If you live or frequent the Jersey shore, then you know that October and November are two of the greatest months with less crowds, good temperatures, and lots of fish to target. The bait has started moving this month with more and more mullet, peanuts, and spearing starting to stage closer to the inlets. Although the water temperatures are still warm, a few cooler nights will have good fishing on the outgoing tides. I was able to get out mid-week to find a few cooperative schoolie bass on small 4.25-inch Hogy Pro-tail paddles. The key to catching bass during the early part of this month is matching the bait profiles that are abundant in your area. Don’t be shy and ask the local tackle shops as they are the most “tuned-in” on the current bites.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported a good tuna bite from the triple wrecks to the canyons as many offshore vessels made it out over the weekend. The bite was on from the amount of boats returning with yellowfin and mahi. The inlet area has been hot and cold on striped bass as the water temperatures have been in the low 70’s, but the tog bite has been very good off the North and south jetties.
Bobbies Boats in Barnegat Light continued to rent boats out this past weekend with anglers anchoring and chumming up some of the last parts of the blowfish run. Anglers working the jetty rocks with green crabs are finding success for keeper blackfish.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light reported some good fishing with his charters catching good amounts of keeper blackfish. Trips have switched over to casting light tackle plastics for bluefish, striped bass, and even some C&R fluke. The skipper is running weekday afternoons and full weekends through the remainder of the season which ends around Christmas.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light got on the tuna over the past weekend with good amounts of yellowfin making it over the rail. The skipper is planning on sailing for tuna through October along with sea bass trips once was the season opens on the eighth.
Fisherman’s Headquarters on Long Beach Island reported some bluefish and blowfish action mid-island up to the BB buoy. The blowfish are a little less in numbers, so heavy chumming is ideal to bring them in. The jetties have been almost a lock for tog, but anglers have to work to catch keepers. Green crabs tipped on Magictail tog jigs have been the key to the bigger fish.
Absecon Bay Sportsman in Absecon reported good back bay fishing, especially with the morning and late evening high tides. Schoolie striped bass are being caught on a variety of small soft plastics and swimming plugs on these tides. The shop will receive a big shipment of spot in the coming days for bass. The tautog bite continued off the Atlantic City jetties over the weekend with keepers up to 18 inches hitting the buckets. Remember, the limit is only 1 fish per person until November 16th.
Offshore Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City reported that the Atlantic City tog bite is red hot off the jetties and fish are being caught on tog jigs tipped with green crab. Some anglers had small bluefish off the jetties with small metals and even a couple of schoolie bass to 20 inches have been caught. Most of the bass and bluefish action has been very early in the morning or late at night.
Fin-Atics in Ocean City had good reports of yellowfin tuna at the triples wrecks and anglers venturing 20 miles further east even found better action. The bite closer to shore has been small bluefish and schoolie striped bass around the inlets. The tidal marshes still have a ton of bait, but they have begun to push out.
Badfish Charters in Ocean City has been gearing up for the fall run and posted some of the most popular lures to use in the backwaters for striped bass. The skipper favors top-waters and 4 to 5 inch soft plastics as he caught a few schoolies this past week. The boat has openings for October through November, so give them a ring to get on the schedule.
Sea Isle Bait & Tackle in Sea Isle City had good reports of small bluefish being landed from the Townsend Inlet on metals and small swimming plugs. The night-time shark scene has been very good for sandbars and sand-tigers, but be sure to keep the shark in the water for pics and make the release quick. The shop said there has been quite a few summons given regarding inappropriately handling shore-based sharks.
Avalon Hodge Podge in Avalon had nice reports of yellowfin and mahi being landed in the offshore canyons and it seems most of the action has been in the 70 to 90 mile range. Anglers working tog jigs or traditional rigs tipped with green crabs are finding lots of tautog on structure. The bite has been very quick, so you need to be on the rod as soon as the bait hits the bottom. Schoolie bass and small bluefish have been found around the inlets and that bite should increase in the coming weeks.
Peace Token Fishing Tackle in Cape May Court House reported nice action of blue claws still coming in from the back creeks and marshes. Anglers with small skiffs are able to get on these crabs and there has been some schoolie striped bass landed. Tog fishing has been good from the jetty rocks and around some of the bridges.
Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Cape May reported a good amount of croakers, spots, and small bluefish around the beaches and some of the deeper spots about a mile or so off the Delaware Bay beaches. There has also been some weakfish mixed in. Striped bass are being caught along some of the back channels and bridges, but these are mostly small residential fish. There has been quite a few boats doing overnight chunking and daytime jigging for yellowfin when the seas permit.
Greenhorn Outdoors in Bridgeton reported spots, croakers, and some weakfish off the Fortescue surf with the most of the action on bloodworms and squid. There has been a good number of white perch caught up the creeks and most anglers are able to box a bunch for the dinner table.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
This weekend looks like a great weekend to hit the jetties for tog or the salt marshes for schoolie striped bass. Anglers with canyon-going vessels should have relatively calm seas for shots of yellowfin, bigeye, and mahi. Tog fishing the jetties is a great way to have fun and if your kids are older, getting them on the bite. By cutting the green crabs in half and baiting a tog jig or traditional rig, you should have fish fairly quickly. I recommend dropping to the bottom so you can feel hard structure and instantly engaging the reel. With the waters as warm as they are, the tog bit is very quick. Schoolie bass are beginning to get serious marauding weary baitfish, so mornings and evenings are the best times to play with these guys. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!