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Captain's Focus

It's all over before it hardly started! The winter mackerel run produced only a few of that species plus some herring. The two Belmar party boats that traditionally specialize in the winter mackerel have both given up on them already. The winter mackerel run was all we've had left, as the much bigger spring run up the coast has been such a failure for many years that skippers don't even look for them any more. When I questioned NOAA Fisheries about this last year they admitted their management plans indicating a healthy fishery were based on old data -- and noted that even the big commercial vessels with huge ranges hadn't been able to find mackerel. There was a glimmer of hope last summer when schools of mackerel invaded Stellwagen Bank in Massachusetts, but there's been no sign of a migration to the south. By the way, those small mackerel that were mixed in with the pee-wee bluefish last summer were a different species -- chub mackerel. I haven't had a fishing report all week, and there hasn't been much opportunity to fish due to the weather conditions. There might be a window of opportunity Saturday morning between west winds up to 30 mph Friday afternoon and a similar southwest blow plus rain predicted to move toward us by Saturday afternoon. The Jamaica from Brielle is scheduled to sail at 1 a.m. Saturdays this winter for cod and pollock. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations and to be sure they'll be sailing. Capt. Charlie Fornabio reports pompano are starting to move into the Sebastian area along Florida's east coast where he charters. The phone number listed for him here last week was an old one. He can be reached at 772 360-7647.

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