As we approach the dawn of 2022, the red-hot fishing continues in South Jersey with another influx of striped bass in the 26- to 35-inch class this past week. Areas from Island Beach State Park to Wildwood have been experiencing excellent fishing, bird play, and surface-busting action. Inshore tog fishing has been hot and cold depending on the location and conditions. Deepwater bottom fishing has not been too shabby with excellent numbers of offshore sea bass being reported from most of the headboats. Some party boats are running close to 100 miles from their ports to get into the action and limits have been caught prior to the sun coming up. I would venture to say that the offshore sea bass action has been one of the best seasons on record. Being Covid-free, I had a chance to jump on the Gambler (out of Point Pleasant) did the 18-hourr offshore sea bass trip this past week. The boat was limited on sea bass and we caught some nice triggerfish, blue-line tiles, and had a 300- to 400-pound mako pick some of the throwback sea bass off the surface. A great way to end the 2021 fishing season.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Lacey Marine in Forked River has been stocking the shelves with new gear for 2022. Dan said the striped bass fishing remains strong and anglers are still finding them off the beach and boat. Anglers working the deeper wrecks in the 80- to 90-foot range are finding better numbers of keeper tautog as compared to the 50- to 60-foot-deep wrecks.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown said word for this week was the striped bass action occurring off Island Beach State Park. Anglers throwing AVA, Crippled herring and DD jigs were scoring on bass to 33 inches. Tog fisherman have been eeking out near boat limits from the Garden State North, Garden State South, and Atlantic City reef sites. The shop will be doing some year-end inventory, so call in advance of stopping in.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light performed the final maintenance of both vessels, added another VHF radio to the Parker Sportcab and updated marine electronics on both. The crew has started booking dates for April tautog and May sea bass, so give an email or call to get in the calendar.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light has started to book for 2022 and wanted to thank all of the anglers for coming out this past season.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin had another solid week of striped bass reports and the shop has been selling alot of metal jigs and heavier swim shads. Boaters that are still in the water should try looking for bass along the beaches.
One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City reported good trolling action along stretches of Atlantic City to Ocean City. Anglers have been picking up fish on umbrella rigs tipped with shads. Bass have been a range of sizes from 20 to 38 inches. Wreck fisherman hitting the head boats and charters have been doing well on late season tog.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor Township had some quality reports of striped bass in the 30+ inch range over the past week. Anglers working the troll found fish 1 to 3 miles out and umbrella rigs have been the hot lures. River fisherman have been finding a few quality white perch dinners with grass shrimp and small pieces of bloodworms as the hot bait.
Badfish Charters out of Ocean City wanted to thank all of their clients for a successful season and the skipper will be plying the backwaters come March 2022.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point reported another phenomenal week of striped bass fishing from the Ocean city area and most boats reported limits of striped bass. Trolling umbrellas and jigging metals have been the methods of choice for most fisherman. Beach action has been slow as fish have been out 1 to 3 miles. Tog fisherman working wrecks in the 70- to 90-foot range have been finding quality keepers to 10-plus pounds.
Sterling Harbor in Wildwood received good word of striped bass being caught from boats working off Ocean city and Sea Isle. The shop said the best bet for most anglers this past week have been trolling efforts with umbrella and mojo rigs.
Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May wanted to wish all of their customers a happy and healthy New Year for 2022. The shop will re-open in March.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for the weekend will be for anglers to target the northern part of our area for striped bass as another good mass of fish have moved down from the north. Anglers should try casting metal jigs along the beachfront of IBSP to Ocean City. Boaters will have much better shots at these migrating fish. Working jigs out to 3 miles or setting the trolling gear out with umbrella rigs, specifically with shads, should do the trick. Pay attention to birds, but more importantly watch the sonar for good “marks” as these will signal schools of striped bass. I would say the bulk of the action has been off IBSP and Ocean City to the Cape May area. Tog fisherman are getting much better results in the deeper, southern wrecks. It seems like the reef sites from Atlantic City southward are holding some quality keepers. Cape May fisherman had another solid week of tog reports with some boat or near-boat limits being the norm. There were also quite a few double digit bruisers released this past week from the same areas. As we close out 2021, I’m very hopeful and optimistic for our fishing in 2022. This will be the last weekly report for the year, but my weekly Southern Jersey reports will resume back in March. I would like wish all of our readers a happy and healthy new year, and hopefully I will get to see some of you at the fishing and boat shows in 2022. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!