This past week had some better news of more typical spring species being landed: drum, weakfish, striped bass, and tog. We are still waiting to here consistent action on bluefish, but hopefully that will happen in a few weeks. The Cape May areas saw an exceptional drum bite last year, so many anglers are hoping of a repeat. Striped bass fishing has been very consistent on fish from 16 to 28 inches, but there were a few reports of some 41 inchers being landed off the beach. There are still a ton of big girls swimming up the Delaware River from Philadelphia to Trenton. One of my clients took his daughter Ellie striped bas fishing and released a solid 41 inch bass – kudos to Matt and his daughter Ellie. Tog fisherman have been catching some nice tog to 10 pounds over the past week and it seems the action has been very consistent.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Lacey Marine in Forked River received word of schoolie striped bass from 15 to 26 inches being on caught on small paddle tails and kettle creeks plastics. Most of the action has been around the Route 37 bridge. Tog fishing continues to be red-hot for anglers fishing the southern reef sites. If anglers don’t have access to boats, the jetties of the Barnegat inlet have also been producing.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown had good reports of striped bass being landed at Graveling Point on blood worms and some soft plastics. Anglers soaking clam found a few cooperative drum. Anglers working the back creeks on the west side of the bay were finding good quantities of white perch.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light was out over the weekend for a quick charter with new clients. The father and son team picked at their 1st ever striped bass to 25 inches. The skipper has most of the weekends booked for the rest of the month, but some weekday afternoons and weekends are available in May.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light continued to work on the vessel this past week as I had a hard time getting ahold of the skipper. The boat will be ready for May striped bass and the start of the spring sea bass season.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin had solid reports of anglers working the lagoons of Beach Haven West during the early morning and night tides to find striped bass to 28 inches. If you can find some consistent “lighted” spots, you may find a honey hole of bass. White perch action has been slow, but steady from areas on the west side of Barnegat Bay. Tog fishing from the inlets and inshore reef sites remain consistent over the past week.
One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City reported another BANGIN’ week for anglers soaking bloodworms from the rocks and bay marshes. Striped bass have been in the 20 to 31 inch range and caught along some of the Great Bay areas. There has even been a drum fish or two landed from the area on soaked clams. Tog fishing continued to be red hot off the rocks, although you have work for a few keepers. Green crab tipped on tog-style jig heads have been the ticket to catching.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor Township mentioned a few weakfish being landed from Ocean City to Sea Isle City. Anglers have been pretty quiet on that front, but small pink, purple or pink/white soft plastics have been doing the trick, especially if scented with shedder crab oil.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point reported weakfish being caught in the Sea Isle area on bloodworms and soft plastics. The jetties and bridges have been the best spots to hit for these night feeders. Tog fishing remained solid over the week for most of the inshore sites for anglers using jigs and crabs. The shop received a load of green crabs, sand crabs, and jumbo blood worms for spring fishing.
Sterling Harbor in Wildwood reported some decent weakfish action occurring for anglers drifting or working bloodworms from the jetties in the Cape May area. Tog fishing continued to be hot on green crabs from the jetties and inshore reef sites.
Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May said some of the local charter boats have been hitting the tog grounds hard and the fish have been very productive. Keepers to 9 pounds and some nice cod have been landed. The backwaters of the cape have been good for striped bass to 33 inches, and there has been word of some bigger fish beginning to move east along the Delaware Bay. The drum bite is slowly starting, but should really start ramping up in the next few weeks.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for this weekend presents more variety than the past few weeks as tog, striped bass, weakfish, perch, and even drum are on the table. It seems the best bet for weakfish remains from the Ocean city area to Wildwood, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some feeding off the eel grass beds in Barnegat Bay. Drum have been caught from Graveling Point to Atlantic City, and I’m sure the Cape May area would be worth a try. If you put a clam slick out, you should have good shots at striped bass and possible early drum. The tautog bite is probably the most consistent of all with many of the jetties and inshore reef sites producing a good number of keeper and short fish. If your wandering what I would choose, it would most likely consist of plying the shallows with fly rod in hand in search of catch-n-release striped bass. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!