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Jamaica moves offshore trip to Sunday

With marginal weather predicted for Saturday, the Big Jamaica  has moved their offshore wreck trip to 1 a.m. Sunday. Space is available by calling 732 528-5014.

They didn’t have a specific report for last Saturday’s trip, but noted that porgies, cod and pollock were caught.

Unfortunately, the Jamaica also had sad news as their lead deckhand, Dominic Wines, has passed away.

Dominic Wines

A small craft advisory is up for tonight, and that becomes a gale watch Friday. Friday morning starts with south winds at 15-20 knots plus gusts to 30 and rain before shifting to the west in the afternoon at 25-30 knots and gusts to 40 and 7-10-foot seas. Those winds drop to 15-20 knots by Saturday morning — and further to 10-15 by afternoon. Sunday is looking good with east winds of just 10 knots and seas down to 3 feet.

There was a lot of wind to the south today as Bassmaster, in a very rare fresh water move, had to postpone the opening day  of their St. John’s River Tournament due to a forecast of winds gusting to over 40 knots.

Bob Correll was casting off the dock of a home he’s renting in Jupiter, Fl. yesterday evening when he was surprised by a 4-pound bluefish hitting his Crystal Minnow. That was much larger than any of the very small blues he caught last summer casting in his home surf at Bay Head, N.J. That blue was larger than most caught inshore in Florida, but some years there is a brief offshore run of very long, but skinny, blues moving to the north during the winter.


Blackfishing continues

The relatively mild winter has permitted the few boats still in the water to continue blackfishing.

Indeed, Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, was surprised to see the Ocean Explorer sail Tuesday morning with a full boat.

They fished on a calm sea, and had some nice keepers though no jumbos. One angler caught three keepers, and others had one or two.

Unfortunately, tomorrow doesn’t look good as a small craft advisory is posted for 3 a.m. to Friday afternoon. Thursday starts with east winds of 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 plus rain, though the wind is supposed to drop off to 5-10 knots in the afternoon.

Capt. Al Crudele is also doing well with tog on his Bayhound out of Sea Isle City. He’s running that charter boat open whenever the weather is right.

Al Crudale tog

Bowden tags 55-lb striper in VA.

Chuck Manny reports that there was only one hit trolling live eels in Virginia today, but that was a very good  one as a 55-pound pre-spawning striped bass was tagged and released by Bob Bowden.

Ty Man 55

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar  had a new leader in their seasonal pool on Monday when Roger from Brooklyn weighed in a 12.6-pound blackfish at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina. Monday’s tog action was a pick in deeper waters, but there was life on the bottom, and a large pollock was also boated. They will continue to fish this week on every decent weather day.


The marine forecast for Wednesday calls for west winds at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 plus rain in the morning.


Important fisheries meetings

The Striped Bass Management Board of the ASMFC will be meeting from 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday in Westin Capitol City Hotel, Alexandria, Virginia. They will be dealing with Addendum VI to the Striped Bass Management Plan  and the implementation plans from the states plus any conservation equivalency proposals being put up for approval.

The following notice from the N.J. Div. 0f Fish & Wildlife details upcoming scoping hearings of great importance for the future.  Please read through the empty boxes.

Public Hearings: Summer Flounder/Scup/Black Sea Bass/Bluefish Proposed Regulation Amendments

Scoping Hearings for Summer Flounder/Scup/Black Sea Bass and Bluefish

Don’t miss the opportunity to provide comment on management for summer flounder/scup/black sea bass and bluefish during several public scoping hearings in February held by the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council.  Please note that these hearings will not address recreational bag, season, or size limits.  See below and attached for additional information.

Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment

The Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment will consider potential modifications to the allocations of catch or landings between the commercial and recreational sectors for summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass. Members of the public are encouraged to attend a scoping hearing or submit written comments on potential changes to the commercial/recreational allocations for these three species.

Please note that this amendment will not address recreational bag, size, or season limits for any species.

Bluefish Allocation and Rebuilding Amendment

The Bluefish Allocation and Rebuilding Amendment is being developed in order to (1) update the goals and objectives of the Bluefish Fishery Management Plan; (2) perform a comprehensive review of the bluefish sector allocations, commercial allocations to the states, and transfer processes; and (3) initiate a bluefish rebuilding plan. Members of the public are encouraged to attend a scoping hearing or submit written comments on any of these issues.

Please note that this amendment will not address recreational bluefish management measures, including the 3-fish private/shore bag limit and 5 fish for-hire bag limit recommended for 2020. 





The Ocean Explorer from Belmar had a decent pick of larger blackfish in good conditions Sunday while fishing offshore in deeper waters. One was over 10 pounds and might have taken the lead in the seasonal pool that’s up to over $5,000  if the angler had been in it. They also had a keeper cod and some ling. They will continue fishing that deeper water on every fishable day.

The Tuesday forecast is for southwest winds at just 5-10 knots with a chance of light rain in the morning.


West winds bode well for fishing

With 10-15 knot west winds predicted for Monday, there should be good offshore fishing conditions.

The Ocean Explorer fished out of Belmar on Saturday and reported almost flat calm conditions except for a moderate east swell that probably slowed the bottom fishing. There was a slow pick of mostly small blackfish along with a few ling and small cod — but that could improve as the swell gets knocked down.

Blackfish still in the picture

With mild winter weather prevailing so far, anglers have been able to continue fishing even though fewer party and charter boats are available.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk has concluded winter blackfishing, but the Ocean Explorer plans to continue this week. They had a pick of tog in beautiful conditions on Friday, with shorts and a few keepers plus a few cod — and ling for those fishing with Gulp.

There was even better news from South Jersey as Capt. Al Crudele had a party out of Sea Isle City at the end of the week with a limit of blacks that included three trophy tog from 11 to 16.4 pounds! They also had some keeper cod, and jumbo ling plus large cunners (bergalls). To take advantage of the weather and the continuing open season, he’ll try running some open trips this week. Call him at 609 602-2662.

There’s small craft advisory up from 1 a.m. through late Sunday night, though the Sunday morning forecast looks good with only west winds at 10-15 knots. The seas are predicted to be 3-5 feet, but the windy weather should hold off until late in the day.

A bad weather surprise

As noted in yesterday’s blog, calm seas looked like a sure thing this morning based on the forecast. Yet, the Ocean Explorer from Belmar was greeted by a suddenly rough sea upon heading out of Shark River Inlet, and had to back off plans to fish deeper waters for bigger blackfish.

They did end up with slightly better fishing than the day before, though not good enough. The ocean settled after a few hours, and there were a couple of dozen short tog released while a few keepers and ling plus a cod were boated.  They plan to fish in 120-140-foot depths tomorrow in hopes of finding bigger blacks.

The Canyon Runner Seminar tomorrow in Atlantic City is sold out, so there will be no tickets for sale at the door.

The Raritan Bay Anglers Club Fishing Flea Market runs tomorrow in E Hotel & Convention Center, 50 Raritan Center Parkway, Edison from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, with no charge for kids under 12.  Capt. Vinnie Vetere will also be there with his Ho-Jos and bunker spoons.

The marine weather forecast is even better tomorrow, with north winds at just 5-10 knots.The Jamaica from Brielle will be taking advantage of that to run to far offshore wrecks at 1 a.m. for jumbo porgies and a shot at cod and pollock (see below). All 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Jamaica pollock

Chuck Manny kept going back to his Ty Man in Cape Charles, Va. to take four straight skunking’s while release fishing for striped bass before breaking through again today.

Jan. 31 bass

Calm seas forecasted

Sorry for missing a day, but my wife and I plus four dogs were driving back to N.J. from Ft. Myers yesterday. Then I had a problem getting back on the internet today.

The weather is looking great for mid-winter. The Friday forecast is for north winds at just 5 knots in the morning with a chance of light rain before shifting to southwest in the afternoon.

The Jamaica from Brielle hasn’t been able to get out on one of their Saturday 1 a.m. trips to far offshore wrecks for jumbo porgies, cod and pollock so far — but Saturday looks great with a forecast of  5-10-knot north winds. Call 732 528-5014 for the required reservations.

Jamaica porgy

On shore the featured Saturday attractions will be the Canyon Runner Seminar in Atlantic City and the Raritan Bay Anglers Association Fishing Flea Market in Edison. More about them tomorrow.

Blackfish biting again

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar took advantage of an ocean without ground swell to get out for some pretty good action with large keepers plus a cod and a few ling. Wednesday’s forecast is for northwest winds at just 10-15 knots — perfect conditions for a tog bite.

Tog on O.E.

Ocean calms — blackfishing resumes tomorrow

West winds did their job and knocked down a big swell. That should set up a good shot of blackfish not too far offshore plus a shot at some cod and ling. The Ocean Explorer from Belmar had poor fishing Sunday when there was a big ground swell, but they’ll be sailing into probably calm seas with northwest winds at 15-20 knots. Light winds dominate the rest of the week.

The Canyon Runner Seminar on Feb. 1 in Atlantic City is almost sold out. Adam La Rosa had reports from Oregon Inlet that bigeye, yellowfin and bluefin tuna have all arrived in their offshore waters where La Rosa will be booking charters this winter on a 55-foot custom Carolina. Charters start at $2,295, and open boat fares at $699. Call 732 272-4445 for tickets and info.