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Captain's Focus

Between a roaring northeast wind and steady rain, Friday morning was no picnic for fishermen -- but the bluefish weren't concerned about the weather. Jerry Lasko of Point Pleasant made a very brief attempt for stripers before dawn in Point Pleasant Canal, but only one big blue was released before he retreated to Castaways Tackle in that town to warm up. I saw only one angler fighting the conditions in the Canal, and he did catch a blue -- but I had no intention of getting out of my car. Instead, I waited until the afternoon, when the rain stopped and the wind moderated a bit. In comfortable conditions I released five big blues (including two 35-inchers) by casting a 2-ounce jig head tipped with a Mr. Whiffle or Culprit Dart Baiter Strawberry Float plastic. Another angler catching blues there on metal said he'd done the same thing during his lunch hour at Manasquan Inlet on the Point Pleasant side. Capt. Vinny Vetere was kicking himself yesterday after calling off his charter due the strong northeast forecast that turned out to be fishable. Therefore, he decided to sail today in the same sort of forecast -- and took a beating! His Katfish Charters did troll some large bass off Staten Island on Mo-Jo's, but they had to fight their way back at 8 mph into 4-to-5-foot waves all the way to Great Kills. Capt. Dave De Gennaro cancelled his Barnegat Bay trip with Hi Flier from Barnegat due to that wind, but will be sailing open by reservation from 5:30 to 10:30 Saturday morning for gator blues. Though NE gusts to 25 mph are still predicted for tonight, it's supposed to drop to 10 to 15 by dawn -- along with possible fog and showers -- but up to 25 in the afternoon. Sunday morning looks best, with southwest winds finally arriving at 10 to 15 mph before ending up at 25 mph in the afternoon. The forecast for Monday is just 10 knots from the southwest -- and it's just 5 to 10 from the south on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing over the weekend for blues and stripers at 7:30 a.m. At Seaside Park, Grumpy's Tackle reported that town's docks are producing big blues on bunker chunks -- while metal and bucktails are producing in the inlets. Jay Pickering had the largest bluefish weigh-in recently with a 37-inch, 16.1-pounder on bunker.

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