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The International Game Fish Association's New Jersey Representatives announce their 20th Annual Fund Raising Banquet and Auction will be held on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 7 p.m. at Doolan's Shore Club located on Route 71 in Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey. Hosted by New Jersey representatives Rich Keller, Dave Matagiese, Jeff Merrill and Gene Nigro, proceeds from the evening will benefit IGFA's Junior Angler and Conservation Programs. Last year 165 guests attended and nearly $18,000 was raised for these IGFA programs. Over the past 19 years this event has raised nearly $270,000 making it one of IGFA's most successful fund raising events on their annual calendar. A cocktail hour precedes a deluxe hot and cold buffet dinner followed by the popular Fishing Tackle Bonanza Auction where thousands of dollars worth of fishing tackle including rods, reels, line and lures donated by major tackle manufacturers and local tackle shops, plus jewelry, marine artwork and other fishing related items and accessories will be given away. Numerous fishing trips have also been donated by local charter boat captains. The popular Grand Raffle is back again and includes two Maxel OceanMax rod and reel combos as well as several other valuable prizes. A silent auction and a Tricky Tray raffle will also be held and will include fishing trips, tackle, clothing, gifts, artwork and more! Every attendee will receive a commemorative gift from IGFA. Reservations are limited to the first 225 people and can be made by sending a check for $75 for each person drawn to IGFA and sent to: IGFA Banquet, c/o Jeff Merrill, 918 Houston St., South Plainfield, New Jersey 07080. For further information contact Jeff Merrill at 908-451-1110 or via e-mail at jeffmerrill2@verizon.net. The International Game Fish Association's New Jersey Representatives announce their 20th Annual Fund Raising Banquet and Auction will be held on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 7 p.m. at Doolan's Shore Club located on Route 71 in Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey. Hosted by New Jersey representatives Rich Keller, Dave Matagiese, Jeff Merrill and Gene Nigro, proceeds from the evening will benefit IGFA's Junior Angler and Conservation Programs. Last year 165 guests attended and nearly $18,000 was raised for these IGFA programs. Over the past 19 years this event has raised nearly $270,000 making it one of IGFA's most successful fund raising events on their annual calendar. A cocktail hour precedes a deluxe hot and cold buffet dinner followed by the popular Fishing Tackle Bonanza Auction where thousands of dollars worth of fishing tackle including rods, reels, line and lures donated by major tackle manufacturers and local tackle shops, plus jewelry, marine artwork and other fishing related items and accessories will be given away. Numerous fishing trips have also been donated by local charter boat captains. The popular Grand Raffle is back again and includes two Maxel OceanMax rod and reel combos as well as several other valuable prizes. A silent auction and a Tricky Tray raffle will also be held and will include fishing trips, tackle, clothing, gifts, artwork and more! Every attendee will receive a commemorative gift from IGFA. Reservations are limited to the first 225 people and can be made by sending a check for $75 for each person drawn to IGFA and sent to: IGFA Banquet, c/o Jeff Merrill, 918 Houston St., South Plainfield, New Jersey 07080. For further information contact Jeff Merrill at 908-451-1110 or via e-mail at jeffmerrcolored waters set back erizon.net. Bad weather has held back spring fishing, but with west winds in the forecast there could be a breakthrough this weekend. Discolored waters set back the Raritan Bay striper bite, but the Tackle Box in Hazlet reported that Joe Delgado of Long Branch worked the Bayshore with clams and worms for many bass up to a 14-pounder. Davyn Read of Keansburg also had a positive striper report from Saturday night, There's been some school stiper action on the same bats in the surf, while other anglers score with small lures , such as the Tsunami Eel and Shad. Grumpy's Tackle in Seaside Park notes some regulars are doing better with schoolies in Barnegat Bay, where small plugs work well in the evening. The blackfish season opened last Saturday, but only a few party boats were able to get out this week. The Ocean Explorer from Belmar was pleased to find decent bottom action Wednesday that produced some keeper tog plus shorts. The Golden Eagle from that port plans to seek mackerel this weekend, with cod as the backup.  Bluefish have been showing up in April during recent years, but the only report of them that I had this week came from much further south as sailfish boaters ran into them off Miami. The blues that occasionally make the run up the coast from that far south have very big heads and thin bodies. Otherwise, most bluefish found in Florida are small.  Mark Roy of Warren has his fill of bluefish during the season with his Release Me from Raritan Marina, so he was happy when Capt. Jon Cooper was able to avoid blues during a Wednesday charter on Dive-Version from Miami. Chris Fahme of Hollywood, Fl. and I were also aboard as we had a great day of sailfishing with live threadfin herring fished from kites. All eight sails that hit were eventually released, and my first was estimated at 80 pounds -- exceptionally large for an Atlantic sailfish. Roy also caught a dolphin and a blackfin tuna. It would be hard to follow up on a day like that, and we didn't on Thursday as Mark Levine of Freehold released the only sail we raised during a day when the wind shifted from SE to SW and the blue water was off Key Largo rather than to the north. There were a few large little tunny hooked (one cut in two by a barracuda), and I caught a legal mutton snapper on the bottom rod. Roy fought two large fish on that rod that were both lost to broken 40-pound leaders. Keep up with the latest fishing info on my daily blog at nj.com/shore/blogs/fishing.

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