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    al ...report 11/13

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    Ristori: That little black bag will open a bit wider tomorrow


    Tuesday, November 14, 2006 BY AL RISTORI
    Star-Ledger Staff
    Bottom fishermen have been reporting some exceptionally good fishing for blackfish, though they've only been able to keep one per man during under current regulations. All that changes tomorrow when the Nov. 15-Dec. 31 season opens with a bag limit of eight tautog at the same 14-inch minimum that prevails all year.
    On Jan. 1, the bag will be reduced to four before going back to one tog from June 1-Nov. 14.




    That assumes there will not be any changes in regulations, though there's a chance of further tighten ing by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission at its December meeting.
    Party boat skippers, in particular, have grown tired of watching New York boats illegally bagging blackfish under N.Y. regulations (six at a 16-inch minimum) in N.J. waters, while they've had to release all but one a man.
    The fall striped bass season has been disappointing so far, but there's hope that yesterday's easterly blow will bring in new fish from that direction to provide some jig ging and casting action. Capt. Ron Santee of the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands notes the difference between this season and last year's at this time is amazing. "Last year I didn't even have bait on the boat. The jigging was fantastic. I don't think I've caught a bluefish in four days! Water temperature 55 degrees -- just when you think you have it figured out!"

    TOP CATCHES
    Santee bailed out Friday and Saturday clamming off the Rockaways. Drifting worked well Fri day, but they had only small bass with six keepers by 11:30 the next morning before anchoring on a reading that produced lots of action with shorts plus spiny dogfish along with an occasional keeper. Rocco Farina and Tom Krakow had the hot hands, combining for close to 25 of which six were legal size. The pool fish weighed 14 pounds.
    Also at Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semke wyc of the Sea Hunter said there was no bird life last week in dirty water after heavy rains. He had a couple of good days with bait in Am brose Channel, but a couple of others with only a few legal stripers up to 21 pounds. The an nual Thanksgiving Day trip will be run from 6:30 a.m. to noon.
    Capt. Scotty Hilliard said bottom fishing conditions were very poor Friday for his Prowler 5, and Saturday started the same way before he got into blackfish on the third drop. Twelve- year-old Colin Kirby of Washington Township made the day when he hooked the boat's largest tog of the year so far -- a 12 1/4-pounder.
    Capt. Art Hilliard of the Eagle found poor conditions Friday with a large heave plus wind against tide most of the morning. Clamming down the beach for Moye Equipment Handling Co. produced short stripers plus a few keepers before a few more were eeled in Ambrose Channel. Gerry Stevens of Budd Lake took the pool with a 34-inch striper. Sandy Hook Channel gave up a few keepers plus shorts that night as Don Drake of Hazlet had the largest at 34 inches. Clamming resulted in mostly shorts Saturday both down the beach and at Romer, but there were a few legal bass topped by a 30-incher for Jim McCombs of Manahawkin.
    Eeling in Ambrose Channel was generally slow over the weekend, but Dave Lilly of Hazlet managed 12 stripers Saturday , including three over 40 inches. Capt. Chris Gatley also had a good pick with his Ardent Angler from Morgan.










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    NBS Extreme Angler Jim's Avatar
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    Capt. Bob Pennington managed to get in a canyon tuna trip Saturday with his Sea Devil from Point Pleasant. He sailed a few miles further south to find tuna in 62 degree waters. Ten were boated by 5 a.m., and there was a pick after that. All were caught on bait, and there was only one yellowfin among the albacore. The Sea Devil's final canyon trip will depart Fri day evening. Call (732) 701-1094 for reservations.
    Christopher DeFoe of Neptune City took Bob McCloskey of Belmar out Saturday on his No Shame to seek stripers for jigging. They managed one keeper and tagged two shorts in 50 to 60 feet off Asbury Park while jigging bluefish around diving gannets.




    At Brielle, Capt. Francis Bogan concludes Tuesday Mud Hole ling trips on the Paramount with today's trip, but will continue sailing there every Wednesday and Thursday. Blackfish Marathons on Mondays and Tuesdays begin Nov. 20 and 21.
    The last Mud Hole trip of the Jamaica II was successful for ling along with some big sea bass and bluefish despite strong full moon currents. Pete LaCour of Spring Lake Heights caught 52 ling up to 4 pounds, and Dale Isaacs from Manchester had 39 ling. Capt. Joe Bogan will run a blackfish special at 5 a.m. for tomorrow's season opener and also on Nov. 20 plus Dec. 4, 15 and 24. Sea Bass Marathons depart at 3 a.m. Nov.18, 19 and 25, plus Dec. 2, 9 and 17. Call (732) 458-3188 for reservations.
    Saturday's Marathon was good for sea bass up to 5 pounds plus ling, porgies and school cod on wrecks in 120 to 140 feet. Ray Bryant of South Orange totaled 20 bass, 12 ling and two cod. Inshore wreck fishing produced limits of porgies early last week before the southeaster and big swell slowed bottom fishing Thursday and Friday.
    Capt. Howard Bogan Jr. said large albacore provided good action during recent canyon trips with his Jamaica. A 270-pound bluefin was boated by Scott Bisceglie of Paramus, and another of about 235 pounds was beaten by Pete DeCosta from Brooklyn. Frank Pogue of Willingboro bagged three longfins, and Stan Fini guerra from Westchester caught four. A very large swordfish was lost one night after a fight lasting almost four hours. Space is available on upcoming trips sailing into December. Call (732) 528-5014.
    The Jamaica's first offshore wreck trip produced good action with mixed-size sea bass. Tyrone Ayers from Queens won the pool with a 6 1/2-pound blackfish, and Bill Bredamus of Harrison had a 4-pound sea bass. The next such trip sails at 1 a.m. Nov. 25.
    The Atlantis is sailing open every Saturday plus Nov. 24 for stripers from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Dave Arbeitman reports from The Reel Seat that Tom Grasso of Sea Girt recently released a 41-inch striper in his local surf after hooking it on a Gordon Wright swimming plug. The Reel Seat was the official weigh-in station for the re cent Leggett's Striped Bass Tournament won by Jack Newitts with a 23.05-pounder. Adam Pharo took second at 18.6 pounds, and Doug Frost was third with a 15.35-pound bass.
    Capt. John Krohn recently ran Intrepid from Brielle Yacht Club to between the 100 Square of Hudson Canyon and The Dip. Though only one albacore was boated, owner Andrew Fanelli outfought a 206-pound bluefin tuna after a 40-minute battle on 50-pound Momoi mono. The crew of Andy Fanelli, Dan Burns, and Liam and Pat Boland also released a small swordfish and boated a 160-pounder. That brought the Intrepid's season total to nine swordfish, with three released and six up to 180 pounds boated. All were caught on Reel Seat Swordfish Rigs.
    Capt. Mike Rosenberg of Allison Rae recently took the Alan Lee party to the east elbow of Hudson Canyon where they released 20 me dium bluefins and kept one that weighed 168 pounds.


    Al Ristori appears regularly in The Star-Ledger. He may be reached at cristori@aol.com

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