MICHAEL SHEPHERD For The Press
The old adage of “March comes in like a lion” describes the fishing potential this week here in South Jersey.
Local fishers no doubt are aware that striped bass season in state marine waters starts Tuesday — March 1.
That’s the same date for the launch of winter flounder fishing.
The Atlantic City Boat Show will start Wednesday and continue through Sunday at the Atlantic City Convention Center.
At least a couple of contests run by popular bait and tackle shops also load up the local calendar.
Striped bass season is always much anticipated by local fishermen and throughout the state.
Fishing is open throughout New Jersey marine waters from the back bays, rivers and streams, inlets, surf and out in the ocean to the 3-mile limit. We are allowed a one-fish daily possession measuring from 28 inches to less than 38 inches. Circle hooks are required to promote the safe release of over-under stripers.
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Bloodworm and grass shrimp are two early-season baits. Striper also enjoy cut and live bait and chase lures.
Dave Showell said Monday from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon that bunker are around for cut or live bait and that plastic lures cast and retrieved likely will work.
Striped bass have been caught by fishermen going for white perch, which has been a very productive fishery. There seems to be a decent possibility that this could be a good opener.
Striped bass are cruising the rivers and streams such as the Mullica River environs, the Great Harbor River watershed, and Fortescue and Back Creek in Cumberland County.
White perch catches surely have been carrying the fishing load this winter. Bloodworm is a popular bait for white perch with top and bottom rigs and no. 2, no. 4 and no. 6 hooks. Grass shrimp works at least as good, but some perch fans say that bait has been hard to find.
Showell is running his season-opening striped bass contest. It is a first fish caught, not a biggest fish format.
Andy Grossman has the Riptide Bait and Tackle contest set up for its 18th year.
Sign up at Riptide for $30 to be eligible for the contest that continues to May 26. It offers $500 for the heaviest striped bass, $300 for second place, $150 for third place, plus $300, $200, $100 for the top three spots in bluefish, black drumfish and tautog.
Fish must be caught on Brigantine Island. Brigantine beach-access permits and a Derby pass are required for four-wheel vehicles to drive on the Brigantine beaches.
The Atlantic City Boat Show has just about everything for fishermen and boaters, including seminars conducted by well-known and well-respected fisherfolk.
Go to acboat show.com for the entire lineup of exhibits and seminars.
The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council meeting originally set for Thursday has ended to April, according to postponement of chairman Dick Herb, of Avalon.
Finally, the 27th South Jersey Bass Club fisherman’s flea market is Saturday at the Millville Elks Lodge at 1815 E. Broad Street.
The entry fee is $5 from 8-9 am and $2 from 9 am to the close at 2 pm Admission is free for youths under 14.
Go to sjbca.org/fleamkt.htm.
Follow Shep at Facebook.com/ShepOnFishing.
Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Mondays online and Tuesdays in print.
ContactMichael Shepherd: 609-350-0388
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