It’s been all about striped bass and tautog over the past week as the bass have been steadily pushing southward while the tautog season opened to the 5-fish limit. Stripers were the mainstay for anglers trolling the 3-mile line, but most have been in the mandatory release category or the “overs”. Bass closer to the beach and inlets have been in the keepable range with both slots and bonus tag slots in the mix. Tautog season started off with decent numbers of fish in the 4 to 6-pound range for anglers fishing jetties and inshore reef structure. It blew with some ferocity, so most of the shops didn’t get too many offshore reports.
Fishing Report For Southern New Jersey
Lacey Marine in Forked River reported trophy-sized stripers off Lavallette and Seaside on live bunker and large swimmers or plugs. Most of these fish have ranged from 39 to 47 inches and there was even word of some fly fisherman getting on fish in the 40 to 50-pound class. Bay and inlet fishing was solid on both tides with live bait and 6-inch paddle tails working on bass. Tog season started off with a bang as anglers reported average-sized keepers, but lots of action on smaller fish.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown in Waretown had good reports of bass busting soft plastics in the back channels and flats, but most were in the 18 to 26 inch sizes. The jetty and beaches of Island Beach and LBI offered some solid action over the week with lighter west winds. Anglers working the Garden State North and South reefs found some tog action, but it was tough on finding multiple 5-fish limits.
Reel Reaction Charters out of Waretown and Barnegat Light was busy running trips over the weekend and anglers landed 45 striped bass spread among 3 charters while boxing over 10 fish and some nice tautog (1-fish limit). The skipper will be running combo tautog and striper trips, until the tog bite extends past 3 mile line.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light worked multiple areas from Seaside to the Barnegat Inlet to put anglers on several “photo” worthy overs and limits on bonus fish. Soft plastics, metals, and live baits have been getting the job done.
Tony’s Bait and Tackle in Manahawkinhad some quality reports of striped bass being landed off parts of Long Beach Island with fish to 38 inches on cut bunker. Anglers working the suds have also been catching some smaller-sized fish during the sun-up period on plugs. The jetties have been on-fire for tautog and there are some nice keepers in the mix. The shop heard of a few 5 to 6 pounders landed on green crab-tipped jigs.
One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City said the jetties were “Bangin” for tog as a few sharpies landed limits of tog from 16 to 18 inches on live green crabs. Some of the local party boats had a few fish to the 8-pound range on the season opener. Striped bass fishing has been solid during the moving tides with fish in the 18 to 33-inch range being caught. Cut bunker and clam has been working, but you might have to fish through a few dogfish.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City had reports of striped bass picking up large paddle tails during the early morning off the Brigantine and Ocean City surf. The bite seems to die out quickly on beaches, whereas the bay and river bite has been very consistent. Live spot, eels, and small swimshads have been working along most of the creek outflows and sod edges.
Badfish Charters in Ocean City has been working the flats, back channels, and inlets to put clients on solid topwater and soft plastic action. Striped bass have been in the 20 to 30+ inch range and Capt. Brian has some “choice-tidal” openings over the next few weeks.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point reported quality tog and some 2 man limits for the 5-fish season opener. Most of the inshore tog have been hitting green crab baits as the water is still on the warm side. The shallower reef and wrecks have been producing better as well as some of the jetties and bridges. Striped bass fishing continues to be steady in the bay and slower in the ocean with the bay holding good numbers of fish in the 18 to 27-inch range.
Sterling Harbor in Wildwood reported great reports on tautog for the season opener with quite a few fish being caught off the Cape May and Wildwood reefs. Most of the fish are hitting green crabs on the shallower wrecks. Striped bass fishing continues to be challenging off the beaches with a few being caught along with some dogfish. Anglers working the sods and backwater areas are finding better success on school to slot-sized fish. Live spot, eel, and soft plastics are the main baits or lures of choice.
Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May reported striped bass picking up live baits and cut bunker bayside over the past week. But the bigger news has been the tog fishing which opened up and anglers have been picking at tog up to 6 pounds. There continues to be a good number of tog off the jetties and inshore pieces. The shop does have several bushels of white leggers, so get them while they last.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
This weekend looks to be excellent again in terms of weather and the fish should cooperate as the areas have been having solid fishing action on tautog and striped bass. There is word of some better jigging fish starting to slide down from Long Island, so make sure you have swim-shads or metals ready if you head within the 3-mile range. Togging is another great option for the weekend and just about every South Jersey port is reported solid action off the jetties and local inshore wrecks. The reef sites are a great place to start as they are generally loaded with structure from small to big pieces. Anglers planning to work the beaches should target areas around the inlets during the early morning tides. Casting soft plastic paddle tail shads, swimmers, and plugs have been producing fish up to 30 pounds. This was reported from two separate areas south of Long Beach Island. Sorry, that’s all the information I could squeeze out of the tight-lipped angler. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!