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Saturday, April 20, 2024


Fishing Line: Jan. 11

A nice blackfish for this angler.
Courtesy Starfish

A nice blackfish for this angler.

By Mark Robbins

The last full week of fishing for the year produced a boxing style result. It was a split-decision type of week. It would have been appropriate to say that, should you have been here for the last half of the week, you would have seen most of the highlights. My son and I got out mid-week and that was a half-week too early. We should have aimed for the weekend, but you fish when you can and ultimately, it always comes down to “you should have been here yesterday.” 

The fishing on either Friday or Saturday provided better action than Wednesday. Granted, the trip earlier in the week was right after the cold spell that we went through, and the fish were sluggish, whereas the weather was a lot warmer as the weekend approached and the fish seemed to notice that. Let’s check things out.  

The Miss Avalon, and their Friday patrons, finished the day on a good note. They had plenty of shorts that provided steady action all day and mixed throughout those were twenty keepers. The largest of the day was a 7.1-pounder that was caught by an angler named Mark. Unfortunately, it wasn’t me, but congratulations go out to that angler.  

The final trip of the year, scheduled for Sunday, January 1st, was unfortunately canceled due to a forecast of unfavorable winds.  

Thanks go out to Captains Irv, Brandon, Sam and Trevor and the rest of the crew, particularly Austin and Evan, for their reports and pictures of their season’s highlights. The first two captains operate both the Miss Avalon and their back bay boat, the Avalon Lady, and provide plenty of material for the column. Thanks everyone, enjoy your rest, and I’m sure I’ll see you on the fishing show circuit this winter. Then it will be on to April and the beginning of the 2023 spring blackfish season.  

The Starlight Fleet finished up their season on a very positive note, the type that makes you want to fish a few more days. They stayed strong though and completed their season.  

The final day saw limits of blackfish go to Sean McCalley and Jay Goble. The pool-winner for the day was an 8.5-pound blackfish.  

The fleet owners thanked Captain Pauland mates Kevin and Christian for another great season of blackfish action as well as their support throughout the year. They plan on seeing everyone for another year of blackfishing in April.  

The Starfish, sailing from Sea Isle, tallied some nice fish right before the turn of the new year. For good measure, they kept it rolling just after the new year rolled in.  

After resting Sunday, a full boat of anglers departed on Monday. Many nice fish were caught, but the big fish of the day hit 14-pounds.  

The Thursday trip resulted in another nice-sized party. There were some nice fish caught that day with the biggest landing in the 12-pound range.  

The Starfish is looking to sail daily, but it’s recommended to call ahead and get your name on the list. You can reach them at 609-263-3800 or go to to check the schedule and get on the list.  

One angler who had a good day, and kept his hot streak going, was Denny Mattei. He was mentioned in the previous column for three nice keepers he caught on the Miss Avalon. Two days later, on the Osprey out of Atlantic City, he landed a 12.5-pound blackfish that was his personal best. On Monday he landed another double-digit fish when he weighed in a 10.12-pounder. Good job Denny. Congratulations on your hot stretch of fishing and here’s to keeping it going.  

The Cape May Lady is sailing for blackfish and other winter fish. Check on their schedule often so you will know what they’re targeting, and when.  

It’s good to see that the local fishing scene experienced a quick bounce-back after the extremely cold stretch that we recently had. It’s bittersweet though because two more boats have wrapped it up for the year. Sure, we know it has to happen at some point but it’s even tougher to accept especially at a time when the fishing is heating up. Well, get out when you can, enjoy the opportunity, and good luck. Take care, and I’ll see you around.  

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