THE MUD HOLE
Some of the big striped bass that anglers had been hoping would come into the surf are not far away.
Party boat anglers fishing the edges of the Mud Hole, and the gulch itself, are catching a few 20- to 30-pound bass on mackerel teasers, chrome jigs and clams and the fish seem to be staying put.
There is no chance that these fish will come back to the surf when they have a warmer environment and plenty of herring and mackerel to feed on in the Mud Hole area, but their presence supports the belief long held by biologists from New York that some Hudson River fish winter in the deep waters close to Long Island and New Jersey.
The fish being caught in the Mud Hole now have to be released because the EEZ is closed to both recreational and commercial fishing, but they are fun to catch, and it is encouraging to see those big fish only 10 or 12 miles from Manasquan Inlet.
The water temperature in the Mud Hole is between 46 and 47 degrees, about what it was at this time in 2002 when weather patterns were similar. On the beach, the water temperature is around 45 degrees.
John Bushell Sr. of Betty and Nick's Bait and Tackle, Seaside Park, said school stripers still find the water from Seaside Heights to Barnegat Inlet to their liking.