Northern New Jersey Fishing Report – October 29, 2020

A nice striped bass aboard Parker Pete's Sportfishing.
Parker Pete’s Sportfising out of Belmar has been getting into jumbo stripers all week.

The fall run has begun. Jumbo stripers showed up in Raritan Bay last week and they’ve now made their way down the coast. Fish in the 40-to-50-pound range are being caught offshore and schools of big fish have made it to the beach in a couple of spots. Snagging and dropping is working when the fish are in the bunker pods. They’re also being caught with Nichols Spoons, big shads, jigs, and on the troll. On Wednesday, bass were caught at the beach in Sea Bright, and down south at Island Beach State Park. The Sea Bright fish were at the casting limit, but a couple were taken on poppers and shads in the 20-pound range. The bass to the south were in closer, hitting bombers and SP Minnows, with fish up to 40-inches. And while that’s going on, tuna are still at the Triple Wrecks, and the tautog continue to bite well. There are still plenty of black sea bass around, but it looks like most of the keepers are on the deeper wrecks.

Northern New Jersey Fishing Report

Rick Hebert, of Tackle World in Rochelle Park, says the bass really started to bite at the beginning of the week and they are all big, well in excess of the 38-inch limit. Spoons, shads, and jigs were all working. He says the tautog fishing is holding up very well on the rocks and reefs. The black sea bass fishing has fallen off, with many short fish caught. Trout fishing has been good since the fall stocking, Rick says all the rain in the forecast should raise the water levels and help the trout spread out.

Mike Pinto, of Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright, says big bass came within casting range of the beach on Wednesday.  Not a lot of fish were caught as they were still a ways off, but pencil poppers and shads accounted for the few that were hooked.

Mike Gleason, of TAK Waterman, says the new wave of big stripers on the scene had made everyone happy with a mix of big and smaller fish. Large shads and Nichols Spoons are doing the trick.

Capt. Pete Sykes, of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing, says the striped bass fishing on Tuesday and Wednesday was outstanding. Things started slowly on Tuesday, but when the tide changed, the bass put on the feedbag and kept going right through Wednesday’s trip. Snagging and dropping worked well, along with jigs. Very few were small enough to take home, but Capt. Sykes said there were personal bests all around the boat. He’s running bass extravaganzas with trips limited to 18 anglers aboard Parker Pete’s Express.

Jeff Nuel, of Reel Seat in Brielle, says the tuna bite was still going strong at the Triple Wrecks. Max Kristiansen and Tommy Freda found a small weather window last Friday and got a mix of yellow and bluefin tuna on jigs and chunking. That same pair had a big day with the bass on Wednesday catching all jumbos on topwater plugs. Nuel also reported excellent tautog fishing on the reefs and rocks with jigs and green crabs. Black sea bass fishing has been okay, he says, with the better fishing farther offshore.

Max Kristiansen with a nice topwater striped bass.
Max Kristiansen of the Reel Seat in Brielle got into the stripers with topwater plugs on Wednesday.

Jason Szabo, of Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach, says the striper fishing in the Manasquan River and Point Pleasant Canal has been good with fish up to 25 pounds caught on soft plastics and live eels. The bridges have been the best spots in the river. Szabo also reported better bass fishing on the beaches with fish up to 20-pounds. Tautog fishing is also very good at the Manasquan Inlet and in the canal.

Capt. Matt Sosnowski, of the Norma-K III in Point Pleasant Beach, says he found lots of life on Wednesday’s trip with plenty of black sea bass, and some good size porgies. The problem was you had to pick through lots of short sea bass to get to the keepers. Sosnowski says they’re going to switch to stripers for two weeks until the 5-fish tog season opens on Nov. 16. All trips require reservations.

A porgy and black sea bass caught on the Norma-K III
A nice catch aboard the Norma K III this past Wednesday.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz, of the Mimi VI in Point Pleasant Beach, says his boat will be getting in on the striper action with trips next Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. The boat will be limited to 15 anglers. In addition, he’ll be running open boat sea bass trips on Nov. 4 and 11. He also has special blackfish trips scheduled for November and December. Check his website for details.

Gary, of Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach, says the stripers were off Long Branch in the 40-to 50-pound range. The reports he received said they were on sand eels. He says the tautog fishing in the Point Pleasant Canal and at the Manasquan Inlet has been on fire, while the tuna continue to bite out at the Triple Wrecks. That action has been going on for three months now.

Frank, of Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick, says he’s getting more reports of stripers in the surf. The bass fishing in the Manasquan River has been good at night near the bridges on Kettle Creek shads, live eels, and SP Minnows. The tog bite has been hot at the Manasquan Inlet. Also, there have been reports of weakfish caught there as well.

Pete, of Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach, says there are good reports of bass on the beach hitting top-water swimmers. Island Beach State Park and beaches to the north have seen some nice fish in recent days. He added there are still some bluefish for surf anglers. Charlie’s Bait and Tackle will be holding the Ninth Annual Surf Turkey Striped Bass Tournament over the Thanksgiving Weekend. All entry fees go directly to the cash prizes. Check out the Facebook page for complete details.

Phil, of Dock Outfitters in Seaside Heights, says he got word of the bass to the north and south, but they haven’t shown up near him as yet. There have been some shorts caught but he’s just waiting for the bigger fish.

Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park, says the bass bite in the surf is improving with more fish caught in the early morning. Frankie Z heard of the bigger bass on Wednesday a little further to the south and expected there will be more to follow in the coming days. In the meantime, the tautog fishing remains good from the jetties at Barnegat Inlet.

Francine, of Betty & Nick’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park, says the surf at Island Beach State Park lit up Wednesday morning with stripers up to 40-inches.  They were all big fish, she says. Bombers and SP Minnows were the ticket, adding that the bass are feeding on herring and hickory shad. There are some bigger bluefish around as well.

Kevin D. with a 35-inch striped bass caught at Island Beach State Park.
Betty & Nick’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park posted this photo of Kevin D. and the 35-inch bass he caught in the surf at IBSP on Wednesday morning.

There have also been some nice fish in the Shrewsbury River. Gene Amato of the Asbury Park Fishing Club landed a striper he estimated at around 40-pounds and well over 38-inches on Tuesday night.

Bob Matthews, of Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, says the worst thing about the fishing right now is the weather. When the party boats are able to sail, they’re finding black sea bass, tautog, porgies, and winter flounder. There are also winter flounder in the Shark River, and limits are not a problem on worms and clams. As for the hot offshore bass bite, Matthews said the vast majority of the fish are over 38-inches and have to go back. He has yet to see bigger fish on the beach. Short bass are being caught in the surf, and there are keepers and shorts in the Shark River.

Capt. Phil Sciortino, of the Tackle Box in Hazlet, says the bass bite has been on fire in the back of Raritan Bay, at West Bank, by Breezy Point and near the Statue of Liberty. Live eels, bunker spoons, Mojos, and dropping and snagging have all caught fish.

Steve, of Julian’s Bait and Tackle in Atlantic Highlands, says the bass bite is hot. Live eels have been the ticket at Flynn’s Knoll. Snagging and dropping is also working when the bass are on the bunker pods. Tautog, he says, is holding up nicely for the boats out of the Atlantic Highlands Marina.

Northern New Jersey Fishing Forecast

The fall run is on and here’s an enormous amount of bunker around! The boats are nailing jumbo bass live-lining. Shads, plugs, and jigs are also working well. The big fish are making it to the beaches, you just have to be there when they show up. Have poppers, shads, metal, and swimming plugs on hand.

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