Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year

The boat went out on marathon wreck trip yesterday. With the temperature in the low teens and snow in the forecast, I politely declined. The snow started about 8am and didn't let up until the afternoon. They made their first drop 35 miles offshore and worked back in to 15 miles, covering various depths. Dogfish made things difficult and the only place to get away from them was in the deep, were some nice ling came aboard. This morning the woods looked like a winter wonderland and it was 12 degrees when we headed to the bakery at 7am. Some guys were fishing at the power plant when we went by. All the lagoons and canals have ice on them, but the bay is still clear. We saw the usual ducks, some Tundra swans and a young male northern harrier hunting over the marsh.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Winter Fishing

We tried a trip out to the mudhole wrecks, looking for some Christmas treats. Lots of dogfish were encountered, and we had to pick through the short sea bass to get a handful of keepers, some ling and a few jumbo porgies. The sunrise was spectacular and the dolphin show on the way home was as good as it gets with many of them riding the bow and jumping around the boat. At day break, we saw some birds working tight to the water on what looked like bluefin tuna. The inshore boats reported lots of striped bass. We will sail as long as the weather holds out and will run open boat blackfish trips every Friday in January, fishing deep wrecks in search of trophies. Over the last few years many super jumbos were landed on these trips, like Capt Howard's 20lber.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Winter and Flounder, Snow and Snowy Owls

We set up for flounder fishing Monday morning, and had to put some time in to get our limits. We headed to the beach after that, with the intentions of some bass fishing. The tide was very low and a change of plans was made to do some exploring. On a hunch, I checked out a spot and found our first Snowy owl of the winter on top of a dune about 300 feet away. Tuesday, the plan was to grab the flounders right away and get to the beach while there was still some tide. Well, you know how that goes, Evelyn had a limit and I only had one bite in three hours and lost that jumbo lifting it over the wall. When we got to the beach, the west wind had the water blown out but I tried some spots anyway and had one bump on a lure. The birds were working about 3/4 of a mile of the beach in a beautiful flat calm ocean. We explored some trails and dunes, and did not find much of interest, except some snow geese on the bay. The snowy moved to higher dunes to the south to escape a group of bird watchers. Fresh flounder fillets make some nice dinner and we put away a pack for Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Snow and Cold

Not much to report this week. Capt. Steve fished in the snow on the weekend and made a catch of blackfish before the weather got too bad. The cold temperatures this week kept us from fishing, but yesterday I got a call from "Hippy" Paul to meet him down at the bay. The blow out tide from the strong NW wind made perfect conditions for clamming and he was already out in the bay. We picked a few dozen from his basket for a nice treat. The temperatures are forecast to be near fifty next week, so we may look to see if the flounder are still around.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Keep On Fishin'

 I got to play deckhand on Thursday, as Tim was down with a cold. It's that time of year, and seems to be going around. Anyway, off we went with a really cool group of anglers, in search of the elusive blackfish. For whatever reason, the blackfish bite has been off this season. I think it comes down to the daily "conditions" as there always seems to be too much wind or a funny current, wind and tide in different directions, things just not coming together. We started the day with a beautiful flat calm sea, but soon the wind cut loose, and a funky roll developed with the current. And the fishing got funky as well. Plenty of bites, lots of shorts, but the big ones would not take hold and we only had a handful of keepers for the day. We even had some porgies and a fluke. With the threat of a snow storm on the horizon, I figured we should try once more for flounders. Tim was back aboard the Skylarker with Capt. Steve, and they headed out with a good gang. Evelyn and I stayed on the dock, and it only took 15 minuets to limit. The flounders were of a bigger size too, what we used to call "shoalies" and I landed seven (including a double header) and Evelyn had two and a 22 inch striped bass. We took our limit and headed home with some for a few fish dinners. The boat called in the afternoon and they were coming in with the best catch of the season. Some limits were boxed and the fish ran up to 8lbs. It was just an all around biting day.

Monday, December 4, 2017

What A Day!

Weather was forecast to be nice, so we got an early start on the flounders. Good thing too, as they seemed to bite right away and as the current started to run they shut down. I landed three and Evelyn had two and then we headed to the beach and had lunch. When we got home the temperature was over fifty degrees (it was thirty when we left this morning) so we headed to the woods. The pickerel were hungry and I landed six and raised many more on a topwater. Salt and sweet in the same day. Cool.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Something Different

This morning we were up early as usual and decided to try for winter flounder. A quick stop in the tackle shop for some $10 per dozen sand worms and we were on our way. Evelyn landed one immediately and over the next hour and a half, I threw seven on the dock. Guess what's for dinner tonight?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fishing Report

Despite what you have been hearing, this has been a poor blackfish season since "opening day."  They bit well in September and October, but other then the slammer white crab bite we had down here last week, this fishing is not showing much promise. Yesterday, we worked some local spots south of the inlet and it was a bust. Today, I tried from land, and it seems like the blackfish left the shallows. After that, we tried walking the beach casting lures but we never had a bite on an empty beach for a nice day. All one can do is keep on trying.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Next Open Boat Trips

We will be out fun fishing on the Skylarker for big blackfish this Wednesday 11/29 and Thursday 11/30. Contact me if you would like to come along.

A Fun Day

We fished Big John's annual charter aboard the Mary M III yesterday. Onboard were Roger, Mike, Cathy and some blackfish sharpies from Sheepshead Bay. It was a beautify calm day and many boats were out. The inlet looked like a summer weekend. We fished not far from the lighthouse and had action all day. Some big fish were landed and some were lost and everyone had plenty of meat to go home with. We even had a visit from a playful humpback whale only two miles off the beach. A good time with some old friends.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

That Time of Year

I always liked the fall and the good fishing that came with it. I have fond memories of coming home in the dark on a cold afternoon with a box full of blackfish and some cod and striped bass too. Today the day started off nice but now at 4 pm the wind is blowing a gale, it's almost dark as night and the temperature is falling. We will sail on nice weather days and we have a lot of open dates. Right now, it looks like we will be tied up until the wind backs off in a day or two.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Opening Day

It really should not be called opening day. Maybe increase day or something like that would be more appropriate as the blackfish season has been open since July, but the bag limit went up to six yesterday. Rain in the morning kept the turn out low, as we had a bunch of no-shows, and all but the striped bass boats had light crowds. The ocean had a southerly swell in the early morning, but soon the wind turned to the west and the rain stopped and the seas flattened to make it a rather nice day. Fishing was the typical pick, those that worked hard ( I can't stress the importance of changing the bait enough) did well. Everyone had a few nice fish and I had a big one that ran to the bow and shaved off on the rocks and we will be trying to get him on the next trip. West winds bring calm seas and good fishing. Stay tuned for the next trips, we will sail on all nice weather days.

Sunday, November 12, 2017


The weather looks perfect for opening day, and we are sold out.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Good Fishing Offshore

The weather was good this week and we fished on the offshore reef and wrecks. Thursday's trip saw very big (14 to 18 inch) porgies, mixed sized sea bass, four nice cod to 9lbs., four winter flounder to 19 1/2 inches and many bluefish encounters with fish up to 18lbs. Now is the time to get out there before the winter wind blows. Friday's charter wanted striped bass, so I stayed on the land and worked the local Pine Barrens creeks and bogs. Seven pickerel were raised on a top water plug and I landed the biggest one I ever saw at twenty-five inches.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Changing Weather

We are now getting the real fall weather, beautiful days with cool mornings and mild afternoons, set between storms, cold fronts and gales weekly. Friday was one of those days, with the temperature reading 36 degrees when we left the house for the beach. The dink blackfish and sea bass ate up our crab supply so we headed out to the point to explore. Fishing from the land is new to us and it is very interesting learning the water. There are holes, ridges, bars, snags and other structure that hold fish, just like anywhere else in the ocean. We walked out to the point and worked the water for whatever we could find. Snapper blues were abundant, but were very finicky and only wanted the spearing they were feeding on, but would occasionally tear up the gulp and bigger ones would grab the jig. I was on a mission for a late season fluke, I want to see how long I could still catch one from the land. Evelyn was casting in to a deep hole behind the bar and had two redfish cruise along the beach but could not get them to bite. As I worked the jig back up a ledge, I wondered what I could have gotten snagged on so close in when it started shaking and running down tide. I was happy to see a twenty inch fluke that I played down the beach and landed for a quick photo and release. I will not get into how I feel about the regulations, but that fluke would have made a fine dinner. Looks like bad weather the next few days, but the long range show more mild days ahead.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


I have some open spots for opening day of blackfish season, Thursday 11/16. The 11/3 seabass trip has been cancelled.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sea Bass Opener

We left the dock in the dark, at 5:30 AM with all the railed party boats soon to follow. On the way to the grounds, most of the spots were covered with private boats that left sometime the night before. We set up to fish in the dark and all rods bent...with spiny dogfish. As the day brightened the bass and porgies began to appear. We drifted and anchored at different spots and there were all types of boats in every direction. Some anglers did better then others, but everyone caught fish. Evelyn was the angler of the day, landing the most and largest sea bass. Randy won the pool with one of his four blackfish. Some triggerfish and a bonito were added to the catch. Thanks to everyone for coming out and enjoying a nice day on the ocean, stay tuned for future trips.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Cool Day

OK, maybe it was a little more then cool Tuesday, with the thermometer reading 37 degrees and frost on the truck. Shorts and T-shirts were replaced with hooded shirts and fleece, and off to the beach we went. Some casting and exploring from the sand produced some snapper blues and fluke, while a bald eagle soared overhead. When the tide got right it was small sea bass and blackfish on every cast until we got tired and headed home to watch baseball. Like I said, a cool day.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pioneer Banks

Over forty boats, including Jersey shore and Long Island party and charter boats, drifting for striped bass at the Statue of Liberty the past two days.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fishing Limbo

Not much going on. Rough weather and closed seasons have most boats sitting at the dock. Porgy fishing remains good when you can get out, but that only remains interesting for an hour. The same with catch and release blackfishing, it's lots of fun, but there is no need to stand on a boat all day. I have been catching some shorts and keepers in the bay and also from shore. Last month we had great fishing for ling in the deep, but the bad weather and dogfish ruined our trip on Sunday. A try at trout fishing in local waters was also a bust as the streams are running low and warm. We will keep the big boat tied up until sea bass season, and try some fishing off the beach next week.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Rough Seas

The strong south wind and the arrival of the spiny dogfish cut short our mudhole adventure. Everyone had a couple ling and some flounder but the dogs were thick and we had to retreat inshore and finish the day porgy fishing. Back at it again when sea bass opens 10/22.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Next Big Trip

Sunday, October 8, Mudhole Wrecks. Ling, Whiting ( yes, I expect to see a few), Flounder and Cod. Time to fill the freezer before the cold NW blows. Call or E-mail to get on the list. Last time out there we loaded up.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Tropical storm Jose has set up shop just east of the Continental shelf off our coast and continues to churn out 7 to 10 foot seas on the fishing grounds. It does not appear to be moving much and Hurricane Maria may take a similar track next week. We can't catch a break, and it looks like the ocean will be closed for a few days. Monday, we snuck out to fish from the beach, and had a good day despite the building NE wind. Double headers of small sea bass and snapper blues and a few nice fluke from the sand. A try in the rocks produced a small blackfish every cast until I ran out of bait, two of them were keeper sized. If the winds settle a little, we will go back to see if they are still biting.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Warm Weather and Hot Fishing

We had a big charter the other day and caught some nice porgies, threw back big sea bass and had eight big triggerfish. The whales put on quite a show, jumping out of the water, feeding on bunker. Yesterday, we took a ride in the bay with our old deckhand Bob D. and found lots of life. We set up on some structure and found porgies, sea bass and blackfish. Evelyn's porgies kept getting attacked by a big bluefish. Next time out, I would like to bring some green crabs, there are some big blackfish and other creatures on the hard bottom.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Seafood Platter

Yesterday, I got the call to be ready to scout out some wrecks, so off we went and the deep was loaded with life. We all caught a bunch of ling, but Evelyn also had four whiting and a flounder. I had a nice whiting, a flounder and a lobster. First mate Tim had the deep water slam with a whiting, spotted hake, four spot flounder, winter flounder, cod, cunner, lobster and a Jonah crab. Cool stuff. Today, we took a ride in the truck and fished from a different beach to the south and caught a bunch of snapper blues. Evelyn also had a bunch of sea bass, porgies and a keeper sized weakfish. This is the nicest time of year and everyone quits fishing because fluke is closed.

Friday, September 8, 2017


I don't know if it was a coincidence but the lines at the gas pumps this morning were two and three cars deep. What I do know is that when tropical storms are in the Atlantic, they suck up all the energy in the atmosphere, and usually make for very nice weather everywhere else. I will try to go fishing the next few days, it should be nice.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Life After Fluke

Now what do we do? Fluke is closed, sea bass is closed,...the NMFS (No More Fishing Service) wants you out of their ocean. Well, there is some pretty cool fishing going on right now and it should only get better. The bonito and albacore are biting. There is more bonito around then in the last ten years. And they seem to be getting bigger. I worked a trip last week and we had good fishing with them plus lots of big chub mackerel. Right before we left to go home, we had our National Geographic moment, with the fish swimming under the boat and watched them take the baits. And it wasn't only the ones mentioned above, some of our bigger friends were there too. Lets get a trip together.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The End of Fluke Season

We headed out in the dark Saturday morning with an all-star cast of Pioneer regulars. Many of the anglers aboard have caught fluke over ten pounds with me in the past. We were greeted by a beautiful sunrise and the persistent east wind of the last ten days. The breeze was ten to twelve knots and the sea ran in chops of two to three feet with an occasional swell. No one knew what to expect as the fluke did not bite since the storm passed earlier this week. Things started off slowly, as everyone adjusted to the motion of the ocean and need for heavy sinkers but things came together and we started catching fluke. John C. got the ball rolling with a couple keepers and then it was game on. Roger and Eileen started landing keepers and Mike and Cathy did well as usual. Back in the stern it was like old times with Anthony "The Barker" and Damien going toe to toe, rods bent all day. Joey (the excellent first mate from the Fisherman) and his old buddy "Mittens Mike" teamed up like they did twenty years ago, catching "lemons". "Candy Bar" Mike did very good landing lots of nice fluke. And then there was the food, Anthony brought half the Polish deli and shrimp cocktail, Randy made a cheese cake, "Candy Bar" Mike had all kinds of stuff and Eugene made sure it was safe to eat. In the afternoon, "Tugboat" Fred and Ken "The Legend" were sitting on the bench, like two grumpy old men in the park, and wished me all kinds of luck on the sale of the "Pioneer". They both caught their limits of nice fluke. Liam fished in the bow, and had a 6 1/2lber to edge out the others for the big pool. The ocean seemed to settle as the day went on and Capt Steve said we can't leave now and gave everyone one more drift to end the 2017 fluke season. I filleted all the way home, over fifty keepers in the box, and finished with a barrel of racks, and a bag of meat for everyone aboard. We got back to the dock just before the big rain started. Thanks to all for making this a special day with old friends.

Monday, August 28, 2017

More East Winds

It seems that we had more east wind this summer then usual. Now, a tropical system is forming offshore and it caused us to tie up for a few days. Too bad, as fishing remains good and I was looking forward to seeing the crew from the West Milford Elks. Happy birthday Charlie. Yesterday on the fishing grounds, the current ran up against the wind. While this made for fair fishing conditions (you could tend bottom with 8ozs.) it caused an uncomfortable short and steep chop. We rolled all morning until the current eased. A boat limit of sea bass and some nice fluke for the guys that worked gulp. Roger had four nice keepers, the biggest just short of six pounds. Let's hope the bite holds up for this Saturdays big trip.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Who Wants to Go Fishing?

The "Barker" fished with Joey today and was excited to tell me he had four keeper fluke and two jumbo sea bass. His big fluke weighed in at 7lbs.10oz. and did not even win the pool. I have a few spots available on the Skylarker this Sunday 8/27,and the Labor Day weekend trip is sold out. Two weeks left, let's go get 'em!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Big News

I just had three spots open up for this Sunday 8/27. Send me an email, text, telephone, telegraph or blink your headlights twice if you would like to go. Only two weeks left in fluke season and Uncle Paulie had an 8lber. yesterday.

Summer Daze

The beat goes on. Most days we have a boat limit of seabass, some nice big ones too. Other days the fluke bite. It seems a whole bunch of little fluke moved into the river as we can watch anglers catching them on our way in and out. There have been sharks around all summer, and recently we had some dogfish-sized black tips grab the fluke baits and I had to stop the unsuspecting anglers from whipping them in the boat, saving a trip to the emergency room. Pretty good fishing and only a couple weeks left to do it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Busy Weekend

Ocean fluke fishing is different then the fluking we are use to in the bay. We used to follow the tide around the harbor and found fluke in many different places. The offshore fluke fishing is dependent on the wind direction, as some day the sea bass bite and on others it's an all out fluke bite. Gulp has been the key to landing keepers as it does not attract the trash fish. I swear some people enjoy hauling in pin bass and skates all day! Good flukers will catch, as Uncle Paulie did on Saturday, boxing four nice fish to 6.5lbs , while the other 23 anglers aboard did not have any. NW wind on Sunday made the fluke bite, and yesterday we had fish up to 7lbs. along with the boat limit of sea bass. Next open trip is 9/2, filling up fast.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cool Stuff at the Beach

Woke up early (4:30) and headed for the beach. Along the roadway was an endless line of bunny rabbits and a lone red fox that looked like it was looking for a hand out. The tide was low and the water had a dingy look with some eel grass and not much was biting. No pelicans were seen as they had been common the past few weeks. Osprey were diving just off the bar and a stray shearwater flew down the surfline, actually bumping my line on it's way down the beach. This was a rare sighting as these birds are usually way offshore. They are the ones that eat your tuna bait in the canyon. The snapper blues started to bite as the tide came in and the water cleared. The surf was steep and breaking despite the fact there was no wind and the ocean was flat calm, probably due to the full moon. I hooked a fish that was bigger then the snappers and gave a good fight running down the beach. I thought it was the first decent kingfish and was surprised to see a banded rudderfish about twelve inches. These fish are often mistaken for amberjack, as they look the same when they get to be two pounds or better. Sometimes we call them "buoy jacks." We left them biting and returned home when the sun got high.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Very Nice Day Fluke Fishing

We headed out Sunday morning with a good group of fluke anglers, and made our way to where the fleet was gathered. The weather was crisp and cool, with a moderate NW breeze and the fishing stunk. Slowly we snuck away from the fleet and headed to the area we were fishing during the week, and when we arrived, the wind backed off and it was game on. Everyone aboard landed fluke  and we ended with limits around the boat. The team of Jeff Sr. and Jr. did exceptionally well jigging in the bow and had limits plus of both fluke and sea bass and took the pool with a 6.5lber. Special guest star Capt. Michael (aka "the plug") landed a limit on a rod borrowed from Skip. Roger, Anthony "The Barker" and "Candy Bar" Mike, jigged a bunch of "lemons" and everyone went home with a few fluke in the bag. All the good fish were caught on gulp. Looking to do it again Saturday, September 2, the last weekend of the fluke season.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Good Fluke Fishing

Capt Steve had a light group of old timers yesterday, so Evelyn and I grabbed our rods and jumped on for a day of fluke fishing. The morning bite was good and it slowed when the south wind picked up. Evelyn had four keepers and I landed three. Looking good for Sundays trip as it seems the fluke are biting everywhere.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

NE Winds

It is unusual to have a week of easterly weather along the Jersey shore this time of year and it is forecast to continue into next week. While creating rough seas, the easterly fetch also brings in warmer offshore water and the fishing has been improving. Monday we fished way to the south in rough seas for blues and had a good day with small blues, big thimble eye mackerel and also released four black tip sharks. Wednesday found us offshore bottom fishing and we had some jumbo sea bass, ling, fluke, winter flounder, mackerel and gray triggerfish. Cool stuff. Don't forget Sunday 8/6 fluke and sea bass, last time fluking saw a bunch of limits around the boat and a boat limit of sea bass.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Next Big Trip - Sunday 8/6

We had some pretty good fishing the past week, so we will have a fluke and sea bass trip on Sunday August 6th for all my Pioneer fishing buddies. Call me or send an e-mail, text, telegraph, certified letter or smoke signal to reserve a spot! 6am to 2pm aboard the Skylarker.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

What a Day

Nice weather, nice people, and a great fluke and sea bass bite. Boat limit of sea bass by 11 am and everyone went home with a keeper fluke. Five pound fluke beat a four pound sea bass for the pool. Let's get out there and get 'em. I have an open trip for "Pioneers" coming up, stay tuned, and don't forget the new e mail, I  may know how to work it by then.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Thursday, July 20, 2017

How Could That Be?

I drove over the Verrenzano bridge today. Looking out over the "Pioneer Banks", Coney island, Ambrose Channel, the islands, west bank and far out to sea, not a single boat was fishing. I never thought it would happen.

Busy Summer Days

I have been helping Capt Steve with big parties of novice fisherman. Swinging boat rods and bait, I spend the day unhooking various forms of trash ( sea robins, skates, dogfish, pin bass...) to make a boat limit of sea bass. A few anglers with their own gear catch a limit of fluke and jumbo sea bass bouncing jigs. Oh, I wish I could work the grounds with a bunch of "Pioneer" regulars. We would fill the box.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fish Report

There are some fluke around now. More shorts in the mix and good anglers ( I haven't been seeing much of those lately) can catch a couple keepers. Sea Bass continue to please and there are some nice ling and flounders fifteen miles out.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sea Bass

We took 30 landlubbers with boat rods today and had a boat limit of no-measure necessary ,big blue knuckleheads in no time. I need a few good anglers for next Tuesday, looking for big fluke and big sea bass. I heard about a 13lb. fluke caught today. Only seven weeks left to catch a fluke dinner, or you can buy them for $22.50 per pound.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Sea Bass

We are now allowed to keep two sea bass per person until September. The bottom of the ocean is covered with them, and it doesn't take long to get a boat limit while fluke or ling fishing. Sea bass for dinner today, Happy Fourth of July!

Friday, June 30, 2017


The last couple of days were spent looking for blues with Amish people from PA.  We found a few off Mount Loretto and Keyport. Gaffers too. On the ride home yesterday, the wind piped up from the south at twenty-five knots, with gusts, and one of the farmers declared "Tad bit uneven out there."

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Day at the Beach

Got up early this morning (just like every day) grabbed some spinning rods, and headed to the beach. The water was very clear and warm, and there was enough clouds to keep the sun off. We even had a little shower, but not enough to get wet. Four hours of casting and walking the beach and we did not have as much as even a sniff. About a dozen trucks riding around and the reports were all the same. We saw some osprey, oyster catchers, and dolphin just offshore and quit fishing in time to be home for lunch.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Fluke Trip

I would like to thank all my old friends from the Pioneer for traveling down the Jersey shore to hunt fluke aboard the Skylarker. It was a fun day, with lots of good stories and laughs. The fishing left a lot to be desiered as the bite was off and we did as well or better then all the other boats in the fleet. If we were able to keep sea bass, it would have been a good trip. Everyone caught keeper sized bass and threw some real nice ones back because of the punitive regulations. Eugene Sr. had a fun day catching and told me at the end of the trip, he caught eight fluke and thirteen sea bass and had nothing to go home with. Young Michael P. did a good job landing two keeper fluke and some real nice sea bass. Our old friend John Carrier won the big pool with a four pound fluke after loosing seven rigs. I will keep an eye on the flukes, but our next trip may be ling fishing.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bizzaro World

We moved to the Jersey Shore to be near the fishing, but the fishing stinks here. On Wednesday, we were invited to fish with Mark "Big Bubba" and JR aboard their private boat, so the all Ocean County crew made the drive north to fish out of Jersey City. We made the "Pioneer Loop" around the bay and found a few fish. There is not much short life, but the fluke we found were all nice sized, the smallest in the cooler taped out at 19 1/2 inches. Mark had a limit, Evelyn landed four and JR and I each boxed one. Three bags of fillets in the fridge. Like they say in the TV commercial, "We got da' meats!" The weather is looking good for Sunday, it should be fun.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sea Bass Season-Part One

The spring sea bass season has come to a close, but it was very productive. We had some excellent catches and there is no lack of fish. The bite slowed a little around the full moon, but I think it was because they were on the spawn. The last few trips, they turned on again and fishing was great with plenty of big ones. Sunday, we had military personnel from the Joint Base aboard and they did very well despite the less then ideal conditions. Fog and a building south wind made for an early return, but we had full bags and some jumbos too. The season opens again for the summer, as a by catch to other fisheries, with a two per person limit. It's not so bad as you can take a couple jumbos to go with your fluke or ling. That will remain in effect through August and then close until October. Now it's time to look for fluke, and some west wind and calm seas should get them biting for our fluke trip next Sunday.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Pioneers Rule

A nice picture of John Carrier on with a fluke bigger then he is!

Warming Waters

Last weeks heat wave has caused the surface temperatures to rise rapidly. It seems the few whiting we were catching are gone as well as the dogfish (good riddin's). The sea bass are moving to deeper waters and the persistant east wind is causing them to bite better, but not making human beings happy to be on a boat. Ralph, if your out there, some flatlanders are calling you. Last trip produced 174 sea bass, 40 ling and 2 winter flounder to fill the bags. Sea Bass ends this weekend until July when we will be able to keep two per person along with our fluke.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sea Bass and Sand Eels

Sea bass fishing has been very good. They are feeding on sand eels, and diamond jigs have been catching the lunkers. We even see a few whiting every day. In years past, sand eels were the prime bait fish and everything from blues to fluke depended on them. Lets hope the fluke find them for our trip on the 25th.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fluke Trip 6/25

Open boat fluke trip...Sunday June 25. searching for Pioneer-sized fluke on the Skylarker. 6am to 2pm. Give me a call.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sea Bass Time

It has been a very busy week as sea bass season has opened. It was good to see some old friends aboard the Skylarker. The fishing has been very good with mixed sized bass from tiny pins to true offshore sized jumbos. We also catch some ling, blackfish, porgies, winter flounder, bluefish and fluke. Andy and the guys from Jersey City public works went home with full bags. Charlie and the crew from West Milford Elks had a great day filling the fish box. The "Barker" caught a bunch of nice sea bass and ling on a bucktail and the "Legend" heard about it all the way home. Good fun and I hope to see everyone soon now that the summer weather is here.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend. This weekend marks the first quarter of the baseball season and for the first time in six years, the Yankees are actually fun to watch.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What The...

It's the day before Memorial Day weekend and we have the fireplace going. If it rains anymore the woods behind the house will turn into a jungle. The bluefishing remains good but skill levels determine the catch. Anglers with spin rods do well, farmers with boat poles go home hungry. Yesterdays charter had a full cooler of ling. Evelyn caught a twenty inch winter flounder. The high lite of the trip was a young humpback whale that jumped out of the water six times. Cool stuff.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fishing Fun

Sunday was a nice day for our bottom fishing trip with our Pioneer family. We caught a bunch of ling for some nice dinners, a few nice cod, some good sized blackfish and lots of out of season sea bass that we can't keep until Friday. It was good to see everyone and I hope we can do it again soon.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

More News on Regs

The fluke issue has not been settled. The ASMFC wants to find NJ out of compliance for not playing nice and going along with their bogus data. To make matters worse, some professor from MA is trying to limit the fall sea bass season to 5 fish per person. Don't forget, next Sunday 5/21 we have a bottom fishing trip on the Skylarker. Go fishing while you still can!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

New Fluke Regs

It looks like a compromise has been reached that would keep NJ in compliance with federal regulations. A limit of 18" and three per bag, with a season of  5/25 to 9/5 has been tabled to a vote next week. The other option would be 3 at 19" and a longer season. It seems that in twenty years of fishery management the regulations have become more burdensome and the fishery only suffers. I spent the entire morning reading the transcripts of the ASMFC meetings, and it seems the only way they consider managing our marine fisheries is through restricting the catch while making it as complicated as could be, with all kinds of formulas and number bending. Twenty years of managing recreational fisheries by catch restriction has proven to be a total failure and the unwillingness to change their methods leads one to believe something more sinister is afoot.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Next Big Trip

Sunday May 21st all day bottom fish extravaganza! Ling, Cod and other ocean species. Give me a call if you would like to go. Limited number of spots left.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sunday on the Skylarker

Mike L. brought out the crew for Phil's bachelor party and had a fun day on the high seas. The day started with light winds, but a big ground swell left over from Friday's storm slowed the fishing on the inshore grounds. A move offshore produced better fishing. There were huge schools of dolphins around feeding on bait and we picked at the ling. Hi-hook had nine ling and everyone aboard went home with tasty fillets. Some keeper cod and Pollock, along with a bunch of out of season sea bass and blackfish rounded out the catch. The bottom fishing will only get better as the weather improves.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


The weather on land sure is nice, but out in the ocean it is still cold and breezy. The bluefish have invaded the Jersey shore and are being caught from land and boat. No stripers down this way, and I here they are even finicky up in the Raritan. Went trout fishing this morning and landed a few rainbows while watching two deer and a turkey pass by. Blackfish season is closed but we did well on the last weekend and sea-bass and fluke open this month. May has just begun, the nice weather is coming, and Joe Girardi has already worn out the bullpen.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Thank You for a Great Sixteen Years

The Pioneer III has been sold and we will no longer be taking fishing charters from Liberty Park. I will be helping Capt. Steve and first mate Tim aboard the Skylarker out of Belmar  this season. I hope to see all my old friends aboard and put them on some good fishing. As for the Pioneer, I would like to thank everyone that sailed aboard and making it a success.

Monday, April 24, 2017


Had a pretty large crew, Saltwater Anglers of Bergen County, on the Skylarker today. Fishing was spotty on a disturbed ocean, but the bite turned on late in the day as the sea calmed. Plenty of short action and enough keeper blackfish for a few dinners.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

We made our first trip of the spring season aboard the Skylarker and were happy to see the blackfish biting. A week ago, things seemed dismal on the fishing front, but the recent mild weather started the spring inshore fishing. Although the water is still cold everyone managed a few tog and even some black sea bass. I had five keeper tog and a dozen shorts. Capt. Howard of the Sea Hunter won the pool with a nine pound blackfish. The season for blackfish remains open for the month of April and we will be back at it soon.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Trout Fishing

One of the most rewarding feats in fishing is finding new productive fishing spots. One of the most frustrating is scouting for new spots and finding good looking water and catching nothing. I worked over some holes on the Toms River the other morning and couldn't buy a bite. When the strike indicator finally went under, I was so surprised, I missed the bite. The next day, I headed to my local pickerel spots thinking they would be more active after the recent warm spell and covered a lot of ground for just a couple of dinks. I hope the ocean fishing is better.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring is in the Air

It's cold, cloudy and raining every other day, so it must be spring. The temperatures are forecast to soar into the seventies this week and it all should begin. We will start the season on the Skylarker Saturday, 4/15 and there are spots available. Blackfish are starting to wake up.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Spring Blackfish

The old timers used to say, "When the dogwoods bloom, the blackfish bite". We have a dogwood in the backyard and it looks like it will not bloom until July.

Monday, March 27, 2017


The Skylarker is on the land, waiting for Coast Guard inspection and we should have her ready in a few days. After that, we start to clean up the Pioneer.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Winter saved it's worst for last. Cold temperatures and even a Nor'easter during the last full week of winter seems like a cruel trick. Oh well, spring begins next week and blackfish season opens April first.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Slow Time of Year

The fishing in the ocean has slowed down to nothing, as it usually does this time of year. The weather has been up and down and right now it is 12 degrees. I spent some time looking for new sweet water spots this week and did not find much. I went to one of my favorite holes and had a good sized pickerel follow my lure to the shoreline. In the crystal clear waters of the pinelands, these fish are as tough to catch as trout. I waded out a little to cover more water, and again the fish followed right to the rod tip. When I lifted the lure from the water, it continued to search for it and swam around my feet. I put the stick bait back in behind me, and did the" Northen pike figure eight" trick and the fish attacked immediately. Pretty cool, and a nice fight. Blackfish season is now closed, but opens again in April and we are hoping to do as well as last spring. Be ready, only four more weeks.

Friday, February 24, 2017

This Weather Just ain't Right

 It got to be almost 80 degrees today. The bats have been out every evening this week. I had to put the air on in the truck today! Well, with the mild weather I scouted out some local trout waters and did not see a fish. A quick stop at some of the pickerel holes produced a couple fish, so that is the only game in town until spring trout stocking or the March first opening of striped bass fishing in the bay.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Presidents Day Weekend

We tried to get offshore last week, but no one showed at the boat. We could have gone over the weekend but decided to spend three days exploring the woods. We drove around the local state parks, through the forest on sand roads looking for wildlife and new fishing spots. We saw Bald Eagles and wintering Tundra Swans in some cool backwoods ponds. Monday, I tried a new spot Evelyn picked out and had five dink pickerel in a few casts. From there we went exploring and found a clear lake and some large mouth bass that would not bite. Just starting to learn the area and much more exploring is in order.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Snow Day

I hear there is a lot of snow north of the Driscoll bridge. It just started snowing here, and if I tried hard, there might be enough to make a snow ball. Yesterday it was 70 degrees, and it made you feel like making a few casts. We did the next best thing, and took a ride to Tackle Direct to check out all the new fishing gear. On the way home, we realized the Bass Pro Shop was on the way and we made a stop there. We will be going back soon as you need a day to see the whole place. They have lots of cool antique hunting and fishing gear on display, as well as all the local salt water fish and waterfowl. It was the first time I ever saw a taxidermy mount of a ling! A pretty cool place to spend a day this time of year to shake off cabin fever.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Slow Fishing

We tried one last time before tying up the Skylarker until April. Two small cod, some trash and not a single blackfish came aboard. Capt. Steve ran the Big Mohawk and had a better bite Friday. About fifty blackfish were caught, but only five were of legal size. Better days are coming.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Sad Day

The Pioneer family lost a dear friend. Captain John Connell Jr. of the Capt John from Keyport passed away at the young age of 48 years old. He was a true gentleman and we are all better people for knowing him. We are going to miss you Cousin. Fair winds and Calm Seas.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

That Time of Year

There is nothing to report but bad news since the storm. I always jokingly say when fishing is slow, "I've seen it go on like this for days and days and then get worse. " Well it happened as there has not been a keeper blackfish caught anywhere since last Sunday. We were going to try today, but with a biting NW wind, we decided it would not be worth our efforts. Now it is all about waiting for spring.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Calm Seas and No Bite

It seemed like everyone on Saturdays charter was named Mike, except for Cathy and Evelyn. I knew it was going to be slow, but it was painfully slow with only a few shorts landed along with the usual pout and dogfish. The crew fished hard and it was refreshing to see the young anglers stay at the rail and keep trying despite the sluggish bite. We ended up with only one keeper for the day and we fished six different spots. It was not only us as the entire fleet had similar reports. Right now we are in the middle of a fierce winter storm, and that will surely change everything. We heard some boats had fish way to the south and we will try one more time before shutting down for the winter.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Personal Best

The blackfish bite has become tough over the past few days. This is typical of late January as the fish become less active due to falling water temperatures. Thursday started with a big swell on the ocean, not good for blackfishing. We tried to get a bite going on the rocks, but it never happened. A move to a wreck produced a sluggish cold water bite and pair of fish in the ten pound class were boated. I shot a white crab to the bottom and had a bite like I remembered like a kid, a slow, rolling, thumping bite, like a cod. When I set the hook, the drag peeled like freespool, and everyone was asking what I had. "Some thing big, some thing very big, get the captain" was the reply and the biggest blackfish I have ever landed weighed 14lbs. 2ozs. at the dock.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Nice Weather

We fished offshore Monday in hope of catching a cod or ling but it turned out to be a waste of time. It was like fishing in a garbage can, with dogfish, ocean pout, silver eels, skates and sea ravens taking the baits at a steady clip. Some blackfish out there, but the better bite is in 100 feet or less and some catches were put together in calm seas this week. Looks like an extended calm right through the weekend and we will be back on the blackfish grounds.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Nice Winter Day

It was nice to be out fishing again after a spell of windy weather. We headed out early under a bright full moon and were greeted by a calm ocean and light winds. When the sun came up, the bite developed into a steady pick and then backed off when the current eased. Some nice blackfish found their way into the cooler, and as typical, some did better then others. Just about everyone had a limit or close to it, along with a few ocean pout, and an odd dogfish or silver eel. The biggest blackfish weighed 12lbs 14oz at the tackle shop. Lots of fun with old friends and a nice bag of fillets on a day most boats reported poor fishing.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Yesterday, it snowed enough to cover the grass and turn the woods into a winter post card. It turned out to be a pretty nice day and some boats sailed and caught fish. I spent the day watching the weather, and cancelled our trip for today, due to the deteriorating forecast. This morning at 5am,  it is snowing and 23 degrees with a NE wind. Certainly do-able, but not nice. Next week they show temperatures up into the forties and fifties. Trying again for next Saturday (and maybe during the week). Let's get some fishing in before the water gets too cold and it all shuts down for the winter.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year

The Skylarker left the dock before 6am to take advantage of the weather window and the forecast was right on. The ocean was calm and it was cold. A good turn out of anglers aboard, thanks to our old friends Tom K and "Staten Island" Tony. Fishing was good on the first drop when the current was running hard. Randy did well as usual and everyone had a few nice blackfish. The wind turned to the south as forecast in the afternoon and the bite fell apart. On the way home, the wind cut loose and gusted to over 35 knots. It was amazing to see how fast the ocean can change and all aboard were glad we came in early. There is still some life on the inshore spots, but we may try the 80 to 100 foot depths to look for bigger fish on the next trips. Capt Steve plans to sail on nice weather days in January.