by Jim Hutchinson Sr.
Today, Friday, July 10, the Beach Haven area is being buffeted by tropical storm Fay. All the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are safely in port. However, the weather report for the upcoming days is a good one, and the captains will be back on the good fishing bite.
The fluke action continues steady even as the fish begin their summer migration into the ocean. This means the inshore reefs and structure will be receiving the best action. Also on these reefs, are a goodly number of black sea bass, many of them above average in size. The offshore bite on tuna and other pelagic species is ongoing, and there has been a sudden influx of warm water fish such as Spanish mackerel and cobia in the past few days.
Captain Dave Wittenborn fished the inshore tuna grounds this week on the “Benita J’ from Captain Dave’s Charters in an area called the “Lobster Claw.” The ride out was beautiful, and he had lines in the water at 5am. There were dolphins and whales feeding on the surface with tuna underneath. After three hours of steady fishing, they boated five 50-pound class yellowfin tuna and released a white marlin. With the anglers soon tiring they headed home by 9:30am.
Captain Gary Dugan has been fishing charters steadily and catching fish on the “Irish jig” with some days having two half-day bookings. As an example, one group had multiple throwback fluke while managing to put 4 keepers to 24-inches into the cooler.
Captain Carl Sheppard has had the “StarFish” booked practically every day and is finding very productive action on his inshore trips. Mate Max Goldman reports black sea bass and fluke are around, and action has been constant. Many short fluke have been biting, along with 16-inch sea bass. On many recent trips they have had upwards of 8 keeper sea bass.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing reports the bite in the bay waters is still good with his charters averaging 6-7 keepers per 4-hour trip. He will be targeting the ocean fluke soon in his Parker Sport Cabin. Recent trips included the Bob Reim charter who boxed 14 keeper fluke to 5 pounds and the Ralph Rodio group with 6 keepers. The Jerry Fanelli crew caught their 9 fish limit in just under 4 hours one morning, and the afternoon trip was similar with John Wittlieb and his wife Jenna bringing home 8 keepers – one shy of another 3-man limit.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.net.