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Mackerel have arrived

The traditional spring mackerel runs along the coast have been non-existent for years, and sparse during the winter in recent years. However, the Brooklyn VI from Sheepshead Bay found good quantities for jigging  on Saturday — and followed up on Sunday with all large to jumbo mackerel. Herring are also abundant, and that boat is sailing daily at 7 a.m.

West winds gusting to 20 knots are forecast for the morning, but that should be fishable for blackfish boats along the jersey Shore. The Big Mohawk will resume daily trips at 7 a.m.

Big swell delays fishing another day

Though the wind is shifting gradually to the west. the big swell currently on the ocean has resulted in the Big Mohawk from Belmar holding off until Wednesday before resuming blackfishing,  Small craft warnings remain up until Tuesday afternoon, though the forecast for tomorrow morning is only for light north winds. 

Canyon Runner Seminar coming up on Feb. 2

The annual Canyon Runner Seminar is coming up on Feb. 2 in Atlantic City. Only 50 tickets were left last week, and there may not be much time before the seminar is sold out. I’ve attended a couple of these events and consider them to be a must for offshore anglers. For details and reservations all Adam La Rosa at 732 842-6825. If you want to get in on the best tuna fishing of the year, also get details on the Canyon Runner winter trips in North Carolina — where multiple strikes from giant and medium bluefins are routine. Last week they only had three dates left in February and seven in March.

Small craft advisories for northeast gusts to 30 knots are going up at 2 p.m. and into late Monday. However, it looks fishable again on Tuesday with northwest winds of 10-15 knots.

Nice day, but tog didn’t cooperate

As noted in last night’s blog, the ocean was calm today. Yet, the Ocean Explorer from Belmar reported a poor blackfish bite despite perfect conditions. Almost all of the tog caught were shorts as the high hook only had two keepers. That boat is cancelling for Sunday due to northeast winds, and looking at Tuesday as the next possibility.

Actually,  the marine forecast  improved since yesterday with only 5-10 knot NE winds predicted early Sunday before increasing to 10-15 with gusts to 20 in the afternoon. It’s pretty much the opposite for Monday with NE 15-20 early diminishing to 10-15 in the afternoon. There may be some light snow Sunday, especially in Ocean County.

The Garden State Outdoor Sports Show concludes Sunday at the N.J. Convention Center in Edison. Visit for details.

Bowden releases a 60+pound striper in Virginia

Chuck Many often makes the long drive from northern N.J. to Virginia in mid-winter to wait out a striped bass bite that may not come — but if it does will be from a very big bass.

That was the case this week when Bob Bowden and Mike Greene joined him to fish with Neil Lessard on his Top Dog from Cape Charles. Many was hoping to get Bowden his first “50”, but it turned out that their only bite trolling a live eel off Chesapeake Bay was from a 54.5-incher that buried Many’s certified Boga Grip 60-pound scale. That area is closed to harvest at this time, though Many releases every striper caught anywhere in any case. Though quite a few 50-pounders have been caught on his Ty Man over the years, this was the first 60 on one of his trips.

61-lb bass Bob Bowden with his striper of a lifetime before release

The Garden State Outdoor Sports Show opened today at N.J. Convention Center in Edison. Capt. Jim Freda will be presenting a video of bluefin tuna being caught on poppers at the inshore grounds off Manasquan Inlet at 5 p.m. today in the main ballroom — and again at that time on Saturday. For info on the show visit

Joe Melillo reports from Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant that he’s had some reports of small stripers in the Belmar surf, and of blackfish in Manasquan Inlet.

Gale warnings for NW winds up to 40 knots through today will come down as the winds diminish to 20-25 knots in the morning — and then to 15-20 by afternoon. Saturday continues to look good with NW at 5-10 knots. Sunday’s forecast is for NE at 10-15 knots, though light snow is possible.

Gale warnings up through Thursday afternoon

Gale warnings for northwest winds up to 40 knots are up through Thursday afternoon, but Saturday looks great with just 5-10 knots northwest.

The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant is sold out for Friday’s Special blackfish trip which is limited to 12 anglers. Regular 7 a.m. blackfish trips at $75 resume Monday and through January. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations.


curt cubera  Kurt Hoefig of Clinton, N.J. was casting a topwater plug in Puerto Rico when he caught this colorful fish. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to identify without sun on the fish. It looks a lot like a cubera snapper. However, while the Pacific cubera is very aggressive on lures and will even jump out of the water to crash on them, the Atlantic cubera is a bottom feeder that rarely hits lures. I did catch one many years ago while casting a MirrOlure at night in a river mouth for snook and tarpon along the coast of Honduras.  Any other opinions on what it might be? Contact me at

Sorry about the first few letters of the Garden State Outdoor Show not coming out in the title of last night’s blog. That show opens tomorrow in Edison. Visit for details.

den State Outdoor Sports Show from Jan. 10-13 in Edison

The Garden State Outdoor Sports Show will be running from Jan. 10-13 in the N.J.Convention Center, Edison. I didn’t get a press release from that show, but details are available at

Small craft advisories for west winds gusting to 30 knots will go up after midnight. Tomorrow morning the west winds are forecast to be west at 25-30 with gusts to 40. It goes to NW on Thursday at 20-25 with gusts to 35. Thus, the Big Mohawk at Belmar won’t be sailing for blackfish until Friday. The Ocean Explorer reported that the tog were very aggressive Monday and limits were common.


Weather keeps changing

If you don’t like the weather now, just wait a while and it will change. There will be a complete shift from north winds to south in the morning at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 — and likely rain. It wings to SW in the afternoon at 10-15 before gusting to 30. The clearing west wind Wednesday starts at 20-25 but gusts to 35.

Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will be looking for blackfish like this during Friday’s special trip that was noted in yesterday’s blog.

mimi tog

The Big Jamaica from Brielle will be making Saturday 2 a.m. trips to offshore wrecks filling up with jumbo porgies along with a shot at cod and pollock. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

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.