Joe Lambarski caught this 7 1/2-pound red drum on an SP Minnow this week at Island Beach State Park. It was nothing like the 40-pound “channel bass” that frequented the central NJ surf during the fall a century ago, but the first northern red drum I’ve heard of so far this year.

NOAA Fisheries has warned NJ anglers that they should learn how to fish for red drum as climate change was going to push them north in warmer waters. Yet, 100 years ago anglers from all over the country were flocking to the Jersey Shore to catch the biggest channel bass which were the primary large inshore game fish of that time. Instead, we’ve seen cold water seals and whales moving south to New Jersey while red drum remain a rarity above southern Jersey.

Today’s northeast blow resulted in some party boats cancelling trips, but Capt. Ron Santee figured it was going to be fishable with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands and filed the following report: “

Found some life in the AM and managed a pick on the Bass….Fish were in shallow water so the bite was tough. Knew we had a couple hours before the change of tide so I did some searching.

Couple patches started to show at the change but not a good bite…Took a ride and found some life, started to Run & Gun slugging away. Once the boats came around the bite went to hell so we went in search mode one last time.

Found the Mother load of fish busting on top. Some big girls in the mix with a couple 35 pound babies going back. Tyler lead the way with more than a dozen fish. Pool fish went 36 inches. Patience paid off once again as I told all the guys, never quit!!!

The Golden Eagle from Belmar will be sailing early for stripers at 6:30 a.m.

Small craft warnings are through late tonight, but the morning forecast is for the northeast winds to be down to 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 and 3-5-foot seas.

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