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Captain's Focus

Posted on August 8, 2019 White Marlin Open ends tomorrow After two opening days of great weather and canyon fishing at the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Maryland as most of the fleet sailed, there was a little turn in the weather Wednesday with boats taking a beating returning in the afternoon plus some rain during weigh-ins. Yet. 120 boats used one of their three fishing days. I didn’t do the late blog because there was little movement in the standings. Graham Ward brought in an unusually large 121-pound yellowfin tuna to match against the bigeyes, and Reeldiculous took over fourth in tuna that could be worth $100,000 because that boat is in the small boat division. Nighthawk III weighed a fine 54.5-pound wahoo, but that’s well short of the 82-pound leader by The Natural. The species count for Day 3 was 227 white marlin released plus two that made the 68-inch  minimum for weighing  but fell short of the leaders,  — plus six released blue marlin, the first two spearfish of the contest, one sailfish, and one each wahoo, tuna, and dolphin weighed. The tournament record for whites is 1,358 set in 2016 when there were similar water conditions. There were 103 boats out today, and the rest of the fleet of 404 will be using their last day tomorrow. Check for my late blog if there are any significant weigh-ins. The Monmouth County surf has been producing some school stripers recently. I gave that a shot this morning and was pleased to release three bass of 20 1/2,  24 and 24 1/2 inches on a small Gibbs popper while casting around surfers enjoying the fairly large swell. Nothing wild, but I’m always delighted with any striper on a popper in August. Frank Manzi reported a couple more surf schoolies today, and Vinny D’Anton released a few in Shark River.  The regulars at Bay Head said they had some cocktail blues up to 12 inches plus short weakfish early — but there were no signs of Spanish mackerel. Capt. Joe Massa decided to make the long run from Morgan Marina to the mid-range grounds for bluefin tuna on Sunday, along with Jim Peters, A.J. Orlando and Dave Rubek on his My Three Sons. They had their best luck in the afternoon as a 52-incher was jigged, and Massa cast a big popper to tuna breaking around cownose rays to get into a 1 1/3-hour battle on spinning tackle with a very fat 46-incher.  The trip ended up totaling 164 miles. Capt. Jim Freda has been getting into those tuna consistently with his Shore Catch out of Manasquan Inlet. He says both “overs” and “unders” can be jigged off bottom in 140-160 feet with jigs of 80-120 grams. A visitor from San Diego jigged a 54-incher last week. The wind is predicted to shift to the northwest on Friday at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20.  Saturday is looking ideal with west winds at 10-15 knots.

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