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Captain's Focus

It's still summer, but you'd never know it by the way blackfish are biting. Though porgy fishing has been excellent, many bottom fishermen aren't interested in them. The one tog allowed during the summer was intended to accommodate skin divers, but it also provides anglers with one large fish while filling a cooler with  porgies. Capt. Stan Zagleski has found that his regulars on Elaine B. II from Highlands would rather not even bother with the scup, so he started what are basically catch-and-release trips during which everyone can retain a large tog. That has worked out so well since Sunday that he's changed his schedule to do that on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7 a.m. Capt. John Contello is doing the same thing with his charter boat, Just Sayin out of Keyport. He had another "tog beatdown" on Saturday that featured a 10-poinder for Ariel Collado -- and a real trophy of 12 pounds for Joe Zagorski. Contello said the party about 80 legal-sized tog. Capt. Ron Santee has been enjoying non-stop porgy action on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands, along with the one blackfish for anglers who fish for them. He he urges his fares not to keep 9-inch porgies unless they are going to cook them as headed and gutted fish. There just isn't enough meat on them for a decent fillet. Porgies of 10 inches or more are suitable for filleting. The Golden Eagle from Belmar had a jigging bite of 2-to-5-pound blues on Sunday, but switched to chumming when that died out. That produced a pick of bonito and little tunny plus some chub mackerel that wasn't up to previous standards. Both Grumpy's and Betty & Nick's in Seaside Park report the mullet run has started in the surf -- and they have them in stock for bait.

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