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Captain's Focus

Capt. Ron Santee said bucktailers did best with fluke on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands today in a slow drift. There was a swell to deal with, but fluke and sea bass were hooked in decent numbers. The pool fluke went 6 11/16 pounds, and the monthly big pool remains at 9.6 pounds. Capt. Stan Zagleski noted fluking was off yesterday's standards on Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands in that swell. He got the same report even from private boaters. Yet, sea bass still responded well and everyone caught the two sea bass limit on rough bottoms. Bill Merritt of Bound Brook boated an 8.1-pound fluke for the pool. The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a decent jigging catch of 1-to-2-pound blues, but the blues were skittish in boat traffic and a strong current. Two limits were bagged. Joe Melillo had a surf weigh-in at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant for the first time in weeks. Mark Ballaco of Tuckerton caught the 13-pound striper on a shad lure at Bay Head. Melillo noted that blackfishing finally turned on in Point Pleasant Canal. He has green crabs in stock.  I tried plugging in the Belmar surf at dawn, but the big swell made for poor conditions. Matt Slobodjian at Jim's Tackle in Cape May reports as follows: "This week was just about the same as last week, a good number of keeper fluke on the reefs and the Old Grounds. The fish are tight to structure, so short drifts or jigging around the wrecks works best. We are still hearing of a few fish being caught in the backwaters, but the little sea bass are loaded up in the back and are hard to get around. The rips were full of small weakfish and blues this week. There are still a few kingfish and croakers around as well. The inshore troll bite was pretty good this week. The sea bass pots just north of the East Lump were good over the weekend for dolphin. We are getting a lot of reports of wahoo bite offs and a few being caught. Mackenzie Hand, age 11, of Cape May Court House caught her 1st wahoo this week at Massey's Canyon.The fish weighed 39.8lbs. The charter boat "Fishin Fever" hooked up a white marlin about 17 miles off the beach. We even got a report of a yellowfin hooked up just inside Cape May Reef on a Stretch plug Saturday. Offshore the marlin bite remained very good in the canyons to the north. We still nave a few double digit catch reports coming in. The tuna bite in the canyons remains spotty. The surf is still mainly small fluke, some croakers, small weakfish, and a few kingfish. In the next few weeks, if we get a good cold front, the mullet should start moving out of the back and get things going in the surf."

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