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Captain's Focus

As was noted in last Friday's column, blackfish anglers should take in tonight's public hearing on Draft Amendment 1 to the ASMFC Tautog Fishery Management Plan which starts at 6:30 p.m. in Room 119 of the Ocean County Administration Building, 101 Hooper Ave., Toms River. That amendment proposes regional management of a resource that isn't coastal migratory, and joins northern N.J. with western N.Y. in a N.Y. Bight region. That makes sense, but illegal overfishing by live fish profiteers has so decimated the population that new regulations could reduce sportfishing to as little as one tog in a shortened season. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported better bluefishing today for larger 3-to-8-pounders on jigs. The fish were surfacing, and there was lots of bait. Though the surf has been fairly quiet lately, John Bushell at Betty & Nick's Tackle in Seaside Park provided the first mention of kingfish in the suds along with fluke hitting Gulp. Dock fishermen there are doing very well with crabs. Vinny D'Anton of Wall didn't find anything in his local surf while casting a Chug Bug, but moved north and came across some small stripers that wouldn't the popper -- though three of them jumped on a very small jig with a soft plastic tail before the wind shifted to the north. Paul Haertel of the JCAA has become a deep water cod specialist with his Angler from Waretown. He fished wrecks 45 miles offshore last Friday, with the first one producing lots of big ling for Bruce Vitale, Tom Siciliano, Patrick Dipasquale (15) and Zack Michot (16). The next wreck was loaded with protected ocean pout, but Haertel kept moving in order to add cod up to 12 1/2 pounds to the fish box.  

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