It was an undercover operation straight out of the movie “Donnie Brasco” - except the targets were anglers instead of wiseguys.
Officers from New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection mingled with fishermen on a 19-hour trip off the Jersey Shore last month, then slapped more than three dozen of them with summonses for catching black sea bass out of season.
Boat captain Howard Bogan also is under investigation. Bogan tells The Asbury Park Press of Neptune that he notified passengers it was illegal to catch the black sea bass out of season.
The DEP confiscated more than 800 of the fish. Some of the fishermen could face fines up to $3,000.
The fishing season for black sea bass has been shortened in recent years due to a reported scarcity