Big bluefish are back on the menu.
The long and lean racer blues showed up in Raritan Bay, the Shark and Manasquan rivers and in the surf starting on Tuesday. Add these tackle busters to the plentiful striped bass in the bays and rivers and good freshwater fishing and you’ve got a solid spring fishery.
Northern New Jersey Fishing Report
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said the trout fishing remains good in the streams in his neck of the woods including the Flat Brook and Pequest. The largemouth fishing is decent in lakes and ponds and will only improve as the water warms. He’s still getting positive reports on Raritan Bay stripers up to 25 pounds on plugs and bloodworms along the Bayshore beaches.
Capt. Jay Richardella of Side Job Charters out of South Amboy and said he’s picking up a mix of keepers and shorts on the troll in Raritan Bay. There’s still a lot of bass, he said, in the back of the bay.
Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet reported his first bluefish catches in Raritan Bay on Wednesday morning. They were feeding on top and hitting surface plugs. He also reported some bigger stripers have moved into the bay and the proof is the beauty of a bass caught by Mike Nolan Sr. from his kayak on Tuesday morning. The fish was estimated to be well north of 40 pounds and hit an SP Minnow. Stripers are also on the flats and at Flynn’s Knoll. In addition, Sciortino had reports of bass on Sandy Hook eating clams.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers are now holding more stripers. Anglers drifting worms in the Shrewsbury are picking up some nice fish. The night bite from the Bayshore beaches has been good, he said, all on plugs with Mag Darters a popular choice. He hasn’t heard much from the surf, he added, because not a lot of people are fishing.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch called the bass fishing decent in Raritan Bay with fish taken on Nichols Spoons, big shads and plugs. Doc Spooks have been among the best performers. He did report striper fishing in the Shrewsbury River and on the beach is getting better with bass hitting plugs and shads. The freshwater fishing has been holding up, he said, and warmer weather in the forecast for the next several days will only help matters.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said the spring blues showed up in the Shark River on Wednesday afternoon. The shop weighed in a 14 pounder and Matthews reported that the Manasquan River fish were even bigger. He said there are small bass in the surf while the party boats out of the marina are catching blackfish, cod and ling. If you want to go blackfishing, time is running out as the season closes at midnight on Friday.
Capt. Steve Spinelli on Skylarker Charters out of Belmar said the last few days have been good for blackfish, cod and ling. He said the Bensalem Fishing Club put together a nice catch of tog over the weekend. Once the blackfish season closes, he’ll be sailing for ling and cod and possibly stripers.
Capt. Pete Sykes on Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters’s Sportfishing is currently booking striper trips for when the bass make it out into the ocean, which should be any day. He’s also taking reservations for fluke trips. That season opens May 22.
Amanda D’Apice at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the stripers are biting in the Manasquan River on small shads and plugs. The freshwater fishing in local ponds and lakes, she added, has been good.
Kyle at Fishermens Supply Co in Point Pleasant Beach said if the weather cooperates, he expects a solid ending to the spring blackfish season. Blackfish boats and the anglers at the Manasquan Inlet have been crushing the tog in recent days, he said. Clams and green and white legger crabs are all working. He also reported big blues have shown up in the Manasquan River. There was a 36-inch jumbo caught in the river on Wednesday morning. The surf is also giving up short bass on 3-to 4-inch paddletails and other soft baits.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the MIMI VI out of Point Pleasant Beach reported good blackfishing every day he sailed this week. Once that season closes, he’ll be targeting stripers and cod and then black sea bass when that season opens on May 15. The Mimi VI is sailing open boat but reservations are required.
Capt. Matt Sosnowski on the Norma-K III out of Point Pleasant Beach reported a couple of nice days on the water on Tuesday and Wednesday with plenty of tog action on shorts and keepers. Starting May 1, the Norma K III will be sailing three-quarter day trips for ling and cod through May 14, then switching over to sea bass on May 15. Reservations are also required on the Norma K III.
Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick said Barnegat Bay is still producing plenty of stripers on worms, Kettle Creeks, and small lures. The Point Pleasant Canal and Mantoloking Bridge are also giving up bass at night and early in the morning. Gliders, he said, seem to be getting the job done for small bass off the beach. The freshwater fishing has been good, he added, with trout and bass biting in the local lakes and streams. Gabriel Tackle Co. is getting ready for the grand opening of its second location at 73 E Pacific Way in Chadwick Beach in the second week of May.
Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait & Tackle in Normandy Beach reported decent fishing but he’s glad warmer weather is on the way. There have been a lot of bass caught in the vicinity of the BB Buoy in the bay, he said. The boats are trolling first to find the fish, then casting shads and plugs like Kettle Creeks and SP Minnows. The bass aren’t big, but they are there in numbers. The flounder fishing has been good in the bay as well, on bloods and plenty of chum. The Mantoloking Bridge and mouth of the canal have been good spots. He’s also starting to see some action out front on bloodworms. Kupper advises fishing the cuts and pockets.
Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the beach bite is on. The shop saw jumbo bluefish caught in the surf on Tuesday and Wednesday. And there have been plenty of short bass, along with an occasional keeper, hitting clams, chunks and small lures in the surf. When fishing bait, Kerico said, go with small pieces. There are still a lot of bass in the bay as well, hitting blood worms, paddletails, Kettle Creeks and small swimming plugs. Kerico wanted to remind everyone that the Berkeley Striper Club will be holding its annual flea market at the Seaside Park Marina directly across from the shop this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Show your wrist band from the flea market at Grumpy’s and you’ll get 10 percent off your purchase.
Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey
Striped bass and monster blues will be getting most of the attention this weekend.
The big blues showed up in Raritan Bay, the Shark and Manasquan rivers and along the beach and should hang around for a while. Surface plugs and poppers will work for them. The stripers are still in Raritan and Barnegat bays and have spread out into the Shrewsbury, Navesink and Manasquan rivers. More short bass are showing up on the beaches as well. Plugs, soft plastics, clams and bunker chunks are all working.