South Jersey - What bait, when?

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I may be a loner but I have tagged and released over 7000 bass in Cape May County waters and here is my methods by month

April --- small bucktails with twister tail trolled very slowly  or sit in mouths of small creeks with bloodworms or fresh calm bellies

May   early in month same as April but as water warms live eels will produced

June  early in month same as May ,second half of month you will find some BIGGER bass on eels and this will continue into July.

July-early  some big spawned out bass will jump on eels and bucktails trolled or a swimming plug trolled,second half of month it will be surface poppers up against sod banks especially in mouths of small creeks . Also you will find school bass up in the shallow bays on high tides early morning and evening ,look for some bait and cast away

August--depending on water temps assuming water temps stay below 78 surface poppers will best early and late. Trolling on end of tide along sod banks and beginning on incoming assuming water temperature

Sept , tough month but once again depending on water temps follow August plan...Expect to be bothered by snapper blues

Oct--bass begin to move and all of the above will work BUT if available Live Spot will out-produced everything with eels close behind  and bite could be any time day or night,you need to be looking for bait

Nov  -- live Spot and Eels drifted will out produce most but once again water temp is key IF temp holds in high 50's low 60's ,poppers will still produce along with small swimming plugs. Most of the bass inshore will be shorts but be prepared as there will be schools of larger bass on occasion

Dec  all depends on Water temps and storms

  If there is a big storm in Nov and Dec bite could shut down fast

  This is all based on inshore waters,ocean is another story,I am an inshore guy.

IF weather is decent you will also find out of season bass in tuckahoe and Great Egg rivers  on bloodworms  if available , earthworms  also  ,you can redden up the earthworms by using red dye in the bedding,Grass shrimp if available .While trying for bass you also will find perch mixed in

  This is my techniques with over 60 years of fishing Cape May County


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In South Jersey I have found keeper size bass the past 11 years between June 15th and July 20th...These are spawned out bass and hungry. 6 of those years I had at least one over 35 " with one being 40". Actually during this time frame I caught more legal size bass than any other  time period . They were caught on surface plugs, slow trolling bucktails ,and eels...All inside waters usually near ICW and mouths of creeks ... I tag 99% of what I catch AND have have recoveries from this time frame usually north of NY one came back from Maine. Couple were re-caught later in same year off NC in late winter...It usually is a Early morning or Setting sun time frame to catch. Tide didn't seem to make a big difference as time of day was most critical

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