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It’s another week with no real fishing to report.  

It’s not satisfying, but it’s not surprising considering how the weather has been. Although, the weather Feb. 6 was adequate for February, and the ocean looked enticing when I checked it out. There’s not much fishing action to discuss, but we have other worthy fishing-related topics to cover.  

The first relates to something you should have if you plan to go fishing.  

Consider this a friendly reminder to sign up for the 2021 New Jersey Saltwater Registry. You don’t need one if you fish exclusively on for-hire boats, but you will if you fish on your own boat or kayak, or from a sod bank, rock pile or bridge. The safest way to put it is if you fish, you need to carry one on you. There is no sense of getting stopped, warned, or worse, getting a fine.  

Enter NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife into a search engine. New Jersey Fish and Wildlife will pop up, and just press it. Once you're at the site, go to the middle of the page and look for the banner that mentions the registry and registering for 2021. After clicking on the banner, follow the directions to either create a new account or to renew your existing registration.  

It’s better to take a few minutes now to get registered and print your card than pay a fine later for not having it.  

If you like freshwater fishing or want to see what it’s about, remember June 5, which is the first of two free freshwater fishing days in New Jersey. I know it’s hard to believe, but the words free and New Jersey are in the same sentence without the words “nothing” or “is” being in there, too.  

This event in June is held to tie into National Fishing and Boating Week. A license or trout stamp won't be required, but other regulations, such as size and bag limits, will remain in effect.  

This is a great opportunity to introduce kids to fishing or for you to renew a passion that may have gone cold. Get out and enjoy a day by the water.  

The second day of free fishing will be in October. No date has been announced, as of Feb. 12, but will be at a time when anglers can take advantage of fall trout stocking.  

Another item that may interest you is the Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Youth Fishing Challenge, a free, statewide event promoting fishing among youths and their families. To allow more people the opportunity to enjoy this free outing, it will be held June 5, the same day as free fishing. Youth participants must register, and they can be eligible to receive prizes for the fish caught during the event.  

Youth anglers must also be present after the event to be awarded prizes. Those with questions regarding participation or hosting an event can visit hofnod@dep.nj.gov. If you have an organization that would like to host an event, or you are an individual interested in volunteering, an application is available to submit. It can be found on the website by going to the section titled “Upcoming Events,” then finding the headline, “Youth Fishing Challenge-June 5th.” 

It’s important to know the deadline to register as a host site is April 15, so you will need to get moving. Locations for the 2021 challenge will be listed as they become available.  

Finally, a list of rules is printed towards the bottom-right before pictures from previous events.  

Don’t forget that the striped bass season is less than two weeks away. The backwaters will be open, and stripers caught in the back bays, creeks, and from sod banks will be legal.  

Remember, too, that if you're using natural baits, such as popular early season baits like clams or bloodworms, you must use inline (non-offset) circle hooks. This rule is for all New Jersey waters and is designed to increase the survival rate of released stripers.  

If you want to get some fishing in, and if the weather allows, you will need to find some river areas and try for some perch. That seems to be where almost all the action is currently. The rivers in Atlantic County, plus the Tuckahoe Wildlife Area, seem to be suitable areas to try.  

Good luck if you get out and I’ll see you around. 

Submit your fishing news and photos to mrobbins@cmcherald.com. 

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