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Captain's Focus

Every year I catch up with Gene Graman of Middletown on June 1 as his identical birthday is a month earlier -- and we celebrate with a fishing trip on his That's It from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands. It took some time to get my 78th birthday bass this year, but Graman stuck it out.  Jerry McMenemy of Holmdel and the skipper boated bass of 22 and 25 pounds on live bunkers fished in deep waters down the beach during the morning while I never had a hit until a jumbo 37-inch bluefish inhaled a bunker at Shrewsbury Rocks and couldn't bite through my 60-pound leader. The birthday boy was still shut out on bass until we moved back out to deep waters and Graman's Shimano spinning rig filled with 20-pound mono doubled over in the stern. I fought that bass for about 10 minutes as it stayed deep. As it turned out. the bass hit an eel on a circle hook and somehow got snagged on the top of the head -- accounting for the difficulty in getting her up on spin tackle. Though only 44 inches long, she had good girth (possibly not spawned out), and pulled Graman's Shimano scale down to 40 pounds. That's the one I needed two days before in the Manhattan Cup! Jerry was able to use his height to lean over the high sides of That's It to work the bass before she swam away. Though we had a couple of baits chased after that, there were no more hook-ups before Graman headed in during mid-afternoon. Though the day was beautiful, there was a very big swell -- and I was surprised to see breakers on False Hook on the way in. Capt. Sal Cursi and Capt. Hans Kaspersetz took Ray Flagiello's Edgewater out of Baker's Marina on the Bay in Highlands to the back of Raritan Bay in the morning to pick a few stripers from among blues while chunking. Capt. Stan Zagleski said there was a good pick of both short and keeper fluke on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands.  Dennis O'Brien of South Bound Brook had three keepers and won the pool. For the first time this season, bucktails and Spros worked best. Fluke pro Dave Lilly of Hazlet said he was all over seeking fluke, but only found a scattered few shorts and keepers.  The Golden Eagle from Belmar had good bluefish jigging again. Poppers worked particularly well. 

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