Little tunny, better known locally as false albacore, have been hard to come by so far at the very time when they're usually abundant. There have been no reports from the surf, party boats are seeing them in bluefish chum slicks only sporadically, and even small boat anglers are having trouble locating them.

Capt. Frank Cresscitelli of Fin Chaser at Great Kills, Staten Island, specializes in chasing surfacing schools of little tunny for fly fishermen to cast to, but he hasn't been able to find any consistent action so far.







Capt. John Brackett of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant did have some good news about tunny yesterday. He was searching for bluefish and got into 5- to 10-pound choppers that hit bait and jigs, plus tunny at the south end of the Mud Hole -- just in time for today's first tunny special trip. Another 6:30 a.m. special will be run on Oct. 5.

Brackett said the tunny readily hit Tsunami lures and smelt, as one fare caught 16. Paul Winters from Allentown won the pool with a 13-pound blue. Jack Gonzalez of Dover took Saturday's money with a 12-pound blue.

Capt. Sal Cursi said it was rough even in the back of the bay Saturday, but he still drifted weakfish with his Cathy Sea from Sewaren in Raritan Reach, and noted the appearance of big blues back there in addition to the schools of small choppers that have been abundant for some time.

George Valentini of G&B Fishing Systems, distributors of Avet reels, is now also a dealer for Blue Fin boats, operating out of an office at Twin Lights Marina, 52 Shrewsbury Ave. in Highlands.


TOP CATCHES


Captains Matt Muzlay and Sean Carton ran Jenny Lee from Manasquan to Hudson Canyon for a Wednesday overnighter that wasn't good for trolling, but produced four tuna at night along with swordfish of 175 and 90 pounds for the Rich Banas party. Despite the rugged forecast, Captains Jimmy Gahm and Kevin Gerrity ran Jenny Lee to the Hudson on Friday, but were surprised to find slow chunking in rough seas and a ripping current. Two small swordfish were released before midnight, and three 70-pound yellowfin tuna were boated later.

At Point Pleasant, Capt. Bob Pennington said Saturday's Hudson Canyon trip on his Sea Devil worked out well despite the stiff wind as most fares caught their three-yellowfin limit. Some albacore and dolphin also hit, and John Barrett lost a big swordfish after a 20-minute fight. Joe Peldunas released a small sword. The tuna averaged about 60 pounds, but Brian Murray boated two of about 85 and 100 pounds. Timothy Justnes, 14, caught two tuna on his first offshore trip, and his brother Daniel, 17, added his first tuna. Pennington will continue to sail offshore through November. His first opening is next Tuesday. Call (732) 701-1094.

Capt. Jim O'Grady of the Cock Robin had good chumming for bluefish from 4 to 12 pounds Friday. Jigs worked better than bait, and some legal sea bass were also jigged. Little tunny were spotted in the slick, but didn't hit. Saturday's southwester created rough seas, though bluefish still cooperated at anchor over a wreck that also produced porgies for those dropping to bottom.Kevin Brooks reports Schuyler Tuna Club of Kearny fished with Capt. Ken Namowitz on Mimi VI in rough seas Saturday, but managed an average of six sea bass a man. Dave Quick won the pool with a 3 1/2-pounder that beat the lone fluke -- a 3-pounder by Steve Kosinski.

At Belmar, Capt. Greg Markert said bluefishing was great last week on both day and night trips of his Golden Eagle. It was rough Saturday night, but 6- to 14-pound blues cooperated for Boy Scouts from Troop 124 in Piscataway, and for the group from Washington Crossing Methodist Church in Titusville. The Golden Eagle has limited space on next Sunday and Monday's canyon trips.







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Capt. Chris Hueth has seen sea bass fishing vary from day to day, but yesterday was quite good for that species on his Big Mohawk.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Ron Santee said weakfishing got better with last week's northwest wind. He had steady action Wednesday with his Fishermen, including one drift that lasted 35 minutes. The weaks ranged from 13 inches to 6 pounds, and several customers had limits.

Capt. Ed Bunting Jr. reported a slow pick on weakfish most of last week from his Sea Horse. The change of tide was best. Bunting will concentrate on weaks while also jigging blues when they come up. Martin Branol of Elmwood Park boated a 4 1/2-pound weak.

Capt. Tom Buban is seeking weakfish during half-day trips with his Atlantic Star. There are plenty of marks, but weakfish from shorts to 4 or 5 pounds only turn on at times. The last two mornings were good, with some limit catches.

Capt. Art Hilliard said Macho Garcia of Dover had the largest blue on his Eagle last week at 15 pounds. Regency Fishing Club tried clamming for stripers last Tuesday morning, but managed only two keepers, up to a 12-pounder for Howard Beeferman from Monroe Township, and a short. A switch to bottom fishing produced about 70 porgies and 20 legal sea bass up to a 3.2-pounder by Marty Feldman of Monroe.

Wednesday's stiff northwester made for tough conditions at 17 Fathoms, but bluefishing picked up throughout the day for Pradco Supply Corp. Charlie Amorevole of Budd Lake boated the 13-pound pool winner. Hilliard worked Raritan Reach for weakfish on Thursday and had a pick that improved during the day as Ponds Fishing Club caught about 40.

Bert Gold of Monroe Township took the pool with a 4.2-pound weak and had seven keepers. Discovery Landscape did well with blues Thursday night east of the Mud Buoy. Ray Fay of Cedar Grove topped the catch at 12 pounds. Blue Ridge Lumber Co. caught blues steadily at 17 Fathoms on Friday, and were releasing by noon. Mike Passofiume of Long Valley was surprised by a 19-pound striper.

Plainfield Welders picked away Saturday in the Reach to total 27 keepers up to a 2.3-pounder by Dom Spagnola of Little Silver. Two stripers were also caught, a 28 1/2-incher and a short. That evening's trip started out with bluefish jigging off the Ammo Pier, where the West Orange Anglers also jigged a keeper fluke. Then some weaks were wormed in the Reach before short stripers provided action on worms after dark.

Brian Morris of West Orange won the pool with a 2 3/4-pound weak. Hilliard worked the Reach all day Sunday for Kearny postal workers, who picked 45 weaks and blues along with a legal blackfish that hit when they drifted into shallower water. Mike Bopp of Kearny took the pool with a 3 1/2-pound weak. A couple of hard-to-come-by large group charter weekend trips are available due to cancellations on Sept. 30 and Oct. 8. Call (732) 679-2826.

Capt. Scotty Hilliard has been catching lots of big blues during night trips to 17 Fathoms with Prowler 5. Ralph Cancelieri of East Orange was a pool winner last week.

Mike Golabek of East Rutherford proved there are still fluke at the mouth of Shrewsbury River when he fished his trailered outboard there last week with Jack Giligan and John Wesley from Snipes Boat Club on Hackensack River, as they had 12 keepers including two 20-inchers.

The Capt. Dave recently hosted another Hi-Mar Striper Club sponsored trip for the Johnson Crusaders Fishing Club from Clark. The youngsters caught weakfish, croakers and blues -- topped by a 6-pound weak for Nick Thomas. Kim Sum from Norwood topped the St. Joseph Korean Catholic Church of Demarest party with a 5-pound weak, and Ron Smith from Plainfield had a 7-pounder on another trip.

Tony Arcabasio of Bayville said there was a good blowfish bite in Barnegat Bay a couple of weeks ago when Bart Oberhaiser joined him to catch 30 large puffers plus 20 small ones. Joe Valvano, Tony Tambe and John DeBlasio of Nutley hit it right in Barnegat Bay that week, combining for 184 blowfish plus 16 large kingfish.

Tom Paglioroli of Ocean City fished Friday with Capt. Al Crudele on his Bayhound in Townsend's Inlet and Ludlam's Bay where he and Toni Stefano chummed with grass shrimp to catch 17 kingfish from 13 inches up to 2 pounds on FishBites bloodworm strips. They also released smaller kings plus sea bass, blues and a couple of fluke.