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Captain's Focus

After a tough period following the latest northeast blow, bluefish are back in the ocean. The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant got into them Tuesday in the afternoon, and the Golden Eagle from Belmar reported that they were hitting on jigs and even poppers throughout today not far from their inlet. Just as before, there was a range in sizes from small to large. The Magic Hours striper fishing should be turning on, but a lack of bunkers so far seems to be holding back a big striper build-up.The Queen Mary couldn't find the bunkers needed for that fishery on the Tuesday evening trip. Sea bass fishing has been very good since the season opened last Friday.    Fluke fishing has been another story. I haven't had any reports from ocean boats so far, but there's been a decent pick in Raritan Bay. Capt. Ron Santee hasn't seen any sign of the Raritan Reach fishery that was last year's early season highlight, but his first limit catch was made Tuesday on the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. Joe Melillo reported a big breakthrough on the surf this morning as Mark Malfa of Brick weighed a 27-pound striper at Castaway's Tackle in Point Pleasant after catching it in the dark on an SP Minnow.  At Seaside Park, Grumpy's Tackle reported a decent pick of blues mostly on bait in the surf along with an occasional striper or fluke. John Bushell, at Betty & Nick's, heard from a regular who had been catching blues in the inlet on bucktails since 2 a.m. Allen Riley of South Plainfield put up with a steady drizzle at Sandy Hook as he saw Dan Brodzinsky, The Tin Man, catch two small bass on a new Tin Man Tackle jig with a white tail  Riley did nothing on either lures or fresh bunker until getting ready to leave when a 30-inch bluefish crashed a bunker  chunk and was released.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

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