The fall striper run has been nothing short of spectacular — as long as you were in a boat. There are, however, signs that it is changing.
Peanut bunker showed up in the surf in Monmouth and Ocean counties in recent days with a mix of short and keeper bass feeding on them. Up until now, surf anglers have been left out of the bass bonanza. The bunker pods holding the big fish have stayed well off the beach and out of reach.
Boat anglers are still enjoying excellent striper fishing. Some days, though, it just may take them a little longer to find the bunker schools with fish in them.
Along with the stripers, anglers are taking advantage of the higher limit on blackfish with good catches of tog reported on the offshore wrecks and rockpiles and in the Point Pleasant Canal.
Fishing Report For Northern New Jersey
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said it’s still all about the stripers for his customers. Raritan Bay remains red hot and his customers are trolling, jigging and livelining them. He also mentioned that the striper fishing has been very good at Lake Hopatcong with hybrids biting well on chicken livers. The shop, he said, has plenty of green crabs for those going togging.
Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said the bass were on the beach at Sandy Hook on Tuesday morning feeding on peanuts. Bucktails with curly tails and shads were catching the fish.
He also said the boats are still doing very well with bass in Raritan Bay trolling Mojos and bunker spoons, jigging shads and flutter spoons and livelining. Eels at night are also catching stripers.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright reported a blitz there on Wednesday morning with the fish hanging around for two hours. He also said the bass were in the wash in Bradley Beach on Tuesday morning. Until this week, the surf action had been very slow with just a few fish taken from the beach. Pinto said the shop just got a delivery of the new St. Croix Seage rods just in time for the better beach bite.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch reported good striper fishing for the boats on plugs, flutter spoons and shads. There are still stripers in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers but Gleason said the fishing has slowed down as the peanut bunker make their way to the ocean.
Mike Compoly of Neptune reported pulling five stripers out of the Asbury Park surf on Tuesday while losing a couple of others. The fish were on peanuts and he said the biggest he landed was 32 inches.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said the striper bite has been as good as it gets, with boat anglers reporting fish well in excess of 50 inches trolling spoons and Mojos. Matthews said the party boats like the Big Mohawk and Golden Eagle are using rubber shads and catching keepers along with the jumbos. He said it hasn’t been as good for the surf anglers but with the arrival of the peanut bunker and rumors of sand eels, the beach fishing should get better.
As good as the bass fishing has been, Matthews said many of his customers are just as excited about the more liberal blackfish season that opened on Tuesday.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters out of Belmar reported good bass fishing out front but it can be a little hit or miss depending on where the stripers pop up. Tuesday was a bit tough, he said, but he was right back on them on Wednesday. He’s been catching them on the troll, livelining and on shads.
Parker Pete’s has added a special Thanksgiving Day trip leaving at 5:30 a.m. and returning by 1 p.m. at the latest. Check the website for details.
Capt. Jay Richardella of Side Job Charters Charters out of Belmar said they’ve been crushing the bass in the ocean. He, too, reported a slower bite on Tuesday, but up until then it’s been great fishing on every trip.
He’s got a few open dates remaining so check his website for availability.
Steve Thomas at the Reel Seat in Brielle said they received reports of bass on the beach in both Monmouth and Ocean counties feeding on peanuts. There was also a report of sand eels in the mix.
Togging has been very good in the Point Pleasant Canal, he said, and on the local reefs as well.
Kyle Tanager at Fishermen’s Den in Point Pleasant Beach said the tog reports from the opening day of the expanded blackfish season were very good, especially at the Shrewsbury Rocks. He heard of a 13-pounder caught and released. He, too, reported on the excellent togging at the Point Pleasant Canal.
He said the bass have been popping up everywhere along the beaches on the peanuts. It’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Between 8 and 10 a.m. seems to be better than first light. Topwater plugs, shads and bucktails are the favorites.
The sea bass fishing has been good, he said, but be prepared to travel. Boats have been heading to the Triple Wrecks for them.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz of the MIMI VI VI out of Point Pleasant Beach has been on the bass as well, catching fish up to 40 pounds and limiting out the boat a couple of times.
However, the blackfishing is getting better so he’s going to be targeting tog through the end of the year. Check the website for schedule and details.
Chris Parlow at Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach reported that the boats that stop at the landing have all been doing well on big bass. On Tuesday, smaller fish were on the beach in Mantoloking hitting SP Minnows and shads.
He, too, said the blackfishing has been good at the Shrewsbury Rocks and the Sea Girt Reef.
Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick reported the local beaches were producing bass from Mantoloking down to Island Beach State Park. Bunker chunks, shads and SP Minnows have all been working.
Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait & Tackle in Normandy Beach has been getting more reports of bass on the beach on Avas, shads and bait. There hasn’t been a lot of fish caught, he said, but they have been big. The boats, he added, are still having a field day with the stripers.
Kupper said there are about 60 anglers signed up for this year’s Surf Turkey Tournament over the Thanksgiving Weekend. There’s usually a rush of registrants as the contest gets closer, he added, and this year’s event is offering a lot of great prizes.
Ray Kerico, owner of Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle Tackle in Seaside Park said the surf fishing is very good if you’re willing to put the time in. Anglers have been catching bass from schoolies to 41 inches, mostly at night.
Bunker chunks, especially heads, were working well but now the fish seem to prefer SP Minnows in dark colors. Kerico also recommends putting a sand eel teaser above your lure.
Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey
This incredible bass bite won’t last forever and so now is the time to go fishing. Jump on a party or charter boat targeting stripers or put some time in prowling the beaches now that peanut bunker have arrived in the surf.
Blackfishing has been very good as well on the reefs and wrecks and in the Point Pleasant Canal.