Bluefish scoping hearing in Toms River this evening

A bluefish scoping hearing is being held from 6-8 this evening in the Ocean County Administration Building, 101 Hooper Ave., Toms River — Room 119. This hearing involves possible changes in the Bluefish Management Plan, including a change in recreational and commercial shares.

Though that plan was a good one, it was abused by the regulatory agencies which transferred so-called unused rec quota, due to almost all of the catch being released, to commercial fishermen despite any authority in the plan to do so — and in the face of a declining resource. The net result is the 3-bluefish rec limit this year, if there are any blues to be caught. That rule is in place, and isn’t within the scope of tonight’s discussion. I’ll have more about this tomorrow.

Capt. Al Crudele said blackfishing Sunday on his Bayhound out of Sea Isle City wasn’t as good as it has been during a windy morning, but his three anglers combined for 8 or 9 plus a dozen ling and some large bergalls.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar had an almost flat calm and mild Monday that produced decent blackfishing.  The high hook had three keeper pollock, and a few managed two tog. There were also a few ling and small cod.

Phil Fischer got out from Highlands to 17 Fathoms for cod, a few ling and big tog.

Small craft warnings are up through Wednesday evening. Tomorrow starts with northwest winds at 15-20 knots with gusts to 25.




Small craft warning up for Tuesday

Good weather doesn’t last long in the winter. Small craft warnings will be posted at 3 a.m. for southeast winds of 15-20 knots plus gusts to 30. That drops off in the afternoon to 10-15 knots south, but with rain.

Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that winter blackfishing has been holding up offshore with the Ocean Explorer bringing in tog up to 8 pounds. . He’s satisfied with the new regs for stripers of one at 28 to 38 inches  to take pressure off the big breeders, but says it will be tough on the trollers who catch mostly big bass. over 38 inches.

The Ocean Explorer got out Sunday but ran into a big swell about a mile out and couldn’t get to the deeper waters they wanted to fish. Yet, they did have one fare with a blackfish limit and also caught some ling and small cod.

Ric Gross of Point Pleasant reported good bottom fishing in 78-degree waters off Boynton Beach, Fl. yesterday for porgies and triggerfish, though trolling was slow.

Holiday may be fishable

It’s not the greatest marine forecast, but President’s Day may be fishable — and southwest winds have pushed temperatures back up.

Today’s southwest wind drops to 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 by morning — and down to 5-10 by afternoon.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported lots of life on the bottom during Saturday’s blackfish trip which produced a couple of legal tog for two fares and one for some others. A few big tog were broken off. The seasonal pool is over $5,000

Capt. Kenny Namowitz reports a “go” tomorrow on his open trip with Mimi VI from Point Pleasant.  He’s fishing for blackfish at 7 a.m. on a limited trip for $8o. Make a reservation by calling 732 370-8019. He’s also sailing open on similar trips Saturday and Sunday.

Sorry for noting the SWABC flea market on the wrong day. I had it listed in my book for Sunday.

SWABC Fishing Flea Market on Sunday

The Salt Water Angers of Bergen County will be running their big Fishing Flea Market on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Hasbrouck Heights Hilton at 650 Terrace Ave.

The New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo concludes tomorrow in the N.J. Convention Hall at Edison.

Today was the coldest day of the year, but it’s warming up. However, that warming is coming from a switch to southwest winds. gusting to 25 knots tonight. After a calm day, the forecast for Sunday that was noted here last night as light winds will instead be southwest at 15-20 knots before dropping to 10-15 in the afternoon.  Now it’s Monday that looks good with just 5-10 knots west.

NJ sets striper & blue regs

The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council adopted regulations for the 2020 striped bass and bluefish seasons during their monthly meeting held in Manahawkin last night.

Paul Haertel of the JCAA was there, and noted that that well over 100 anglers were in attendance though there wasn’t enough space in the room for them. Even Tom Fote, governor’s appointee to the ASMFC, had to stand outside the room until he could go in to provide his comments.

Though the basic coastal regulation from the ASMFC was for one striper from 28 to less than 35 inches, the Council adopted a 28 to less than 38-inch regulation that meets the conservation equivalency standard for the state. That hadn’t been cleared by the ASMFC Technical Committee before today’s deadline, but Haertel expected that would be done in time.  Some anglers wanted to include a spring season closure in Raritan Bay, but were turned down because that effort to protect stripers full of roe hadn’t been studied and wasn’t in consideration.

There was a big change in the Bonus Program that is derived from the old commercial quota for what is now a gamefish state. That program had been providing a 24 to less than 28-inch bass during a fall season, but this year it will open on May 15 and continue all year if the quota isn’t filled.

The ASMFC regulations on bluefish were adopted. They provide only three blues to private anglers and five to those on for-hire boats. There is no minimum size or season though a closure which would provide a higher bag limit was turned down. Some of those commenting weren’t happy with the extra fish provided to party and charter boats, nor with the division between formally united private and for-hire sectors.

The weekend looks very cold, but should be calm. Small craft warnings are coming down at 7 p.m., but the west winds should have flattened the sea. The morning forecast is for north at just 5-10 knots before going southwest in the afternoon. That continues Sunday with 10 knots from the west.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing to offshore wrecks for jumbo porgies, cod, pollock and hake at 1 a.m. Space is available by calling 732 528-5014.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar had good blackfishing on it’s last trip this week, and will be back to it over the weekend.

Mimi VI blackfish

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will run open for blackfish (photo above) the next three days at 7 a.m. with a 25-man limit and  an $80 fare. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.

Bob Correll of Bay Head continues to be surprised by the variety of fish in back of the house he’s renting in Jupiter, Florida. After catching a 20-inch fluke or southern flounder a couple of days ago on a plug, he landed his first ever redfish (red drum) yesterday.

The New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo completes its run over the weekend at the N.J. Convention Center in Edison.

The Saltwater Anglers of Bergen County hold their big Fishing Flea Market Sunday at the Hasbrouck Heights Hilton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Adult admission is $5, and kids under 10 are admitted free.


Maryland delays trophy striper season to May 1

Maryland has made a big conservation change to protect spawning striped bass by pushing back the opening of their striped bass trophy season to May 1, and prohibiting  targeting of the pre-spawners, including catch and release fishing, before that.

New Jersey is getting ready to set their striped bass regulations at a 5 p.m. Marine Fisheries Council meeting in Manahawkin. I’ll have that info in tomorrow’s blog.

Bob Correll recently caught a bluefish behind a house he’s renting in Jupiter, Florida that was bigger than any he caught last summer in his local Bay Head surf.  Yesterday he did the same thing with fluke as a 20-incher hit the small plug he was casting. Actually, that was probably a southern flounder as they are the common flatfish south of North Carolina and hard to distinguish from the summer flounder of the north.Bobby's Jupiter fluke

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar had a good bite of blackfish on Wednesday that even included a few limits plus some cod and ling.

There’s a small craft advisory up due to northwest gusts to 25 knots tonight. The morning starts with northwest at 15-20 knots plus gusts to 25.

It looks a lot better for Saturday as the west wind will be down to 5-10 knots before dropping to just 5 in the afternoon with 2-foot seas. The Jamaica from Brielle will be running to the far offshore wrecks at 1 a.m. Saturday when it will be very cold  — but should warm up offshore where waters are much warmer.  They caught jumbo porgies, pollock, hake and even weakfish last weekend plus a couple of cod. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.



Regs to be set at N.J. Marine Council meeting Thursday

New Jersey 2020 creational regulations for striped bass and bluefish will be set tomorrow during the Marine Fisheries Council meeting at 5 p.m. in the Stafford Township Municipal Building, 260 Bay Ave. , Manahawkin.  The public is invited to that important meeting.

As noted previously, the N.J. Boat Sale & Expo opens tomorrow at the N.J. Convention and Expo Center in Edison.

Sorry for no blog last night, but something was wrong with Word Press and I couldn’t get into my site.

A small craft advisory is up for tomorrow, though it starts at only 10-15 knots from the south before going to west with gusts to 25 in the afternoon. Rain is likey in the morning.

NJ Boat Sale & Expo opens Thursday

The N.J. Boat Sale & Expo opens Thursday at the NJ Convention & Expo Center in Edison, and runs through Sunday.  More about that later in the week.

The annual World Fishing & Outdoors  Expo is set for Feb. 27 to March 1 at its usual site in Rockland Community College at Suffern, N.Y.

Today was a blowout, but small craft advisories are coming down tonight. Tomorrow’s forecast is for east winds at just 5-10 knots before shifting to northwest in the afternoon. Light rain is possible.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported decent blackfishing during Sunday’s trip.

Feb. tog-OE

Small craft advisory going up

After an unusually calm mid-winter day, a small craft advisory is going up at 2 a.m. and up to Monday afternoon. The morning forecast is for southwest winds at 20-25 knots with gusts to 30 plus 4-6-foot seas and rain.

Sunday looks good

It appears that anglers will get a break on Sunday before bad weather starts moving in that night.

Tomorrow should be fine for the Big Jamaica’s 1 a.m. trip to far offshore wrecks for jumbo porgies, cod, pollock and hake. There is room available on that sailing. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

The Ocean Explorer will resume daily trips for blackfish from Belmar in the morning.

The morning forecast is for southeast winds at a mere 5-10 knots, though that will switch to south at 10-15 with gusts to  20 knots during the afternoon.