LONG BEACH ISLAND - Congratulations to the Southern Regional High School Fishing Club for their convincing victory in the annual surf fishing tournaments against other area high school fishing clubs. These skilled anglers totaled 556 points with the largest fish of the event caught by Ram fisherman Anthony Rutter. The fish was a 31.5-inch bluefish.

MATES came in second with 88 points, followed by Lacey with 45, and Barnegat at 29 points Kudos to the members of the Village Harbor Fishing Club in Manahawkin for sponsoring the trophy as well as volunteering to judge the contest.

Dave DeGennaro of “Hi-Flier” Sportfishing reports he is catching schoolie and sometimes big stripers, 1-5-pound bluefish, and now plans to target fluke in Barnegat Bay. He has been trolling bunker spoons for the bigger bass, though he hopes the bunker snagging will start any day. He also made his first offshore run for bluefin tuna and located the fish around feeding whales and dolphins. He ended up with his four fish limit of tuna 50-100 pounds. It was all on spreader bars.

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Fisherman’s Headquarters Bait and Tackle in Ship Bottom reports the early season action on fluke is solid. They advise that bay, inlet, and surf are all great areas to look that all are producing. One of their sources, “Swagmattic,” shares this info on the fluke fishing front, “I’m fishing the shallow section of the bay near major thoroughfares and sod banks. Working these spots around the top of the tide is the way to go. Slack tide has been very good to me!” It might be good to listen because he just won some serious cash in a recent fluke tournament. The fluke in the bay seem to be feeing on grass shrimp and crabs.

Captain Steve Purul of Reel Fantasea Sportfishing reports “plenty of light tackle action and fun for both novice and veteran anglers looking to score schoolie stripers, blues and fluke all within the safe confines of Barnegat Bay. In addition, Steve is touting inshore structure for black sea bass and ling. Steve likes getting his anglers hooked up on light tackle.

The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are getting busier and busier as summer approaches. Captain Carl Sheppard has been scoring well on inshore bottom fishing trips with the “Star Fish.” On a recent trip he had and 10 anglers from Tuckerton and Toms River. Over 50 fish were boated including 12 keeper sea bass. One angler, Alicia, reeled in a 15.5-incher, the boat’s largest of the season.

Captain Ray Lopez on the “Miss Liane” has found a hot bluefin tuna bite. A trip with Gary and Zach Rietmann resulted in false albacore along with a nice bluefin tuna. Another trip with Gary resulted in a 47.3-pound striped bass. Most of the action recently has been on the troll.

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing reports a Barnegat Bay Slam-blues, bass, and fluke. He had Damien Flanagan, Erik Einset, and James McHale on a 5-hour bay and inlet trip. They first worked the inlet with S&S Rock lures to release stripers up to 24-inches while boxing a couple of blues. They played catch and release on bluefish to 10-pounds. With a change of tide, they worked the backwaters to catch and release 25 fluke with 1 keeper at 24.5 inches.

All the members of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Club are inviting folks to stop by the Sea Shell Club in Beach Haven this weekend between the hours of 4-7. The owners of the Sea Shell are graciously allowing the BHCFA to set up a table for their fund-raising efforts to replenish the local artificial reefs. The Junior Mates are spearheading these efforts and will be on hand to discuss their plans and how they can be helped. They will be there both Saturday and Sunday.

In a related matter, Captain John Lewis, who heads up the BHCFA, appeared in Trenton this past week 

along with Peter Clark of the New Jersey DEP to discuss reef building in front of a Senate committee. Captain John said that the efforts seem to be well received, and he has plans to meet again with state officials to secure their help.

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