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Captain's Focus

Bob Matthews weighed the largest fluke of the season brought into Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina -- a 13-pound, 5-ounce doormat caught by Ed Rumsby of Bradley Beach at the Sea Girt Reef on a chartreuse Gulp Grub.  Matthews also noted a 9 1/2-pound fluke that was caught on the Ocean Explorer. There were no fluke reports from the Raritan Bay fleet when this was written, but Capt. Hans Kaspersetz reported seven keepers on his Sheri Berri from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands with Tony D'Anna when the ocean tide was running at mid-morning. They also released large sea robins and a cownose ray. Small blues continued to provide jigging action for Belmar party boats fishing to the north. The Golden Eagle reported the 1-to-3-pound blues hit Run-Off Hammered jigs and teasers. Miss Belmar Princess noted that blues were on top and there was bird life above Shrewsbury Rocks as everyone limited before releasing other blues. The Jamaica from Brielle has been doing very well chumming chub mackerel while adding some blues and sea bass. The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant got into some fluke Thursday morning before getting into "super" chub mackerel in the afternoon. There was a blast of jumbo bluefish in Shark River early Thursday morning as choppers up to Phil Silvester's 36 1/2-incher hit poppers. There were some blues raised there this morning, but all of the splashes appeared to be smaller fish. Silvester got two small blues on an SP Minnow, and I released a 23 1/2-incher that hit a Yo-Zuri pencil popper. Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights ran his center console out of Atlantic Highlands on Thursday as he and a friend caught an 18-inch fluke in Sandy Hook Channel before shorts and sea robins took over. Ambrose produced another 18-inch fluke along with quite a few 17-inchers before he switched to light tackle casting for small blues that were popping up in the bay. Outdoor writer and TV host Nick Honachefsky released two "huge" roughtail sting rays in the Ocean County surf Thursday night while losing a big sand tiger shark that bit through his wire leader. Phil LaGrossa boated a 9.86-pound fluke recently to take over second place in the BeachNBoat contest to Ed Licknack's 10.81-pound doormat.  Joseph Madden (12) caught an estimated 15-16-pound blackfish while the season was closed, but had to release that tog which would have been far ahead in the tautog division.

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