The back bay and tidal river striped bass bite is getting stronger by the day, with a brief hiccup here and there.

However, there is another bass bite percolating in South Jersey, this being the largemouth kind. Inevitably warming water temperatures in the shallows have the bass in their pre-spawn searching and feeding modes. Baitfish (sunnies, shiners, minnows, and in some places, gizzard shad) have been moving in close and frogs are getting active. The largemouths are responding accordingly, and while the action is at May and June primetime levels, it certainly warrants effort.

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This is the period to catch the heaviest bass of the year, these being egg-laden females. Predicated on the venue, one can expect mossbacks to 5-pounds and better...sometimes much better. Chatterbaits, suspending jerk baits, and wacky-rigged plastic worms, not to mention jigs with trailers, will all put largemouths in the boat and on the bank.

TSM, Tom P.
TSM, Tom P.
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The southern tier counties are rife with good-to-excellent largemouth waters. One such impoundment, the 898-acre Union Lake (south Jersey’s largest waterbody) also houses a fair population of smallmouth bass, offering a rare south Jersey double shot.

The pre-season statewide trout stocking is underway and will continue through Friday afternoon, April 8. With a few exceptions, all waters being stocked are closed to fishing until 8 am, Saturday April 9. Two exceptions in south Jersey are Prospertown Lake and Lake Shenandoah, both in Ocean County. This pair offers decent opportunities at pre-spawn bass. The stipulation is that any trout must be immediately released.

The list of trout-stocked waters is on pages 14-15 in the 2022 Freshwater Fishing Digest.

TSM, Tom P.
TSM, Tom P.
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Check out the Great Places to Fish Close to Home in NJ app at njfishandwildlife.com. Within is a long roster of lakes, ponds, rivers, and impoundments that provide solid cracks at big bass. And certainly not to be overlooked is the tidal portion of the Delaware River and its tributaries.

About the Delaware: the annual run of American shad is underway. More on this next week.

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LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.