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Posted By Jim Hutchinson, Jr., April 20, 2020
‎”The hot action continues in Raritan Bay and today was no exception in spite of the raw cold weather,” said Capt. Jim Freda of Shore Catch on Sunday, reporting that the stripers were hitting everything he threw from plugs, to magnum flutter jigs, swim shads, casting mojos, and even on the troll. Capt. Jim added, “Best part however was that I was with my son Tommy.”

“Both boat and shoreline fishermen enjoyed very good numbers of mixed size stripers to 30-plus pounds,” said North Jersey field editor JB Kasper while filing his weekly report for TheFisherman.com, while adding “Needless to say fishermen are coming under more and more scrutiny and access has become a big problem.” Biggest issue from north to south is keeping safe, and finding a safe location to fish. Nowhere is that more apparent than on the front beaches where Beach Talk reporter Nick Honachefsky who referred to it as “whack-a-mole surf fishing spots.”

“The good news is that most tackle shops are open for curbside pickup business,” Nick said, adding “The not so good news for surf guys is that you really have to research what beaches, piers and bayshores are open to fishing.”

Just be sure that you know a beach or access area is open to the public before fishing it, and follow safe distancing and other pandemic rules when surfcasting and boat fishing alike. Authorities are on the lookout for scofflaws who aren’t bothering with any of the “social distancing” rules set forth by the state.

“The party and charter boats are still tied to the docks, waiting for the green light,” said Ashley Viola along the Central Jersey shore, explaining “Most shops are doing curbside or mail orders, just give them a call.” There was a little hiccup in the whole curbside delivery process last week when Brick Township Police ordered Pete at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle to cease curbside sales on Thursday morning. The situation was later rectified by a few calls to legislators and higher-ups in the state, and the ability to do phone in and curbside delivery was confirmed by the governor’s office. Charlie’s was reopened Thursday afternoon, but it’s a reminder about just how thin of a line we’re walking here during this COVID-19 crisis.

It’s important to keep this in mind as folks start finding the local jetties and rock walls productive where access is currently allowed; the action is turning on there, but it’s important that anglers keep proper distance between others “There were plenty of fish to be had here in South Jersey according to the relatively few anglers who put in their time on the water this past week,” said South Jersey reporter Anthony Califano who advised dropping a green crab off a jetty or bridge will almost certainly put a tog on your line for those anglers that can’t get offshore. “Tons of short stripers can also be found on the same jetties and bridges, they are happily taking all types of soft plastics in the 4- to 6-inch range,” Anthony said, noting that a few larger fish in the 30-inch range have also been taken from the jetties at night.

Those hoping for a few shad on the Delaware should keep their fingers crossed for a little clearing in the weather this week. Last week’s deluge and heavy winds made a relative mess of the Delaware. “The shad run in the Delaware was put on hold by the high, muddy, debris filled water into the weekend,” said JB Kasper in his freshwater reporter, adding that striped bass fishing, especially in the upper tidal river also took a hit. “Pickerel fishing remained very good in the cedar waters, as did the perch fishing in the tidal streams,” he said.

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