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Captain's Focus

The Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club finally posted results from their White Marlin Invitational that ended Saturday. Fishing was poor during the contest period as relatively small tuna caught the first day ended up winning a lot of money. Bigeye tuna had been hitting in Toms Canyon prior to the contest, but none were caught by the 33--boat field competing for a total of $144,059.  Endless Drifter boated yellowfins of 62.4 and 56.1 pounds the first day, and those relatively small tuna resulted in that boat winning $74,401.23 and the Grand Champion award. Alyson Rose had 53.9-pound yellowfin the first day that ended up winning $52,574  that included the Super Calcutta. Tra Sea Ann released a white marlin the first day and won $6,393 -- followed by Melina with $4,801.50, and Viking 62 with the only large for the species entry from day one with a 46-pound dolphin and an eventual $1,847.96 payoff. The numbers of marlin released were not included in the results. Capt. Ron Santee reported good fluke action from his Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands, but there weren't as many keepers and big fish as on Monday. There were a couple of limits and a 5 1/2-pound pool winner. Tank Matraxia and his crew from Lyndhurst had lots of short fluke action on the Capt. John from Keyport -- and Marty Gras managed a 3.13-pound fluke to win the pool. At Belmar, the Golden Eagle picked at chub mackerel in a "nasty" ocean. The Big Mohawk noted the tough conditions resulted in only a few keeper fluke due to the strong current from the north and stronger than expected north wind. Cat. Dave De Gennaro has been catching weakfish in Barnegat Bay that are mostly just over or under the the 13-inch minimum  along with a few of 17 and 18 inches while chumming with grass shrimp from his Hi Flier out of Barnegat. It's fun fishing with 6-pound spinning tackle as small fluke, burrfsh, hickory shad , sharks and snapper blues are also hooked. I only made three casts into the Belmar surf this morning as it was not only rough, but full of weed. Moving over to Shark River only produced two blasts on a popper, but both barely bent the rod before getting off. Others casting there didn't even get a bump on a variety of lures. There's still time to sign up for Saturday's JCAA statewide Fluke Tournament. Call 732 506-6975 or visit www.jcaa.org for information. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, meeting in Alexandria, Va. tomorrow, will be voting on a Technical Committee report that would allow a commercial increase in menhaden "bunker" catches by 10,000 to 80,00 metric tons -- a possibility being fought by recreational fishing groups.

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