I haven't had many bluefin tuna reports, so I accompanied Capt. Lou Grazioso and Chris Schmidt on Bob Chervanak's Lady Dorado from Key Haven Marina in Waretown on a trolling trip with Lady Dorado -- a 32-foot Scout center console. After hearing poor reports from Chicken Canyon, Grazioso trolled south along the 30-fathom line and came across a 54-inch, 100-pound bluefin that hit his squid daisy chain as the owner celebrated his first large tuna on the new boat.
Standard theory indicates that big stripers have moved to cooler waters in New England by this time, but that's not what we've seen in Raritan Bay the last two weeks. That fish fought a long time in a strong tide, and it floated back up after release, requiring Many to pull anchor and net it again.
Just as was the case last Tuesday, Chuck Many of Annandale had no information to go on in his search for striped bass today -- but he was confident he'd find them with his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands in one of his many favorite spots from Raritan Bay to the Rockaways. We also released at least 10 dogfish, and I had Many weigh one of mine that pulled the scale to the 20-pound mark.
Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina, said party boats there are catching big fluke in the ocean, while anglers in his rental skiffs hook lots of short fluke in Shark River to boat a few keepers. Jim's Tackle in Cape May reports fluke fishing tailed off a little at the Cape May Reef, where it's mostly short fish with only a few keepers and most of the bigger fish are tight to structure.
Fluking was generally tough today, but Dave Lilly of Hazlet reports he hit one hot spot that produced several large fluke up to a 6 1 2-pounder that put him on the board in the Sandy Hook Bay Anglers Fluke Tournament. 24th annual Raritan Bay Anglers Charity Fluke Tournament will be held on Saturday July 19 out of Perth Amboy Harborside Marina Sign ups will be at The Moose Club 989 Convery Blvd.
There was no repeat of the striped bass bite at the mouth of Raritan Bay. Betty Nick's was excited by Bill Smith's 15 1 4-pound striped bass that hit clam this morning at Second Ave. Capt. Chris Di Stefano of Wall reports Christine trolled Hudson Canyon on Thursday for eight yellowfin tuna in the 30-to-60-pound class.
Anyone who's been near the surf the last couple of days was in for a shock as it was brutally cold after days of south winds. Fish rarely cooperate after such a shock, and to make things worse there was also weed in the Point Pleasant surf this morning.
Chuck Many of Annandale followed up on yesterday's hot striper bite in Raritan Bay by doing even better this morning on Ty Man from Highlands for his brother Kevin of Middletown, N. Y. with his sons Luke (14) and Jake (11). They released 27 bass up to a 34-pounder for Luke and a 33-pounder by Jake on his birthday trip -- while Kevin released a 44-pound bass.
Fortunately, a school of bunker passed by and big tails came out of the water among them as Many hooked up on a chunk while I threw a live bunker in that was immediately hit by a bass that weighed 28 pounds before release. Though there was no longer any sign of those bass and bunkers, I cast another live bait that was hit by an even larger bass that pulled Many's Boga Grip down to the 40-pound mark.