The warmer temperatures the past week provided some better action to anglers as bay temperatures are hitting 57 to 58 F on certain parts of the tide. Anglers targeting bass have to work baits slowly to find success. White perch are still picking up live grass shrimp or small pieces of bloodworms, but anglers need to work further up the rivers. Some of the perch are loaded with roe, so keep what your definitely going to eat as it helps the fishery stay healthy.
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It looks like we officially turned the corner and should start seeing more action as Spring progresses in our region. I was able to sneak out for a quick ride in the skiff scoring a couple small schoolies, but the highlight on the outing was watching a small group of seals feed on what looked like herring or bunker.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Lacey Marine in Forked River had better action occurring, especially toward the west side of the bay. Small 3 to 4 inch plugs and soft plastics are the lures of choice for these early season bass. Most of the bass have been in the 17 to 24 inch lengths. Anglers picking up bloodworms have also been hitting some spots around Mystic Island for striped bass.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown received some limited reports of schoolie striped bass picking up bloodworms and soft plastics on the west side of Barnegat bay. Most of the action has occurred during the ebb tide cycles.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light was able to get out during the week to cast a few soft plastics and found a couple short bass. Water was cold and action slow, but it should start to get better with warmer days ahead.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light was busy working on the vessel this past weekend in preparation for the opening on the April tog season in over a week.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin had reports of striped bass hitting small plugs and soft plastics mid-island while white perch fishing has begun to heat up in the Beach Haven West area. Another area showing schoolie bass action is the marshes around Forked River and around the retired power plant.
One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City said there is about 1 week left in the store’s March striped bass and white perch tournament. Noel said there were some jumbo perch weighed in this week and some of the hot areas are off of Egg Harbor, Bass river, and the Tuckahoe river. The shop has jumbo bloodworms, clams, and live green crabs available.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor Township had good reports of striped bass to 27 inches hitting soft plastics around the sod banks and mud flats off some of the main rivers in the area. Anglers working baits slowly have been finding good numbers of striped bass. White perch are still taking baits along parts of the Mullica, Tuckahoe, and Great Egg rivers.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point had lots of reports of striped bass to 27 inches and perch in the rivers from Bass River to Ocean City. Shrimp is better, but bloodworms are also working for anglers targeting jumbo perch. The dusk scene has been good for catching striped bass on clams around the area’s bridges. The bass haven’t been big, but there has been some around to bend a few rods.
Sterling Harbor in Wildwood reported striped bass picking up baitfish on the mud flats and anglers casting 3-inch soft plastics have been hooking up. The bay and river junctions have been the spots to hit for these fish.
Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May had reports of good perch fishing from area’s rivers north of Cape May and some of the rivers along the Delaware Bay. Bloodworms with small hooks and around the brackish water line. Some anglers scored on winter flounder in 8 to 10 feet of water along some of the mud channels.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for this weekend will be to go out and target some of these schoolie stripers along South Jersey’s bays. The west sides of the bays are much better as there is less influence by the colder, incoming tides. Early season is always about finding the warmest water and focusing on smaller baits. Perch fishing seems to be firing on all cylinders with fish biting in most of the rivers along our coast. Grass shrimp and bloodworms are working on small hook setups. Another good option for the weekend will be to look for striped bass around some of the bridges during the outgoing, evening tides. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!