Here's wishing all a Fishy New Year! If you think it's been exceptionally cold, even for the end of December, you haven't been imaging things. The current Artic blast has only been exceeded in recent history at this time of year by those in 1880-81 and 1917-18 -- and even I wasn't around for them! At least we got a break from the wind Saturday, but small craft warnings have been posted into Tuesday with gusts up to 25 mph creating brutal wind chill. Yet, we may actually see 30 degrees and lighter winds on Wednesday. Shore fishermen looking for a New Year's Resolution should consider carrying a trash bag and spending a few moments before going home gathering up what's been left behind by slobs that often get such areas closed to fishing. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina, sent along his memories of 2017 as follows: "Happy New Year to all you out there in the fishing community. We are about to close the door on another fishing season. I for one am glad to have gotten another one under my belt. We lost some great ones this year, but they will never be forgotten.This season had its ups and downs and will probably not go down as a one of the better ones. There are areas that were exceptional and others mediocre. Fluke fishing was fair at best in our area. Bluefishing was poor except for a few hot spots in the spring for very large fish. Summer was a bust, and fall again -- except for pockets of large fish. The porgy and sea bass fishing was good, but the regulations kept it from meeting its potential. Winter flounder fishing was good, but again regulations kept participation down - a 2 fish limit is a little tough to swallow considering the price of bait etc. The striped bass fishing was good at times for trophy fish, but only from boats. Surf fishermen had, and are still having, a bang up fall for bass -- but you could get 40+ fish some days without one coming close to 28 inches. This is not in any way a bad thing for the future fishery, but for this fall it was a little disappointing for many of us expecting a little more strain on our tackle. The blackfish season has been a work in progress. Many anglers working very hard to put fish in the boat, but as of late we are seeing some very impressive fish. The Fish Monger had a giant 22 lb fish this week. The fish was revived and released. Ocean Explorer angler Randy Rosenberger of Telford Pa. caught a 17 lb 6 oz monster, and the boat had several other fish in the 9 to 12 lb range. My own season was good, just to have been able to fish with old friends and still catch some nice bass is what it is all about. God willing, I will back at it in the spring -- so once again, HAPPY NEW YEAR. BOB "