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Posted By Jim Hutchinson, Jr., April 13, 2020
Dave Andrews emailed The Fisherman over the weekend and said he’s been putting in a lot of time over the past two weeks and noted the big fish are showing now with a 37-incher and a 41-incher caught and released in the past week. On Saturday he sent a picture of his uncle Dave Michulka with was reportedly 47 inches long with a 31-inch girth.

While the Raritan Bay is producing some good catches of jumbo, pre-spawn stripers right now, the Delaware River shoreline is also providing its fair share of incredible fish for folks dunking bloodworms. Dave Andrews emailed The Fisherman over the weekend and said he’s been putting in a lot of time over the past two weeks and said “biggins” are on the move upriver. He shared photos of fish in the 37- to 41-inch range late in the week, and then sent word of his uncle Dave Michulka with a 47-incher that had a reported 31-inch girth, also released.

Fish are definitely on the move since the April 7 moon, which is also evident in our weekly edition this week for subscribers in another black drum and a few bluefish from Great Bay. That and the Jersey trout opener this past Saturday should have folks out and about with rods in hand, yet the COVID-19 crisis continues to hold back effort overall. In fact, for many anglers, the governor’s state park closure last week was a bit like a kick in the teeth, perhaps nowhere more evident than on the trout grounds.

“As a result of the early (catch and release trout) opening and the virus, a ride to my favorite trout stream on Saturday was like an episode of the Twilight Zone,” noted field editor JB Kasper’s in his freshwater report this week. “The ride up Route 29 along the canal which was shut down and very few anglers fishing the streams was surely a dose of reality and the unknown.” Wildlife Management Areas are still open, as are plenty of trout-stocked waters; it just may take a little effort to find access.

On the upside, JB noted in this North Jersey reports how the state of New Jersey is allowing phone in-curbside bait and tackle sales, giving thanks to the Recreational Fishing Alliance’s New Jersey chapter for that effort! While COVID-19 restrictions are seriously impacting saltwater access as well, it’s certainly worth the social distancing effort. “The striped bass fishing in Raritan Bay and the lower Hudson River remains very good despite some late week gales that cut into the number of boats that fished,” JB wrote in this week’s report, adding “Two other fisheries are worth mentioning are the winter flounder in Shark River, the lower side of Raritan Bay and the Shrewsbury River, and also good blackfishing on the rocks at the inlets, in the back bay areas of Raritan Bay and from the offshore reefs.

Central Jersey anglers were also hampered by late week winds, a weather pattern that is starting the week of April 13 yet again. But according to field editor Ashley Viola, fishing in between the gusts has proven fruitful. “The bay has schoolies and flounder swimming around right now, so those who have boats or kayaks should get out there,” Ashley said, noting that blackfish are hitting a variety of things like green crabs, clams, and white leggers. Fish have been taken along the canal as well as local jetties in Ocean County.

As for stripering out front in the southern part of the state, if you’re not up the Delaware you should probably be looking New Hampshire; or Maine. Avenues that is. “Those getting out report that Atlantic City is the place to be if you want a bend in your rod,” said South Jersey field editor Anthony Califano, reporting jetties in the gambling Mecca are doubling down on short stripers and keeper blackfish. “North of Atlantic City there are plenty of perch and short stripers in the Mullica taking bloodworms,” Anthony said.

The Fisherman’s Jim Hutchinson also had a report on Friday morning - before the wind was at its absolute worst – of bluefish in Great Bay. Reader Paul Gantz said he had some good bluefish while trolling SP Minnows along the bars. “It was super bumpy but there were a couple of schools that came through the inlet,” Gantz reported while emailing a photo of a boxed limit of bluefish.

If you’re in the market for a Yamaha, the Reliable Choice Sales Event from Yamaha that was initially slated to end March 31 is continuing through April 30. If you’re looking to repower, call your local Yamaha now to take advantage of five years of warranty protection or $1,500 in dealer credit with your Yamaha purchase.

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