With the recent warm weather both Striped Bass and anglers have become more active in the Delaware River. As the water temps reach the high forty degree range the bass will continue northward on their yearly journey. Many anglers are preparing their gear in order to get in on the early spring we’re experiencing, but first there are a few details you should know.
The Bad News
No Herring for bait! That’s correct; the federal government has closed all fishing for or even using Herring for bait. Even if it was caught last year, you cannot use it! Plan for a year of Stripers without herring and possibly expect the same for other 5 or so years to come. Concentrate on using herring alternatives like bloodworms, clams, perch etc.
Circle hooks only in New Jersey waters! New Jersey waters require the use of non-offset circle hooks while fishing for spring Striped Bass. New Jersey Fish and Game will be strictly enforcing this rule!
No slot fish in New Jersey waters! New Jersey waters are completely closed to the harvest of Striped Bass during the spring run. This means that an angler cannot possess a “Pennsylvania legal” Striper at any time in New Jersey waters!
Life vests are mandatory on certain sized vessels until May 1st! New regulations state that live vests must be worn at all times while boating in certain sized vessels before may 1st. This applies to all boats whether under power or at anchor and to people of all ranges. Make sure you check the new regulations to be legal!
If you’re in New Jersey waters you need a New Jersey saltwater registry permit. New Jersey does not honor a Pennsylvania saltwater registry so anglers need to go to the New Jersey DEP site to get a New Jersey registry if they are fishing New Jersey waters. http://www.nj.gov/dep/saltwaterregistry/index.html
The Good News
Anglers that adjust their locations and baits will continue to catch plenty of Striped Bass from the Delaware River! Bloodworms, clams and other baits are readily available at tackle shops such as Brinkman’s Bait and Tackle on Linden Avenue in Philadelphia as well as other tackle shops.
Circle hooks are good for the resource! They hook most fish in the mouth, and they are released easily to fight another day.
The run will last until Mid-May, so make the most of it! Follow the fish from below Philadelphia all the way north as they migrate.
If you are new to the river, or to fishing without herring I highly recommend the How to Catch Delaware River Striped Bass DVD. It covers 38 shoreline and boat spots on the river from the Pennsylvania/Delaware borders all the way to Trenton New Jersey. The DVD pinpoints the “exact” GPS coordinates to each spot as well as the “spot on a spot” where stripers congregate. Also included are the rigging tips for baits and circle hook techniques so even a novice angler can catch Striped Bass like the pros!
I’ll see you on the water
Captain Steve Horvath