January 4, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Striped bass anglers: Effective January 1, 2021, anglers are required to use non-offset (inline) circle hooks when fishing for striped bass with natural bait. A ‘circle hook’ is defined as a non-offset (inline) hook where the point is curved perpendicularly back towards the shank. The term ‘non-offset or inline’ means the point and barb are in the same plane as the shank. All states are required to implement the circle hook requirement by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. The new requirement is intended to reduce mortality in fish that are caught and released, known as release mortality. Release mortality contributes significantly to overall fishing mortality in the recreational striped bass fishery.