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An August shore trifecta

Anglers don’t necessarily need a boat in order to enjoy New Jersey’s mid-summer variety. That was certainly the case for me this morning as I started casting from shore into Shark River, and then moved to the beach in Belmar,

Though there was little current in the river at first light, I managed to release three small stripers on a silver shad Z Man SwimmerZ. Then I tried casting a Chug Bug into an area where I hadn’t raised anything in a month, and started getting some surface action culminating in a blast by a 20-inch bluefish. Unfortunately, that was it for that spot, and I decided to give the surf a shot.

It was rough, but very fishable in an increasing SW wind. Nothing came up on the popper, but a bather told me she’d seen fins in the water. I switched to a Tsunami Shad, and it only took three casts before a cownose ray was headed offshore with my lure.  After a pitched battle for 10 minutes or so, I had the ray at the drop-off where it was able to prevent me from pulling it onto the sand until a larger wave provided  the opportunity to slide it in those last few feet. As a youngster volunteered to hold my rod, I was able to dislodge the lure and get the ray of about 40 pounds back in the water. Releasing heavy rays isn’t that easy once  they’re well above the wash as there’s no obvious gripping area. Yet, I’ve found that by potting a finger in each of the large eye sockets and pressing upwards against the solid head it’s easy to lift rays for release into deep enough surf.

Since I still had a jacket on from fishing at dawn, I worked up a sweat and decided that one ray was enough on a warm morning. I probably should have switched to fluke and added another species.

Stripers, a blue and a cownose ray all within a couple of hours and a few miles. Nice action for the shore-bound in a heavily-populated area during the dog days of summer.

Capt. Chris DiStefano  reported that there was a city at sea Saturday night in Hudson Canyon, and most of the boats there loaded up on yellowfin tuna chunking at night.  That should have set up a great trip without the mob scene for Sunday night on Frank Criscola’s Crisdel from Brielle Yacht Club.  Instead. there was hardly any action in the fleet. They had to troll most of the next day to jump off a small white marlin and troll three yellowfins in order to break the ice — though it looked as if the bite was developing when they headed in at 4 p.m.  Di Stefano  heard from other skippers that one boat had a mako of about 700 to 800 pounds hanging alongside Sunday night.

Adam La Rosa reports the Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant had a great weekend. The Viking was into yellowfins during the Friday to Saturday overnighter for an open boat party, while the Kevin McDermott party was fishing on the Ritchie Howell. Those boats had over 40 yellowfins, with more than half of them on the chunk.

Fishing was slower the next few trips, but the bigeye trolling bite continued. Capt. Phil Dulanie found three bigeyes for the Tom Cirsicks party.  An open boat trip produced an 68-inch bluefin as well as a blue marlin. Most of the bigeyes have been hitting Canyon Runner Green Machine spreader bars.

The weather reports must have scared off many anglers as there were few reports today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar noted that the ocean was a bit nasty today, but that didn’t bother the sea bass at all as they even hit diamond jigs and Sabicki rigs. Some ling and keeper fluke were also caught.

Capt. Vinny Vetere got into lots of big stripers up to the forties this week trolling his Ho-Jo lures from Katfish out of Great Kills. He may be running open on Thursday.Katfish striper

WMIT ended with few changes — Doormat on Sea Hunter

The 49th White Marlin Invitational ended Sunday evening at Beach Haven with the only big change being the weigh-ins of two respectable dolphin — 10.9 pounds on Marine Max and 12.9 pounds by Outer Limits.  The 22-boat fleet ended the tournament with mixed results as Hard Four led the way with three white marlin releases plus tuna of 59.5 and 102.5 pounds. Smokin Again, Business and Melina each had a white release, and Endless Drifter boated a 66-pound bigeye.

That brought the tournament total for 22 boats fishing two days each to 12 white marlin releases. 37 tuna weighed, four dolphin, and one blue marlin. Melina had the 356-pound blue, and was the winner on points over Hard Four, Jersey Nutz (with a Saturday catch of a white release plus bigeyes of 140.5, 115 and 111 pounds), Nora Angela, and Reel Determined. However, Jersey Nutz came out slightly ahead in Calcutta earnings with $22,308 to Melina’s $21,622.  Mary Joe (the MJ’s crew)  won their tuna specialty with Friday’s 156.2-pound bigeye and had $11,250 in Calcutta winnings. Nora Angela won $10,246, and Reel Determined earned $2,668.

The volume of bigeyes in the canyons continued to be impressive, though many weren’t much larger than yellowfins. The volume of white marlin was disappointing, though it wasn’t surprising that one large enough to weigh wasn’t brought in. So far, dolphin remain as scarce as they were in last year’s canyon tournaments, and no wahoo were encountered. There’s been no word so far on winners of the various prizes other than Calcuttas.

The first doormat fluke reported so far by the Raritan Bay fleet was boated today on the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands by Willie Meyer.  Capt. Rob Semkewyc said it weighed 11.8 pounds,  and there were also some  4-to-6-pounders as the fishing was much improved.  A couple of fares had limits and there was lots of action,

Willie Meyer-11.88

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk reported solid fluking with a good number of 4-5-pounders and a pool fluke of about 9 pounds. They’ll be sailing no later than 6 a. m. tomorrow.

The Golden Eagle had hot sea bass fishing for a boat limit (two per man) plus ling.

Allen Riley and John Mazzeo of South Plainfield plus Duke Matero from Piscataway fished the calm Sandy Hook surf this morning, but weren’t using Gulp for long as masses of snappers were nipping their tails off. Instead, they cast snapper poppers to catch the baby blues for fluke bait.  Though no fluke hit them, Mazzeo released a 3-pound bluefish and lost another in the wash — the first blues they’ve seen in some time. Allen ended up releasing a large sea robin.

I finally raised some fish to surface  lures in Shark River this morning, but the only one I hooked came off quickly. Vinny D’Anton caught two small stripers on his Chug Bug at the same time.  Flycaster Bill Hoblitzell had earlier caught a mix of school bass and blues.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno from Point Pleasant fished for sharks at Island Beach State Park  yesterday evening to release three browns and a blacktip. on chub mackerel. Though those sharks were in the 40-pound class, much bigger sand tigers are a possibility.

Maren with shark

Matt Slobodjian at Jim’s Tackle in Cape May sent the following report: “The weather finally broke, and for the first time in a week people are starting to get out. Fluke fishing has been best at the Old Grounds the last couple of days. There have been quite a few boats coming home with limits; but the bigger fish are tight to the bottom structure. There are a lot of fish on the Cape May Reef, but a ton of shorts with only a few keepers mixed in. There is still plenty of action in the backwaters for fluke. We’ve seen some nice fluke coming from Cape May Harbor and the intercoastal waterway heading up to Wildwood. We are starting to get some reports from Brown Shoal in Delaware Bay of some decent fluke catches. Tuna are still at Massey’s Canyon. The “Hooked Up” caught 4 bluefin trolling the area around Massey’s. It was an early bite and the action was over by 8 am. The canyon bite was ok, but not on fire. There was a bite between the Wilmington and the Spencer for tuna and a few marlin were caught there as well.
The beach fishing is slow, but more kingfish are starting to show up in the surf. By far the best beach fishing has been for sharks, with multiple releases of browns, sand tigers and a few blacktip hookups.”

A few spaces remain available for the Outdoor Women of NJ Workshop, to be held Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center  off Island Beach State Park.

WMIT ends today

There should be an exciting end to the 49th White Marlin Invitational run by the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club.  That contest finishes with 21 of the 22 boats fishing and nothing unbeatable on the board — though the 356-pound blue marlin weighed by Melina will be tough to beat. I’m sorry I couldn’t update this last night, but the WMIT doesn’t change the leaderboard as new entries come in and this info wasn’t available until the morning.

Saturday’s fishing wasn’t up to Friday’s standard when all nine boats fishing had at least a catch or release for a slightly revised total of just four white marlin releases plus the boating of an exceptional nine bigeye tuna along with  18 yellowfins, two dolphin and the 356-pound blue marlin.

Dave Ridley reports that only  five of the 14 boats fishing Saturday scored with the unusual showing of bigeyes continuing  as 16 up to a 140.5-pounder were caught along with only five yellowfins up to 57.85 pounds and just one of the targeted white marlin was released.

The big money would be won by a white marlin large enough to weigh, though the scarcity of whites makes that look like a long shot. Mary Joe’s 156.2-pound bigeye is looking good despite the relative abundance of those tuna. Jersey Nutz won the Treasure Chest last year with only a 62.5-pound tuna, but could be in line for the dolphin money as they lead in that species at just 8.95 pounds. The wahoo category is wide open on the last day which ends with weigh-ins from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. and the awards party.  If provided in time, I’ll add a blog with the results tonight – or otherwise Monday morning.

Great opening to WMIT

The Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club’s 49th annual White Marlin Invitational was a week late in terms of good weather, and thus took a beating in entrees as only 22 boats hung in with the contest that was  moved back to provide for better fishing weather. Even then, no boats sailed into still lumpy seas on Thursday. It came down to a three-day tournament for each boat to get in two days of fishing, and only nine boats took a shot at Friday — which turned out to be probably one of the best in WMIT history despite a wicked late afternoon  thunder storm the held up the weigh-ins.

Every boat caught or released fish. The total reported came to only five white marlin releases and one 8.95-pound dolphin — but the expected 15 yellowfin tuna and the hoped-for eight bigeye tuna plus a rarely-seen blue marlin weigh-in.

Melina, a BHMTC boat, had a great day with the blue marlin longer than the contest minimum, which weighed 356 pounds, plus three bigeyes from 86.3 to 117 pounds.  However, their bigeyes weren’t big enough as Mary Joe (bigeye specialists MJ’s) took the tuna lead with a 156.2-pounder. The first day was already a huge improvement over last year when Jersey Nutz won the Treasure Chest with only a 62.5-pound tuna

Though only 22 boats are involved, the Calcutta total up for grabs is $67,500. After yesterday’s fine fishing, there should be plenty of action at the weigh-ins this afternoon. The results came in much too late last night due to the storms, but there shouldn’t be any problem in getting another blog out when results are in tonight.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands did well all day with sea bass and mixed-size fluke despite a lack of current for drifting.

The Jamaica from Brielle reported a hot Friday bite of chub mackerel plus a few blues and lots of ling and sea bass’

The Golden Eagle from Belmar had another busy day today with sea bass to get the two-fish limits plus ling.

Capt, Dave De Gennaro is going to run open on Sunday for a trip to Barnegat Ridge with his Hi Flier from Barnegat for bonito and sharks  — and hopes the weather continues to look good Monday for the mid-range offshore areas that have been producing bluefin tuna.

 

There was no lack of boat traffic in Shark River this morning as stir-crazy boaters rushed out to sea. I managed a couple of small stripers casting from shore right away, but soon moved to the still somewhat rough surf where  I did nothing on poppers. Frank Manzi stuck it out with the small bass in the river and ended up with nine, while Vinny D’Anton got three there (including one on a Chug Bug) before adding another on that popper in the Belmar surf.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar found an 8 3/4-pound fluke that was close to the seasonal leader despite still large swells Friday. The Big Mohawk from Belmar did even better today as Joe Links boated a 10 3/4-pound doormat fluke.

TBM-Joe Links

The WMIT is set to roll

The Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club’s White Marlin Invitational begins the summer series of offshore tournaments with lots of money involved. That contest begins Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. with registration at the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club, followed by fishing from Thursday through Sunday after everything had to be moved forward a day due to offshore weather forecasts.. Fishing hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In addition to the Beach Haven weigh-in, there will be another at Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle.  For details visit http://www.thewmit.com — or call Dave Ridley at 908 963-5924′

The Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant will be fishing that contest with high hopes after doing very well with bigeye tuna this summer.  Indeed, Friday’s bigeye catches were unprecedented as the Viking 48 had 14 and the 60-foot Ritchie Howell added nine. bigeyes on canyon rnunner

Bigeyes were scarce during last year’s tournaments, and Jersey Nutz won $78,000 in the WMIT Treasure Chest with a “mere” 62.5-pound tuna. Almost any bigeye should be large enough to clear yellowfins off the leaderboard.

The lack of bigeyes  was a problem during the July 11-14 South Jersey Yacht Sales Offshore Showdown at Cape May as Jack Beattie won the tuna division with a 52-pounder that was barely ahead of three 51-pounders, a 50 and a 49.

The Canyon Runner fleet has an unusual open Saturday overnighter on both boats which can be chartered — or seats reserved on an open boat basis for $899. Call La Rosa at 732 272-4445.  They will also be fishing the fifth HUK Big Fish Classic that will be run out of ports from N.J. to Virginia from July 27-29  for overnight fishing. For info on that contest visit bigfishclassic.com.

Thanks to Al Hrehowsik for sending the results of Saturday’s Raritan Bay Anglers Fluke Tournament out of Perth Amboy that was won by Manual Prado of Union with a 7.85-pounder worth $1098. That fluke hit Gulp fished near the Verrazano Bridge as he and Cassiano Dos Santos added five other keepers up to 4 pounds.  See photo below with the trophy presentation.

Second and $500 went to a 5.57-pounder that Billy Anderson of Bedminster caught while fishing with Bryan Pieros of Leonardo on his Bid Time in Ambrose Channel. Brian Cleary from Bayonne was third for $323 as he used Gulp in N.Y. Harbor to catch a 5.4-pound fluke from Jason Zebrowski’s boat. Scott and Kathy Jo Kaelin of Parlin won $210 for fourth with a 4.92-pounder as both had limits in Raritan Reach.

 

A tug and tow ended up stuck on the sand bars at Lavallette this morning, and efforts to pull it off during low tides were fruitless. Hopefully, that can be accomplished om the high tide tonight. Bob De Pietri of Sharky’s Machine took the following shots:

barge aground off Lavallette

 

tug on beachThe weather forecast probably kept most anglers home today. I didn’t see a single boat while casting from shore in Shark River, but didn’t see many fish either. I managed two small stripers on a jig, and Bill Hoblitzell  got one on a fly while Frank Manzi raised a fish to his popper.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported some fluke were caught in the surf despite rough and dirty waters yesterday morning. They note that snappers are getting larger and more common both in the bay and surf. That’s bad news for surfcasters using Gulp as they’ll be sacrificing a lot of Gulp tails to snappers from now on. Grumpy’s also noted that before the rough seas there were “tons” of cownose rays in the surf.

Joe Melillo. at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant says fluke are being caught at the south end of Point Pleasant Canal — and boaters are doing very well with them from there into Barnegat Bay. Crabbing has been outstanding.

The only boat report today came from Capt. Rob Semkewyc, who barely had enough customers to sail his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. The south wind was a problem right away — and then it got worse. Semkewyc had to fish calmer waters that produced mostly short fluke as there were fewer keepers than yesterday. With the forecast of more wind plus rain for tomorrow, the Sea Hunter won’t be sailing until Thursday.

 

White Marlin Invitational opens during bigeye blitz

Boaters registering this evening for the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club’s 49th annual White Marlin Invitational will be anxious to start fishing Wednesday in what Adam La Rosa of the Canyon Runner fleet in Point Pleasant calls possibly the best bigeye tuna bite ever.

Bigeyes have been hard to come by during offshore tournaments in recent years, and just one can wipe all the yellowfins off the board in an instant — and possibly win the big money if no white marlin large enough to weigh is brought in. Yet, La Rosa says bigeye caches have ranged up to an incredible 12 by Capt. Mark De Cabia.

Capt. Deane Lambros came in from an overnighter with “only” two bigeyes on the Canyon Runner in the course of catching over 50 yellowfins during an overnighter — which would ordinarily be considered a fine bigeye catch. bigeye being leadered

La Rosa has a last minute opening for a Friday overnighter that can be filled for the entire boat or on an open boat basis of $899 per person “all-in”.  Call him at 732 272-4445.

The Beach Haven registration is from 6 to 8 p.m. today in the clubhouse at Beach Haven. Fishing days run from Wednesday through Saturday — with the awards ceremony+ at 9 p.m. that night.

Chairman Dave Ridley expects there will be over 50 boats competing in the contest which also permits weigh-ins at Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle as well as at the headquarters. For information visit wmit@bhmtc.com or call Ridley at 908 963-5824.

There was a lack of reports today. Joe Melillo . at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said the best bet has been crabbing which has been good everywhere — but especially at the Mantoloking Bridge. He weighed an impressive 6.5-pound fluke this week that was caught from a kayak at the south end of the canal by Doug Withstandley of Point Pleasant.

The Queen Mary from that town got into a showing of small blues during their Monday afternoon trip to go along with chub mackerel, sea bass and ling. They are sailing in the morning, but are chartered on Thursday and Saturday  mornings

Canon Runner calls early canyon bite the best ever

Adam La Rosa of the Canyon Runner fleet at Point Pleasant has been calling this year’s early season canyon fishing the best they’ve ever had. That view was reinforced over the weekend as they hosted a total of 12 military and veterans for the fishing trips of their lives. All caught all the yellowfins they could handle during the July 3-4 and 4-5 overnighters. One of those catches is illustrated below:

Miltary on CR with yellowfins

The Canyon Runner may have a spot open on Saturday’s open trip. The cost is $899, but that includes food, drinks and tips. Call Adam at 732 272-4445.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere had friends aboard his Katfish from Great Kills on Monday when big stripers turned on to his Ho-Jo lures for just 15 minutes of trolling — but that was enough to produce one of the biggest bass of the year for the skipper — a 57.3-pounder. They added others of 29. 34 and 46 pounds.

Fluke fishing was slow today in Raritan Bay. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter was once again surprised by the relatively few anglers at Atlantic Highlands this morning. Fishing was just a pick during the beautiful day. Capt. Ron Santee reported a very fast drift that made fishing difficult, though some fares managed two keepers. The Fishermen is chartered from Friday through Sunday.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar found no blues today, and ended up with two-fish sea bass limits plus a pick of ling and several keeper fluke among shorts. They did find a few blues Tuesday, and heard of a bluefish concentration 50 to 100 miles southeast that they’re hoping will eventually move a lot closer.

Shark River was unusually cold this morning, but I still managed six stripers from 18 to 20 inches on a small paddletail jig. Vinny D’Anton released four bass up to a 21-incher. A short attempt with sand fleas in the surf didn’t even result in a bite. The big swell from the offshore.  hurricane  seemed to turn off the surf fluke as I only caught three windowpanes while briefly casting a Storm Searchbait.

Tommy Cox used his fly rod in the Spring Lake surf to hook 15-inch stripers early, but switched to a Chug Bug to land a 23-incher further north.

Oliver Anderez (9) of Miami throws a great castnet for bait, and he used one of the pinfish he caught at Sanibel Island on the west coast of Florida to hook a trophy snook which he released.  Other readers are encouraged to send info about their catches and photos if they care to. E-mail to cristori@aol.com.

Oliver castnetting

 

Oliver with snook.jpg

Mako Fever results

 

Though third place money is in escrow due to a legal challenge, John Schachel of the Jersey Coast Shark Anglers was able to confirm the following payouts from the recent JCSA Mako Fever Tournament:

Big Nutz Required ran away with first place by boating a 258-pound mako worth $45,645. Tra Sea Ann took second for $10,252.50 with a 236-pound mako. The fourth place money of $16,900 (including the thresher Calcutta) went to Retainer for their  316-pound thresher.

Capt. Danny McGivney  had this fine mako alongside his Megan Beth from Clarks Landing in Point Pleasant during Mako Mania, but it was short of the 83-inch  minimum and had to be released. Photo courtesy of Capt. Dan McGivney.

Mako - McGivney

The legal dispute over Seaquester’s mako that turned out to be short of the 83-inch minimum when brought to Mako Fever has also held up results from Mako Mania where it had ween weighed at 207 pounds when measured incorrectly on the scale at a legal 83 1/4 inches.

It was another tough day of drifting for fluke in Raritan Bay due to light winds, but the long period of calm winds is coming to an end with SW winds into Friday and a NE blow on Saturday. Capt. Rob Semkewyc of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands said he scratched out a catch today topped by one angler who bagged three fluke. The pool went to a 4.5-pounder.

Also at that port, Capt. Ron Santee said his July 4 trip with the Fishermen was good for Big Mike from the Atlantic Star who caught five fluke of keeper size including the 5 11/16-pound pool winner.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had little drift on July 4 with his Elaine B.II from Bahrs in Highlands. but Ken Peters of Maplewood had two keepers up to the 4 11/16-pound pool winner. The youngster in the photo was happy with his two keepers.

Happy kid

There were no bluefish reports today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar limited with the two sea bass per person now permitted.   They also noted there were some mackerel on Tuesday afternoon’s trip, but didn’t specify Boston mackerel as on July 2. Boston is just a nickname for the Atlantic mackerel — a cold water fish which would be very unusual in the present very warm waters. The mackerel that were so abundant during the last few summers were chubs, and a shark fishermen told me he had chub mackerel in his Mud Hole slick recently.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported a hot porgy bite on July 4.

 

Jim Hutchinson Sr. filed the following report for the Beach Haven Charter Boat Association as follows:

“The Fourth of July has arrived in Beach Haven with hot, summer-like temperatures, and the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are finding the fishing action heating up in a similar fashion.

Captain Jimmy Zavacky had the Robinson family out on the “Reel Determined” for an enjoyable day on the water. With the help of first time junior mate Zach Rietmann and experienced mate Liane Lopez, they boated many sea bass and sea robins while fishing on a local reef.

Last Sunday the “Hot Tuna” with Captain Bob Gerkens at the helm did the 90-mile run to the Baltimore Canyon. Weather conditions were excellent as the boat was able to cruise at 25-knots in both directions. The group of anglers had a good day of trolling yellowfin tuna as four were caught. Capt. Bob reports he has been hearing of a good inshore bluefin tuna bite also.

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” has been running two trips a day in local waters for fluke, and the fish are keeping his anglers busy. He had Stanley Gola of S&S Bucktails out with his sons who managed to box three nice keepers. That same afternoon he had Ali Gurko, her brother Vince, and Corey Cordell out. Vince served his country in United States Army for 4 years. Wind against the tide made it tough, but the group managed three keepers to 24.5 inches. Another trip he had Rich Sanborn of Levittown, Pa, out with his two sons Sean and Ryan. Sean is home for a week from the United States Navy. They worked quite a few areas with the S&S Bigeye bucktail, and the trio boated over 30 fluke with 4 keepers-24, 21.5, 19.5, and 18 inches.

The first Junior Mates Class was held with 17 eager youngsters on hand to learn about fishing. Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.bhfca.net

Allen Riley of South Plainfield fished the Sandy Hook surf with Gulp this morning nder good conditions, but only came up with a short fluke.

Vinny D’Anton of Wall caught four small stripers on his Chug Bug at Belmar, and Frank Manzi added another release this morning. I couldn’t raise a thing to the Chug Bug at Sea Girt, but saw a couple of mini-bass such as we had in the surf last fall caught on small jigs.

Fluke tournaments are coming up, with the Sandy Hook Bay Anglers running their 37th annual 2-day contest on July 14 and 15 for a guaranteed $5,700 in cash prizes out of Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina.  For info visit http://www.sandyhookbayanglers.com.

 

My Christine wins Bluefin Open at 191.5 pounds

The Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club took advantage of the improved bluefin tuna fishing this year, and sponsored a successful first annual Bluefin Open tournament that was won by Neil Franzoni’s My Christine with a 191.5-pound bluefin that took the basic entry $7,040 prize. Douglas Johnson was second on Double D at 180.5 pounds, and Robert Wedeking third on Over Ride with a 155-pounder. Haley Adyson took the day 3 prize with a 132-pound bluefin. The yellowfin tuna Calcutta was won by The Right Place with a 64.55-pound entry, and the small boat Calcutta (35 feet or smaller) went to On The Line for a 48.7-pound bluefin. No one could come up with a dolphin for that prize.

The MRMTC Jack Meyer Trolling Tournament also concluded with a big change after Frank Criscola’s Crisdel had a sweep going until the end. Pete Torcicollo on Clean Livin took over first with an 81.20-pound yellowfin, followed by Rob Wedeking’s Over Ride at 53.60 pounds — while Crisdel hung on for third with a 48.65-pound yellowfin.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano said the big yellowfin bite in the canyons cooled off as the waters blended and most of those trolled were small.

That jumbo bluefish jigging that the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant found Sunday and Monday wasn’t repeated today. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported the blues didn’t cooperate so they switched to bottom fishing for a boat limit of sea bass (two per man) plus some porgies and a couple of ling. They will sail at 7:30 a.m. for July 4 blues. Miss Belmar Princess stayed with the bluefish hunt until mid-morning before switching to sea bass and porgies. They’ll also be seeking blues on July 4 at 7:30 a.m.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported it was a lot cooler on the water today than forecasted, and fluking was OK with a showing of 3-to-6-pounders plus a pool fluke just under 7 pounds. They note that spinning rods and Gulp have proven to be a “huge game changer”.

The Sea Hunter had the only report from Atlantic Highlands, and Capt. Rob Semkewyc notes that he only had a few anglers aboard due to the weather forecast — though the heat wasn’t bad at all today as they had a slow start before finishing up well. A 5.6-pound fluke took the pool.

Capt. Stan Zagleski had a tight finish for the pool during Monday’s trip with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands as Bob Evans of Waldwick (center) and Anthani Limaxes from New Milford each had 7 1/16-pound fluke — but were nosed out when young Dominic Rocco of Parsippany boated his first keeper fluke on his first fluke trip at 7 1/4 pounds.

Elaine B three 7's

Vinny D’Anton of Wall found the right trough in the surf this morning and released seven small stripers on his Chug Bug. I tried Shark River and quickly caught a 21-inch striper on a jig, but never had another hit.

Steve Mirande, a follower of this blog, reports he was catching fluke from the Bay Head surf on Monday morning when he was surprised by a 23-inch striper that hit his jig.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be bluefishing at 7:30 a.m. on July 4. A $15 coupon for adult or senior fares is available on their web site.

Hot weather — mixed fishing

One thing everyone could agree on today was that it was HOT! Unfortunately, there wasn’t a repeat of the hot Saturday fluking in Raritan Bay.

Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands said there was little drift, and power drifting didn’t help much this time.  June Benson started the day off right with a 5 13/16-pound fluke, and then added an 18-incher. However, only a few managed multiple keepers in contrast to yesterday on the Fishermen when all the fluke were at lest 19 inches.  The Sea Hunter had a similar report of decent fluking over the weekend despite the conditions.

John Vanderstad of Pompton Lakes had this pair of 6-pound fluke Saturday on the Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.

John Vanderstad 6-lb fluke

The Angler from Atlantic Highlands  settled their monthly pool yesterday as John Brock of Clifton held on all month with his 6 15/16-pounder to win $1,560.

The Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant had a last minute cancellation, and the 60-foot Ritchie Howell  is open for the July 2-3 overnighter. Yellowfin trolling has been hot as 72 were caught Saturday though the boats only trolled for seven hours.

canyon tuna on canyon runner

Mark Roy ran his Release Me from Raritan Marina in Hazlet out to the Chicken Canyon area yesterday and got into 50-to-60-pound bluefin tuna on pencil poppers. He and his crew caught four casting, and trolled a yellowfin on a spreader bar. A trip to the Hudson Canyon was fruitless, and overnighting only produced a brown shark.

There were no reports from the bluefish boats as of the time this blog was written.

It was delightful being on the Spring Lake surf this morning, but the only small striper I saw was caught by a fluke fishermen on Gulp. I switched from a popper to a Storm Searchbait jig to break the ice with a small fluke. Vinny D’Anton said he caught a short bass at Belmar on a Chug Bug, and Frank Manzi managed a 15-inch fluke on sand fleas at Spring Lake.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina is still raving about that 13 1/4-pound fluke from Shark River as reported here this week. Henny Green and Marty Westerfield have been catching lots of keepers in the river up to 4 pounds. Matthews has seen the first very small snappers in the river.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant is running open for bottom fishing on July 2, 9, 10, and 11.  Call 732 770-8019 for details.