Good weather coming up

With a prediction of west winds at 5-10 knots, Monday looks like a winner in N/NJ Bight- and the week also looks generally good.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar reports their seasonal blackfish pool is up to almost $5,000. They had a slow start yesterday with wind, swell and cold water, However, all that changed later and a shared his latest column as follows: decent bite developed as they ended up with some keepers including a few of 5-7-pounds. ((Photo below)

Jim Hutchinson Sr. shared his latest column as follows:

The 2022 LBI Surf Fishing Classic is now a memory for Long Beach Island anglers, but their thoughts of many are on its spring cousin, the 21st annual LBI Spring Derby.

The Spring Derby runs from early April to the last week in June. Anglers cast lines from shore in hopes of catching that big striped bass or bluefish that will earn them a cash prize.

The problem now in mid-winter is surviving until the beach action begins. While the choices below may not be as exciting as a rod with a big striper on the end of the line, these activities may supply that needed fishing fix, and perhaps improve your angling skills.

This is a great time to examine your fishing gear. Did you just throw everything in a pile or jam into a tackle box last fall? If so, take everything out and make sure you are ready for that Spring Derby.

Everything, including waders, rods and reels, terminal tackle, and anything that might have come in contact with salt water last year, should be rinsed in salt water. Next, check your gear and inventory what you will need in the coming months.

Check your rod guides and reels. Replace line as needed. If anything needs professional attention, this is the time to do it. The experts at our local bait and tackle shops are not as busy as in the summer. They can tend to your needs in a timely fashion. Have them take those reels apart and get everything working properly.

In baseball lingo, winter months are termed the “hot stove league.” This refers to fans hashing previous seasons while they wait for the upcoming season. While the term is not used to describe fishing activities, it could. There are events where anglers can join like-minded folks and swap fish stories. They might even pick up some new fishing tips.

There are a plethora of fishing and boating shows in winter within an easy drive of southern Ocean County. If you have never made it to one of these shows, you are in for a treat. Once you pay a nominal fee, you enter an area filled with like-minded people. There are booths where various businesses are available to answer your fishing questions as they try to sell you a variety of items ranging from magazine subscriptions to guided fishing trips to sunglasses.

See what you can learn from these onsite representatives as well as other anglers on site. Who knows, a surf fisherman from Long Island, New York, make give one from Long Beach Island, New Jersey, the tip to land a winning fish in the spring derby.

Most shows also have seminars conducted by fishing and boating experts. Often you can pick and choose the topics that most interest you.

Then, there are local fishing flea markets. These are smaller versions of fishing shows with booths set up selling a wide variety of fishing gear, both new and used. Once again, with a room filled with fishing fanatics, how can you not get enthused about the upcoming fishing season?

As a bonus, most of these shows are run for some type of benefit. Local high school fishing clubs conduct theirs to raise funds for club member activities. As a matter of fact, the Southern Regional High School Fishing Club will be holding its annual market on Saturday, February 11, at the Middle School in Manahawkin.

One other way to calm your winter jitters is to stop in at a local bait and tackle shops. Although their days and hours are limited compared to in-season, there is usually someone there willing to swap fishing stories.

You are welcome to continue counting the days until the LBI Spring Derby opens up, but you now have a couple  of ideas to make the time pass by a little faster.”

An early fishing window

Anglers in NY/NJ Bight may have an early window of opportunity Sunday morning with south winds at 10-15 knots before picking up to 15-20 knots in the afternoon. Blackfish continue to be the best bet inshore. The weather looks good enough to load up with jumbo porgies on the Jamaica’s trip to far offshore wrecks which departs at 11 p.m. Check 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Gangler’s Fishing Lodges in Canada has a booth at the Fly Fishing Show in N.J. Expo Center at Edison which concludes tomorrow. I fished at their camp some years ago and even this saltwater guy enjoyed the action in a beautiful setting.

Capt. Monty Hawkins got out from Ocean City, Md. yesterday with his Morning Star, and had good tog fishing despite a rough sea. The pool fish was 28.5 inches. Monty uses measurement so anglers can participate in the pool and still release big spawners if they choose to. He noted that they could have limited on sea bass if that season was open.

Chuck Many fished his boat at Hilton Head, South Carolina for large red drum, but had to settle for lots of variety This amberjack or similar almaco displays the distinctive black feeding stripe on the head which appears when feeding. Grouper, sea bass and little tunny were also caught.

IGFA Live Auction at 8 p.m.

The IGFA is holding their 39th annual Live International Auction at 8 p.m. To get in on this event e-mail Kim Strong at kstrong@igfa.org.

The Jamaica from Brielle is sailing to far offshore wrecks for jumbo porgies at 11 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. Call 732 528-5014 for required reservations.

Saturday’s forecast is for southwest winds at15-20 knots before dropping to west 10-15 knots in the afternoon.

This beautiful African pompano was boated by James Loisel on a 20-pound Stanz rod with 30-pound braid on Capt. Nick Stanczyk’s Broardminded at Bud N’Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Florida Keys.

Surprising fluke

This is hardly the time of year you’d expect to catch a fluke; but Dennis Muhlenforth reports there have been some caught by blackfishermen the last three days from N.J. to Md. Of course, those fish are out of season and have to go back.

The gale warning goes down at 6:30. The morning NY/NJ Bight forecast is for west winds at 10-15 knots plus gusts to 20 before dropping to 5-10 knots in the afternoon.

Chuck Many is sight casting to black drum in his salt ponds at Hilton Head. South Carolina

N.Y. Boat Show opened today

The New York Boat Show opened today at the Convention Center and runs through Jan. 29.

A gale warning has been posted in NY/NJ Bight through Thursday afternoon. The Thursday forecast is for west winds at 25-30 knots plus gusts to 40.

The Jamaica from Brielle picked at porgies on every wreck during Sunday’s trip. There were also some pollock and weakfish. Jim Appling from Mt. Laurel, N.J. won the pool with a 12-pound pollock. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations on trips sailing Friday and Saturday nights.

Absecon Bay Sportsman Center reports the best white perch fishing ever, though boaters accounted for most of the weekend fish in the deepest river holes.

Sailfish Marina in Riviera Beach, Fl. weighed this 472-pound swordfish brought in by the Crazy III.

R.I.P. Capt. Peter B. Wright

Capt. Peter B. Wright, one of the world’s greatest big game skippers, has passed away. I have no details at present, but will add them as they become available. Surprisingly, Pete was born on Jan. 8,1944 in Paterson, N.J. — far from the tropical waters where he was to primarily build his reputation. However, he grew up in Fort Lauderdale and was fishing out of Hillsboro Inlet as a teenager before going on to study marine biology at the University of Miami.

Peter ended up fishing around the world and becoming a member of the IGFA Hall of Fame and winning the Tommy Gifford Award. He became most famous as a pioneer in the Cairns, Australia giant black marlin fishery where he put more anglers into 1000-pounders than any other captain. Despite his fame, Peter was a friendly guy always ready to share his knowledge.

The list of laces Peter fished (as listed in his bio) follows:

Australia • New Zealand • New Guinea • Indonesia • Thailand • Mauritius • Kenya • Mozambique • South Africa • The Ivory Coast •  Bom Bom Island • Cape Verde Islands • Canary Islands • Madeira • Puerto Rico • Dominican Republic • Virgin Islands • Bahamas • US Gulf and East Coast • Canada’s Maritime Provinces • East and West Coasts of Mexico • Guatamala • Costa Rica • Panama • Ecuador • Chile • Peru • French Polynesia • Fiji • Nova Scotia • Newfoundland • Hawaii • the Galapagos

Shore Catch Charters reports Capt. Gene Quigley will be providing a seminar on fly fishing for tuna during the Fly Fishing Show in Edison at noon Saturday. At the same time Sunday, Quigley will discuss catching trophy stripers on the fly.

A small craft advisory is posted in NY/NJ Bight from Wednesday evening to Thursday afternoon. Wednesday starts well with east winds at just 5-10 knots before increasing to southeast 20-25 with gusts to 30 in the afternoon. There is a chance of rain in both the morning and afternoon.

N.C. accepts swordfish record

North Carolina has a new swordfish record — a 504 1/2-pounder boated by Gary Carney 55 miles off Morehead City.

A small craft advisory is up for NY/NJ Bight through Tuesday afternoon. West winds at 20-25 knots are forecast in the morning before dipping to 15-20 in the afternoon.

Hawaiian fisherman drowned by tuna

The Coast Guard has called off a long search for a private fisherman who was yanked out of a friend’s boat in Hawaii last weekend. There were few details in news releases, but it appears the fisherman was using a handline. He had just exclaimed that he had hooked a “huge” fish when what’s assumed to be an ahi (yellowfin tuna) carried him over the side.

Those tuna grow to over 200 pounds in Hawaii, and will generally dive when hooked. With a loop of line around a foot there was little hope of getting back to the surface unless he had a knife with which to cut the line.

Even the most experienced fishermen can get in trouble when dealing with a large fish. This incident brought bake memories of professional mate Chris Bowie being shot out of a boat while wiring a blue marlin off N.C. in 1994. His body was never found. Much closer to me was the loss of the great Delaware shark skipper Capt. Billy Verbanas, who took the rod from a customer who couldn’t finish off a big mako in 2002 and was yanked overboard while secured in a harness. I had fished with him a couple of times and noted now careful he had been while assigning everyone to a task – including holding onto the angler’s belt. Billy did get back up, but it was too late to save his life.

Carrying a release knife on your belt is a good move as cutting the line may be your only option while being dragged underwater while strapped in a harness.

A small craft advisory is up from Monday morning to late night. The morning forecast is for north winds at 10-15 knots before going northwest at 15-20 in the afternoon.

Chuck Many did a solo trip on his boat at Hilton Head, S.C. to find this large red drum.

Good forecast for morning

Those seeking a good opportunity to try blackfishing in NY/NJ Bight should be in luck tomorrow as the forecast is for south winds at a mere 5-10 knots. There is a chance of rain in the afternoon.

Capt. Joe Massa sent along a photo from his last tog trip from Morgan Marina before taking the boat out. Bobby Glynn and Bob Croaker were along for a good catch up to 7 pounds.

Staten Is. Tuna Club Fishing flea market on tomorrow

The Staten Island Tuna Club will be running a fishing flea market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Mt. Loretto on Hylan Blvd. Free seminars begin at 9.

Capt. Vinny Vetere will be there with a big display of his lures which he wants to sell in quantity — and will accept any reasonable offer.

The Hi-Mar Striper Club has announced that its annual Fishing Flea Market and seminars will be held on Sat. Feb. 11 at the Port Monmouth VFW, on Rt. 36 East at 1 Veterans Place from 8-2.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing at 11 p.m. tonight and tomorrow for jumbo porgies on far offshore wrecks. There were plenty of scup out there during their last trip when Nelson Neives of Riverside, N.J. took the pool with a 4-pounder. Call 732 528-5014 for the required reservation.

Chuck Many reports that another Cape Charles boat is participating in the Gray tagging program. Capt. John Mathena of Patriot Sportfishing sent a shot of Blake Phillips with a 44-inch striper that weighed 42 pounds with a belly full of roe.

A small craft warning is up tonight in NY/NJ Bight, but will be down to northwest 10-15 with gusts to 20 by morning – and then to north 5-10 in the afternoon.