Come Friday, black sea bass are back. Since the fluke season closed, anglers anxious to put some fish on the table have been waiting for the re-opening of the season. According to those who have been bottom fishing lately, the wrecks and reefs are holding plenty of fish. There’re loads of other fish to catch as well. Bluefish blitzed the beaches from Sandy Hook on south earlier in the week and false albacore and Spanish mackerel popped up all along the coast. Plus, the blowfishing in Barnegat Bay is off the charts.
We just need the weather to cooperate.
Fishing Report For Northern New Jersey
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said they are loaded up with clams for the re-opening of sea bass season.
The bluefin tuna bite continues off the Rockaways, he said, and the shop has been busy keeping customers outfitted for the big fish. Anglers targeting smaller prey are doing well with porgies.
On the freshwater front, he said folks are catching lake trout at Round Valley Reservoir and walleye at Greenwood Lake.
Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said there are fish all over the place. Bluefish were chasing bait up onto the beach at Sandy Hook over the weekend. False albacore and Spanish mackerel were also mixed in with the blues.
He also had reports of weakfish in the 8- to 10-pound range around Sandy Hook while the porgy fishing is good at Breezy Point.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said the surf was red hot the from the end of last week through Monday. Tuesday saw a break in the action but until then it was bluefish up to 12 pounds, occasional albies, Spanish mackerel and some short bass.
The fishing was good from Sandy Hook down to Long Branch, he said, with epoxy lures, metal and popping plugs all working.
Pinto said the shop now carries Island X lures with the Albie Bomber and Hellfire popular choices.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said there were a lot of fish in the local surf feeding on rainfish. Blues, albies and Spanish mackerel were all in the mix along with some short bass.
The Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers are also holding bass, blues and some nice weakfish as well.
He also reported that the tuna bite is still good off the Rockaways and big bluefin have been spotted busting in schools of bunker off the Monmouth County beaches.
The bunker off Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach on Wednesday were as thick as chunky soup. Unfortunately, there was nothing in them. A school of fat false albacore moved through in about a millisecond but the couple of casts I had at them yielded nothing.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said things have been on the slow side around there. It’s not a lack of fish, but anglers. He suspects everyone is taking a little break before the sea bass opener this Friday. He did, however, get a report of a 40-inch striper caught in Spring Lake on a Polaris popper.
He said the bluefish boats out of the marina have been doing well, adding false albacore, bonito and Spanish mackerel to their catches. The Golden Eagle also reported a good offshore yellowfin trip earlier this week.
Bass and bluefish are biting in the Shark River, Matthews said, and there are blowfish in there as well. Blackfish are at the Shark River Inlet and in the Point Pleasant Canal with green crabs and sand bugs catching fish.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters out of Belmar will be targeting sea bass this Friday with both boats. Check his website for open spots.
In the coming weeks, he’ll be fishing for fall stripers along with black sea bass.
John Vafiadis at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the striper fishing in the Manasquan River has been good for boat anglers. The bite has been on soft shads at the start of the outgoing tide and most of the fish are on the short side but there have been keepers caught.
False albacore have been popping up at the Manasquan Inlet along with the blues.
Boats fishing farther offshore are also finding blues, false albacore and Spanish mackerel. There are mahi around as well. The canyons, he added, are also producing yellowfin and longfin and there are swords to be had for those targeting them.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the MIMI VI out of Point Pleasant Beach reported a good tuna trip on Tuesday night with about 20 coming over the rail. The crew also brought one of those swordfish aboard. He’ll also be sailing for black sea bass come Friday’s opener.
Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. In Brick reported that surf fishing remains pretty good off the local beaches with reports of bluefish on mullet and metal. Avas have been working well.
He said there are still plenty of blowfish in Barnegat Bay by the mouth of the canal and at the BB and BI buoys. Crabbing, as you might expect, is slowing down.
Eels at night are catching stripers in the Manasquan River and Point Pleasant Canal.
Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait & Tackle in Normandy Beach said the fish are around but anglers are scarce. The folks that are going are catching blues in the surf on mullet and metal and there’s some short bass on poppers and shads.
The blowfishing in the bay is absolutely on fire, he said, with some anglers reporting close to a hundred fish an outing. The BI and BB buoys are still the hot spot. He also reported good striper fishing at the Mantoloking Bridge in the evening.
Registration for the Annual Surf Turkey Tournament over the Thanksgiving Weekend continues at the shop.
Jenni Ackerman at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said there are plenty of blues in the 5-pound range being caught in the surf. Most of the action is on topwater lures and some schoolie bass are in with the blues.
The false albacore are popping up from time to time in the surf and she, too, mentioned the extraordinary amount of blowfish in Barnegat Bay.
Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey
If the weather cooperates, black sea bass offer a good target for the weekend. Boats that have been bottom fishing have been catching some nice ones and come Friday, you can keep them.
Also, check out the beaches. There have been recent bluefish blitzes from Sandy Hook on south with false albacore and Spanish mackerel in the mix. There’s a tremendous amount of bait around and you never know what might turn up.