Status quo for NJ fluke regs

Jim Hutchinson Jr. of the Fisherman magazine reports all the governing agencies have decided that New Jersey will have to maintain status quo fluke regulations for the upcoming season. Though those regs probably worked out well for party boats and casual anglers, dedicated fluke fishermen generally hated throwing back fluke over 18 inches which they have become expert at catching while having to settle for a limit with smaller fluke.

The Tackle Box in Hazlet will hold their Super Saturday Sale on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with everything reduced up to 50%. That will also be the final chance to enter their Striped Bass Raffle — and Bobby Back Bay Lures will be selling 100 custom metal lip plugs.

The Saltwater Anglers of Bergen County will be holding their annual Fishing Flea Market on Sunday from 9-8 at the Hasbrouck heights Hilton. A blackfish seminar will be presented at 9, and a surf fishing seminar follows at noon.

A small craft advisory goes up at 6 p.m., and changes to a gale warning from Friday morning to night. The forecast is for northwest winds at 25-30 knots with gusts to 35 plus freezing spray.

Vinny D’Anton has been doing well with spotted seatrout while wading flats around Sarasota, Florida. There have also some ladyfish, and he even caught a blowfish on his MirrOlure. Southern puffers seem to be more aggressive than the similar-looking norther puffer. Vinny got a surprise when a dolphin chasing a mullet almost bumped into him.

Chuck Many with another Cape Charles striper on Show-Nuf before release with a Gray tag and the spring spawn

MGreat mid-winter fishing for bluefins & stripers

It’s hard to believe that anglers can enjoy what may be some of the best Mid-Atlantic sportfishing of the entire year right now in mid-winter — if they are willing to travel.

Capt. Mark DeBlasio reports from North Carolina that bluefin tuna fishing has been more productive on his Water Proof in the last few days than it was throughout January. That charter boat from N.J. is finishing up its commercial season, and will be taking both charter and open reservations during a period when anglers have their best chance to boat a trophy tuna. They are catching 10-15 tuna under 73 inches while seeking giants, and more recreational-size bluefins are moving in every day. Mark says the 50-85-inch bluefins are best for stand-up fishing or for jig/pop excitement. Call 201 988-5475 for info and reservations.

The following report from Capt. Clinton Lessard about yesterday’s

striper trolling off Cape Charles, Va. fishing sums it up.:”What a day with Chuck Tyman Manny 16 Bites today, Crazier, 10 fish boated, 3 over 50 pounds. 2 Hooks in one fish. Nuts. Watched a rockfish play with planer board for 20 seconds. Hard to beat a day like today but we dam sure gonna try again on Thursday. Crazy we had 25 bites the last two days. . 757-710-0098

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported good Tuesday blackfishing despite some drizzle and sleet on a calm ocean. There were lots of shorts, and some keepers turned on late.

The forecast is for west winds at 5-10 knots before going southwest at 15-20 knots plus gusts to 25 in the afternoon.

Trophy stripers show no sign of leaving Cape Charles

Chuck Many used to pull out of Cape Charles as the pre-spawning big stripers seemed to stop hitting in January, but that doesn’t seem to be the case during this relatively mild winter. SHO-NUF from that port reported a “wild” day of trolling in flat waters as four up to 47 pounds were released with Grey tags! Charters will continue as long as the bass cooperate.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar enjoyed flat seas yesterday along with a south current which provided a good blackfish bite. Some anglers had limits plus releases, and there were lots of shorts.

The forecast is for north winds at just 5-10 knots and possible snow showers before going to northwest in the afternoon.

Huge South Jersey to MD tautog still biting

The amazing numbers of double digit blackfish from the southern end of N.J. through Delmarva being caught this winter have included the largest ever by a woman and many multiple daily catches by individuals.

New Jersey pro Dante Soriente reported even dead whitelegger crabs worked on his Magictail jigs as his crew aught 10 in the 11-14-pound range. Fish Bound from Ocean City, Md. reported a challenging bitelast week, with Sunday being an especially tough grind. However, the opportunity is there for dedicated tog anglers. One group had five up to 15 pounds along with three-fish boat limits of smaller blacks despite having to fish through lots of sea bass which are out of season.

Tautog of that size are very hard to come by in heavily fished northern areas. The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported lots of tog action yesterday with shorts plus an occasional keeper up to 6 pounds plus a couple of keeper cod. They’ll be taking a break until April’

The NY/NJ Bight forecast is for north winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20.

Capt. Greg Mercurio says it looks like the wind gods will permit the Yankee Capts. to get out of Key West for great variety bottom fishing and jigging.

Good weather coming up

With a prediction of west winds at 5-10 knots, Monday looks like a winner in N/NJ Bight- and the week also looks generally good.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reports their seasonal blackfish pool is up to almost $5,000. They had a slow start yesterday with wind, swell and cold water, However, all that changed later and a shared his latest column as follows: decent bite developed as they ended up with some keepers including a few of 5-7-pounds. ((Photo below)

Jim Hutchinson Sr. shared his latest column as follows:

The 2022 LBI Surf Fishing Classic is now a memory for Long Beach Island anglers, but their thoughts of many are on its spring cousin, the 21st annual LBI Spring Derby.

The Spring Derby runs from early April to the last week in June. Anglers cast lines from shore in hopes of catching that big striped bass or bluefish that will earn them a cash prize.

The problem now in mid-winter is surviving until the beach action begins. While the choices below may not be as exciting as a rod with a big striper on the end of the line, these activities may supply that needed fishing fix, and perhaps improve your angling skills.

This is a great time to examine your fishing gear. Did you just throw everything in a pile or jam into a tackle box last fall? If so, take everything out and make sure you are ready for that Spring Derby.

Everything, including waders, rods and reels, terminal tackle, and anything that might have come in contact with salt water last year, should be rinsed in salt water. Next, check your gear and inventory what you will need in the coming months.

Check your rod guides and reels. Replace line as needed. If anything needs professional attention, this is the time to do it. The experts at our local bait and tackle shops are not as busy as in the summer. They can tend to your needs in a timely fashion. Have them take those reels apart and get everything working properly.

In baseball lingo, winter months are termed the “hot stove league.” This refers to fans hashing previous seasons while they wait for the upcoming season. While the term is not used to describe fishing activities, it could. There are events where anglers can join like-minded folks and swap fish stories. They might even pick up some new fishing tips.

There are a plethora of fishing and boating shows in winter within an easy drive of southern Ocean County. If you have never made it to one of these shows, you are in for a treat. Once you pay a nominal fee, you enter an area filled with like-minded people. There are booths where various businesses are available to answer your fishing questions as they try to sell you a variety of items ranging from magazine subscriptions to guided fishing trips to sunglasses.

See what you can learn from these onsite representatives as well as other anglers on site. Who knows, a surf fisherman from Long Island, New York, make give one from Long Beach Island, New Jersey, the tip to land a winning fish in the spring derby.

Most shows also have seminars conducted by fishing and boating experts. Often you can pick and choose the topics that most interest you.

Then, there are local fishing flea markets. These are smaller versions of fishing shows with booths set up selling a wide variety of fishing gear, both new and used. Once again, with a room filled with fishing fanatics, how can you not get enthused about the upcoming fishing season?

As a bonus, most of these shows are run for some type of benefit. Local high school fishing clubs conduct theirs to raise funds for club member activities. As a matter of fact, the Southern Regional High School Fishing Club will be holding its annual market on Saturday, February 11, at the Middle School in Manahawkin.

One other way to calm your winter jitters is to stop in at a local bait and tackle shops. Although their days and hours are limited compared to in-season, there is usually someone there willing to swap fishing stories.

You are welcome to continue counting the days until the LBI Spring Derby opens up, but you now have a couple  of ideas to make the time pass by a little faster.”

An early fishing window

Anglers in NY/NJ Bight may have an early window of opportunity Sunday morning with south winds at 10-15 knots before picking up to 15-20 knots in the afternoon. Blackfish continue to be the best bet inshore. The weather looks good enough to load up with jumbo porgies on the Jamaica’s trip to far offshore wrecks which departs at 11 p.m. Check 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Gangler’s Fishing Lodges in Canada has a booth at the Fly Fishing Show in N.J. Expo Center at Edison which concludes tomorrow. I fished at their camp some years ago and even this saltwater guy enjoyed the action in a beautiful setting.

Capt. Monty Hawkins got out from Ocean City, Md. yesterday with his Morning Star, and had good tog fishing despite a rough sea. The pool fish was 28.5 inches. Monty uses measurement so anglers can participate in the pool and still release big spawners if they choose to. He noted that they could have limited on sea bass if that season was open.

Chuck Many fished his boat at Hilton Head, South Carolina for large red drum, but had to settle for lots of variety This amberjack or similar almaco displays the distinctive black feeding stripe on the head which appears when feeding. Grouper, sea bass and little tunny were also caught.

IGFA Live Auction at 8 p.m.

The IGFA is holding their 39th annual Live International Auction at 8 p.m. To get in on this event e-mail Kim Strong at kstrong@igfa.org.

The Jamaica from Brielle is sailing to far offshore wrecks for jumbo porgies at 11 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. Call 732 528-5014 for required reservations.

Saturday’s forecast is for southwest winds at15-20 knots before dropping to west 10-15 knots in the afternoon.

This beautiful African pompano was boated by James Loisel on a 20-pound Stanz rod with 30-pound braid on Capt. Nick Stanczyk’s Broardminded at Bud N’Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Florida Keys.

Surprising fluke

This is hardly the time of year you’d expect to catch a fluke; but Dennis Muhlenforth reports there have been some caught by blackfishermen the last three days from N.J. to Md. Of course, those fish are out of season and have to go back.

The gale warning goes down at 6:30. The morning NY/NJ Bight forecast is for west winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20 before dropping to 5-10 knots in the afternoon.

Chuck Many is sight casting to black drum in his salt ponds at Hilton Head. South Carolina

N.Y. Boat Show opened today

The New York Boat Show opened today at the Convention Center and runs through Jan. 29.

A gale warning has been posted in NY/NJ Bight through Thursday afternoon. The Thursday forecast is for west winds at 25-30 knots plus gusts to 40.

The Jamaica from Brielle picked at porgies on every wreck during Sunday’s trip. There were also some pollock and weakfish. Jim Appling from Mt. Laurel, N.J. won the pool with a 12-pound pollock. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations on trips sailing Friday and Saturday nights.

Absecon Bay Sportsman Center reports the best white perch fishing ever, though boaters accounted for most of the weekend fish in the deepest river holes.

Sailfish Marina in Riviera Beach, Fl. weighed this 472-pound swordfish brought in by the Crazy III.

R.I.P. Capt. Peter B. Wright

Capt. Peter B. Wright, one of the world’s greatest big game skippers, has passed away. I have no details at present, but will add them as they become available. Surprisingly, Pete was born on Jan. 8,1944 in Paterson, N.J. — far from the tropical waters where he was to primarily build his reputation. However, he grew up in Fort Lauderdale and was fishing out of Hillsboro Inlet as a teenager before going on to study marine biology at the University of Miami.

Peter ended up fishing around the world and becoming a member of the IGFA Hall of Fame and winning the Tommy Gifford Award. He became most famous as a pioneer in the Cairns, Australia giant black marlin fishery where he put more anglers into 1000-pounders than any other captain. Despite his fame, Peter was a friendly guy always ready to share his knowledge.

The list of laces Peter fished (as listed in his bio) follows:

Australia • New Zealand • New Guinea • Indonesia • Thailand • Mauritius • Kenya • Mozambique • South Africa • The Ivory Coast •  Bom Bom Island • Cape Verde Islands • Canary Islands • Madeira • Puerto Rico • Dominican Republic • Virgin Islands • Bahamas • US Gulf and East Coast • Canada’s Maritime Provinces • East and West Coasts of Mexico • Guatamala • Costa Rica • Panama • Ecuador • Chile • Peru • French Polynesia • Fiji • Nova Scotia • Newfoundland • Hawaii • the Galapagos

Shore Catch Charters reports Capt. Gene Quigley will be providing a seminar on fly fishing for tuna during the Fly Fishing Show in Edison at noon Saturday. At the same time Sunday, Quigley will discuss catching trophy stripers on the fly.

A small craft advisory is posted in NY/NJ Bight from Wednesday evening to Thursday afternoon. Wednesday starts well with east winds at just 5-10 knots before increasing to southeast 20-25 with gusts to 30 in the afternoon. There is a chance of rain in both the morning and afternoon.