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NJ EVENTS WEEK OF MARCH 4, 2019

The March 8-10, 2019 fishing and boating activities in the region wrap up on the Bass River on Sunday with the Viking Yachting Center Marina Mixer & Open House along the Bass River.

By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.  |  March 5, 2019
NJ EVENTS WEEK OF MARCH 4, 2019
When will New Jersey's fluke season reopen, how long will it stay open, and what's the size and bag for 2019? The answers to those murky questions should become a little clearer by the weekend as MAFMC meets in Virginia and the NJ Marine Fisheries Council convenes in Stafford Township.

On Friday, March 1, New Jersey’s back bay striped bass and winter flounder seasons reopened for the 2019 season. While snowy opening day conditions kept many anglers indoors, a few reported catches of both species through the weekend has breathed a bit of life into the local recreational fishing community.

A few flatfish landings from docks and bulkheads in the upper reaches of Barnegat Bay in the past few days also have local anglers thinking ahead towards summer flounder or fluke. Typically by the time we get to the Atlantic City Boat Show weekend, the annual question “what’s happening with fluke this year,” is already answerable.

However, due to the government shutdown to start the New Year, information related to the ongoing stock assessment and potential changes to state-by-state regulations was delayed by 35 days. This week, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) is meeting at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront from Wednesday, March 6 through Thursday, March 7. Sometime on Thursday afternoon, New Jersey anglers will get a better idea about the summer flounder specifications for the next three years, and in particular what the recreational measures for 2019 should look like.

For online access to the meeting, enter as a guest at mafmc.adobeconnect.com/march2019.

Any late-breaking information from the MAFMC meetings should ultimately get discussed this Thursday, March 7 at 5 p.m. when the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council meets for their bi-monthly meeting. That’s being held at the Stafford Twp. Municipal Building at 260 East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin. See the tentative meeting agenda.

This is typically the meeting where final fluke regulations for any fishing season are set. While fishermen had hoped to see an increase in quota for 2019 based on an improved benchmark stock assessment, harvest estimates in the recreational fishing community in 2018 that showed an overall increase in fluke catches last season are expected to temper any expected improvements to size, season or bag limit. The meeting is open to the public.

If you’re in the Philly area in the weekend ahead and shopping around for a new boat, be sure to check out the Greater Philadelphia Boat Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, PA on Friday from 1-8, Saturday 10-7 and Sunday 11-5. Admission is $10 for adults, kids 16 and under free. Be sure to stop by booth #83 for your set of Sea Striker pliers or Star Rod dry bag with a new or renewing subscription to The Fisherman.

On Sunday, March 10, you can also get a chance to sea trial a new Contender or Skeeter center console (by appointment) at the Valhalla Boat Sales and Viking Yachting Center Marina Mixer & Open House along the Bass River. Tour the marina grounds and slips, check out the full line of Contender and Skeeter boats, stop into Breeze’s Bar & Grill for a bite, and be sure to enter the free drawing for a chance to win a free slip for the 2019 summer season (new customers only). The onwater event is being held from 1-4 p.m. at Viking Yachting Center and Valhalla Boat Sales at 5724 Route 9 in New Gretna, NJ, GSP exit 50 if you’re coming from the south, exit 52 if coming from the north. To schedule your Contender or Skeeter sea trial call 609-296-2388.

For surfcasters, don’t miss the Asbury Park Fishing Club’s 27th Annual Indoor Fishing Flea Market on Sunday, March 10 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Asbury Park Convention Hall at Ocean and Sunset Avenues along the beach in Asbury Park. Hailed as “the original plug show,” the Asbury Park show features the best plug makers from all along the Striper Coast. Admission is just $5, and The Fisherman will be there with our Sea Striker and Star Rod gifts for subscriptions. For additional information call 732-531-7131.

Of course, if you're catching a few stripers or winter flounder this week, email your photos to The Fisherman's Jim Hutchinson, Jr. this week for a chance to showcase your most recent catches in The Fisherman Magazine or in our weekly Video Forecast on Thursday at noon.

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