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While most people are thinking of conventional gifts, fishermen may be more interested in the angling opportunities still available this winter. As usual, there is still good blackfishing not too far offshore and limits of jumbo sea bass on deep water wrecks -- but what's not at all usual is the abundance of large school bluefin tuna within center console range. N.Y. skipper John McMurray has been running after tuna ranging to over 100 pounds that are being found in pods on the surface, and they've been caught by making long casts with heavy spinning tackle and "stick" baits to the pods. It's not easy fishing, but the rewards are great. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina, has also heard about tuna action in the Mud Hole on popping plugs, while blackfishing is good in 70-to-90-foot depths (especially on whitelegger crabs) -- and winter flounder continue to hit baits cast from the docks into Shark River on incoming tide when waters are warmest.  At Brielle, the Jamaica continues trips to the far offshore wrecks that produced limits of jumbo sea bass for most fares on Wednesday along with porgies and bluefish. Xio Chen of Harrison won the pool with a 6.5-pound sea bass, while Jimmy Niotis of Manalapan took second with a 6-pounder. The Jamaica will be fishing almost every day between Christmas and New Year's, leaving at 11 p.m. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations. The calm days that have been perfect for tuna fishing have also worked well for blackfish. Capt. Stan Zagleski said Tuesday's fishing from his Elaine B. II out of Bahrs in Highlands couldn't have been much better as the tog hit everything offered all around the boat and everyone limited early. Nelson Mendoza added the only variety with a keeper cod. Wednesday wasn't quite that good, but everyone had at least a couple of keepers -- and Mike Naipawer of Bloomingdale boated a 13-pound trophy tog. The first two mackerel of the winter were caught on bare hooks.  The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported a flat calm Thursday, but blackfishing was surprisingly tough even though a couple of limits were posted. Bob Matthews noted that small stripers are still being caught in the surf on small plugs and teasers. Herring and windowpane flounders are hitting in Shark River Inlet. Frank Dee, owner of the 48 Viking, Lockout from Brielle passed away this week at 72. The last time I talked to the famed lawyer and Brick resident was while he was waiting for the final weigh-ins during this year's Mako Mania Tournament after taking the lead with a 301-pound mako that almost jumped aboard in the bow of Lockout. That mako easily stood up to win Dee's final Mako Mania. Congratulations to Justin Strehl upon receiving certification of his IGFA line class world record for a 22 1/2-pound tautog boated Nov. 19 on Capt. Frank Tenore's Fins on Feathers from Leonardo with 20-pound line. That catch on a jig and crab broke the record of 21 pounds that had stood since 1954. The N.J. public hearing on Summer Flounder Draft Amendment XXVII will be held after the N.J. Marine Fisheries Council meeting at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 5, 2017 in Galloway Township Library, 306 Jimmie Leeds Road. Prospective regulations are so severe that there could be a limit of three at a 19-inch limit with a season from June 1 to Sept. 15 even though the fluke population appears to be healthy. The Canyon Runner Seminar will be held on Jan. 28, 2017 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The $125 tickets are going fast. Call Adam La Rosa at 732 842-6825. Books make excellent Christmas gifts for anglers. One of the best I've read lately is Fish On, Fish Off by Stephen Sautner (Lyons Press - $22.95). It's subtitled The Misadventures and Odd Encounters of the Self-Taught Angler, and that conveys the humorous nature of the book. I got a big kick out of the chapter A Bridge Tarpon Too Far. Sautner notes that a friend told him exactly how to hook tarpon from Florida Keys bridges but concludes " The key word is hook, because there is absolutely no way to land them." I can understand that frustration, but readers may remember my blog describing how it actually can be done with some regularity. John Unkart's Saltwater Tales (Schiffer Publishing - $24.99) is an interesting combination of fishing stories and instruction that's well worth reading. The emphasis is on Unkart's Chesapeake Bay home waters, both inshore and offshore . That's reflected right away in Chapter 1 on Fall Flounder -- fluke to most of us. He notes fall is the prime time of year for catching a prized "doormat" --the term used for flounder weighing more than five pounds. Obviously, the standards are far different down there as any dedicated Yankee fluke angler knows that the standard for that term is 10 pounds. Fans of the Duck Commander will enjoy a copy of The American Fisherman by Willie Robertson and William Doyle (William Morrow/Harper Collins Publishers) - $26.99. Robertson covers the importance of fishing in the development of the country, and how America's wealth of fish changed the course of major wars and discoveries.

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Latest NJ Tuna Reports

  • 2017-06-15 BHCFA Beach Haven

    The fishing action for black sea bass on the inshore wrecks and reefs continues to be very good. The offshore bite has started with some nice tuna being boated already including some bigeyes over 200-pounds. In addition, there are reports of some big mako and thresher sharks in the area.

  • 2017-06-11 Ristori Bay Head

    Capt. Tom Savastano returned from Saturday's tuna trolling in the vicinity of Hudson Canyon with reports of bluefins up to 100 pounds plus a bigeye that size on Double Down out of Manasquan Inlet even though it was rough both ways. We've also gotten good reports from the Old Grounds this weekend on fluke and a few nice sea bass.

  • 2017-05-30 Ristori Bay Head

    After bringing in the first mako shark and school bluefin tuna from the canyons earlier in the week, the Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant ran a Saturday to Sunday overnighter that produced the first yellowfin tuna (about 35 pounds) and two dolphin from canyons in over 1000 fathoms off Delaware for David Stratoff and his son. Honors for the first N. J. bigeye tuna fell to a boat in the Canyon Runner reporting team as the Flying Fish landed one in Cape May on the way back from North Carolina.

  • 2017-05-28 Ristori Bay Head

    At Belmar, the Big Mohawk will be making a Monday fluke trip from 6 a. m. to 2 p. m. Capt. John Kolias took the Roy Runyak party down the beach to Shrewsbury Rocks on Saturday aboard his Reel Fun from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands, but the reports of stripers there that he had heard about didn't pan out.
  • 2017-05-25 Ristori Bay Head

    The Canyon Runner from Pint Pleasant brought in the first mako shark of the season Tuesday after their initial canyon overnighter. Six blue sharks were released at night before the 82-inch  (about 175 to 200 pound) mako was boated after a 25-minute fight. Trolling for school bluefin tuna at dawn produced four hits, with a 33-incher boated

  • 2017-05-20 Ristori Bay Head

    The surprisingly strong east wind made it tough on both boat and shore fishermen Saturday, but it's supposed to be lighter on Sunday in time for the Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament at Island Beach State Park. The east wind also prevented a repeat of a showing of small blues in the Bay Head surf, but I managed to tempt a 19-inch striper in Point Pleasant Canal on a Tsunami Shad.

  • 2017-02-07 Ristori Bay Head

    Adam La Rosa reports the 48-foot Canyon Runner boated big bluefin tuna on its first trip. La Rosa offers to take military out on those trips at no charge.
  • 2016-12-22 Ristori Bay Head

    As usual, there is still good blackfishing not too far offshore and limits of jumbo sea bass on deep water wrecks -- but what's not at all usual is the abundance of large school bluefin tuna within center console range. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina, has also heard about tuna action in the Mud Hole on popping plugs, while blackfishing is good in 70-to-90-foot depths (especially on whitelegger crabs) -- and winter flounder continue to hit baits cast from the docks into Shark River on incoming tide when waters are warmest.

  • 2016-10-22 Ristori Bay Head

    There was some great canyon tuna fishing just before the storm, as noted in the following report from Adam La Rosa of the Canyon Runner out of Point Pleasant Solid Chunk Bite on Big Yellowfin Continues - Again Again - Double Digit Yellowfin Catches Abound One Last Shot At an Open Trip End of Next Week or Full Boat if you Are Interested - Then Bring on the Stripers!Here Are Pics for Monday-Tuesday's Trip October 17-18 Here are Pics for Wednesday-Thursday October 19-20 Pics from the Weekend 48' Canyon Runner Trip - 10 12-13 16 Call ASAP to secure it - it won't last long 732-272-4445 Solid Chunk Bite on Big Yellowfin Continues - Again Again - Double Digit Yellowfin Catches Abound One Last Shot At an Open Trip End of Next Week if you Are Interested - Then Bring on the Stripers!!

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