Well, almost the last as the southern migration of stripers is beginning to wind down. The general consensus is that there’s two, maybe three weeks remaining for the opportunities to catch ‘n ice keepers, along with the occasional fat cow mama. Sure, along the beaches there will be schoolies (read: shorts) caught through Christmas and maybe into the New Year, but when it comes to putting fillets and steaks in the freezer, these upcoming few weeks are it.

A lot of confusion going on about the possession limits as per the impending new regulations, but it remains one striper from 28 to under 43-inches, and one 43 inches and greater.

The bonus tag program allows one bass between 24 inches to just under 28-inches.

Bait, in the forms of sand eels and bunker, is thick. As such, it’s a jigging and/or trolling game. Top jigs include the AVA 27, 47 and 67, either plain or with a red, green or white tube tail, and the 4-oz. and 6-oz. Run Off hammered jig with a green tube tail.

On the troll, it’s Spoon Fed or Maja bunker spoons, or umbrella rigs with tubes, shads, or sand eel imitations.

Along the beaches, bucktails w/trailers, swimming, needlefish, and popping plugs are all being hit. Figure Island Beach State Park as the best area to drag a keeper(s) from the surf suds.

Those without a boat but who are not fond of the rigors of running the beaches or judiciously traversing the jetties, there are options. In the 105.7 The Hawk listening area, it’s the Miss Barnegat Light party boat (running Friday/Saturday/Sunday), and the Miss Liane Sportfishing and Hi-Flier charter boats, both sailing from Waretown.

Photo by Tom P
Photo by Tom P

Pheasant/Quail Releases: For this Saturday, next Tuesday and Thanksgiving Day, these are the respective numbers of pheasants and quail being stocked in The Hawk listening area wildlife management areas.

Pheasants: Assunpink (300, 250, 500); Colliers Mills (180, 150, 340); Howardsville (50, 40, 80); Manahawkin (40, 30, 70); Manasquan (100, 90, 190); Medford (80, 60, 140); Port Republic (40, 30, 70); and Stafford Forge (140, 110, 250).

Quail: Greenwood Forest (400, 280, 600); Peaslee (400, 280, 600).

Special Season Buck Permit Deadlines: If you want only a buck permit ($28) for the upcoming muzzleloader season (starts December 2), the deadline is 11:59pm next Monday. For the permit shotgun season (starts December 18), it’s 11:59pm December 11. The dealio is that if you want to purchase a buck tag after either of the respective seasons commence, you’ll have to purchase the corresponding antlerless permit for another $28.

Photo by Tom P
Photo by Tom P

Rainbow Trout Stuffing: Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday: the NJ Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries will be stocking 18 select lakes and ponds throughout 11 counties with a total of 4,480 robust rainbow trout measuring 14.5-16 inches next Monday and Tuesday.

Prime waters for The Hawk area, trout numbers in parenthesis, include Lake Shenandoah (240), Spring Lake (200) and Topenumus Lake (200), all stocked Monday, November 25.
The daily limit is four trout.

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