Capt. Ken Hager put Taylor Jean from Tinton Falls into a 72-pound white marlin on the first day, and that fish had them in line for over a million dollars until the last day when Waste Knot brought in a 75-pounder to take first and a payout of 796,509 while Taylor Jean was in the big Calcuttas and settled for a nice consolation of 217,665. Mike Reilly of Jersey City, Ben Silverman from Detroit, Kyle Holcomb of Philadelphia, and Tom Frazel from Chicago joined Ty in catching 100 fish including 15 fluke (5 keepers) up to 7 pounds, 65 sea bass, 6 sea robins, 2 bergalls, 3 blues, 2 stripers to 22 inches, 13 porgies to 13 inches, and 4 weakfish to 26 inches.
A youngster tried to net it with a fluke net that was really too small, but I told him the trick with a big fish and a small net is to let the angler steer the head of the fish into the waiting net held just under the surface. An older youngster leaned over and removed the jig from the net, but grabbed the casting leader to try to get his hand in the flared gill when the light freshwater leader to the 2 hook holding the jumbo finally broke -- providing the release it was going to get in any case.
The northeast wind has kept most boats at the dock the last two days, but the Jamaica from Brielle had a good report from Monday's trip. Joe Melillo at Castaways Tackle put his day off on Sunday to good use by fishing the Bay Head surf to release a 6-pound bluefish while losing another on the Run Off Sand Eel metal, Back at the shop, he weighed a 6-pound fluke caught in the ocean by Robert Skudera of Midland Park.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar looked for blues on Sunday, but only found a few small ones before shifting to good action with sea bass and some legal fluke. I caught a small bass on a Z Man jig on my first cast, and added another small one later.
Fluke fishing in the ocean has been the best of the year recently, and doormats are finally becoming more common. Mike Holodinski of Hillsboro boated an 11 1 2-pounder that took the pool, but not before he got a scare when Paul Schduckalo caught a 10 1 2-pound doormat.
Capt. Ron Santee is on a roll with weekend doormat fluke on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. Eddie Fernandez was the man on Saturday as he boated a 31 3/4-inch fluke that weighed 10 pounds, 10 ounces. Capt. Stan Zagleski reported a fine day with both large fluke and sea bass on rough bottom with his Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands -- and wishes it had been like this all season.
There were new leaders in two categories, but Taylor Jean from Brielle survived again with the 72-pound white marlin from the first day that could be worth over a million dollars though they did so by a mere two pounds as Texas Tea weighed a 70-pounder to take over second place. Goin In Deep from Fort Lauderdale brought in an amazing double of leaders as their 184-pound bigeye took the tuna lead from Big Dog's 126-pounder for a potential 542,004 -- and their first eligible blue marlin of the contest (400-pound minimum) was an unbeatable 680 pounds worth a possible 721,826.
Capt. Stan Zagleski had a similar trip Tuesday with his Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands his fares worked hard for some fluke and lots of sea bass until they finally got some wind and movement later in the morning. The Jamaica from Brielle sent in a late report on Tuesday after they moved out near the Mud Hole for lots of chumming action with blues, bonito, chub mackerel and a few sea bass.
The dolphin lead was only at 15 pounds the first day, but Speculator brought in a 23-pounder -- the same as the dolphin that won the White Marlin Open on the last day. Nine blue marlin have been boated so far, but the 400-pound minimum has proven to be too big a hurdle in the first two days.