Push Corzine to help fluking
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
With no hope for help from Magnuson Act revisions this year, the fate of the 2007 fluke season could be in the hands of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission when it meets next month in Atlantic Beach, N.C.

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council already has voted for a 19.9 million-pound quota that we could live with, and there's scientific justification for that figure. If the ASMFC joins in supporting it, there may be enough pressure to prevent the National Marine Fisheries Service from imposing the 5.2-million pound quota it is seeking -- a quota that would virtually eliminate recreational fluking.

Anglers should write Gov. Jon Corzine to urge his appointees to the ASMFC to stand up to the NMFS and insist on the larger quota -- even if it becomes necessary to go to court.

Yesterday's sky was beautiful, just as it was five years ago on 9/11, when I was giant tuna fishing with Capt. Bob Pisano near the Lillian. Though we were probably within 40 miles of the World Trade Center, there was no sign of smoke on the horizon due to a brisk northwest wind. It was hours before we heard rumor of the attack on the VHF, and had a hard time getting any radio or TV reception out there to confirm it before heading in.

Even as yet another distant hurricane fouls up ocean fishing, Raritan Bay has come alive with weakfish. After a week of basically fruitless searching, Capt. Don Hager finally got into good quantities of sea trout up to 6 pounds at the end of the week during daily half-day trips with his Sea Fox from Atlantic Highlands. Hager also noted his Thursday and Friday Mud Hole ling trips worked out well. Scott Magro and John Kudka from Cliffside Park combined for 78 ling Friday.

Fluking has been very poor since tropical depression Ernesto, but Capt. George Bachert of the Angler from Atlantic Highlands has had some success fishing bay shallows. He recorded 20 keepers Thursday, 25 up to 5 pounds Friday, and 35 Saturday. On the other hand, Raritan Reach has been unproductive.

Protected waters are a good bet this week with Florence creating big swells and a northeast wind compounding the problem of rough seas. That storm put a big crimp in canyon fishing that was just starting to turn on after Ernesto's effects. In addition to yellowfin tuna, there were quite a few swordfish hookups at night.

Lou De Fazio of Manville had the party boat catch of a lifetime during the Thursday night canyon trip of the Jamaica from Brielle when he boated that boat's largest ever sword -- a 350-pounder he fought for 1 1/2 hours.

Capt. Ed Riveiro ran John Magno's Renegade from Brielle Yacht Club to Hudson Canyon Thursday morning, when the only action on the troll was from a 67-pound wahoo fought by Rick Lane of the New Jersey State Police -- his first saltwater game fish.

Night chunking was slow, though two small makos and a 90-pound class sword were lost near the boat in the 100-square area. A couple of 25-pound albacore and a dolphin were trolled the next morning for Cam Rispoli, Mack Tavares of the Irvington Police, and Lane. A large dead sperm whale was spotted on the way back near Chicken Canyon. That's usually a magnet for sharks, but none was spotted.Matt Myszka of Brick fished his Brown Eyed Girl Thursday night in the Manasquan Ricer Marlin and Tuna Club Tournament and got shots at three swords, catching one, when he'd never been able to even hook one before. He also chunked yellowfins of 99 and 59 pounds at the east elbow.

Capt. Fred Gamboa ran Andrea's Toy from Keyport the Hudson for a Friday overnighter that produced four yellowfin tuna chunking plus 40 dolphin up to 12 pounds from huge weed mats. While trolling he raised a whit marlin and hooked up a blue marlin that got off.

At Atlantic Highlands, the annual Sandy Hook Bay Anglers Snapper Contest was fished by about 100 youngsters. The club gave away 15 rod and reel outfits, but the top prizes were bicycles. Both winners came from Atlantic Highlands. Wayne Smith took the boy's bike with a 10 1/4-inch snapper, and Ashly Glynn won the girl's bike with a 9 1/2-incher.

David Cacoilo of Middletown ran his Pescador to the west wall of Hudson Canyon for a Friday overnighter and fought the weeds to troll a 130-pound bigeye tuna while losing a much larger one. Two albacore were also trolled, while night chunking produced four yellowfins and several dolphin. A 200-pound class swordfish was lost due to a pulled hook.

The crew included Capt. Mark Mesauros of Manville, on his last trip before relocating to Sebastian, Fla.; Capt. Rick Petschauer of Belmar; Steve Jackson from Cranford; and Capt. Mike Duda with his son Justin.

Capt. Tom Buban has been picking fluke from his Atlantic Star. Tim Dineen of Cranford boated a 6-pounder on the Saturday afternoon trip.

Capt. Art Hilliard said Kuhl Tree Service got off to pick of blues Wednesday at the Mud Buoy, before a move to 17 Fathoms resulted in them releasing blues after an hour. Shane Walker, 12, of Edgewood won the pool with a 12-pound chopper.

Capt. Ron Santee carried some worms to the back of the bay Sunday on his Fishermen and got into a pick of weakfish that were mostly 3- to 4-pounders. The high hook caught seven.

At Highlands, Capt. Ken Dubman reported an exceptional day of striper fishing Sunday on his K-Kat as the John Litowinsky party from Wall caught more than 50 on clams, including 13 keepers. They finished up worming in the bay for six weakfish and a couple of croakers.

At Belmar, Capt. Greg Markert isn't counting on getting offshore with his Golden Eagle this week, but has some spots left for tuna fishing on Sept. 18. Bluefishing was good for 6- to 12-pounders over the weekend, and there were also plenty of little tunny Saturday, though none Sunday.