Three weeks ago I started catching keeper size sea bass on the inshore wrecks on crab baits. It was the end of blackfish season and I knew they’d be primed and ready for the NJ Sea Bass Opener on May 15th.
My cousins just purchased a brand new 28′ Cobia. He outfitted the boat at Fisherman’s Headquarters and I asked me to break it in with them this weekend. We took the maiden voyage on Sunday out of Barnegat Light looking for sea bass. With the season just opening I knew it was going to be good so we left the classic essentials at home. We didn’t carry a single clam, mackerel, sinker or rig on board.
Why is that you might ask? Well, I’m a jig fisherman through and through. Whether it’s fluke, tog, striped bass, cod, tuna or sea bass… There’s nothing better than catching fish jigging!
We set out with AVA 17’s and 27’s Diamond Jigs, Magictail Round Ball Jigs and some 4-5″ Gulp baits. We hit a piece if structure in 70′ of water. The sea bass were there and picking at them was easy. We found a lump of fish that came off the bottom about 15′. We got our drift figured out and positioned the boat to make short drifts over that patch of fish. We had a 4 man boat limit by 9:30 am.
We didn’t find any jumbos inshore as the fish we kept were all between 13-16″. There were plenty of fish to be had and a nice quick easy trip (and easy cleanup with out the clams). Cooler was full and the cousins were happy with a successful first trip.
I had some friends head out a bit deeper with clam baits in tow and had a mixed bag with a limit of bigger fish and ling and cod as well.
If we can get another weather window I will probably head out again before I start beating up the back bays in search of flatfish. Fluke season opens this Friday May 22nd.