Story by Tom Pagliaroli

Sweet ‘n Salty Starting Tuesday

It’s rod and reel time in both arenas starting next Tuesday as the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife’s wildly successful two-week autumn trout stocking season gets underway.

Next Tuesday also sees the liberalization of the black sea bass possession limit. It will jump from two to 10 through October 31, with the same 12.5-inch minimum length limit.

Photo by Tom P
Photo by Tom P

Rainbows Rising

There will be 20,570 two-year-old rainbow trout averaging 14-16 inches and weighing a solid 1.5-lbs. stocked in 36 rivers, streams, lakes and ponds in 20 of the Garden State’s 21 counties. An additional “sweetener” comes in the form of approximately 800-900 three-year-old spent broodstock ‘bows measuring 18 to 25 inches and weighing up to a whopping  6-lbs. Every venue’s stocking load will include a percentage of these line-snapping rainbows.

The first week it’s primarily northern tier county waters that will receive fish, but in the 105.7 The Hawk listening area, there are five that will be dosed Tuesday. These include the Manasquan River (480), North Branch of the Metedeconk (160), South Branch of the Metedeconk ( 270), Toms River (260) and the Toms River Trout Conservation Area (TCA; lower Riverwood Park to Route 571; 100).

The daily limit is four, except for the Toms River TCA where the daily limit is one trout no less than 15-inches.

Sea Bass Blast:

Weather permitting, it’s going to be a psycho circus scenario next Tuesday through the weekend on the wrecks, reefs, and patches of structures as an armada of private, charter and rail-full party boats drop for the luscious and ever-hungry sea bass.

It should be a wild time if the last couple of weeks or so was an indicator. Boats dropping for porgies in some of the deeper waters had a hard time keeping sea bass, the majority keepers and bigger, off the clam and Fishbites Clam Chunks baits.

Usually by the third week in October, the mass of sea bass on the shallower bottom cover move to deeper environs, so the next couple of weeks is when to load up with limits in close.

Party boats specifically targeting sea bass are the Paramount and Jamaica II (Brielle) and the Dauntless (Point Pleasant). The charter boat Robin Ann out of Barnegat Light is a sea bass specialist. Ditto Laura Sport Fishing (Barnegat Light) and Reel Reaction Sportfishing (Barnegat).

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