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Captain's Focus

Unless President Obama responds to pleas from Jersey officials to postpone the project, a climate change study involving seismic blasting into the ocean 15 to 50 miles southeast of Barnegat Inlet will begin Tuesday. Scientists from Rutgers want to examine the geologic record of past sea-level changes to determine the age of sea-level variations as much as 35 million years ago. The scientists want to learn how and why the shorelines at times advanced 50 miles landward of its present location and at other times retreated to lay bare 75 miles of today’s submerged continental shelf. The National Science Foundation is funding this operation and did a study to determine the appropriate time for the blasting in order to minimize any possible negative effects on fish and marine mammals. That resulted in the June date. Gov. Chris Christe, the state Department of Environmental Protection, and many Jersey politicians from both parties have opposed this project being conducted at the prime time for fishing and tourism. Jim Donofrio of the Recreational Fishing Alliance said he has spoken to numerous state and federal officials about the timing of the seismic study, and "there’s not one elected official from New Jersey who supports the plan to blast away marine life at the kickoff to the summer season." Donofrio further notes that, "The problem here is that the ultimate decision to begin this invasive research has been made in Washington, D.C., in the U.S. Department of the Interior, and only the secretary of the Interior and the president himself can delay the project to another time." Clean Ocean Action had been circulating an internet petition, available on its site, urging Rutgers to put off the study. MANHATTAN CUP  The Manhattan Cup is being contested today out of Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City after having been postponed due to a bad weather forecast a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully, the Wounded Warriors fishing in the contest will hook into some impressive stripers and blues. Fishing off the Shore for the big migrating stripers hasn’t been very consistent lately, but there was nothing to complain about last Thursday when I joined Chuck Many of Annandale on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands along with Pa. anglers Nellie Greer of Bethlehem and Greg Prestosh of Hellertown as we went down the beach to release 19 bass on long drifts with live bunkers. Most of the bass were the usual 15-to-25-pounders, but two were over 30 pounds — and I was fortunate to hook a 47-incher that weighed 42 pounds on Many’s IGFA-certified Boga Grip. TOP CATCHES Capt. Stan Zagleski had a good opening to his fluke season with Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands, but it became even better when he got away from the Bug Light fleet on Sunday. Stefan Stefanov of Bedminster boated an 8 11/16-pounder that barely beat out an 8⅜ -pound fluke by Steve Han from Berkeley Heights for the pool. Jim Lohse from Union boated four normal pool winners from 4¼ to 5⅜ pounds. Zagleski had the right conditions for the ocean on Tuesday when he found lots of 4- to 5-pounders and some limits. Pete Talevi of Ewing took the pool with a 7.11-pound fluke in his limit, and Carmine Rutledge from Newark weighed a 5.6-pounder. Doug Key of Union Beach had two 5.5-pound fluke in his limit; Rich Daniels of Phillipsburg limited up to 4.13 pounds, and Greg Barnett from Trenton also limited. Zagleski ignored the "overblown" weather forecast yesterday, and had another good catch even though his ocean fishing was no good due to a lack of drift with wind against tide. Back closer to port, Mike Panko from New Smyrna Beach, Fl. limited to 4⅝ pounds; Dennis Ziober of Port Reading caught three to 5⅜ pounds; and Sam Ingallinesi of Pompton Lakes bagged four up to 4 pounds.. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, has been weighing many large stropers taken from bunker schools — up to a trophy 55½-pounder by Fred Heydorn that’s the largest reported so far. Matthews notes that the Asbury Park Fishing Club Tournament was won by that club as Ray Soyak’s 45-pounder accounted for much of their shore-fishing 155 points to beat Shark River with 99 points and Berkeley Striper Club with 16 points. Jeff Jacobson of the Forked River Tuna Club used live bunker further south to boat a 51.06-pound striper. Capt. Peter Clarke will begin chartering soon with his new Ocean Master 31, Mad Hatter, out of Total Marine in Belmar. He’ll be striper fishing before the shark tournaments, and then heading offshore for tuna. That’s a step up from his last boat, a Mako 25 from which we were seeking stripers in the fall a few years ago when tuna were spotted jumping at Sea Girt Reef. Clarke put me in position to cast to a tuna that nailed the Daiwa Pencil Popper and would have stripped my Shimano BaitRunner if Clarke hadn’t instantly run the boat at the 70-pound bluefin. He can be contacted at jandhcharters.com or at (908) 309-8833. Clarke mated Tuesday for Capt. Rich Kotszyu on Michelle Ann out of Shark River as they ranged from Long Branch to Island Beach in order to catch eight bass up to 44 pounds in the morning on live bunkers and seven in the afternoon. The monster bluefish we saw late last summer may be back. I was wondering if those almost unheard-of 20-pounders would return later this year, but the Tackle Box in Hazlet has already weighed a 21¼-pound jumbo trolled on a Stretch plug by Davis Foster of Morganville. Carlo Pimpinalla of Dunellen added a 19-pounder on a bunker chunk. Capt. Sal Cursi braved Wednesday’s east wind in the bay with Jim Curcio’s Shenanigans from Morgan Marina to scratch out a striper catch from lots of blues while chunking. Amazingly, those bass still had green eggs in them even though the Hudson River spawning should be over. Kathy Freibott caught her first striper while fishing Sunday with Capt. Mark Roy on Release Me from Raritan Marina while Fred Young, Debbie Freibott, and Johnny, John and Ryan Gyurik struggled with most of the 50 blues hooked while chunking west of the Navy Pier. Joe Melillo, at Castaway’s Tackle in Point Pleasant, reported surf stripers early in the week as James Barry of Point Pleasant plugged a 17¾-pounder at Bay Head, and John Logan from Jersey City hooked a 15⅛-pounder on an SP Minnow at Point Pleasant. Joe Mellilo Jr. fished in bunker off Elberon to catch a 33-pound bass. Jim’s Tackle in Cape May reported James Warner of Brick weighed a 9 3/16-pound weakfish on a bucktail and plastic worm from a local rock pile. Blanca Schulte from Palmyra boated a 77.3-pound black drum aboard the charter boat Full Ahead in Delaware Bay as 10 were brought in and others released. a luring winner National Fishing & Boating Week is coming up June 1-8, and Rapala is celebrating their position at the top level of the fishing lure business. It turns out we’ve grown up together as their beginnings were also in 1936. The Rapala release notes that Finnish fisherman Lauri Rapala made one simple, yet genius observation: Big fish eat little fish, particularly the wounded ones. As he fished the waters of Finland’s Lake Paijanne, he noticed how predator fish would dart into a school of minnows and attack the one that swam with a slightly off-centered wobble again and again. This insight led Lauri to pick up a carving knife to whittle, shave and sand the original Rapala fishing lure. With makeshift household materials such as cork, tinfoil and melted photographic negatives, he crafted and tested a lure that perfectly mimicked the action of a wounded minnow and would ultimately become the forefather of the Original Floating Rapala. As anglers around the globe began to catch more and bigger fish with the lure, the legend of Rapala grew. It became clear that the Rapala’s groundbreaking "wounded minnow" action was the key to triggering strike after strike from fish of all species in nearly any application. While today’s lures have evolved to feature internal rattle chambers, innovative new lip designs, diving technologies and more, the founding principle of the "wounded minnow" remains. Shimano’s "Surf Crew" is heading to the Shore this weekend for the first of many special beach-side events to introduce its new ‘Long Cast Surf System.’ Anglers can join Shimano’s resident expert Roy Leyva for this special surf-casting experience, and test your abilities with the new Aero Technium XS-C, Ultegra CI4+ XSB and Ultegra XS-C spinning reels, and new Tiralejo surf rods. The weekend surf events take place Saturday in Ship Bottom (15th Street at the Bay) from 8:30am until 11:30. Then on Sunday there are two beach-side events planned, with the first stop in Point Pleasant Beach (Inlet Drive - Fisherman’s Memorial) from 8:30am until 11:30am. Leyva and ‘Surf Crew’ then pack it all up and move to Deal from 2pm until 5 at the Phillips Avenue Jetty. Shimano’s new ‘Long Cast Surf System’ tackle will soon be available from select tackle dealers up and down the East Coast. For more information on the reels and rods, visit fish.shimano.com.

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