Magnuson Act hits a snag
Friday, September 08, 2006
Star-Ledger Staff
Action on renewal of the Magnuson Act has ground to a halt, and Tom Fote of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association reports from Washington that there's no hope of any action being taken on that fisheries management law until after the election.

More likely it will be next year before differences can be reconciled. Therefore, there's no hope of resolving the problem with fluke for next year from that direction.

Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.) re mains committed to solving that problem and is seeking a revision of the bloated target figure that is creating the difficulty. The JCAA is asking anglers to contact Gov. Cor zine, asking him to urge the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission commissioners he's appointed to support the larger 2007 quota already passed by the Mid- Atlantic Fishery Management Council. More about that in Sunday's column.

Last weekend's storm did lots of damage to inshore fisheries that are only slowly returning to normal. Capt. Sal Cursi of Cathy Sea from Sewaren said the water temperature in the back of Raritan Bay dropped 10 degrees. That hurt the fine fluking he had been experiencing, but could help in the long run by starting the fall striper and weakfish runs.

There was good news in that direction yesterday from Capt. Lou Grazioso of Striper Mania from Highlands. He cast-netted large peanut bunkers and drifted them off Sandy Hook where Mike and Ray Bartolocchi from Newtown, Pa., caught 16 stripers, including a 22-pounder. They even added a large croaker and a sea bass, but couldn't come up with a fluke on the peanuts, killies or any other bait.

Bottom fishing was particularly hard hit by the storm, but Capt. Willie Egerter Jr. of the Dauntless from Point Pleasant said they scratched some sea bass earlier in the week before porgies turned on yesterday when anglers caught from 15 to 40 plus a few sea bass. Some fluke and a striper also were hooked. Egerter noted night bluefishing remains good for 5-to-10-pounders.

The Paramount from Brielle managed decent sea bass fishing on Labor Day. Daniel Dobson of Pine Bush won the pool with a 3-pounder. Wednesday's Mud Hole ling fishing was very good again. Cristoffel Stok of Long Branch bagged 28 ling and six sea bass. Silas Smith from Rahway had 37 ling, and Ezra Manton from that city caught 28 ling up to 4 pounds.

Capt. John Brackett of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had a couple of good days of bluefishing on bait before Wednesday was a bit slower.

The Golden Eagle's first canyon tuna trip from Belmar started out Sunday night between Hudson and Toms canyons, before a move south got them into 72-degree waters. There were spurts of action dur ing a calm night, and 19 anglers ended up with 13 yellowfin tuna plus an albacore. Those tuna ranged from 30 to 78 pounds. There was lots of bait, but the action came only in spurts at night. The next trip departs at 6 p.m. Monday.

Capt. David DeGennaro ran his Hi-Flier from Waretown to Barnegat Ridge yesterday and trolled a few little tunny plus a bonito and lots of bluefish. Capt. Jack Shea of Rambunctious said Barnegat Bay fishing also took a beating from the storm, but weakfishing there bounced back Tuesday.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield reports the Sandy Hook shoreline was scarred by the storm, but there was lots of bait in the wash by the end of the week and he managed to catch a 4-pound blue. There was no sign of the little tunny that normally show in the surf around this time.

Capt. Hans Kaspersetz of Weehawken took advantage of the storm's aftermath and hooked school stripers one after another on clams at Monmouth Beach on Labor Day, though all were shorts. The beach was lit tered with clams washed in by the big swell.

Fishing can only get better over the weekend, but those not on the water may enjoy a day at the Atlantic City Boat Show that continues through the weekend.