Northern New Jersey Fishing Report – April 22, 2021

West Marine
A Raritan Bay striper caught last weekend aboard Side Job Charters out of South Amboy.

Spring fishing is gathering steam.

Trout fishing has been good since opening day in rivers, lakes and streams and anglers are catching pre-spawn bass, crappie, pike and pickerel.

The strong Raritan Bay bass fishing continues with a new body of bigger fish moving in over the last few days. And the striper bite is starting to pick up in the beaches with bait and artificials.

The bottom fishing isn’t bad either with cod, blackfish and ling coming over the rails of private and party boats.

Rick Hebert at Tackle World said there’s a bit of everything going on right now.

Trout anglers are enjoying the good fishing and the bass and pike are biting in local lakes and ponds, including Greenwood Lake and Lake Hopatcong.

There are loads of small stripers in the back of Raritan Bay with fish caught west of the Driscoll Bridge. Bigger fish started showing up in the main part of the bay as well.

Hebert said Hydro Minnows, SP Minnows and ColtSnipers are all working.

Blackfishing, he said, is a day-to-day thing, sometimes good, sometimes not.

Capt. Jay Richardella on Side Job Charters out of Lockwood Boatworks in South Amboy has been fishing the back bay and catching a nice mix of keepers and shorts trolling and jigging.

He’s got some open dates for morning and afternoon trips in the next several days and can be contacted through his website.

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said the charter boats in the bay are catching stripers up to 40 pounds on the troll, with chunks, livelining, Nichols Spoons and big shads.

Tak Waterman in Long Branch posted this photo of an 8.5-pound tog caught by Corey Hutting earlier this week.

He’s also had reports of bass landed on the beaches of Sandy Hook with clams.

Mel Martens at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said the night bite for schoolie stripers remains good along the bayside beaches. Both plugs and worms are working there.

He said the surf bite has been getting better for bass with sand eel imitations and shads catching mostly short fish.

He, too, reported good trout fishing in the stocked ponds and lakes.

Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said he’s getting better reports from the beach as well, with bass hitting small shads and plugs. More stripers are showing in the Shrewsbury River as well.

Bass in Raritan Bay up to 20 pounds, he said, are hitting Nichols Spoons and topwater plugs.

Gleason added that the pre-spawn largemouth bass action has been pretty good as is the crappie fishing.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said the bottom fishing for boats out of the Belmar Marina has been good for blackfish, ling and cod.

Anglers fishing the Shark River Inlet are picking up blackfish on green crabs and sand bugs while the folks on the beach are catching short bass on rubber shads and plastics along with clams and bloodworms.

Matthews had a report of one customer getting more than 20 small bass fishing with shads in Deal.

The freshwater folks, he said, are doing well with trout in local streams and crappie and catfish in the ponds and lakes in Wall and Belmar.

Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker out of Belmar said the bottom fishing is shaping up nicely with good catches of cod, ling and blackfish. Saturday’s trip saw Doug Prugh land a 12½-pound tog. Spinelli said the boat has been catching a lot of keeper cod.

He also reported giant bluefin, about 200 to 300 pounds, busting on top as he fished a mile or two off Long Branch on Tuesday. The tuna were heading north.

Doug Prugh caught this 12.5-pound blackfish aboard the Skylarker out of Belmar earlier this week.

Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters out of Belmar said the Express is back in the water and he’s currently booking ocean striper trips.

Max Christiansen at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the bass bite in Raritan Bay remains the hot topic in the shop. Customers are doing well with Hydro Minnows, spooks and metal-lipped swimmers.

John at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said the blackfish are biting pretty well at the Manasquan Inlet and the Point Pleasant Canal.

The beach is giving up small bass on 3- and 4-inch swim shads with the bigger stripers up in Raritan Bay.

He did say the Voyager has been doing well on its offshore tilefish trips.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach said Tuesday’s tog trip provided a nice surprise with 10 keeper cod caught. One angler was responsible for five of the fish.

Capt. Namowitz said the tog fishing has been picking up but the blackfish had lockjaw on Wednesday with the cold water from the south wind. Only a handful of keepers were caught

The Mimi VI has a few spots open for this Friday’s trip and if you want to go tog fishing, better hurry. The season closes at the end of the month.

Capt. Matt Sosnowski on the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach said Tuesday’s trip was a nice day on the water, but the fishing was sluggish. High hook had three keepers.

Monday’s trip had much better life, he reported, with a couple of anglers getting their limits while others got two or three keepers.

Monday will be his last all-day tog trip as the season closes next Friday. The Norma K III will be sailing for ling and cod starting on May 1. Reservations are still required for all trips.

A nice catch of cod on Tuesday’s trip aboard the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach.

Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick said the warming weather has put some life into the bass and trout fishing in local lakes and streams.

Barnegat Bay is still producing plenty of stripers on worms, Kettle Creeks and small plugs.

The Point Pleasant Canal and Mantoloking Bridge are also holding bass, with evening and early morning the best times to fish. Giacalone also heard rumors of a few bluefish around.

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said there are plenty of fish to be caught.  Stripers are in the bay hitting Vudu shads, SP Minnows, small plastics and popping plugs. Kupper said white is the hot color.

There are also short bass in the surf there, he said, hitting small lures, bloodworms and clams. The worms have the advantage.

Winter flounder fishing is fair at the Mantoloking Bridge and the entrance to the Point Pleasant Canal. Bloodworms and chum, he said, are getting anglers their limits.

Scott at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the blackfishing has been very good from the Barnegat Inlet jetties with green crabs.

The shop’s customers are also catching a lot of stripers in the bay on plugs, shads and topwater lures. Out front, the bass are biting as well on clams, worms and artificials including X-Raps and paddletails.

Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey

Stripers in Raritan Bay and Barnegat Bay are a good bet for the weekend but there are other options. The bass bite on the beaches is getting better on bait and artificials.

And the blackfishing has been picking up both on the boats and at the inlets.  Time, however, is running out on tog. The season closes at the end of the month.

Then there’s freshwater. Trout fishing has been very good and anglers are also doing well with pre-spawn largemouth, crappie and pickerel.

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