Many captains are shutting down and pulling their boats out of the water.
Jim Chicchitti, captain of the popular Starlight fleet in Wildwood, was set to make his last trip of the season Friday night.
His offshore sea bass run Wednesday goes under the old fishing heading of “left them biting,” with limits for all on board.
Last Friday, Dec. 22, his sea bass catch also was described as excellent. The report included a limit of sea bass up to 4 pounds “early in the trip” for Mike Fritz, of Seaville.
Marianne Bryant, of Voorhees, had her limit up to 4.5 pounds.
An intriguing addition to these season-ending reports: They also caught big bluefish.
Not all the local party boats are wrapping it up.
Bob Rush, captain and owner of the Starfish fleet in Sea Isle City, said he was not running the boat but that his captains were still out fishing on an offshore sea bass journey late Friday afternoon.
Noel Feliciano was working around the house when he got a couple of calls from fishers looking for bait.
One needed green crab for tautog, and the other was going out for striped bass, so he went to his One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City.
Noel said some fishers have the itch to fish no matter the conditions. Noel said the only thing they were sure to catch was a lot of cold air, with temps in the teens and rising all the way up to mid-20s.
Noel often takes videos of the beach and jetty scenes around Atlantic City and posts them on his Facebook page. He got smart and headed back home instead.
A New Jersey Marine Fishery Council meeting is set for 5 p.m. Thursday at the Atlantic County Library on Jimmie Leeds Road in Galloway Township, according to council Chairman Dick Herb.
It was scheduled to start at 4 p.m. but a change was approved at the previous meeting to allow for more public participation.
Adam Nowalsky, our most dedicated and able state delegate to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, said an ASMFC meeting will follow the state meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Adam said the ASMFC agenda will primarily focus on two discussions about the black sea bass management process and potential 2018 regulations.
As always, the public is invited to participate in both sessions. A strong turnout could help keep the momentum going in the remarkable New Jersey statewide effort to bring about equitable recreational fishing regulations.
That movement started right here at a combined state and federal meeting last year with a motion from council member Bob Rush to not adopt federal summer flounder regulations.
Don’t forget: The river, back-bay and inlet restrictions on striped bass go into play starting Monday with the new year.
They are still legal in the ocean up to 3 miles offshore for boat captains and crews and for surf-casters fishing on the front beaches.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears in the Tuesday and Saturday print editions and online.