May 21, 2020 New Jersey/Delaware Bay Fishing Report with Jim Hutchinson, Jr.

May 21, 2020 New Jersey/Delaware Bay Fishing Report with Jim Hutchinson, Jr.

Weekly reports for NJ/DE Bay region at

BREAKING NEWS – At this daily press briefing on Friday, May 22, NJ Governor Phil Murphy announced that for-hire boats are allowed up to 25 passengers effective immediately. Looking for a party boat to hop aboard this weekend? Check out our report section broken down into North, Central & South Jersey at

On Thursday, May 21, it’s your very last day to boat a giant “trophy” bluefin this season! Just as quickly as those 73-inch and over bluefin materialized below Rockaway Reef off the Northern Jersey Coast over the weekend, NOAA Fisheries announced late on Wednesday that vessels north of 39° 18’ N latitude will no longer be able to harvest these giants as of 11:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Heading into the three-day holiday weekend with fresh tuna steaks for the grill and sashimi on ice, even our region’s big game hunters are looking forward to Friday’s start to the fluke fishery in New Jersey. Most of the Garden State opens with a three fish at 18-inch size limit, though Delaware Bay anglers on the Jersey side will drift along at three at 17 inches, while surfcasters at IBSP get two at 16 inches. With the opening of black sea bass last Friday and summer flounder this week, there could be some tasty meals served to start the summer season this week!

The big news of course since our last video forecast is the partial reopening of the for-hire industry in New Jersey. While charter boats are back up and running as of this past Sunday and enjoying sea bass, stripers and black drum, the governor added a 10-passenger restriction that threatens to further erode our headboat community in New Jersey.

Full story at

Even though New Jersey has loosened for-hire restrictions before most of our coastal neighbors (DE, NY and MA), our community advocates in Trenton are still working overtime to get the inspected passenger vessels back up and running in time to advantage of fluke and sea bass. In New Jersey NJ Transit is allowed to operate during the COVID19-pandemic at 50% capacity reduction; our own “Wolf of Wall Street” has even allowed private carriers and high-speed ferry service at 50% capacity for commuters traveling back and forth between Rumson and lower Manhattan. So what about mass transit service for our private anglers who perhaps can’t afford the luxury of charter or limo service?

We’re continuing to monitor this story over at for updates, though no one seems very optimistic about a Friday start date. Stay safe this week, catch ‘em up, and may God bless all those who served, and a prayer for the brave men and women who sacrificed all in the name of freedom in the U.S.A.

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