Story by Tom Pagliaroli


Yep, it’s that time again: fish or cut bait.

Or, buy or not to buy… a boat.

The boat show “season” kicks into gear this week as the New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo starts today and runs through Sunday at the easy-to-reach NJ Convention & Expo Center located at 97 Sunfield Road in Edison, minutes off the Garden State Parkway and Route 287, a quick shot from the 105.7 The Hawk listening area.

No doubt the reduced 3.5% sales tax on new and used vessels that became law a couple of years ago has spurred a renewed interest in getting on the water, be it for fishing, cruising or both. Add loads of incentives offered by manufacturers as well as myriad financing options, and it’s easy to see why this may be the time to fulfill that dream and slap down that deposit!

Hundreds of boats of various styles and functions will be on display at the show, including fishing boats (walkarounds, center consoles), pontoons and tri-toons, cruisers, and the hybrid fish ‘n ski models.

In addition, there will be booths offering the latest in boating accessories, electronics, nautical clothing and just every doo-dad there is to do with owning and operating a boat be it for fishing, cruising or both.

The seminars, sponsored by The Fisherman Magazine and the Recreational Fishing Alliance, alone are worth the price of admission ($10 adults, youths 16 and under are free), and there are 14 on the four-day schedule. These are presented by some of the best in the fishing business. Not to miss are the following. Thursday (2 p.m.): Bunker Busting Bass; Friday (2 p.m.): Mojo Fishing for Stripers, (5 p.m.): Pro Tips Upping Your Fluke Score; Saturday (11 a.m.): Blackfish Strategies & Tactics, (1:30 p.m.): Bucktail Techniques for Fluke, (3 p.m.): All-Season Bluefin Tuna; Sunday (11 a.m.): Jigging Sea Bass & Tog, (1 p.m.): State and Federal Recreational Fishing Regulations Updates.

Show hours are Noon-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Back to School: If you plan to operate a boat under power, even if with only an electric motor, or want to rip around in a PWC, you’ll need a safe boaters certificate. This was made mandatory almost a decade ago, and the fine is steep if caught without it. From the bow of this blog, the best institution along the Jersey shore is Coast Boating School based in Toms River. This year nearly 500 classes are scheduled, and you can stop by the booth at the Boat Sale & Expo or visit to learn more.

Capt. Al Crudele III.
Capt. Al Crudele III.

Bunny and Bushytail Bye-Bye: Alas, the general small game season draws to close half-hour after sunset next Saturday, so it’s basically last call for cottontails and grey squirrels. Even though their respective counts at their lowest of the year, the corollary is that hunting pressure is nil. As such, opportunities are there, and with the weather turning milder and daylight staying longer, both bunnies and greys are out and about, making for some hot gunning as the season ticks to a close. No doubt the services of a beagle will be a great help pushing rabbits into range, but if one isn’t handy, do it the old-fashioned way: bust the brush. Yeah, snap shots as opposed to the more deliberate track offered by a slowly moving bunny being trailed by a yowling hound, but very effective if the reflexes are still tuned from swinging on pheasants and ducks. Squirrels are best hunted via the sit ‘n wait method, as they are in a near constant state of motion and will become active once over the intrusion of your presence. The key is to remain as motionless as possible and raise the scattergun when the bushytail’s attention is on searching for sustenance. The daily limit for rabbits is four; it’s a five count for the greys.

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