Thursday, September 14, 2006
Canyon fishing was very good last week, and it likely will return to the same form as seas calm -- just as was the case after Ernesto.

Reggie Hartsgrove and Fred Limeberger of Highlands were impressed with the action they found during their weekend trip to the Hudson with Hartsgrove's 28-foot Rampage, Canyon's Edge from Atlantic Highlands. They started out trolling a couple of dolphin and a 40-pound yellowfin tuna at the tip.

There was some night chunking action with two 60- to 70-pound yellowfins and two dolphin plus a baby mako that was released at the elbow on the east wall. The highlight occurred at daylight as they trolled from the elbow to the tip and hooked a 160-pound bigeye that was fought for an hour.

The Reel Seat in Brielle reports Jim Cahill's Bucky C had a limit catch of yellowfins to 55 pounds in Hudson Canyon and released 13 others during a chunk/troll trip. Capt. Darin Muly used Reel Seat Squid Spread Bars while trolling. Mike Paulercio's Francesca worked Shimano Butterfly jigs and ProFishCo Power jigs to boat three bigeyes from 133 to 155 pounds while chunking on the west wall. The White Shadow from Manasquan trolled the tip of the Hudson with Reel Seat small green Bullet Nob spreader bars for a limit of yellowfins up to 50 pounds by Mike Pergola and Rich Barton.

Joe Peldunas of Belleville boated a big canyon swordfish for the second week in a row on the Jamaica from Brielle. Last Wednesday's catch was a 150-pounder, and he later added an albacore. Steve DeBoer boated a 120-pound bigeye plus two albacore. Michael Havekost of Manasquan and Bill Dennison each caught a sword, and Kevin Cole from Newton had two albacore plus tilefish and dolphin.

The next day's trip was even better. Lou De Fazio wrestled aboard a 350-pound swordfish after a 1 1/2-hour battle and 40- to 80-pound yellowfin were picked through the night. The best bite was between 5 and 7 a.m. when some albacore were mixed in. Clint Burgher of Manville caught a 65-pound yellowfin. Dennis Muhlenforth from Hockessin, Del., boated three yellowfins up to 80 pounds plus an albacore.

Capt. Howard Bogan Jr. will be sailing to the canyons every night at 6 p.m., starting Sept. 17. Call (732) 528-5014 for information. Bogan noted that weekend bluefishing was very good day and night for 6- to 12-pounders about 15 miles to the east.

At Manasquan, Capt. Jimmy Gahm had the first sailfish releases reported this year when Jenny Lee fished Hudson Canyon Monday night last week-- but all three were 18-inch miniatures that he netted under the lights.

Weeds clogged the canyon after Ernesto and made trolling all but impossible. It took a while for chunking at anchor to produce that night for the Matt Dickens party from Hazlet, but they ended up with a 100-pound yellowfin plus six 70-pounders and two 50-pounders.

There was still a weed problem last Thursday when Captains Matt Muzlay and Kevin Gerrity returned to the Hudson with the Jonathon Baum party from Colts Neck, and only skipjack were trolled.

Chunking didn't produce until after midnight, when an 85-pound swordfish was caught along with a few tuna before a mad dog bite at 4 a.m. resulted in a total of 19 yellowfins for the group. Most were caught using the Shimano Butterfly Jig system.

Captains Sean Carton and Dave Bender had the Dave Raines charter from Chester, N.Y., in Hudson Canyon the next night and got their first bite at 9 p.m., when an 80-pound yellowfin was chunked. They then picked all night to total 14 in the 60- to 70-pound class plus a 90-pound swordfish.

At Point Pleasant, Capt. Bruce Miller took the Stan Florey group from Matawan to Hudson Canyon for a Saturday overnighter. After starting chunking at 5 p.m., they had a 35- to 40-pound albacore on within 10 minutes. There were no more hits until 10 p.m., when a double of 100-pound yellowfins that wrapped together and only one was saved.

They continued picking yellowfins before the swordfish line went off. That turned out to be a blue shark estimated at 275 to 325 pounds by Miller, who said it was one of the largest he's ever seen before tagging it.

The tuna returned in an hour, and they ended up with 12 from 40 to 100 pounds. Miller noted that Len Belcaro's Offshore Satellite Forecast was "right on the money", and the party wouldn't have enjoyed a nice night at sea if he'd been dependent on the NOAA forecast.

Capt. John Tiano of Manasquan fished his Marlintini in Toms Canyon during a calm Friday overnighter. More than 60 miles of trolling in weeds was unproductive before he set up to chunk at the tip, where six yellowfins in the 50-pound class were chunked on live squid and sardines. Three more hours of trolling in the morning didn't even result in a knockdown.

Capt. Ed Skwara fished the east wall of the Hudson on a Thursday overnighter for 13 yellowfins caught on Hello Dolly by Bart Crane of Budd Lake, Barry Craig from Barnegat and Larry Shafer of Andover.

Captain Mike Copeman of the Renegade and Capt. Victor Medina took a party to the Hudson for a Friday overnighter that provided all the dolphin they could handle at night. Most were chickens, and Medina said they'd hit anything thrown at them. A few larger dolphin up to 15 pounds were caught among then along with two yellowfins. Two swordfish were lost.