LONG BEACH ISLAND - I received a crabbing report from Jeremy Muermann, one of our local crabbers. We are coming up on the first big shed of the year for blue claw crabs. Jeremy tells me actual crabbing will slow a little until after the shed because the big males will be busy mating and carrying out soft shells during this time period. However, it is a good time to keep your eyes open for doublers, when two crabs are attached. This generally means the female crab is about to shed and become a soft shell.

Jeremy is also the advisor for the Lacey Township High School Fishing Club which recently participated in the Governor’s Cup Fishing Tournament at Island Beach State Park. In all, the group measured in and released three bluefish in the high school division along with one short striped bass. A good showing! Incidentally, Lacey will be competing against teams from Southern Regional, Barnegat, and MATES on Thursday afternoon June 6, on the beach in Barnegat Light.

This annual fishing tournament is now being run under the aegis of the Village Harbor Fishing Club. You might want to stop by about 4pm in the area of 10th Street to watch these enthusiastic young anglers battle it out for bragging rights.

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I continue to get good fishing reports on the black sea bass on our local inshore structures. The Carolyn Ann III has been doing well with a couple of slower days due to a drop in water temperatures.

The captains and mates of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association experienced a great deal of success over the Memorial Day Weekend. Captain Jimmy Zavacky on the “Reel Determined” mugged up the sea Bass, Captain Ray Lopez on the “Miss Liane” boated a 47-pound striped bass. Former and current Junior Mates also had some good trips. Striper. Jonathan Kelly boated an 83-inch bluefin tuna one day then went back out to limit out on more bluefin the next day. Zack Michot limited out on fluke two days in a row.

The “Starfish” under Captain Carl Sheppard and first mate Marlyn Graham has sailed several times fishing the inshore wrecks and structure. One recent trip with a group of six anglers caught a total of 70 fish. Of that total three lingcod were kept along with another 15 nice black sea bass. The largest sea bass was 14-inches long. Also keeping the anglers hopping were smooth and spiny dogfish. Although that trip was the most productive of the past week, all the other trips produced action throughout the trips.

Captain Alex Majewski of Light House Sportfishing continues to be excited about the varied action he is experiencing. He is catching bass up to30-inches on artificials just inside the inlet. In the ocean larger bass are being trolled up on spoons and Mojos. Captain Alex has also caught a few fluke, but he says the action slows when colder water from the ocean comes through the inlet into the bay waters.

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing had Jerald Gilbert and wife Kerrie from Scranton on a bay-inlet multi-specie trip. They began with bluefish to 3-pounds and shifted to catch and release on stripers. They then headed to the backwaters for another 25 fluke, seven of which were keeper sized to 6-pounds.

Captain Steve Purul of Reel Fantasea Sportfishing tells me he has been too busy catching fish to send me reports. His anglers have been having a great time catching a variety of fish on light tackle and mostly artificials.

I checked into Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom to see what has been happening for the land-based anglers. The Long Beach Island Spring Surf Fishing Tournament is on until June 23 with Aaron Krieg leading with a fish weighing 38.2-pounds. Kevin Laverty’s 16.34-pound bluefish leads that section. Also showing up in the surf have been a goodly number of fluke to go along with the blues and bass. Mike 

Nini told Fisherman’s Headquarters the fluke action “was good, almost every cast.”

In the big game category, Dave Bertram was fishing about 6 miles out of Barnegat with friends Brian Tart and Jeremiah Douglas and tangled into a monster thresher shark that took over two hours to reels in. It weighed in at 303 pounds.

I just received a report that Bill Shoemaker of Manahawkin recently boated a 53-pound striped while fishing alone in his boat alone off Manasquan. Not only is this the fish of a lifetime, but Bill is 82 years old. Chalk another one up for us old-timers.

Congratulations to the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club for its successful striped bass tournament last weekend. The boat Donuts took first place with a 50.4-pound bass. But the story of the day was junior angler Gregg Kopenhaver whose 45..3-pound bass set a new Junior Angler All Time Record at the club. Kudos to Andres Hernandez for a great job putting the contest together.

Comments, questions, and fishing reports are welcome at jamesghutch1@aol.com