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The final days of March should give way to improved striped bass action while Jersey toggers head back to the wrecks, reefs and snags as of April 1. A local rundown on local fishing news for the first part of April, 2019.
By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.  |  March 25, 2019
Nick Traina fished Cliffwood Beach along the Raritan Bayshore over the weekend of March 23-24, and caught 10 striped bass to 27 inches, all on bloodworms

As of April 1, New Jersey anglers will get another month-long shot at tautog, with a four blackfish bag and 15-inch minimum size limit from April 1-30. New York’s bicoastal fishery (Long Island Sound and NY Bight) will also reopen for the full month of April with two fish at 16 inches. Delaware anglers of course continues to have their coastal tautog fishery open through May 15, with a four fish bag and 16-inch minimum size.

In our April edition reports at The Fisherman, news on arriving herring and an uptick in water temperatures in the back have many striper anglers anxious to get back into the action. Bloodworms and sandworms seem to be doing the trick to end the month of March, but more reports by pluggers and plastic-casters are coming in from areas along the Raritan Bayshore, the Toms River, the Mullica, Great Egg and down along the lower South Jersey stretches of the Delaware River.

Don’t forget, on the New Jersey side, striped bass harvest is closed along the Delaware River from the Calhoun Street Bbridge near Trenton downstream to the Commodore Barry Bridge at Bridgeport from April 1 to May 30. Also, non-offset circle hooks must be used when using bait with a #2 sized hook or larger along the particular stretch.

On the Delaware side, the spawning season for striped bass is considered to begin at 12:01 a.m. on April 1 and continue through midnight on May 31 of each calendar year. It is unlawful for any person to take and retain any striped bass during the spawning season from the Nanticoke River or its tributaries, the Delaware River and its tributaries to the north of a line extending due east beginning at and including the south jetty at the mouth of the C & D Canal, or the C & D Canal or its tributaries. Catch and release only during this season; no harvest is allowed.

New Jersey and Delaware trout season will kick off on Saturday, April 6.

In advance of the April 6, 2019 Trout Contest for Kids at Spring Lake in Monmouth County, NJ presented by the Shark River Surf Anglers (SRSA), the club will be stocking the lake this Saturday, March 30 at 9:30 a.m. All kids are invited to help SRSA volunteers put more than 500 live trout into Spring Lake; those interested in participating should meet on Saturday by Mercer Avenue. The contest itself runs on opening day, April 6, from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at Spring Lake and is open to all children 15 years and under (with prizes awarded to top three young anglers in each of four divisions along with one grand prize for largest overall trout of the tournament). For details go to www.sharkriversurfanglers.com.

If you’ve got a slightly older young angler at home looking at attending college next year, the Ike Foundation (a non-profit organization founded by Mike and Becky Iaconelli) is offering college scholarships awarded to high school seniors pursuing full-time enrollment in a 2-year or 4-year college or university in the United States. Awards are based on academic achievement, demonstrated volunteer commitment (preferably in the fishing or conservation world), and a personal statement of how fishing has impacted their life and prepared them for college. Deadline has been extended as students may be waiting for college acceptance letters.

The Foundation’s Scholarship Committee conducts a blind review of all applications to determine the final award. Trustees score submissions using a pre-defined point system. Scholarship awards may be applied to tuition, fees, supplies, books, or equipment. All interested applicants should go to https://theikefoundation.org/2019-scholarship-application.

Completed and submitted application materials must be postmarked or submitted online before April 5, 2019.

With improved local fishing action, the winter/spring show season is also coming to a close in the next two weeks, with The Fisherman Magazine and friends attending the 3rd Annual Wildwood Fishing and Boating Expo when it returns to the Wildwoods Convention Center on April 6 and 7 showcasing a wide range of exciting new products, services and programs that fishermen and boaters will find useful in the season ahead. Sponsored in part by Mud Hen Brewing Company of Wildwood and The Fisherman, the Wildwood Fishing & Boating Expo is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 7.

Admission price is just $5, with children under age of 12 admitted free. Door prizes will be awarded every hour through the event. Be sure stop by The Fisherman booth for a chance to win a pair of Unsinkable Polarized sunglasses, and get a set of Sea Striker pliers or Star Rod dry bag with your new or renewing subscription. Also stop by the seminar area to attend one of these “how to” workshops (included with your admission price to the show).

Saturday, April 6
10 a.m. Captain Fred (Float Rig, Back Bay Fishing)
11 a.m. USCG Flotilla 083 Wildwood (Boater Safety, Safety Inspections)
1 p.m. Captain Dan Schafer, Bottom Sweeper Jigs (Shallow Water Sheepshead)
2 p.m. Guide Don Goff (Trophy Snake Heads on the Susquehanna River)
3 p.m. NonPariel Tackle (Wind-on Leaders for Trolling, Tandem Wind-ons for Mojos)
4 p.m. Captain Tom Daffin (Summer Flounder over Structure)

Sunday, April 7
10 a.m. Captain Fred (Float Rig, Back Bay Fishing)
11 a.m. USCG USCG Flotilla 083 Wildwood (Boater Safety, Safety Inspections)
12 p.m. Captain Dan Schafer, Bottom Sweeper Jigs (Shallow Water Sheepshead)
1 p.m. Captain Tom Daffin (Summer Flounder over Structure) weather permitting

Located along the famous Wildwoods Boardwalk directly overlooking the beach, the convention center is located at 4501 Boardwalk in Wildwood. For show information call 609-377-1617 or visit the Expo website at www.fishingexpowildwood.com.