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Captain's Focus

With seas remaining rough (the Jamaica from Brielle has cancelled Wednesday's trip), it's a good thing that big bluefish have been providing plenty of action in the calm waters of bays and rivers. Capt. Jim Freda is making the most of that opportunity by running afternoon trips in Manasquan River to take advantage of a light tackle blast that won't last long. Freda can be contacted at 732 762-0870.  I fished late in the morning upriver from shore in the Manasquan to catch two blues, the first on a Castaways swimmer, and the largest of 36 3/4 inches (around 15 pounds) on a Lasko Lasher home-made swimmer made by Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant -- who had similar success at that time. The blues turn on unpredictably, but are also caught on metal when they do -- though I haven't been able to do anything with poppers the last two days. It's the same thing in Manasquan Inlet, where poppers usually work. There was a good bite there before dusk. Capt. Vinnie Vetere of Katfish Charters in Great Kills was thinking about getting some protection from this morning's NE wind and heavy rain by running up the Hudson River, but instead trolled Mo-Jos in the lee of Staten Island to find big bass before anchoring on them for a good catch on chunks and live bunkers without interference from blues. Capt. Dave De Gennaro continues to catch both stripers and blues in Barnegat Bay with his Hi Flier from Barnegat. He reports: "Monday was our third successful trip in a row of catching stripers and blues in the bay. On Sunday I had Gene Linder and Chuck Bababooey of Phila, PA, and Johnny O'Kinsky of Toms River, NJ and we boated a pair of 17 pound stripers while anchored up clamming in Oyster Creek Channel. Outgoing tide is working well. After that we bounced around a few places looking for the gator blues and we finally found them on the west side of the bay behind Waretown in 5 feet of water. It took a half hour of casting to draw the first strike on a popper but then it just got better and better with each drift until multiple hookups were the norm. All 10 to 16 pound fish on 10 pound spinning gear and topwater lures. Today I had one angler on board, Jim Soch of West Windsor, NJ. We gave it a short try on the clam as our priority was topwater blues and we got an 18 pound bass on the clam in Oyster Creek.  Again we retreated to the west side of the bay and after a good hour of searching and not catching we came across a small aluminum boat with two guys who had them blowing up on their lures in real shallow water. We gave them a respectable distance, went on the drift, and started to get in on the action ourselves. I don't know if I would have looked that shallow.......so thanks to those guys for putting us on them. Starting Wed, May 4 we will be sailing open boat or charter every day thru Monday, May 9. An early look at the marine weather forecast has me thinking that we will be fishing the bay at least until Saturday unless the wind finally decides to blow west or northwest to flatten out the ocean. Fine by me, the inside fishing is awesome! We will be timing each trip to catch the outgoing tide for a few hours of clamming stripers mixed in with a few hours of casting lures at big bluefish, all in the bay. " The forecast for Wednesday includes continued NE winds up to 20 mph, and the possibility of showers. Saturday looks great at this point, with light west winds finally arriving for a day.

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