Fishing went from boom to bust this past week. The hot striper bite in Raritan Bay cooled off quickly with the arrival of the full moon while a nasty nor’easter shut down everything else. Everyone is now waiting to see what happens when calm weather returns.
Northern New Jersey Fishing Report
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said it was all big bass in Raritan Bay then just nothing. The full moon is taking most of the blame. There’s still an enormous amount of bunker in the bay. He fished the Flatbrook River before the rain arrived and said the trout fishing was very good. Then the storm hit and all the streams and rivers turned into torrents. It’s going to take time for them to get back to normal.
Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said there are still some big stripers around but it’s turned into a night bite. He reported anglers getting bass from the Bayshore beaches in the dark on plugs. Those catching fish are wading out on the flats. Before the weather went bad, Sciortino said the fishing for porgies, sea bass, and tautog was pretty good. Sunday looks like the first day the boats will sail again.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said it’s been pretty quiet there this week. The bass up north just disappeared, he said, but a few were caught in the surf last week. The shop weighed in two of 13¾ and 23 pounds caught on plugs. There are still bass in the rivers, he said, and he hopes the false albacore return when things calm down.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch reported a tough week of fishing but said there is still lots of bait in the ocean. It was all around when he surfed during the storm earlier this week. He added that the Shrewsbury River continues to hold stripers.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said the fishing was way off this week due to the moon and the storm. There were some bright spots, however, with the tautog chewing at the Shark River Inlet and some small blues and bass in the Shark River. He believes the fall run will gather steam now that the full moon has passed and the weather begins to clear. There’s still plenty of bait in the Shark River, he said, and this week saw a blitz of squid come into the river. Plenty of people were catching them for bait and the table.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters in Belmar said he marked plenty of stripers last Sunday but could not get them to bite. Once the ocean bass bite begins, he’ll be running open boat for stripers every day there isn’t a charter.
Capt. Jay Richardella on Side Job Charters out of Belmar has been tied up since last week but will be sailing for stripers and tuna when things settle down.
Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker out of Belmar said the bottom fishing was excellent right through Sunday. His charters caught sea bass, porgies, tautog, and winter flounder. He also reported running into schools of bluefish along with some bonito.
Steve Thomas at the Reel Seat in Brielle said there hasn’t been a whole lot going on this week with the foul weather but folks fishing the Point Pleasant Canal have been doing well with tautog. There are also bass in the Manasquan River. The shop also had a report of stripers off Seaside taken on the troll.
Kyle Tanger at Fisherman’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said the weather was the story this week. He’s just hoping that the excellent canyon bite for yellowfin and longfin tuna returns once the boats are able to sail again. He called the pre-storm action epic.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach has been stuck at the dock along with everyone else but has posted open boat dates for stripers on his website. Reservations are now being accepted online for all trips.
Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle in Brick reported good surf fishing for blues and bass prior to the nor’easter on fresh mullet, metals and poppers. He said tautog fishing in the Point Pleasant Canal remains very good despite the weather and the striper bite is decent there on live eels and shads at night.
Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said it’s been a quiet week there as well. There’s still plenty of bait around along with a few blues in the surf, but very few anglers. The kayakers were doing pretty well at the bridges for bass. Sign-ups continue for the Surf Turkey Tournament taking place over the Thanksgiving Weekend.
Jenni Ackerman at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said most of the action this week was on bass in the back bay. There were small blues and a few bass in the surf before the blow but it’s been unfishable since the weekend.
Northern New Jersey Forecast
Everyone is hoping that the nor’easter will help jump-start the fall run. The striper bite in the ocean was going strong by this time last year and this blow may be just what we needed to get things going.
The weather is supposed to clear by the weekend, Sunday at the latest, so the boats will be sailing and surfcasters will be on the beaches. We should get a good idea of what’s biting and where.