With the blackfish season closed, offshore boaters ae seeking cod — and with some success.

Thursday was fairly calm, and just right for getting offshore to likely cod bottoms. The Ocean Explorer from Belmar did just that and managed a pick of good-sized cod (see below) and pollock plus a few ling. They saw lots of birds diving on what appeared to be bunkers.


Phil Fischer got out from Highlands the same day and ran off to 17 Fathoms where were lots of birds dipping on bait. The water temperature was 45 degrees — up three degrees in a week and a half.  He and his brother caught cod without a short, and also a few ling and small tog.

Matt Calabria of Hazlet has been worming school stripers from Raritan Bay shores, but also sent a photo to The Tackle Box in Hazllet of a 30-incher he beached today on a glob of sandworms dipped in Clam Fin-Essence.


First keeper bass


Betty & Nick’s Tackle in Seaside Park had an odd report from Sunday of two anglers who were playing around casting poppers in the winter surf at Island Beach State Park and actually caught small stripers. Barnegat Bay is a better bet.

The Hook House in Toms River reports stripers are hitting bloodworms and small lures there. White perch are also on the worms, but there haven’t been any flounder reports.

Capt. Vinny Vetere says he’ll be displaying his bunker spoons and Ho-Jos at the Asbury Park Fishing Flea Market in Convention Hall on Sunday. Percy Wentworth will also be demonstrating throwing his famous cast nets.

Gale warnings are up for NE gusts to 35 knots tonight. The morning forecast is for north at 20-25 knots plus gusts to 35 before dropping to 15-20 in the afternoon. Sunday is looking better with southwest at 10-15 knots and gusts to 20.


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