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Happy New Year everyone! The first issue of the year finds light action in our area. That doesn’t mean that nothing happened, but with the holiday on the weekend and people traveling to and fro, the time for fishing was at a premium. 

Some anglers fished right before the weekend festivities while another used Sunday to make a special catch that rose to the top of his personal list for that species. Some anglers also got out after the weekend, which was a nice bonus for all parties involved. The striped bass run of the last few weeks was an added bonus for both the local fishing shops that remain open, the boats still running and for the anglers. Let’s check out what happened. 

The highlight of the weekend action went to Mike Jung, who was fishing on the Starlight Express with Captain Paul. Mike, who fishes often and fishes hard, caught his “personal best” blackfish. The fish weighed in at 13.25-pounds, then after being photographed, was released to swim away. That’s a nice gesture Mike. Congratulations on a nice fish. 

Bayhound Charters Light Tackle Sportfishing, with Captain Al, is still plying the waters and filling limits. Both blackfish and striped bass have been filling everyone's quota for action. A post-Christmas charter consisting of Matt, Troy, Jeff, Dane and Rob had a productive trip. After a slow morning the chew picked up and they were able to fill their five-man limit of blackfish. 

They also had some fun playing catch-and-release with some nice striped bass. You can’t ask for a better day than that. Two pre-holiday trips for other parties resulted in a nice haul of both blackfish and striped bass. Both parties had plenty of fresh fillets for their freezers. A midweek offshore trip a few days before New Year’s Day had the group of anglers aboard catching some “jumbo” sea bass, bluefish, blackfish, porgies and pollock. One angler even landed a monkfish. 

Everyone who dropped a line in was able to land their limit of sea bass. The vessel Osprey continues to sail for blackfish from Kammermans Marina in Atlantic City. If you’re not familiar, the Osprey winters here while fishing the rest of the year from Port Jefferson, New York which is located on Long Island. They plan to sail from Atlantic City till January 17th. Check out their website to look for open dates on remaining trips. You can also sign up for their “wait list” on future trips. Gone Fishin’ IV Sport Fishing Charters had an “epic” day of striped bass fishing a few days after Christmas as their charter caught their limit of seven keepers. 

 They also caught, then released, over twenty more fish. The striped bass fishing has been “phenomenal” over the past few weeks and trips like this help to prove that statement. Hopefully, you got some new fishing toys for the holidays and, if you like to fish this time of year, you can get out and use them. If not, then you will have to wait till Spring to break them in. Either way, put them to good use and good luck when you do use them. 

Another option to consider is to travel to another area to use them. Many anglers head to Florida which is a great option. An option to also consider would be the Outer Banks area of North Carolina. Recently, I visited the area from Kitty Hawk south to Nag’s Head and Whalebone, then went inland to Roanoke Island checking out Wanchese and Manteo. This area, plus more towns to the south are known for their fishing opportunities. 

 I didn’t get to fish, but did stop at the Oceans East Bait and Tackle Shop in Nags Head. I spoke to Chris who gave me a report on the area which mentioned that yellowfin tuna fishing out of Oregon Inlet was still producing very well. The bridge at Oregon Inlet was also mentioned as a good spot to fish for sheepshead when you want to target them. 

Fishing in the back waters, which abound through the area, are still producing stray redfish and speckled weakfish. According to the guys at the shop, fishing will start to revive in early March and only get better from there. 

I also talked to a couple of guys who were surf fishing for bluefish or silvers. These fish were being drawn in because trawlers were working the waters, not far off the beach, for shrimp. Birds were working the area behind the breakers, but just out of reach from the beach. One angler mentioned that they would head to Jennette’s Pier if the fish didn’t come in a little closer. 

did not get to check it out but heard from multiple people that it was a good pier to fish from. I look forward to a return trip to this area to do some fishing, either from the shore, a boat or a kayak. Keep it in mind as an option to visit, a place to do some fishing and as a way to help you get rid of your winter blues. 

Don’t forget the Wildwood Fishing and Boating Expo is this Saturday and Sunday, January 8th and 9th, at the Wildwood Convention Center. Special guest Dave Marciano, from Wicked Tuna, is scheduled to appear. Check out the boats, electronics and all things fishing including local captains from head boats and charter boats plus multiple vendors from different bait and tackle shops. Take care, try to do some fishing if the chance allows, and I’ll see you around. 

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