Anglers in northern N.J. have been getting into stripers earlier every year, but always start with small bass before the larger fish begin hitting. However, Dave Lilly reports that may not be the case this year. A couple of friends took advantage of temperatures over 50 degrees this morning to check out a spot near Port Newark that always produces their first larger bass from shore toward the end of March — and were surprised to hook up on the first cast of a jig before releasing 10 bass. Only two of those stripers were shorts, and the big one was 38 inches!

The water temperatures in waters flowing into the back of Raritan Bay tend to warm up faster than in the bay itself which receives cold ocean waters on incoming tides. The sun with mild air temperatures often sparks activity in shallow areas. The same applies to back bay areas where schoolies such as Jim Hutchinson Jr. is holding are already crushing small lures cast from shore or boat.

A northwest wind usually brings cold temperatures, but that isn’t supposed to be the case over the next few days. The forecast is for northwest at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20.

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