Bad weather kept the fleet in port during today's opening of the blackfish season, but the forecast for Sunday is good. Though most party boats will be seeking blackfish, the Golden Eagle from Belmar will be searching for the elusive mackerel -- with cod as the alternative.
A report from the Tackle Box in Hazlet arrived too late for the Friday column with news of stripers hitting clams as Raritan Bay waters have warmed up after falling to 34 degrees earlier in the week. They did get out last Saturday, but waters were too cold at that time and fishing was poor.
When I called a few years ago to question that listing, they conceded that they were using an outdated assessment though the coastal run had disappeared and even the big commercial boats were hardly catching any mackerel far offshore. His daughter, Natalie, was aboard Monday as they had hits every cast with live pilchards to Spanish mackerel and ladyfish, but could only manage a couple of small redfish (red drum) from among lots of non-biters.
The DEP issued the following update on the fluke regulation situation yesterday NEW JERSEY FILES FORMAL APPEAL OF SUMMER FLOUNDER QUOTA REDUCTIONS STATE'S REPRESENTATIVES ARGUE ASMFC DECISION WILL CAUSE ADVERSE IMPACTS TO FISHERY AND INDUSTRY (17 P25) TRENTON - New Jersey representatives to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have filed an appeal requesting the commission reconsider its vote significantly reducing the state's recreational-fishing quota for summer flounder this year, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today. The 34-percent quota reduction ASMFC approved in February will have a devastating impact on the state's fishing industry and tourism economy while paradoxically harming the long-term health of the state's summer flounder stocks, Commissioner Martin said.
A live herring being sent to bottom in 200 feet never got there, and I fought a fish that came to the surface and turned out to be a yellowfin tuna of about 25 pounds. The bottom rod bent over again, and Roy started another fight that lasted about 20 minutes with something very big before the 40-pound mono leader broke just as he was making good progress with the mystery fish.
The first few school stripers have been making their appearances at Island Beach State Park, and probably in other areas as water temperatures slowly improve. Both Grumpy's and Betty Nick's in Seaside Park have been getting a few surf reports on blood worms and salted clams, while other anglers are using worms or small plugs to hook a few bass in the bay.
Though the surf hasn't opened up as yet, Grumpy's Tackle in Seaside Park is getting good reports from anglers using blood worms in Barnegat Bay. Small plugs may be a good bet in the evening at bridges for school stripers.
As waters warm up again, the striper nite on clams should resume in Raritan Bay, and boat fishing with clams in the back of the bay usually gets started by the end of March. This Wednesday's trip only produced a couple of almacos and three mutton snappers in poor conditions with little current.