It’s officially a season opener in N.J. today, but also a closure for tautog until next month.  I doubt if there was much fuss about the opening of the N.J. winter flounder fishery, and there wasn’t any answer to a phone call to Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina this afternoon. The docks there may be the best bet for filling the two-flounder limit, and size is no problem there as any flounder caught should be well over the 12-inch minimum. If you need bait, be sure to call in advance before going down there. There’s probably no need to rush as flounder usually bite best at this time of year when the sun is well up to warm the very cold river waters.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle has at least frozen clams, and Betty & Nick’s was hoping to get some worms delivered. The latter noted that white perch have been active in Toms River, and there’s also a by-catch of small stripers, Inshore waters opened today for  striper fishing under the same regulations as last year.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar got in its last day of blackfishing, but it was a dud with just a touch of action late in the day for a few tog but no cod or ling. John Snook’s tog leader stood up to take the seasonal pool. The boat goes into the shipyard for a few weeks before some spring codfishing.

The weather looks a bit tough, though there shouldn’t be any coastal storm as was first predicted. A small craft advisory is up through Saturday afternoon. The morning winds should be northeast at 15-20 knots with gusts to 30 and 3-5-foot seas. Some rain and snow is likely. Sunday morning may also be wet, though the NE wind is predicted to be only 5-10 knots befotre shifting to the southeast.

The shows finish up on Sunday. The Atlantic City Boat Show welcomes boaters to Convention Hall, and Sunday is Family Day at the World Fishing Expo in Rockland Community College Field House at Suffern, N.Y. when kids under 5 are not only admitted free, but also get a free rod & reel as do those 11 or under — while supplies last. Get to the free parking early! Hours are 9:30 to 5. For details visit


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