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Tim Kincade with his catfish.

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Unfortunately, it's time to say goodbye to the spring 2020 blackfish season. Those with bigger boats and the numbers needed to locate wrecks or structures had the ocean to themselves. Others who enjoy going out on a charter or head boat to do their blackfishing had a tough, fruitless month.

The quarantine quelled what they look forward to each spring. Let’s look forward to May and what it could potentially provide for local captains, bait shops, and anglers that support both.

With the new month, and hopefully improving weather, is the knowledge that more fish will be arriving. That’s the way it’s been over the years, and there's no reason to believe it won’t happen on schedule this year.

Drumfish, striped bass, and weakfish are arriving on their biological schedule. They’ll get here when the conditions are right. The flounder season is set to arrive near the end of the month. Hopefully, that season can happen as scheduled.

We have ramps in the area that are open, so they figure to be busy places. Some boats will be going in for the season, while others will be daily in/outs, as families hope to enjoy a day on the water. These activities will keep these areas humming with activity.

This may be an opportunity to get a kayak for fishing or exercise use if you don’t already have one. They are transportable and need minimal space for launching. Using a ramp helps but isn’t necessary.

Our reports reveal that fishing was slow this week. One reason was associated with difficulty getting bait. Surf clams, used for drum fish, were hard to obtain.

Some anglers did hit some water recently, and they were rewarded for their efforts. I received a report that Tim Kincade had a successful outing while freshwater fishing somewhere in Cape May County, where he landed five nice catfish. Thanks to Tim and his friend for reading and submitting your report and pictures.

From the saltwater category, word arrived from Cameron at Boulevard Bait and Tackle that bluefish are around and active. He and his brother, at different times on the same day, hit the beach, in Sea Isle City. Cameron caught and released six bluefish, with the largest weighing 8 pounds. His brother totaled five fish that were released for another day, and hopefully, they'll fight hard with someone else.

Remember, the bag-limit for bluefish that you can keep depends on the manner that you are fishing for them. If you’re fishing from a land-based area or on your private boat or kayak, you are considered a “private” angler and are allowed three fish. If you are on a charter or head boat, then you are considered in a “for-hire” situation, which allows you to keep five fish.

Bluefish don't have size restrictions or closed seasons, so they can be caught throughout the year.

With the news that state parks are reopening, I am seeing more shops accessible for longer hours. Anglers who fish Corson's Inlet State Park or Cape May Point State Park will be happy to hear that news.

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A nice bluefish, courtesy of Boulevard Bait and Tackle

Also, a report mentioned that Lower Township's beaches will be opening for passive recreation. Fishing is one of the activities that will be allowed, as long as social distancing practices are maintained. That news couldn’t have arrived at a better time because those beaches are great for drumfish and striped bass. Now, we just need those clams.

There are plenty of bait and tackle shops in our area, so check out your favorite and throw them some business.

Word on the fishing-for-hire boats, or charter and head boats, remains elusive. Hopefully, we’ll receive satisfying news for those captains soon.

Maybe fishing can finally begin to resemble what we are used to experiencing at this time of the year. As some restrictions are being relaxed, more people may feel the desire to get to a body of water.

Remember to keep your distance from your fellow anglers so you, and all of us, don’t lose the chance to fish. If you get out, let me know how you did, therefore we can all share in your success.

Take care, and I’ll see you around.

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