Joe Melillo noted from Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant that no one had any reports of school stripers in the surf either Saturday evening or Sunday morning. They have 12-hour trips at 5 a. m. for cod, pollock and ling on Dec. 29, 30 and 31.
Not too many ling yet, but still some honker porgies, sea bass and a good showing of nice size cod. Dom Nguyen of Philadelphia boated four cod (8-10 pounders), a pollock, and 12 porgies Greg Cooke from Westfield had two cod to 15 pounds, seven sea bass to 5 1 2 pounds plus some chops while Ed Borkowski of Bayonne totaled two cod, a white hake, 13 porgies and bass --along with a few ling That trip is repeated at 5 am Sunday.
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.