• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On March 1, 2017
  • Comments
  •  4

Opening day of striped bass in New Jersey is here, get some tips from Nick to start off the season with a bang!

Jersey anglers are delighted that striped bass season reopened in the backwaters on March 1st, and the good news is that the mild winter has had bass on the bite in the surf throughout January and February so far this year. Backwater temperatures are hovering around the 46 to 48 degree mark and historically, it’s a bait bite that kicks off March fishing, but artificial offerings should also be used.

Bait wise, here’s the A to Z to rig up: Start with 30-lb Power Pro braid running line, to which a fishfinder slide rig with a braid friendly nylon slide and sinker clip is slid on, a 2 to 3-ounce bank sinker for weight, 75-lb Spro barrel swivel, 24 inch section of 30-lb Seaguar fluorocarbon leader and a size 3/0 Baitholder hook. Bait up with either a fresh clam tongue, or a whole sandworm or bloodworm, piercing the barb point through the mouth and threading the worm up the hook, then out the side of the worm, leaving the remaining worm to dangle enticingly.

Plan your fishing hours around the start of the outgoing tide. Lure wise, small offerings are hard to beat to target those first wave schoolie bass of 18 to 26 inches long. 3-inch white Storm Shads, Tsunami shads, 4-inch Fin-S fish in Albino Shad on white ½-ounce bucktails will all fit the bill. Larger model bass up to 15 pounds and they will actively pursue larger plugs such as Bomber A-Salts, Daiwa SP Minnows, and Zoom 5-inch Super Fluke on 1-ounce Kalin leadheads. Work the rubber baits around bridge pilings, canals and in river systems, while cast plugs in the warmwater outflow areas where stripers up to 20 pounds have been wintering over.

Historically, the first “keeper” bass over 28 inches comes by the second to third week of March, but this year, we could very well see that happen much sooner. Put one bait rod out and use one for casting lures, this way you have your bases covered.

Gear Used


Storm WildEye Swim Baits Shad

These hand-poured PVC soft-plastic WildEye Swim Bait bodies are impregnated with Biosalt for added flavor that fish really love. The buried lead head won’t give fish an odd, hard feel and cause them to spit the bait prematurely. The holographic flash matches natural forage colors for realistic detail. A prism eye in the front of the lure gives fish a place to target and hit hard.



Tsunami Soft Bait Swim Shad Lures

All of these lures are tank tested to assure proper performance and strike triggering action. Precise weight balancing designs in all models ensure a tumble free casting performance. The field testing is also apparent in a better-balanced swimming or jigging action. These models are available in a variety of sizes and colors.



Bomber B15A Long A Lure

The Long A is one of the best lures on the market when it comes to replicating a life-like swimming action. With a tight wiggle and castable design, the Long A should be the first lure tied on when chasing aggressive, predatory fish.



Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow Saltwater Lures

The Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow is a versatile, long casting bait designed for a fast, ripping style retrieve that produces an erratic side-to-side swim action to draw predator’s attention. The Salt Pro Minnow features: a weight transfer system for easier, longer casts; realistic scale pattern and 3-D eyes; heavy duty saltwater hooks.



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