by Jim Hutchinson Sr.
The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are slowly getting back into the swing of things after their lengthy layoff thanks to the Corona Virus.
Captains Dave Kreines of the “Byte Me” and Carl Sheppard of the “Star Fish” both report they have complied with all the New Jersey state regulations regarding safe fishing practices. Captain Dave notes he is holding his parties to three passengers with “all precautions taken.” He is currently working on finding some of the first fluke of the season.
Captain Carl says the “Star Fish” is compliant with all guidelines including a recent successful Coast Guard Inspection and an insurance survey. He is looking for striped bass and black sea bass in the ocean and fluke in the bay waters.
Captain Brett Taylor has been running daily trips in the waters of lower Barnegat Bay as well as some of the inshore wrecks. Some days he guides two half-day trips. He estimates that his parties are catching 25-40 flatties per trip with 3-6 keepers per day.
The BHCFA Junior Mate Reef Project was started just one year ago, and it has already been embraced and supported by the local fishing and business community. Association president Captain John Lewis proudly stated, “Our fundraising to date has been greater than anyone would have anticipated.” To date $160,000 has been raised in cash and matching funds, some
$60,000 more than the original goal.
The delivery of a 140-foot barge, a 52-foot crew boat and a 45-foot tugboat are expected to be deployed on the Little Egg Reef very shortly. This will be paid for with funds raised by the Junior Mates combined with dollar for dollar matching funds from the Ann E. Clark foundation and the Sport Fishing Fund, long time financiers of artificial reefs in New Jersey.
A second project is also close to fruition. A pair of 210-foot scows are being eyed that can have concrete rubble loaded in them giving them much more fish attracting habitat. These would greatly increase the amount of material to be used with one on the Little Egg Reef and the other on the Garden State South. At this point the $60,000 remaining from the first project will cover
most of the cost with another $20,000 needing to be raised.
The reefs located off the coast of Long Beach Island are the most underdeveloped artificial reefs in the state, by far. The mates are continuing their fund-raising activities, and Captain Lewis notes the BHCFA is a registered non-profit organization and will gladly accept donations from other sources. He can be contacted at Captjohn22@comcast.net
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.bhcfa.net