The transition (read: wind down) of the late autumn run of striped bass is showing only the slightest signs of beginning via sizes of the linesiders being caught, primarily by boat. This is being countered by the uptick of surf and jetty activity that traditionally shows a spurt around Thanksgiving Week and continues into December.
Sure, there are still plenty of big bass around, many exceeding 35-pounds with more than a few in the 40 to 50-pound class being caught, but the numbers are nowhere near what they were a couple of weeks ago.
On the plus side is that the amount of keepers, those stripers in the 28- to less than 38-inch range, has ballooned via the fall migration that has bigger bass appearing first with smaller ones following as the calendar turns to the last page. This also translates to loads of bonus tag, i.e. slot fish in the 24- to less than 28-inch class also showing. Combined, this is making it much easier to bring home a bass, or two, for dinner and/or the vacuum sealer.
Heretofore, many of the stripers were excess, oftentimes way in excess, of the 38-inch maximum harvest length, and it was a crazy scene of 30 to 40 to 50-plus pound stripers being caught and tossed back.
While some are being caught on live bunker and trolled bunker spoons, jigging weighted shads (white, bunker, chartreuse) has been the killer on party boats. Trolling mojos (white, chartreuse) and, most recently, plastic shad-armed umbrella rigs, most notably 9’ers, have been bass-catching Godzillas. Figure the plastic eel and tube umbrellas (9’ers and Blackie’s) to get into the game shortly as sand eels start showing.
The pheasant stocking numbers for Tuesday, Nov. 23 are as follows on our Rack & Fin Radio “Lucky 13” WMAs in the central and southern regions.
Central: Colliers Mills- 200; Howardsville- 50; Manahawkin- 50; Medford- 80; Stafford Forge- 160.
South: Dix- 130; Nantuxent- 110; Millville- 340; Port Republic- 50; Glassboro- 100; Tuckahoe- 110; Mad Horse- 90; and Winslow- 140.
Bobwhites release numbers for the Greenwood and Peaslee WMAs for Nov. 23 are 280 for each.