President Gerald Ford signed the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Management Act on April 13, 1976, culminating a sad period in American history during which massive foreign fishing fleets destroyed our marine resources as close as 12 miles from shore. There was no Recreational Fishing Alliance to turn to in those days, so I called together those party boat captains plus sportsmen and conservationists aboard Capt. Les Baletti's Palace II at Hoboken on a February night in 1972 to form an organization to fight for a 200-mile limit just as Ecuador had done to protect their waters from American tuna seiners.
Gary Quon, of Tady Lures, had received a photo of a nice striper that Cat. Unfortunately, there were gale warning up for south winds offshore as this was written -- and it appears it will be windy every day through Monday.
That should be perfect for chasing stripers in Raritan Bay, or even for offshore fishing before the winds change -- though it will be very cold before the sun gets high in the sky. Capt. Vinnie Vetere hasn't started running his Katfish Carters out of Great Kills as yet, but he's very happy with the fishing vacation he enjoyed at Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rica.
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) holds their 1th annual Fundraising Banquet Auction from 7 to 11 p. m. Friday at Doolan's Shore Club in Spring Lake, Cocktails are followed by a hot and cold buffet before the 20,000 Fishing Tackle Bonanza Auction. With wind and cold in the forecast, there probably won't be much fishing on Tuesday, but there might be a window of opportunity Wednesday morning in between strong north winds and the switch to a gusty southeast that afternoon.
Grumpy's also noted some shorts had been caught in the surf on buckrails, but that clams were required on Saturday. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman's Den in Belmar Marina, reports the blackfish boats also had some impressive winter flounder on Saturday.
The 31-pounder was caught on bunker chunks cast from Union Beach. Though stripers exploded on cast and trolled lures this week for boaters, that was also the first report I've received of a striper hitting bunker despite the fact that bunkers have been abundant in Raritan Bay for a couple of weeks.
Wind gusts to 40 and 50 mph are forecast from Saturday night into Sunday. Friday's winds appear to have kept party boats in port, but Capt. Fred Gamboa trolled stripers in Raritan Bay -- just as he's been doing for three days with Andrea's Toy from Keyport.
Mackerel are in local waters during the spring for the first time in many years, though there's a question as to whether it's a real spring run. Capt. Jimmy Elliott has been working on scattered schools of mackerel since the winter, and put his fares on the Golden Eagle from Belmar Wednesday into five-gallon buckets of them during Wednesday's trip.
Joe Melillo, at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant, said an excited customer rushed in yesterday to report catching a blackfish in Point Pleasant Canal. Capt. Bobby Bogan took a shakedown trip with his Gambler from Point Pleasant, looking for the first ocean stripers.
Today's gale-force northwest winds are predicted to die out to 5-to-10-mph north by Wednesday morning, which should make it possible for party boats to sail. John Bushell Jr. posted a video at Betty Nick's Tackle in Seaside Park that showed a blowout tide with that northwest gale at Island Beach State Park.