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It was a busy week for Manasquan Inlet area anglers leading up Mako Mania and Mako Fever, where tournament funds raised for reef building were actively building a reef outside of Manasquan Inlet!
By Jim Hutchinson  |  June 29, 2017
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The Fisherman Magazine
The tournament crew from Thor, winners of the 2017 Mako Mania and Mako Fever events out of Manasquan Inlet, with their 276-day pound mako brought to scale at Capt. Bill’s Landing. Image by Pat McCarthy.

During the first weekend of the 2017 summer, from June 24-25, several hundred competitive anglers assembled for both the Mako Mania and Mako Fever shark fishing tournaments out of Manasquan Inlet.

It was a windy start to the weekend on Friday the 23rd, with seas offshore approaching 8-foot heights offshore by Saturday, forcing many of the contestants to opt for Sunday fishing on day two. In fact, of 135 boats entered in Mako Mania, 21 fished on Saturday while the remaining 114 hit the grounds on Sunday.

While many of the tournament crews fished both tournaments, some only fished one contest or the other. But for Doug and Chris Thorsen of the boat Thor, the cost of two tournament entries was a wise investment as their 276-pound mako brought to the scale at Capt. Bill’s Landing on Sunday swept the weekend of shark fishing, winning both contests with weight to spare.

On the Mako Mania side, Ryan Vanderkooy’s Waterproof earned second place behind Thor as angler Paul Tsouhalas put the boots to a 218-pound mako on Saturday in rougher conditions. The Right Place’s skipper Evan Millas and angler Mike DiPascali earned third for a 208-pounder, while Seaquester and the crew of Capt. Joe Marotta and Big Swell nabbed fourth for a 181-pound mako.

Stan Sziewczyk, Mike McGuire and crew aboard the Trophy Hunter fished on Saturday, bringing a 175-pound mako in to Capt. Bill’s which was good for fifth in Mako Mania, also earning third in Mako Fever just behind Seaquester’s second place Mako Fever finish.

The crew aboard Fin-ominal earned a fourth place finish in Mako Fever for their 146.4-pound mako, narrowly edging out the Debra Ann and crew who brought a 144-pounder to port in the Jersey Coast Shark Angler Association’s annual event.

It was a busy week for Manasquan Inlet area anglers leading up to the shark tournaments, as the first deployment of materials at the new Manasquan Inlet Reef site, part of the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife's Artificial Reef Program, took place on Thursday, June 23.

NJDEP called the deployment “a momentous day for the reef program” given the fact that it’s the very first to be deployed for anglers only.

“What’s great about this reef is that it’s in state water, so there’s no commercial fishing on it at all, and it’s obviously very close,” Peter Clarke told the Shorebeat. Clarke, who leads the state’s reef program as biologist with the state’s Bureau of Marine Fisheries said the site was chosen because it’s easily accessible to a lot of anglers.

“It’s going to be an exciting year for the Manasquan Inlet reef,” Clarke told Shorebeat. An 87-foot dragger was deployed the following week, and Clarke said crews will begin deploying material from the former bridge span connecting New Jersey and Staten Island in August, and also said a 92-foot fire tug will be sunk at Manasquan this season as a memorial to first responders.

Manasquan Inlet Reef sits in about 70 feet of water just 1.7 nautical miles outside of Manasquan Inlet and encompasses nearly 1 square mile of bottom.

NW Corner 40 05.653’ N / 074 00.000’ W
NE Corner 40 04.945’ N / 073 58.728’ W
SW Corner 40 04.891’ N / 074 00.000’ W
SE Corner 40 04.175’ N / 073 58.728’ W

The Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association which hosts Mako Mania helped provide funding for the new Manasquan reef site, together with the TheSportFishingFund.org and the Ocean Reef Foundation. Funds from both Mako Mania and Mako Fever events are donated to the non-profit Ocean Reef Foundation to help provide new materials for artificial reef sites.

In addition to reef building efforts, proceeds from Mako Mania are also donated to Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, while Mako Fever also provides funds to the New Jersey Make a Wish Foundation and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

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