Fishing is still going pretty strong with good numbers and sizes of blackfish being landed from southern New Jersey and the week following the Christmas holiday looks promising in terms of calm seas. The offshore sea bass scene has been exceptional this year with many limits being reached on the 18-hour trips. Headboats from Point Pleasant to Cape May are running for these large humpheads, so give it a shot if you have the time and opportunity. Striped bass are still around, but the action has slowed quite a bit along the beaches. The boats are fairing better with some jig and trolling opportunities still around as far north as Bayhead. The extreme southern shore points have been the better spots for both tog and stripers.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Lacey Marine in Forked River has some holiday sales going on in the store, so don’t forget to swing by if your in the area. Dan said there have been some small striped bass caught in the Toms River along with white perch, but it’s been fairly slow on that front. Togging outside is the best bet with anglers hitting the Garden State North, Garden State South, and Little Egg pieces for decent action. Most of the hits have been on white crab.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown had some quality fish coming out of the larger wrecks and North-easterly corner of the Garden State North reef site. White leggers tipped on jigs and rigs have been the setups of choice.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light cancelled the remaining trips of the season due to the skipper being positive for Covid. The sport cab was pulled for the season, but there are some new upgrades being worked on. The crew is looking for an early March 2022 splash date for both vessels and will be targeting light tackle Striped Bass, followed by Tautog in April, and Sea Bass in May.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light is pretty much finished for the season as per our last conversation with the skipper. The team wishes all of their patrons a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin had good action being reported from the reef sites off Surf City and Beach Haven for winter tautog on white crabs. Rigs and S&S Whitechin jigs have been working equally well for fish from 4 to 7 pounds. Anglers plying the beaches for striped bass are finding a few, but most are very small in size as the beach water temperatures have dipped into the upper 40’s. The shop has some special holiday deals, so stop in to check it out.
One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City had good reports of striped bass to 30 inches over the past week and even the shop-owner had time to put a few on the line. Stripers are still around, but boaters are have the best bet at them and the store recommends hitting the 1 to 3 mile line south of Atlantic City. Tog fisherman are still finding good numbers of keepers at the AC reef site and other deep wrecks. Jetty fisherman are still able to pick at them, but finding keepers is much harder with the colder water.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City said the striped bass bite has been hot off Atlantic City southward up to 1 to 3 miles out. Many anglers are limiting out very quickly on both slot and tag fish on the troll and jigged lures. Action up the rivers has been fair on white perch and should get better as the season goes on. Togging remains excellent from Ocean City to Wildwood at the reef sites, but the bite has been on white leggers.
Badfish Charters out of Ocean City continued to work striped bass off the beaches of Longport to Ocean city. Most of the bass have been in the 20 to 33 inch range and there has been some days of good bird play.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point reported excellent trolling action from Atlantic City area south to Wildwood. Anglers working umbrella rigs have been scoring with amazing consistency. There has been some good days of bird play and jigging AVA’s have been working well on these fish. The shop has posted its holiday hours and has some deals going on for anglers.
Sterling Harbor in Wildwood received excellent reports of striped bass and tautog this past week. Striped bass action has been pretty reliable from 1 to 2 miles out and trollers had the most success on pulled umbrellas. Anglers looking and finding birds should cast out jigs or soft plastic paddle tails as most bass have been feeding on the surface, especially on the choppy days. Tog fishing continued to provide good results heading into the last week of December with the Wildwood and Cape May reef site the hot spots of the week.
Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May will be back in March of 2022 and the shop wishes all of their customers a happy holidays and healthy New Year. They said they will see you in 2022!
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for the weekend would be to hit most of the southern reef sites for tautog or areas from Atlantic City to Sea Isle City for striped bass, but it looks like Mother Nature may have a different agenda for anglers. Strong winds and rough seas are predicted over the next few days, but the middle of next week should provide ample opportunities for anglers to target tautog or offshore sea bass. I recommend hitting some of the deeper larger structure pieces which are prime areas for winter tog. Barges or tanks are also great places to find whitechins. With the holidays and Christmas only a few days away, check your local tackle shops for last minute gift ideas or charter boats for gift certificates. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!