Fishing rebounded this past week with warmer weather and bay water temperatures improving the bay bite. Striped bass and tog, especially around the Atlantic City, Ocean City, and Cape May regions were the spots over the last few days. Anglers working the jetties for tautog with jigs tipped with 1/4 and 1/2 green crabs had success. There are quite a few shorts, but the keepers are around if you put in the time. Striped bass fishing was better during the night tides this past week with more activity in the bays, especially near bridges, docks or piers. The biggest news of the past week has been the official news of the NJ fishing regulations for summer flounder/fluke and sea bass being set. Social media was on fire with a plethora of opinions over the new slot limit. Regardless of your stance, New Jersey gets more fishing time for fluke with a May 2 start and I’m in for that!
Here is this week’s rundown:
Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River had nice reports up striped bass up to 30 inches along the Toms River, Route 37 bridges, and the backside of Island Beach State Park. Bloodworms, small soft plastics, and Rapala X-raps in Ghost have been the hot baits. There has been some worm hatches with birds and small bass feeding. The shop is open 7-days a week and has bloodworms, clams, live eels, and green crabs in stock.
Lacey Marine in Forked River had similar reports of striped bass being caught behind IBSP and along the backside of Long Beach Island. There have been some winter flounder around the bay, but the best action has been towards Toms River.
Jerzey Buoyz Sportfishing reported decent tog fishing during the week as the crew hit quite a few spots to put keepers on the boat. The skipper hasn’t bass fished yet, but said he will be looking to head out for them in May.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown had reports of schoolie striped bass on bloodworms, 4-inch plugs, and 4-inch Kettle creek soft plastics. Tog fishing has been spotty at the wrecks this past with the dirtier water and current. Green crabs, white crabs, and cooked shrimp have been working for anglers hitting the deeper wrecks. Some of the deeper wrecks are also holding some keeper Cod.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown was out over the windy weekend to put clients on some short striped bass and tog along Barnegat Bay. The skipper will be starting the fluke trips earlier this year with the new May 2nd start date. The crew is also running 3hr sunset fishing trips the entire summer which will focus on bay fluke or ocean sea bass and fluke.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light continued their preparation for the upcoming season and after a phone call to the skipper. They are looking to get running by the beginning of May in time for striped bass and sea bass.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin said the white perch bite has been coming alive along the the Beach Haven West lagoons and the local bays are a good number of small striped bass ranging in size from 15 to 30 inches. Crabbing has also started with alot of smaller ones active, but there are enough keepers around to make a meal or two.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City reported a fair number of striped bass being caught along the Mullica river and Absecon creek. Bloodworms and small plugs have been working for good results along these locations and there has been word of a 40-incher caught along the banks this past week.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point said tautog was good, but anglers had to deal with some strong currents as the rig was outperforming the tog jig. Green crabs, clam, and white legger crabs have been working fairly even in the bites.
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Badfish Charters in Ocean City worked quite a few areas in the backwaters and the skipper has been finding some quality striped bass in the skinny waters. Capt. Brian has been getting his clients on the bass with the fly rod, soft plastics, and small plugs. His schedule is slammed with trips, but he says there are a few slots each month that he can fit anglers in for a charter.
Ocean City Fishing & Cruising Fleet in Ocean City will begin sea bass fishing upon the season opening and will continue to run sea bass and flounder trips. The crew was busy this week prepping the boats for the upcoming fishing season.
The Cape May and Wildwood areas reported good tautog fishing at some of the deeper wrecks with a few limits of fish to 8 pounds. Most of the fish have been landed green crab and white crab baits dropped on traditional tog rigs. Anglers working the rocks of the jetty also found cooperative tog on green crab. Striped bass fishing continued to produce fish along parts of Fortescue and the backside of Cape May and Wildwood. Bloodworms has been the main bait, but there were a few anglers that caught fish on clam baits. Although I couldn’t pull out specifics, there have been a few weakfish caught in the Cape May area on 4-inch pink soft plastics.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
Friday April 15 at 11:59 p.m. is the deadline to submit your comment to the ASMFC about how you’d like striped bass to be managed. Learn more here: Speak Up TODAY on Striped Bass Management – On The Water
Finally, we get a decent week and weekend with the temperatures in the 60’s to 70’s and if the winds stay lower your best bet will be to grab some green crabs from the nearest tackle shop. Pick one of South Jersey jetties and drop a jig or rig amongst the structure to land some of the early season tog which are in. The Atlantic City and Cape May jetties have been the spot to be for these early season tog as the water tends to be a few degrees warmer the further south you go. If striped bass is your quarry, then I would recommend hitting the bridges, sedges, or docks along one of our coastal rivers or bays. The further from the inlet is the best bet as temperatures will be warmer and the fish more active. Boaters should also look to cast small plugs or plastics during the dinner tides to find cooperative bass. Flats, eel grass beds, and the same bridges should have fish. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!