom. Registration is between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM. At least one person from your boat must attend at the time of the drawing in order to win a prize. We expect a large turnout so please come early. Please bring your registration affidavit to save yourself time at the registration desk. There will be free hamburgers, hot dogs, mozzarella sticks and soft drinks served from 5-7PM. A cash bar will be open throughout the event. All winning numbers will be announced in the ballroom. We will also be distributing the port prizes for those in attendance. The registration desk will issue one ticket which is good for both the Grand Prize and for the door prizes. Additionally, we will be holding a huge a 50-50 raffle. Last year’s winner took home just under $2000. We really appreciate both your participation and patience and are sure everyone will have a great time. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you for your support.

2018 Fluke Tournament Port Prize List
(10 Identical Prizes for Each Port)

1st – $1200
2nd – Costa sunglasses and accessories
3rd – Canyon 5000 spinning reel
4th – Icom M-36 portable vhf radio
5th – Tsunami 4000 Shield spinning reel and Sapphire rod
6th – Tica Taurus TP5000S spinning reel and 12’ surfcasting rod
7th – Fishermen Magazine basket including assorted items and a 1 year subscription
8th – Fuel Ox additive, t-shirts and a Tony Maja bunker spoon
9th – Fenwick rod, JCAA t-shirt and hat
10th – Two dinner tickets to the JCAA Sportsperson of the Year Banquet

Also, any of the 1st through 9th place prize winners may exchange their prizes for two tickets to the JCAA Sportsperson of the Year Banquet which will be held on 11/11/18 at the Crystal Point Yacht Club. Tickets cost $80 each.

HERE ARE THE WINNERS FOR 2018
* Denotes $50 Port Calcutta Winner
** Denotes $100 Port Calcutta Winner
$ Denotes $50 Overall Tournament Calcutta Winner
$$ Denotes $100 Overall Tournament Calcutta Winner
1. Jersey City Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Saro, Joe *, ** $$ Lincroft, NJ 219 10.59 29.50
2nd Atlas, Marc Fairview, NJ 149 8.80 28.00
3rd Reily, William Morganville, NJ 216 5.65 25.50
4th Mastrangelo, Damon Cliffside Park, NJ 102 5.03 24.50
5th Semit, Dave Matawan, NJ 173 4.94 24.00
6th Cordano, Daniel Bayonne, NJ 133 4.60 23.00
7th Napolitano, Nick Fort Lee, NJ 206 3.79 22.00
8th Kinney, Jason Lebanon, NJ 222 3.39 21.25
9th Karp, Harvey Kearny, NJ 90 2.02 18.50
10th None
48.81 216.25
2. Sandy Hook Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Gurski, James *, ** Nazareth, PA 125 12.40 30.00
2nd Evens, Allan Jr Union Beach, NJ 163 8.43 27.50
3rd Manzi, Vito Morganville, NJ 204 8.36 27.00
4th Kelly, Steve Jersey City, NJ 171 8.04 26.25
5th Drumm, Jerry Upper Darby, PA 108 7.59 26.25
6th Herbert, Rick Ringwood, NJ 199 6.67 25.50
7th Smith, James Clark, NJ 129 6.34 25.75
8th Jakubik, Todd Colts Neck, NJ 46 5.63 25.00
9th McCarthy, Patrick Sayreville, NJ 232 5.17 24.00
10th Natelli, Jack Monroe, NJ 187 4.65 23.00
73.28 260.25

3. Shark River Inlet Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Dudinetz, Andy *, ** Brownsville, NJ 81 7.63 26.50
2nd Young, Billy Howell, NJ 230 7.57 27.50
3rd Schoch, Herman Paulsboro, NJ 83 7.57 25.75
4th Temple, Chuck Wrightstown, NJ 4 6.94 26.00
5th Ricca, Philip Westfield, NJ 217 6.37 24.50
6th Cronin, Pat Wall, NJ 96 5.83 24.00
7th Montgomery, Dylan Franklinville, NJ 233 5.64 24.50
8th Gurrieri, Joe Howell, NJ 211 5.42 24.50
9th Mizsak, George Hamilton, NJ 174 5.39 24.50
10th Goetz, John Cream Ridge, NJ 212 5.02 23.00
63.38 250.75

4. Manasquan River Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Coutant, Joseph * Brick, NJ 106 8.02 27.00
2nd Aives, Doug ** Old Bridge, NJ 35 7.92 26.00
3rd Houlman, Rodger Keyport, NJ 52 6.52 25.50
4th Remishofski, John Wall, NJ 39 6.35 27.00
5th Cameron, Bob North Haledon, NJ 36 6.03 25.00
6th Haley John Kendall Park, NJ 191 5.91 25.00
7th McCleary, Jason Jackson, NJ 208 5.9 25.50
8th Pleszia, Anthony Linwood, NJ 205 5.56 25.00
9th Cuba, William Piscataway, NJ 31 5.08 24.50
10th Wolf, Doug Stanhope, NJ 182 4.86 25.00
62.15 253.00

5. Barnegat Bay Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Chudzinski, John * Cherry Hill, NJ 122 7.40 26.00
2nd Majewski, Alex ** Barnegat, NJ 135 6.80 26.00
3rd Costanzo, George Barnegat, NJ 192 6.67 26.00
4th Bonilla, Peter Whiting, NJ 45 5.00 24.50
5th Caruso, Camille Forked River, NJ 158 4.96 23.50
6th Fay, John Forked River, NJ 88 4.78 24.00
7th Sorrentino, Matt Ship Bottom, NJ 198 4.59 23.50
8th Tice, Ed Beachwood, NJ 80 4.46 22.75
9th Engle, Tom Medford, NJ 162 4.38 22.75
10th Kostick, John Jr Lakewood, NJ 44 4.25 22.00
53.29 241.00

6. Long Beach Island Region
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Cliver, Kevin *, ** Sellersville, NJ 82 8.64 27.00
2nd Phillips, Richard Southampton, NJ 95 4.90 23.13
3rd Paoalella ,Dean Springfield, NJ 200 4.34 22.50
4th McKinnon, John Jackson, NJ 84 4.13 22.38
5th Trembula, Tom Cookstown, NJ 40 3.81 21.38
6th Rust, Brian Cinnaminson, NJ 53 3.81 21.25
7th Czamik, Jason Philadelphia, PA 111 3.70 21.00
8th Klebossis, Bob Manahawkin, NJ 137 2.92 20.38
9th Hoover, John Moorestown, NJ 183 2.85 20.00
10th Dean, Tom Little Egg Harbor, NJ 121 2.36 19.88
41.46 218.88

7. Southern Region (GB, OC, AC, CM, Port)
Name Hometown Entry # Weight Length
1st Cornman, Matthew $ Gloucester City, NJ 226 11.78 30.00
2nd Trainor, Roy *, ** Wildwood, NJ 234 6.93 25.50
3rd Mosloskie, Tony Essington, PA 34 6.63 25.00
4th Schafer, Dan Del Haven, NJ 209 4.89 23.50
5th Fitzick, Tim Somers Point, NJ 33 4.08 23.50
6th DeChurch, Daniel Moorestown, NJ 103 3.62 21.00
7th Choynowski, Michael North Arlington, NJ 143 3.44 21.00
8th Spiro, John Browns Mills, NJ 148 3.29 20.75
9th Murray, Chris Northfield, NJ 71 3.23 20.50
10th Olswfski, Tony Florence, NJ 184 3.11 20.75
50.99 231.50

Total Weight/Length-Ft 423.66 151

 

Where did all the mackerel go?

While cleaning my office on a rainy day, I came across one of my old logbooks and opened it up to April 25, 1970 to see what I was catching on that Saturday when I was still living on Long Island. It turned out that I fished with a couple of friends on their boat out of Jones Inlet as I jigged 102 mackerel and two herring.

That was just a routine day of spring mackerel jigging then, and in almost every other spring after I started saltwater fishing. Huge schools of mackerel started their northern migration off Virginia, and moved steadily up the coast during April before ending up in New England waters within a few weeks. Some years were better than others, but catching 100 or more a man was routine, and party boat fleets thrived on the great fishery for both food and a freezer full of bait for the months to come.

The foreign fleets caught millions of pounds and put a big dent in that fishery, but mackerel did come back after the 200-mile limit went into effect.  Yet, foreign fleets were allowed to continue taking mackerel if they participated in joint ventures with American trawlers. NOAA Fisheries considered mackerel to be underfished at that time, but after a few more years the spring runs diminished and then virtually disappeared even as NOAA Fisheries kept setting large quotas that weren’t being filled. When I called them about this, they admitted to be using an old stock assessment. There were some years when there was a good winter mackerel run off the N.J and L.I coasts, but even that has died out — and party boat skippers who used to run experimental trips for mackerel in the spring now don’t even bother. From millions of fish to none at all!

Due to today’s weather, there have been no reports. There was a very good one about surf stripers that came in after last night’s blog. Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno from Point Pleasant cast Kettle Creek paddletail jigs in the Ocean County surf to release dozens of small bass in a spot where they never got a hit the afternoon before when the surf was calm.  A bit of white water turned the stripers  on, though the largest was only 22 inches.  It may take another day for the surf to settle and clear.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park has been reporting small bass in the surf for over a week, and Betty & Nick’s notes the surf temperature has warmed to 50 degrees.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar will be sailing for stripers at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

There is a thick fog warning until 7 a.m. before a west wind kicks in.

The first two stripers caught last Thursday morning on bunker chunks before release from Ty Man in Raritan Bay

Ty Man morning stripers

NJ anglers should push for DEP marine funding renewal

A major topic at today’s NJ DEP Outdoor Writers Meeting was concern about continuing the hard-won funding for marine fisheries which Gov. Christie added to his last budget and which was supported by legislative leaders. Gov. Murphy didn’t include that funding in his budget, and hiring has been frozen until funds are assured. Though there have been ever greater demands placed on the DEP with the expansion of fishery management plans, the staff has been contracting for many years due to retirements.

Tom Fote of the JCAA has been meeting with legislators to try resolving this situation, but it may require pressure from the public on Gov. Murphy to get the funding restored. I’ll have more about this plus other information from the state meeting in the next few days.

Today’s weather wasn’t the best, and fishing started slowly for Chuck Many’s crew on Ty Man in Raritan Bay. David Glassberg of Little Silver only needed two throws of the cast net to load up with bunkers. There were enough marks in the bay, but we couldn’t give away a live bunker — even though trollers were stopping regularly as that seemed to be the best bet with the scattered marks.

Many doesn’t enjoy trolling, so he anchored to chunk. Bob Bowden, Dave and I had a flurry of action as four bass from about 29 to 32 inches were released, but the tide was dying out and the bites did the same. Chuck dropped me off to drive to the state meeting in Assunpink Wildlife Management Area, but that was just the start of the day for him. He checked out the Hudson River and found no marks up there before returning to the back of the bay where the bass turned on to bunker chunks in the afternoon. By late afternoon, the release score was up to 21 bass with a 22-pounder topping the catch.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk had decent bottom life and reported some blackfish limits though it wasn’t a good bite. The weather is looking a lot better after tomorrow’s NW blow, and the weekend should be fishable — with Sunday through Tuesday looking exceptional.

Bob Matthews has been very disappointed in the winter flounder bite from the Belmar Marina docks, but notes that some blackfish are being caught in the inlet. Capt. Chris De Stefano of Wall stopped by this week and saw a few flounder caught, including one with a bitten-off tail — plus a 17-inch fluke.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park had reports of some short stripers on bait in the Island Beach State Park surf.

Hope to meet you at my weekend fishing tackle garage sale

As this is being written, I’m still filling up my garage with fishing tackle of all kinds for the weekend sale from 8-2 both days at 1552 Osprey Ct., Manasquan Park, NJ  08736.  There’s everything from light spinning and baitcasting to big game — including two 130-pound giant tuna rigs. There’s lots of canyon lures and big boxes of freshwaters lures for $1 and $2, plus other boxes of saltwater lures for $5 and $10 — including deep-diving plugs and poppers. There is even a planer board set for just $25. I’ll have my last two books for $10, and will be glad to autograph them for you. Classic fishing magazines are free with any purchase.

If you have any questions. call me at 732 757-5531. My daughter, and former charter boat mate, Cyndi,is coming up from Florida to help with the sale.

I took a break this morning to join Chuck Many on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands for a shot at the big stripers he found yesterday in Raritan Bay. Bob Bowden was back again, and Mike Greene was up from LBI — but there wasn’t a sign of the big bass where they had been in the back of the bay. Bob only had to throw the cast net once to load the live well, but we couldn’t give those bunkers away. Many did mark a few bass in the shallow waters, and by casting Tsunami Shads we were able to release 17 bass that ranged from about 20 inches up to three of 29, 30 and 31 inches.  We were comfortable in our jackets all morning before a noon return into the heat on land. Keep in mind the fact that it will be cooler on the water now with the water temperature still at 48 degrees,

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a beautiful day on the ocean, and saw lots of life, but only managed a few short stripers on clams.  The weather looks good again tomorrow, but east winds and rain are in the forecast for Sunday.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield made his first surf attempt of the year, and was happy to release two “rat” stripers on sandworms at Sandy Hook.

 

Ty Man finds big bass in Raritan Bay

The long-awaited arrival of big stripers in Raritan Bay seems to be getting started. Chuck Many loaded up with bunkers this morning and came upon big bass swirling in shallow waters. The largest fish responded to live bunkers, and shad lures produced smaller keepers for Many and Bob Bowden until the bite died off . When Brian Pieros came out later in the day with the same offerings, there wasn’t a bite.

Chuck striperChuck Many with big bass before release. Big bass hit live bunkers today in Raritan Bay.

 

Jim Hutchinson Sr. reports that captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are delighted with the dredging of Little Egg Inlet as they can now run in at least 10 feet through that unstable inlet.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar  had a pick of blackfish during Wednesday’s  trip, but some fares managed two to three of keeper size. Clams have been most effective.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park has fresh clams and bloodworms in stock, and expects fresh bunker on the weekend. They had their first weigh-inn, but it was of a blackfish caught by Billy Browne. That 20-incher weighed 5.65 pounds.

Keep in mind my Sat.-Sun. fishing tackle garage sale from 8-2 this weekend at 1552 Osprey Ct., Manasquan Park, N.J. 08736. In addition to all the fishing gear, there will be classic fishing magazines free with any purchase.

Ty Man finds lots of small stripers

Chuck Many had no lack of action today with his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands as 100 small bass were released by three anglers even though the water temperature was only 46 degrees.

Gannets were diving all over Raritan Bay and on the outside, but Many didn’t mark any big bass. It only took one throw of his cast net to get what was needed, and he said the small bass even hit bunker chunks in the running tide before really turning on to worms and clams as the current slowed. Yet, there wasn’t anything close to 28 inches among them.

The Golden Eagle is making its first striper trip out of Belmar at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. Hopefully they’ll find some under those gannets in the ocean.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar found blackfish action on bottom during Sunday’s trip, and it was good enough to produce some limits.

The Jamaica from Brielle has room on Saturday’s 1 a.m. offshore wreck trip for cod and pollock. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations on the limited trip that costs $140.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported their first surf striper — a short that hit metal.

I’ve been tied up getting ready for this weekend’s fishing tackle garage sale at my home — 1552 Osprey Ct., Manasquan Park, NJ 08736.  I keep finding things hiding in my basement, including a Penn International II  80S on a Daiwa 80-pound bent butt rod that I never got around to using. Call for info at 732 757-5531.

Ty Man catches first “20” in Raritan Bay

Chuck Many of Annandale, N.J. isn’t easily discouraged, even by a forecast of gale force winds, so he and Bob Bowden went down to his Ty Man in Gateway Marina, Highlands at dawn and found the only problem was fog covering a flat calm Raritan Bay. They had been catching lots of small stripers while clamming off Keyport, but this trip was completely different before the front blew them off the water. There were only a few hits, but Bowden caught the first 20-pound bass reported from the bay so far this spring. They also released a 30-incher and a bass only about 18 inches.  Many said the water temperature was in the narrow range of 44 to 45 degrees from the river to the bay. No bunkers were spotted in the bay, but gannets were diving in the ocean.

first 20

Capt. Chris De Stefano of Wall said he got a report of a big bluefish being caught in the Navesink River.

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, said the weather has made for tough fishing, but he finally saw six winter flounder caught from the docks on Sunday.  The Atlantic Highlands store isn’t open yet, but anglers fishing from shore in Raritan Bay have been catching school stripers.

Fly rod pro, Joe Blaze of Brielle, holder of IGFA fly rod world records for bigeye trevally, turned his attention to bonefish from March 13-18, 2018. He reports “Fished Grand Bahama Island East End Lodge and Little Abaco for bonefish and mutton snapper as a guest of Joe Jefferson Club members including Henry Matri, Peter Marron, Sean Davis, Bob LaViano, Bob Hekemian and Rich Pellizzi.  Weather and water was cool [65-75F], but significantly improving after the prior week of rain and overcast.  Fishing and catching was excellent with each member landing many bonefish each day.  A few permit spotted and one landed.  Several mutton snapper landed too.  Flies were the usual types including Crazy Charlie, Gotcha, Clouser minnows. ” 

I’ll be holding a fishing tackle garage sale with loads of new and used gear at 1552 Osprey Ct., Manasquan Park, NJ 08736 on April 14-15. More information will follow as the event gets closer.