As originally planned, the New Jersey Striped Bass Bonus Program will start on May 15 and run through the end of the year if the allocation isn’t taken.
That program is derived from the state’s commercial share of the stock that isn’t used by the commercial sector since N.J. became a game fish state. Anglers can now apply to the N.J. Division of Fish and Game website for a SBBP permit that allows for one striper from 24 to less than 28 inches. That is in addition to the standard one from 28 to less than 38 inches daily limit.
The N.J. for-hire fleet has been suffering from a shutdown while their bills just keep coming. They’ve proposed social distancing procedures which would allow them to operate, but Gov. Murphy hasn’t publicly acknowledged those requests. However, the federal government is coming to the rescue as the CARES Act has $300 million for the fishing industry that includes for-hire boats. If skippers can get paid like some farmers do for not planting crops, they may never sail again.
Fred Golofaro of The Fisherman magazine N.Y. edition reports Monday’s fluke season opener in New York was generally slow in cold ocean waters. The best reports were from shallow inshore waters during warmer ebb tides. Golofaro noted that weakfish and porgies are just getting started in Peconic Bay, and bluefish are late arriving in N.Y. waters– which he hopes is due to the water temperatures rather than a continuing scarcity.
Jim Tynan e-mailed a report about a friend who fished Shrewsbury River from shore below the bridge over the weekend and caught a 10-pound blue as well as short stripers.
There’s another good day coming up as Friday starts at northwest 10-15 knots before switching to south in the afternoon with likely rain and a gale watch at night into Saturday evening.