It sure didn't look promising today with snow and wind, but the weekend weather forecast is about as good as it gets in mid-winter for ocean fishing. Small craft warnings come down tonight, and the Saturday wind forecast is for west at 5 to 10 knots.
This week's Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) meeting of the Summer Flounder, Scup Black Sea Bass Management Board in Alexandria, Virginia produced unanimous approval of New Jersey as its own region with the option to utilize a 17-inch fluke minimum in Delaware Bay and for shore fishing at Island Beach State Park while the rest of the state maintains the same regulations as New York and Connecticut. New Jersey was forced last year into a region with those states after New York objected to having higher minimum sizes for fluke while often fishing in the same waters as New Jersey boaters.
Although the program's three divisions remained the same (Adult, Junior, and Catch and Release), now there are new categories creating more opportunities for qualifying fish to earn the angler a series of personalized certificates Specialist Angler - catch five qualifying fish of the same species within one year Master Angler - catch five qualifying fish of five different species (saltwater and or freshwater) within one year Elite Angler - catch 10 or more qualifying fish of 10 different species (saltwater and or freshwater) within one year First Fish - catch your first fish of any species Three additional categories (the Slam Series) include Trout Slam - catch one each of rainbow, brook and brown trout Bass Slam - catch one each of small and largemouth bass Panfish Slam - catch one each of sunfish, crappie and yellow perch The McCardells with winning muskyClick to enlarge In 1983, the program began with 31 applicants. The following is a breakdown of applications received per species (all categories combined) Freshwater Largemouth Bass (7), Smallmouth Bass (7), Striped Bass Hybrid (7), Bullhead (2),Channel Catfish (1), Crappie (14), Muskellunge (1), Yellow Perch (11), Chain Pickerel (8), Northern Pike (3), Brown Trout (1), Rainbow Trout (4), Atlantic Landlocked Salmon (1), Sunfish (11), and Walleye (2).
It was a beautiful day for fishing, but the Golden Eagle from Belmar ended up jigging only a few mackerel along with some herring. There's some question now as to whether there will be any winter mackerel run.
There is no mackerel report today as Capt. Jimmy Elliott started out with the Golden Eagle from Belmar, but experienced a steering problem right away and had to get back in the slip. It was fixed, but not in time to make the trip.
Noted anglers including Oliver White and Eric and Moe Newman will be in the booth at times throughout the weekend, while Ian Devlin and Mark Sedotti, noted East Coast anglers who worked closely with Steve Rajeff in designing the PRO4x ShortStix, will be in booth on Saturday. Steve Rajeff will be giving his Better Loops for Accuracy and Distance' casting demos on Friday at 2 45pm, and again on Sunday at 10 15am.
Mother Nature has to be on top of President Obama's flat-earther list as her sea creatures have failed to cooperate with NOAA's climate change prediction that anglers will have to learn new techniques for more southerly species such as red drum taking over in warming waters. Heilner also quoted the famed angler Phillip Mayer as saying surfcasters fishing for weakfish and kingfish at such spots as Corson's and Barnegat inlets regarded them as pests that ran off with their rigs since almost all were over 25 pounds from 1893 to 1902 when striped bass were also plentiful.