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Thursday, June 20, 2024


The Fishing Line: Here Comes May


By Carolyn Miller

Won’t be long now. The weather has improved, sea bass regs are out, and the fish are on the move. If you want to keep up-to-date on the fishing regulations, check out NJDEP Web site. They’ve posted the latest possession limits and season dates chart. Black sea bass season opens May 19 – June 30 with a 15 fish limit at 12.5 inches; drops to a three (3) fish limit July 1 – Aug. 31. You really do have to pay attention. Tautog season closes today and won’t reopen until July 17.
Bucktail Willie was able to get out a couple of days when weather allowed and says that the fluke have arrived and were all 18-22 inches (all released). Weakfish are also biting around dark and sunrise. “Once the weather settles down, I think fishing will bust open.”
Willie reminds us that there is a very important Marine Council meeting tomorrow, May 1 at 4pm in Gallaway Library. There is some momentum building to get the State split for summer flounder fishing in 2015. NJ got hit hard in 2014 with regionalization and tied to NY but we know there clearly are 2 different fisheries in NJ and South Jersey lines up better with Delaware than NY for average size. South Jersey anglers, need to consider going to meeting, listening, and voicing an opinion. Anglers, tackle shops and marinas have a lot to lose under current regulations and timing is critical as a proposal must be presented to ASMFC in their June meeting for any hope for 2015.
A new scientific assessment of the butterfish population indicates that the stock is not overfished and that overfishing is not occurring. These findings were detailed in the 58th Stock Assessment Workshop (SAW) Summary Report, which was released by the NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center last month after being approved by a panel of external peer reviewers during the Stock Assessment Review Committee (SARC) process. In addition to determining that the stock was not overfished (at or above BMSY), the assessment also concluded that the stock had been above the biomass target for the entirety of the time series used (1989-2012).
Despite the efforts by the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife to control Furunculosis at the Pequest Trout Hatchery, the last remaining raceway of brook trout reared for stocking this spring tested positive for the bacterium. The 90,000 brook trout scheduled to be distributed throughout the state over the two remaining weeks of the modified 2014 Spring Trout Season is cancelled. Of the three species of trout affected by the disease, brook trout proved to be the most difficult to treat.
It is important for anglers to note that additional trout were stocked earlier in the season (during the pre-season and in-season week 1). Plenty of trout are still available for anglers to target in these waters. The Division will still be stocking 44,000 rainbow trout over the next week. Anglers are strongly urged to visit for the most up to date stocking information.
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife announced that Tilcon Lake, in Allamuchy Mt. State Park, has received its first stocking of landlocked salmon. Nearly 200 large salmon, averaging 18 inches and ranging in size from 15-20 inches in length, were stocked in the Morris County lake. For more information on the stocking, visit
May 2-4: Strictly Boaters is a different kind of boat show that is…Strictly For Boaters! At South Jersey Marina.
Strictly Boaters offers the serious boating enthusiast a VIP venue to view select new boat inventory and products from numerous boat dealers and boat manufacturers. Various makes and models from 13′ and up will be on display. Many will be displayed in-water and may be available for sea-trial to qualified customers. Electronics, outfitting and other related products will also be on display. Free tickets available at
OF INTEREST: Bucktail Willie helped out with a reader’s question regarding catch and release techniques: Once the fish is caught, use a wet rag and cover fish’s eyes, remove the hook. Handling the fish as little as possible. If I need be, grab it from behind the head and avoid stomach area. If fish is gut hooked, cut the line as close to hook as possible and release with hook in fish. The hook will dissolve in few days and fish will survive. (Willie has proven that with his return tag data). Best to use bronze hooks, never stainless. You might be able to cut the hook barb off and back the hook out. Key to dislodging any hook is to keep fish quiet and a wet rag over its eyes to keep it calm. NEVER use a dry rag as this removes the protective slime on fish. Thanks Willie, that’s helpful advice.
The Fishing Line runs year round so keep sending your reports and pictures to Column and pictures are posted online at and on Facebook. Check out Miller’s new children’s book “Counting the Fish in the Sea: The Story of the NEAMAP Trawls” on

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