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Captain's Focus

The first weigh-in of the final day of the 25th MidAtlantic at Cape May and Ocean City, Md. was by far the biggest of the week -- a 754-pound blue marlin on Easy Rider. That was quite a contrast to Thursday, when a large fleet fishing in fine conditions didn't change anything in the major categories -- white marlin, blue marlin and tuna, though a 53-pound dolphin took a big lead in that division. The million dollar plus payoff is likely to be for the heaviest white marlin, but a half-million isn't bad -- and Easy Rider stands to win $533,125. There's also been an early change in white marlin standings since the scales opened at 5 p.m. Haulin n Ballin weighed a 72-pound white that takes over second to the 77-pound leader. I'll have the final results after the scales close at 9 p.m. The Jamaica from Brielle had a slow start today, but got into loads of chub mackerel plus a few small blues. Miss Belmar Princess reported another fine day of jigging small blues under working birds to the north. Most anglers were able to jig limits. Capt. Ron Santee said the roll dropped off during the day. Fluking was good on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands along with some sea bass and was a lot better than yesterday. Frank Huza of Aberdeen wasn't impressed with local fluking after taking a summer fishing camp group out this week on the Capt. Dave from Atlantic Highlands. He said the skipper fished up-and-down the beach and offshore as 15 passengers caught only one keeper among shorts plus a shot of the biggest sea robins he's ever seen off of Gunnison's at Sandy Hook. A stargazer was boated, and Huza decided to try one for the first time -- declaring it very fit to eat. Allen Riley of South Plainfield and his crew tried the Monmouth Beach surf this morning, and found it to still be pretty lifeless, though there was some small bait in the wash at first and the water temperature was down to 73 degrees. Riley caught the only fish -- two snappers on a Snapper Popper. Conditions in Shark River looked fine this morning, but there was none of the hot early bite from shore on poppers of the last two mornings. I did a lot of casting with a Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. before a lone 29-inch bluefish blasted it and provided a good fight in a strong outgoing current. Phil Silvester from Harrison later managed to catch four small blues on a paddletail jig, and Vinny D'Anton of Shark River Hills nailed a small blue on an SP Minnow before I finally hooked one of those 3-pounders on the popper. 

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