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Skillful Angler Recognition Program

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations New Jersey Saltwater Fishing

New Jersey Skillful Angler Program

Nice fish! Not quite a record-breaker but still impressive? Enter the New Jersey Skillful Angler Program for recognition and rewards. Minimum size requirements for Adult (16+), Junior (under 16), and Catch and Release divisions are shown below. Full rules and application instructions are online, but important points include:

  • Fish must be caught in New Jersey waters using hook and line during legally open seasons.
  • For saltwater species taken from a boat: boat must have left from, and returned to, a New Jersey port during the same trip.
  • Must submit a clear, side-view photo that allows accurate species identification. May also send an attractive, high-resolution (large file size) second photo of the angler with their fish in consideration for this Digest! Smile!

Is one fish monster not enough for you? Try your hand at any of the four, multi-species Slam! categories (Inshore 1, Inshore 2, Offshore Pelagics and Marlin) or the Specialist (five of same species), Master (five of different species), or Elite (10 of different species) categories.

Easy entry process: complete entry online then submit by email. A clear, high-resolution photo (largest file size) allowing species identification must be submitted with each application. Also, a leaderboard of the largest fish, by species and division, is posted online. The end-of-year leader in each category will receive a special certificate recognizing his/her accomplishment along with a winner’s patch as the Best of New Jersey’s Skillful Anglers!

For full details on the Skillful Angler Program, visit our website at NJFishandWildlife.com/skflang.htm. Best of luck!

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

Operation Game Thief Caller Sinks Tautog Poachers

In May of 2020, Conservation Police Officers Robert Henderson and James Woerner received information via the Operation Game Thief hotline about two fishermen on kayaks keeping tautog during the closed season. The CPOs responded to the area where the Raritan River meets the bay and quickly located the suspects. After a lengthy surveillance, the CPOs contacted the anglers at a small kayak launch in Perth Amboy, Middlesex County. The anglers were in possession of 30 tautog, of which 29 were undersized. Court-mandatory summonses were issued to both men for possession of undersized tautog and taking tautog during closed season. For his share of the catch, one poacher was assessed $1,000 in fines; the other paid $307.

 

Accessible Fishing Sites

Enjoy more than 50 accessible New Jersey fishing sites for those with mobility disabilities. All sites are wheelchair-accessible except the Musconetcong River in Morris County, where vehicle access is to the shoreline. Visit www.NJFishandWildlife.com/sites.htm.