Good news for flukers

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fuke anglers, who will be seeking their favorite target tomorrow for the last time in 2006, got some slightly better news about the dismal prospects for the 2007 quota when the National Marine Fisheries Service finally released the results of their review of the summer flounder biological reference points to ensure that quota is based on the best possible information.
The review indicated a 14.156 million-pound quota, rather than the mere 5.2 million pounds that NMFS originally proposed, would maintain the same 50 percent probability of achieving the rebuilding target by 2010. While that's a huge improvement, it still far short of this year's 23.6 million pounds -- and the lowest in over a decade even as the stock has increased substantially. public gets only 40 percent of whatever the quota is, and any overage or underage in this year's catch would be figured in to determine 2007 regulations. While the Office of Science and Technology review helps, it's far from what will be needed to ensure a reasonable season.
Tom Fote, legislative chairman of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, also points out the review was an internal one rather than the outside peer review that had been expected. The confounding problem with fluke has been poor recruitment despite a tripling of the spawning stock biomass.
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council voted for a 19.9 million-pound quota that has scientific justification, and it's hoped the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will go along with that much more reasonable quota at their upcoming meeting in Atlantic Beach, N.C.
Gov. Jon Corzine has asked his appointees to the state's ASMFC delegation to vote for the higher quota, and is writing to his fellow governors requesting they do likewise. It seems likely this situation will have to eventually be resolved by political action.
Tom Fote was honored Tuesday with the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Urban Coast Institute at the second annual Ocean Future Symposium and Champion of the Oceans Awards presentation at Monmouth University.
A disabled Vietnam vet, Fote lives on his pension in Toms River and devotes all of his time to the JCAA and conservation efforts without pay. He formerly served on the Marine Fisheries Council, and as governor's appointee to the ASMFC.
Harry Svenson of Union Beach trailered his 31-foot Fountain, Cheap Shot, to Old Saybrook, Conn., last weekend and won the American Striper Association Tournament over local pros. John Elkovcs of Keyport, Jeff Diamond of Holmdel and Jay Smith of Patchogue, N.Y. (formerly of Matawan) were the crew as they fished The Race with live bunkers Saturday to move into second place with Diamond's 43.2-pound striper as 28 bass were caught that day.
An engine problem developed while catching bait that night, but Ocean Performance sent a mechanic and got them back in the game. Despite windy weather Sunday, Svenson was able to work bunkers off Fisher's Island where Diamond boated a 34.55-pound bass for a 77.75-pound total that took the $10,000 first prize.
My fax machine has been malfunctioning the past few days. Anyone who has sent fax reports should duplicate them by e-mail to or call (732) 223-5729.

John Magno tried to beat the bad weather by running his Renegade from Brielle Yacht Club to just short of Spencer's Canyon Wednesday afternoon where he found clean, 72-degree waters at sunset and set up to chunk seven yellowfin tuna plus an albacore in the 60-pound class. 10-to-12-foot mako tried to eat a 50-pound yellowfin as it was being gaffed. Though seas were only 4 to 6 feet from the south on the way out, they built to 10 to 12 feet after shifting to the north during early morning.
Capt. Hans Kaspersetz of Weehawken braved the northeaster yesterday morning to catch lots of short stripers while casting jigs under working birds at Pebble Beach. Kaspersetz is off to Venezuela tomorrow to fish the Central American Presidential Tournament.
He recently returned from Costa Rica after fishing with Mark Roy of Warren, Bob Spina from Chester and Jim McCord of Florida. Sailfishing was very slow at Los Suenos, but he managed one release while catching five roosterfish, two cubera snappers and many jacks
At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Don Hager says Friday Mud Hole trips continue to produce ling catches such as the 44 by Ronald Littlefield of Hazlet. Other days the Sea Fox is bottom fishing for sea bass and porgies. Friday and Saturday night trips are now for stripers.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc will continue weakfishing with his Sea Hunter through Friday before switching to daily stripers from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Capt. Art Hilliard has been doing well, day and night, with big blues at the Mud Buoy from his Eagle.
Scott Leadbeater of Haddon Heights fished alone last Saturday on his Aquasport 20 for a Sandy Hook grand slam. He limited on weakfish up to 5 pounds, caught two fluke over 20 inches while doing so, and then snagged a bunker to hook bluefish up to 8 pounds before one of the bunker schools produced a 32-inch striper.
At Point Pleasant, Capt. Jim O'Grady of the Cock Robin is running light tackle tunny specials every Monday and Wednesday this month. Call (732) 892-5083 for reservations. Nick Honachesky of Normandy Beach was aboard Monday and reported the tunny didn't cooperate as only four plus one skipjack were taken at the east end of the Mud Hole, though he jigged three 3-pound sea bass off the bottom.
It was back to great bluefishing Tuesday with 15-bluefish limits common and some anglers adding as many more releases on both bait and jigs.
Capt. Dave Riback has had several good trips with his Purple Jet recently, including the surprise visit of 20-to-30-pound bluefin tuna in the slick as Mark Kuster's group was catching blues and little tunny. They released six bluefins that now must be at least 47 inches to retain. Greg Toufayan's party released over two dozen skipjacks and two school bluefins to 30 pounds Tuesday while catching blues, tunny and bonito.

Joe Garamella's group got into three tuna, including a 45-pounder, Wednesday while adding some tunny and skipjacks. Dave Heller's party from Philadelphia had great action last week with blues to 14 pounds plus tunny as Justin Heller (14) caught 24 choppers and five tunny. Brian Castellano's group limited with yellowfins to 80 pounds in the southern canyons.
At Brielle, Capt. Joe Bogan reports excellent bottom fishing during daily 3/4-day trips of Jamaica II for sea bass and porgies over local wrecks in 65 to 75 feet. Pete LaCour of Spring Lake Heights limited with 25 bass and added 35 porgies. Spots are available on Oct. 16 and 28 14-hour sea bass trips, and on 12-hour Mud Hole specials set for Oct. 23, 29 and 30. Call (732) 458-3188 for reservations.
Capt. Francis Bogan said recent bottom fishing trips on the Paramount were among the best of the year. Notable catches included a 20-pound pollock by Andrew Chialdi from Cocoa Beach, Fla.; a 6-pound blackfish for Dave Fernandes from Harrison; a 5-pound triggerfish plus 17 porgies and eight sea bass by John Kostis from Sparta; 47 ling for Charlie McLynden of Hampton; and 25 ling by Jim Henderson of Bayonne.
Mike Krall from Rockaway caught 45 ling up to a pool-winning 5 pounds. Joe Scotto caught 23 porgies and four sea bass. Dale Isaacs of Whiting had 40 ling up to 2 1/2 pounds. In addition to 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. sea bass and porgy trips from Thursdays to Mondays, the Paramount sails from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for Mud Hole ling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Saturday night bluefishing from 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. continues, and there'll be a special sailing tonight at the same time since tomorrow is Columbus Day