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Im new to surf fishing but not new to fishing. I grew up inshore fishing, targeting the usual suspects-fluke, bass, weakfish (when we had weakfish), etc... I live/fish Cape May and would like to focus on the surf this coming spring. I did well with the bass last year with limited knowledge and would like to build upon my success. Getting to the point-What water temp. should I be looking for when the spring bass start to show up? Also, is bait fishing in the spring most productive due to the cooler water temps? Any help is much appreciated!
 

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for bass in the spring I usually wait till the water consistently hits the mid to high 40's, the closer to 50 the better it gets
 

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I fish Ocean County mostly, so the time table is a little different, but bait def. catches the first fish of spring, all schoolies really. Blood worms or clam in the bay over darker bottoms (mud, sod banks) can catch bass as early the March 1st open, but it usually doesn't get consistent until the end of March or later depending on temps. I go a few times early, but it's sort of like catfishing, forked stick with a blood worm sitting out there. Bay warms up faster. I quit the bay and head out front when the bluefish show up in the back. Like the others said, about temps. Steady in the mid-forties and the bite will get more consistent. On the beach, clam is the way to go in the spring until you start seeing adult bunker (fresh) for sale in the bait shops.
 
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