Troll ‘n Treat Time
The indices are all here: autumn’s first rolling Nor’easter, ocean water temperatures inching downward, and bait, I mean loads of bait, primarily bunker but also including corncob mullet, spike weakfish, sand eels, and spot, are on the move down the Garden State coastline.
These translate to trolling time for stripers. Yeah, it’s still early calendar-wise as the second week in November (kinda like the whitetail rut) is the general kick-off time of big-time striper numbers and movement as more linesiders filter in from their more northerly early fall haunts. They’ll be chasing prey, and reports are coming in from Raritan Bay to the north to Island Beach State Park/Seaside in the central/upper south region that bass counts and sizes are increasing. They’re blasting AVA jigs and live lined bunker (remember the in-line circle hook regulation) and are starting to mug mojos and umbrella rigs. Bunker spoons are also getting whacked here and there.
From this corner, it can (and has) paid bass dividends when trolling while others were concentrating on the metals and the live meat. More water is being covered thus increasing the chances of encountering transient bass. Besides, should the umbrellas, mojos, or spoons be ignored, it’s a simple matter to switch tactics and try something else.
Color can make a difference to the capricious migrants. A white mojo will out-catch a chartreuse version one day, and the reverse will happen the next day. Ditto with eel and tube-adorned umbrella rigs. Natural eel works, but so does black and chartreuse. Tubes? Red, green and yellow, both standard and bright, as well as white and black will put bass in the box.
Speaking of bass: Sunday, October 31 is the last day to apply for the striped bass bonus tag. This is done online. Go to NJFishandwildlife.com/bonusbas for the application and information. The bonus tag program runs through December 31.