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Captain's Focus

The sinking of the trawler Austin on Axel Carlsen Reef that was schedled for Wednesday has been postponed to next week due to weather conditions. I'll have more about this in another blog. Today's hard south wind made for tough conditions when I sailed at 2 p.m. with Chuck Many of Annandale on his Ty Man from Gateway Marina in Highlands. With 77 degree water temperatures, we knew it was going to be a struggle to find striped bass of any size, and the abundance of bluefish in Raritan Bay made our goal even harder to attain. Choppers from 3 o 8 pounds ate up the live peanut bunkers Many had castnetted, and also jumped on the shad lures and metals he cast.   A move to the Hudson River wasn't poductive at first as the drift was too fast in the hard south wind. Many ran up to the East River to get out of the wind, only to be turned away by the N.Y. Police boat as the river was closed to traffic today. Forced to make the best of our Hudson drift, it finally worked out as weakfish moved in. Rather than just the big weaks we normally catch in the river, there were also several that were only 19 inches. Many's biggest was 31 inches long and pushed his IGFA-certified Boga Grip to 8 pounds. We released 16 weaks before my last hookup on the last drift produced a 20 1/2-inch striper to break the ice on the targeted species.  The Golden Eagle from Belmar started out the day with 3 to-5-pound blues rather than the expected jumbos, but they were soon replaced by 18-to-22-pound blues plus little tunny. Most of the action was on bait with circle hooks, though Run-Off hammered jigs also produced. There was lots of bait in the surf when I cast at Bay Head this morning, but there didn't seem to be anything on them, Just before leaving I landed a 16 1/4-inch striper that hit Run-Off's new rainfish metal. Vinny D'Anton worked the Spring Lake beach and released a mall striper that hit his Chug Bug in the wash.

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