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Captain's Focus

Sorry for any confusion with last night's blog. The first time I tried to send my blog, an older column got published. Then half of what I wrote was lost from the new blog. Since the Thursday night blog also becomes Friday's Star-Ledger column, I was then on a deadline and rushed in a column that I hadn't edited. There were a few errors -- including in the paragraph about Chuck Many's  trip in which Curt Hoefig's name was misspelled. Capt. Dave De Gennaro had good news about weakfish as mostly 15-to-17-inchers have shown up on the west side of Barnegat Bay. There were also a couple of 23 and 20 inches that hit killies while Hi-Flier from Barnegat was drifting for fluke. Bluefish of all sizes are abundant in the inlet, and are hitting poppers and soft plastics along with a few short stripers. De Gennaro is sailing open om Sunday for those wishing to take a shot offshore to Barnegat Ridge or beyond. It was a bit further offshore where Capt. Lou Grazioso found shearwaters diving on bluefin tuna Thursday while fishing with Sean Cody Sr. and Jr. of Lincroft on their Happy Hooker. Art Berkman of Pompton Plains was also in on that action with tuna in the 30-to-40-inch range, They stopped trolling them in order to cast lures to the whitewater explosions as sand eels were being driven out of the water. Shark anglers will be out in force to fish both Mako Mania and Mako Fever this weekend. Though Saturday morning my produce some rain and thunder, the west wind is supposed to decrease during the day -- and Sunday looks gorgeous. In fact it may be too nice for sharking with light winds. Weigh-ins for both contests are at Capt. Bill's Landing in Point Pleasant. The colder surf created by the long stretch of south winds may have activated school stripers. The bass were feeding primarily on sand fleas when Vinny D'Anton of Wall got into them on Tuesday at his local beach, but have been harder to tempt since then. I released a 26-incher on my first cast hen I joined D'Anton Wednesday morning, but should have quit while I was ahead. D'Anton landed a 30 1/2-incher, and Sea Girt pro Frank Conover got his first keeper of the season when he switched to a mole crab. The "fleas" haven't been easy to catch for bait, even for those with sand flea rakes. D'Anton had his grandson, Lucas Longo (9) of Manasquan, on the beach Thursday morning after he had caught two 22-inch bass at first light on a Chug Bug. After that the stripers seemed to turn off, though Lucas caught a small dogfish and some skates. I broke the ice with the fleas by releasing a 24 1/2-inch bass. D'Anton was back at it again Friday morning, but there was nothing on lures or bait. DEP OFFERS TIPS FOR BOATING WITH CAUTION THROUGH ECOLOGICALLY SENSITIVE AREAS OF BARNEGAT BAY FOLLOWING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY SUGGESTIONS FOR 'GREEN' NAVIGATION THIS SUMMER CAN HELP PROTECT THE BAY The Christie Administration is continuing efforts to protect and restore ecologically fragile Barnegat Bay by asking boaters to navigate the waterway with caution to reduce the impacts of boating and personal watercraft on the most critical of ecosystems. "Environmentally sensitive ecosystems within the bay, such as wetlands, shellfish and fish habitats, and aquatic vegetation, are at risk of impacts that come from boating and using personal watercraft," said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. "For that reason, it is vital that we work with the boating community to continue to protect Barnegat Bay's fragile health while promoting the numerous tourism and recreational opportunities the bay provides to its visitors." Boaters can use an online interactive map on mobile devices and computers to locate 16 designated ecologically sensitive zones around Barnegat Bay. The maps also show the locations for marinas, sewage pump-out facilities, bait and tackle shops, launches and ramps, restrooms, and places to dispose of trash. To view the map, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/plan-watercraft-map.htm New Jersey's boating and fishing industries also promote environmentally friendly boating practices to help protect the bay. "As an industry, we work hard every day to preserve our natural resources and encourage boaters to be aware of their actions and impacts at all times and to do their part when out on the water, " said Melissa Danko, Executive Director of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey. "Spending summers on the water and enjoying all that New Jersey's waterways have to offer is a way of life for so many residents and visitors. That is why it is so important that we work together to protect these natural resources not only for this generation but for generations to come." Barnegat Bay is 42 miles long and is very narrow, ranging from 1.2 miles to 3.7 miles in width. It is also shallow, four to five feet in most places. This makes the bay particularly sensitive to damage by boats and personal watercraft. The waters of the bay support plants, fish and other wildlife. Ecologically sensitive submerged aquatic vegetation provides fish and wildlife habitat. Motor boat propellers and turbulence caused by boat wakes can disturb and harm these important plants. Shellfish can also be disturbed by these craft. To help protect Barnegat Bay, DEP encourages boaters to follow these guidelines: Stay away from restricted areas set aside for wildlife; Do not harass nesting birds and other animals; Maintain a 100-foot distance from natural shorelines; Minimize wakes by slowing down in all shallow areas to help reduce erosion and harm to aquatic animals and plants; Use buoys to moor chains and lines to prevent them from scraping the bay's bottom and disturbing submerged aquatic vegetation; Appreciate wildlife from a distance; Reduce air pollution by not idling boats or personal watercraft in open water. To learn more about environmentally conscious boating, and reducing impact to Barnegat Bay and other state waterways, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/docs/BoaterESA.pdf For clean boating tip sheets available to boaters through the Clean Marina Program, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/njcleanmarina/boaters.htm For more information about the Christie Administration's Barnegat Bay Action Plan, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/                                                                                         

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