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Captain's Focus

There were mixed reports on striped bass fishing today, with the best coming from far to the south. Capt. Rob Semkowycz said there was a big drop-off in northern striper jigging on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. There were a couple of shots of bluefish as 35 to 40 were boated, but there was only one keeper bass plus a few shorts. The Golden Eagle from Belmar had some shots of blues, but also a couple of fares who jigged five and seven bass -- while others had only one keeper or just a few shorts. Ava 47 and 67 jigs plus Crocs and poppers were most effective. The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported over 70 bass, but about 40 percent were shorts -- in contrast to mostly keepers on Friday. The best action was before noon. The Sea Devil from Point Pleasant reported a great day, with most of the action before 11a.m. The Jamaica from Brielle had their best jigging on Friday in the afternoon. Gold Crocs and jigs worked best. Two 25-pound bass tied for the pool. Nick Honachefsky of Normandy Beach was catching stripers Friday off the Red Church at Elberon when a large school bluefin tuna started chasing sand eels. He got one cast to it with a plastic eel, but the tuna didn't hit. Capt. Russ Binns competed in the Manasquan River Marlin & Tuna Club Tournament with his Mar-Lin from Toms River. Most of the action came while trolling rigs and Stretch plugs to the south as a dozen bass up to 19 pounds were caught along with blues up to a 14-pounder. Bill Klimas of Scotch Plains was impressed with the 42-inch striper that was caught Friday at the outer buoy of Shrewsbury Rocks from a kayak by Juan Delgado of Fairview after a 20-minute battle. Joe Melillo didn't see any bass at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant this morning, but he weighed a 22 1/4-pound bass Friday morning after Gerald Cece of Point Pleasant caught it in the local surf on a swimmer. Surprisingly, two large squid were caught this morning on needlefish plugs. I fished the Bay Head surf this morning in ideal conditions, but had only one bump on a 6-inch Tsunami Swim Eel. At Seaside Park, Grumpy's Tackle weighed in 11 stripers up to 16.5 pounds. Betty & Nick's weighed 20-pound bass caught at Gillikin's in the park by Bob Kuzmuck -- and a 6-pound red drum caught Friday night on a Rebel by Bristol Lou De Fontney. Capt. Stan Zagleski had a good crowd aboard his Elaine B.from Highlands for the opening of the six-tautog season, but the fishing was unexpectedly slow. Bruce Vitale of Piscataway and AFTCO rep Lou Truppi fished aboard the Dorothy B. from Atlantic Highlands on Friday to scratch out two blues a short bass as most of the fish jigged that day were blues.

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