There are a couple of items to report regarding the southern Ocean County fishing scene. We had a particularly good blackfish spring, but unfortunately that season ended on April 30. Fluke does not start until late May, but there are some other fish around to chase after.

The water temperature is still around 50-degrees as I write this. As a result, there are still good numbers of striped bass in our bay waters, but most of them are throwback sized. I heard from Surf City Bait and Tackle that they have heard of at least one keeper taken off the beach in Surf City.

In many years we will have seen the arrival of some big, hungry bluefish. I have heard of a couple being taken, but not very many as of yet. There are some drumfish falling for clams in the Great Bay waters and off Tuckerton. The problem is trying to get hold of some surf clams. One idea is to pick up50 chowder clams from a seafood dealer and try with them.

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There are white perch around including some of the lagoons of Beach Haven West. A good spot for advice and bait for this is Andy at Tony’s Bait and Tackle in Manahawkin. Give him a call at 609-597-7250. 

I decided to try and see if any crabs are moving around. I put some pots out but have only caught a handful, 3-4, a day. We need some warm sunny days to warm up the water temps.

Now let’s take a look at how we are faring on the fishing scene with the Corona Virus. The Governor has opened the NJ State Park system, but authorities are keeping a close eye on things to be sure everyone is following the social distancing guidelines. On Long Beach Island the only two towns with wide open beaches are Barnegat Light and Surf City. In the other towns you must have a legal placard to prove you are a local taxpayer to be on the beach.

As far as boats go, if you are fishing from a boat you must be alone or with only members of your immediate household. You should still observe the distancing guidelines.

Bait and tackle shops can provide curbside service. I decided to put my crab pots out and needed to get my recreational pot license. I found out that Creekside Outfitters in Waretown was able to handle everything over the phone and they even mailed the license to me. If you need some type of license give them a call at 609-242-1812.

Secondly, the Boat Shop in Manahawkin on Bay Avenue has been also offering curbside service and now is accepting customers into their shop on a limited basis. All customers must wear masks and observe proper distancing. In addition, they only let a few in at a time.

Fisherman’s Headquarters has posted a list of six activities for anglers who are unable to get out and fish right now. It is a pretty neat list and here is the link