It’s been a long process, but there now seems to be some movement toward reopening party and charter boat fishing with many restrictions.

Jim Hutchinson Jr. of The Fisherman was at Thursday night’s N.J. Marine Fisheries Council meeting when a letter was sent to Gov. Murphy urging such an action with the social distancing provisions worked out by the United Boatmen and RFA.

The Council also noted unanimously to retain the season openings. They could have postponed them in order to add seasons later when more anglers may be fishing.

Fred Golofaro, editor of The Fisherman’s Long Island edition, said New York has worked up similar restrictions, including a 50% capacity cap, that they hope to consolidate with Connecticut and New Jersey for a possible joint for-hire opening.  Gov. Murphy of N.J. did note at this afternoon’s press conference that a charter boat opening was under consideration.

Though the N.J. sea bass season opened today to good morning weather, there were no reports. There was also an opening of the N,J, Striped Bass Bonus Program (SBBP) today, though Bud McArthur said that when he had applied for his tag it was noted that they wouldn’t be available for several weeks. Thus, without the tag to apply, the open season is meaningless. I tried calling the Division of Marine Fisheries late in the afternoon, but the phone wasn’t answered and the mailbox was full.

Storms were predicted for this afternoon, but they may be restricted to the north. A southwest wind gusting to 25 knots is predicted for late afternoon, but it’s down to northwest at 5-10 knots by morning before going to southeast in the afternoon.


  1. I was out on the water today which is now yesterday when I’m printing this. I noticed a lot of small boats in the river that carried well over their capacity of people. And they were all huddled together. Who is going to maintain the Sanity on the water. When you have jet skis that ride two or three on a jet ski or or a small boat that is less than 20 ft that has eight people board back together. Or even a bigger boat that packs more than is normally just to ride around on the water and party together. And then they talked about Charter and party boats having to adapt to rules and regulations. Who is going to police all of this????? Certainly the Coast Guard could do a good job or better job than they have done the Marine police they need more people on board their craft and Warcraft out there to do it these are just some of the simple things that I have noticed being up in Highlands for so many years. You can pass as many loads as you want but who’s going to enforce them and when are they going to make the enforcement? There’s a lot of people and they got boats and crafts that they want to sell. But they also want to bring all their friends with them.


    1. Thanks for your observation. I haven’t been on the water. The proposal for charter and party boats is much stricter than the current rules for private boats. No easy answers to this situation.


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