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Captain's Focus

Big sea bass and porgies have been biting on the far offshore deep water wrecks that the Jamaica from Brielle normally fishes all winter. However, anglers will have to get their licks in early this winter as NMFS is shutting down that fishery on Jan. 1. Capt. Howard Bogan reported a 32-pound pollock won Sunday's pool, beating out a 22-pound cod. He'll be sailing to those wrecks Tuesday night at 11 to fish on Wednesday. There's room on that trip, as well as others at 11 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations. The appearance of very small stripers in the surf is often indicative of the end of the run. That's what we have now, though even those small bass aren't very abundant. After missing a couple of hits there Sunday morning, I returned to the Bay Head surf this morning and managed to release two small stripers while also missing another one on the 6-inch Tsunami Swim Eel despite a big swell from an offshore storm. Though the first 18-incher had a pot belly, there was no sign of bait.The water temperature is down to about 48 degrees, but there should be plenty of time left in the striper season. However, legal stripers have become very hard to come by since last week's storm. I heard rumors of big bass off Delaware, but Harry Aiken of Georgetown reported only just legal-size bass that he's been trolling early in the morning off Indian River Inlet on Stretch plugs -- and they've been 2.7 miles offshore. Capt. Rob Semkowyc had plenty of action again today with short stripers from his Sea Hunter out of Atlantic Highlands, though one keeper was boated and another lost at boatside.

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