SOUTHERN OCEAN COUNTY — I recently received a fishing report from the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. Although current state regulations have suspended charter boat fishing in New Jersey, the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association have not been sitting home doing nothing.

Most of the boats of the Association have been outfitted with upgrades and are either in the water or just ready to launch. The captains are planning how to conduct social distancing on their boats while maintaining strictly clean conditions for the protection of anglers and crew members. Current rules call for boaters to fish alone or only with immediate family members, and some BHCFA captains have been out on the water catching fish.

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” has been out with son Luke and wife Jennifer putting some fish dinners on the table. Captain Brett did very well wreck fishing for blackfish until the spring season ended on May 1. He managed to catch tautog up to 9-pounds. He has also had some action casting to small striped bass. Captain Brett has added a new boat to his fleet, a backwater skiff that will enable him to fish some of the real “skinny” waters.

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Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” has had his boat in for a few weeks and catching some blackfish with his wife Tracy. According to the story, she out-fished him. He reports also catching some nice black sea bass on structure which had to be released as they are not yet in season. In addition, Captain Gary tried the Great Bay area for stripers and has been catching and releasing several undersized fish.

The bay water is slowly warming up, and Andy Tonnesen from Tony’s Bait and Tackle in Manahawkin reports decent action on 4-pound bluefish around the Long Beach Island Causeway in the morning recently. He also recommends trolling ponytails around Barnegat Bay for more of these blues.

Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven reports the ocean temperature is right around 53-degrees with some blues and stripers in the surf. In addition, they have been hearing of schoolie bass and an amazing early season showing of blowfish in the bay.

Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom reports Barnegat Bay is producing excellent action, especially on light tackle, for bass, blues, and weakfish. In addition, they have gotten good vibes from Mike Green on the “Lucky Stripes” concerning a bite on black drum. Clams are the ticket for these fish.

We have a couple of seasons opening soon. Black sea bass opens on May 15 through June 22. You will be allowed10 fish per day with a minimum size of 12.5-inches. From what I have been hearing, this season should open with some particularly good catches. Then on May 22 the long-awaited summer flounder season opens in New Jersey. It runs until September 19 with a three fish per day limit and minimum size of 18-inches. At this time of the year the bay action is usually the best.

The New Jersey Striped Bass Bonus Program will reopen on Friday, May 15. Applications for individuals are currently being accepted through October 31. Here is the link for information and the application for the bonus tags which can be submitted online. https://www.njfishandwildlife.com/bonusbas.htm?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Anyone with questions or fishing reports is welcome to contact me at jamesghutch1@aol.com.