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Captain's Focus

Posted on June 3, 2020 Find clean water and bait for fluke The N. J. fluke season has been off to a slow start due to cold ocean waters, and fluke pro Dave Lilly also suspected that the recent dirty water in Raritan Bay might have something to do with it. Therefore, when he had the opportunity yesterday to run a fast 25-foot Parker, he shot over to the Rockaways. As soon as he arrived there were birds over cocktail blues working on tiny bait. The water was crystal clear, 62 degrees, full of bait — and fluke baits were hit as fast as they got down. At least 35 fluke were caught by Lilly and the crew, but since they were in N.Y. waters the 19-inch minimum there held them to four keepers. The fluke were spiting out tiny crabs , and there were lots of hits from sea robins, smooth dogfish and skates. Lilly said he probably caught more sea robins than in all of last year. The Golden Eagle from Belmar got off to a slow start on sea bass this morning, but sea bass were stacked 10 feet high at the second drop. Best of all, most were large keepers. Some ling and a fluke were added. Joe Blaze layed aside his fly rod yesterday while fishing from his small boat in Manasquan River in order to seek a keeper fluke for the table with a jig and Gulp on a spinning rod, He had plenty of action with shorts up to 17 1/2 inches before getting into small blues within the river. Though there weren’t any big fish hooked this morning in Point Pleasant Canal, there were quite a few light bumps and chopped off paddletails from small blues. I released three blues in the 3-pound class on Z Mans, plus my first spring striper of 20 inches. Joe Melillo, former owner of Castaways Tackle, also broke the ice with a blue. Jerry Lasko waited it out at Island Beach State Par, where some stripers hit poppers yesterday, but only caught one small blue and lost another while waiting for bunkers to be attacked. Just as they were getting close, he south wind came up and it went dead. That was nothing compared to the brief afternoon storm that roared through. Capt. Chris Di Stefano trolled his small boat from Shark River up to the Rocks yesterday to get his granddaughter into a big striper, but the one hit quickly got off and left only a scale on the Tony Maja bunker spoon. A move to the Farms produced lots of big sea bass plus ling, The Jamaica from Brielle has added a Sunday afternoon sea bass trip from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Capt. Dave De Gennero is fishing his Hi Flier from Barnegat inshore while awaiting a chance to get offshore. His son, Capt. Nick,put Griffin Chrostowski from Moorestown into his first striper with a 44-inch, 26-pounder in the inlet.

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