Thursday, December 24, 2015


It is forecast to reach 70 degrees today. Anyone that fished aboard the Pioneer III this season heard the grumpy old captain's prediction of a mild winter due to El Nino, a warm current similar to our Gulf Stream, reaching far north into Alaskan waters. I don't want to say "I told you so...", so I'll just say MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


It appears the Jets and Giants have traded places. The Jets are quietly playing good football and are in position for a post season run. The Giants on the other hand are making headlines over nonsense.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Still Warm

We got the boat hauled, winterized, power washed and blocked for the winter. Fishing reports from the ocean are telling stories of lots of big bluefish. You could not find a blue all summer but you can catch them now, a week before Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Warm Weather

Temperatures are reaching record levels and today is forecast to be 65 degrees. I wish there were still some fish in the bay to catch. The fishing in the ocean remains good on the offshore wrecks, and the blackfish bite is slowing down due to the daily pounding. Fleets of over one hundred boats have been reported. Last week Capt. George had a tough time finding a parking spot as the first seven drops were covered by small boats! Some bass and blues have been biting and fluke up to seven pounds have been caught from the beach out to the offshore grounds. Congratulations to Mike L. for putting in the time on the hunting grounds to catch a 160lb. two year old male black bear. It is his first ever and came on the last day of the season. Way to go, Mike.

Monday, December 7, 2015

That Time of Year

We spent the week getting things together for the winter haulout and should be finished by the end of the week. The weekend was beautiful so we took a day off and went to the German Christmas market at Lake Mohawk. Evelyn and I found the special candies and holiday treats we wanted and headed out as it became very crowded. A call to my favorite trout guide, Mike L., found him on the other side of town, checking his bear baits for this weeks hunt. We met up and headed north into the woods, down a road that I would never have ventured on my own. Less then a 1/4 mile in was one of the most beautiful trout holes I 've ever seen. You would not believe you were in NJ. A few casts resulted in some missed bites and Mike had a big rainbow throw the hook as he brought him to the shore. It was a fun day in the country.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The End of the Season

We tried one more time, but the strong full moon current up against a stiff breeze made fishing and anchoring difficult to say the least. We threw in the towel and went home to watch football, eat turkey sandwiches and chase away the chill on a cold day.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Beat Goes On

The calendar says it's late, but the fish and the weather are cooperating. Recent highlights include Cory K. and Ken K. from PA having action all day and going home with a heavy bag and the pool winnings. Russ Y. culled a limit from the twenty one tog he landed. "Tugboat" Fred had a 7lb. pool winner. Grumpy landed another jumbo tog on the dinky pole and quickly returned the big girl to her home. The "Legend" finally broke out the light tackle after six weeks of tog fishing and never had so much fun. He landed limits of large tog, The biggest going 8 1/4lbs. and 8 1/2 lbs. and topped it off with a 18lb. striped bass.

Monday, November 16, 2015


This week saw the mild weather continue, but the strong November winds kept us tied to the dock. It stopped blowing Sunday and we picked at the blackfish despite the strong current. When the tide eased, the bite turned on. Mike M. returned from vacation with a vengeance and put on a show landing one big tog after another. " The Legend" had a slow start but finished strong landing a bunch of good ones."Jiggin' Jack" did well as usual. All the keepers were 5 to 6 lbs, and once again patience paid off and "light got the bite."

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fish Report

Friday was a nice day once the fog lifted. Sunday was breezy and chilly and the fish bit until the tide got too strong. Recent highlights include Mark S. with 6 lb. tog, Evelyn had a 7 lb on the dinky pole, Rebecca landed a 7 lb. on light tackle, "The Barker" had some good fish on his little ice fishing rod and Grumpy caught and released a 9lber on the dinky pole. The "Legend" had a few good days landing many large tog and took another pool with a 7 lber. Special thanks go out to the Sunday crew for deciding to come in a little early in time to see the Giants game.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Weekend Report

We missed Friday due to an altenator going bad and I could not get back to the boat with a replacement in time for the trip. Sorry guys we'll get 'em next time. Sunday we set out on the bay in choppy and windy conditions with the usual crew and special guest stars Randy "Togaholic" and Anthony "The Barker". The blackfish bite was picky and once again those that went lite had the bite. Bigger blackfish (the keeper sized ones) are much more wary and not as aggressive as the shorts and can be landed on tackle as lite as ten pound braid as has been proven over the last few weeks. One fantastic angler put on a display of fishing brilliance and landed a twenty four pound striped bass on a Penn Battle 2000 filled with ten pound braid and twenty pound fluoro carbon leader. We had bass blowing up on bunker schools all around the boat and some were lost and some were landed. Roger won the pool with a tog over six pounds and "Jiggin' Jack was high hook landing the most blackfish on a freshwater bass rod. Randy had a big one come off the hook and never recovered. A fun day on the bay and fish for everyone.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fun Fishing

In the old days of "iron men and wooden ships", captains and ship owners would kidnap unsuspecting sailors as they stumbled from the bar and force them into service in terrible conditions. Friday was such a day, as the "Legend" put on a show for all his friends and took all the pool money. Sunday was a big fish day and we picked at them despite the strong current. The fish were laying back in the current and biting very lightly. I offered my spot to the "Legend" and he politely declined. Felix took the pool with a six pound tog and went home with a nice fillet bag.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Cold and Windy Sunday

It was the first winter-like day of the season, with a steady 15 to 20 knot NW wind that gusted to over 30 knots in the afternoon. The air temperature never went above 45 degrees on the fishing grounds. On top of all this, we had a current running into the wind that cut down on our mobility. I set up on a shallow spot and the fish were very finicky. One particular angler used a ten pound test spinning outfit with twenty pound fluorocarbon leader on a Florida style rig and had constant bites all day, landing five big fish. It seemed that the fish did not want the baits anchored to the bottom and preferred a more natural presentation. That is what catching is all about these days, whether it being blackfish or fluke or tuna, how the baits (or lures) are presented to fish triggers the bites. For those not willing to adapt there's always pizza or Chinese food. The weather is forecast to moderate this week and maybe the fishing will improve.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Slow Week

We had plenty of bites the last few trips but little to show for our efforts as the big boys did not want to play. Paul from the JCFD did well with a couple of five pounders and Randy nailed one pushing six pounds to narrowly edge out "The Legend" and end his hot streak of pool winnings.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Opening Weekend and the Green Crab Shortage

 We are dealing with a bait shortage. We were lucky enough to obtain some crabs for our first trips, but we have to hope more become available for future trips. Friday, the tog started off picky and finished strong in breezy conditions. Charlie from West Milford had the hot rod and caught fish all day. "The Legend" landed three nice ones and took the pool. Anthony "The Barker" also picked a few good ones on light tackle. Sunday was a summer day on the bay and we picked our parking spot and waited for the tide to get right. Randy "The Togaholic" and Cathy M. had the hot rods but "The Legend" waited out the big ones and once again took the pool.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fall Blackfish Special

We will kick off the fall season this week. Blackfish charters are from 7AM to 2PM and are only $600 for six anglers. If we come across any striped bass that want to bite a jig, we will also try for them. Back at the dock early to beat the traffic and be home in time for football and baseball.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fishing and Weather

Hurricane Joaquin is not coming here. The weather is too bad. We are topping off two weeks of NE winds, rough seas and cancelled fishing trips with a strong storm. The current buoy reports are showing NE winds gusting to 40 knots and seas running from 11 to 17 feet. These conditions are forecast to continue for the next three days, right thru Sunday. Things should improve next week, but we will not sail this weekend.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fisheries Management

There has been nothing for us to fish for the past two weeks because of bad weather and closed fishing seasons. The entire fleet has been tied to the dock in the strong NE wind. This is mother natures way of managing the fisheries, yet more restrictions loom for next season as the fictional MRFS survey will show that we caught "too many" fish. Fisheries management by restricting recreational catch has been a total failure and needs to be changed.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


It has not rained for seven weeks, but now the forecast shows rain for the next seven days. Tropical storm Joaquin should make things interesting this weekend.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Of Course We Went Fishing

It's Sunday, that's what we do. Every other boat was tied to the dock due to the strong NE wind, rough seas and the closure of the fluke season. Not us, there will be plenty of time to sit in front of the TV soon. The bay was kicked up with the wind and super moon current, so I stopped in a striper spot and all rods bent. Too bad they were all sand sharks. We did manage to land one small but spirited bluefish that ripped the reel from the lucky angler's rod. Next stop was on rough bottom to try for porgies and all we landed were a few oyster toadfish, some little sea bass and a four point buck. Well, we did not catch the deer, but he swam past the stern on his way back to shore (yes, they can swim). I just hope he made it up on the street. Around this time the wind died out and it turned into a nice day in the bay. We spent some time chasing little tunny and bluefish around but could not get any biters. Out came the lite rods and we caught a mess of big sea robins and little fluke which were released for the draggers to take this winter. On the last drift the "Legend" was almost pulled overboard from a savage strike and landed a ten pound blue to win the pool. You never know what you will see out there.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

That Time of Year

East winds are common early in the fall and while it seems nice on the land, the ocean is turned up due to the onshore flow. While driving over the Verrazano bridge yesterday, I could see the swells crashing over the shallow spots on the Coney Island flats. I think we could still catch some fluke if we were allowed to, but that season is closed. The ocean bottom fishing should be good once things settle down, but that may take another week. Striped bass reports have been dismal and the only option would be trying to jig blues in the bay. I will keep an eye on the weather and fishing for the weekend.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Last Day of Fluke Season

Sunday was our last fluke trip of 2015 as the season closes today. We started out fishing in the area of the other days hot bite and began picking at shorts and big sea robins in an increasing breeze. Jiggin' Jack hooked and landed a little cow-nosed ray of about fifteen pounds on his lite spinning rig after a spirited battle. The wind messed up the drift and we tried for blues but they did not bite in the shallow water. We tried some different areas and I was tempted to make a run to deep water but the wind piped up to about twenty knots and we headed back to the beach. The wind backed off enough for us to get a little drift with the current and the fluke turned on for the last ninety minuets. We finished out one of the most inconsistent fluke seasons in recent memory with an up and down bite. The weather will dictate what we will fish for the next few weeks until we start to look for blackfish in October.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Last Round Up

We headed out on Wednesday looking for last licks, as fluke season will close after Sunday's trip. All the big boats headed way out to the old Ambrose Light area and we went back to the same grounds we fished the past few days. The blues are still around but did not school up in big bunches and were a little skittish in the flat calm weather but the fluke went insane. It was an up and down bite, a fish a cast, for over four ours. Only a few made it into the cooler but as one angler described it, "like catching bluegills in a pond. " I fished a ten pound spin outfit with a 1/2 ounce jig and had a bite on every cast. Lots of good fun on a "ten best " weather day and I can't wait to get one more chance to land the elusive "keeper" this weekend.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Another Sunday Fun Day

The day started with calm seas in the bay and the usual short fluke and big sea robins. The blues were laying low until about ten o'clock when Mike saw them splashing on the surface and it was "game on" with the little yellow-eyed monsters for about an hour. After the blues left to do what ever they do when not chopping up everything in sight, it was back to the fluke. Ken "The Legend" landed the only keeper of the day and "Jiggin' Jack" had a big blue on lite tackle that put on quite a show. One more week of fluke fishing before we will have to wait until next May to do it again.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Friday Report

We have not been out much lately and it felt good to be back on the water. On the fishing grounds we were greeted by a stiff breeze and blitzing blues. We took our share for a few dinners and then spent the day looking for the last fluke of the season. Some shorts, a few keepers and big sea robins kept us busy as the breeze backed off on what turned out to be a pretty nice day. Evan took the pool with a nice keeper on his first trip aboard the Pioneer and the "Legend" had a nice keeper come off at the net before landing another later in the day. With fall approaching, it is a good idea to have a second rod rigged with a jig and to be ready for anything.

Monday, September 7, 2015

We are Back On Line

We had some problems the last few weeks but the fishing reports are back. The last few weeks saw fluke fishing with mixed results. That has been the story all season. Last week we had some nice weather and good fishing for mostly shorts with enough keepers to make a few dinners. Sunday 8/30 was an exception as a dozen beauties went on the ice. This holiday weekend saw the passage of a dry Nor'easter that produced rough seas in the ocean and a residual ground swell that shut down the fluke bite. Saturday, Evelyn and I hosted Big John, Mike, Cathy, Roger and Eileen for their annual Labor Day trip. We started off catching a couple keepers and some shorts and big sea robins before the swells forced us to retreat back into the harbor. We finished the day with a hot bite (drop and reel at times) of 12 to 17 inch fluke. Sunday we were greeted with a bluefish blitz and it was fun to catch the 3 to 8 pound yellow eyed monsters on the fluke gear. The rest of the day was spent hunting for keepers before the swells once again forced us back to the bay to catch only short fluke. The fishing should improve once the ocean calms, and fall is now approaching and we will be ready to catch what ever bites best.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Big Fluke Sunday

The fishing during the week was painfully slow ( Wednesday was like watching corn grow ) but the weather has been great so we set off on Friday with a good crew of anglers. Once again we had to fight strong currents in the deep water, but Joe N. got it done with a 7 lb. , the largest of his three keepers. A move to shallow water found a hot bite on the shorts, but "The Legend" pulled out four nice keepers. Sunday was a "ten best" weather day and we started off on a crowded "Pioneer Banks" with manageable conditions. Eight to ten ounce sinkers were needed but Evelyn set the mark for the day starting off with an 8lb. 14oz., and then added a 6 lb. and 5lb. before taking the afternoon off. Russ had a good day with three nice fish, his largest being a 7 1/2lber. Everyone was tired from the deep water fishing, so I went looking for the short action we had the past few days and was surprised to see a fleet of party and private boats all over the grounds. Before the tide changed the big boats left the area and all the little boats followed, leaving us all alone to check out some of my pet spots. The guys broke out the lite jigging sticks and went to work, with Roger landing a 7 lb 12oz. beauty.  Anthony " The Barker" was fishing with a brand new custom made jigging rod and did not have a fish and was getting frustrated. He broke out his ultra-lite two foot ice fishing rod with a tiny reel and jigged up a pair of five pound fluke! Lots of action with almost everyone catching, Jiggin' Jack was slamming them with his trout rod, Russ landed a double header, and even I got in on the act catching a keeper on my ten pound test spinning rod. Around 1 PM a fly bit "The Legend" on the leg, causing him to bleed. Russ then noted, "That was the only bite you had all day." You can't make this up.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Big Fluke Hunt

Four spots open this Friday. Fishing 40 to 70 feet, looking for big stuff, conditions permitting. Call if you want to go.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Fluke Tournaments

There seems to be one or two of them every weekend and I think the fishery suffers because of them. Boats that would not even be out, full of weekend googans with visions of big money in their eyes, follow the professional fisherman around, don't know where they are, run around at high speed throwing big wakes, keeping shorts, not moving for ship traffic... the list is endless. For this reason I decided to keep the boat in today. Friday started off with a pod of about fifteen dolphins frolicking in the channel and a slow fluke bite. "Tugboat" Fred had a few good ones come unbuttoned on the way up and by 11am, Tommy O. had the only two keepers in the box. Boats from as far away as Long Island Sound and Manasquan Inlet ports have been converging on the Pioneer Banks, and the fishing grounds are becoming worn out. When conditions got right we went to work, and "Tugboat' topped off his catch of three with a 6 lb. Tommy O. had three over twenty inches. Evelyn landed a six pounder and "The Legend" was still shut out. Around one o'clock, I gave him a pep talk and Ken responded with an 8 1/4 lber, our second biggest of the season.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Recent Hilights

George D. had his personal best at 8 1/4lbs. Anthony R. had a "limit of lemons" including an 8lb. and 7 1/4lb. Damien R. had a limit plus to 61/2lb. and Skip landed a limit plus to 6lb. It's big fluke time.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fishing and Baseball

I always said fishing is a lot like baseball. You can never predict the outcome, you just have to play the games. No one thought C.C. would out duel King Felix, or the Mets would beat the Cards in 18 innings after leaving 32 men on base. And how could you explain Rebecca landing our first limit of the season, while Roger, Mike, Cathy and "The Legend" having only one in their bag and Jiggin' Jack landing only shorts?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tough Pickin's

The fluke fishing continues to confound the fleet. One day you catch a few and just when you think the bite may be turning on, they shut down. Thursday, the fish were active and we had a mix of shorts and keepers. Steve S. was high hook with four keepers. Friday started off with beautiful weather, but the fish did not bite. It was even hard to find shorts. We fished hard and managed a keeper or two for everyone. Mark S. won the pool with a five pounder.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Beat Goes On

The same story, lots of shorts, fish in many places, and strong currents. I can't figure out why the current did not ease off after the full moon, but the strong currents in the deep water spots are messing up the fishing. We were picking some fish on an ocean spot and began to loose the drift. It was the end of the tide and I decided to try a deep spot less then a mile away and the drift there was 2.4 knots! When conditions get right, we should do well. "Jiggin'" Jack landed a 7 1/2lb. on a white bucktail and green gulp. Other weekend high-lites included Grumpy's 5lb. on a shrimp teaser and Tom P.'s huge 25 inch Sea Bass (estimated at over five pounds) from 15 feet of water that was released for this weeks opening day.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Grinding it Out

It's what good fluke fisherman are doing to make a catch. Putting in the time, hard work and patience are making the difference. Anthony "The Barker" shook off the "gug", and landed fish of 4lb. and 51/2lb. Rich E. had three in his bag and "Tugboat" Fred won the pool with a 6lb., the biggest of his three keepers. Even Ken "The-auuugh-Legend" managed to keep a couple on the hook all the way to the surface. Everyone went home with fish, but bait draggers usually go home hungry.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Holiday Weekend Highlites

It was a great weekend on the water and the fluke were biting. Friday, the same all-star fluke crew from last week came out again and went home with fillets. A nice mess of keepers covered the bottom of the cooler despite one of the best flukers on board having an off day, only catching shorts and talking to himself. Grumpy had the largest at 5lbs. and "The Legend" took the pool. Skip and the crew from HUMC had a happy Fourth on the fluke grounds, catching many shorts and enough keepers for some good dinners. Sunday was a beautiful summer day, and we found fluke in some spots we tried for the first time this year. The good news is the quality keepers are showing up, the jumbo size that fill the fillet bags. Evelyn had a 7.6lb, Rebecca landed a 6lb. and Cathy ended the day with a 4.75lb to add to all the others in the cooler. Roger caught a four-spot flounder (google it or look it up for you old timers) and after I explained to everyone what it was and pointed out the differences from other fish, he dropped down again to catch another one! We usually catch four spots offshore ling fishing, and never in any amount, but never in my many years on the water did I ever see anyone catch two in a row. That Roger is just a special guy.

Monday, June 29, 2015

More Weather

I have not been happy with the weather this season because it effects the fishing. Low pressure and east winds shut down the bite on the outside grounds. Friday, we had good fishing in the afternoon in a spot close to home and when I returned there Sunday a slight swell, barely perceptible, was rolling in from the ocean and we never had a bite. The inside spots are protected and we tried an area for the first time this year and found lots of fluke willing to bite. The majority were small to just short "party boat keepers" but we found a few 19 to 20 inch fish for the cooler. Good weather equals good fluking.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A New Member To A Special Club

Friday was a great day to be fluking and on the first drift we inducted Randy into the "Pioneer Ten Pound Fluke Club." Randy B. landed our first doormat of the season, pushing the scale to just over ten pounds, on a pink and white gulp grub. As for the rest of the day, it was our best day of fluking to date, with well over 100 landed, and everyone walking off with at least two keepers. Special thanks to Anthony "The Barker" ( also a club member) for providing lots of laughs and some special treats from the Polish deli. I can't wait to do it again and we have open spots this Wednesday.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Good Weather = Good Fluking

The problem is good weather has been rare this season. It may seem nice on the land, but the persistent east and south winds have made it tough out on the fishing grounds. The fish have not moved into the bay yet, and we have to take a little ride to the ocean to make a catch, and the wind becomes a big factor. Friday the wind was lite from the west and we had the best action of the season. It was mostly shorts but some one had a fish on the line all day long. Evelyn had three keepers and one of them will be the guest of honor at the dinner table today. Saturday was forecast to be a nice day, but we had a steady east wind that increased to over twenty knots. We tried to get outside, but had to retreat into the bay. We even tried striped bass fishing but only managed some shorts and missed bites. Tom K., Keith K., Steve, James, Joe, and the big pool winner "Staten Island" Tony had lots of fun despite the dreary weather. Today, I kept the boat on the wooden anchors. Heavy rain and a south east wind is not good for fluke fishing. On the bright side, some of the boats reported seeing some squid and if the squid move into the bay, the big fluke will follow.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June Gloom

What's with all this dreary weather? The persistent east and south winds are not helping the fishing. Sunday is the first day of summer and the forecast is for rain. There are some fluke around but like in all fishing conditions must be right to make a catch. Better days are coming.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

First Day of Fluke

While we have caught some beautiful fluke this season, we have been spending most of our time striped bass fishing. Today was the first day we spent all our time fluke fishing and we found them right where we left them. Seven keepers hit the ice out of over seventy caught. I can't wait to get back out there, it will only get better.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hot and Cold

The fishing is just like the weather. On land the temperatures hover around 90. Out on the bay, you may need a sweat shirt. The bass and blues were active early in the week but seemed to have backed off as the water in the bay warms. The fluke fishing is still a struggle but some nice ones have been landed lately as Robert G. and friends had a fun day Friday, with a 5 1/2lb. and 7lb. topping off the catch. It's time to begin the fluke hunt.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Another Good Week

The striped bass continued to bite this week. I think they liked all the east wind and cool temperatures. The bluefish also showed up on the grounds to keep the rods bent. Fluke fishing remains slow, but we do put a few keepers in the boat on every trip and we have not spent a full day on the fluke so far this spring but I think next week we will start to look for them. "Tugboat" Fred and the gang from West Milford went home with heavy bags of bass and blues topped off with a few fluke. Mike M. had two nice fluke, the biggest at 6lbs., our largest to date. Mike L. had a spring slam of a keeper fluke, blues and a 14lb. striped bass.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Underwater Fluke Video has a short film by John Skinner of fluke behavior. Anyone that fishes for fluke has to see this footage. It just may change the way you think about what's going on down there.

More Bass

We got to the grounds on Sunday and were greeted with the sight of big striped bass blowing up on bunker schools. It was amazing to watch. Set up on fish and had our limit in short order and released many more. The rest of the day was spent looking for fluke and they have been hard to find due to the cold water. We worked some shallow spots and tried to hide from the persistent south wind and found some better short action and a few good ones. Mike and Cathy each had a keeper, Roger had two nice ones, and Rebecca nailed the 5 1/2lb. pool winner. It should only get better.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Holiday Weekend Report

The weekend started and ended with a striped bass blitz. "Tugboat" Fred and the crew from West Milford had a two tide, all day bass bite. Bob B. had the biggest at 19lbs. Tom K. and the Bayonne gang grabbed a few short bass and lost some bigger ones before switching to fluke and had a few keepers despite windy conditions. The Sunday regulars picked a few fluke and ended the day with Cathy M. landing a 19lb. striped bass. Mike M. had a 4 1/2 lb. fluke. Memorial Day was another two tide bass bite. George G. JR had the largest of the trip at 27lbs. Tom O. made his first trip of the season and added a keeper fluke to his bass limit.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Open Spots for Monday

We have some spots open for Memorial Day. Bass fishing is improving, the forecast is great and we will try for fluke also. You can also see the fleet and air show and be home early for your Holiday barbeque. Just give me a call.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend Report

Friday, Evelyn and I hosted "Tugboat" Fred, Ken K., Cory, Cor-Cor, Bob B., and Ken "The Legend" for our first trip of the season. The bass bite was not what we hoped for, but the "Legend" suggested to me to try something different and we ended the day picking at some small stripers. Sunday started off with dense fog and we waited for it to lift before trying for fluke. We did not land any keepers, but we did throw eighteen fluke in the boat despite the cold water. A switch to bass produced a steady bite of 22 to 27 inch fish but Roger nailed a 17lb. striper to take the pool. It was nice to be on the water again, and the fishing is just getting started in our area, with better days ahead.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Getting Close

One more day of buttoning things up and we will be going in the water this week. This will be the latest start to the season we ever had, but we are only about a week behind last year. There seems to be a lot of blues around, bass should be ready and we will look for that first fluke of the year.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Well it's May, the weather is nice, and we still don't have a fishing report, but the work in the boatyard is progressing nicely. We did get a lot accomplished this week and should be ready soon. As far as fishing, the bass should be ready when we are, they do have their moments in the Raritan and we usually start seeing the fish up our way a week or two later. Fishing in the ocean really stinks according to some of the captains that I spoke with. The east wind and big swell is not helping. Fluke season opens this month and I can't wait.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Busy Days

The weather turned nice and I am making progress in the boat yard. The winter set us back by a month so we will have a later then normal start to the season. The fishing should turn on in early May and we will be ready to get 'em.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Penn Reels

Sent a few reels back to the factory for service and once again Penn did an excellent job. One reel was a 25n Fathom that was only used a few times and popped an eccentric spring. It is an easy fix, but I sent it back to the factory to be checked out and Penn replaced it with a brand new reel in the box for no charge! They are the best.

Cold and Rain

Typical spring, make a little progress and then the rain comes.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Baseball Season

Fishing season will have another late start (it's 26 degrees right now), but baseball will start right on schedule. This year looks to be exciting as most teams are evenly matched, more then ever. The era of big market, money spending teams dominating is over. An 87 or 88 win season is enough to get into the playoffs and as the Giants and Royals showed last year, anyone can win. The years of 70 home run hitters and PED's are past and now it is about power pitching bull pens. It seems every team has relievers throwing 95 mph. If you would have to pick the top five teams, you would come up with about fifteen you could not choose from. It looks like lots of fun. And as for the Yankees, they don't look much different then last year, with decent starting pitching, a good bull pen and a weak hitting line up. One bright spot is Alex Rodriquez, he has showed this spring that he is the best hitter on the team.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


It is almost April and in years past we would be ready for flounder fishing. Now it is still cold as winter and I am hoping for better weather to complete the boat yard chores. Baseball season is almost upon us and I will have more to say about that in the next few days. Right now we are just watching the weather and waiting on the new regulations for the season. Fluke regs are going to be the same as last year, but others are changing. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Still Cold, but Getting Better

The back slips in the marina still have ice. The boat ramp at the park also still has quite a bit of ice in the water, and today we watched a State Police boat have a difficult time breaking through to the boat ramp. The temperature down there, with the wind blowing off the water was only 38 degrees. Better days are coming, slow but sure.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Quick Change

Last week it snowed three times and temperatures were in the single digits in some parts of the state. Now temperatures have reached normal for this time of year and it seems warm. Still a lot of snow and ice to melt, but it seems winters worst bite is behind us and we can look forward to spring.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cold, Ice and Snow

Not much to report these days. The only good news is that February is over. The ice is the heaviest it's been in many years and it's the most I have ever seen this late into the winter.  Capt. Steve made it out with the J2 a few times this week and did not catch enough fish to feed a sick cat. It looks like another late start to the season. Well, at least we can look forward to watching the Yankees.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Yes, it's cold. But if you read or watch media accounts of the weather, you would think it has never happened before. They never disappoint with their sensationalism. I was checking on the ice in local waters a came upon a main stream media account of "glacier" ice in Chesapeake Bay. "Glacier"? We haven't had a "glacier" in 10,000 years! Well nothing like truth in reporting. Where is Brian Williams when you need him? Well anyway, the temperature this morning in Yellowstone National Park was warmer than St. Augustine, Florida and we have the most ice I have seen on the bay in about twelve years.

Monday, February 16, 2015

President's Day

Man, it's cold. Most of the state has single digit readings, with the Skylands region showing below zero temperatures. There is a moderate amount of ice in the harbor, less then you would think, but I would expect it to get heavy as snow and continued cold weather is forecast. Some cool birds have been around. There are Bald Eagles in the Meadowlands, and many hawks down the park and along the waterfront. We had a short eared owl flying low along the fields looking for a meal as well as a male Northen Harrier, a "grey ghost", very cool to see. The fishing has been good in the freezer and on television. Nothing like fluke salad and crackers while watching "Wicked Tuna" re-runs. Well, it won't be long now as I heard four of the most beautiful words ever spoken this week, "Pitchers and Catchers Report."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Winter Doldrums

Not much to talk about other then the snow in Boston. They have had over SIX FEET of snow in the last two weeks. Dig the car out? Yeah, you would have to dig yourself out of the house and then find the car. And where could you go anyway? I feel sorry for those people and I am grateful as it is only 250 miles and a four hour drive from here. Capt. Steve ran the J2 last weekend and scraped up a few cod, but who knows when any one will be able to fish again as we are bracing for some of the coldest weather yet this winter. The forecast is for about five days with below freezing temperatures and lows in the single digits. Well some sure signs of spring are showing up. We saw the first red-winged blackbird the other day, about a week early. And don't forget the pot holes. They are popping up all over, just like the daffodils will in a few weeks.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Blackfish Video

Not much going on these days with all the snow, cold and wind. NJfishing has an interesting video posted of a recent blackfish trip out of Cape May. One of the anglers dropped a Go Pro down on what appears to  be a small wreck where they were catching some nice blackfish. The tog could be seen milling about and cruising over the wreckage, but most of the fish, the ones that appeared to be feeding, are in the SAND off to the side of the wreck. The footage clearly shows what I tell to all the anglers that fish with me, that the fish are there swimming around, looking for food, and when they begin feeding, they will concentrate in the are where the bait is presented, where the most activity is, not necessarily on the roughest part of the bottom. Very interesting.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday

Some boats sailed on Sunday and fishing was normal for this time of year. Capt. Steve ran one of the Belmar party boats and found some life on wrecks in the Mudhole, but the water is very cold. If the weather breaks we feel another try in the deep water may be in the future. As for the game, it will be analyzed by all the experts and much will be debated about the outcome. It all comes down to one simple thing the coaches preach and I say every time I watch a football game. You have to play sixty minutes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Storm

The worst of the storm missed us by less then 100 miles. Buoy reports are showing 25 foot seas on Jefferies Ledge, the fishing grounds off New Hampshire. The communities along Cape Cod Bay are being pounded like we were during hurricane Sandy. I feel for the folks up there, but back home, the media continues to entertain us. Yesterday, they called for the end of the world, the worst storm in history and three feet of snow. Today they are asking public officials if they over reacted. You can't make this up. I think closing the major roads was a good idea. If you remember the day after Christmas storm in 2010, people got stuck on major highways and abandoned their vehicles and it hampered the clean up and kept the road closed for days. Well we just have to be grateful it was not as bad as the people in New England and Long Island are dealing with. I heard the yuppies in Hoboken were disappointed and were trying to return the eggs, milk and bread to the A&P for a refund.

Winter Storm

I think ShopRite was behind the forecast.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Day in the Woods

Friday was the last nice day in the forecast for a while. Capt. Steve was chartered for the day, so we took a ride to the trout streams. The temperatures barely rose above freezing in the country, and there was even some snow on the ground from the previous evening. The trail leading into the area I wanted to fish was covered in ice and snow, but I found plenty of clear areas upstream and was the only angler out there. I landed a brown trout on my second cast, but only had one other bite the rest of the morning. The water was very cold and clear, with ice along the shoreline. Plenty of wildlife to enjoy too. We had an immature Bald Eagle fly right over us, chased by three crows. Plenty of hawks, and winter song birds ( Bluebirds, Nuthatches, Juncos...) and we even walked up on some deer in a field of Christmas trees. A nice day for late January, but today I spent the morning with the snow thrower, clearing away the snow, rain, snain, and snit. Bye the way, Capt. Steve did catch a few nice blackfish, so if the weather improves, we may try again.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Nice Day on the Ocean

We headed out with Capt. Steve to fish the wrecks and rocks on a beautiful mid-winter day. Other then a little swell in the morning, the ocean was calm, with light winds and moderate temperatures. The bite was sporadic, as the fish would come in little spurts, and then stop biting. We picked at the blackfish, grabbed a handful of ling and only a few cod. One interesting observation was the ocean pout. What we call "conger eels", the pout are protected in Federal waters and you can not keep them, but you can catch more of them then the more desired target species. It makes you wonder about fisheries management. The best part of the day was the wild life show. A seal came around to check us out, a pod of Atlantic dolphins played around and at times were only thirty feet from the boat, and two fin back whales frolicked less then a half mile off the bow for about half an hour. Thanks to Capt. Steve for a nice day and the crew hopes he still may try one more time before the water gets too cold and the bite shuts down for good.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Break in the Weather

A little window of moderate wind and temperatures allowed us to get out fishing yesterday. Onboard the Skylarker were an all- star cast of captains and mates looking to shake off the cabin fever. The day started off cold with snow flurries and a lumpy ocean. The fishing was typical for January, with some spots completely barren, others over run with dogfish, and a few holding some life. As the day wore on the seas moderated and the bite improved. We picked at some blackfish and small cod and finished the day with enough for a few dinners. J.R. landed a 12lb. blackfish, and Randy had an 11lb. in his limit plus catch. Mark had the hot hand on the cod landing some keepers and shorts. The ice in Atlantic Highlands harbor is gone, so Capt. George will resume sailing this week, and Capt. Steve may want to try again now that I helped him get dialed in on the fish and he is done chasing rainbows.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

World Record Blackfish

A potential world record blackfish was landed in Maryland yesterday. The fish weighed 28.8lbs. and was 35 inches long. Just recently the NY state record was broken after being set only a year before with both of those fish well over 20lbs. Last week a few fish between 15 and 18lbs. were landed on the Jersey Shore. I have heard stories about huge blackfish thirty and forty years ago, that could not be moved off the bottom, but why are these monsters being caught today?  Before the live fish market began over twenty five years ago, blackfish were only sought after for a limited time in the fall of the year, after fluke fishing and before the whiting and cod started biting. Some old time Long Island captains told me they were treated like trash fish while cod fishing and tossed overboard. (I also heard this about ling while whiting fishing but I never saw one go back, and that's another story.) Blackfish became more popular due to the lack of other fish to catch, were targeted more, and just like all other fish, once they became commercially valuable, the stocks decreased. There were even draggers tearing up the traditional fishing grounds, trying to net blackfish. All this lead to size and bag limits as well as seasonal regulations to protect the remaining fish. Back in the glory days of the fishery, you just tossed back smaller fish and 3 to 6lbers were average, and most days it was common to see pool winners of 7 to 11lbs on a daily basis. I could remember personally landing a fish over ten pounds on a weekly basis between mid November to mid December. Today party boats are returning to the dock with a catch for the entire boat that one good angler would have for himself back in the day! Advances in technology have lead to better fishing tackle suited to landing these beasts and navigational electronics have helped to to find better fishing grounds and that is part of the story. The building of artificial reefs is also important in helping the population and should continue. All that being said I feel the reason these huge fish are appearing is because they have a chance to get to a baited hook. Smaller fish are more aggressive  and would jump on the baits and you could sit on one drop all day, bailing fish. Bigger, older fish, the spawners, were always harder to catch and could not be easily fooled, leading to many different tricks good blackfish anglers invented to catch them. We all heard stories of monster tog from scuba divers but why couldn't we catch them?  In the past you could not keep a baited hook on the bottom very long before you had a bite. Now I feel these big fish that would be cautious have a chance to come out of a wreck or rockpile and find a bait on the bottom that wasn't immediately set on by smaller fish. Congratulations to the anglers landing these beasts as it takes a great amount of skill to get the bites and win the battle. Just my thoughts, and something for you to read on a cold winter day.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

I wanted to get a trip together for this weekend but the forecast is calling for wind and rain. As long as the weather doesn't get too bad in the coming weeks, we still have a chance at getting out with Capt. Steve. There are no ling around yet, blackfishing is very slow and a few little cod are starting to turn up. The best you can do is hope to catch enough for dinner and spend a day on the ocean with your friends. Happy New Year to all.