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Massachusetts Eyeing 65% Increase in Menhaden Harvest

DMF has scheduled a meeting to discuss its management of the Commonwealth’s commercial menhaden fishery. The scoping meeting responds, in part, to a roughly 65% increase in the Massachusetts commercial menhaden quota for 2018, and DMF’s interest in stakeholder feedback on how best to utilize the quota. It has also been five years since the fishery was first subject to a quota—and accompanying trip limits and permit requirements—providing an opportune time to review the fishery’s performance and consider potential improvements. One particular issue of interest concerns the use of carrier vessels in the fishery. The meeting schedule is:

Thursday, February 15 at 6:30 PM
Thayer Public Library, Program Room
798 Washington Street
Braintree, MA 02184

State-by-state menhaden quotas were first implemented in 2013 under Amendment 2 to the interstate fishery management plan. Massachusetts’s share was 0.84%. Based on the coastwide quotas in place between 2013 and 2017, this share equated to between 3.1 and 3.7 million pounds. Amendment 3 was recently approved, increasing Massachusetts’ allocation to 1.27%. The coastwide quota was also increased 8% for 2018, providing for over 6 million pounds of quota in Massachusetts this coming fishing season.

Atlantic menhaden

State regulations allow anyone with a commercial fishing permit to take 6,000 pounds per trip or day (whichever is longer) until the quota is harvested.

Massachusetts’ season opens January 1 although the fish don’t generally arrive in local waters until May. Menhaden depart Massachusetts by the end of October. State regulations allow anyone with a commercial fishing permit to take 6,000 pounds per trip or day (whichever is longer) until the quota is harvested. Those with a limited entry menhaden permit endorsement have a 125,000-pound trip limit until 85% of the quota is taken, then a 25,000-pound trip limit until 95% of the quota is taken, followed by a 6,000-pound trip limit until the quota is harvested. The intent of these trip limits is to stretch out the season and provide for small-scale access throughout it. We’ve avoided a quota closure in all years under this system.

Purse seines are responsible for about 95% of menhaden landings in Massachusetts on average. The remaining 5% of state landings are attributed to cast nets, gill nets, and weirs generally. The vessels that contribute significantly to the Massachusetts fishery are few in number. Only 12 harvesters are authorized to fish purse seines in the state’s inshore harbors and estuaries for menhaden, where the fish are most catchable. Cast nets and small bait nets (<250ft2) can also be used to take bait for personal use from within the inshore restricted waters without a special permit. A total of 61 limited entry permit endorsements (allowing harvest at the higher trip limits) were issued in 2016.

Following the meeting, DMF will consider the comments received and begin to draft any proposed regulatory changes, which would be subject to additional public hearings before implementation. For more information, please contact DMF at 617-626-1520.

The post Massachusetts Eyeing 65% Increase in Menhaden Harvest appeared first on On The Water.

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Pattern Fishing For Large Stripers

A couple of days before writing this, I found out that I might have to give a software talk in Japan in the fall for my day job. The first thing I did was consult a tide calendar. The next thing I did was contact a coworker to see if he’d like to give the talk instead.

Assuming there’s no unusual weather, I’ll be catching 15- to 25-pound bass on pencil poppers on the dates in question. There’s no “maybe” about it. There’s no concern about the presence of mullet, snappers, or bunker. I’ll be on fish that settle into a particular area at a particular time, and when I have the correct tide at sunrise and sunset, I’ll catch every time and without fail. I won’t catch many but I will catch some, and I’ll have a chance at a big one.

John Skinner’s book, “Striper Pursuit,”

This article was adapted from John Skinner’s book, “Striper Pursuit,” currently available for purchase at

If I go to a particular jetty and fish bucktails on a certain tide between mid-May and mid-June, I’ll be completely dumbfounded if I don’t catch at least a couple of bass. I’ll be equally surprised if I’m the only one there because there are probably dozens of anglers who know exactly what I’m writing about.

In most seasons, at least half of my fishing is done without any concern for baitfish whatsoever, and nearly all of my big-fish targeting is done this way.

In the pencil popping and bucktail fishing plans mentioned above, bait movements are the furthest thing from my mind. I’m interested only in the intersection of a series of conditions or windows –a given place at a time of year at a time of day on a certain tide with typical water conditions. With that, I’ll give the fish a bucktail, pencil popper or eel—whatever it is that they’ve hit over and over again when everything is lined up.

If you have your mind set on catching quality stripers, the first thing to come to grips with is that larger stripers have very different behavior than the smaller ones. If you think you’ll catch big stripers just by catching a lot of small ones and that some big ones will mix in, you’ll never achieve trophy catches with any consistency. The best you can hope for is a rare lucky big fish.

big plugs fished in the presence of adult bunker can produce large bass in the daytime.

Eels at night might be the number-one choice, but the well-rounded big-fish hunter should be proficient with bucktails and plugs to keep all condition options open. For example, big plugs fished in the presence of adult bunker can produce large bass in the daytime.

Big and small fish are different creatures. They feed differently. The smaller ones are frequently chasing down a variety of small baits—sand eels, spearing, anchovies, etc. When not migrating, I think the bigger stripers spend the vast majority of their time staging, not feeding. They suck down a large bait and then they’re done for a while. Gut a big bass and what do you find? Porgies, fluke, crabs, blackfish, bergalls … and the list goes on and on. What these baits all have in common is that they’re readily available in many environments. Poke your head beneath the water in a rocky environment or along the base of an inlet jetty and you might see all of these species in a single breath. The big bass are being satisfied by a small quantity of large baits that they don’t have to work too hard to find. Get the picture? They don’t need to go chasing down your piece of plastic, and the odds are good that you’re dragging it by them at a time when they’re not even interested in feeding.

Here’s how I think about it: The big bass that aren’t actively migrating are feeding perhaps an hour a day. What are they doing the other 23 hours? Are they going to random places? No, they’re settling in and staging in areas they find comfortable, and those areas are probably related to the stage of the tide and to some extent, wind strength and direction. That “comfort” may come from things like water temperature, current profile, easy access to deeper water, or readily available food. The nice thing about staging fish is that they’re predictable. If you can figure out where some bass will be located given a certain set of conditions, you’ll have a pattern that will consistently produce.

All of this plays into how I target big stripers. I’m not preoccupied with bait. I’m preoccupied with good water and conditions. Sure, if a school of adult bunker shows up in an ocean jetty pocket, that’s a pretty good place to fish, and I’m there. The problem, at least for me, is that the baitfish movements can be so unpredictable. The big bunker are there one night and gone the next. I have a much easier time predicting where at least a few quality stripers are likely to be holding.

Baitfish movements can be unpredictable

Baitfish movements can be unpredictable so I focus on good water and conditions.

But, there’s a problem with staging stripers—they’re not actively feeding. If they don’t hit, we can’t catch them and can’t even find those special places where they hold. I solve this problem with eels. Whether fished live or rigged dead, eels produce big bass at times when the fish will completely ignore other offerings. I could relate story after story where a few minutes with an eel produced what hours with plugs and bucktails couldn’t. From my observations, eels have the ability to catch bass that aren’t actively feeding.

There are certainly other baits that are also hard for stripers to resist. Live bunker and spot croakers come to mind, but these and most other live baits are a problem for surfcasters, for practical reasons. It’s pretty hard for a surfcaster to cover significant ground with these live baits in tow. Even fishing with cut bait can be limiting in the amount of ground you can cover because you’re not constantly casting and retrieving, but rather you’re stationary for periods of time while you wait for a pickup. Eels, on the other hand, can be carried easily in a mesh bag for several hours without suffering much harm as long as they’re at least kept damp. They’re cast and retrieved like artificial lures, so it’s easy to keep walking and casting. Eels give us the mobility we need to cover ground and find fish. This combination of mobility and effectiveness makes an eel an excellent bass-hunting tool.

One of my main strategies to catching a big striper boils down to putting an eel in front of it. Whether live or rigged, I know if I get that eel within easy striking distance, I’m in a great position for something good to happen. From there, it’s up to me and my gear to convert the strike to a landed fish.

This isn’t meant to detract from the big-fish potential of other offerings. Bucktails in the inlets and near the bridges, darters in the rocky surf at night, big plugs in the presence of adult bunker—these all have a history of giving up large stripers. My fixation on eels is in the absolute confidence that if a bass is catchable, it can probably be caught on an eel.

Good bucktailing skills are particularly important

Good bucktailing skills are particularly important because properly worked jigs are deadly and can be used in a very wide variety of conditions.

The eel won’t solve all of our problems, though, because it is difficult to get and keep in the strike zone in conditions such as deep- and fast-moving water or rough surf. That’s why the well-rounded big-fish hunter must be proficient with bucktails and plugs to keep options open in all conditions. Good bucktailing skills are particularly important because properly worked jigs are deadly and can be used in a very wide variety of conditions.

An outstanding fishing spot is rarely defined strictly by an “x” on a map. The handful of situations I depend upon to produce big fish exist only in short windows whose boundaries are an intersection of other windows related to tide, weather, water conditions, and other variables. For example, I know that if I fish a particular rock between dusk and dawn during the first two hours of outgoing tide on a stiff north wind and small to moderate seas during the month of October, I will catch at least a couple of bass over 20 pounds. If those conditions line up enough times to give me a half-dozen chances at it in any given fall, I stand a better than 50% chance of pulling a 40-pound-plus fish out. My chances increase if I get a couple of shots within a window of two days on either side of a new moon or a full moon with cloud cover.

The particular rock is by no means secret, and most of the time it doesn’t produce very well. Plenty of anglers stand on it at some point in any given week during the fall. Many more pass it by. One thing you can certainly count on is that you probably stand a better chance of catching a CIA operative in an unfriendly country than you would seeing me catch a fish on that rock. I simply won’t go near it if I’m not in that special intersection of season, tide, and wind. Sure, there’s an occasional fish to be caught there under other conditions, but not enough for me to risk its exposure. And, when it is time to fish it, I’ll be sure to fish “stupid” if someone comes near and appear to leave if anyone fishes close by. It’s not the rock I’m trying to hide; it’s the pattern of great fishing that occurs on that rock under a certain set of conditions. There may not be any secret spots, but there are definitely secret patterns.

Keep your hooks sharp

Most big bass are lost very soon into the fight because the hook simply does not penetrate. The first thing to be concerned about is the sharpness of the hook, whether it’s a Gamakatsu hook in a live eel, the big tinned Siwash hook in a rigged eel, the Mustad in a bucktail, or the VMC on a plug.

The fact that patterns arise from the interaction of various conditions and a particular piece of water is one of the most interesting aspects of fishing. For the truly analytical, it represents an infinite number of possibilities that is the product of all of the different variables. I’m intrigued by the potential of phenomenal and uncovered fishing opportunities existing within the intersecting condition and location windows, and I spend a fair amount of time each season looking for those special combinations.
How can you find these patterns? Anyone who spends a significant amount of time chasing fish along our shores is usually aware of (or can recognize) locations that have some potential. This type of search is location-based, because it focuses on particular spots. There’s no better way to uncover that potential than to take such a place of interest and simply beat it to death – fish every tide under nearly every weather condition. It can be boring at times and requires a lot of discipline, but sometimes this R&D investment will pay dividends for decades, especially if you’ve figured it out before anyone else has.

The other type of search that I focus on is condition-based. When I consider my strengths and weaknesses as a surfcaster, I tend to focus predominantly on conditions. I already know how to catch fish in many different places using more techniques than I care to. What I’d like most is to be able to catch fish every night. I’m not saying I want to go fishing seven nights a week, as other demands preclude that, but on nights when I can get out I’d like to have a high-percentage play to run. I can choose where and how I fish, but I have no control over the conditions that present themselves at any given time. Realizing this, I understand that what I need to work on most in order to improve my surf productivity is to have options for all combinations of tide stages and wind directions.

One of the most basic rules of targeting large stripers is to fish at night.

One of the most basic rules of targeting large stripers is to fish at night.

There are some conditions that don’t require a lot of thought, just maximum effort. One of the most basic rules of targeting large stripers is to fish at night. Most big bass are landed dusk through dawn. Stormy conditions are an exception when the big fish may be on the feed during the day. The onset of a coastal storm is well known in the surfcasting community to spark strong bites and put big fish on the feed. Strong winds, building seas, strengthening currents, and temperature drops are among the catalysts, but it’s important to fish the onset of one of these storms before the waters get too high, rough, weedy, and/or dirty.

I feel obligated to say something about moon phases, but I pay much more attention to tide stages, current strengths, and weather conditions. A bright full moon is usually nothing more than an annoyance for me. Other than that, I don’t pay much attention to moon phase. One problem with focusing on them is that some years the tidal extremes are on the new moon and other years they occur on the full moon. I’d rather focus directly on current speeds and tidal departures.

I measure the success of my seasons as much by what I’ve learned as by what I’ve caught. If I can crack the problem of what to do under conditions that have always proven unproductive to me, that’s more valuable than another couple of cows. It’s with that in mind that I’ll sometimes focus on a forecast of prolonged sets of conditions that have frustrated me in the past. With time and hard work, I’ve watched the number of these gaps in my knowledge base diminish, but some still remain to work on. A motivating aspect to trying to fill in these pieces of the puzzle is that some of my favorite conditions now were ones I slept through a decade ago. As is true in many aspects of life, I wish I knew then what I know now.

Your mindset is as important as anything else I’ve written here when targeting trophy bass. This requires ignoring the smaller fish that are often readily available when you’re just fishing to bend a rod. It can be difficult in the beginning, but with patience and discipline, you’ll eventually catch quality bass. By putting time in under varied conditions, patterns will begin to emerge. By planning your trips around these patterns, you’ll be fishing with your most important weapon: confidence. Once you have confidence, and you’re convinced that it’s only a matter of time before you tie into another big fish, you’ll be in an excellent position to catch trophy stripers on a consistent basis.

The post Pattern Fishing For Large Stripers appeared first on On The Water.

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2018 Fishing Tournament Calendar

Fishermen looking to add some excitement to their fishing this season can participate in one of the many fishing tournaments taking place throughout the Northeast. There are contests for just about every species that swims in our waters, with tournaments lasting a single day, a week or even the entire season.

All States – Maine To New Jersey

Striper Cup 2018

The Striper Cup

May 1 – Sept. 16
This season-long tournament provides many ways to win, with individual and team competitions, a catch and release component and a grand prize boat.

New Hampshire

The Winni Derby

The Winni Derby

May 18 – 20
Laconia, NH
For generations, the Winni Derby has been providing family-friendly traditions of tournament fishing. New elements to the tournament in 2017 include a women’s division and prizes including 16 ft. 2017 Tracker® Pro Guide™ fishing boat with a Mercury 75 hp motor and custom trailer and Polaris Sportsman® 450 ATV.


Spring Sea Run Opener

Spring Sea Run Opener

May 1 – 31
Nantucket, MA
The Spring Sea Run Opener is all about getting back outside and enjoying the best of what Nantucket has to offer while raising money for a local non profit organization.

HG And E

Holyoke Gas and Electric Shad Derby

May (date T.B.A.)
Holyoke, MA
The annual HG&E Shad Derby is one of the region’s largest fishing events. Held on two weekends in May, the derby offers both adult and youth fisherman the opportunity to win prizes as they enjoy the recreational benefits of the Connecticut River.

South Shore Striper Tournament

South Shore Striper Tournament

June (date T.B.A.)
Hull, MA to Race Point, MA
Join NSRWA for a fun weekend of fishing! The South Shore Striper Tournament awards cash and additional prizes for winning anglers in five separate categories.

Borden Light Marina Fishing Derby

Borden Light Marina Fishing Derby

June (date T.B.A.)
Fall River, MA
The Borden light Marina Annual fishing Derby is a sporting event designed to encourage and promote rod and reel angling, good sportsmanship, great strategy and fair competition, along with lots of fun.

North Shore Striper Blitz

The North Shore Striper Blitz

June (date T.B.A.)
Beverly, MA
The North Shore Striper Blitz is a charity fishing tournament created by local anglers for Anglers in the greater North Shore area to benefit local charities.

The North Atlantic Monster Shark Tournament

July 19-22
An annual, nonprofit shark tournament, run for fishermen, by fishermen, focused on funding the fight for sustainable fisheries management, thus ensuring the preservation and prosperity of our oceanic ecosystems, for future generations of fishermen.

Plymouth 400 Bass and Blues tournament

Plymouth 400 Bass and Blues Tournament

July (date T.B.A.)
Plymouth, MA
The Bass and Blue tournament is open to all ages, and includes opportunities for team registration this year. Participants can win up to $1,000 dollars for the largest catch. Participants may fish in any Massachusetts waters and the weigh-in station is located at Cordage Park Pier in North Plymouth.

Joe Cronin Fishing Tournament

Joe Cronin Memorial Jimmy Fund Fishing Tournament

August 3
Osterville, MA
The Joe Cronin Memorial Jimmy Fund Fishing Tournament is a fun event benefiting the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund in their fight against cancer.

Cotuit Bass And Blue Shootout

Cotuit Bass and Blue Fish

August (date T.B.A.)
Cotuit, MA
The annual Cotuit Bass & Blue Shootout benefits the Kids 4th of July Parade & Christmas Stroll in Cotuit. It features cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place for both bass and bluefish in each division. You don’t need a boat to compete in this tournament. You can bring your fish to the weigh station by boat or car.

Nantucket Inshore Classic

Nantucket Inshore Classic

September – October
Nantucket, MA
The Inshore Classic is Nantucket’s premiere fall fishing tournament open to ALL local and visiting anglers. Last year over 250 anglers of all ages and skill levels participated.

Rhode Island

RISAA Surf Fishing Club Challenge

RISAA Surf Fishing Club Challenge

October (date T.B.A.)
South Kingstown, RI
Teams weigh in their three largest striped bass and three largest bluefish to determine the Team Trophy winner. All fish must be caught from shore in Rhode Island waters only. There is a 36-inch minimum length for all striped bass entries.

Fluke Till Ya Puke

Fluke Till Ya Puke

June 16
South Kingstown, RI
This fun, family-oriented event focuses on fluke, but includes a “trash fish” element, allowing more anglers to walk away winners.




June (date T.B.A.)
Norwalk, CT
Western Long Island Sound charity fishing tournament emphasizing catch and release, has prizes and separate categories and trophies for the largest striped bass (1st, 2nd, 3rd), largest bluefish, largest fish on fly, most unusual catch, and largest fish caught on a Barbie rod (or similar approved by judges).

Hooks For Heroes

Hooks for Heroes Fishing Tournament

Date T.B.A.
Stamford, CT
Tournament participants compete for largest bluefish and largest bass. 100% of all entry fees, sponsorships and donations will support the Disabled American Veterans Stamford Chapter 13’s Operation Gift Card project, which benefits patients at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Hospital and their families.

Three Bells Trifecta Challenge

Three Belles Outfitters Trifecta Challenge Kayak Tournament

July (date T.B.A.)
Niantic, CT
Connecticut’s premier saltwater kayak fishing tournament. Largest combined-length striped bass, bluefish, and fluke, wins a brand new Hobie Outback Mirage-Drive kayak. Over $10,000 in prizes will be awarded.

The post 2018 Fishing Tournament Calendar appeared first on On The Water.

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Let’s Go Fishing! Free Winter Ice Fishing Programs Offered

Our recent record-breaking cold weather has formed some great early season ice this year on our lakes and ponds. Why not get outside and enjoy New Hampshire’s ice-covered waterbodies by learning how to ice fish?

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Let’s Go Fishing Program offers free ice fishing classes at many locations around the state. Classes are designed for families and individuals who are new to ice fishing, or people who would like a refresher to get back into the sport. Instructors are trained volunteers who love to teach others the skills needed to get out on the ice.

Registration is required to save your spot. To register, visit, select “Register for Ice Fishing Classes,” and then choose the date and location that works for you.

Students will learn about ice fishing equipment, ice safety, fish identification, knot tying, regulations, and more before heading out to a local pond or lake to put newly learned skills to the test. All fishing gear and materials are provided, but participants are always welcome to bring along gear from home.

No experience is required. All participants in the program are exempt from holding a fishing license during the program. Classes are open to anyone age 8 years or older, however, those age 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

“Ice fishing is a great way to introduce beginners to fishing and also to get out with friends and family for the day,” said Kyle Glencross, NH Fish and Game’s Let’s Go Fishing program coordinator.

The Let’s Go Fishing Program has taught thousands of children and adults to be safe, ethical, and successful anglers. The program is federally funded through the Sport Fish Restoration Program.

The post Let’s Go Fishing! Free Winter Ice Fishing Programs Offered appeared first on On The Water.

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Join A Local Fishing Club!

Whether you’re a beginner or an old salt looking for camaraderie, education, or to give back to the sport, there are many clubs to choose from and many reasons to join.  

New England

Aquidneck Island Striper Team
The Aquidneck Island Striper Team is composed of charter boat captains, accomplished anglers, novice anglers and their families from in and around the area of Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island. “There are many reasons why fishermen join our team,” explains AIST president Ted Zack. “To gain local insight and fishing knowledge, to enjoy the camaraderie and fellowship of a great group of people, to visit our forums and website, to be part of our local charity and fundraising events, and to help us capture the Striper Cup!”

Buzzards Bay Anglers Club
The Buzzards Bay Anglers Club represents a group of fishermen and fisherwomen of all ages and levels of experience who fish the waters of Buzzards Bay and its surrounding areas, including the Cape Cod Canal. The group meets every month and runs a popular season-long club tournament.

Cape Cod Salties
The Cape Cod Salties meet every month in West Yarmouth and focus on skill-building sessions and workshops along with guest speakers. With over 300 members, the Salties advocate for the interests of the saltwater angler and sponsor a number of environmental improvement and community activities.

Connecticut Fly-Fisherman’s Association
This Association has many experienced club members who enjoy sharing their knowledge about the many aspects of fly-fishing. If you love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and meeting new people, and have an interest in the environment, then the CFFA has much to offer you.

Connecticut Surfcasters Association
Established for the promotion, protection, and preservation of the surfcasting tradition, the Connecticut Surfcasters Association, headquartered in Madison, Connecticut, is a club whose main mission is camaraderie. CSA’s 100-plus members are men, women and their children from all walks of life who share the love of surfcasting.

Massachusetts Striped Bass Association
Founded in 1950, the MSBA’s objectives are to promote and encourage interest in saltwater sport fishing, to provide opportunities for those interested in saltwater sport fishing to gather for entertainment and good fellowship, to uphold sound conservation practices and laws (and to see that these laws are carried out by its members), and to further good sportsmanship and disseminate information concerning saltwater sportfishing both to Association members and others.

Ocean State Kayak Fishing
The goal of Ocean State Kayak Fishing is to be a one-stop shop for kayak-fishing resources. There’s no membership fee, and the site is loaded with information from weather and tides to tips and reviews.

Osterville Anglers Club
Located on the shores of Crosby Basin, the Osterville Anglers Club is a family-oriented group committed to advancing the sport of fishing. With an active and dedicated membership, the Club sponsors a number of tournaments and social activities throughout the year.

Pioneer Valley Boat and Surf Club
Western Massachusetts’ only family-oriented saltwater fishing club attracts many of the area’s finest saltwater anglers as well as novices to the sport. Club meetings are an opportunity for members to share knowledge on topics including tackle, techniques, and great locations to fish.

Plum Island Surfcasters
The Plum Island Surfcasters, founded in 1957 and based in Newburyport, has a diverse membership that includes shore fishermen, boat fishermen and fly fishermen. The club has a thriving junior program and hosts several tournaments. If you fish Plum Island or its surrounding waters, this is the club for you.

Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association
The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association is a large fishing club with members from all over New England. Members range from occasional anglers to weekend warriors and charter captains. RISAA was created to provide a forum for recreational saltwater anglers; to provide education to members concerning fishing techniques and overall enjoyment of fishing; to foster sportsmanship; to support marine conservation;  and to preserve and protect the rights, traditions and the future of fishing in Rhode Island.

New York

Atlantis Anglers Association
The Atlantis Anglers are a Long-Island-based fishing club that has been in existence for 30 years. Club members enjoy a variety of fishing including boat, surf, pier, and party boat. Their mission is to have fun safely and promote the conservation of marine resources.

Bayside Anglers
Members join the Bayside Anglers to learn about the fishing right near their homes in Queens, New York. The 40-plus members do a variety of fishing, creating an opportunity to learn about all the fishing in the area.

Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club
The Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club is at the center of the 150-year history of big game fishing on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. First established in 1939, the club continues to flourish, with its own clubhouse at the south end of Long Beach Island.

Freeport Tuna Club
With a waterfront clubhouse and more than 30 slips, both inshore and offshore fishing grounds are easily accessible to members of the Freeport Tuna Club.

High Hill Striper Club
Founded in 1952, the High Hill Striper Club’s focus is on surf fishing, fellowship, the sharing of knowledge, and friendly competition among its members. The club started out with an emphasis on catch and release of striped bass and continues to be involved in conservation issues today. The club is relatively small, never having more than 40 members. Most members fish the bays and surf of the North and South shores of Long Island.
Kayak Fishing Association of New York
The Kayak Fishing Association of New York started as a small group of kayak fishermen meeting informally. In 2006, they began to form a kayak fishing club. In 2007, the KFA-NY became incorporated as an organization and is formally known as the Kayak Fishing Association of New York.

Long Island Fly Rodders
The Long Island Fly Rodders are dedicated to the sport of fly fishing. LIFR was born in 1981 and organized as a structured club in 1985 by a handful of dedicated fly fishermen from Long Island and Queens. Today, the club consists of more than 200 members. LIFR members are passionate anglers who enjoy four seasons of fly-fishing activity including winter fly-tying, spring clean-ups and fishing, summer cookouts and largemouth bass fishing, and fall saltwater fly-fishing for stripers and blues.

Mid-Island Surfcasters
The Mid-Island Surfcasters Club was founded by Marge Buss and 13 other members in 1984. Conservation is a strong ethic, with each member making conscious efforts to save and preserve our beaches for future generations. Through membership in organizations such as the Long Island Beach Buggy Association and the Montauk Surfcasters Association, the Mid-Island Surfcasters’ goal is to pass on the traditions of fishing and respect for the ocean to future generations.

New Jersey

Asbury Park Fishing Club
The Asbury Park Fishing Club has remained active for more than a century. Members are committed to the preservation of striped bass and the alewives that spawn in Deal Lake. Every year, the club hosts two barbecues, a cleanup of Deal Lake and neighboring beaches, spring and fall fishing tournaments and a popular fishing flea market.

Berkeley Striper Club
Established in 1966, the Berkeley Striper Club has been bringing together fanatical striper fishermen for over 50 years. With 180 members, the club’s objective is to promote and protect recreational fishing interests while safeguarding natural resources. Every spring, the Berkeley Striper Club Fishing Flea Market attracts anglers looking for great deals on fishing equipment and hard-to-get custom striper lures.

Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club
The Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club is at the center of the 150-year history of big game fishing on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. First established in 1939, the club continues to flourish, with its own clubhouse at the south end of Long Beach Island.

Hi-Mar Striper Club
For nearly 40 years, Hi-Mar club membership has consisted of Sandy Hook and Raritan Bay charter captains, family fishermen, and individuals who want to make a difference in preserving the striper fishery. Monthly meetings at the Hi-Mar Striper Club usually consist of a seminar. Hi-Mar members have played an important role in bringing public attention to the problem of overharvesting bunker.

Jersey Shore Surfcasters
The Jersey Shore Surfcasters was founded in 2005 by a small group of striped bass surfcasters who put an emphasis on two things, fishing regularly and giving something back to the community. The club meets monthly, and though it is an invitation-only club, outside inquiries are always welcome. All prospective members have to be referred by an active member and then approved by the Membership Committee.

Ocean City Fishing Club
The first meeting of the Ocean City Fishing Club was held on August 15, 1913. Membership over the years has varied from a high of 447 members in 1922 to a modern-day average of 200 members. Tournaments, casting contests and inter-club fishing team competitions have played a major role in the club’s activities. The Ocean City Fishing Club Pier at 14th Street extends 635 feet from the public boardwalk into the Atlantic Ocean.

Shark River Surf Anglers
Based in Belmar, New Jersey, the Shark River Surf Anglers are dedicated to the pursuit of striped bass and good times. The Club hosts a Kids’ Trout Tournament each spring on the opening day of trout season on Spring Lake. In late September, the club sponsors a camping trip to Montauk, New York, for four days of surf fishing. The club also hosts a number of non-fishing-related get-togethers including a Lakewood Blueclaws outing and a year-end holiday party.

Spring Lake Live-Liner Fishing Club
After perfecting fishing live baits from shore, Bob Matthews, Fred DeJager, Howard Cannon and Bill MacGowan formed the Spring Lake Live-Liners, a club dedicated to live-lining for striped bass. It is committed to preserving the esteemed history of surfcasting for striped bass and promoting events and other organizations that coincide with the club’s overall mission.

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New Jersey Division of Fish And Wildlife Stocks New Record Number of Fish in 2017

Category : Freshwater , On the Water

The Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery in Warren County stocked a record five million cold, cool, and warm water fish consisting of 15 species in 2017, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.

Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery

The fish, totaling 5,082,841 with a total weight of more than 26,000 pounds, were produced at the Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery

The fish, totaling 5,082,841 with a total weight of more than 26,000 pounds, were produced at the location and many were stocked in approximately 200 waters throughout the state from March through November.

“This is an incredible achievement by our staff at the Hatchery,” said Commissioner Martin. “Anglers are reporting catching 40-inch Northern pike, 10-pound walleyes, and 50-inch muskellunge in many of our waters where these species are stocked. It is through the Hatchery’s staff and their hard work that New Jersey is a world class fishing destination for anglers.”

Those five million plus fish included cool water species such as Northern Pike, Walleye, and Muskellunge. Hackettstown stocked 308,808 Northern pike, 2.3 million walleye, and 343,311 muskellunge for New Jersey anglers.

The season also included strong year classes of warm water species such as channel catfish – 598,174, largemouth bass – 110,445, and hybrid striped bass – 47,315. These three species are providing excellent, exciting recreation for anglers throughout the state.

Not all the Hackettstown fish stocked are directly available to anglers, however. County mosquito commissions utilized 548,000 fathead minnows, and Gambusia (commonly called mosquitofish) to combat mosquito larvae in stagnant waters. Since 1991, the hatchery has reared more than 5.6 million fish to help combat mosquito borne diseases such as West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Chikungunya.

In addition, 655,000 golden shiners were stocked in Round Valley Reservoir to help boost the forage base in one of New Jerseys best cold water fisheries. The hatchery has stocked more than 1.5 million shiners in Round Valley over the past five years.

In addition, some 171,788 fish of other species were raised in 2017 setting the facility’s new yearly production record at 5,082,841, far surpassing the previous high of 3,774,885 set in 2014.

Nortern Pike

Several species were raised and stocked in 2017

Some of the many factors that contributed to a great season included the successful collection of broodstock and their eggs, an excellent hatch and extensive on-site pond management. Modern fish diets and nutrition also played important roles, as well as ideal temperatures, sunlight and precipitation for adequate growth, proper health monitoring and avoiding the hazards of overcrowding.

The Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery opened in 1912 and is predominantly a put, grow, and take fish culture operation. This simply means that most of the fish are stocked as sub-legal fry and fingerlings that will take a year or more growing in the wild to reach a catchable size. The fish-rearing operation requires a combination of intensive fish culturing both indoors in fiberglass tanks and outdoors in earthen ponds.

“The Hackettstown Hatchery has stocked nearly 20 million cool and warm water fish over the past five years,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Larry Herrighty. “Staff take immense pride in the quality of fish produced at the hatchery and constantly strive to find ways to improve both hatchery operations and the number of fish produced. This is a great way to conclude the celebration of our agency’s 125th anniversary and I commend our staff at Hackettstown for a job well done.”

Funding for operations at the Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery is provided by anglers through fees derived from the purchase of fishing licenses and by the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration program.

More information about the Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery, including its history, feature articles, species raised and stocking summaries can be found at

The post New Jersey Division of Fish And Wildlife Stocks New Record Number of Fish in 2017 appeared first on On The Water.

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Check Out The 2018 Winter Sportsman Shows!

Throughout the winter, anglers in New England can get their fishing fix at a number of excellent fishing and boating shows. With seminars, great deals on tackle, and the inside scoop on the latest gear hitting the market, these shows are a great way to pass a winter weekend.

January 19 to 21
The Fly Fishing Show
Royal Plaza
Marlborough, MA

January 24 to 28
New York Boat Show
Javits Center
New York, NY

January 26 to 28
New England Fishing & Outdoor Expo
Boxboro Regency Hotel
Boxboro, MA

February 2 to 4
Providence Boat Show
Rhode Island Convention Center
Providence, RI

February 8 to 11
Connecticut Marine Trades Association Hartford Boat Show
Connecticut Convention Center
Hartford, CT

February 10 to 18
New England Boat Show
Boston Convention and Exposition Center
Boston, MA

February 23 to 25
The Springfield Sportsmen’s Show
Eastern States Exposition
West Springfield, MA

March 1 to 4
World Fishing and Outdoor Exposition
Rockland Community College
Suffern, NY

March 9 to 11
New England Saltwater Fishing Show
Rhode Island Convention Center
Providence, RI

March 24 to 25
Massachusetts Striped Bass Association Sport Fishing Expo
The Wolves Den Sports Complex
Pembroke, MA

April 6 to 8
Northeast Fishing and Hunting Show
Connecticut Convention Center
Hartford, CT

The post Check Out The 2018 Winter Sportsman Shows! appeared first on On The Water.

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Free New Hampshire Ice Fishing Talk January 10, 2018

NH Fish and Game will host a free ice fishing seminar on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive in Concord.

Mark Beauchesne: (603) 271-3211
Becky Johnson: (603) 271-3211

Come hear New Hampshire Fishing Guide Tim Moore talk about how to catch white perch and lake trout through the ice. You’ll get the latest insights on equipment and gear, where to find these fish, and strategies for angling success. Both experienced ice anglers and those new to the sport are welcome.

Tim Moore is a full-time New Hampshire fishing guide and outdoor writer. He conducts fishing seminars from Maine to Minnesota and guides hundreds of ice anglers from around the world in search of lake trout and white perch.

The post Free New Hampshire Ice Fishing Talk January 10, 2018 appeared first on On The Water.

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Waders Over Work Clothes – The fishing Photography of Eddy Stahowiak

“Fish when you can.”

That’s the mantra of professional photographer, fisherman, and On The Water senior graphic designer, Eddy Stahowiak. While many fishermen wait for the perfect combination of tides, conditions, and favorable fishing reports, Eddy needs just one thing—enough time to make a few casts. Finding that time can be a tall order, but Eddy still manages to fish nearly every day. Pulling waders over his work clothes, Eddy recruits his coworkers and hits the water just before the office opens, just after it closes, and sometimes during his lunch breaks. In addition to his fishing gear, he’s always packing a camera, gathering proof that the very best time to go fishing is whenever you can.

the bite was on fire

We bundled up and launched the kayaks, not expecting to catch much, but surprisingly enough, the bite was on fire.
Click Photo To Enlarge

The temperature at sunrise was 17 degrees, but neither Jimmy Fee nor I had thought to check the weather before agreeing to meet before work. We bundled up and launched the kayaks, not expecting to catch much, but surprisingly enough, the bite was on fire. Bass, pickerel, and perch were feeding heavily, and as the sun crested the trees, the temperature climbed into the 30s.

one of nearly a dozen similar-sized largemouth

This largemouth was one of nearly a dozen similar-sized fish that Andy Nabreski and I caught and released in the hour after work.
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As soon as daylight savings time allows me to fish after work again in March, I begin going through shiners like crazy. This largemouth was one of nearly a dozen similar-sized fish that Andy Nabreski and I caught and released in the hour after work.

a spunky little brown trout

I had only one bite this morning, but it came from a spunky little brown trout.
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When most of the small bass ponds freeze over, only the big, deep trout ponds have open water. I had only one bite this morning, but it came from a spunky little brown trout with silvery sides and big black spots.

Big bluegill

Big bluegills love the heat, and I love catching them during my lunch breaks.
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The midsummer heat makes fishing in the middle of the day difficult, except for sunnies. Big bluegills love the heat, and I love catching them during my lunch breaks.

hickory shad

I found a school of hickory shad that hung out in a nearby inlet for almost a week.
Click Photo To Enlarge

I’d been using my lunch breaks to scout for schoolie stripers in mid-May when I found a school of hickory shad that hung out in a nearby inlet for almost a week. I brought some light trout gear and had a blast catching these hard-fighting fish on shad darts and small metals.

Cape Cod Canal

I love late-summer nights on the Cape Cod Canal.
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I love late-summer nights on the Cape Cod Canal. It’s warm enough to be comfortable, but just cool enough for a sweatshirt. I captured this long exposure while waiting for Jimmy Fee to show up with the eels. I told him he was late, but when he caught a 41-pounder on his first cast, he told me he was right on time.

couple of hours to hunt stripers before work

Early sunrises give me a couple of hours to hunt stripers before work in summer
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Early sunrises give me a couple of hours to hunt stripers before work in summer. Most often, those hunts take place on the Cape Cod Canal. On this morning, thick fog obscured the other fishermen along the banks, making it seem less crowded than it was. You could hear the stripers feeding out in the fog, and occasionally one would mistake a pencil popper for a mackerel.

Lunchbreak Albie

Lunchbreak Albie
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With the albie bite on fire and Anthony DeiCicchi’s boat finally in the water, we went for a spin at lunch. We had just enough time to break the inlet, catch an albie apiece, and get back to the dock without going over our hour lunch break.

Winter trout fishing in the snow

Winter trout fishing in the snow
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As a late-December snowfall covered the Cape Cod, Jimmy thought the storm would get the trout feeding and I thought the falling snow would make for awesome pictures. We suited up and hit Mare’s Pond at lunch, where Jimmy was wrong, but I was right.

The post Waders Over Work Clothes – The fishing Photography of Eddy Stahowiak appeared first on On The Water.

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Must-Have Fishing Lures for 2018

Decades of R&D and fine-tuning have enabled tackle companies to develop a throng of lures that seem to out outshine others. Here are nine lures that no angler should be without in 2018.

Yo-Zuri Hydro LC Minnow

Yo-Zuri Hydro LC Minnow

Minnow plugs came back in a big way when the new generation of long-casting plastic plugs hit shelves around 2011. Yo-Zuri, one of the first companies to introduce lures with an internal transfer system, has produced another long-casting minnow for surfcasters in with the Hydro LC Minnow ( With a little more weight, a slightly deeper profile, and heavier split rings and hooks than other minnows on the market, this plug is going to be popular with surfcasters looking to target large stripers in big water in 2018.

Savage Gear Sand Eel

Savage Gear Sand Eel

You couldn’t find a Savage Gear Sand Eel ( during the height of the 2017 striper season in Massachusetts. This bait was one of the best during the epic summer striper run in the Cape Cod Canal, favored both for its effectiveness and ease of use—cast, let it hit bottom, and retrieve slowly while it swings in the current. This lure is sure to be another hot producer in 2018, so stock up early before the shops sell out.

Musky Mania Doc

Musky Mania Doc

In 2017, Musky Mania took notice of the demand for their large walk-the-dog bait, the Doc, among striped bass fishermen, and produced a series. The Musky Mania Doc ( is now available with saltwater hardware and in a variety of saltwater-specific colors. With more Northeast shops stocking the Doc this year, it’s bound to be one of the hot baits for stripers this season.

Shimano Coltsniper Twitchbait 80

Shimano Coltsniper Twitchbait 80

2017 will be remembered as the year of the peanut bunker, and if that trend continues in 2018, expect to see fishermen using deep-bodied, baby-bunker imitators like the Shimano Coltsniper Twitchbait 80 ( This sinking lure can be walked underwater with an erratic action, while its wide profile is a perfect match for peanut bunker.

Hayward Performance Tackle Chubhead

Hayward Performance Tackle Chubhead

While a little hard to find in 2017, fishermen who had Hayward Performance Tackle lures did very well with striped bass and albies. The Hayward lineup consists of the Genesis, Chubhead, and Zouk. The 80mm Zouk was especially popular with false albacore fishermen, who were able to coax strikes from finicky fish that ignored skipping metals and soft plastics. The Chubhead enticed strikes from large bass feeding on big baits. With better distribution in 2018, look for more of the Hayward lineup on the water this year.

Tsunami Glass Minnow

Tsunami Glass Minnow

The popcorn rig has become one of the hottest big-fluke catchers over the past few years. This rig consists of two small jigs fished off dropper loops above a cannonball sinker. The Tsunami Glass Minnow ( became an immediate favorite for adorning popcorn rigs in 2017, but the jig sold out quickly, before many fishermen had a chance to try it out. With more Glass Minnows hitting the shelves again in 2018, fluke fishermen should stock up to use them not just as teasers, but as standalone jigs in shallow water. The durable silicone skirt provides action on the drift and the retrieve, and can survive being chomped by a fluke’s sharp teeth.

Acme Hyper Glide

Acme Hyper Glide

The past couple of winters haven’t held many ice-fishing opportunities, which meant Northeast anglers re-purposed their ice baits. One lure style that has adapted especially well to open water is the jigging minnow like the Acme Hyper Glide ( Fishermen using them vertically from their boats in open water have had great success with walleye, smallmouth, crappie, and even largemouth bass throughout the season. While it remains to be seen whether 2018 will bring better ice-fishing, plan on keeping jigging minnows in your tackle box year-round.

Storm 360 Searchbait

Storm 360 Searchbait

Fishermen just began to unlock the versatility of the Storm 360 Searchbait ( as the 2017 fishing season wrapped up. This lure was a strong producer of largemouth, smallmouth, and pickerel in the spring, schoolie stripers through the summer, and even albies in the fall. The bait’s versatility and simplicity make it popular with novice and expert anglers alike—just cast, reel, and let the paddletail and baitfish profile do the rest.

The post Must-Have Fishing Lures for 2018 appeared first on On The Water.

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