Northern New Jersey Fishing Report – December 23, 2021

West Marine
A trio of tog caught aboard the Big Mohawk out of Belmar on Tuesday.

With just a few days until Christmas, striped bass continue to bite.

While the beach and ocean bite has slowed down, there are still loads of fish up in Raritan Bay, especially in the back. Without question, it’s been a run for the record books.
 
The colder weather has added some heat to the blackfishing as boats sailing for tog are reporting good catches on the local reefs and wrecks. Falling water temperatures are getting credit for the improved fishing.

Mark at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said those with boats still in the water are doing very well with striped bass in the back of Raritan Bay. Fishing was good this past week in the Arthur Kill and back by the Garden State Parkway Bridge.

On the freshwater side, he reported good fishing for lake trout at Round Valley Reservoir and landlocked salmon are being caught at Merrill Creek Reservoir.


Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said the bass are still going nuts in Raritan Bay on shads and flutter spoons. Land-based anglers are getting in on the action as well catching fish from the docks and jetties along the bay.

He also reported a decent beach bite on sand eel imitations from Sandy Hook down to Monmouth Beach.

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said there are bass to be had in the surf but you have to put your time in walking the beaches. Joe Baggs and Tsunami sand eels are doing the job.

After this week, Giglio’s will only be open on Saturdays until noon or by appointment.

Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said bluefin tuna are still around but there are fewer boats giving chase.

Anglers fishing the local beaches continue to pick stripers on bucktails and sand eel imitations.

The stripers are still in the Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach surf as well hitting teasers, small swimmers and sand eel imitations.

A nice blackfish caught aboard the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach earlier this week.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said that the fishing has been good for blackfish, winter flounder, offshore sea bass and stripers.

The boats sailing out of Belmar are doing well with blackfish on most days unless bad weather gets in the way. The Big Mohawk and Capt. Cal II are reporting some nice tog catches.

Matthews said the Golden Eagle had great trip offshore this week with a boat limit of big sea bass along with porgies, weakfish, bluefish and even a 40-pound monkfish.

Winter flounder fishing continues to be good in the Shark River and if you want to get in on it you have until Dec. 31 when the season closes.

The stripers are still here in good numbers, he said. The bass are mostly small but there are few larger ones are in the mix.   The night bite has been good in Asbury Park and Deal with stripers hitting black Bombers, SP Minnows and Red Fins fished with a teaser.

The day bite has been on sand eel imitations.

Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar was hoping to get one more striper trip in the books on Wednesday but, while the bass are around, there weren’t enough anglers.

He has wrapped up his season and will sail again for stripers in the spring.

Max Kristiansen at the Reel Seat in Brielle said bass and blackfish have been keeping anglers busy with good tog catches on the reefs and wrecks and stripers on the beaches.

He’s also had good reports from boats fishing for bass in Raritan Bay.

Kyle Tanger at Fisherman’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach reported good striper fishing in the Manasquan River and at the inlet.

Small plastics have been getting the fish and he said the 6-inch eels from Gravity Tackle are proving to be a popular choice. The inlet bite has been very early in the morning, he added.

Surfcasters and flyrodders have been catching bass on the beach on small plastics and sand eel imitations. You’ll catch fish, he said, as long as you put in the time.

Blackfishing keeps getting better on the local reefs with a lot of fish 4 pounds and above.

Tanger said a friend of his got two bluefin earlier this week. Paddle tail shads and poppers are working for the tuna.

He also said the freshwater bite, which is often overlooked this time of year, has been good for panfish and largemouth bass.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz of the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach reported that the blackfishing is getting better all the time. The water, he said, is cooling down to the right temperature to make them bite.

The Mimi VI will be running open boat tog trips through January.

Chris Parlow at Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach said the stripers were right outside the Manasquan Inlet on Sunday. He said all of the boats he heard from had their limit of fish. Trolling shad umbrella rigs was the most effective tactic.

He also reported bass caught in the Point Pleasant Canal and at the Dog Beach in the Manasquan River

Capt. Bill’s will be closing for the season on Jan. 1 and will reopen on March 15.

Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick said the striper bite has slowed up some but they’re still being caught on the beaches on sand eel imitations.

The blackfish bite on the local wrecks and reefs remains good, he added, with plenty of anglers limiting out. There are still tog in the Point Pleasant Canal as well.

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said there are still stripers in the surf there hitting small Avas and teasers. He’s also had good reports of bass in the Manasquan River. Anglers casting for the bass have been snagging fat spearing, he said.

Boats heading offshore for sea bass have been doing very well, he added, with porgies and cod in the mix.

Bob at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the surf at Island Beach State Park continues to hold schoolie stripers. Again, it’s sand eel imitations and Avas along with a teaser doing the trick. He thinks these fish will be around for a while.

Toggers are also doing well on the offshore pieces.

Grumpy’s will be going to winter hours, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. after the holidays.

Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey

In addition to the stripers and blackfish, there’s a chance for peace on earth and good will toward men and women. Merry Christmas everyone.

West Marine store finder

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