It’s painful to report that the fishing still stinks.
And it will probably stay that way until March when winter flounder and backwater striper seasons open.
The only thing as bad as the fishing is the weather. Thursday’s snowfall just added to the misery and there’s no vaccine for cabin fever.
At least the hardwater anglers are having some fun.
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said that folks fishing through the ice are doing well with crappie, perch, pickerel and the occasional bass at Lake Hopatcong, Greenwood Lake and other local lakes and ponds.
He has heard of absolutely nothing on the saltwater front.
Hebert’s advice is to think spring and come into the store and stock up for the season.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said he’s been fishing open spots in local lakes and ponds but it’s been tough with nothing to show for his efforts.
He, too, is concentrating on spring and said the shop is now fully stocked with fresh and saltwater tackle.
Bob Matthews at Fishermen’s Den in Belmar got right to the point in his latest report saying that both the weather and the fishing “suck.”
The only party boat still sailing out of the marina is the Ocean Explorer and conditions have kept the boat tied to the dock all week. Capt. Bobby Quinn is planning on sailing this Sunday for tog, cod and pollock.
Beyond that, Matthews said some trout are being caught in local streams and the rivers and bays down south are giving up white perch with a few small stripers in the mix.
Matthews said the Den will have worms and clams in stock for the March 1 openers.
John Vafiadis at the Reel Seat in Brielle said that with the exception of white perch in the Toms River, it’s been very quiet. The shop is working on reel and rod repairs and restocking before the spring rush.
Vinny at Fishermen’s Den in Point Pleasant Beach said it’s the same there. He did mention that the shop has Hobie Kayaks in stock but he expects them to go quickly and another shipment may not arrive until July.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz of the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach will sail again for blackfish on April 1. He did sail last weekend and the crew managed to put a few keepers in the box. His son, Capt. Ryan Namowitz, brought two nice tog over the rail.
Capt. Matt Sosnowski of the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach reported that it’s spruce up time for the boat. He’ll be sailing again on April 1 for blackfish.
Scott Sleckman at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said there are white perch being taken in the rivers, but beyond that, there’s nothing going on. Grumpy’s has a big spring sale tentatively scheduled for the second week of March to get everyone ready for spring.
Sleckman said that with the absence of the fishing shows and flea markets, he’s put together a Virtual Plug Day on Facebook for March 6. It’s a one-day event starting at 11 a.m. where plugs and tackle can be bought and sold. Enter Virtual Plug Day in the search box on Facebook and you will be brought directly to the page.
Capt. Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsmen said the white perch fishing is excellent when anglers can get out but that’s been the hard part. He’s got blood worms and grass shrimp in stock if the weather cooperates this weekend.
He’s expecting a good opener for the striped bass season on March 1 and, as in years past, rewards the first keeper striper of the year weighed in at the shop with $200. The second and third stripers receive $100 and $50 respectively.
Fishing Forecast for New Jersey
Ice fishing affords the best opportunity to catch something this weekend. There’s been some thawing and refreezing going on so be careful and check the ice for safety before heading out.
Beyond that, be patient. Spring is on the way!