Marinas open from NJ to CT

The new coalition of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut governors acting together in selectively reopening the economy as the pandemic shows signs of diminishing took a big step this weekend by reopening marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers in all three states. Unfortunately, both charters and rentals remain prohibited.

Party and charter boat skippers remain out of work, and are finding that they don’t qualify for government programs aiding small business.

Small craft warnings are up until midnight for southwest gusts to 30 knots. The morning marine forecast is for northeast winds at 10-15 with gusts to 20 knots.

Capt. Jim Freda was able to get out on Raritan Bay with family this week and had no problem jigging and trolling large stripers from his Shore Catch.

Freda's striper

N.J. trout season to open on time

The pandemic has affected everything else, but the N.J. trout season will open as scheduled tomorrow. Catherine McCabe, the D.E.P. Commissioner, confirmed that during Gov. Phil Murphy’s press conference today.

She noted that state parks and Wildlife Management Areas remain open and without charges, though offices and rest rooms are closed. Despite the general order to stay at home, recreation while observing social distancing is encouraged. Indeed, McCabe touted the benefits of fishing, and Murphy said a 6-foot rod is good for measuring the distancing requirement. He also noted that this was good news for all but the trout!

There are small craft warnings up to tomorrow afternoon as the northeast wind continues at 15-20 knots before dropping to 10-15 in the afternoon.

Check those striper regs

Some anglers seem to be living in another age. A friend who was at Raritan Bay docks on Saturday talked to fishermen who were bragging about their two-fish striper limits, though all they had were two barely legal bass. It’s been some time since the bag limit in N.J. was two stripers at a minimum of 28 inches. The limit has been one at 28 inches — with a second legal only if it’s at least 43 inches!

The Marine District of New York (south of the George Washington Bridge) is also now open, but the rule there is one at a minimum of 28 inches. If you have that second legal fish in N.J. you’ll be illegal if you cross the line.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports 5-pound bluefish were caught in the surf north of them just before the northeaster.  Choppers are due to pour in through the inlets any day now. The strong west winds should be flattening out the ocean, and the surf may be clean enough to fish in the next day or two.

At Belmar, the Ocean Explorer plans to fish for blackfish tomorrow, while the Golden Eagle will be seeking stripers. The Big Mohawk is waiting until Thursday at 7 a.m. for tog.

Dave Perruso had good news of shad catches in the Delaware River. There’s been a hot bite from Trenton to Easton, though the shad north of there aren’t biting yet due to the cold waters. Dave took his nephew Todd Perruso out Saturday to catch 37, and Sunday morning he had friends from Easton aboard for 61 shad up to 5 pounds.

The Bi-State Shad Tournament will be contested there April 26 to 29, with $15,000 for the largest shad. Contact Eric Fistler for entry info at 610 762-0440 or http://www.shadfishingcontest.com. There’s also a G3 boat, Yamaha outboard and Bear trailer as a prize.

Keegan Rothman added the HOFNAD Tournament at Birch Grove Park to his list of fishing accomplishments. A trout took the contest, during which he helped disabled kids compete.

Keegan