by Jim Hutchinson Sr.
The long awaited re-opening of black sea bass season in New Jersey finally arrived for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association, and the action did not disappoint anyone.
Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” modestly termed the fishing as “very productive.” His catch included sea bass, porgies, blackfish, and bonito. He said his crew was tired from reeling in double headers and big fish. Their coolers were filled with fish for dinner and the freezer. They were fortunate in being able to witness a show from dolphins and 4 breaching whales.
Captain Carl Sheppard had the “Star Fish” out on re-opening day under beautiful fishing conditions. The water was calm and “glistened with fish.” In two hours of fishing Irv and Muriel Stoops and their guest Greg pulled in over 80 fish, including a number of large porgies, nice sized trigger fish and scads of black bass. The keeper ratio was about one in four, perhaps the best ratio of the year. Captain Carl noted that all of the sea bass were females, some of which were over 16-inches in length.
The offshore action also is producing fish. Captain Ray Lopez had the “Miss Liane” with mates Max Goldman and John Kelly along with Andrew Goldman and Shawn Kelly out to the canyons on an overnight adventure. They first trolled around some lobster pots and picked up several mahi. That night the chunk produced a 52-pound swordfish. The next morning the crew did some more trolling and picked up multiple mahi and a 60-pound wahoo.
Captain Bob Gerkens had the “Hot Tuna” on a 50 hour, 450 mile fishing trip between Beach Haven and Morehead City, NC as Captain Bob took the boat to its winter home. He began a troll at the Baltimore Canyon after picking over 15 mahi off some pots casting artificial lures on light gear. With few other boats working the pots the action was non-stop. They trolled along the continental shelf and through the southern canyons until “the point” off Oregon Inlet. They then followed the edge of the Gulf Stream until turning in at Morehead City. They ended up releasing a nice sailfish, several more Mahi, a couple of king mackerel, and some skipjacks. The boat operation and cockpit duties were split among the crew of Dante Soriente, Jim Murry, Chris McEntee, Scott Helious, and Captain Bob.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association website.