North Jersey Fishing Report- May 12, 2022

After heavy wind, fluke fishing remains productive around rivers as stripers and bluefish feed along the beaches and inlets.

Bluefish have moved into the inlets and bays. Fishermen’s Supply shared this photo of a backwater bluefish taken this week.

North Jersey Fishing Report

Mike at Giglios Bait & Tackle in Seabright said the rivers are still seeing plenty of bass caught on plugs. In the bay some fluke are being caught but it’s been slower with less boats on the water due to wind. The oceanfront is slow after the nor’easter blew everything around. Right now, the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers are productive for slot and near-slot bass, and racer blues have made a showing. Mike says the bluefish are long and skinny, so they’ll be ready to eat!

Parker Pete’s Sportfishing in Belmar said they haven’t been out with the wind, but they plan to get out this weekend. they have an open boat trip on Sunday for stripers before they begin to target black seabass on opening day, this Tuesday the 17th.
Mike at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said fishing is good but slower since the consistent winds ceased. In some places, though, the bite got better with the wind. Fluke were biting before the storm, but the wind has wreaked havoc, stirring up the bottom and clouding inshore waters. Stained water generally makes fishing more difficult, so bring out the bright colors if you plan to fish this weekend. There are still plenty of stripers around of all sizes, and bluefish can be found all over: by the bay, the river and even the oceanfront.

Tom at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said there are lots of fluke being caught by the rivers, with a flurry of stripers here and there. Meanwhile, bluefish up to 10-pounds are being caught by the inlets. It should be good start to seabass season on Tuesday, as anglers fishing wrecks for ling have been reeling up big knot-heads only to release them.

Max at The Reel Seat in Brielle said fluke fishing by the rivers has been very good, with lots of limits caught under the new regulations. It was good to see some quality fluke action, especially in the tougher weather. Schoolie bass are around local bridges and even out front in the surf, while larger blues sporadically move in and out of inlets. Max said they’re expecting bigger ones any day now. With the wind slowing, anglers are gearing up for the black seabass season opener on Tuesday, but for striper fishermen, the Raritan is still on fire.

Scott at Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park just heard reports of fish being caught on beaches, with some quality fish on SP minnows. In the bays, big blues have been chowing on plugs and bunker chunks. With more bait flooding in and water temperatures warming, fluke are feeding heavily around the river mouths and in the bays.

Pete at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said bass are showing up out front in the last day or so, mainly hitting clams in the surf as the wind dies down. Fluke fishing is productive around Manasquan River, while stripers, blues and weakfish continue to feed in the bay. Reports are scattered, but more concentrated bites should unfold this weekend. The surf is starting to lay down, and although the water is not as stained as expected, bright colors and smelly baits like clam will be the key to finding fish.

Mimi VI in Point Pleasant Beach was docked this whole week but got out this morning, and got some nice cod. Seabass season opens next week, and all of their open boat trips are booked- keep your eyes peeled for openings on their website and social media pages!

Caught this morning, 5/12, on the Mimi VI first trip since the wind stopped.

Norma K III in Point Pleasant Beach sailed for stripers today for the first time since May 5th. They’re fishing for stripers until the seabass opener on Tuesday the 17th!

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Best Bets for the Weekend

Across a majority of the coastal northeast, incessant, strong winds made fishing very difficult. This weekend, the waters should be bouncing back to life. Fluke fishing has been great in the rivers and the bays. Gulp is always a great bait choice, especially in stained water; the scent and vibrant colors should keep fluke chewing through the weekend. Racer bluefish will be hitting plugs aggressively in search of food in the back bays, but don’t be surprised to find a few gators in the mix. With the surf laying down as the wind dies, it could be a great weekend for striper fishing in the surf. Again, smelly baits like clams or bunker chunks, or bright colored lures like bucktails, will be key to producing fish. If you’re close enough, it sounds like a trip to Raritan Bay is still worth it for anglers looking to catch big stripers.

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