Using large shiners, Matraxia caught 16 peacocks to over 5 pounds plus 10 largemouth black bass. The sheepshead spawning run is just getting started on the west coast, but Massa sent along a photo with one of at least 5 pounds.
Muffley doesn't anticipate any problem there, and is also working on getting legislative sponsors for those regulations as striped bass regulations can only be changed in N. J. through the legislature. Fluke regulations will also be decided when the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board meets from 3 30 to 6 30 on Feb. 4.
Even the great 2011 Chesapeake year class failed to produce the volume of small bass expected, and the lack of stripers to the east was reflected in the poor boat fishing we experienced in the fall -- while the surf fishing at that time would be better described as terrible. The bay fishing was so good last summer that on July 16, Chuck Many of Annandale released 48 bass from his Ty Man out of Highlands while hosting Nellie Greer of Bethlehem, Pa., Matt Calabria from Hazlet and me.
The following release from the DEP provides good news for Island Beach State Park anglers without beach buggies -- and for the handicapped Fisherman's Walkway, a popular and functional surf fishing access point at Island Beach State Park that was completely destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, has been fully restored and is now reopened, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today. Since Superstorm Sandy hit in October, 2012, Island Beach State Park has seen the repair or restoration of the boardwalks and the lifeguard station at Ocean Bathing Area 1, the gatehouse and maintenance buildings within the park.
John Taylor, fishing with his son Buck and grandson Ben, lead the way with a 16 species day,including a 6 pound permit, a few weeks ago. Depending on the water temperature,the deeper channel edges will produce good catches of sheepshead and mutton snapper, as well as grouper, pompano, Spanish, jacks and ladyfish.
The blizzard is really just getting started as I write this blog, but I'm already wondering what's going to happen to the millions of dollars worth of sand that was dumped on N. J. beaches last year and ,in many cases, covered productive fishing areas. I probably can't blame that for the historically bad surf fishing last fall, but it certainly didn't help.