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Captain's Focus

After two weeks of hot fluking in Raritan Reach, Capt. Stan Zagleski reported a poor day on his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands due to wind against tide -- and then virtually no drift.  As a result, instead of some limit catches the high hook had only three keepers, and finishing up with a better drift in Sandy Hook Bay didn't help much because the fluke there were mostly shorts. Don Petzel of Riverdale had a 7 1/16-pound pool winner. Capt. Ron Santee had a similar report from the Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands as the high hook had three keepers and the pool was just under 5 pounds. Capt. Bud McArthur, of Splinter from Brick,checked out some local spots near Manasquan Inlet for fluke, but never found any -- possibly due to a water temperature down to 56 degrees at Sea Girt Reef, likely the result of the south winds. There were some skates, dogfish and sea bass. Water temperature was no problem at Monster Ledge, where it was 66 degrees and the south wind provided a good drift for Mark Roy on his Release Me along with his girl friend Yaping Jiang plus Jeff Sobin, both of Warren, and your reporter. We got only one hit -- though Ping enjoyed her struggle with a blue shark that may have matched her 105 pounds. Sobin had to hold her in the boat, but she had no intention of giving up until Roy completed the release of her first shark by clipping the leader. An ocean sunfish surfaced in the stern at the same time, but that was the only other thing we saw. Tom Morford Jr., of National Marine Electronics in Red Bank, was sharking just a few miles southwest of us where there was fine action as a 200-pound thresher was boated while eight blue sharks and some browns were released. The Jamaica from Brielle reported a turnaround in daytime bluefishing as they jigged lots of big blues up to a16-pounder for Jim Kelley of Levittown, Pa. The Sunday Magic Hours trip produced several stripers up to 41 pounds. They have openings by reservation for those trips through June 24. The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant got into 6-to-13-pound blues on jigs during today's day trip, and had some stripers the previous night. Allen Riley of South Plainfield worked the Monmouth Beach surf just before dawn to get into 2-to-4-pound blues on a Tsunami Talkin Popper as he tried his new Daiwa Fuego 400SH spinning reel with a Tsunami 9-foot, 5-inch Airwave Elite rod. The action cut off after dawn. Vinny D'Anton of Shark River Hills worked Shark River early in the morning to catch two 24-inch stripers on his Chug Bug popper.

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