By Tom Pagliaroli

Despite the nagging cold nights and sub-par seasonal temp. that will last into early next week, the fishing along the Jersey coast to continue to improve, albeit at a conch's pace. Toss 'em cod and pollock with the occasional keeper for each remains the norm, with a scattering of ling also going into the coolers. While it will be chilly out there, the forecast is for calm seas through the weekend. Sun. looks like the best bet. Back bay stripers remain lethargic, with an occasional fish being picked off with a bloodworm. Give it another 2 weeks, and bayside linsider action should blow wide open. When probing back bay waters during the spring, the outgoing tide offers the best opportunity. The blackfish (tog) season in NJ reopens Wed., April 1 and by that time action over the wrecks will have picked up substantially. If tog are your thing, hit the boats during the Fool month because the season closes Tues., April 30. In DE, blackfish are still legal, with that season concluding in early May.

The Somerset Saltwater Exposition runs tomorrow through Sun., at the Garden State Exhibit Center located at 50 Atrium Dr. in Somerset, NJ. The venue is within a 90 minute drive of center city (www.sportshows.com/somerset/ for directions and info) and is within a few minutes of Exit 10 off Route 287N or S. National manufacturers, retailers, charter and party boats, outfitters, guide services, fishing publications, organizations and TV networks. . .all are here in what is the biggest expo of its kind in the coastal US. There will be 34 seminars during the 3 day show covering everything from catching bait to catching giant bluefin presented by the who's who in the saltwater fishing tackle world. This is truly the time to buy what you need for the season, as the dealers will be moving inventory at rock bottom prices. Tip: Sun. is the best day to bargain hard. As one dealer said last year early afternoon Sunday while looking at racks half full of rods and pegboards still sporting a decent assortment of metals, plugs and bucktails, "I don't want to re-pack all of this stuff to bring back to the shop. Make me some offers."

hours are Fri, Noon - 8 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-5p.m. Sun. Admission is $12 for adults and $3 for youngsters 5-11. Sun. is Family Day with youngsters 11 and under admitted free, with the first 100 receiving a free Plano tackle box.