Bass blitzing the beaches from Sandy Hook down to Island Beach State Park made for a Thanksgiving Weekend to remember. You just had to be in the right place at the right time. The boats fishing for stripers also did well in Raritan Bay and just off the beaches of Monmouth and Ocean counties on shads, flutters spoons and trolling.
While not as good as the bass fishing, the blackfish bite showed improvement with some good action on the local reefs, and not to be outdone, bluefin tuna have reappeared.
Fishing Report For Northern New Jersey
Rick Hebert at the Tackle World in Rochelle Park reported excellent holiday bass fishing all along the coast. He fished off Sandy Hook the day before Thanksgiving on the Hyper Striper and the boat quickly got its limit of stripers on shads, diamond jigs, flutter spoons and topwater plugs. They moved to the tog grounds to do some blackfishing and the stripers were there as well. The blackfishing turned out to be just fair. Boats taking the long offshore ride for sea bass, he said, are being well rewarded.
Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet continues to be astounded by the incredible striper fishing. People are catching them everywhere on just about anything, he said. It’s the best striper fishing he’s ever seen.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said the bass were on the beach there on Thanksgiving and again on Saturday. Anglers picked up blues along with the stripers.
Since the weekend, the fishing has slowed down with just a pick in the last couple of days. Pinto said there is still bait back in the rivers and loads of fish up north so he anticipates the fish will be around through December.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said the beach fishing for bass was dynamite over the weekend but it has become hit or miss in the last few days. The stripers have been on peanut bunker and shads, bucktails, swimmers and poppers have all been working. The night bite at the beach has also been pretty good, he said. Gleason also reported that bluefin tuna are back in mid-shore waters with Madd Mantis poppers taking fish in the 50-plus pound range.
Stripers made several appearances in the Asbury Park, Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach surf over the weekend with shads and swimmers doing the trick.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar reported that the bass bite is still hot on the party boats with the Golden Eagle and Miss Belmar coming back to the dock on Wednesday with a mix of keepers and bonus fish. The boats had gone south to fish off Seaside and Island Beach State Bark. There were also big blues among the bass. This time of year, timing is everything. Matthews said that if you’re on the beach at the right time, it’s the best fishing you’ll ever see. If not, it’s just a nice view of the ocean. Barring any bad winter storms, he thinks the good fishing should hold up for a while.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters out of Belmar reported getting their limit of striped bass on the troll on Wednesday. There were marking plenty of fish but they just couldn’t get the jig bite going. He’s scheduled striped bass extravaganzas for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check the website for details.
Capt. Jay Richardella of Side Job Charters out of Belmar said it’s been lights out bass fishing on his recent trips. He’s been catching fish on shads, diamond jigs and on the troll. He has openings on Dec. 10, 11 and 12. Check the Side Job Facebook page for details.
Capt. Steve Spinelli of Skylarker Charters out of Belmar has been sticking to bottom fishing and calling it fair with a decent amount of keeper blackfish coming over the rail. He did mention that he’s been picking up a couple of fluke lately. He said the stripers are all over the place, especially to the north, and he expects them to be around for weeks.
Steve Thomas at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the tog fishing has been good on the local reefs and in the Point Pleasant Canal. The peanut bunker were on the local beaches on Thanksgiving and over the weekend but the bite slowed down with the bait heading south.
Jason Szabo at Fishermens Supply Co in Point Pleasant Beach said the hot striper bite on the beaches has tapered off but he believes its just a lull before the next body of fish moves in. There’s been a good night bite in the surf on needlefish. The Manasquan River, he said, is still loaded with bass and the fishing has been good around the bridges. The blackfishing, he said, slowed down a little but it’s been pretty good on the deeper pieces. The Shark River Reef has been a good spot. He also reported tuna anglers are getting 50- to 80-pound bluefin in the shipping channels on popping plugs.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the MIMI VI out of Point Pleasant Beach has been doing well with the stripers. I was lucky enough to fish aboard the Mimi VI the day before Thanksgiving and we easily caught our boat limit and released more than 60 fish. On Wednesday, Capt. Kenny found a new way to put stripers in the boat by drift/trolling with umbrella rigs. He’s been running a few tog trips as well and said that bite is getting better.
Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick reported that after five days of bass blitzes, Tuesday was the first slow day of fishing with just a slow pick of fish on the beach. He doesn’t believe the fall run is close to over with plenty of fish up north still waiting to make their way down. He also reported the boats are finding stripers from the Manasquan Inlet north to Shark River and south to Barnegat Inlet.
Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait & Tackle in Normandy Beach had a busy weekend with the Annual Surf Turkey Tournament. The catch-and-release event drew 122 anglers and awarded close to $5,000 in cash prizes and another $7,000 in merchandise. Ermando Gabay took top honors with a 43½-inch striper while Don Meyer came in second with a 38 incher.
Jenni Ackerman at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the bass fishing in the surf there this past weekend was just phenomenal. The stripers were packed in the surf chowing down on peanut bunker. The fish ranged in size from schoolies to 43 inches. There were also big bluefish mixed in with the bass. The bite slowed down after the weekend but there’s still plenty of bait around so a return of the bass is expected.
Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey
Once again, it’s striped bass. Surf fishing was just incredible over the weekend with blitzes up and down the coast and there’s no reason to believe the fall run is over. It’s just a matter of getting out there and looking around. Bring shads, swimmers, poppers and bucktails.