Above: The Viking Fleet was able to find a good bite before the weather moved in.
February and March are the slowest months for the headboat fleet, but for the boats still sailing, there are fish to be caught.
It’s last call for blackfish in New Jersey this month. The fishing can be pretty spotty in February, even in southern New Jersey, but headboats like the Norma K III will continue to scratch out keepers until the season closes for the month of March. Norma K III has been making some stops for ling as well, often with good results.
The Voyager has a pair of 24-hour Block Island cod trips scheduled this month. These trips are a good option for cod-hungry NJ anglers who’d rather do their travelling over water than over highway.
The Viking Fleet will continue chasing codfish throughout February. January ran hot and cold for codfish, with some great days and bomber cod taken, but slow days outnumbered the good ones.
The Viking added an extended trip to the northern New England haddock grounds, where the fishing has been fantastic.
Laura Lee will be running wreck trips throughout the winter on most days when the weather allows. These mixed-bag trips come back with cod, ling, bergall, and even haddock and pollock. Catches fluctuated throughout January, and tapered off as the water temperature cooled, but as of early February, they were still returning with good numbers of keeper-sized fish.
The Eastman’s Docks fleet continues to put the hammer down on haddock, with the best fishing that Captain Les says he has ever seen. Many days brought full boat limits, and even the slow days sent most fishermen home with a pile of haddock fillets. The pollock fishing has been a little spotty, but there have been some mixed in.
Cod fishing around Block Island has been hot and cold, and the Frances Fleet is sailing every day the weather allows. The fishing is early February was on the slow side, but some banner days toward the end of January provide hope for the rest of the winter.
The cod around the Block seemed to be scattered toward the end of January, forcing the Seven B’s V to move around to put together a catch, but it seems like most days, almost everyone has been going home with fish.
Headboat Forecast for February
Cod fishing around Block Island will have its ups and downs throughout the month. When the fishery first bounced back, over a decade ago, the high time was March, though in recent years, the peak of the run seems to have shifted to January. Still, there’s hope for some good fishing on the southern New England cod grounds yet this winter.
How long the haddock bite will last out of New Hampshire is anyone’s guess. It’s been going strong for more than a month now. Still, if you have the chance to go, you’d be wise to make the run.
Out of New Jersey, if you have a good touch for tog, February is your time. The fish are cold, and have been feeling the pressure since November, so the most experienced anglers are the ones catching the keepers this month.
Ling fishing has been holding up in the Mud Hole in New York bight, though it’s slowed some from the January high point.
Whatever your port of departure and target species, there’s a good chance to bring home some fresh fillets and a 100-percent chance to go out and take in some fresh sea air – and that’s the best remedy for the cabin-fever-afflicted angler.