Oh snap! The ice just cleared off of the Barnegat Bay in Forked River, anyway, but as it did, it cleared out a bunch of piers and boat lifts.

Garbagefish in Field and Stream ??. I was happy to read a nice write up of by Joe Cermele, Associate Online Editor of Field and Stream magazine. I was even happier to hear Joe’s pledge that if I send him a sticker, he’ll deface his boat with it. Thanks Joe, sticker is in the mail.

Interesting article on commercial dogfishing. Also interesting to note. Look at the responses below the column. This is the across the board perception of these fish. None of these people have tried it and consider it garbage. What’s worse is, the attitude that this fish must be killed just to kill. Wrong. It must be treated as a fishery and fished responsibly, kept responsibly and consumed properly. If this is done, the populations of all species will benefit, in time.
Managers Finally Recognize Impact Of Spiny Dogfish – See what happens? launches and now the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has increased the spiny dogfish commerical quota to 12 million pounds, up from just over 7,000,000 last year. Coincidence?? Hmmmmm. My only uneducated concern is – will increased dragging hurt other species just as bad as the overpopulation of spiny and smooth dogfish? I say uneducated, because I don’t know. Just wondering.

A nice email from a Sea Robin master! –


just wanted to say that your site is a great idea. there are other people out there like you. my friend Jimmy and I actually LOOK FORWARD to a good sea robin “blitz” as we call it. This one day at IBSP we literally stocked my cooler with em’ and had the most delicious dinner of 2008 at my house. They are simply amazing. Better then fluke, I’d say. We even caught one that day that was 18″ and weighed 2 and a 1/2 lbs… yes that’s right, we WEIGHED IN our sea robin! Haha!

keep up the good work — p.s. I already got a sticker from Grumpy, and it’s on my truck!! representing !!

Steve Setnicky


Hadn’t planned on placing flags in too many fishing/bait/tackle stores, because you should see the look I get when I try to explain this to proprietors of these institutions. But a major thank you to the fine people at Grumpy’s and Grumpy himself for having the deranged insight and confidence in the Garbage Fish product to place a very nice order. You will now be able to purchase these very important and handsome flags at Grumpy’s Bait in Tackle in Seaside Park, NJ.

A good story. I met a buddy down there so he could introduce me to the man himself in hopes he would consider letting me put a stack of stickers on his counter. He initially called me some choice names and told me that I was basically out of my mind. So, I offered him a free shirt and his choice of flags. (He went for the Sea Robin.) Grumpy then flashed a look at the Skate flag and pulled out his wallet and bought it out of pitty for me. He hung both of them on the peg board behind the counter and continued berating me. (In good fun.) If you’ve never been to Grumpy’s, it’s a big store with lots to look at, so it was very pleasing when two guys walked in to the store, were there 10 seconds, and the first things out of their mouth was, “I want a skate flag.” The other guy goes: “I want a Sea Robin flag.” The rest is history. Grumpy placed a nice order and will be an official retailer for Thanks, Grumpy. Check out their great website for fishing reports and specials.

This post is past due as I had trouble getting these shots off my wife’s camera. There is no doubt she will be lobbying for a new one as the old one now smells like fish and is having issues. Joy. Nevertheless, me, Captain Pud and his nephew Dave – newest member of the tournament pro staff, launched the fish skunk and went after the elusive species that are purported to be lurking in our local waters. Dave caught a channel marker and an oyster shell, I limited out on seaweed and Captain Pud remained faithfully at the helm as he navigated us through fruitless waters. We’ve been doing this way too long to give a crap so if I can give one bit of advice: set your expectations in life at the very lowest possible and everything from then on is gravy. Fish? We don’t catch fish – but we have fun and that doesn’t suck.

My buddy Bob took me out the other day for a recon mission and a shot at some big tiderunner weakies. Bob and his lovely wife spend their winters down on the west coast of Florida and one of their go-to baits is the Gotcha Plug. I don’t see that many of them up here but they are apparently very popular down south. I just got back from a week in Sunset Beach North, NC where I naturally didn’t catch jack snot, but the bait shops were packed with these plugs. Bob employed them up here in Jersey as we worked the flats of Barnegat Bay and he was slamming giant atlantic halibut, as you see pictured here. He had no trouble handling this huge door mat with just one hand. I, of course, got the skunk – and all of Bob’s trophy fish were released to grow even larger. Bob’s a heck of a fisherman and I’m always pleased when he takes pitty on me and invites me out. He runs a sweet boat, knows our waters, we always have fun and even with my jinx on board, we catch fish.

Holy Garbagefish, Batman. Check out the pic on the photo page. I think it’s a “Batray”. I wish I was around a couple hundred years ago cause I want to name me some fish. I’d have some good ones. Batray, though – nice name. Is it a comic…is it a diabolical flying rodent weapon of mass destruction…or is it just a very unfortunate looking fish?…you decide.

Thanks to the crew at the N Street Fishing Club out of Seaside Park, NJ. Captain Dan is pretty much the customer of the year with getting his crew in the tourny and buying a ton of garbage stuff, not to mention his hard core efforts in fishing it up for the outing. Congrats Captain Dan and thanks for your support as well as Gary’s and the other guys from the N Street Fishing Club.

Honorable mention thanks goes to my friend and neighbor Steve – who took a crew out to the Barnegat Ridge and trolled up some huge bluefish including a 15 pounder caught by his son – and of course dropped off some very respectable skate to the house which I cleaned and actually froze for future use. My last two trips aboard the Fish Skunk with Captain Pud produced only one Searobin and a bunch of short fluke so thanks to Steve for saving the week.

Weather and reports have been spotty lately. Hot, humid kind of August weather you’d expect so it’s the old “dog days of summer” kind of thing. From all reports coming to me, the dogfish, searobin and skate bite has dropped off. They aren’t going anywhere, but their normal flapping lips have taken a break for some reason. There are guys targeting blowfish right now, but I’m still debating as to add this to my official garbage fish category. Much like our beloved crap fish, however, these taste great and are fun for the kids to catch – as well as adults.

Check out this site above. These guys and gals are some of the few remaining folks who remember what fishing is all about. Now, this club is all about fun and they all hope to go out and catch some great fish, but read their reports: If they don’t, they keep in perspective and enjoy every day on the water. I was reading an article on targeting giant sword fish today. Electric reel, 1,800 feet of 80 pound braid that needs to find the bottom (think about that) 30 pound breakaway lead weight (at $30 a pop), bimini twists, your bait?…the belly of mahi mahi sewn shut onto a lure, etc. etc. and after all that – a serious skill set to be able to set the hook in one of these fish. Do you have any clue how long it takes you to get out to waters of 1,800 feet deep much less hook up with a big sword and reel it in? They say it takes an electric reel 10 minutes to reel in 1,500 feet of line with NO fish on it. And what about sewing the belly of a mahi around a lure/jig? I’m majorly impressed by all this and at the same time not remotely interested in wrapping my brain around the concept. I’m absolutely out of my head stoked if I catch a mahi and these guys are using it for bait? I’m not talking trash on these fishermen but I’m not spending $1,000 in gas and thousands more on tackle, ice, bait, etc. to go out and catch a fish that’s going give my wife and children mercury poisoning. Here’s a fun idea. Stay inshore, catch some tasty crap, laugh, spend little in gas and enjoy life for less. Or don’t.

A local sharpie told me that peanut bunker were the hot bait as of late. I went out this morning with my cast net to glom up a couple dozen or more. I consider these fish incredibly important so I only catch what I can use. The peanuts were thick but so were the mullet that seem to hang out very closely with the pods of juvenile bunker. It’s that time of year where these most incredibly important bait fish are back in our bays thicker than Serena Williams booty. Captain Pud and pro staff angler Greg Poole decided to get skunked without me so I set my bait free, sans a few finger mullet for the garage aquarium. I’m watching them closely to see if they’ll eat as these are mostly filter feeders. I’m feeding them Sea Monkey food since my son and I recently revisited my yout by assassinating a batch of sea monkeys given to him for his birthday (by accident). They want you to get an aerator for what amounts to a cup full of brine shrimp. Hell no. Anyway, there food is some green powder stuff which might appeal to the mullet since they won’t eat the normal flaked fish food that the killies devour. We’ll see what happens. If they develp an eating disorder, I’ll set them free.

My neighbor Steve caught the crap out of some garbage this weekend. Too much family activity this weekend to fish so I was thankful Steve dropped off some skate. Put this one on your garbage fish heart check menu. Clean, skin and remove meat from cartiledge, dredge in flour, and saute a couple minutes on each side in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Serve topped with homemade salsa. (diced peppers, jersey tomatoes, onion, grilled corn, and lemon juice). Doesn’t get any healthier than that.

Even more important, t-shirts version 2.0 are in. Gone are the white, 50/50 blend and in are the 100% pure columbian cotton shirts, with a pocket, in heather gray. Get’em while they’re hot.

Lastly, if you happened to be listening to 1160 am at 8:40 Saturday morning, you would have caught our interview with Bob Latorre on WOBM-AM. Bob does a weekly radio show covering the goings on in and around the Jersey Shore. They contacted us to find out more about and we chatted on air about fishing, garbage, the tournament and more. Thanks Bob.

Hot, humid weather lately, bringing splinter cell storms in between – roughing up patio furniture and keeping a lot of boats off the water. But I saw these diamond back terrapin today catching some rays on their favorite spot behind headquarters. These turtles are amazing. They’ll basically bury themselves in the mud and shut their systems down for 7-8 months until the water temps rise at which point they’ll come out, mate, get caught in crab pots and then do it all over again come late October. Doesn’t sound fun.

10.28.10 – Fluke Quotas; Days Gone By

Winter approaches; a time for fishermen to pull the boats, clean the gear, pack it away and get ready for a long cold season of bitching about the regulations put on their favorite target species. I talk to guys with many years on me tell me often about how much better it used to be. I don’t remember where I was when Kennedy was shot, I don’t pull my pants up to my nipples and I don’t like butterscotch candies so I don’t claim to be an expert on the good old days but below is a photo to perhaps question how much different it was as compared to now. Pictured is Garbage Fish staffers, Greg and Kevin Poole, showing off their catch in this 1980 photo taken in Harvey Cedars, NJ. Ugly, even back then, the two sharpies show off their 21 fish bag limit of fluke, aka summer flounder. For those reading that aren’t familiar with the regulations that are currently in place on this particular species, fluke are managed state by state in the great nation of the USA. Based in NJ – Team Garbage Fish encounter quite a few of these delicious flat fish but the Garden State currently limits the catch of 6 fish per angler at 18 inches a piece. While targeting skate, we have to deal with these pest-like, bait stealing, line fouling fiends on a daily basis. We don’t target them because we’d have a better chance of seeing Ru Paul linebacking for the Eagles (although shuhe might get a tryout this season) than catching our limit of fluke. So, in true Garbage Fish form, we go after more realistic, sustainable fisheries like skate, sea robin and dogfish.

What is most interesting about this photo is the size of the fish in question. Going back to the yarns spun by some of our older pals about how in days past they could walk across the water on the backs of keeper sized fish that filled the ocean and bays like fat cells in my liver – it’s interesting to see a 30 year old photo of what would be realistically considered a typical catch when regulations were not in place on this and most other fisheries. So what’s our point? Today, this fish’s numbers are considered to be down from previous years, therefor supporting the need for regs. in the eyes of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

So we ask, what’s out of place in this photo? Clearly, the building codes of 1980 because the 2 inch gaps between deck planking wouldn’t fly in 2010. What is really out of place, however, is the 21 fish in the 8 to 15 inch range – but no 18 inchers. Hmmm. Where are the mountains of giant fluke I keep hearing about? Oh…that must have been the day before, but only if I was using the chartreuse Gulp swimming mullet on the last half of the incoming tide on a spro bucktail lightly jigged but not dragged on the bottom – because this photo clearly shows what we catch every day in 2010. Why can’t I put 6 fish at 18 inches in the box for my day’s worth of fishing efforts? Because 6 fish per man at 18 inches for even an epic day of fluking is as unrealistic today as it was in 1980. But, as long as the governing body of brain surgeons that make these regs. continue to function as effectively as Ryan Howard swinging at a curve ball with 3 men on in the 9th inning, we’ll continue to target garbage fish and we’ll continue to tell our friends and family that the sea robin we are feeding them is a highly esteemed and sought after summer flounder, and they, much like our government, will be none the wiser.

10.27.10 – Custom Cedar Sea Robin Plug Video

After giving Greg, Supervisor of the Garbage Fish Research and Design Team, a design for a sea robin plug – I field tested the finished product. Greg should take no responsibility for the plug’s appearance but regardless of looks, this hot out of the factory lure produced major results. Watch the vid.

10.27.10 – Custom Cedar Sea Robin Plug Video

After giving Greg, Supervisor of the Garbage Fish Research and Design Team, a design for a sea robin plug – I field tested the finished product. Greg should take no responsibility for the plug’s appearance but regardless of looks, this hot out of the factory lure produced major results. Watch the vid.

10.25.10 – Angling With Ant

Garbage Fish junior staffer, Anthony, had a good fall day fishing off Seaside Heights, NJ. Looks like Ant put on a clinic for the old dudes. Check out his report below.

The ocean was a little choppy the further out you go due to west winds on Saturday. The fishing on the other hand was good. The people who went were Me, my pop, and our friend Junior. The fish I caught were 3 or 4 Sea Robins (Garbage Fish!), one nice sized fluke about 5 pounds jigging for blues on a Ava 47 with a green tail and the fluke actually bit the jig and was hooked in the mouth, and I got one blue – the biggest one of the trip. My dad got 2 or 3 Sea Robins, and 3 blues. One snapped the line right at the boat, one got off in the water, and one in the boat. Junior got 2 Sea Robins, and 1 Blue. The whole trip we were on the look out for Striped Bass and no luck. We caught most of our fish 2 miles out from the Sea Side Pier in about 70 to 60 feat of water. Also we heard talk on the radio about Bonito being caught at Sea Girt reef while trolling for Bluefin Tuna at the reef! There were 60 to 80 pound Bluefin at the Sea Girt reef! Over all a good trip and I hope there will be Stripers next week. Everybody get out there while the fishing’s still good! – Anthony


Ladies dressed up for Halloween? Nope. I was cleaning out some file cabinets in the corporate offices and stumbled upon this photo of the lunch ladies at Antheil Middle School in Ewing Township, NJ – circa early 1980’s. I sometimes have an irrepresible memory for the strange and disturbing because I’m wondering what happened to the lunch lady at that school who wore disco pants but really shouldn’t have. You can thank me for not taking her picture, but the ladies below represent an honest to goodness garbage fish spirit. On fried chicken day, the lunch room attendant pictured in the middle, Mrs. Clark, would walk with an empty coffee can and go from table to table in the cafeteria, asking children for their uneaten chicken skin – which she would fill her can with and then slurp down while attending to her duties. On paper, not the healthiest of diets, but clearly Mrs. Clark is suffering no ill effects as a result – she is truly a vision. Back then, people clearly took better care of themselves and more of a personal interest in their appearance. Thanks Mrs. Clark.


Joe, the sea robin whisperer, sent in some very cool pics of a few delicious birds that he encountered on his kayak in an excursion off Lavalette, NJ. Captain Alex Majewski told me that he once witnessed a sea robin blitz on the Barnegat Bay. That information along with these photos, I think, confirms that these fish do exhibit major schooling behavior. Whether that be during spawning, pre spawn, post spawn, feeding, Dead show, or migration, if you catch a sea robin there’s a good chance there’s more where that one came from. Look at Joe’s double header below and look close at the second picture to see 4 birds following each other up to the kayak. In the third image, Joe gets a great shot of this bird following a rubber shad up to his ‘yak. As a kayak fisherman, I can appreciate the challenge of just getting through the breakers in a 12 foot boat – no engine – loaded with gear. (I got pulled off my boat this year by a bluefish and that was in the back bay.) In these great shots, Joe manages to not only catch some big birds but get a few really cool pics of them while handling his kayak out in the ocean.

10.20.10 – Angling With Ant

Our friend Anthony, a middle school aged fishing and surf plug making phenom, has been out catching it up lately and sending me his reports. Anthony lives and breathes fishing and is a future garbage fish factory team member. It’s that time of year that most venture out with striped bass on the brain but are also aware that there’s still a bounty of species hanging out and willing to take offerings ear-marked for line-siders. Here’s Anthony’s report and photos:

The Atlantic Ocean was calm, 1 to 2 footers and a west wind. It was me, my dad, and John Luchka. We all decided to head north since we heard good reports from some of Johns friends. We started looking for some good bird action worth stopping for. When we did I had my heavy spinning rod set up with my metal lipped diver and I was working it as both a diver and a popper, I got nothing on it the whole day. Also I had a light tackle spinning rod set up with a smaller deadly dick for Albie’s, but saw blues jumping so i put on a A-27 plain diamond jig. The fish I caught were some little snappers, a sea robin but it got off at the boat, and 1 or 2 little weakfish. John got a Striper, 3 blues, a sundial, 2 or 3 little weakfish, and 4 Albie’s. My dad got 4 Stripers all keepers but one was just about a keeper by an inch so we let him go to grow up, he got his first blue of the year, 1 Albie, and a Sea Robin.


Spoils Of The Offshore Fisherman

Last week we diatribed about fishing forrays a bit different than what the lowly garbage fisherman encounters. For every trip that gets cancelled due to weather or poor fishing reports, there are offshore pursuits that do produce. I couldn’t help but see my neighbor Rusty come in from a rainy night out at the canyons off New Jersey aboard the Tight Linez and cruise over to see how they did. A 240 pound big eye and some nice swordfish sat at the dock as testament to a trip worth taking. The crew was cleaning up and weighing in the fish and the looks on all their faces told a good story of their trip. The pictures below tell an even better story. This very nice sized big eye went for a whole squid as the men were on the chunk, and it quickly boogered the reel into a birds nest. While one of them hand lined the fish to keep it from breaking off, the others worked hard to clear the mess on the reel. In less than 15 minutes total, this fish was on the boat. Good story and good fish for the crew of the Tight Linez. Now I just hope the weather cooperates so they can crush some fat steaks on the grill. 


Plight Of The Offshore Fisherman

To expand on last weekend’s near forray into offshore adventures and all the ups and downs that come with it, most specifically the 30 hours of 8-10 foot up and downs, let’s take a look at the plight of the offshore fisherman.

In addition to countless inshore and backbay trips inside and off the Barnegat inlet, each year staff sharpie, Greg Poole, braves an intrepid journey on the Doris Mae out to the fertile tuna grounds of the offshore canyons. Aboard the Doris Mae, a large, well equipped head boat, Greg has tackled the long offshore trip for 10 years running – in search of something large, pelagic and delicious. So, when our trip was cancelled last weekend because the captain made the prudent call to bag it, as the weather and fish were not cooperating, we didn’t expect that the tuna we’d catch that day would not only be right off the beach, but inedible. (More on the inedible tuna in a second.)

A canyon run is something that can pulse through an individual’s blood like an std. A calling, if you will, that lures men on a 4-6 hour trek offshore to where the sea floor drops off deeper than the grand canyon and the warm gulf stream converges with chilly north atlantic waters. This is where a fishermen can find the prized pelagics and happen upon huge species such as yellowfin, bigeye, bluefin, longfin, swordfish, mako and other beasts roaming the warm waters in search of squid and other tasty treats. The reward of bringing home a huge cooler full of incredibly pricey sushi and being out in the blue water, however, carries with it a price. $300-$500 per fisherman, in fact, depending on who’s or what vessel your are fishing. Plus, there’s the simple logistics of getting off work, missing out on peewee soccer games, getting to the coast, packing and being prepared for what you need. To give an example, I restocked on huge metal jigs, fit only for something you’d find in the deep blue, respooled a big Penn Senator, and refilled my scopalamine prescription. The trip was subsequently cancelled, the jigs will just look nice hanging in my garage, the Penn will look equally nice and useless, and the scopalamine patches will sit in the medicine cabinet unused and ready to expire just before the next tuna trip gets cancelled 30 minutes prior to departing. Save, of course, the one $20.00 patch I already applied that made me a complete jellyfish for 12 hours.

The trip itself is usually a 4 hour roller coaster ride until, that is, you get there and sit on a hard wooden bench bobbing 5-10 feet up and down, next to some dude you don’t know while staring at a million dollars worth of boat and tackle as you wait for the hopeful bite. Bottom line, it’s a lot of effort for a questionable amount of reward. For some, it’s probably like marriage.

With all that said, let’s take a look at my favorite offshore tuna trip. I wake up, get out of a warm, soft bed and venture to my personal tuna boat docked on my desk in my office. I named her, the SS I’m Not Going To Throw Up Today. I’m talking a computer, peeps. On this bad boy, I set sail to where for a mere fraction of an offshore tuna run, I can order an overnight shipment of the finest wild or farm raised sushi grade bluefin, yellowtail, or salmon. There’s a certain amount of comfort in knowing that by doing this, I’m not going to die, spend hundreds of dollars to vommit for 30 hours and not catch squat as most often happens with me, reschedule and plan around the fact that basically – when on a tuna trip – I might as well not be on planet Earth because I can’t be reached by cell phone, vhf, smoke signal or telepathy. (not even psychics can reach you offshore)

You want to talk to Brian in internet sales at Catalina Offshore Products. He’ll tell you what’s the best deal and make sure you get your order the next day, packed in ice, ready to throw down with some soy and wasabi. We’ve spoke about Catalina before but it’s my most recent brush with the insanity of going over 100 miles in 10 foot seas with a captain I’ve never met, aboard a boat I’ve never seen, with people I don’t know, that’s got me reinvesting some of my offshore tuna money in a nice tasty order from the good people at Catalina Offshore Products.

Anywho, we did get to go fishing that day, except we opted to fish with Captain Steve on an inshore striper trolling trip. The seas inshore were beautiful and even better, only 5 miles from my kitchen where I prepared the false albacore that we bagged on a deep running stretch 30 plug. The false albacore is in the wonderfully tasty tuna family, but holds the incredible distinction of tasting like a spoiled fish anus. I’ve caught many a fat albert before, but have released all to fight another day. Being that we are garbage fish, I had to finally try to cook this fish which is widely reported to be the worst tasting thing in the sea. I gave it my A effort but no matter what I did to the meat, it tasted like a shot of blood that had been sitting out in the sun for 3 days. Mmmm. Moral of the story, let this beautiful fish go and check out Catalina Offshore if you want a 100% chance of eating some delicious fresh sushi at home. Tell them sent ya.


Our tournament pro staff was all set to run out to the canyon in search of some non-garbage fish but apparently the reports were bleak enough to cancel the trip. Instead, we went out with factory staff member, Steve H., aboard the Purr-fect Daze – looking to troll for some inshore stripers. Couldn’t locate any but the albies were busting so we had fun with them. (click below to watch video)

If there’s one thing we’ve learned through our work at – it’s that looks can certainly be deceiving; take the oyster toadfish for example. It really is a butt ugly fish, however it’s meat is arguably as delicious as any other inshore species. Now, let’s take the false albacore or little tunny. For my money, it’s got to be one of the coolest looking fish out there but it’s meat tastes like cat food, and some would say that’s an insult to cat food. Regardless, they are fun to catch. 


Staffer, Bob Misak, was on a tog hunt yesterday but had to deal with this pesky 22 pound striper on light tackle. The rock fish blasted his crab, and Bob had fun coaxing it out of the water on light tackle. Looks like a nice weather window for a while – with that mini nor’easter behind us. Enjoy the nice fall weather.


Pictured above is garbage fishermen, Steve Streletz, sporting a tasty skate caught on board his Grandpop Zeno’s boat, the Lucky Lois. Lucky Lois was lucky indeed as this is a decent size fish that’s got me thinking…skate cakes. (Thanks for sharing the pic, guys.)

Speaking of skate cakes, flick on the show – Lobster Men – if you get the chance. Watch close and check out what the lobster pots are often baited with. You guessed it, whole skate. I’m not saying skate are all lobster eat, but I’d bet any lobster fed a strict diet of skate meat would taste even better than your average sea bug. Why? Simple: You are what you eat. Test this theory on some 2-3 pound bluefish next spring when they invade the back bays, feasting mainly on grass shrimp. Grass shrimp are small shrimp, or big krill, depending on how you look at it…or them. Either way, they taste like shrimp and when the little blues fatten up on these critters, their meat takes on a very pleasant flavor. So if you still don’t think garbage fish are good to eat, just ask a lobster.


A large thanks to Justina and crew for sending in these pics of their quarry. Why they didn’t fish this years tournament, I don’t know, but look out in 2011 for this intrepid team of garbage fish sharpies. Pictured are Justina, Brian and Zachary (the angler who scored the nice american eel.) Talk with some of my paisano relatives and they’ll slap you for calling eel a garbage fish but in many a fisherman’s eye, this delicious and truly remarkable animal is considered a nuisance. (Not to us !) All they needed was a skate to get the garbage fish grand slam.


Just got off the phone with garbage fish factory pro staff tournament sharpie, Bob Misak, who was set to guide some friends of out on the wild and wooly rocks for black fish, but the full harvest moon we had this weekend kept the tide up and the ocean ripping through the unruly Barnegat Inlet – not ideal for togging – so the boys bagged the trip. Fishing wasn’t ideal, but when the weather won’t cooperate, the kitchen will. I thawed out some beautiful dogfish yesterday and cooked up a couple dogfish tarts. When you think tart, you probably tend to think more about a desert or Katy Perry, or if you’re fortunate enough, Katy Perry for desert. This is more of a savory breakfast or dinner tart, however. It’s more akin to a quiche. I think it’s a great leftover dish, using a frozen pie crust and of course fresh garlic, onion, potatos and cheese, but then taking advantage of any overlooked ingredients around the crib. Pop in some tomatoes, ham chunks, of course chopped dogfish, (ham and fish together? Why not? – although…I would have blown off the ham idea if I didn’t have a bunch of it I wanted to get rid of,) fresh thyme, egg, salt and pepper and you are cooking with gas, as they say. I once heard a notable tv cooking personality say that fish and cheese together is a no no. We won’t mention her name, but what the hell does Rachel Raye know? Cooking and rules go together like Rosie O’Donnell and Victoria’s Secret.

Once again, you’ll find that the bastard fish of the sea, such as skate, dogfish and sea robin, freeze incredibly well. Put a foodsaver on your x-mas list this year and you’ll be happy you did as you too can be eating garbage fish tarts while at the same time for most, seafood is all but an after-thought.


There’s a nice magazine that you can pick up at most bait shops in NJ called Jersey Shore Fishing Magazine. As far as I know, it’s the only free regularly printed publication of its kind in NJ. Always another reason to visit your shop and say hello. This month, they did a nice piece on Click the images above to read what they have to say about us.


Tournament pro staffer, Steve Hardeski – and I, went out last night in search of blowfish. The delicious little beach balls were all over the place – with over 50 fish coming over the rails in short order, along with sea bass, porgie, kingfish, spot and a starfish. It’s blowfish cocktails being served up at garbage fish headquarters, but I wished we could have run into a dogfish or two, as can sometimes happen in the back bays when chumming up the inflatable chicken of sea (aka – northern pufferfish.) Here’s Michael Tillberg showing how he did just that – displaying a nice smooth dog caught off Lanoka Harbor, in the Barnegat Bay, last weekend.


After today, fluke season is closed and the picture becomes somewhat confused out there. So much emphasis is placed on this fishery that it clearly effects the coastal tourism flow. The closing of fluke/summer flounder season will effect everyone, in a way. Bait shops will be effected since there will be far less people visiting them to gear up for the newly closed season. Charter captains and head boats will switch full time to wreck fish and the fall migratory species. Marinas will sell less gas and less bait. All local businesses that benefit from the folks coming down to fluke – such as supermarkets – motels – weekend rentals – gas stations – adult bookstores – you name it, everyone is effected. The closing of fluke season, in a way, ushers out the summer and puts its own stamp of finality on the summer gone by. Not for us.

Last we checked, there are still no regs. on our beloved garbage fish. Got out with tournament pro staffer, Steve Hardesky yesterday, and he and his son delivered a garbage fish trifecta. Dogfish, sea robin and skate were brought over board – along with a keeper fluke (probably the last of the season) and even some small weakfish that were thrown back to go get killed as by-catch by shrimp netters down south. So, while the summer shuts down and fresh seafood becomes a memory, check out what’s hitting the table at garbage fish headquarters.

Think eggs benedict. This one is lights out. In short, chunk up sea robin meat, make fish cakes with your favorite crab cake recipe (substituting sea robin meat for crab) cook ‘er up – and top an english muffin with the sea robin cake, poached egg, hollandaise sauce and surround it with some hash browns. If everyone doesn’t love this, you messed it up.

9.2.10 tournament pro staff angler, Bob Misak, shows us his method for cleaning and serving blowfish.


Just got out before this big blow, aka: Hurricane Earl, to get some blowfish before they get all freaked out when the bay turns into a washing machine. Since the sea robin seem to be really small right now, and we’ve covered skate and dogs all summer, here’s some pics and video on how to clean your blowfish quick and easy. We have a ton of these grippers we use that we are blowing out. You can get them from us here and they ship out the same day. You can’t find these toothed grippers in the stores anymore but we have a bunch that we are clearing out of inventory. They can be used to skin blowfish, skate, dogfish, rattle snake, etc.



Last day of August, hurricanes looming, fluke season dwindling…a great time to have over tournament pro staffer, Bob Misak, for some end-of-the-season fluke po-boys. Fluke a garbage fish? Not by most people’s estimations. Fluke or summer flounder are actually the main benificiary target game species that the garbage fish concept tries to protect. By putting that skate on ice instead of tossing it back, you just responsibly and legally kept a delicious fish for the table that you would have otherwise tossed back to return to the depths and suck up juvenile fluke, who are trying desperately to run the gauntlet of the ocean’s bottom predators. Take a look at this po-boy sandwich and take pride in what you are trying to sustain by loving your garbage.

8.28.10 tournament pro staffer, Bob Misak, was working the inlet and doing his thing recently, scoring this monster sheepshead. These fish are off-the-charts eating, but not an oft-targeted species in NJ – and most people will tell you because they aren’t worth targetting. Bob will tell you differently. The former unofficial state record holder of this species, and sheepshead sharpie, regularly lands these bad boys. This fish went over 10 pounds and if you’ve ever targeted them down south where they are more prevalent, you will very, very rarely catch one this large. For some reason, despite us not having the shear concentration of them up here, the ones that Bob sees are much larger than the usual suspects down south. Of course, they could just be adapting to being in Jersey where size matters. This is, after all, the state where the weak are killed and eaten. We suggest a nice ponzu sauce over a bed of field greens.


Good stuff cooking at Picked up a mixed bag this week. With the late summer warm waters, the bay is producing its usual grab bag of tasty morsels. We targeted blowfish, aka northern puffers, and after working the bay for them for two straight days, we were able to put one on the table. That’s right, one. Ever see a blowfish? Not big. So, it required some creative work to make a dish out of it but with the fresh summer produce including delicious Jersey tomatoes, tomatillos, hot peppers and the like from my Dad’s garden, an honest meal was made. Go ahead and laugh that we cooked one blowfish – but you wouldn’t have been laughing if you tried it. Also picked up a kingfish which make it in force some years and in others, not so much. Nevertheless, after putting the cleaned meat in the deep freeze for 48 hours to kill any bacteria, it was kingfish sashimi as pictured below to the right.

Caught a number of sea robin this week but mostly little guys, which seemed to be the status quo from what we heard. With fluke season dwindling down, it’s going to be garbage fish galore because it will be about the only game in town.


Spoke with an editor, Lawrence Downes, from the NY Times yesterday. Mr. Downes, a resident and fisherman of the north shore of Long Island, contacted me with an interest to write about I didn’t get to speak to him until after the article was submitted and therefor was unable to extoll and elaborate the virtues of our plight. Mr. Downes labled us “rude and witty NJ fishermen” …guilty. He forgot lazy, hairy, and ugly but perhaps a follow up story is in order. Still, always nice to see a small town publication like the NY Times give us a little press. You can pick up this Sunday’s paper for a meager $5.00, or read it online for free by clicking here: Ugliest Catch

We are definately going to have to get Mr. Downes to slum it down here in Jersey and serve him some grilled dogfish steaks. I think he’d agree: Looks like crap, tastes like chicken.


Our second annual garbage fish tournament is over and we were really excited about this year’s results. With help and support from generous weigh stations/bait shops/vendors, people like Tom Pagliaroli of the Rack and Fin radio show on 97.3 ESPN radio who had us on the show several times, and the cutting edge fishermen and women who can see the forest for the trees, this year’s event nearly doubled in participation from 2009. If you fished this 2nd annual garbage fish tournament, you not only had fun, possibly won some amazing prizes, but you raised money to place invaluable seed clams in the very water that you rely on to provide you fun, entertainment and fresh fish. Without clams, we are screwed.

Last year we had 9 winners – with 3 prizes in each category. This year, we had 21 winners thanks to amazing prize donations by all these great shops. Not only that but the winning fish this year smoked last year’s big garbage. A massive 16 pound, 7 ounce dogfish was weighed in at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle by winning angler, Joe Ochanas, eclipsing last year’s winning dog by over 7 pounds. We had larger skate and birds as well showing you that while regs. get tighter on weaks, fluke, and most other fish, you can still responsibly enjoy fishing for and keeping all species of crap, unmolested by the man’s regulations. And, while you do – you can not only put great fish on the table, but help our waters by creating a healthier balance of species. So to all those who got it – thanks, you did good. To all those who didn’t, have fun standing on the beach for 12 hours to possibly catch that one striper you’ll no doubt have to throw back.


The big smooth doggy pictured below in the July 28th entry found its way into two awesome dishes. As many know, dogfish is the staple fish used in fish and chips in Europe. Not ever having been to Europe, I’ve never tried their fish and chips but I can tell you this – dogfish grill as well as they fry. It’s an incredibly versatile fish which does well baked, sauteed, fried or grilled. Try and slap a slab of flounder on an open grill and good luck with that. Dogfish grill up just like swordfish or mako shark – with a similar consistency and flavor. I highly recommend steaking a large dogfish, and then putting it on the grill as pictured below, wrapped in bacon and drizzled with a soy/brown sugar reduction sauce. Pictured are the before and after shots of the raw steaks and the finished product.

For those of you that missed out on the fish fry – below is a shot of what we served up. Jersey fresh tomato salsa filled fish tacos, also using dogfish which was perfect for this healthy and tasty dish. Along with dogs, we cooked up sea robin and skate and rocked people’s socks with fish they’ve never tried.



Tournament is winding down, and wrapping up this Saturday. At that point, we’ll collect all forms and the leader board will be completed. If you don’t see your fish on the leader board yet, don’t fret. Final tallies will not be complete until next week. At that point, we’ll announce winners and prizes will be doled out.


Pulled off the garbage fish fry this past saturday. Thanks to those of you who joined us and braved some fish you’ve never had before. Because of the heat, we didn’t get a huge crowd but the tournament pro staff was on hand to talk garbage fish, do a skate cleaning demonstration and fry up sea robin, skate and dogfish tacos. Coupled with some great fresh Jersey produce, you couldn’t ask for a better tasting and healthier dish on a hot summer day. Captain Pud, fishing author Bob Misak and pro staffer Greg Poole are pictured below relaxing after cooking in near 100 degree temps and battling ankle biting black flies that seem to come out in that type of heat. Also thanks to Jersey Joe for bringing a couple skate, and Marty for doing for doing the demo.



12 days left to win some great prizes in the garbage fish tourny. Speaking of – while harvesting the over abundant skate population for the fish fry – I got hungry while cleaning them and decided to make some skate sushi up. Had some neighbors drop off some home grown jurassic cucumbers so I made some sushi rice, coated some skate meat in a flour mixture and flash fried it. I layed the fried skate, cucumber, and avocado on a nori sheet with sushi rice and rolled up some delicious skate maki. It cracks me up that people throw these back, but then, more for me. These were outstanding.



Went out on the “Purr-fect Daze” yesterday with Captain Steve to chase some skate and brought his skate and sea robin to South Harbor Marina for weigh ins. ‘Loved the looks we got from some people wondering what and why we were weighing these fish. A man asked us what why we were weighing garbage fish and then proceeded to tell us he doesn’t eat fish because they poop in the same water they eat. Gotta love it. I hope my man has never eaten chicken or pork not to mention seen how or by who his food has been handled, packed or prepared. For me, one of the number 1 reasons I enjoy fishing is I know where and when the fish have been caught – how they’ve been handled – and how they’ve been prepared. Nothing gives me greater comfort knowing that the fish is fresh and that they’ve been kept, cleaned and prepared in a cleanly manner. Why? Because I’m eating them. Because I’m serving them to family and friends. You just don’t get that advantage when your food his handled by god knows who along the way. You can rest assured that someone along the long line of handling your food before it hits your plate, is pissed off at how much they are getting paid to do it and I just don’t want pissed off people touching my food.



Weigh ins are still coming and diehard garbage fishermen are braving the hot weather to bring their garbage fish to the scales. There are still two weeks left in the tournament so keep fishing. Thanks go out to Tom Pagliaroli of the Rack and Fin radio show on ESPN radio for doing a second segment last Saturday on and the tournament. Also thanks go out to Tom Mongelli of WOBM radio for doing an interview with us last week. Word it out – is not just a website, it’s a movement.

Also – thanks go out to Martin Sedlacko Jr. for cast netting an Atlantic Lookdown fish up in Pt. Pleasant and bringing it down to Forked River to take up residency in the garbage fish tank. This is a rare fish to be found up these parts – and usually resides in tropical waters but occasionally strays up this way in the gulf stream and can be encountered in the summer months. This juvenile lookdown most likely would have not found his way out of the bay and would have died as the water cooled during fall and winter. We had to discard some green crabs and some fat killies to make room for him, but those are only bait. The Lookdown is a high end aquarium fish.

Above is garbage fish angler and tournament fishermen, Rocco, with his 1 pound 7 ounce sea robin that currently sits at first runner up courtesy of Lacey Marine in Forked River. Runner up prizes are sweet with awards like rod and reel combos, gift certificates, free boat rentals, weekend stay at River’s Edge Bed and Breakfast and more.



Skates are still the easiest target with it being virtually impossible to not catch them at this point, but the warmer water will push sea robin in and we’ll see a lot more action on them in upcoming days.A quiet weekend as for weigh ins for the tournament this past weekend. I think the weather report for Saturday scared some people off but it turned out to be a very fishable weekend. The East wind brought in warmer and clear waters so that can have a positive effect on some fisheries and negative on others. Did get another huge smooth dogfish weighed in from Fisherman’s Headquarters at 12 pounds even. Greg from Fishermans will tell you – you can catch them during the day if you knock one in the head with a fluke rig but for the most part, they feed at night. Try evening, bayside, moving tide, near inlets. Below is a huge doggy that was caught but not entered in the tournament. Chris grabbed this smooth hound from the Ventnor pier. Don’t forget – it’s only the 12th so you can register to fish the tournament all the way to the end. 18 more days to get out there and place.



Finished up the first week of this years month long garbage fish tournament and saw a lot of garbage fish come to the scales. Thanks to all the shops for their participation with weigh ins. Just got off the phone with Captain Andy Grossman of Rip Tide Bait and Tackle. They are our only shop in Atlantic County so if you are fishing south of Long Beach Island, stop by Andy’s shop in Brigantine to weigh in your catch and rebait.



Tournament is on like Donkey Kong and the fish are piled up out there. Remember, you can sign up throughout the month and there are going to be 3 to 4 runner up prizes in each category, in addition to the 3 cash prizes in each category. Caught this nice looking sea robin out of Manasquan Inlet and it produced some delicious filets. Click below for larger images and get out there and get fishing.

Have to thank the press, especially noted fishing author, Bob Misak, for taking the time to cover what we are doing here and why. It helps to spread the word. Currently, you could go out fishing with a gummy bear on a rusty hook and pull up as many skate as you want. They are blanketing the bottom and doing a number on juvenile marine fish and shell fish. In fact, there are a lot of confused skate out there wondering why their buddies are not returning to the bottom after getting reeled in. I Cleaned one this week that I did calimary style and the autopsy revealed 15 baby blue crabs in its belly along with two baby winter flounder.The media has been very supportive of helping us spread the world on the difference you can make and the tasty dish you are tossing back. Click here to see some of the recent press on



We’ve got to check in with the shops this week to see how they ended up with weigh-ins for the weekend. So far, I’ve checked with a couple weigh stations and the board is starting to fill up. Already have last year’s first place dogfish blown away and last year’s first place skate is tied up. Below, Steve H. weighs in his 2.6 pound skate at Fish Bonz Bait and Tackle in Forked River, which currently stands at 3rd place.


Tourny is in its first weekend and I’m starting to hear reports. Keep an eye on the leaderboard to see where you stand as I get the first week’s weigh-ins sometime later this week. If you see that your fish won’t compete – and you don’t plan to eat it – let’r go to get bigger for next year’s outing.

Garbage Fish tournament pro staff took the junior staffers out yesterday to scout some trash locations and young Davey caught his first bird at just over 1 pound. Plus, future tournament pro staffer, my son Jables, caught his first keeper fluke at 18.5 inches. And, Ryan Dellane of Manahawkin weighs in his Sea Robin at Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom – and currently sits in first place. Ryan displays the correct way to hold a Sea Robin.



Remember, you can sign up all month for the tournament so get on it !!


First night of the tournament brought a 15 pound 2 oz. smooth dogfish to the scales at Fisherman’s Headquarters smooshing last year’s first place fish by nearly 5 pounds. The tournament pro staff hit the surf on the second night to cash in on some of that action to load up for the fish fry but the dogs weren’t barking at us. Fished through the night and got the skunk on clams, bunker, and high lo’s off the north end of L.B.I. Nice night on the water but no doggies for cooler. Will try again as the word is the big dogs will be here for a few weeks before the rats move in.


Tournament kicks off today. One whole month to sign up. One whole month to fish for garbage and win some great prizes. Get in on the fun. Plus, this just in: I got a call from a registered angler early this morning that he may have shattered last year’s first place dogfish with a 12.5 pound doggy from the surf. It’s unofficial at this point because it was weighed on a boga grip and hadn’t made it to an official weigh station yet. But the surf is blanketed with dogs right now so register and get out there.



Did the annual Bordentown boys garbage tournament and we crushed it. I think there were over 100 skate caught but only a couple doggies and sea robin out there for our efforts. Fluke ratio was 20 – 1 throwback – keeper. Here’s what I did with the skate and the dogs. I vacuum packed and froze the big dog for the fish fry but made bites out of the little ones. The grippers we sell are a must and make cleaning this fish, simple. The skate, grippers too but with the skate wing I kept it basic and healthy. Just did it in 1 tbl. spoon of olive oil saute’ed in the pan for just 3 minutes a side, little salt and freshly ground pepper and fresh lemon juice on top. Amazing.

Remember, you can sign up all month for the tournament so get on it !!



First night of the tournament brought a 15 pound 2 oz. smooth dogfish to the scales at Fisherman’s Headquarters smooshing last year’s first place fish by nearly 5 pounds. The tournament pro staff hit the surf on the second night to cash in on some of that action to load up for the fish fry but the dogs weren’t barking at us. Fished through the night and got the skunk on clams, bunker, and high lo’s off the north end of L.B.I. Nice night on the water but no doggies for cooler. Will try again as the word is the big dogs will be here for a few weeks before the rats move in.



Tournament kicks off today. One whole month to sign up. One whole month to fish for garbage and win some great prizes. Get in on the fun. Plus, this just in: I got a call from a registered angler early this morning that he may have shattered last year’s first place dogfish with a 12.5 pound doggy from the surf. It’s unofficial at this point because it was weighed on a boga grip and hadn’t made it to an official weigh station yet. But the surf is blanketed with dogs right now so register and get out there.


Did the annual Bordentown boys garbage tournament and we crushed it. I think there were over 100 skate caught but only a couple doggies and sea robin out there for our efforts. Fluke ratio was 20 – 1 throwback – keeper. Here’s what I did with the skate and the dogs. I vacuum packed and froze the big dog for the fish fry but made bites out of the little ones. The grippers we sell are a must and make cleaning this fish, simple. The skate, grippers too but with the skate wing I kept it basic and healthy. Just did it in 1 tbl. spoon of olive oil saute’ed in the pan for just 3 minutes a side, little salt and freshly ground pepper and fresh lemon juice on top. Amazing.


Got a chance to talk with Tom Pagliaroli, host of the Rack and Fin radio program, and the interview aired on 97.3 ESPN radio. Click below for the interview. I somehow lost about 10 seconds of it, but I added some filler to patch it up.