December blues have hit our area, or should we say “the ghosts”! Bluefin tuna have hit our area and ghost hunters are finding them from 4 to 40 miles out. The latest we heard has been solid action around the shipping lanes, but that may change after this weekend. Fishing remained strong this past week with sporadic schools of striped bass moving southward, but below Ocean county has seen some of the better action. Bass in the 20-30 pound class among the schoolies have provided some solid action for anglers working 3-mile lines to roughly a mile out. Trolling shad umbrellas has been the lure of choice for the week along with casting and jigging swimshads. Anglers looking for tog action have found it with the wrecks and reefs providing some nice keepers, but the bite has been rather scratchy with the groundswell. The biggest hurdle has been the heavy winds and seas which have hampered our fishing efforts.
Fishing Report For Southern New Jersey
Lacey Marine in Forked River reported slower action around the inlet for striped bass and tog as the water temperatures are hovering around 49F. Anglers working AVA’s and swimshads found success from Lavallette to Seaside on the boats out to 3 miles. Togging has been slower are the local sites, but better at the Axel, Little Egg, and Atlantic City reefs.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown has been gearing up the store for the Christmas sales, but fishing continues to be holding strong into December. Anglers working live bait and soft plastics found some striped bass early around the inlets. Tog fishing has been fair, but better with white leggers if you can get out on a day they are feeding.
Reel Reaction Charters out of Waretown and Barnegat Light was busy over the weekend and week as the skipper ran both straight tog and combination striped bass/tog charters. The combination trips have been a little harder to put a solid tog bite together due to time constraints, but clients have boxed some quality keepers to 9 pounds. Straight blackfish trips released over 40 shorts while boxing 16 solid keepers to 7 pounds.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light was out early in the week for striped bass and reported action on tagged fish (24 to 27 inches). The crew performed some routine maintenance this past week.
Tony’s Bait and Tackle in Manahawkin reported spotty striped bass action from Lavallette to Seaside and also from Surf City to Beach Haven. Anglers looking for stripers via boat should pay attention to any visible bird action. Surf anglers have been catching a few shorter bass on AVA’s and small metals off the Barnegat Light beaches. Tog fishing has slowed down locally, but there have been some better fish coming off the deeper wrecks.
One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City in Atlantic City reported good action from the boats as bigger bass have moved in and the mojos have been working. There are still some tog to be had off of the AC jetties, but there are more shorts than keepers as the water has cooled. The shop has some deals for the holidays, so stop in and check with Noel – he will put you on the fish and the deals!
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City had great reports of striped bass to 40 inches off Atlantic City and being caught on trolled umbrellas, spoons, and casted swimshads. The schools are in Atlantic county and continue to push southward. Bay action has slowed on striped bass, but there have been some good reports on white perch being landed up the rivers. Tog fishing remained pretty good according to some of the headboats with keepers coming over the rail from both the LE reef and AC reef.
Badfish Charters in Ocean City reported phenomenal action on striped bass with fish busting on butterfish and bunker schools. Capt. Brian said there was miles of bird play and most of the action was on soft plastics. Most of the fish were in the 24 to 30+ inch range from Ocean City to Sea Isle City.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point reported great striped bass fishing over the past week with fish busting on the surface and miles of blitzing conditions. There have been fish to 20 pounds and anglers have been reporting 20+ catch trips all within a mile or two of the beach. It’s been on for the boats the past week. Tog fishing has been better at the deeper wrecks and reef sites, but anglers must have white crabs as most of the bites have been coming on them.
Sterling Harbor in Wildwood had better reports of striped bass for anglers running north and schools of striped bass have been under birds over the past week. Action locally is a little slower, but there are still some fish to be had. Blackfishing remained solid over the past week with the reef sites being the spot to go.
Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May had good tog fishing over the past week with the Cape May and Wildwood reef sites producing consistent action on white leggers. Striped bass have been solid on the Delaware bayside, especially only Fortescue. The main action has been on shorts from 12 to 22 inches for the bass, but the perch fishing along some of the rivers off bay has been excellent with bloodworms.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
Unfortunately, this weekend looks like a blowout, at least for Saturday, but Sunday may offer a shot especially in the afternoon. Anglers stuck on land should continue to work the beaches as some schoolies to 28 inches are definitely around. AVA’s, small metals, or plugs are the best bet to land these fish. Most boaters will be tied to the dock this weekend, and it may be a good time to start prepping for the winter maintenance for those who are DIY’s. If you haven’t booked yet, offshore sea bass fishing has been reported as excellent from the headboats that are sailing. There are only a few weeks left for this niche humphead fishery. Be Safe, and Tight Lines!