Northern New Jersey Fishing Report – December 17, 2020

A blackfish caught aboard the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach on Monday’s trip.


A mid-week nor’easter slammed into the good striper fishing.

Whether the storm brought an end to the bass is a question that will be answered in a few days. But the way these fish have been hanging around, don’t bet against them.

As of Tuesday, the bite was still on in Raritan Bay and along the beaches, mostly south of the Manasquan Inlet.

Boats targeting tog will have to wait for things to calm down before sailing for them again. It’s been hit-or-miss fishing up until now but maybe the blow will have a positive impact on that fishery.

Offshore sea bass trips will have to wait as well.

Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said the stripers were still biting in Raritan Bay on Avas and on the troll.

Blackfishing has been a struggle with good fishing one day, then tough going for the next two or three. He’s been getting better reports from the southern spots.

Offshore sea bass trips are seeing more porgies than sea bass, he added.

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box said the boats continue to do well with bass in the bay and there have been fish on the beach at Sandy Hook. He also reported some bigger fish, up to 50 pounds, caught farther to the east.

He’s getting better reports on the tog fishing lately.

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said it’s been quiet there but he did hear of bass on the beach at Sandy Hook.

Now that winter is upon us, the shop will only be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon starting Dec. 23.

Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said anglers are still getting bass in the surf there.

The short bass are hitting sand eel imitations and there are peanut bunker mixed in with the sand eels.

A nice striper caught jigging aboard Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar on Monday.

There were small bass on peanut bunker in the Bradley Beach surf last week hitting 4-inch storm shads.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said it was a good week of surf fishing in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Any sand eel imitation with a teaser was working, he said, with most of the fish in the 24- to 28-inch range with a few larger ones mixed in. Tsunami sand eels are a shop favorite

Matthews reported better winter flounder fishing in the Shark River over the past few days. One angler had eight fish to 3 pounds, keeping only two.

He added that the boats out of Belmar have been getting some nice tog with the big fish of the week a 15 pounder.

Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar reported excellent striper fishing on Monday and Tuesday on jigs and the troll.

He believes the bass will be around after the storm, especially if it’s a quick-hitter. The weather is supposed to clear by Friday and he plans on reconnecting with the stripers on Saturday.

He, too, said the blackfishing has been hit-or-miss. The dogfish have been a problem and if they’re around, the tog are not.

Max Kristiansen at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the bass in the surf is the best game in town right now with the better fishing south of the Manasquan Inlet.

The blackfishing has been pretty inconsistent, he said. Some days are just better than others.

Jason Szabo at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said the Manasquan River is still giving up a lot of small bass. Shad bodies at the bridges are working for them.

He also said the surf has been good for shorts and keepers from the inlet southward.

Szabo had the same story on the tog and said the boats fishing in 70- to 90-feet of water were having the better luck.

Capt. Matt Sosnowski on the Norma K III said Monday’s tog trip saw some nice fish come over the rail. There were no limits but most anglers had a couple of keepers along with shorts.

One fisherman, Rickie Mastriani, caught and released a 10½ pounder and followed it a few minutes later with a 12 pounder. Both of those fish were caught on jigs but rigs were working as well.

Capt. Sosnowski will be back on the water on Friday and believes the passing storm will only improve the fishing.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach was on the tog grounds on Monday and reported that it was hard but productive fishing as several anglers got their limits.

Capt. Kenny is running open boat blackfish trips through January.

Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick reported that the blackfish bite has been decent out in the ocean and is also holding up in the Point Pleasant Canal.

A limit of blackfish caught aboard the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach at the beginning of the week.

Striper fishing off the beach remains good, he said, with Avas and teasers the way to go. He also reported peanut bunker in the wash.

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said the stripers were biting on the beach there right up until the wind started blowing. Bill Hurley sand eels have been the most popular bait.

He doesn’t think the nor’easter will put an end to the striper fishing as the water is still relatively warm. There are some winter flounder in the bay, he added, by the Mantoloking Bridge.

Scott at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the bass fishing was red hot Tuesday morning with loads of fish caught off the beach. The surf fishing was good over the weekend as well

The bite was mainly on sand eel imitations but Mag Darters, SP Minnows and gliders also caught fish. Most of the fish were shorts but there were some 30-inch stripers in the mix.

John Bushell at Betty and Nick’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the bass are still in the surf there on sand eels. He doesn’t see any reason why the bite should end with the storm.

There might not be as many people fishing as the weather turns colder and folks turn to other pursuits.

Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey

As of Thursday morning, the nor’easter was making its exit and hopefully without wrecking the surf fishing. The weekend forecast looks dry and warmer so it’s worth a trip to the beach in search of stripers. The better fishing has been south of the Manasquan Inlet

2 on “Northern New Jersey Fishing Report – December 17, 2020

  1. VITO DeGennaro

    I had a couple of Schoolie BASS ON A YELLOW AVA 27 AND WHITE SHAD. Both fish were caught in the wash this week

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