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Captain's Focus

There wasn't much good to be said about Sunday other than it started better than predicted with no rain and little wind. Unfortunately, that didn't last. The early break was wasted on the Manasquan Inlet bluefishing as I didn't see a rod bend there after dawn after a good Saturday morning when I caught a blue on my first cast. Bob Correll of Bay Head cast upriver this morning and caught a blue he estimated at 15 pounds. He returned in the evening to hook two blues on metal. I didn't see anything doing in the inlet at that time. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported rain, wind and cold resulted in poor fishing, and they won't be sailing Monday. Small craft warnings are up for rough seas into Monday afternoon, though the wind forecast for the morning indicates light east winds. Joe Melillo had a couple of weigh-ins from Saturday at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant. Bob Longo of Brick beached a 29-inch striper on clam in the Bay Head surf. It weighed 9 3/4-pounds. Mark Balacco from Tuckerton released a 26-inch striper in Point Pleasant Canal, and weighed a 30-inch 11 1/8-pounder on a jig. At Seaside Park, Grumpy's Tackle reported most surf blues hitting bunker. Robin Benekin weighed in the largest at 36 inches and 15.6 pounds. John Benekin had a 34.5-inch, 13.7-pounder. Both were on bunker. Jamie Budish used a Midway lure to catch a 35-inch, 15.25-pounder. Betty & Nick's noted that there had been a blue blitz in the inlet for an hour, and that a 15-pound striper was caught in the surf -- where cabbage was a problem and 6-to-8-ounce sinkers were required. Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights made his first boat trip of the season out of Atlantic Highlands, but never got a touch Saturday while trolling from the West Bank area to the back. He only saw a few blues caught by other boats. Matt Slobdjian, at Jim's Tackle in Cape May, submitted his first report of the season as follows: "The beach bite has been pretty good on bass on the North Cape May side. At first it was mainly a low tide bite on, bait but the last few days we've been seeing fish being caught on all tides and they are on top chasing bait so the guys plugging have been doing well also. There are some slammer blues showing up along with the bass we've seen them up to 40 inches coming in. We are also getting spotty reports from the Point and Cape May Beach, but the best is still the bay side. The boats are hanging in tight to the beach and it sounded like the bite picked up well on Saturday for them. We've seen pictures of some nice bass coming over the side from North Cape May all the way up the beach to Pierce's Point. The fish are also up on top at times so you should keep a plug handy just in case.There have been drum caught this past week but with the water temp drop they slowed up considerably. In the next couple of weeks we expect they will come on strong.Its a shame the tog season closed as the fishing has been very good. We've weighed fish to 15 lbs. from boats fishing the inshore wrecks this spring."

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