Ristori: Extra caution needed at reef
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Division of Fish and Wildlife is expanding Shark River Reef with 35,000 cubic yards of dredge rock, and boaters are warned to be especially cautious in that area, about 15.6 miles southeast of Manasquan Inlet, through October while tugs pull large barges of shale bedrock. All anchored boats in the line of transit must move, and those under way in the area should be alert, especially in fog, as there's nothing more dangerous on the water than a tug and tow.

Canyon fishing is excellent when boaters are able to get out there. Captains Fred Gamboa and Victor Medina returned yesterday afternoon after a fine night chunking trip at a temperature break on the flats by the east elbow of Hudson Canyon. They had 13 yellowfins in the 60-pound class plus dolphin on Andrea's Toy from Keyport. Gamboa said bait and jigs worked, but trolling was tough due to too much weed.


Captains Matt Muzlay and Sean Carton of Jenny Lee from Manasquan trolled 10 30-pound yellowfin tuna for the Kevin McCarthy party from New York last week before setting up to finish off an 18-yellowfin limit on chunks by 1 a.m. and releasing several more up to 70 pounds.

Captains Jimmy Gahm and Kevin Gerrity ran Jenny Lee on a Sunday overnighter to Hudson Canyon when trolling was difficult in a large fleet though they boated four 50-pound yellowfins on Reel Seat spreader bars for Joe and Gerry Zagorski of Fords plus Karen and Gary Grebner.

Anchoring after dark produced a hot bite at 1 a.m., and by 2:30 they had 21 yellowfins in the boat up to 70 pounds. Live squid and Shimano Butterfly jigs were the tickets. While they were jigging bait, a 50-pound yellowfin inhaled a squid on the barbless squid jig and was fought for an hour on relatively light tackle before being boated.

At Point Pleasant, Captains Bruce Miller, Bob Imsho and Rich Oris of Mirage had a fine Thursday overnighter in Hudson Canyon after ignoring the NOAA forecast once again in favor of Len Belcaro's Offshore Satellite forecast that correctly predicted fishable weather. Night chunking was so hot that the Vignon International party from East Stroudsburg, Pa., limited with 18 in the 50- to 80-pound class by 2 a.m. and opted to return early. Mirage might have two openings on their Sept. 27 open trip. Call (908) 278-2415.

Capt. Bobby Bogan had a good Thursday night trip to the west side of the Hudson with his Gambler. A couple of yellowfins were hooked as soon as he anchored, and then there was a pick until a flurry at 3 a.m., but it died at daylight after everyone had caught from one to three yellowfins. Dolphin were available all night, and about 30 from 3 to 12 pounds were boated. A 75-pound swordfish was released. The next canyon trips with spots open are on Oct. 9 and 12.

Capt. Dave Riback got canyon yellowfins started in 20 minutes with his Purple Jet, and Bob Kondraki's party caught more than 25 up to 90 pounds from sundown to midnight. Most were on live squid, but sardines and diamond jigs also produced.

September is traditionally prime time for Mud Hole giant tuna. Though that run has been a failure in recent years, there might be some improvement in sight. Capt. Gene Quigley of Shore Catch Charters chunked there Sunday and had no hits, but saw another boat fighting a fish.

Though ocean fluking has been slow, Capt. Ryan Bogan saw an improvement during the Sunday afternoon trip of Jamaica II from Brielle when Barbara Berger of Hamilton boated a 12716-pound doormat on squid and sand eels in 75 feet near rough bottom four miles offshore. Jeff Strauss of Lodi caught an 8 1/4-pound fluke during the morning trip, and Pete Talevi from Trenton had a 7 3/4-pounder Friday. Jamaica II will stick with fluke through the end of the month plus the first two Mondays in October.Capt. Marty Haines has switched his Sea Pigeon from Perth Amboy to bottom fishing, and is doing well with porgies at Sandy Hook Reef. Ernie Miller of Paterson was high hook yesterday with 38. Haines notes the scup are almost all keepers of 10 inches or more, and they've caught them up to 2 pounds. Sea bass are also available, though most are shorts.

Capt. Stan Zagleski has been so pleased with drifting for sea bass and porgies the last two days on Elaine B from Highlands that he's going to continue that fishing. Ironically, his fares have been catching more fluke while drifting for sea bass than they had been while seeking fluke in the bay before Zagleski made the switch Sunday.



Also at Highlands, Capt. Joe Onorato drifted Sunday at Sandy Hook to put the Chris Hoffman party from Delaware into about 20 stripers up to 14 pounds on Fish'N'Trish. Onorato noted weakfishing was poor Saturday.

Capt. Lou Grazioso of Striper Mania reports lots of weakfish marks in the bay, but they turn on only at times. He saw more than 100 boats trying to catch them Sunday in the Reach.

At Point Pleasant, Capt. Jim O'Grady said wind and rain ruined last week for him, but he got out Saturday with his Cock Robin and found a decent bite of 6- to 12-pound bluefish on bait. The past two days were better in 120 feet on both bait and jigs. Ralph DeAngelo of Hamburg, Pa., won yesterday's pool with a 14-pounder. Some little tunny were in the slick Sunday, but none was spotted yesterday.

The Gambler had a pick of fluke up to 3 1/2 pounds Saturday afternoon along with some sea bass, croakers and weakfish.

At Brielle, Capt. Francis Bogan has been finding more consistent inshore fishing for sea bass and porgies on the Paramount with average catches of 10 to 15. Ernesto Rivera and his family from Haddon Township combined for 30 bass, 10 porgies and two triggerfish Sunday. Bogan fished all day yesterday in 48 feet for porgies along with a few triggerfish and sea bass. Sam Roher of Princeton was high hook with 35 porgies, and Mike Krall from Rockaway took the pool with a triggerfish. Ben Lau of West Freehold added a fluke and sea bass to his 20 porgies.