Striped bass have been more active, especially with the warmer temperatures, but the winds have been very tough. Bridges and areas having the warmest water have had the most action. Now, cue the balloons and fireworks — our beloved tog season opens today and fishing should be good from the weekend into next week as the winds and sea conditions look very promising. Anglers working the jetty with clam or small pieces of green crab should also have shots at them.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Lacey Marine in Forked River had more reports of small striped bass and some winter flounder being caught south of the Route 37 bridge. Some anglers working the ends of the Lacey lagoons are finding schoolie action at night. The shop has a variety of jigs for the opening on Tog season.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown received some positive reports of winter flounder being caught south of the 42 marker and north of the BB on baited bloodworms in the chum slick. Striped bass fishing has been hit or miss at the bridges, and it seems the Raritan bite has started with droves of local anglers making the trip north to catch bass on shads.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light took some time to prep more gear for spring striped bass and tautog as the winds were brutal this past week. The skipper did confirm that the state of NJ was providing the boat with striped bass bonus permits which can be used starting May 15th.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light has been tough to get in contact as the crew has been busy prepping the vessel for the start of the season. The skipper is shooting for an early April start with togging on the minds of most anglers.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin had reports of white perch from the Beach Haven West area and the Cedar creek area. Anglers working bloodworms and grass shrimp were having the best action. The shop has green crabs and clams available for the start of the tautog season.
One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City noted that the shop has plenty of green crabs and frozen clam in stock for the 1st day of tog season. Small tog jigs tipped with green crab will be the best bet at getting in on the action. Jumbo bloodworms have been working for striped bass on the inline circle and perch are still being caught up the rivers.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City had more reports of jumbo perch being landed at the usual river spots from the Mullica to the Tuckahoe with grass shrimp being the best baits. Tog season opens and anglers should have good shots from the jetties, bridges, and rockpiles. Striped bass fishing in the backwaters of Ocean City and Sea Isle city has been consistent on small soft plastics working on the edges of the marshes or sods.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point has a load of green crabs in stock to target tog around the inlet jetties and inshore structure. Striped bass are hitting in rivers on bloodworms, clams, and chunked bunker. In a few weeks, the shop should start hearing of bluefish entering the bay.
Sterling Harbor in Wildwood reported lots of anglers gearing up for the opening on south jersey tautog which is set to open today. Green crabs or clams are the way to go for these early season fish. There have been reports of striped bass and even a few weakfish caught along backwaters of Cape May.
Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May is all set for the start of tog season with green crabs and clams at the ready. The Cape May jetties and some of the inshore wrecks are great places to start the search. Anglers floating bloodworms should have shots at weakfish as the month progresses, but striped bass are picking at them now. Most of the striped bass have been on the smaller side 14 to 25 inches, with an occasional 27 inch in the mix.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for this weekend will be to get out and try targeting tautog off the jetties as the winds won’t subside until next week. Fresh clam, cut green crab, or even cooked shrimp baited on ½- to ¾-ounce tog jigs should do the trick. Anglers looking to find white perch still have very decent shots up some of the brackish rivers and live grass shrimp has been working the best. Striped bass fishing is still holding up for schoolie action, but the best bite for bigger fish has been north of our reports area with the Raritan starting to heat up. The April Issue of On The Water magazine has a great article of fishing the Raritan with small boats (< 20 feet), so check it out. The best spots in our area remain on the west sides of the bays furthest from the inlets where the water temperatures and activity tend to be the greatest. April presents many more choices, so our proverbial fish engine begins to fire up. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!