1000's of NJ Saltwater Fishing Reports, Dozens of Sources, Maps, Wrecks, Historical Search

The 26th Annual Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament on Sunday at Island Beach State Park will feature a new participation category for high-school-aged students. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin will present awards to the winners on behalf of DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife at Sunday's event. Martin notes that the individual who catches the overall largest - or longest - fish wins the "Governor's Award" and will have his or her name engraved on the Governor's Cup, which is permanently displayed at Island Beach State Park in Ocean County. Fishing equipment is also awarded to winners in a variety of categories for species of fish and age groups. High School teams may consist of two to five students who are part of a formal fishing club, members of a Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs group, or a non-formal group. Schools can enter more than one team in the competition. The team catching the longest fish will have their name engraved on the Governor's High School Team Cup, which will be permanently displayed at Island Beach State Park, and will receive a plaque for 1st place. Plaques also will be awarded for 2nd and 3rd place teams. Registration on the day of the tournament begins at 5 a.m., with fishing from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration that day is $20 for ages 18 and older, and $5 for anglers ages 13-17. There is no fee for children 12 and younger. For more information about the Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament, visit:  www.njfishandwildlife.com/gsft.htm. Tournament anglers may be asked to verify their compliance with the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program. If not already registered for 2017, anglers should do so before the day of the tournament. Registration is free and can be done at www.nj.gov/dep/saltwaterregistry/ Since bluefishing has remained good in the IBSP surf, this should be another outstanding event. Bunker has been the usual key to success, though poppers and metal also work at times -- and bucktails are best in the inlet. A few stripers are being caught, primarily on clams or bunker.  The New Jersey fluke season was finally set in place by the Marine Fisheries Council during Wednesday's meeting in Avalon as they voted for the compromise plan approved last week by the ASMFC at their meeting in Virginia. That plan involves losing some days at the end of the season in order to preserve an 18-inch minimum with three fish from May 25 to Sept. 5 -- plus the exemptions for Delaware Bay (three at 17 inches) and Island Beach State Park (two at 16 inches) that we had last year. Paul Haertel testified for the NJ Beach Buggy Association in favor of going out of compliance with status quo, which the Christie Administration was prepared to do, but the majority of the 50 people in attendance opted for the safety of the compromise that eliminates some late season surf opportunities for larger fluke and leaves a "dead" period for bottom fishing except for porgies. The ASMFC must vote on this again as their Technical Committee had doubts about the compromise being sufficient to keep N.J. under its quota. A conference call is scheduled for 12:30 Monday, and Haertel is confident that the compromise will be accepted. The public is welcome to listen to the discussion by phone (888.394.8197; passcode 815277) and view the webinar using the following link - https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/499991200830679809. The meeting agenda and materials are available at http://www.asmfc.org/files/Meetings/SFLScBSB_BoardConfCallMaterials_May22_2017.pdf.  The Technical Committee report on New Jersey's proposal will be posted, no later than 5 PM on May 19th, at http://www.asmfc.org/calendar/5/2017/Summer-Flounder,-Scup-and-Black-Sea-Bass-Board-Conf-Call/1052. Time permitting, there will be a limited period for questions. The coastal migration of spawned-out stripers from Chesapeake and Delaware bays took a hit from last weekend's northeast storm. Trollers had been doing best with big bass on bunker spoons and mojos, but Capt. Chris DiStefano of Wall said that  fishing was poor off the northern Shore on Wednesday -- and Thursday reports were no better. Live bait fishing has been slow so far, and bunkers haven't been abundant in the ocean. That could change any day, especially when party boats start their magic hours trips. Shore party boats had been enjoying great jigging for bluefish of all sizes up to 14 pounds until Wednesday -- when there was only a pick of mostly small blues. Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant made a good move by going up Manasquan River to put Maren Toleno of Mantoloking into lots of medium blues on swimming plugs -- though they wouldn't hit poppers. The Ocean Explorer from Belmar started off Thursday with small blues, but later found the big choppers. Raritan Bay baiting for stripers has been spotty. Capt. Rob Semkewyc said his best trip with the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands was on Tuesday when 15 anglers caught  13 keepers and some shorts. A pick of blues saves other days when the bass are fussy. Thursday's fishing started with a pick of keepers and shorts, but when that died the skipper took a ride and got into slammer blues. Joe Melillo reports from Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant that river and canal night fishermen have been doing better than surfcasters with stripers. Bob Matthews of Belmar landed a 16 1/2-pounder on bait, while Mike Commune of Brick plugged an 11-pounder -- and Tony Saunders from Brick baited a 10 1/2-pound bass. Castaways has greatly expanded hours from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m seven days a week. Matthews reports from Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina that Shark River is loaded with fluke waiting for the season to open The Jamaica II from Brielle had good ling fishing and a few cod during Wednesday's 12-hour wreck trip. Ryan Borgunn of Mantoloking was high hook with 27 ling. The last 12-hour wreck trips depart at 5 a.m. May 20, 21 and 24. Reservations aren't required. Mark Roy of Warren trolled a couple of bass up to 13 pounds Wednesday from his Release Me out of Raritan Marina in Hazlet. He was happier with Tuesday's bluefish trolling in the bay as Rocco Iavecchia, his daughter Adeline. and Amanda Carlson from Branchburg plus Salvatore Gramaglia caught six blues that were the first fish for each.

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