• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On October 24, 2016
  • Comments
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Nick Honachefsky dives into the opening of Sea Bass season in New Jersey, and shares a few tips on filling up your cooler.

Jersey anglers have been chomping at the bit for the reopening of black sea bass season, which reinstates on October 22 to December 31 with a 13-inch minimum size limit and 15 fish bag limit. Black sea bass are aggressive predators, are seriously tasty in the frying pan, and fall and winter sea bassing means shots at filling the cooler with solid 3 to 8 pound knuckleheads. It’s all about jigging and baiting. The standard sea bass rig is of the three-hook Hi-Lo variety. Start with a 54-inch section of 40-pound Seaguar Fluorocarbon Leader and tie three droppers equidistant 16 inches between them, leaving room for an overhand knot at one end for an 8 to 12-ounce bank sinker and a 100-pound Spro barrel swivel tied on the other end. Fix the droppers with size 2/0 to 3/0 Gamakatsu or Owner Octopus hooks as they are sticky sharp will easily penetrate a sea bass maw on a short strike. Adorn the line above the hook with red beads and slip on a 3 to 4-inch red, purple or green curly tail grub or white or pink Berkley Gulp! Swimmin’ Minnow. For baits, lance a clam tongue, squid strip or bergall strip, manicured to a 3 to 5-inch length and half inch wide cut. Drop the rig to the bottom and wait for the quick strikes. For added efficiency and effectiveness, once you feel one fish hooked, leave the rig down there and wait for the next one or two hits so you can maximize your time and reel up three fish at once instead of one at a time. For more aggressive strikes, drop down any slim profile jig that can get down to the bottom quickly such as a 8 to 12-ounce Hammered Diamond jig, Bluewater Candy Roscoe Jig, Ava 87 jig, or Deadly Dick #4 Long. Let the jig hit the seafloor and tap it on the ocean bottom, lifting only one foot off the ground and down. Sea bass will inspect and pounce on the shiny attraction with full aggression and many times the true trophy humpbacks of 5 to 8 pounds will take the jig before a bait. Hot spots off the Jersey coast include any depths in the 150 to 250 foot range, mainly along the 50 to 80 mile wrecks and rockpiles inside the Wilmington Canyon, Baltimore Canyon and Lindenkohl Canyon.

Sea Bass

Gear Used



Fluorocarbon Leader Material

Incredible impact and abrasion resistance. Fast sinking. Superior tensile and knot strength. The original FC (Blue Label) Seaguar 100% fluorocarbon leader material allows you to use a smaller test leader than comparable nylons or fluorocarbons for unmatched bait presentations. No wonder it’s preferred by anglers the world over.



Berkley Gulp!

Saltwater Grub

With extremely life-like motility in the water as well as authentic coloration, these lures are sure to fool fish into biting on your line. Berkley Gulp! Saltwater baits are made from natural ingredients that release 400 times more scent than plastic baits.


Blue Water Candy

Roscoe Jig

 Blue Water Candy Roscoe lures are perfect for freestyle vertical jigging or as some call it, Yo-Yo jigging, this technique has become extremely popular in the past few years. Blue Water Candy Lures developed the Roscoe just for bottom fishing with freestyle jigging gear. It resembles a squid and is designed to be used with assist style hooks and rings.



Deadly Dick

#4 Long Jig

Deadly Dick Long Casting / Jigging Lures are excellent for surf casting, deep jigging while drift fishing and even trolling. They are very popular along the east coast of the the USA for Striped Bass & Blue Fish. Vary the speed of retrieval to create the action you desire and the fish won’t say no.


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