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A nice blackfish.

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It's been another week into January, and some local boats are still hunting for blackfish.  

Fish are still being caught, but another boat called it a season. It’s tough when a captain ends it for the year, even though it’s a necessary evil.  

The captain and crew need a well-deserved break before preparing their vessel for the start of their next year. Some start to stir around April, when the spring blackfish season opens, while others wait until May, when drumfish arrive.  

I offer a shout out to Mike, from Oxford, Pennsylvania. It was nice meeting you on the recent trip. Hopefully, we’ll meet up during the spring blackfish season.  

The Porgy IV, who ran a couple trips before they wrapped up their winter, had scattered action on a recent Thursday trip. One drop would be slow while the next kept the anglers busy before it, too, slowed. Nothing unusual with that, though, as some structure is better than others.  

For the day, Sam Oh, from Broomall, Pennsylvania, caught his limit of fish that were in the 4-to 5-pound range, and the pool winner was included in that total. Ken Minett, of Mays Landing, also finished with a limit.  

The season-closing trip the following day was a challenge for Capt. Paul’s patrons, as a hard tide ran against an easterly wind. Bob Key, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, however, managed to catch his limit. Eighteen keepers and several shorts were caught for the day. That’s not too bad, given those conditions.  

Paul and his mate, Kevin, ended their season after this trip, and they thank everyone who sailed with them. This season was tough, but I'm sure it was a rewarding one.  

I also thank them for their consistent supply of reports and pictures during the year. Enjoy your break, gentlemen, and I look forward to working with you again in spring.  

The Starfish had a couple trips before they finished their season. They caught a few nice blackfish before raising the anchor for the final time this winter and preparing to get any work done before the spring season commences.  

After a long season, I wish the captains and crew a well-deserved break. Take care, and let's do it all again in spring.  

The Osprey was out for a Thursday trip, and while they had some nice fish, the report stated that it was not as great as recent trips. The trip was productive, however, for Paul Tomaski, who claimed another pool, with a 9-pound fish. His friend, Denny Mattei, finished in a close second as they battled for biggest fish of the day.  

Cape May Bait and Tackle reported that some nice blackfish were caught recently, including 25-and 23-pounders. They also reported that anglers were picking up perch on grass shrimp and bloodworms.  

The rivers in Atlantic County are where you want to try if you’re looking to catch some of these fish. Give them a call, at 609-898-6001, to see what bait they have available. They also mentioned that small stripers are being caught from beaches north of here. It would be nice if they came farther south and started cruising our beaches. 

Avalon Hodge Podge will be opening April 2, at 7 a.m. I’m sure they’ll be ready with plenty of bait for those early season striped bass and blackfish. Yes, it’s a little way off right now, but it's nice hearing they have a set date. I’m sure they are looking forward to seeing as many people as possible on opening day.  

No Bones Bait and Tackle is introducing a new tournament to the area called South Jersey’s Top Hooker Classic, which will be a multi-species tournament. It includes both salt and freshwater fish and is being run on a “placement” system. Placements will be based on a point system at the final tally.  

First place is worth 15 points, second is 10, and third is 5. Therefore, if you finish first in flounder (15 points) and third in sheepshead (5), you total 20 points. Those points go to your final point total calculation.  

Check out their Facebook page to see a list of eligible fish. There will also be more details to follow.  

Our fishing life still has a pulse. It's like the bear preparing for hibernation - still there, but preparing for a rest before it starts stirring in a couple of months.  

If you can get out, good luck and I’ll see you around. 

Submit your fishing news and photos to mrobbins@cmcherald.com. 

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