It’s taken a long time to get started, but west winds gusting to 70 knots are predicted this afternoon. The strong winds are expected to only diminish slowly from the northwest through Monday afternoon, and the first fishable day may be Wednesday. The winds took awhile to arrive as by 1 p.m. the reports from all stations were under 20 knots, and calm at Sandy Hook — though seas were six feet at the Barnegat Buoy.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar got in two nice days before today. On Friday they fished deep waters for a half-dozen keeper blackfish plus a cod, ling and a couple of pollock. Saturday produced three legal tog in the deep before the current got too strong. A move to shallower depths surprisingly encountered good action even though only a few keeper tog were found among 40 shorts on both crabs and clams. They hope to get out again this week before the tog season closes.

The JCAA is holding an open house for possible new members at their Tuesday night meeting in Brick. I’ll have details in Monday’s blog.

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