The Fishing Line is back and ready to share your fish stories. The unseasonably warm weather has anglers chomping at the bit but the action is still slow. Striper season (March 1) ought to get folks out in serious numbers. For now, regulatory concerns are foremost on the scene.
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife is informing recreational saltwater anglers and commercial fishermen of changes for river herring and tautog .Effective immediately, no person shall take, possess, land, purchase, sell or offer for sale any river herring (alewife and blueback) in the marine waters of the State. Only commercial vessels fishing exclusively in Federal waters while operating a valid Federal permit for Atlantic mackerel and/or Atlantic herring may possess river herring, up to a maximum of five percent by weight of all species possessed.
The new minimum size for tog is 15 inches and you can take four (4) fish until Feb. 28. The season is then closed for the month of March; open in April; closed in May to July 26; limit one (1) fish from July 27-Aug. 31; closed Sept. 1-Oct. 17; one (1) Oct. 18-Nov. 15; and limit of four (4) Nov. 16-Dec. 31. For more information www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2012/herring-tog_regchange.htm
Saltwater anglers are reminded they must register with the New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program prior to fishing in 2012. Anglers with a valid license/registration from another exempted state, or a New Jersey freshwater license, are still required to register, free, with the NJSRRP. Most individual saltwater anglers ages 16 and older, as well as for-hire vessel owners/operators, must register. Visit www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2012/registry_reminder12.htm.
Also NJDEP is requesting anglers and boaters to do their part to halt the spread of aquatic invasive species have made their way into New Jersey waters. Plants like Eurasian water milfoil, hydrilla, didymo (rock snot) and water chestnut choke thriving waterways. Invasive fish such as the snakehead, flathead catfish, and Asian swamp eel compete with other fish. Information about the effects of these invaders, how to identify them and precautions to take can be found at www.njfishandwildlife.com/aquatic_invasives.htm
Calendar Items: Public forum on freshwater fisheries issues, Feb. 2, 10 a.m., Batsto Village Visitors Center, Burlington County. Pre-registration not required but appreciated, 856-629-4950 or e-mail Christopher.Smith@dep.state.nj.us.
U.S. Coastal Fishermen Rally in DC, March 21. Keep Fishermen Fishing an organized demonstration supporting the amendment of the Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson Act). A rally on Feb. 24, 2010, under a United We Fish™ banner, brought together some 5,000 recreational, commercial and party/charter vessel owners and folks in associated businesses from all over the country.
For information call 888-564-6732 or www.keepfishermenfishing.com; “Keep Fishermen Fishing” on Facebook and can follow developments on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/FishMarchDC2012
Now that you are up-to-date on issues, there were a few reports to share: Captain Adam Crouthamel, Adam Bomb Charters, reports good results on mixed bag bottom fishing with cod, pollack, and ling and Stray Cat Charters had some good action on cod the 4 of February. Some were jigged in 140 feet of water The best color to use was a chartreuse skirt over the hook. Hot pink is the captain’s personal favorite. They also found tog and lots of Bergals. Stray Cat had a ‘blue bird day with a calm ocean.’
Many captains and charters are accepting reservations, so don’t delay calling and get your dates scheduled.