The Atlantic City Boat Show is underway, with The Fisherman managing two booths (155 & 826) and a whole host of seminars with the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) through Sunday, March 4. Coastal temps are expected to hit the mid 50s for the winter flounder and striped bass opener in New Jersey, and despite a little rain in the afternoon forecast it already looks like a good kickoff – a little after 6 a.m. Thursday morning, Nikita Grantan registered the first keeper striper of the 2018 season, a 29-inch, 8-1/2-pounder brought into Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. Get your casts in early as things take a turn for the sporty on Friday for most folks in the region, with N/NW winds expected to usher in the weekend. If youre not partaking in the linesides and black backs to start the season, fishing for tautog along the Delaware Coast or hoping for a break in the weather to hit the Jersey Shore cod and pollock grounds, head on out to Atlantic City for the seminars and deals to be found throughout the show. Be sure to check in with the RFA on the fluke, sea bass and porgy status, and ask about the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act (S. 1520) which passed out of a Senate committee on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Forget the groundhog, spring has sprung as stripers are indeed on the feed!
Were most certainly in the homestretch now heading into the final weekend of February, 2018. Next Thursday, March 1, New Jersey anglers will unofficially declare winter is over, when back striped bass and winter flounder season reopens for the year. Folks whove been perch fishing local rivers including the Toms, the Mullica and the Great Egg Harbor are stumbling into good numbers of striped bass of late; with a rather wet weekend forecast ahead, might be a good time to visit your local tackle shop for tackle and intel. Another jumbo fluke pops on Facebook this week allegedly dragged up in the Hudson Canyon, although word along the docks is that it wasnt too far east of the Mud Hole where this doormat was hit. Check out TheFisherman.com for more on recreational regulatory front as another 20 or so days of fluke fishing may be on the Garden State horizon, while Delaware looks to cut a half-inch from the size limit. The best blackfish bite continues to come from the southern Mid-Atlantic States, though some of your favorite New Jersey party boats might try to log in one more wreck trip before the four-fish bag limit on tautog takes a 31-day break as of the end of this month.
Hopefully theres a three-day weekend in your forecast; with up and down, hot and cold weather of late you may need the extra days window of opportunity! Biggest blackfish of the week titanic tautog topping the 20-pound mark have been registered in the lower Mid-Atlantic States, but there are still boats in the New Jersey, Delaware region looking to sail for the wrecks when able. A few cod and pollock registered by boats hitting the mid-range and offshore grounds out of Central Jersey, while South Jersey creek and river anglers continue pounding on perch with bloodworms and grass shrimp. In the northern part of the Garden State, its all about the seminars this weekend the New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo runs from Thursday through Sunday in Edison, NJ with a full line-up of boat fishing seminars presented by The Fisherman and the Recreational Fishing Alliance. Surf Day returns to Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ on Saturday with more surf seminars than youll know what to do with; plus, The Fisherman is also in Manahawkin on Saturday for the Southern Regional Fishing Clubs annual flea market. New Jerseys striped bass kick off is less than two weeks away; are you geared up and ready for action?