Winter flounder fishing was good, but again regulations kept participation down - a 2 fish limit is a little tough to swallow considering the price of bait etc. The striped bass fishing was good at times for trophy fish, but only from boats.
The Ocean Explorer from Belmar hooked into some huge blackfish today as the west wind was lighter to permit offshore fishing. The Ocean Explorer is fishing daily, including New Year's Day, for those super tog, but the west wind forecasts are going back up the next few days.
There were no fishing reports today, but the blackfish and offshore sea bass boats should have good fishing conditions on Saturday with only light west winds predicted before gusty and very cold northwest winds return. The Golden Eagle from Belmar gave up on stripers some time ago, but looked forward to returning for the expected mackerel run at the end of December.
Though the brutal cold will put a big dent in saltwater fishing effort, offshore anglers are getting in their last shots at sea bass before the season closes at the end of the month while blackfishing closer to shore continues and stripers remain a possibility until ocean water temperatures drop much further. Capt. Bob Bogan will try to get back out for stripers after Friday's offshore sea bass trip.
Paul Haertel of the JCAA provided the following update on the sea bass situation Sea Bass Update - Important NJMFC ASMFC Hearing on 1 4 18 By Paul Haertel, JCAA Board Member Past President The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (NJMFC) will meet at 4 PM on Thursday, 1 4 18, at the Galloway Township Branch of the Atlantic County Library, 306 East Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway, New Jersey. Then at the same location, at 6 30 PM, our Bureau of Marine Fisheries (NJBMF) in conjunction with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries (ASMFC) will have a public hearing pertaining to Addendum XXX for black sea bass.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc tried to get in a last trip today with his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, but both the weather and the fish were uncooperative. Once we made the turn to head down the beach it was pretty nice with the wind at our back and the beach protecting us from the seas.
As noted in last night's blog, Tuesday will be the last trip of the season for the Sea Hunter out of Atlantic Highlands. They left plenty of stripers before Christmas, so the jigging should be productive after they sail at 7 30 a. m. The blackfish boats should also be taking advantage of a good forecast before very cold temperatures move in.
Capt. Stan Zagleski wasn't expecting much when he sailed his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands for stripers this morning, but he got into shorts and slots right away before looking for bass over 28 inches -- and limiting on them. Sea conditions were totally different than the prior day, choppy waves to 3 feet , windy, but we still found fish between the channels.
After red hot striper jigging on every trip this week, Capt. Rob Semkewyc finally had to settle for a more normal pick today on his Sea Hunter from, Atlantic Highlands. Capt. Stan Zagleski reported a decent pick of tog during Thursday's trip with his Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands.