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Captain's Focus

Both the winter flounder and internal waters striped bass seasons opened today, and Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet reported the first legal striper of the season -- a 28 1/2-incher caught on a clam/sandworm combo by Matt Calabria of Hazlet -- who also hooked four shorts. Phil also had reports of shorts from Cliffwood and Union Beach. Bob Matthews said some anglers were trying for flounder this morning from the docks at Belmar Marina. He has bait in stock at Fisherman's Den, and notes that the piled up snow has finally melted off to leave all fishing areas available. Capt. Joe Bogan said bottom fishing over the weekend on Jamaica II from Brielle was sluggish, but some cod, pollock and blackfish were boated -- though ling remain scarce. Wes Shourt of Manahawkin had a 14-pound cod, while Xin Chue of Hazlet bagged a 16-pound pollock and 12-pound black. That boat sails Wednesdays and Sundays at 5 a.m. for a 12-hour wreck trip, and at 3 a.m. Saturdays for a 14-hour cod run.

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