Northern New Jersey Fishing Report – December 30, 2021

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Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park posted this photo of Christian and the keeper bass he caught the day after Christmas at Island Beach State Park.

Say what you want about 2021 but one thing was certain, the striper fishing was outstanding.

And it’s still going strong.

The bassing remains good in the back of Raritan Bay, the boats are catching them off the beaches and surfcasters are enjoying an unbelievable December.

But not everyone is catching stripers. The toggers are doing very well on the reefs and wrecks. One report indicated there’s more fish on the northern spots like the Sandy Hook Reef while the bigger fish are to the south on the Axel Carlson and Sea Girt reefs.

A quick reminder, the bag limit on blackfish drops to four fish on Saturday.

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said stripers up to 34 inches are still being caught in the back bay on flutter spoons, shads, plugs and metal.

Unfortunately, he said, the bay bite that never ends will end after Friday as the striped bass season in rivers and bays closes.

Local legend Mel Martens reported incredible striper fishing on Sandy Hook and in Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach on Wednesday morning.

While the majority of the bass were on the small side, he caught fish up to 18 pounds. The stripers were feeding on bunker and herring and hit metal and pencil poppers.

Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said the bass fishing has been good in the surf there with stripers ranging in size from 20 inches to 20 pounds. Pencil poppers, metal-lipped swimmers, shads and bucktails are all working.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said the season isn’t over by any means.  He said the red-hot surf fishing is something he’s not seen in years.

The stripers have no reason to leave with plenty of bunker, spearing and sand eels to feed on and an ideal water temperature.

A nice catch of blackfish on Tuesday’s trip aboard the Big Mohawk out of Belmar.

He said we’re going into the New Year with bass still hitting in good numbers and an excellent chance of catching keepers.

The boats out of the Belmar Marina, including the Big Mohawk and the Capt. Cal II continue to score nice catches of blackfish with plenty of limits. Check out sailing schedules on their websites.

Jake Palmieri at the Reel Seat in Brielle said there are tons of stripers off the beaches of Monmouth and Ocean counties. He fished with four other guys on Tuesday outside of the Manasquan Inlet and they had all of fish they wanted from 18 to 36 inches.

Shads, diamond jigs and metal-lipped swimmers were all catching fish. All you had to do, he said, was find the birds diving on bait and the fish were there.

Kyle Tanger at Fisherman’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach also reported incredible striper fishing.

The better reports, he said, are coming from anglers fishing from Point Pleasant down to Island Beach State Park. The fish can be found from the surf to about a mile out. Plugs, shads, pencil poppers and metal are all catching fish.

He said there are still a lot of fish in the Manasquan River but they will be off limits after Friday.

The blackfishing has been good on the Axel Carlson and Sea Girt reefs. The tog aren’t too finicky, Kyle said, as jigs and standard rigs with green or white legger crabs are all working.

One fishery that is seriously overlooked this time of year, he believes, is freshwater. There are plenty of trout, perch, pickerel and crappie to be caught in the local ponds and rivers. It’s great action on light tackle, he added.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz of the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach said the blackfishing on his recent trips has been solid with a number of limits and nice-sized fish. As is always the case with togging, some anglers just do better than others.

He’s sailing through January so check the Mimi VI website for specific dates and availability.

Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick said the striper bite remains the best game in town. He reported a good blitz from Bay Head down to Lavallette on Tuesday afternoon with poppers working the best. Sand eel patterns with a teaser have also been producing bass for surfcasters over the last week.

He said there are still plenty of bass in the Manasquan River and Barnegat Bay, but again, you have to fish for them before Saturday.

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said the striper bite there has been very good for the last several days.

The fishing was excellent on Monday and Tuesday with beach anglers scoring fish on poppers, sand eel imitations, shads and swimmers.

The fish were on the small side on Monday but Tuesday’s action saw more keepers caught. He said the boats fishing just off the beach crushed them on Tuesday with bass up to 35 inches.

He also reported some white perch caught in the Toms River.

Frankie Z at Grumpy’s in Seaside Park said guys have been consistently picking fish on the beach and then it blew open on Tuesday with a blitz at Island Beach State Park.  Bass up to 32 inches were caught.

He said he just wishes there were more anglers around for all the fish.

The bass were feeding on peanut and adult bunker and pencil poppers, shads and metal were all working.

Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey

Bring in the new year with some striper fishing. The bass are still off the beaches and in the surf and the forecast is for relatively warm, if a little wet, weather over the weekend.   A little rain never hurt anybody.  Happy New Year!

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2 on “Northern New Jersey Fishing Report – December 30, 2021

  1. HEATHER WURPEL

    Good Morning, my grandson has been pictured on your site by Grumpys Bait and Tackle. I would like to know how I can get a copy of this, please contact me he is so excited to see that this has been done. Thank you Heather

    1. Ed Giordano

      Hi Heather,

      Please check your personal email for your photo.

      ~Ed

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