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Skillful Angler Recognition Program

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations New Jersey Saltwater Fishing

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The Skillful Angler Program is designed both to supplement the New Jersey Record Fish Program and to acknowledge that many anglers catch freshwater and marine fish that are not record size but are still worthy of recognition because the size and weight of the fish sufficiently tested the angler’s skill. Open to resident and non-resident anglers. All fish must be caught in New Jersey waters using a hook and line during legally open seasons.

Saltwater species taken from a boat must have been caught from a boat that left from, and returned to, a New Jersey port during the same trip.

The Program has three main divisions: Adult (for anglers age 16 and older), Junior (under age 16) and Catch and Release (based on length). A clear, side-view photo that allows accurate species identification must be included with each application.

Anglers qualifying for a Skillful Angler award receive a certificate with an artistic rendering of the fish species they caught as a testament to their achievement.

The Skillful Angler Program now recognizes different levels of fishing expertise. An angler who submits five applications of qualifying size for the same species will receive a Specialist Certificate. An angler who submits five applications of qualifying fish of different species will receive a Master Certificate. Catch 10 or more qualifying species of fish within the year, and the angler will earn an Elite Angler Certificate. The Program also now recognizes the first fish caught no matter the age of the angler. Qualified anglers will receive a First Fish certificate.

The program now has four marine “Slam” categories — an Inshore Slam 1, Inshore Slam 2, Offshore Pelagics Slam and Marlin Slam. For the Inshore Slam 1, an angler must submit qualifying applications for a Striped Bass, Bluefish and Fluke. For the Inshore Slam 2, an angler must submit qualifying applications for Black Sea Bass, Tautog, and Weakfish. The Offshore Pelagics Slam will be obtained if an angler submits qualifying applications for Bluefin Tuna, Bigeye Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna and Dolphin. For the Marlin Slam, an angler must submit qualifying applications for a White Marlin and a Blue Marlin.

Each month, the leaders of each category and species will be posted on our Skillful Angler Leader Board web page. At the end of the year, special recognition is given to anglers who catch the largest fish in each species category. The winner of each category is sent a special certificate recognizing his/her accomplishment as the best of New Jersey’s Skillful Anglers.

Fish must be measured from the tip of the nose (with mouth closed) to the tip of the tail. For catch and release categories, the fish must be measured and photographed alongside a ruler. For Adult/Junior division, fish must be weighed and measured by fishing license agents, tackle shops or authorized Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologists.

Anglers must submit two photographs of the fish caught, one at the site of the catch and one with the fish alongside a ruler for clear identification and measurement verification. Take time to compose good quality (and high resolution) photos to submit with your application. The best photo may be selected for publication in this Digest next year! Include your e-mail address on back of the photo so we may contact you for a digital copy of your print.

Apply online at: NJFishandWildlife.com/pdf/skflangapp-salt.pdf

Minimum Entry Requirements:

Species

Adult Weight (lbs., oz.)

Junior Weight (lbs., oz.)

Catch & Release (inches)

Black Sea Bass

4

3

20

Striped Bass

40

36

42

Black Drum

70

63

46

Bluefish

18

16

33

Cod

30

27

42

Dolphin

30

27

n/a

Winter Flounder

2

1 lb., 8 oz.

16

Fluke

8

7

27

Kingfish

1

8 oz.

13

Mako Shark

250

225

n/a

Blue Marlin

400

360

n/a

White Marlin

60

54

n/a

Pollock

25

22 lbs., 8 oz.

41

Tautog

8

7

22

Albacore Tuna

50

45

n/a

Big Eye Tuna

200

180

n/a

Bluefin Tuna

500

450

n/a

Yellowfin Tuna

120

108

n/a

Tuna (other)

250

225

n/a

Weakfish

10

9

30

The New Jersey State Record Fish Program requires a separate application and is based on weight alone. Scale certification ­documentation and a weighmaster’s signature are necessary. Other rules apply. Visit Fish and Wildlife’s website at NJFishandWildlife.com for a complete list of current state records.

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