Though internal waters closed for striper fishing in N.J. on Jan. 1. the ocean remains open all year with the same regulations. A few hardy surfcasters will take advantage of that, especially with mild temperatures and west winds in the forecast.

Mike Monte plans to return to the Belmar surf that was producing a few shorts recently, but Ray Lewis reported recently that there were few small bass left even all the way south at Brigantine.

In the past, before heading to Florida for the winter, I almost always caught surf stripers in N.J. well into January and often right to the end of the month — though never in February even when I tried the very rare fishable day. Watch for cormorants which indicate the presence of small bait — and cast Tsunami Sand Eels or small plugs plus a teaser.

The marine forecast is for northwest gusts to 25 knots tonight before switching to east at 10-15 with gusts to 20 in the morning.

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