Atlantic City Boat Show Edition - February 2010
Florida Fishing Takes A Hit PAGE 8
STILL FISHING There’s no “off-season” for Jersey’s party boats!
A Jersey Reel Rundown
A Note From The Publisher
Most of you will have picked up this edition of Jersey Shore Fishing at the 2010 Atlantic City International Power Boat Show. And for good reason: there isn’t much activity at our local tackle shops and fishing haunts this time of year, and our minds are focused on such topics in the context of looking ahead towards next season. Thankfully, there will be a season next year, however, will there be one in 2011? The Pew Environmental Trust hopes there won’t be. PETA hopes there won’t be. And you can be sure some in Congress hope there won’t be as well. I was never one for public demonstrations, but I will be attending the “United We Fish” march on Washington later this month. I’ll be hopping on the bus leaving from The Chum Bucket in southern Ocean County (for more info on this bus, see the ad on page 15) but there are many buses from areas around the state making the trip. That means there’s no excuse for any of us to miss this important event. Check out www.ssfff.net for a listing of some other locations. On a brighter note, all of us here at JSF hope the cabin fever isn’t setting in too badly, and remind you that spring is just around the corner. We’ll be back out on the water in no time! ‘Til Next Month, Daniel Nee, Publisher
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Jersey Shore Fishing Magazine P.O. Box 511 Allenwood, N.J. 08720
Editor- Publisher Daniel G. Nee
Jersey Shore Fishing Feb. 1, 2010, Volume 2, Issue 4
Sea Bass Sanity?
The rules have changed for many of our state’s fisheries. Get the scoop on what the new regs are shaping up to be this year.
The feds are taking a second look at the sea bass fishery after a shutdown was ordered last fall.
Copy Editor Garrett Edward
On The Cover
Yes, it’s cold. But the fishing is hot offshore, where party boats are still running for the remainder of the winter season. Hop on board while you can!
Advertising Sales Daniel G. Nee Joseph Landicino
Editorial Contributors Daniel Schafer Capt. Dave Showell Erika Koelsch Todd Bivona
Contact Us P.O. Box 511 • Allenwood, NJ 08720 Phone: 732-439-2940 E-mail email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com © 2010 Jersey Shore Fishing Magazine. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication, including all design aspects and imagery, may not be reproduced without expressed written consent of the publisher. Photographs submitted to this publication, while credited to the original photographer, become indefinitely licensed content for use by Jersey Shore Fishing in both its print and digital formats.
The content contained herein is for the sole purpose of entertainment and information. The publisher makes no representations or warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, on matters of safety or navigation related to fishing or boating, activities which include inherent risks to life and property.
Cover Photos: Left: Ray Briant of South Orange nailed this 15-pound blackfish on the Jamaica II out of Brielle. Top, right: A customer on Florida Capt. Charles Conner’s boat holds his trophy high. Bottom, right: A wintry Barnegat Lighthouse and some shiny, new reels.
Departments & Features News & Views: A rundown of regs, settling the sea bass score and a few more updates...........4-7 Jersey Fishing: Checking in down south, keeping up with the party boat fleet and picking out a killer reel for next season.......................................8-15 Hot Spots: It’s the dead of winter,
but there are a few signs of life up and down the Jersey coast, epsecially in the offshore haunts where several species are being targeted.............................................12 Catch ‘Em & Cook ‘Em: Lemon dill cod puts a great spin on a winter species being caught region-wide. Erika fills us in on the recipe..........11
Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • February 2010 • 3
News & Views
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? S U T A ST
or many anglers, 2009 represented the worst weakfish season ever. Despite early signs in the Sandy Hook region that the season had some potential, anglers’ hopes were dashed when the spring run of tiderunner weakfish - the biggest of the season - lasted only a few days and was generally thought of as a trickle of fish instead of the sustained surge of years past. Some argue that the proliferation of dogfish and striped bass may be responsible for the decline of weakfish. Others argue we’re in the midst of a natural “down period.” Weakfish represent one of the few species where recreational anglers themselves called for tighter limits to be implented to help rebuild stocks. The state Marine Fisheries Council is expected to adopt a resolution in March limiting weakfish to a 1-fish bag limit in 2010.
ew Jersey’s most important fishery by leaps and bounds, summer flounder (fluke) remains the hottest off-season topic among anglers since the tasty flatfish is the prime target at the peak of the summer fishing season each year. The good news is that the overall recreational quota is being raised to 22.13-million pounds from 18.45-million pounds in 2009. The bad news is that the feds felt recreational anglers
From weakies to porgies to winter flounder, it’s hard to keep up with the latest fishing regs. Here’s a quick status update.
// winter flounder
he scoop on winter flounder goes back to last spring, when regulators met in Toms River to discuss options for the species, which has been largely non-existant south of the upper haunts of Barnegat Bay in recent years. New Jersey anglers used to get two seasons - one in the fall and one in the spring - to catch the blackbacks but that was reduced several years ago to a single spring season once the species became rare. Unfortunately, it was largely agreed that reducing the seasons did not help. Last year, anglers did reasonably well with winter flounder near the Mantoloking Bridge in Brick and in the Shark River near Belmar. But Oyster Creek was the absolute southern cutoff of the majority of any notable winter flounder action. As currently proposed, anglers will have a 2-fish bag limit and a 45-day season beginning in late March. The final date on which the season will start has not been determined. Commercial netters are also facing significant cutbacks this year which will greatly diminish their season as well.
// summer flounder (fluke)
caught more than their quota in 2009, so the difference will have to be made up in 2010. If your B.S. meter just went off, you’re not alone. The same flawed data that showed sea bass quotas were overreached is being applied to summer flounder, so there still could be some changes made before the annual March vote on fishing regulations for 2010 in New Jersey. Though we can only speculate on
roposed regulations for the 2010 porgy catch have puzzled anglers since they were proposed in Decemer 2009. The plentiful species has been a favorite of anglers - especially in the northern portion of the state - in recent years and reports in more southward locations from Barnegat Inlet and below were largely positive in 2009. Still, regulators met in December and decided to slash the bag limit from 50 fish to just 10 fish in 2010. The minimum size limit for porgies will remain at 9-inches, though anglers often find it’s not worth it to keep the smallest fish, instead preferring offshore trips to catch the larger members of the species. The season will be open from July 1 through Dec. 30. The Jan.-Feb. season will not be affected by the new rules in 2010.
how the regulations will pan out for 2010, anglers should be prepared to face a season similar to 2009 in terms of size and date restrictions, assuming the government sticks to its guns on the quota disparity. Needless to say, there will be the usual wrangling on the state level as to whether or not the season should begin early or last late. Check out the fireworks March 4, when regulators meet to vote on the 2010 limits at the Toms River Township Office, 33 Washington Street. The meeting begins at 4 p.m. •
Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • February 2010 • 4
News & Views A sea bass is caught on board the Fish Finder II out of Brigantine in May 2009.
Hope for sea bass fishing in ‘10 afterall
Regulators taking a second look at numbers that sparked closure
By Daniel Nee nglers may be in for some relief from unprecedented cutbacks in the sea bass fishery - a fishery that has suffered closures and far-reaching regulatory action from the federal government even though it has surpassed stock level targets. The fishery was shut down last fall after regulators claimed data from the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistical Survey [MRFSS] showed anglers may have taken double the number of fish than their quota allowed for the 2009 season. But MRFSS data has been classified as “fatally flawed” by a Congressionally-ordered study and last year’s data showed suspicious overages in the month of June 2009, when most boats were tied to the dock due to weeks of foul weather. More overages were reported in March, when most recreational anglers’ boats are still wrapped for the winter. In December, federal regulators stuck with the fishy facts produced by the MRFSS data and ordered the fishery open for just two months of 2010 - June and September. One of New Jersey’s most important species for party and charter boat captains, the 60 day window for catching sea bass has the potential to cause hardship, many captains say. But there are indications some relief may be on the way. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council both recommended the 2.3-million pound quota for 2010 be nearly doubled to 4.6-million pounds. The change must be formally approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service before the increases can translate into longer seasons. That may be an obstacle to overcome, some say. The decision lies primarily with Patricia Kurkul, the regional NOAA administrator, whose attitude toward recreation-
al fishing has been characterized as “mind-boggling” by a captain familiar with the regulatory process who spoke privately to Jersey Shore Fishing recently. Kurkul was a strong proponent of the measure in October which shut down the sea bass fishery in federal waters, and argued that each state should have shut down its fishery in nearshore, state waters. Pressure from recreational fishing activist groups, including the New Gretna-based Recreational Fishing Alliance and the Brielle-based Save The Summer Flounder Fishery Fund is credited for getting the NOAA’s science and statistical committee to give the sea bass fishery a second look. The RFA, United Boatmen and other stakeholders also filed a lawsuit contending the action to shut down the fishery in October did not follow a proper legal process and should be overturned. The closure caused confusion over the course of the fall fishing season, when anglers were allowed to fish for sea bass in state waters between the shoreline and 3-miles offshore, but not in federal waters, which stretch from 3- 200-miles offshore. Several local party boat operators are facing fines after customers kept sea bass in federal waters over the fall season. If Kurkul agrees to the quota increase, another emergency action must be taken by the federal government, at which time statisticians can begin the process of accounting for the change and assessing how to extend the length of seasons. Any change is likely to increase the length of sea bass seasons. Bag and size limits most likely will not be affected. •
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Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • February 2010 • 5
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News & Views // news briefs Reef balls to be deployed at Garden State North, South reefs
Fishing flea markets to be held in February A
number of fishing flea markets will be held this month across the Shore area. Flea markets are excellent opportunities to stock up on fishing equipment at a discount price before the season begins. As of Feb. 1, the following flea markets have been announced: ~ • Feb. 6: Raritan Bay Anglers Fishing Flea Market. St. Cecelia’s Lourdes Hall, Oak Tree Rd. & Rt. 27, Iselin. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Feb. 6: Sportsman’s Show & Flea Market. Leesport Farmers Market Indoor, 312 Gernants Church Rd. Leesport, Pa. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Feb. 7: Silverton Volunteer Fire Co. Fishing Flea Market. 15 Kettle Creek Rd., Toms River. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Feb. 13: Hi-Mar Striper Club Fishing Flea Market. Middletown VFW, 1 Veterans Lane, Port Monmouth. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. • Feb. 14: Palmyra Fire Dept. Fishing Flea Market. Charles Street School, corner of Charles & Walnut streets, Palmyra. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. • Feb. 20: Fishing RAMS Fishing Flea Market. Southern Regional High School, Rt. 9, Manahawkin (Stafford Twp.) to benefit the Southern Regional High School Fishing Club. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Feb. 21: Fishing Flea Market at the Sewell Senior Center, 315 Greentree Road, Washington Township, Sewell. Starts at 9 a.m.
• Feb. 21: Ocean Fire Company No. 1 Fishing Flea Market, Antrim School, 401 Niblick Street, Point Pleasant Beach. 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. • March 7: Berkeley Striper Club Fishing Flea Market, Hugh Boyd Jr. Elementary School, 1200 Bay Boulevard, Seaside Heights. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Registration required to fish in 2010
nglers should keep in mind that registration is required to fish in 2010 unless you will be fishing exclusively from party and/or charter boats. That means that if you fish from your own boat, in the surf, from a pier, off a jetty or from shore in the back bay (among other locations) you must register under the federal government’s online or phone registration system. Registration is free for 2010. You will be mailed a registration card which must be presented to law enforcement upon request while fishing. To register, visit the NOAA’s web site at www.countmyfish.noaa.gov. Anglers who do not have access to the Internet may register by phone by calling toll-free 888-674-7411. Those who register online will be able to print a temporary card until the laminated one arrives. •
he NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife deployed a total of 325 reef balls on the Garden State North and Garden State South Reefs on Dec. 3, 2009 as part of the Artificial Reef Program. For more information about the Artificial Reef Program, as well as reef site coordinates visit www. njfishandwildlife.com/news/2009/ reefdeploy11-09.htm on the division’s website. ~
Marine Fisheries Council meeting location changed
he NJ DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has been advised that the March 4, 2010, Marine Fisheries Council meeting location has been changed from Galloway to Toms River. The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. in the L. Manuel Hirshblond Room in the Toms River Township Office, 33 Washington Street, Toms River. Traditionally, the March council meeting agenda includes votes on the regulations for numerous summer fisheries, including summer flounder. ~
Reef survey results released by NJDEP
he 2009 edition of the state’s “Reef News” periodical detailing the state’s reef system included a questionaire to be filled out by anglers. The results of the survey, detailing responses about reef use, fishing success, species targeted and related topics are now on the division’s website at www.njfishandwildlife. com/artreefsurvey09.htm ~ Stay up to date on news affecting New Jersey’s fishing community at our web site, located at: www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com
Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • February 2010 • 7
Jersey Fishing Rescuers in Merrit Island, Fla. tend to a sea turtle stunned by cold water temperatures. Photo courtesy of Florida FWC.
Cold snap contributes to faulty Florida fishing Captains report fish kills, state orders season closures after chill
By Daniel Nee any New Jersey residents heading to Florida over the course of the next several months will arrive to find a number of important fisheries were crippled during the recent cold snap that sent the mercury into a tailspin up and down the east coast. “The fishing shut down quickly as the cold front set in and the water temps dropped much quicker than normal,” said Capt. Charlie Conner, whose charter service, Capt. Charlie’s Fish Tales Charters, is based in Port St. Lucie and fishes the Indian River Lagoon from Stuart to the St. Lucie River. “Fishing was totally different those first days out there,” said Conner. “It was the coldest and longest spell in my 28 years living down here. Most come and go in a short time, but this stayed around.” The cold snap produced ramifications worse than just a few days of poor fishing, however. Dozens of species of fish were killed in large numbers up and down the east coast of the state as waters plunged into the high 30s for the first time in decades. This led state officials to enact emergency closures of snook, bonefish and tarpon. The closure, which took effect Jan. 16, bans the harvest or possession of snook in state and federal waters off Florida until September and establishes a temporary prohibition on the harvest and possession of bonefish and tarpon from state and federal waters off Florida through March 31. Catch- and-release fishing for these species will still be allowed. “Species such as snook, tarpon and snapper suffered greatly and it will take a while for them to recover,” confirmed Conner. “But trout, redfish, sheepshead and black drum held their own very well. The trout bite picked up as soon as the sun was out a couple days and the redfish bite picked up about the same time. Sheepshead, black drum and pompano has been good also.
Most of the fish didn’t feed much with the cold water, so they were hungry as the temps began to warm up again.” Boaters have been advised by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission - the state agency that handles both fishing regulations and general marine law enforcement - that during periods of cold weather, manatees may huddle in one location, so an accident could affect many animals at once. FWC biologists documented more than 100 manatee carcasses in state waters from the beginning of the year through Jan. 23. The good news, however, is that long-term fishing prospects look good across the Sunshine State. Some biologists have even identified a silver lining in the deadly cold snap - the fact that some invasive species native to climates warmer than Florida may have been eliminated from state waters. For Conner, a return to more seasonable temperatures is a chance to get back to fishing. “The rest of winter should be much more normal for this time of year,” said Conner. “Pompano fishing along the surf will remain good through spring. Trout and redfish will be the best bet along the river, which is usually the norm this time of year.” Conner’s area, which covers Martin and part of St. Lucie counties, is home to a sizable redifsh population. When the redfish mature by late spring into summer, fishing will be excellent, he predicts. On Florida’s Gulf Coast - where fish kills weren’t as severe as on the east coast - fishing is also improving after the chill. Redfish have begun feeding again in the Tampa Bay area, with many of the fish feeding on top of oyster bars at high tide. Spotted sea trout have been located on grassy flats. Further south in the Ft. Meyers-Naples region, back bay temperatures have risen back into the 60s while Gulf temperatures continue to hover in the high 50s. Though the snook fishery is closed, catch- and-release fishing has yielded good results. Offshore, grouper to 30-inches have been boated in recent weeks while amberjack to 40-inches have been coming over the rails. Grouper season, however, closes for two months Feb. 1. For those interested in fishing the Keys, offshore fishing has been excellent through the start of February, according to local reports. Blackfin tuna have been crushing baits as the Gulf Stream has moved closer to the reef line and the wahoo bite has begun to turn on full-throttle. Wreck fishing has yielded a good bite of kingfish and cobia. On the flats, permit between 20 to 25-pounds have been hooked, with sea trout, barracuda and small sharks rounding out the local catch. •
// if you go Capt. Charlie’s Fishing Charters
Fort Pierce - Vero Beach - Jensen Beach - Stuart - Port St Lucie Capt. Charlie Conner Phone: 772-284-3852 Web: www.fishtalescharter.com
Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • February 2010 • 8
Party boats still sailing, but tog bite is off Not much action in the suds, surf anglers report
By Todd Bivona arty boat captains have reported that the excellent blackfish (tog) season has begun to wind down as the calendar turns to February. The fleet coastwide has started transitioning its efforts away from the tog and toward species such as cod, pollock and ling. A number of offshore trips have been planned locally. The Jamaica II, homeported at Bogan’s Basin in Brielle, is offering its own wreck fishing trips out to the mud hole through the winter. Trips run Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and on holidays. The boat is also running a number of offshore cod trips on various dates, including Jan. 30 and some Fridays in February. Those trips run from 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Big Jamaica, also docked at Bogan’s Basin, is also offering offshore trips to keep anglers busy through the winter season. The giant party boat has been wreck fishing, with anglers pulling in ling and pollock, as well as good numbers of jumbo porgies, one of the Shore area’s most delicious species.
See PARTY, Page 10
Kenneth Marvulli of Brick caught a 14-pound, 1-once blackfish as well as a 10-pound, 8-ounce blackfish on board the Jamaica II out of Brielle.
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Jersey Fishing PARTY, From Page 9 For those looking to get in one last chance at blackfishing, the Big Mohawk party boat out of Belmar was still running trips at press time, but there’s no telling how much longer Capt. Chris will continue sailing for the tog. For a different fishing experience, head out for a ride abord the Miss Belmar Princess. Capt. Alan is targeting mackerel this time of year, and reports from the boat indicate the fishing has been excellent. “Most people filled large coolers,” wrote Capt. Alan, describing a recent mackerel trip. The boat is fishing about 20-miles from shore on daily, full-day trips. Be at the Belmar docks early, since the boat sails at 7:30 a.m. Additionally, the Miss Belmar Princess is running cod trips to Montauk, sailing at 8 p.m. on Friday evenings. Surf Action Quiet Surf anglers have tried to get out there recently, but action has been pretty much unheard of. In southern Ocean County, ice fishing at Collins Cove was brought to a standstill as the freeze broke and the ice melted. However, some anglers in the area switched to freshwater fishing (license required) at Tuckerton Lake. Farther south, most tackle shops have closed for the season and participation has ground to a halt, though many shops will be open again to cover the opening of striped bass season in the back bays, which occurs March 1. •
Boating Safety Classes
Jim Tynan from Highlands caught this ling Jan. 24 on board the party boat Angler from Atlantic Highlands.
Charter Capt. Fred Gamboa of Andrea’s Toy Charters in Pt. Pleasant Beach caught this sailfish while in Miami recently.
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Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • February 2010 • 10
Catch ‘Em & Cook ‘Em ber, if you have a great recipe that you would like to share with other Jersey Shore Fishing readers, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll include it in a future issue! This month, we’re preparing cod in a creamy dill sauce. ERIKA
Cod in dill cream sauce
A winter treat sure to warm you up as spring approaches
By Erika Koelsch
t’s a comfort to know that, in these dragging winter months, with each day that passes we draw closer and closer to longer days, warmer weather, and all the fishing you can take (without 8 layers of long johns). With this intense anticipation and eagerness, there’s no reason that anglers shouldn’t continue cooking those fish as we’ll keep providing recipes for you to try out. And remem-
Ingredients: KOELSCH • 4 cod fillets, about 6 ounces each • 2 tablespoons butter • 1/4 cup white wine • 1 lemon: 1/2 zested and juiced, the other half cut into wedges • 1/2 cup cream • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 2 teaspoons dried •Salt and pepper Preparation: • Salt and pepper the cod fillets. Heat butter in a skillet large enough to hold fish in a single layer. • When pan is hot, add cod fillets and fry about 5 minutes, turn and cook until done. (Allow about 10 minutes total cooking time for each inch of thickness.) • Remove cod fillets to a warm platter or individual serving plates. • Add wine, zest and lemon juice to skillet, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Add cream and dill and boil until sauce begins to thicken, 1 - 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and spoon sauce over fish. • Serve immediately, with lemon wedges on the side. •
Legislature to take up ‘pots off reefs’ bill again
enate Bill 221, which would prohibit the use of certain fishing gear on artificial reefs is scheduled to be heard by the New Jersey Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Monday, Feb. 1. The bill was introduced by Sen. Sean T. Kean [R-Monmouth] just two weeks ago and co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Van Drew [D-Cape May, Atlantic] and Sen. Andrew R. Ciesla [R-Ocean]. “Similar legislation introduced in previous legislative sessions has passed a full Senate vote on two occasions, but companion Assembly bills have yet to be voted on by the full Assembly,” said RFA-NJ Chairman Capt. Adam Nowalsky, who is hoping to see a companion Assembly bill to S221 very soon. “RFA-NJ is hopeful that both the Senate and Assembly bills will be voted on during the current legislative session.” New Jersey’s Artificial Reef system is one of the nation’s most successful reef building programs. Occupying just .3% of the sea floor off of New Jersey’s coast, a past state study revealed that 20% of New Jersey’s recreationally landed fish come from the state’s 15 reefs. The majority of states that have artificial reef programs including New York, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida have identified traps as non-compatible with their reef programs and no longer allow traps on their reefs. Artificial reefs in federal waters for a number of those states have also been classified as Special Management Zones (SMZ’s), restricting the use of traps on those sites. • - Staff Report, RFA Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • February 2010 • 11
What: Ling Where: Off SH Report From: Fishermen Party Boat, Atlantic Hlnds.
What: Mackerel Where: 20-mi out Report From: Miss Belmar Princess
What: Herring Where: Manasquan Inlet,, south jetty Bait: Sabiki rigs
Hot Spots Feb. 2010
BACK BAY What: Striped bass Where: Oyster Creek Outflow Bait: Various lures, action spotty.
Freshwater What: White Perch Where: Tuckerton Lake Bait: Grass shrimp Report From: Scott’s B&T, Mystic Islands
• Brielle •
DEEP SEA FISHING
BACK BAY What: White Perch Where: Mullica River Bait: Grass shrimp Report From: Abseon Bay Sportsman Ctr., Absecon
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Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • February 2010 • 12 Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • November 2009 • 12
Every rod has its reel
Finding a well-rounded reel for multi-season Jersey fishing
By Daniel Nee pecies of fish are as numerous and diverse in New Jersey as the anglers who fish for them, which can sometimes translate into headaches as Garden State anglers try to keep their costs down while trying to find a rod and reel combination that fits so many types of fishing in a single package. While it’s nearly impossible to find one, single combination that will handle everything from striped bass to mako sharks, it is quite feasible to condense much of your fishing practices into one highquality outfit. Many anglers spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on their equipment, but in tough economic times such as these, it certainly behooves all of us to cut back just a bit. That doesn’t mean we’re advising anyone to “go cheap” on equipment, rather, our plan of attack for the upcoming season is to find a high-quality outfit that can be used for multiple fishing purposes, thus cutting down on the necessity to keep so many different (and potentially costly) setups at once. Additionally, we’re going to look at setups that strike a balance for fishing summer flounder, blackfish, sea bass and jigged striped bass. While certain types of fishing is best accomplished with a spinning outfit, the majority of year-round fishing in New Jersey is accomplished with a conventional outfit, so we’ll focus on quality conventional reels for bait and jig fishing from a boat. For the purposes of our reel search, we recommend anglers consider purchasing a high-quality rod on which to place the reel. As one of our reel requirements is that it be lightweight, we don’t want to render this a moot point by mounting the reel on a clunky rod. A good example of the rod we’re looking to purchase is the Shimano Trevala TVC-66H, a 6-foot, 6-inch heavy power, medium-fast action jigging rod that can handle 80-200 pound braided line. The rod’s ultra-light weight makes it a perfect tool for a full day of ocean fishing. It’s designed for a high-speed, high-power reel that, likewise, shouldn’t weigh us down during an extended day
of multi-species action. It retails for $169 at Oceanside Bait and Tackle on Long Beach Island. For initial advice, we asked South Jersey fishing expert Dante Soriente, publisher of the online fishing forum TheMagicMann.com, his thoughts. “There are many different reels out there today that will work for your situation,” said Soriente. “It all comes down to what you want to pay, and what you will be using the reel for.” We decided to focus on reels in the $100-$200 range for inshore fishing that could, potentially, also be used offshore. “If you’re using the reel for smaller fish jigging you want to go with a higher gear ratio,” explained Soriente. “If you’re catching bigger fish, the low gear ratio helps a See REELS, Page 14
// reel rundown Shimano Torium Pros: Solid construction, high-speed gear ratio, anglers have used both inshore and for tuna with success. Cons: Weight, price goes up as line capacity does. Price Range: $179-$279 Avet SX Pros: Ease of use, construction, high-speed, light weight. Cons: Price, past spooling issues. Price Range: $199-$289 Daiwa Sealine X Pros: Price, high-speed, light weight. Cons: Some plastic used in construction. Price Range: $119 (all models) Daiwa Saltist Pros: Ultra high-quality construction, great for braid. Cons: High-end of price range. Price Range: $169-$199
Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • February 2010 • 13
Jersey Fishing REELS, Page 13 lot. If you plan on fishing deep water, the high ratio is a must unless you want to be cranking forever” Making A Choice Avet reels can be seen mated to many serious anglers’ rods all season long, especially for blackfish season. They can also be used during the summer for tuna fishing, which intrigued us as to the specifications of these machines. “My Avet LX 6.0 has landed yellowfin and blue fin tuna with 65-pound braid, no problem,” said Capt. Jim of Legal Limit Charters, who fishes from Tuckerton to Cape May. “A friend of mine and myself have several setups with the Avet SX and MXL on Trevalas and Penn Torque rods and use them for tog, stripers, drum, flounder and sea bassing.” The LX 6.0 retails for about $259, over our price limit, but the SX comes in under $200, although on the high end of the spectrum at about $189. The 14.8-ounce reel, the spool of which is just slightly wider than a golf ball, was the most-recommended in our impromptu survey of tackle shop owners and hardcore fishermen, but it wasn’t without its detractors. “They look nice, however I don’t like how they perform,” said Soriente. “When you put any kind of drag pressure, the reel binds, and doesn’t allow them free spool to come out fast enough.” Soriente did say, however, that Avet has since engineered some improvements into their drag system since the last time he used their products. The only Avet reel to fit into our price range, however, was the SX model with the 5.3:1 gear ratio. The combination of the obviously-excellent construction, light weight and smooth retrive of the Avet may make it worth the money for many anglers, especially those who fish year round and frequent the blackfish grounds. ~ Another reel that came with glowing reviews in our survey was the Shimano Torium. The “14” model in the Torium series weighs one ounce more than the SX and is priced about $30 less. “The Torium 14 to 20 series is great for inshore and can handle small tuna,” said Capt. Jim. The Torium’s 6.2:1 gear ratio puts it on the high-end as far as retrieve speed goes, and Shimano touts its ease of use as one of its best attributes; it can be used for both jigging and casting without sacrificing performance. The Torium 14 can handle 300-yards of 14-pound mono and up to 200-yards of 20-pound mono. The Torium 20, which sells for about $10 more than the 14 model, can fit 420-yards of 20-pound mono around its spool and 400-yards of 25-pound mono. However, it weighs 22.8-ounces, compared to the 15.7-ounce weight of the 14. In the middle of the range is the Torium 16, which adds slightly more line capacity and shaves two ounces of weight off the total for the 20 model. ~ If the Avet and Shimano reels cost a bit more than you
are looking to spend, a great alternative may be the Daiwa Sealine X Series. “I have used many Daiwa products and have been happy with most,” said Soriente. Capt. Jim has used the reel before and gives it his seal of approval as well. “This an all-around reel with light weight, great line capacity and drag,” Jim said. “It’s a great choice for inshore jigging, stripers, drum and tog.” The base model of the series, the SL-X20SHA, retails for about $119 and, similar to the Torium, has a 6.1:1 gear ratio, making it a high-speed choice for ocean fishing. It weighs 15.5-ounces, comparable to the Torium 14 and less than the other Torium models. In fact, the larger members of the Sealine X family are also lighter than the Toriums, with the 19.6-ounce SL-X50HA model being capable of spooling 350-yards of 30-pound test mono and 220-yards of 50-pound test mono. All of the models in the range weigh under 20-ounces, with the primary differences coming in the area of gear ratio. The two biggest models, the “40” and above-mentioned “50,” feature 4.9:1 gear ratios rather than the 6.1:1 of the models with slightless less line capacity. Notably, all of the models are identically priced, so you won’t pay more to choose which reel suits you best. Higher in the Daiwa line is the ultra-modern Saltist series of reels, which (in price) come about halfway between the Sealine and the Avet SX - we’ve seen them selling in the mid $160s (STT30H model). The series is universally admired for what Daiwa terms its “full metal jacket” construction that makes it perfect for braided line use. Its speed leads the pack, with models achieving a gear ratio of 6.4:1, pulling in 47-inches of line with each crank. With such rugged construction, however, comes a bit more weight. While the other reels we’ve compared all weigh below 20-ounces, the Saltist series weighs between 23- and 25-ounces. It’s a consideration, but for anglers who want a dual inshore-offshore outfit that makes the best use of today’s high-quality braided lines, the Saltist’s extra weight has a defined purpose insomuch as its construction, and that may be enough to sway one from the cheaper Sealine, which uses a combination of metal and plastic construction. Conclusions While many publications choose a clear winner in a comparison, that’s not our style. We’ve given you the background, now it’s your move; we don’t believe that anyone should choose a reel until they’ve at least handled it, and perhaps until they have tracked down a friend who owns one and fished with it. That said, we believe all of the reels mentioned are high-quality pieces of equipment that are arguably the best available when it comes to the fishing in which most New Jersey anglers engage. •
Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • February 2010 • 14
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‘United We Fish’ March on Washington! A bus to the rally has been organized by The Chum Bucket Bait & Tackle in West Creek (southern Ocean County). What: Bus trip to attend RFA’s ‘United We Fish’ rally in Washington, D.C. When: Feb. 24, bus will leave The Chum Bucket parking lot at 8 a.m. The rally is from 12 noon - 3 p.m. Cost: $35 to cover bus.
For more information or to register, call 609-294-2500 or visit www.thechum-bucket.com. The shop is located at 381 Rt. 9, West Creek. Jersey Shore Fishing • www.JerseyShoreFishingMag.com • February 2010 • 15