Sea Bass Legal Again Starting Friday
After a three-week closure, black sea bass will once again be a legal quarry, and the daily limit is raised from two to 10 fish.
While today and part of tomorrow look okay weather-wise, Sunday and Monday are going to be a wash. However, things improve starting Tuesday and look good through the remainder of the week.
The same 12.5-inch minimum will remain through October 31. Starting November 1, the length limit is raised to 13 inches, with the daily limit increasing to 15.
From this corner, with the exception of the summer flounder (fluke), no other inshore fishery is as popular as that for the sea bass, at least insofar as angler participation is concerned. Stripers? Nah. Bluefish? Nope. Tog? No.
In a nutshell, sea bass are easy to catch. This is “drop ‘n reel” fishing with either bait (fresh or salted clam, squid, green crab, live minnie) or jigs like the AVA 007, 27, and 47, or a bucktail sweetened with a Gulp! Grub or Gulp! Sand Eel. Adding to the appeal is that the species is one of the best eating inshore gamefish, certainly on par with fluke, tog, porgy and kingfish, and cobia, rivaled only by triggerfish and blowfish...at least in the opinion of your truly.
Find a wreck, rock pile, or any type of submerged structure in 50-100-plus feet, and sea bass will be there. Most of the reefs in New Jersey extensive artificial reef system will be loaded, packed, and otherwise jammed with sea bass when Saturday’s opener rolls around, and in South Jersey waters, figure limit catches to be made on the Garden State north and south reefs, and the Barnegat, Great Egg, Little Egg, Atlantic City, Ocean City, Townsends Inlet, and Cape May reefs. Pick ‘em and stick ‘em.
Listen in to the October 2 podcast of Rack & Fin Radio on 97.3 ESPN. Bureau of Marine Fisheries biologist and artificial reef coordinator Peter Clarke gives the lowdown on New Jersey’s sea bass fishery and a few of his favorite reefs.