Flounder strike at Shark River, boater has six

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The weather could be a formidable obstacle to fishing this weekend. The forecasts are not friendly.

NOAA predicts wind gusts will reach 40 knots on Saturday afternoon, which, if it happens, will make it nearly impossible for kayakers to float on the bays. Add a little cold drizzle and the time might be better spent rewinding the spools.

Of course, the forecasts were wrong before.

Brielle Bait & Tackle employee Zach Thomas with a rainbow trout at Spring Lake.

By most accounts, March was a good month. The schoolboy-sized resident striped bass bit right off the west side of Barnegat Bay, near the mouths of streams and rivers. Toms River’s bass population has previously been spotted by kayakers throwing rubber shads and x-raps and anglers dipping worms.

The Raritan River and Back Bay are experiencing similar bass activity. The fish haven’t reached Bayshore’s flats yet, or at least they weren’t there earlier this week according to Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet.

Fishing report: Striped bass hit the Raritan River with the opening of the spring fishery

After this patch of bad weather passes, the coast could see a steady dose of balmy air which further warms and boosts the bass.

Speaking of bass, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission public hearing on Proposed Amendment No. 7 will be held Monday from 6-8 p.m. The meeting will take place via a virtual webinar. The amendment provides several new options for managing striped bass, which is currently overfished.

These measures include changes to management triggers, which determine when the technical advisory is required to make management adjustments, recreational mortality, stock recovery plan and conservation equivalence.

More word is starting to flow regarding winter flounder. Bobby Matthews of Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said the flatfish were out to bite on two unusually hot days this week.

What bites: get the latest fishing reports here

One of the Den’s rental boat customers returned to the dock with a report of six fish, but not at all big enough to keep. Matthews said plaice were also picked up by anglers off the L Street pier and floating wharf.

The local freshwater lakes and ponds yield big cats, perch and trout. At Hopatcong Lake, the ice is gone and Laurie Murphy of Dow’s Boat Rentals says the open water season has started.

One of the lake guides, Aaron Graybill of the Lake Hopatcong Guide Service, is all about crappie and yellow perch. Murphy said these fish are shallow and aggressive as they head to their spring spawning grounds. She weighed some crappie in the range of a pound and a half. Anglers also find largemouth bass, white perch and pike in the shallow waters.

Murphy said most ultralight sized baits will work for the next few weeks. Jig and bobber rigs, small jerkbaits and smaller live bait are always productive.

When Jersey Shore native Dan Radel isn’t reporting the news, you can find him in a classroom where he’s a history teacher. Contact him @danielradelapp; 732-643-4072; [email protected]

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