LONG BEACH ISLAND REGION - Perhaps the premier fishing event of all of New Jersey is fast approaching as the captain’s meeting for the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club’s 50th Annual White Marlin Invitational will be held on Tuesday, July 23.

I got word from tournament director Dave Ridley that the early registration discount deadline ends on Monday, July 1st. After that date the cost rises from $600 to $700 for boats 29-feet and under and from $800 to $1000 for boats 30-feet and larger. 

The WMIT runs until Saturday, July 27. Captains get to pick 2 of 4 days to fish from Wednesday the 24th through Saturday the 27th.  There are already over 20 boats pre-registered so this looks like a good year for the event.

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Registration forms can be found on the website, www.TheWMIT.com. Questions can be e-mailed to wmit@bhmtc.com, or you can call Dave at (908) 963-5924

Not only is this the 50th year for the WMIT, but it is an Offshore World Championship qualifying event. It is also partnered with “Parker’s Army,” a worthwhile local charity whose mission is to raise funds to provide scholarships to high school student athletes, help fund area youth recreational programs, and donate to help in the fight to cure childhood cancer. 

With the black sea bass season now closed for a while, our local head boats have turned to fluke.

The action has been improving for the “Miss Beach Haven” out of Beach Haven captained by Frank Camarda. Mate Max Rosenthal tells me that Mike boated the first limit of keeper fluke of the season. A look at a recent day’s catch includes keepers up to 4.2-pounds along with tons of dogfish, black sea bass, sea robins, and even a few weakfish. The big excitement was a 20-pound class cownose ray. On Thursday, June 27, a 5.25-pound fluke ruled the roost to go with a steady bite all morning long.

I got word from the “Carolyn Ann III” out of Barnegat Light that Hal Frommelt of Bayville landed their first doormat fluke recently. The beauty of a fish tipped the scales at 9.1-pounds. 

The latest report from the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association indicates that Captain Gary Dugan on the “Irish Jig” found nonstop action at one of the local reefs. A recent trip resulted in 6 nice fluke and 3 snapper blues for dinner along with many fluke just under the 18-inch limit. Captain John Lewis on the “Insatiable” has been finding action with short fluke, sand sharks, and small sea robins.

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” had a bay fluke trip and despite wind against tide boated close to 30 fluke including three keepers to 4.5-pounds. On another morning trip Captain Brett started in the inlet without much success and moved to the bay waters for 25 fluke to 6-pounds. His afternoon trip that same day produced over 40 fluke with four keepers. The S&S bucktail jig and custom teaser tipped with fresh baits worked the best.

Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom reports the surf fishing on LBI is strong with good fluke action along with some nice kingfish. In addition, they are hearing of some exciting matchups with big rays and sharks.

Fish Heads adds that this is prime time fishing and the canyons are producing tuna, sharks, marlin, mahi, tilefish. They are getting more reports daily and it only seems to get better. Recently the big eye have made a strong showing and the yellowfin tuna bite for most boats has been steady.

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