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Captain's Focus

Capt. Bob Pisano passed away Saturday night at 83 after several weeks with failing kidneys. Pisano opted to spend his last days at home with hospice care, and I feel fortunate to have visited him a weeks ago when he was still able to discuss the glory days of Mud Hole giant tuna fishing -- of which he was a pioneer. Pisano was not only the most successful local giant tuna skipper, but also a mentor to many of those who followed in his footsteps.  A memorial is planned for the near future. There will be much more about Pisano in Friday's column. Though there was no surf blitz to report today, the following report from Capt. Dave De Gennaro of Hi Flier out of Barnegat indicated there are still lots of stripers in our waters: " Sailed today with a full Open Boat and the fishing was awesome. We made the left out of Barnegat Inlet and headed north as we do 95 percent of the time. Found some high circling birds off of Seaside Park, throttled back, and the machine lit up with good readings. We put out a few trolling rods and the umbrella rig went off right away. Double header stripers, both under 28". I called the only other boat we saw all morning to give him the update. Andy Wurst on the Blue Juice heard our radio conversation and told me I should consider doubling back south of the inlet to get into birds and heavy striper activity. We left the readings we had even though we just that minute boated two fish, and left fish to go find fish. Usually, a bad move, but not today. Thanks to Andy's call we had fish all day long. One bird pile after another, blackout readings that spanned top to bottom on the machine. We caught them casting shads and trolling umbrella rigs. 26" to 33" fish, we managed 4 nice fish for the cooler, a blast on the 10 pound spinners. When we trolled, two and three fish on one umbrella was the norm. Very few boats. 50 degree water temp still holding strong. These are the first January stripers we ever had. I usually haul out sometime in December. I'm staying in the water to ride this out. We are sailing Open Boat tomorrow (Sat), Jan 2 and Monday, Jan 4, for stripers. 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM. $170 per person. 3 people max. All fish are shared. Sunday is sold out. Call right up until "go time" for a spot.  Capt. Dave DeGennaroHi Flier Sportfishing732.330.5674www.hiflier.com " column.

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