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Captain's Focus

With fluke and sea bass both closed, many boaters have switched to fishing for scup the official common name for the porgy) and the one blackfish per person presently allowed. There were many more blackfish caught on Just Sayin from Keyport today as Tank Matraxia and his party from Lyndhurst fished with Capt. John Contello out of Keyport. Mataxia had never fished for tog before, but they were biting without caution as at least 60 up to a 8-pounder were caught. He put ALS tags in 20 blacks plus two sea bass.  On the way out they came across cocktail blues and cast to some of them before encountering little tunny and adding four of those much fussier speedsters to the variety. Brielle dentist Pat Donnelly ran his Shanakee from Point Pleasant out to Manasquan Ridge and had no trouble trolling up little tunny despite much rougher seas than he expected. At Belmar, the Ocean Explorer reported doubleheaders of porgies while anglers using crabs had no trouble coming up with their keeper tog. The Golden Eagle had good early jigging for blues with Run-Off Hammer jigs before getting into chumming. The blues were smalls and mediums, except for a 10-pounder. Bonito from 3 to 5 pounds and little tunny were hooked in the slick. Porgies were also boated, while sea bass were released. The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had an all-day porgy bite during its first bottom fishing trip. I tried casting early in Point Pleasant Canal, and had only one hit on a 6-inch Tsunami Shad  from a bluefish that got off. I didn't see any other fish caught by casters, but Joe Melillo at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said those fishing with green crabs are doing well with blackfish in the canal.  Vinnie D'Anton of Wall caught a small striper on a Chug Bug in Shark River, bur found nothing in the Spring Lake surf where he saw a big swell developing. John Mazzeo of South Plainfield checked the Sandy Hook surf as well as to the south of there, but found no fish, no bait, and no signs of life. Jim Hutchinson Sr. provided the following report from the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association: Although the weather was not very cooperative the last two weeks of the summer in Beach Haven and the New Jersey summer flounder season which closed September 5, the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association made the most of it when they could. The fluke catches just seemed to get better and better with some very nice catches of fish going into the fish boxes. At this point, the captains are keeping one eye on what problems Hurricane Irma might bring to the East Coast while keeping their fingers crossed for the folks in Florida who live along the coastlines. Captain John Lewis of the "Insatiable" summed up the last portion of his summer fishing activities. "August gave us great fishing inshore with lots of fish coming over the rail and keeper fluke along with black sea bass, bluefish, squid and mackerel on every trip." Captain John notes that he plans to be active in pushing government officials to provide more fishing opportunities as far as the seasons go and urges other captains and anglers to do the same. For the next few weeks Captain John says he will be fishing for porgies, bluefish, and bonito inshore while looking for sharks, tuna and mahi offshore. He also has plans to continue his busy schedule of boat deliveries up and down the entire Atlantic seaboard. Ahe Fishe

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