After having released four short stripers in the Sea Girt surf over the last two evenings, I thought we might have something going. The surf was beautiful, and air temperatures were comfortable enough in the mid-thirties, but none of us had so much as a bump.
N. J. Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council member Chris reports the sea bass catch numbers from the last survey wave are high enough that we may be facing a 33 percent cut in quota next year. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina, reports blackfish up to over 12 pounds plus a few ling, sea bass and lots of dogfish from offshore trips while striper fishing has been tough in the surf.
Despite the seeming lack of bait in the surf, that bass was in fine shape and heavy for its length. That was just enough to get me back, as we should be picking away at shorts in the surf every day this month and well into January, though I'm not convinced it's going to happen.
Though striper fishing appears to be dead in N. J., Chuck Many of Annandale moved his Tyman from Highlands to Cape Charles, Va. for the big bass he pursues. Many noted that bass in the fifties have been caught by other boaters fishing there -- and that's exactly what Greer did today on Tyman as he broke through the 50-pound barrier to release a 53-pounder.
The Jamaica from Brielle continues to load up on jumbo sea bass and porgies on far offshore trips. Though I fell three bass short of a 15 bass limit, I added 10 porgies up to 16 inches and ended up with two large bags of fillets.
Capt. Howard Bogan reports Saturday's fishing for sea bass and porgies on his Jamaica from Brielle remained very good. Capt. Russ Binns ran his Mar-Lin from Toms River north to Elberon today and reported a dead sea with no bird life or bait readings.
Bogan ran to the south today with his Gambler from Point Pleasant, but didn't find any bird action or bait in that direction. Sunday's attempt for stripers will be to the north, and if not successful he'll drop on wrecks for blackfish.
Though inshore prospects are unknown after the northeaster, there shouldn't be any change on the far offshore wrecks being fished by the Jamaica from Brielle before the sea bass season closes after Dec. 31. The water temperature out there was still 56 degrees last Saturday when Mark Bogdanoff of Roseland had a sea bass limit up to 7 pounds plus 15 porgies and two bluefish.
Awards included angler's choice of a boat or surf Custom CTS rod, Costa Sunglasses, Canyon Reels high speed jigging reels, an overnight stay at Fairfield Inn in Milleville, gallons of Interlux Bottomkote, subscriptions to The Fisherman Magazine, RFA memberships and Beach N Boat T-shirts. Huge strides were made with over 8,000 anglers, 60 weigh stations and two new mini tournaments The Wildwoods Beach N Boat Fishing Challenge and the DO-AC Beach N Boat Fishing Challenge.