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The Texas Tower collapsed 62 years ago

One of the greatest tragedies off the Atlantic coast didn’t involve a ship, but rather a unique structure – the Texas Tower.

That Air Force early warning radar structure was called “Old Shaky” by its crew, and was damaged by many storms before the end came as the aircraft carrier Wasp raced to the rescue on Jan. 15, 1961.Unfortunately, the Wasp didn’t get there in time and all 28 men aboard were lost.

As with most other maritime tragedies, the Texas Tower wreckage has become a great attraction for sea life and those seeking everything from cod and pollock to bluefin and yellowfin tuna, sharks and white marlin. It’s located about 75 miles east of Barnegat Light, and I was able to get out there with charters a few times when I was running Sheri Berri –a 28-foot Aquasport out of Manasquan Inlet. Indeed, I was near there while winning the Jersey Coast Shark Anglers High Rollers Tournament as Mike Koblan reeled in a tiger shark over 700 pounds.

The NY/NJ Bight forecast includes a small craft advisory from Friday morning to night. However, the 15-20 knot winds with gusts to 30 are from the favorable west direction.

The Jamaica from Brielle is taking reservations for offshore wreck porgy trips departing at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Call 732 528-5014.

Nick La Bella with a wahoo at Bud’ N Mary’s Marina (800 742-7945) in Islamorada, Florida Keys.

SHO-NUF releases a 58

Trophy stripers continue to hit at Cape Charles, Virginia, and SHO-NUF proved that point by putting a Gray fish tag into a 58-pounder today (see below) after being blown out a couple of days. They also added another bass release just short of 40 pounds. Charters are available by calling 757 710-0098.

Tomorrow’s forecast in NY/NJ Bight is for calming northwest winds at 10-15 knots after midnight before switching to southeast 10-15 knots with rain in the afternoon.

South Jersey white perch are biting

Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon reports very good white perch action in South Jersey tidal rivers, and sent along a photo to prove it. Those tasty pan fish preferred bloodworms. That bait may be hard to come by, so call 609 484-0409 before coming down.

The Wednesday forecast is for northwest winds at 15-20 knots with gusts to 25.

Switch to west winds bodes well for anglers

Bad weather has been a big problem for fishermen, but the forecast is good after the small craft advisory comes down tonight.

West winds at just 10 knots are forecast for Tuesday as seas drop to 3-4 feet. There’s a chance of afternoon rain.

SHO- NUF from Cape Charles, Virginia reports their last striper tagging trip before the winds produced a 52-pounder and two in the upper forties. That fishery shows no sign of shutting down so far.

Chuck Many sent a shot of a pretty red drum from salt ponds at Hilton Head. South Carolina.

Gale warning down at 6 p.m.

The gale warning posted yesterday has been discontinued at 6. The forecast is for north winds at 15-20 knots before changing to a fishable northwest at 10-15 in the afternoon.

If a change in weather looks good, this is what’s going on at Bud’Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Florida Keys. Capt. Alex Adler is among the greatest in the world.

The 50s keep coming at Cape Charles

For most striper anglers a 50-pounder is the bass of a lifetime, but at Cape Charles, Virginia during the winter the only hit of a day’s trolling may as likely be such a rarity as a “mere” 30-or-40-pounder.

That was the case yesterday on the SHO-NUF as only three bass were caught — but two of them were 51 and 56 pounds! All bass were tagged and released as per Virginia regulations at this time of year.(See photo below)

The weather has grounded SHO-NUF until Monday, but their winter tally so far is 128 releases of which 28 were 50 pounds or more.

A gale warning is posted from this evening through Sunday afternoon. The forecast is for north winds at 20-25 knots plus gusts to 35. Seas will be 5 to 7 feet.

The Garden State Outdoor Sportsman’s Show at N.J. Expo Center in Edison continues through Sunday. Austin Perilli will be presenting a seminar at 2:30 on hard structure fluke fishing. Below see Grandpa Perilli’s doormat while fishing with Austin. Nick Honachefsky is also providing free seminars.

It’s show time

The pandemic was almost a death blow for traditional winter sportsman’s shows, but there should be a return to normal conditions in coming months. The Garden State Outdoor Sportsman’s Show is underway at the N.J. Expo Center in Edison. Austin Perilli reports he will be doing a fluke seminar there at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The N.Y. Boat Show will open at the Convention Center from Jan. 25-29

A small craft warning is up through Saturday afternoon. The forecast is for north winds at 15-20 knots with gusts to 25.

Jim Hutchinson Sr. took his wife Bonnie fishing at Homosassa where they caught a grand slam of redfish, seatrout and snook — but she got the best one

Possible woman’s world record tautog in Md

Last night’s blackfish photo from N.J. was impressive, but was blown away today by a potential woman’s world record tautog boated by Jen Zuppe on Capt. Kane Bounds Fish Bound from Ocean City, Maryland. That tog (see below) was weighed at Sunset Marina at an official 23.4 pounds!

Though the IGFA only recognizes a single all-tackle record for tautog, they do have separate line class categories for men and women. Jen was using 30-pound line, but manufacturers often spool lines heavier than the printed breaking strength on the label. However, Jen’s tog should be the record on either 30-pound or 50-pound.

The all-tackle record of 28 pounds, 11 ounces was taken by Ken Westerfeld on Jan. 15, 2002 from the same charter boat. Ironically, Ken was aboard today as other trophy tog to 16 pounds were caught.

To make the day even more special, there were also limits of blackfish up to 18 pounds taken today aboard Chasin’ Tides out of the same port.

A gale warning goes up at 6 p.m. and continues through Friday morning in NY/NJ Bight. Friday’s forecast is for southwest winds at 20-25 knots with gusts to 30 plus 7-10-foot seas and rain. A clearing northwest follows on Saturday.

Vinny D’Anton continues to release 3-4-pound bluefish with his Chug Bug at Sarasota, Fl., but notes that it’s strictly a dawn bite that shuts off at sunrise.

Big blackfish on Jamaica II

Regular customer Don O’Neil caught a real trophy on Capt. Ryan Bogan’s Jamaica II from Brielle after an 11.7-pound blackfish hit his whitelegger crab bait.

Though it was calmer at Cape Charles, Virginia today, SHO-NUF found the tagging of trophy stripers was slow as they only caught three out of four hits from big bass today. Their Tuesday trip had yielded nine up to a 52-pounder.

A gale watch is up in NY/NJ Bight for Thursday evening to late night. The morning forecast is for southeast winds of 10-15 knots before increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon. Rain is possible.

Virginia striper bite continued in sloppy seas

Capt. Clinton Lessard reported yesterday’s conditions at Cape Charles were sloppy, but his party on SHO-NUF was happy with the tagging results as seven big stripers were returned with Gray Fish Tags — including two over 50 pounds. Call 757 710-0098 for reservations on that 35-foot Bertram.

Several party boats along the coast are concentrating on blackfish, but the Gambler from Point Pleasant, N.J. has the most unusual hours as they run a Lazy Man trip after it warms up from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday thru February — and the tog don’t seem to be reluctant to bite in the middle of the day. In the opposite direction, they will sail Togathons from 5 to 5 on Feb.16, 18, and 25 .

The NY/NJ Bight forecast is for northeast winds at only 10-15 knots with 2-foot seas.

Fish Bound out of Ocean City, Maryland has been working hard for big tog such as this one while observing a self-imposed three tog limit and releasing many trophy spawners.