Chuck Many often makes the long drive from northern N.J. to Virginia in mid-winter to wait out a striped bass bite that may not come — but if it does will be from a very big bass.

That was the case this week when Bob Bowden and Mike Greene joined him to fish with Neil Lessard on his Top Dog from Cape Charles. Many was hoping to get Bowden his first “50”, but it turned out that their only bite trolling a live eel off Chesapeake Bay was from a 54.5-incher that buried Many’s certified Boga Grip 60-pound scale. That area is closed to harvest at this time, though Many releases every striper caught anywhere in any case. Though quite a few 50-pounders have been caught on his Ty Man over the years, this was the first 60 on one of his trips.

61-lb bass Bob Bowden with his striper of a lifetime before release

The Garden State Outdoor Sports Show opened today at N.J. Convention Center in Edison. Capt. Jim Freda will be presenting a video of bluefin tuna being caught on poppers at the inshore grounds off Manasquan Inlet at 5 p.m. today in the main ballroom — and again at that time on Saturday. For info on the show visit GSOSS.com

Joe Melillo reports from Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant that he’s had some reports of small stripers in the Belmar surf, and of blackfish in Manasquan Inlet.

Gale warnings for NW winds up to 40 knots through today will come down as the winds diminish to 20-25 knots in the morning — and then to 15-20 by afternoon. Saturday continues to look good with NW at 5-10 knots. Sunday’s forecast is for NE at 10-15 knots, though light snow is possible.

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