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Diminishing winds on Monday

The gale warning for NW winds is coming down at 1 a.m. and the forecast is for north winds around 15 knots by dawn. They will diminish to a light northeast by afternoon,

The Big Mohawk from Bejmar got in a blackfish trip as the hard NW held off to the afternoon, They picked away on a number of drops, and had some limits with tog up to 7 pounds — and will sail at 7 a.m.

The Mimi VI will run a special tog trip out of Pt. Pleasant o Friday. Whitelegger crabs will be provided in addition to greens on that $120 trip. Call 732 370-8019 for details and reservations.  Regular 7 a.m. trips at $75 will be run from Monday to Thursday and on Sunday.

Jerry Lasko tried the IBSP surf yesterday morning with no results, but Grumpy’s Tackle in IBSP had reports of some bass hitting shads and Tsunami eels.

Hard NW on Sunday should calm ocean

Today was miserable, but there will be a big change tomorrow. The present small craft warnings will increase to a gale advisory for northwest winds. There may only be 15 knot winds in the morning, and the Big Mohawk from Belmar will be sailing for tog at 6:30.  It’s not until the afternoon that gusts to 35 are predicted.

That wind should calm the ocean and clean the surf to set up possible surf striper conditions on Monday.


Capt. Vinny Vetere passed along the sad news that one of his most skilled striper customers, Mark Wallace, has passed away after a stroke. He was a customer on Katfish from Great Kills right from the start, and was very popular with other anglers.


Huge blackfish caught by Dante Soriente

21-lb tog - dante sorrientoDante Soriente has been trying to catch a huge blackfish on his Magictail jigs, and he did so on Jan. 2 while fishing with Paul Naertel of the JCAA on his boat out of Barnegat Inlet.  First he caught a 14 1/2-pounder which he released. Next was a much bigger tog that was weighed at Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom at a massive 20.96 pounds. He was going to release that one also, but Haertel talked him into keeping the tog of a lifetime for mounting. It was taken on a Magictail Glow White Legger jig. Haertel caught an 11.5-pounder.

After another nice day, we’re in for a northeast blow tomorrow. The morning forecast is for NE 15-20 knots with gusts to 30. A clearing northwest on Sunday will blow at the same speeds.

Jerry Lasko and Maren Toleno fished dusk at Bay Head. They had some life there the previous evening as Maren caught a striper and there were herring flashing in the surf. However, there was no sign of anything this evening.

Modern Fish Act signed by President Trump

The following release details the victory by sportfishing groups after President Trump  signed the Modern Fish Act which they worked hard to get through Congress.

Please go down through the boxes I couldn’t delete before starting the release

President Trump Signs the Modern Fish Act

Washington, D.C. – January 2, 2019 – The recreational fishing and boating community is celebrating the enactment of the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018 (Modern Fish Act), which was signed into law by President Trump December 31. The Modern Fish Act finally recognizes in federal law the differences between recreational and commercial fishing and adds more appropriate management tools for policymakers to use in managing federal recreational fisheries.
“Millions of American families take part in saltwater recreational fishing and boating activities and support multi-billion dollar industries that generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in our country,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “Today, we are thankful for this important milestone for federal fisheries management and marine conservation, and we look forward to continuing to improve public access to our nation’s healthy fisheries.”
The Modern Fish Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.), enjoyed strong bipartisan support from a long list of cosponsors representing coastal and non-coastal states alike. On December 17, the Senate unanimously passed the Modern Fish Act (S. 1520) followed by overwhelming approval in the House (350-11) on December 19.
“This is historic for the recreational boating and fishing community, capping years of hard work to responsibly modernize recreational saltwater fisheries management,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “The Modern Fish Act is a critical first-step solution towards establishing a framework for expanding access to recreational saltwater fishing, while ensuring conservation and sustainability remain top priorities in fisheries management. We thank President Trump and Congress for making the Modern Fish Act the law of the land and look forward to working with them in the coming years to advance policies that protect and promote recreational saltwater fishing.”
“The recreational fishing industry is grateful to see this legislation enacted,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association. “We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, as well as NOAA Fisheries and the regional fishery management councils, to improve the management and conservation of our marine fisheries.” 
“The Modern Fish Act signed by the President provides an opportunity for significant, positive change on behalf of millions of recreational anglers who enjoy fishing in federal waters,” said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “We look forward to working with NOAA Fisheries, the regional fishery management councils and the states to fully implement the provisions of the bill and improve federal fisheries management for America’s saltwater anglers.”
“CCA is proud to be a part of this important coalition, and we are grateful to our champions in Congress who stood by us during the intense, sometimes contentious negotiations on this legislation,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “There is still work to be done, but this is a valuable first step. We are hopeful this opens the door to an ongoing discussion of tools and processes that can be developed to better manage recreational fisheries in federal waters in all regions of the United States.”
“This bill becoming law is the most significant step forward in federal recreational saltwater fishing management in the forty-plus years of the Magnuson-Stevens Act,” said Whit Fosburgh, president of Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Recreational fishermen, conservationists and businesses united around a set of principles and worked together to get this bill passed and we will continue to work together on priorities like forage fish management and improving data collection in the future.” 
The recreational fishing and boating community would like to thank the sponsors of the Modern Fish Act, Senator Wicker and Congressman Graves, who led this bipartisan effort in the 115th Congress to improve federal fisheries management for America’s 11 million saltwater anglers. We also appreciate the support of Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Doug Jones (D-Ala.), and Congressmen Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Marc Veasey (D-Texas), Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), and Austin Scott (R-Ga.).
For details on House and Senate passage of the Modern Fish Act and additional industry perspectives, please visit
The Modern Fish Act will provide more stability and better access for anglers by:

  • Providing authority and direction to NOAA Fisheries to apply additional management tools more appropriate for recreational fishing, many of which are successfully implemented by state fisheries agencies (e.g., extraction rates, fishing mortality targets, harvest control rules, or traditional or cultural practices of native communities);
  • Improving recreational harvest data collection by requiring federal managers to explore other data sources that have tremendous potential to improve the accuracy and timeliness of harvest estimates, such as state-driven programs and electronic reporting (e.g., through smartphone apps);
  • Requiring the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the process of mixed-use fishery allocation review by the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishery Management Councils and report findings to Congress within one year of enactment of the Modern Fish Act, and
  • Requiring the National Academies of Sciences to complete a study and provide recommendations within two years of the enactment of the Modern Fish Act on limited access privilege programs (catch shares) including an assessment of the social, economic, and ecological effects of the program, considering each sector of a mixed-use fishery and related businesses, coastal communities, and the environment and an assessment of any impacts to stakeholders in a mixed-use fishery caused by a limited access privilege program. This study excludes the Pacific and North Pacific Regional Fishery Management Councils.

The coalition of groups supporting the Modern Fish Act includes American Sportfishing AssociationCenter for Sportfishing PolicyCoastal Conservation AssociationCongressional Sportsmen’s FoundationGuy Harvey Ocean FoundationInternational Game Fish AssociationNational Marine Manufacturers AssociationRecreational Fishing AllianceThe Billfish Foundation and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.


Blackfish biting in the new year

Water temperatures are still good for blackfish, and some days they bite pretty well. The Big Mohawk from Belmar had some limits up to 8 pounds today and will be sailing at 7 a.m. tomorrow.

Jerry Lasko reports that Maren Toleno caught a school striper this morning at Belmar. He saw two others hooked, but they didn’t have any other hits from a very fishable surf.

The forecast is southeast 5-10 knots in the morning before it gusts to 20 knots in the afternoon when small craft advisories are posted .

A Fishy New Year to all

Here’s wishing a Fishy New Year to all my readers.

There were no positive reports this morning from the surf despite the mild temperatures — but I expect that opportunities for school stripers will continue for some time.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar had good blackfishing on Monday, with some limits and a 9 1/2-pound pool winner. They are planning on fishing Wednesday.

The forecast is for north winds at 10-15 knots in the morning with gusts to 20. The wind shifts to southwest on Thursday at 10-15 along with a chance of rain.

Gale warning going up

A gale warning for strong west winds is going up at 6 p.m. and extends into Tuesday afternoon. The surf has been calm, and the predicted wind should blow more water off the beach making it too shallow to fish at low tide in some areas.

The forecast is for gusts to 40 knots tomorrow before going north at 10-15 with gusts to 20.

Jerry Lasko fished Belmar this morning where Maren Toleno managed one striper. There were no swirling fish nor signs of bait, but both of them also missed a few bumps.

Vinny D’Anton had a report from a bit further south where jack crevalle were hitting his Chug Bug at Sarasota on the Gulf coast of Florida.

Promising Forecast a great read for boaters

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself swimming away from your sinking boat on the way out to the canyons? That’s exactly what happened to five anglers heading out from Ocean City, N.J, in a promising forecast of diminishing northwest winds to fish for tuna on Sept. 14, 1986 when the 32-foot center console Hot Stuff “surfed” down a large wave and was then swamped by another that cracked the windshield and put the twin 200-hp outboards underwater. Ocean boaters soon learn that a big following sea can be a  problem as too fast a decent can result in the boat out of control at the bottom of a wave. I experienced something similar many years ago in the giant swells off the Cape of Good Hope when the South African boat I was aboard did the same thing and the wall of water  tore the hatch over the cuddy cabin open — leaving us vulnerable to the next wave. Fortunately, the skipper was able to turn into the next wave and prevent a disaster before we could make repairs.

The N.J. anglers barely had time to get life preservers before the boat went under. They did get a May Day call to the Coast Guard before the electronics were underwater, but it turned out that the message was garbled by another call. This was just before the use of EPIRBs became common, and as a result the survival of the entire crew turned out to be a miracle rescue which is detailed in Promising Forecast by Daniel David Jones and Arthur J. Higbee — a 253-page soft-cover which is available from Amazon. Every boater should read that fascinating first hand account of survival at sea.

Capt. Joe Massa of My Three Sons at Morgan Marina joined Guy Talerico on Jer-Sea Patriot out of Jersey City for a last try at stripers today, but found no trace of them. There was bait and gannets were diving, but they had no hits on live eels and marked no bass even though the water temperature was a mild 47 degrees. Two whales put on a show in just 24 feet off Breezy Point.

On the other hand, stripers are still a possibility in the surf. Frank Manzi reported that Jim Louro and Tommy Cox combined for 10 up to to 24 inches  this morning at Belmar. Frank got there late and still managed a couple of smaller ones. The forecast for the morning is south at 5-10 knots before gusting to 20 in the afternoon.

My nephew, Todd Correll, recently had one of his best trips from Fort Lauderdale as he ran his Viking 70 to Cay Sal in the Bahamas to troll up lots of wahoo weighing at least 50 pounds. His son, Connor, is shown with a 60-pounder. They also were into many yellowfin tuna, barracuda and dolphin while a blue marlin jumped off.

Connor wahoo

Some stripers still in the surf

Though I suspected the surf might have been dirty this morning, Frank Manzi reported that it was quite fishable at Belmar where the regulars picked from one to three small bass this morning. Jerry Lasko fished there later in the afternoon and Maren Toleno caught one bass while they had a few other hits. Steve Mirande tried Bay Head this morning to no avail.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar reported it turned out to be a nice day at sea with decent blackfishing and some limits up to 8 pounds. They’ll be sailing at 6:30 Sunday morning.

Terrible weather, but one angler hit it big

I’m sure there were very few anglers who even took a look at the ocean today, but Vinny D’Anton found a report online from “Two-pole Mike”  that he caught 28 stripers from 14 to 24 inches early this morning at an undisclosed location along the northern N.J. surf. He got there just as the storm was starting, and it was very fishable in green water at dawn as he caught the bass steadily on his home-made sand eel imitation plus a teaser.

Chances are that the surf is now badly discolored, and that it will take quite a bit of west wind to clear it up.

The forecast is for 20-25 knots south winds with gusts to 35 today before a switch to 15-20 west in the morning with gusts to 25. That won’t last long as the Sunday forecast is for northwest at just 5-10 knots.

Even Jerry Lasko didn’t fish this morning, but he reported reading a mild enough 47 degrees yesterday in the IBSP surf.