Northern New Jersey Fishing Report- November 17, 2022

Tautog fishing is tough but bountiful on opening day of the 5-fish limit, and spectacular striped bass fishing continues to drop the jaws of seasoned anglers.

Just when you think the striper fishing can’t get any better, it does.  

This past start week saw miles of stripers from Sandy Hook down to Manasquan in the surf and off the beaches. Seasoned anglers who’ve witnessed just about everything are saying this is the best they’ve ever seen. 

On Monday, wave after wave of stripers turned the water white in the surf and around the boats. The bass were feeding on adult and peanut bunker and hitting everything thrown at them.  

Tuesday’s northeast blow brought the bite to a halt but there were reports of bass breaking on top at the Shrewsbury Rocks and fish in the surf in Seaside Park on Wednesday.  It’s not all about stripers, however, as the five-fish tog season opened on Wednesday and early reports indicate we’re off to a good start. 

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said it’s the best bass fishing he’s ever seen and he’s been around for some time. Raritan Bay remains on fire and the bass have been at the tip of the Hook and down along the beaches. Topwater plugs, shads, flutter spoons and swimmers have all caught fish.

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said the fishing is just nuts. There were blitzes in the Sea Bright/Monmouth Beach area from last Friday through Monday. Shads, bucktails, OutCast poppers, metal-lipped swimmers and spooks all worked. While there were still some jumbos in the mix, most of the fish were keeper size in the 10- to 20-pound range.

Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright posted this photo of Rebecca and the bass she caught right behind the shop earlier this week.

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman said the fishing was good over the weekend but it really went off on Monday in Long Branch. He was astounded by the sheer number of fish around and the variety of sizes. The bass and peanut bunker were thick on the beach and he said he took a quick break from fishing just to enjoy the spectacle. There’s been a good night bite off the beaches as well and he said the Navesink River is still choked with bass. After Tuesday’s windy interruption, Gleason said the bass should be back with west winds in the forecast for the rest of the week.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said it was a bass beatdown for the party boats on Monday with the fleet, including the Big Mohawk and Golden Eagle, easily getting their limits. The surf fishermen, he said, had bass from Sandy Hook to Manasquan. The bass were keepers in the 30- to 37-inch range along with some jumbos in the mix. They were hitting spooks, poppers, bucktails and shads. The bass put on a show off the beach in Ocean Grove turning the water to foam as they savaged schools of peanut bunker. They stayed out of reach of surfcasters until mid-morning but then came in close giving beach anglers a shot.  

Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar said the striper fishing has been phenomenal with the exception of Tuesday’s trip when the northeast wind turned the fish off. It’s going to bounce back, he said, with the west wind on the way and he has open boat trips scheduled for next Tuesday, Thanksgiving Day and Friday. Check his website for details. 

A couple of nice keepers caught aboard Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar earlier this week.

Capt. Jay Richardella of Side Job Charters out of Belmar said it’s lights out bass fishing and he’s been getting them livelining, on the troll and with shads.  He’ll be sailing for bass for at least the next two weeks and can be contacted through his website.

A happy angler on a recent trip aboard Side Job Charters out of Belmar.

Capt. Steve Spinelli of the Skylarker out of Belmar has been limiting out his trips on stripers and will now be chasing bass and blackfish. He’s also planning a couple of offshore black sea bass trips.  

Lloyd Bailey at The Reel Seat in Brielle said the bass bite out front is incredible with fish up and down the coast feeding on bunker. For those not interested in stripers, blackfishing in the Point Pleasant Canal is good with a lot of bites. He hasn’t heard much in the way of tuna lately. 

Kyle Tanger at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said the bass bite has just been crazy all along the coast. After Tuesday’s unfriendly weather, he’s confident bass anglers will be back in business with the return of the west wind, calmer seas and clearer water. Togging has been good on the local reefs and in the Point Pleasant Canal and those fish will be getting more attention as the higher limit season is now open. He hasn’t heard much on inshore bluefin but reports from the canyon on bigeye and yellowfin have been decent when the boats can sail. 

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach reported good striper and tog fishing on Wednesday. He’ll be sailing full time for blackfish through January. Check the website for open dates and details.  

The Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach shared this picture of Jay Fernando and the limit of tog he caught on Wednesday.

Capt. Danny Gregory on the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach has switched from striper fishing to blackfishiing and is reporting good catches on his early trips. He’s sailing for tog every day from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with the exception of Monday when the Norma K III runs a blackfish marathon from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Chris Parlow at Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach said the striper fishing has been outstanding this week with action up and down the coast. It’s the best he’s seen in a long time. He fished Raritan Bay on Tuesday and caught dozens of bass all on topwater plugs. He also reported a good bigeye tuna bite at the Hudson Canyon with a number of longfin in the mix. Blackfishing has also been solid, he said. 

Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach shared this photo of Jere Murdoch and the 74-inch Hudson Canyon bigeye he caught last week.

Pete Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick said the return of the west wind should bring the stripers close to the beach. Prior to Tuesday, he had good reports of stripers off the surf and by boat from Sandy Hook on south. He said blackfishing the Point Pleasant Canal also remains very good with plenty of keepers being landed while the local wrecks and reefs are producing good numbers of nice tog, just in time for the higher limit season. 

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said on Tuesday that it has been a steady pick of fish in the surf for those putting in the time. He said the crazy fishing had yet to reach him, but he thought it was just a matter of time. He’s hoping for a good bass bite for the annual Surf Turkey Striped Bass Tournament that takes place over the holiday weekend. Details are available on the shop’s Facebook page.  

Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said stripers were being caught on bunker and artificials but everyone was waiting patiently for the huge schools of bass up north to head south. Their patience paid off. Grumpy’s reported a new body of stripers arrived on Wednesday hitting shads, bucktails, Mag Darters and fresh bunker. Sean Smida and Scott Thomas from the shop were among the first to get into the action. Island Beach State Park was a hot spot with a mix of keepers and some jumbo bass. Kerico reported an excellent night bite as well. 

Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park posted this photo of Al Boehm and the jumbo bass he caught on Wednesday in the local surf.

Best Bets for the Weekend

It’s still all about the bass. This fall run is being ranked among the best and there’s no telling how long it will last. Get on a boat or head to the beaches.  Temperatures are heading down so dress for the weather. 

More blackfish are on the menu as well as the limit is now five fish at 15 inches. Good togging has been reported on the local reefs, at the inlets and in the Point Pleasant Canal. 

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