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Captain's Focus

Conditions were far from ideal today, but Chuck Many of Annandale didn't let that bother him as Matt Calabria of Plainfield, Nellie Greer from Bethlehem, Pa., Greg Prestosh of Hellertown, Pa., and I joined him on Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands. Despite the gale force winds that developed and very poor conditions, we ended up with a total of 31 releases. After Greer loaded up the boat with bunkers in two throws of the castnet, Many drifted on scattered fish marks in the middle of Raritan Bay that produced better action than what was indicated on the fishfinder screen. Before the incoming tide up against an increasing west wind made drifting too difficult,we had 22 releases of bass from the mid-teens to the low twenties -- mostly on live and dead bunkers, though Prestosh did best with heads and Calabria had one on a shad lure. Capt. Lou Grazioso was also out there with Dave De Marco's Boston Whaler, and they drifted nine bass before heading in early.  Many took a shot at the Hudson River on the flood, but it was almost as rough there as in the bay, and we caught  nothing while chunking and waiting for the tide to start ebbing. Even with the wind and current together, the drift was too fast in the bay as the tide started ebbing, so Many anchored on some marks and chunked. Despite the fowling gale and building seas, nine more bass were released. The first was just a 28-incher, bur all the others were large -- including a 28-pounder by Calabia, who did most of the catching. The Golden Eagle from Belmar Marina had good readings in the ocean again, and did manage a few bass despite wind against current conditions. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den said offshore fishing wasn't good, and flounder also suffered from the dirty water dun-off, but some stripers are being caught on clams in the surf.  More strong westwinds are forecast, but they're supposed to drop off by Tuesday.

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