The eagerly anticipated Striped Bass Bonus Tag program gets underway this Sunday and runs through December 31.

Possessing a bonus tag allows the angler to keep a striper from 24 inches to less than 28 inches. This is in addition to standing one fish from 28 inches to less than 38 inches daily limit. It’s not required to catch the latter first; you can catch and possess the bonus fish prior to landing a “keeper”.

The way the bass bite in the bays, lower tidal rivers, and inlets is going, it’s now prime time to bring a striper home for dinner. Sure, there are the bigger bass to be found in these areas, but the majority of the linesiders are in the schoolie class, loads of them in the bonus tag length range.

Great fishing. Great eats.

CPt. Jeff Evans
CPt. Jeff Evans
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The tag is available through the mail via the DEP’s bureau of marine fisheries. To apply, go online to NJFishandWildlife.com/bonusbas.htm. It will be mailed to you. The tag is not transferable, and it’s a one-fish daily deal.

The tag must be affixed to the striper from the mouth through the gill as soon as it’s caught and before it’s transported. Yeah, even from your fishing spot to the vehicle.

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A log of the catch(es) must be kept, and harvest reporting on the day of the respective catch is mandatory. All this is explained in the Bonus Tag information sheet.

If requested, another tag will be mailed.

Many party and charter boats catering to the spring and autumn striper runs will have bonus tags available for their fares, so no worries about having to procure one if fishing from such a vessel.

TSM, Tom P.
TSM, Tom P.
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Bureau of Marine Fisheries biologist Brendan Harrison discusses the Striped Bass Bonus Tag program during this Saturday’s Rack & Fin Radio, 7-8 am on 97.3 ESPN FM.

During the same program, NJ Artificial Reef coordinator and bureau of marine fisheries biologist, Peter Clarke gives his prospectus for the first portion of the 2022 sea bass season that opens Tuesday, May 17. He talks about sea bass biology, population status, fishing tactics, and some of his favorite early season reef choices.

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