Southern New Jersey Fishing Report – May 20, 2021

West Marine
This was one of a number of weakfish between 18 and 28 inches caught with Reel Reaction Sportfishing this week.

We have had great action this past week with most of the reef sites and wrecks supporting copious amounts of sea bass and ling.  Anglers using metals jigs are finding some bigger hump-heads.  The striped bass front remained solid for fisherman trolling bunker spoons and mojos as some of the 30- to 40-pound class stripers have moved up.  Live-lining bunker is producing when you can find isolated schools, and this tends to occur early in the morning.  Bay and inlet fisherman are finding spotty bluefish action and most of the fish have been in the 1 to 3 pound range.  Striped bass to 30 inches are in play off the inlet jetties and bay bridges down our coast.  Weakfish and drum produced some bent rods, with anglers getting some weakies to 7 pounds.  The big news for this weekend will be the opening of our fluke season with unofficially kicks off the summer.  I received word that the bays have a decent amount of fluke, especially in our southern locations.

Here is this week’s rundown:

Lacey Marine in Forked River had some reports of schoolie striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish to 6 pounds picking up soft plastics north of the BI buoy.  The shop recommends looking for bird action or marks on the sonar.  The shop is fully loaded with fluke bait and tackle for this weekend’s opener.

Creekside Outfitters in Waretown had good reports on striped bass hitting trolled bunker spoons from the 3 mile line and Seaside.  Most of the fish were over the 38” inch mark, but anglers did find a few to bring home.  Surf fisherman also found some nice striped bass on Long Beach Island as the Barnegat Light and Loveladies areas have been producing on clam baits.  The word in the bay has been spotty small blues, isolated drum, and some weakfish in upper ends.  There are new extended hours for the store with 5:30 a.m. openings and late closings to 9pm.

Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light had a few charters over the weekend and the skipper produced the Barnegat Bay Slam (striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish).  A few isolated schools produced close to 35 weakfish in the 8 pound range, but they thinned out during the week with weekday charters picking up numbers in the single digits.  The boats are booked for this weekend’s fluke fishing opener.  With the school year ending on June 18th, charter trips will be running 7 days a week until Labor Day.

The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light had good reports of sea bass from some of the local snags with the boat catching a few limits for anglers.  The skipper said there also was a few ling in the mix.  The boat has some open dates available for sea bass, striped bass, or fluke.

Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin reported good fishing from the local bridges during the night tides with anglers finding lots of striped bass to 20 inches.  There have been some 1 to 5 pound bluefish around and anglers have been getting them on the northern and southern ends of LBI.  Sea bass fishing has been very good from the Barnegat Light Reef and some of the inshore reefs to the north.

One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City had big stripers being caught off the jetty and beaches of Atlantic City and Brigantine.  Clam has been the hot bait for bass up to 40 inches and there has also been some bluefish around.  Anglers working the night and early morning fishing shifts are finding the best action.  The night crews are catching weakfish to 27 inches on small soft plastics and bloodworms in the soak.  Noel say’s AC is BANGIN right now, so come on down.

Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor Township   reported stellar striped bass fishing off the beaches and some of the rock-lined jetties from Brigantine to Ocean City.  Striped bass taping out to 39 inches have been the mainstay on clams over the past week.  Weakfish have also been on the locals radar with reports being hush-hush, but they are defiinitely around.  Small pink soft plastics in the 3 to 6 inch size classes are doing the best with these.

Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point received good reports of sea bass from the Great Egg reef along with a large white shark cruising the surface.  Striped bass continue to be caught in the bays along with weakfish and drum.  If targeting bass or drum, clam baits are the way to go.  The shop is fully loaded with packs of Gulp and jigs for the opening of summer flounder season.

Sterling Harbor in Wildwood reported decent striped bass and weakfish action around the bridges and some of the deeper holes.  Soft plastics and drifted bloodworms are working for these fish.  Sea bassing has been on the minds of most and the wrecks / reef sites have not disappointed with good numbers of anglers reporting their 10-fish limits.  Drum fishing has been pretty solid in Delaware Bay, but you have to work for some of the bigger fish.

Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May reported lots of sea bass action for the opener this past weekend and a good number of boats have been targeting them throughout the week.  The Cape May and Wildwood reefs are putting up good numbers of fish and keepers.  Striped bass action has been steady throughout this past week for anglers working clam off the beaches and in the DE bay.  Weakfish are also being caught from the DE bay jetties and some of the holes around the back of Cape May.  Drum fishing remains solid over the past week with steady weather, just put in the time and you’ll be rewarded.

South Jersey Fishing Forecast

Fluke, summer flounder, or just plain old flounder will be on the minds of most South Jersey anglers over the weekend.  There has been no change to the regulations, so a 3-fish limit remains in check.  Gulp, strips of mackerel or bluefish tipped on bucktails will be the most productive lure of choice for the opener.  I would suggest keeping the offerings small and working the areas with the cleanest, warmest water.  The backbay areas or river entrances tend to be the best locations start because usually it’s the first location to have an abundance of bait and feeding predators.  Weakfish have been around in much better numbers, so don’t forget to work the soft plastics.  Anglers looking to stay out of the bay should be able to find limits of sea bass as hitting different wrecks will provide more opportunities.  Striped bass fisherman working the suds and jetties found success during the past week and this trend should continue through the weekend.  Clam or cut bunker baits are the soakers of choice for these fish.  There are so many options for this week, so I recommend picking one and getting on the water with friends and family.  Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!

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