The Fishing Line: Feb. 27 | Fishing & Boating – Cape May County Herald

Well, this past week was officially slow. One report was submitted, but that was from a boat I follow over in Ocean City, Maryland. They are known for catching big blackfish and a number of anglers I know like to get two or three trips in with them over the winter.  Even they reported slow times which were not the norm as of late. Slow here, slow there so we can’t feel that bad as we didn’t really miss that much. We have some potentially bad news concerning a species many of us fish for, plus word of a new outdoor show and a suggestion plus a reminder for you. Let’s start.

An item that I have received some information on recently and it’s not good news, pertains to a fish many anglers around here pursue. The scientific name is Morone saxatilis but we know it more commonly as the striped bass.

The striped bass, additionally known as a striper, linesider, or rockfish is a gamefish that is primarily found along the Atlantic coast. They can also be found inland in various bodies of water. For our purposes the fish that concern us are the fish that live locally, known as resident fish, and the migratory fish that pass through our area, going north in the spring and south in the fall. They are part of the overall biomass of this species which has been dropping recently.

For those who fished for striped bass in the 1980s and into the early 1990s, you may remember the lean times we had concerning these fish. In the last couple years, getting a keeper-sized fish has been a real challenge. Part of that is because as the fish pass the coast moving south in the fall, they are more than three miles off the coast. We can only fish from the beaches, out to the 3-mile line. Fishing for stripers beyond three miles is illegal and will get you a big fine if caught. Another reason may just be because of a lack of fish. To put it a better way, it’s actually a lessening of the population. This could be due to reproduction pressure brought on by weather conditions, pollution, or even just a naturally occurring cycle. It may also be that the fishery is being overfished which may lead to a reduction in the allowable catch.

For now, we will have to wait for a complete review of the information collected. The recent government shutdown, mentioned in a previous column, has had an effect by bringing the work to a grinding halt. Unfortunately, it appears that some tough regulations may be on the horizon. Size and bag limits may be drastically adjusted, but we will have to wait till the complete report can be finalized. More information will follow as more information is released.

Jeannie D. Sportfishing is fishing out of Manteo, North Carolina for the winter. Recently they were out doing some night fishing and landed two sword fish. They report that Giant Bluefin Tuna are “still biting” off of the Outer Banks. The commercial season will be coming to a close and they wanted everyone to know that their charter season will be kicking in. The will be offering day trolling or overnight Bluefin Tuna and swordfish combo trips. You can call them at 856-261-4646 or visit for more information.        

Save the date of May 4because it will be the day of the Absecon Outdoor Sportsman Show. This will be the first time for this event as it will bring the community together for a fun and educational occasion. Outdoor sporting demonstrations plus others on education and safety are designed to “encourage families and friends to get outside and get moving.” Also great sports and activities will be taught to the next generation. The show starts at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be located at Pitney Recreational Park at 1098 Morton Avenue in Absecon. Check out their Facebook page for more announcements as they become available.  

It may be a slow time for fishing, but thankfully we still have a pulse. Now as March approaches you need to think of your future trips. Sit down, decide on a boat you wish to fish with, and give them a call. This works best for charter boats as they operate with a different style. They have a limited amount of passengers they can carry, usually between six and ten. You charter your trip daily, show up, and fish. The reason to plan now and call them is that their available dates fill up fast. They fish for certain species at various times throughout the year. If you want to fish for drum fish, then don’t wait too long as those dates will be tougher to get as we approach spring. The same train of thought applies to striped bass, tilefish, flounder, tuna or a favorite of mine, blackfish. So even if the type of fish you may want to target won’t be in season for a little while, now is the time for action.

Since this is February 27, you will be able to hit the back water for stripers in two days. If you get out there and get a legal striper don’t forget that Sea Isle Bait and Tackle and Absecon Bay Sportsman Center are running contests for the first stripers of the season. Both shops are offering various ways to win, so even if our not the first you still could qualify to take home a nice gift. Check out their Facebook pages for a complete set of rules so you don’t miss out.                  

Reminder: don’t forget to get registered for the New Jersey Saltwater Registry. Just go to the website of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. The link is in the middle column of the page.

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