Southern New Jersey Fishing Report – March 18, 2021

West Marine
Dennis Smith with a healthy spring striper.

Schoolies, perch, and winter flounder have been hitting this past week, but the colder temperatures slowed some of the action on the fish and angler fronts.  Bloodworms and soft plastics have been the best baits for these schoolie bass that have been hanging in the backwaters.  A few of our southern tackle shops reported winter flounder being landed by anglers over the weekend.  The state did make a decision on summer flounder and the season is set to open May 22nd and close on September 19th.  Perch are still hitting grass shrimp along the creeks and rivers, so now’s the time to get out there.

Here is this week’s rundown:

Lacey Marine in Forked River received another load of live bloodworms over the weekend and the shop said schoolie stripers are biting from Toms River to Barnegat.  Anglers drifting some of the channels along the west of the bay are finding success.

Creekside Outfitters in Waretown had some mixed reports of winter flounder picking up clam and bloodworm baits in parts of Barnegat Bay.  Anglers working artificials in the evening are finding schoolie bass to 27 inches.  The bridges around Toms River and areas of the bay on the west side are producing better action with even a few white perch in the mix.

Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light finished up some of the last maintenance for the boat with the addition of electronics for the skiff and the skipper is planning on doing some scouting trips this upcoming week depending on the weather.

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 small striper action along the west side of Barnegat Bay from Barnegat to Tuckerton.  Most of the bass are in the 20 to 26 inch range and they have been hitting around the evening tides.  There has been some white perch action in the Beach Haven West area lagoons.  Anglers working the

One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City had some reports and video of bird action in the bay and along the beach during the early part of the the week.  Bloodworms and clams have been working for some of the bay stripers.  Anglers working parts of the Mullica and Great Egg rivers are finding some good-sized perch.  The shop is running a striper and perch tournament through the rest of the month.

South Jersey Striped Bass
Bob Stavola holding a stunning striper caught in a south Jersey river.

Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City had lots of in-store and online deals going on through the month of April.  On the fishing front, anglers working parts of Mullica and Mays Landing areas are finding small stripers and white perch. Bloodworms are working for both species, but grass shrimp are getting more perch.

Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point had reports of more consistent action along the bridges in the bay around Somers Point and Sea Isle City.  Anglers are still finding better action further up the rivers with bloodworms and soft plastics as the water temperature is a tad warmer.

Sterling Harbor in Wildwood reported good action over the weekend, but the action slowed up with the dip in temperatures.  The shop has a wide variety of gear and some fresh bloodworms which will do the trick on the soak.

Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May had positive reports of white perch be picked up from the Tuckahoe river and a few rivers south.  The best baits have been grass shrimp, but pieces of bloodworms will also do the trick.  Small striped bass have been hitting small rubber shads and soft plastics over the past week.

South Jersey Fishing Forecast

This weekend looks a little rough with the weather, so it will definitely be a little challenging to put some fish on the line.  The best bet would be to cast small plastic shads or finesse worms around structure during the night tides.  Bloodworms soaked below or on weighted bobbers will also work for these fish.  Circle hooks are mandatory and will definitely reduce gut-hooking.  Just remember to reel down on a biting fish, rather than swinging the rod to set the hook.  White perch are in play, but anglers have to work different areas of the rivers on the outgoing tides.  Next week looks much better with day temperatures expected to hover in the mid 50s to low 60s for a good part of the week.  The bite should rebound with the warmer water temperatures.  Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!

West Marine store finder

2 on “Southern New Jersey Fishing Report – March 18, 2021

  1. Matthew Keeney

    Just moved back to the area, got a subscription to your magazine and been following online. Getting ready for the season. Love you guys!!

  2. jeff Seaman

    Fishing 1 mile east of Lower Bank Bridge,,,Hay Rd on the Mullica…
    just as u said ..Schoolies and Perch…All throw backs
    parking is bad on the weekend…2hrs before and after the Tide is best

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