Fishing Report for New Jersey
A couple of days of driving snow, gale-force winds and freezing temperatures brought the slow fishing to a full stop.
It was a good week to stay inside and practice your knots.
On the plus side, the cold froze the lakes and ponds and the hard water anglers were able to get out on the ice.
Party and charter boats that are still sailing hope to be back out by the end of the week once the ocean calms down.
Before we get into the report, thin as it is, a bit of housekeeping.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions. there won’t be the usual fishing shows and flea markets we had to look forward to break up the winter monotony.
The Berkeley Striper Club has cancelled this year’s flea market, which normally takes place on the first Sunday in March.
Joe Pallotto, president of the Asbury Park Fishing Club, told me its annual Fishing Show, usually on the second Sunday of March, will next take place on the same day in 2022.
On the plus side, the Saltwater Fishing Expo scheduled for this March 19-21, at the New Jersey Exposition and Convention Center in Edison, is going ahead as planned.
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said most ponds and lakes up north, including Lake Hopatcong, Lake Aeroflex, Monksville Reservoir and Greenwood Lake all have safe ice.
Anglers did well with panfish and largemouth bass. Hebert also reported there were some landlocked salmon caught at Lake Aeroflex. As far as saltwater action, he heard of none.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch had zero reports as well over the past few days. He’s been busy working on replenishing inventory for the spring, especially his stock of freshwater tackle.
The shop is open every day except Tuesday.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said it’s been very quiet there. The Ocean Explorer is the only party boat still sailing out of the marina and is planning on getting out again by Saturday.
The Ocean Explorer had one of its best days of the season last Wednesday landing several double-digit tog with the biggest fish in excess of 14 pounds. There were multiple 6- to 8-pound fish as well.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar said that between the slow fishing, bad weather and dwindling interest, he’s decided to take a break for a while and will resume blackfishing in April.
He’s also booking dates for spring stripers.
The Reel Seat in Brielle had nothing to report as it was closed most of the week taking inventory. The shop will open again on Friday.
Dylan at Fisherman’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said business was way down this week as might be expected but they were busy unpacking and stocking new shipments of merchandise. He said they received a whole new line of Daiwa rods.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz of the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach will be sailing open boat for blackfish this weekend and every day the weather allows through Feb. 14. Call ahead to book your spot.
Capt. Matt Sosnowski on the Norma K III reported tough tog fishing last weekend in challenging conditions. Sunday was the better of the two days but still no picnic.
The crew managed a dozen or so keepers up to five pounds but the eels and bergals kept everyone busy.
Capt. Sosnowski will continue to fish the weekends until the boat heads to the yard on Feb. 15. Reservations are required so call ahead.
Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said there is nothing going on fishing wise, but the big winter sale held last weekend was a huge success. He said the shop will be holding a similar event sometime in late February or early March just in time for spring.
In the meantime, he said the staff would be busy unpacking the nearly 70 boxes of new merchandise delivered earlier this week.
Capt. Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsmen in Absecon reported that the weather kept everyone away this past week. But, he said, there will be bloodworms and grass shrimp at the shop for those targeting white perch this weekend.
Best Bets for the Weekend
Head for the hard water. While daytime temperatures may get above freezing, the cold nights will keep the ice in place for the foreseeable future. Lakes and ponds to the north are the best bets.
A few boats, such as the Ocean Explorer out of Belmar and the Mimi VI and Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach, continue to sail for tog and all have put some decent fish in the box in the last few weeks. There are also white perch biting in the back bays and rivers.
Hang in there. March is only a few weeks away.