GO BIG FOR SEA BASS
GO BIG FOR SEA BASS
- Posted by Nick Honachefsky
- On October 15, 2018
Black sea bass season reopened in New Jersey on October 8th to October 31 with a 12.5-inch minimum size and 10 fish bag limit, then it amps up to an even better scenario from November 1st to December 31st with a 15 fish bag at 13-inch minimum size.
That means you’ve gotta break out the big stuff and go for the gusto to target the largest of sea bass as they are still hanging quite far inshore and before the stocks get picked clean.
Most fish right now are hanging in the 65 to 100 foot depths, but the schools will progressively migrate outward to deeper waters once the water temperatures start to drop.
Proficient anglers hitting 1 to 8 mile wrecks, rockpiles and reefs are scoring their limits at the moment, but have to weed through a ton of short fish to hang a keeper. To better maximize your time to fill the cooler, drop down the big stuff to target only the larger fish. Larger hooks such as 3/0 to 4/0 Baitholder hooks lanced with larger baits such as whole clam tongues, 4 to 5-inch bergall strips, and Berkley Gulp 6-inch grubs will get committed attention from large humpbacks while smaller fish will just nip at the baits.
Jigs garner strikes from knucklehead bass big time as a variety of choices abound including 3-ounce Mustad Big Eye bucktails, Hammered Diamond jigs, Ava 47 to 87 jigs, and 1 to 6-ounce Spro bucktails. Tip each bucktail with a strip bait of bergall, mackerel of Berkley Gulp! 6 inch grubtail in pink or white. Bounce jigs on the bottom, tapping them in small little lifts to get struck by bigger bass. Jigs can be reeled up slowly 5 to 10 feet, then dropped back down to the seafloor. On all lure rigs, always tie a dropper loop with teaser of a 3/0 bucktail hair hook tipped with Berkley Gulp Grub roughly 24 inches above the jig.
Either with bait or via jig, now’s the time to scale up to land big sea biscuits while they are easily reachable inshore.