Records fall despite rough weather
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Just when canyon fishing was hitting a summer peak, a week of bad weather has resulted in numerous cancellations -- but that shouldn't hurt the fishing once the effects of Tropical Depression Ernesto clear out.

Last week's Mid-Atlantic $500,000 was fortunate to get in a week of generally good offshore weather, and that Cape May contest set a tournament record when Al Conan's Ditch Digger won the awards for both most white marlin and overall points with 1,950 from 26 released whites. The contest total came to 533 whites released and 16 brought to the scales. Adding the 16 blues released and six weighed, the total of 577 billfish set another tournament record -- and over 95 percent were released. Since 176 boats each fished three days, the average was better than one billfish per boat per day.Capt. Howard Bogan Jr. had to take it easy running offshore Sunday night for his first canyon trip with the Jamaica from Brielle, but conditions were good once he got anchored -- and there were loads of squid under the lights for live bait. It turned out to be a red letter night for Joe Peldunas of Belleville, who boated a 175-pound swordfish after a 30-minute battle. Another swordfish was taken during the night, but much more unusual during a chunking trip were the two white marlin that were released while another was lost. Tom Monacelli released a 70-pounder that would have been a contender in the big money trolling tournaments.

Four yellowfin tuna were hooked soon after anchoring, and all were boated. Tuna turned on again after an hour's lull, hitting both jigs and squid. An hour after sunrise there was another flurry as albacore moved under the boat and a few were jigged before two mako sharks scared them off. Frank Pogue from Willingboro hooked a 150-pounder in the bow that provided several leaps before breaking off, and a 250-pounder was lost after two jumps in the stern.

The Jamaica sails to the canyons every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday for the first two weeks in September, and then every day at 6 p.m. through November. A special two-day trip for tuna, dolphin and tilefish departs at 1 a.m. Sept. 12. For information call (732) 528-5014.

At Point Pleasant, Captains Burt Greene and Tom Walsh ran the Mirage to the west wall of Hudson Canyon in fine weather last Thursday afternoon and had another big night chunking 40- to 60-pound yellowfin tuna. Capt. Rich Oris, Mark Meyers, Bob Azarak, Dennis Galante and Sammy Iavarone, all of Toms River, boated nine tuna and released another eight before the morning troll when Greene released a white marlin in the 65- to 70-pound class. For the second night in a row, a scalloped hammerhead shark was caught and released. This one was estimated at 100 to 125 pounds. The phone number for spots on the Sept. 6-7 open canyon trip is (732) 341-5782.

Capt. Mark DeBlasio had a grand slam last week during an overnighter with his Hook-Up 2. Two hours of trolling put 14 yellowfin tuna in the 40- to 70-pound class aboard before that bite slowed to a single yellowfin just as marlin turned on. The Jim Sullivan party released a white marlin and lost another before a 350- to 400-pound blue marlin smashed a green machine and was fought for 45 minutes to the release. De Blasio's previous trip produced three whites on the troll along with 13 yellowfins, including two over 100 pounds.

Captains Phil Dulanie and Mark DeCabia had a great Aug. 17-18 overnighter on Canyon Runner as after chunking eight 30- to 50-pound yellowfins and a 140-pound mako at night, they put the Damien Tomeo charter into three white marlin releases out of four hits during the morning troll plus an albacore.

Joe Fishler of Keyport recently brought a 10-pound doormat fluke into Crabby's Tackle in that town, and followed up last week with fluke of 13, 12 1/2 and 9 pounds on snappers off Sandy Hook.

Yesterday's forecast scared off most anglers, but it turned out to be a pretty decent day with only a modest northeast wind in the morning and almost none by early afternoon.

Capt. Vito Manzi of Miss Lynn at Morgan had hot fluking last Wednesday with John Boszko and his family while fishing rough bottom in the ocean as 10 keepers up an 11-pound doormat were boated, including two 6-pounders, two 5s and a 4-pounder.

George Gabuzda of Wall was aboard Team Wellcraft from Highlands as Capt. Hans Kaspersetz and I worked Sandy Hook with sandworms for stripers. A total of 13, up to 26 inches, were released along with some fluke, though only one of the latter was a keeper. Blues were abundant on the surface, and spit up both small peanut bunkers and sand eels. Other schools of blues were spotted during a run to the back of Raritan Bay, but we didn't find any weakfish under them by dropping worms to bottom.