The big bluefish assault continues on the Northern New Jersey inshore waters this week. Bays, beaches, and inlets all have big blues that are willing to attack topwaters, metals, swimmers and cut bait.
The bluefish action does seem to be tapering off, ever so slightly. The fish have been on the move, reported Jeff at Harry’s Army Navy. Anglers have to hunt for them a bit, but when they find them, the action is spectacular.
I experienced some of that this Wednesday on Island Beach State Park. I fished my way to the last access point without seeing a fish, but on the ride out I spotted an osprey flying off with a bunker, and decided to give it one more look. The blues had moved in, and the bite was on. The fish were on the move, so it was necessary to follow them up and down the beach as they pushed the bait.
The bluefish are still running large, and Giglio’s Bait and Tackle weighed in several 12- to 15-pound bluefish this week, caught by surfcasters. One report Tom at Giglo’s had received was of a father-and-son team who caught more than 30 bluefish and one bass from the beach last weekend. That’s been the story for many surf fishermen looking for stripers. Getting through the blues to the stripers has been no easy task. Giglio’s did weigh in one striper this week, an 18-pounder taken on a chunk of bunker.
More stripers are moving in each day reported Jeff at Harry’s Army Navy. Some bigger bass are beginning to show up as well reported Scott at Efinger’s Sporting Goods. Trolling in Raritan Bay with Mann’s Stretch 25 is the best bet for catching stripers at the moment. Schools of bunker are massing off the Monmouth County Beaches, and with reports of big stripers being caught in the Southern half of the state, things are looking good for a Memorial Day Weekend kickoff of the big striper season.
There aren’t too many bottom fishing options right now, but with fluke season opening on May 22 and black sea bass opening on May 27 there will be more to report on that front in the next few weeks. Bottom-fishing boats are still finding some cod and ling.
Trout fishing has been challenging reported Scott at Efinger’s. The lack of recent rains have made the streams low and clear, which has made fooling the trout difficult. Largemouth bass fishing is improving as these fish get on their beds and get ready to spawn.
Lake Hopatcong is pumping out some big hybrid stripers this week. According to Laurie at Dow’s Boat Rental, weigh-ins this week included some hybrid stripers with Mike Tomicich’s hitting the scales at 4 pounds 2 ounces caught while trolling. Bob Smith, fishing with herring, caught over a dozen fish, with the largest Hybrid being 7 pounds 3 ounces. Dave Smith, trolling phoebes, caught himself another large Rainbow Trout, weighing 4 pounds 2 ounces. Walleye are being caught also, John O’Neill’s largest, just about 4 pounds. Some night time action beginning also, catching walleye on Bomber lures. Still catching perch and crappies, using fathead minnows, small crappie jigs and Rufus Jr. lures.
There are still some shad being caught in the Delaware.
Best Bets for the Weekend
Big stripers should start muscling blues out of the way this week as they arrive from southern waters. Until that happens, the best bet this week is to continue to enjoy this epic bluefish run. To target stripers, try trolling or hitting the beaches after dark.