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Captain's Focus

The marine weather forecast was for a modest 10-to-15 mph NE wind, but as often occurs on such a forecast we end up with a dry northeaster that howls for several hours before backing off during the day. That put a big crimp in fishing for most, but party boat bluefish jigging was still very good in the ocean.  Capt. Dave Riback said it took a while to find them, but the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant loaded up with 4-to-12-pounders.That boat's Magic Hours trips are sold out Sunday and Tuesday, but space is available Thursday. Capt. Stan Zagleski said the wind was a killer today for fluking on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands. Everyone was hiding for protection from the northeaster at the Bug Light where there were few keepers among the shorts. Zagleski eventually managed to get some decent drifts away from the fleet for a fair catch. Bob Mathews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina, reports Fred Heydorn added a 50-pound striper on Friday to his season-leading 55 1/2-pounder. Tom Cook of the Shark River Surf Anglers had two 20-pound bass from the beach. Hugh Mura didn't see any birds or bait in the Sea Bright surf, but fishing bunker from 6:30 a.m. to noon produced blues of 23, 30 and 33 inches.  Joe Hughes remembered mention in this blog of successful trolling in deep waters close to the federal line, and that paid off Friday after Capt. Steve Bianchi on Hammerhead got tired of fighting off blues attacking live bunkers. Trolling produced bass of 26, 28 and 32 pounds. George Stinson of Mt. Bethel, Pa. worked hard for bunkers this morning before running his Contender from Gateway Marina in Highlands down the beach. One striper was fought, but the hook pulled -- and Stinson had a slow trip returning in the rough seas.  At Seaside Park, John Bushell Jr. reports from Betty & Nick's that this has been the best early summer fishing in the surf for big bluefish since the 90's. Bunker baits have been most effective. Grumpy's Tackle has also been weighing blues plus an occasional bass from the surf, but the catch of a 26-inch, 6.8-pound weakfish Thursday on metal by Chris Frey was unusual.  Phil La Grossa boated a 47-inch 42.95-pound striper Friday, and Cole Fratesi had a 48-inch, 44.35-pounder this morning. Capt. Jim McFarland had Frank Dougan's party from Trenton aboard Big Mac from Green Harbor, Ma. aboard on calm Friday to boat 64 cod up to 19 pounds plus haddock limits. Pollock still haven't shown in that area. Mimi IV from Point Pleasant will be sailing open for sea bass, ling and flounder on Tuesday and Wednesday plus a Magic Hours trip on Thursday.

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