It’s that time of the season that brings spring training baseball, warmer weather, and of course boat and tackle work. We are approaching the middle of March and striped bass fishing in the bays opened a few weeks ago with anglers able to hook up at some of the usual South Jersey spots. Just remember to have those circle hooks when using fresh, dead, or live bait. Clams and bloodworms are the go-to baits this time of year. In addition, white perch have been hitting grass shrimp and blood worms wherever freshwater dumps into our bays. Although New Jersey hasn’t approved this year’s marine regulations, it’s safe to say that tautog should be opening by the 1st week of April. I know for sure, it’s just a great feeling to be thinking of fishing again.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Lacey Marine in Forked River has been busy at the shop with lots of season-opening deals on electronics and boat paint. Dan said they also have a decent supply of bloodworms for striped bass that are in the back channels of Barnegat bay, near the Toms River, and around the Route 37 bridge.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown had a busy winter as the store is literally stocked to the gills with Gulp and rod/reel combos for this season. Liza has clams, clam chum, and bloodworms for back-bay striped bass or winter flounder. There has been some white perch caught off the Toms and Mullica rivers if anglers are interested. The fishing should steadily get better as the water begins to heat up.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light had a busy winter with some new additions or upgrades. The skipper is getting the main boat serviced this week and the skiff is ready to start plying the backwaters for striped bass and/or white perch. April dates are booking up for tautog and May dates are dwindling for sea bass, so give them a call.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light is going through all of the pre-season preparations and the skipper plans on having the boat ready by the April tautog season. Capt. Ted said tautog, followed by May sea bass and striped bass will kick the 2021 charter season off.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin reported some striped bass action along the West sides of Barnegat bay on small soft plastics, but the action has been a pick. Areas in Beach Haven west and the Mullica have some good numbers of white perch when you hit the right tides. Grass shrimp has been the best for these, but bloodworms will also do the trick.
One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City has been lighting AC with deals and the shop is offering a month long striped bass and white perch tournament to March 31st. Some of the usual spots along Atlantic 651 are good for producing early season action for both species. The shop has bloodworms, clams and circle hooks for the backbay striped bass.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor Township was busy dealing out offshore tackle with the store’s recent canyon sale. As far as the fishing scene, white perch and some striped bass have been caught in the Tuckahoe and Great Egg Harbor rivers. Anglers have been finding better action further west on the rivers.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point have updated the store hours and the shop will be open from 7am to 5pm daily. Striped bass and white perch are being caught along the Great Egg Harbor, Middle and Tuckahoe rivers on bloodworms. The shop has a full line up of circle hooks for targeting striped bass and the fishing should only get better with the warmer weather.
Sterling Harbor in Wildwood is fully stocked with bay, inshore, and offshore gear for the 2021 season. The shop received of some nice tuna being caught way south, but hopefully they are up here by May. Locally, anglers are catching striped bass around the bridges during the night time.
Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May will be opening this Friday and they have bloodworms and night-crawlers in stock. The weather is warming up and some white perch and striped bass have been caught in the Tuckahoe and Great Egg rivers.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
Midweek was the best for action as the weather temperatures ticked up in the bays and anglers reported an uptick of action. The weekend will bring a cold front which may slow things down, but at least there are some fish around. If you plan on targeting white perch, then grass shrimp baits are the way to go. Bloodworms or clam on circle hooks are your best bet to land bay striped bass and the usual haunts (sod banks, points, and freshwater influences) are the best areas to fish. Winter flounder are in play, but there hasn’t been much action on those yet as most marinas are pretty scarce with recreational boaters. This should definitely change as the smell of bottom-paint is in the air. Whether it’s a weekend of fishing or prepping — Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!