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Sunday, May 26, 2024

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The Fishing Line: And Dreams of Fishing Boats…

 

By Carolyn Miller

While winter continues to hold us captive indoors, there’s no reason why we can’t get our hearts and minds set on fishing.
That’s just what folks were doing at last weekend’s Atlantic City Boat Show. Proof that cold temperatures, wind, and ice will not deter us from dreaming of the season that is to come.
As of this writing, regulations are still in flux for summer flounder, scup and sea bass but if you are willing to bundle up and venture out these days remember black drum season is open all year (16 inch minimum, 3 bag limit); bluefish (no size minimum, 15 bag limit); one only weakfish, 13 inch minimum; and tog, open until the end of this month, can be had if 15 inches and 4 bag limit.
Bill Schillingford (www.bucktailwillie.com) sent in some very interesting information from his work with the American Littoral Society. To date Willie has tagged over 18,000 fish with over 90 percent being caught and tagged in Cape May County. (That’s quite a lifetime commitment to the program.)
Willie has returns for striped bass from every State from New Hampshire to North Carolina and mentions that the past two years has seen a much narrower area for returns. Willie surmises this means the total population of striped bass is declining. Returns for summer flounder reflect the area from Rhode Island to North Carolina. Tagging information this year has the average size up .3 ” over the past seven year average.
“While that isn’t a large increase when you couple that with the reduction in a smaller summer run, it could be a sign of problems,” says Willie. Weakfish size was very encouraging with a solid bite in September and fish up to 6.5 pounds.
Based on the meetings Willie attended, he anticipates a serious reduction in 2014 summer flounder. Willie also mentioned New York’s efforts to get some of NJ allocation with help of their Senator. (You may recall this column reported that information in late December. Something to watch for, for sure.) Another regionalization option would have NJ in a region from RI to NJ. Willie sees some pros and cons with regionalization. One pro could be an earlier opening but higher size and lower bag limit are also likely. Public meetings are taking place tomorrow in Toms River. More information as soon as possible. Thanks Willie for sharing your data and thoughts about those regulations.
NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife will hold its next freshwater fisheries public forum on Feb. 22, at Batsto Village in Wharton State Forest in Burlington County at 10 a.m. Topics will include an update of the Furunculosis disease outbreak at the Pequest Trout Hatchery and results from 2013 field sampling. Anglers are invited to ask questions and comment on any aspect of the division’s fisheries management programs with Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries biologists. By providing input, the public can help guide the development of freshwater programs and the regulations which govern them. For more information, go to http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2014/fshforumsouth14.htm on the division’s website.
NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has posted the 2014 Freshwater Fishing Digest on the Division’s website in PDF format. The print version should have already arrived at license agents. To view the Digest, go to
http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/digfsh14.htm
NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has announced that this year’s Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament will be moving from October to May. In 2014 the tournament will be held May 18, at Island Beach State Park. For more information on the tournament, including “Early Incentive Registration” which saves participants money and time entering the park on tournament day, visit http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2014/gsft14.htm on the Division’s website.
On a personal note, while on hiatus, this columnist got to do some fishing in San Diego. Thanks to Captain Fred Huber on the Daily Double, Point Loma Sport Fishing for a great day.
Send your reports, comments, and pictures to cmiller@cmcherald.com. Column and pictures are posted online at www.capemaycountyherald.com and on Facebook. Keep them coming.

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