It’s hard to believe now, but the United We Fish rally attended by busloads of east coast anglers plus some who flew into Washington D.C from other areas occurred 10 years ago.  It was an impressive showing, and several congressmen joined Jimmy Donafrio at the microphone to pledge support for Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management Act changes to benefit American fishermen.

Though the immediate results hoped for didn’t come to be, the potential of fishermen as a voting bloc was demonstrated.

Washington Rally Bob Matthews reports from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina that the mild winter has been producing fishing opportunities. The Ocean Explorer has been getting out for blackfish many days, and had tog up to 8 pounds yesterday. Matthews noted that season only runs through Friday.  James Wier of Belmar reported catching two short stripers on a jig in the Belmar surf. Internal waters striper fishing opens on March 1, as does the winter flounder season. Bob will have bloodworms and chum in time for the weekend.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will be fishing open for blackfish Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 a.m. with a fare of $120, a limit of 12 fares and both green and whiteleger crabs. On Thursday they’ll sail at 7 a.m. with an $80 fare and a limit of 25 with only green crabs and clams included for bait. A Saturday trip is for cod at 6 a.m. The fare is $120 with a limit of 15. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.

There’s a small craft warning up from late tonight through Wednesday afternoon, though the morning forecast is for only east winds at 10-15 knots.

Following up last night’s scoping meeting on summer flounder, scup and black sea bass in Belmar, there will be another from 6-8 p.m.  tonight in the Galloway Township Library at Manahawkin.

Capt. Charlie Fornabio reports from Florida: “Fishing is pretty good here in the Sebastian-Vero area. Mostly fishing quarter ounce jig heads with DOA Cal tails around the spoil islands and sand bar drop offs. Pompano have been the steady quarry along with trout. Plenty of bluefish and Spanish around Sebastian Inlet. Water temperatures have stayed in the high 60s as we have had a pretty mild winter. Lots of jacks and ladyfish seemingly everywhere you go. Small reds and snook way back in the canals and mangroves.” Call Charlie (formerly from Belmar) at 772 360-7647.

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