Bottom fishermen in N.J. have been waiting for the sea bass season to open, and tomorrow is the day. However, they’d better have a private boat in order to participate in the fishery which has a daily limit of 10 sea bass at a 12 ]/2-inch minim
Party and charter boats still don’t have permission to sail even under the social distancing guidelines they’ve adopted voluntarily Gov. Murphy opened up beach restrictions starting Friday in preparation for Memorial Day. He also noted in today’s press conference that recreational fishing rules are being reviewed.
Both the Jamaica from Brielle and the Big Mohawk from Belmar were taking reservations for the sea bass opener in hopes they’d be able to sail. The Jamaica has canceled for tomorrow, but is still holding out hope for the weekend in case Murphy has a change of heart tomorrow. I wouldn’t count on that. Also don’t count on catching sea bass as large as those boated on a the Jamaica during a fall offshore wreck trip.
Though it’s blowing hard southwest as this is being written, that wind is forecast to drop to 10-15 knots by morning along with showers before increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon.
Dave Lilly said there were stripers swirling and chasing bunkers on the surface all over around the mouth of Raritan Bay this morning. He quickly trolled one of about 30 pounds, then another in the 20-pound class on a Tony Maja bunker spoon before losing another good one- before bass in the low teens took over. They would come back up right after boats ran over them, and everyone caught them on anything they used. Surprisingly, the water temperature had dropped to 48 degrees.
At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reported lots of fresh clams and bunker in stock. Clams seem to be working best, and small pieces will also attract blowfish. Blues are scattered in the bay, and range from 2 to 10 pounds. They’re hitting a variety of lures.
Capt. Hans Kaspersetz with a Raritan Bay bass on his Sheri Berri from Highhands.