South Jersey Fishing: Last Call For Sea Bass
Actually, for the first portion of the four-part season.
Sunday, June 19 is the final day for the 10 fish at a 13-inch minimum limit.
The season will re-open on July 1 and extend through August 31, but the possession count drops to a pair at the same minimum length.
Then it’s the long wait until October 7 when it’s back to 10 at the 13-inch minimum until this third segment closes on October 21. The final part of the sea bass chase is November 1-December 31 when the possession limit bumps to 15 fish at the same 13-inch minimum.
These final few days are when it’s possible to scratch out a limit within a relatively short boat ride from the respective inlet. Anywhere from three to five or six miles can put you on some wrecks, rocks, and/or rubble that will hold sea bass in numbers in the 13-plus inch class. By the time the second portion opens, even though only a couple of weeks of being closed, many of those fish will have moved farther out.
Sure, a few keepers will be caught here and there, but the summer portion is usually tough when it comes to finding keeper sea bass. At a two-fish limit, these are a “bonus” when drifting for fluke. And with today’s fuel prices it’s highly unlikely one is going to run miles out for a couple of fish then come back in to hunt flatties. (Then again, we know a couple that would do that!)
Clam, either fresh or salted, squid strips, killies (minnies), and green crabs will all be inhaled by the always hungry sea bass, but you’ll have to pick through bunches of shorts. Seeking keeper sea bass at this stage comes to down to one word: jig. An AVA-17, 27, or even a 47, or a bucktail sweetened with a strip of squid or Gulp! Grub or Swimming Mullet will catch the bigger sea bass.