STAFFORD, NJ — We are several days into March, and the month sure has roared in like a lion. The water temperatures have remained low and need to see an increase of several degrees before the striped bass become active.

The big news of the past few days has been the revelation that the New Jersey summer flounder regulations have been pretty much set. I understand that there is still one agency that must sign off on them, but it appears that we will be seeing pretty much the same set of laws that we had last year.

The season along the coast will probably run from Friday, May 24, through Saturday, September 21. The will once again be a three-fish per day daily limit with a minimum keeper size of 18-inches. Anglers fishing from the beaches of Island Beach State Park and in Delaware Bay will see their 17-inch minimum size kept the same.

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These regulations have been established based on the allotments given to New Jersey by the federal government. By the way, many observers, myself included, believe our allotments are not based on accurate data but rather flawed random samplings.

From some inside sources, I understand that the state DEP and our Division of Fish and Wildlife are looking over everything that came down from the feds to see if we can improve the rules a little. But do not expect much.



As mentioned earlier, cold water temperatures have slowed the striped bass action down to practically nothing. Scott’s Bait and Tackle down in Mystic Island reports the water temperature at Graveling Point to be right around 40-degrees.

At this time of the year, bright sunny days seem best with the water warmest on the outgoing tide. The fish are sluggish so baits such as bloodworms and clams are the ticket for your best chances at a fish.

Scott’s also mention that there might be a white perch bite in the Mullica River in the Collins Cove area. They recommend live grass shrimp. An added note is that if you get into the fish pretty well, switch to bloodworms as they will work on hungry fish and stay on the hook better.

I received the word that Dan Yaniro owner of Captains Quarters Bait and Tackle in Brighton Beach on Long Beach Island is retiring. He is having a big closeout sale this weekend and probably next weekend, March 15 and 16.

I have known Dan for many years, and he is a great, caring individual. I want to wish him the best of luck in the future and urge as many of you as possible to stop in and say hi to Dan and pick up some great buys on fishing gear.

If you should have any questions on local fishing or have fishing reports of your own to share, I would love to hear from you at jamesghutch1@aol.com.