A few small red drum have been caught by striper anglers in the Shore surf since then, but last year I didn't get a single such report of a puppy drum from north of Cape May -- and I've never heard of even one of those average 25-pounders here. Party boats from N. Y. were catching vast numbers of sea bass off the Shore before the turn of the previous century, and it was around the time of the Yukon Gold Rush when pioneering N. J. skipper Henry Beebe tried a drift in deeper waters than he normally fished off the northern Shore and found incredible sea bass fishing on rough bottom that resulted in the area being dubbed the Klondike.
Why were they allowed to do that when NJ was not New Jersey was forced into a region with Connecticut and New York. Another reason NJ was forced into regionalization was due to a disparity in the regulations in the Raritan Bay area where the commission deemed it was unfair for NJ anglers to have a 2 lower size limit than anglers from NY who were fishing in essentially the same waters.
On Saturday there were 30 keepers up to 8 pounds out of 200 cod. Though I don't know where Capt. Al was fishing, those were just day trips from a port not very far from the Shore -- and that volume of small cod is very encouraging at a time of year when skippers are usually just hoping for a few big ones.
It should be a lot warmer tomorrow, but with lots of rain in the forecast it should be a good day to watch football games. There were no reports today, which gives you a good idea about what's going on at this time.
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.
Despite a poor weekend due to strong currents, the Jamaica II from Brielle had a better Monday of offshore bottom fishing for ling and some cod. Grumpy's Tackle in Seaside Park reports a few short stripers are being hoked in the surf on clams and small plugs -- such as the new Daiwa DS Minnows.
I tried casting at Point Pleasant in the morning today, and at Sea Girt in the afternoon but never saw a sign of a fish. The Mimi VI from Point Pleasant will be running limited 7 a. m. to 4 p. m. open bottom fishing trips through January.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar only found a few mackerel Saturday though, lots of herring were jigged -- and there was no Sunday report. The Elaine B II from Highlands had a tough pick of blackfish Saturday, but will be sailing Monday as the wind forecast is good and that may be the end of our warm weather.