Well, if you look around, it’s easy to see that we are in a semi-hibernation period. Local ocean fishing is basically nonexistent, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t fish fairly close to home. You’ll just need to go a little bit north, or west, into Atlantic or Cumberland counties. While there, you can fish for white perch or early-season striped bass.
Further up the coast, there are still boats running to offshore sites while targeting various winter fish species, so you always have that as an option. Just remember to call ahead to make sure which days those boats are planning to sail.
As we know all too well, particularly this time of the year, the weather forecast rules the day and can easily change the most carefully made plans. With that in mind, let’s see what went on since we last met.
There are two things to remember now that it’s March 1. First, blackfish are off the board for the month, but April, when the next season for them opens, is only a month away.
Second, the good news is that striped bass season is now officially open. Just recall that you will need to use in-line circle hooks if you are fishing a natural bait, regardless of whether it’s in pieces or whole.
With that date in mind, Absecon Bay Sportsman Center is running their annual First Striper Caught in New Jersey 2023 contest. The first three legal stripers brought to the store will win that angler a store gift certificate.
Bonus prizes, which will be Absecon Bay Sportsman Center sweatshirts, will be awarded to the first video release of a legal striped bass (28 to 37.999 inches), the first video release of an over 38-inch striper and the largest White Perch that is weighed in at the store March 1.
Check out their Facebook page for a complete list, and explanation, of the rules. Good luck if you give it a try.
The last running party boat in our area, the Starfish, which sails from Sea Isle, wrapped up their season Feb. 11. The trip finished strong with some nice keepers scattered around the boat and particularly well for an angler named Luther, who put a bow on the season by winning the final pool with an 8-pound, 3-ounce blackfish. Congratulations go out to Luther.
Plenty of perch are being caught from the rivers of Atlantic County. If you want to get involved, all you will need to do is find a tackle shop in that area that is open, then grab some bloodworms or grass shrimp, and you’ll be ready to go.
I recently received a notice of an activity that should interest many of our readers. I’ve spoken before of making the most of the rigs, as well as some of the teasers that I use, and this will give everyone an opportunity to work on one of those skills.
The South Jersey Coastal Fly Anglers are holding an “Introduction to Tying Flies” class. The event will be held March 6, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. and it is free to the public. Also, walk-ins are welcome.
The presentation will be held at the Galloway Township Branch of the Atlantic County Library System. For more information, you can call Joe at 609-412-9604 or Brian at 609-742-9929.
The club also meets at the Senior Center in the Ocean City Community Center on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. The center is located at 1735 Simpson Avenue.
If you’re looking for something to do, don’t forget that the Discover Boating Atlantic City Boat show starts today and runs through this Sunday. The show is being held in the Convention Center, which is easily reached by way of the Atlantic City Expressway. Plenty of activities, in addition to lots of boats to check out, are planned to help you enjoy your visit.
Also, don’t forget that the Red Raider Fishing Sale and Flea Market is quickly approaching. It will be held March 18 at the Ocean City Civic Center, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The address is 5th and the Boardwalk, and there will be plenty of free parking. Stop in and help support the Ocean City Schools Fishing Clubs.
Well, it wasn’t overly busy, but there was some activity over the last couple of weeks. With the striper season starting as you read this and with the April blackfish season a month away, you could equate the scene to an early morning, maybe late November, blackfish trip.
The sun is slowly cracking the horizon as the day dawns and the boat you're on navigates under the final bridge before heading to the open ocean. Exciting possibilities lie ahead.
That’s where we're at now as the new seasons of different fish lie ahead. It’s stripers, then blackfish, and sea bass followed by summer flounder. Throw in spring weakfish and drum fish, then all the other fish that arrive as the water warms, and don’t forget the blue claw crabs, and suddenly the situation is like that day. Full of exciting opportunities.
Get prepared to take advantage of those times as they present themselves. Take care, and I’ll see you around.
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