What a great time of year!! We have Thanksgiving this week and the striped bass fishing has been outstanding from both boat and beach. Trolling, artificial swimshads, and jigs have been the hot ticket to catching. Birds, bunker, and bass teamed up to provide some National Geographic scenes over the weekend. The other bite going on has been tautog which has been marked by lots of short action and a mix of keepers. Over the past few days, the bite has seemed to have rebounded with more keepers being caught. Anglers working the larger bottom pieces are finding good numbers of tog. Offshore sea bass season has arrived with a few boats making runs to the deeper wrecks to put clients on fish. Finally, tackle shops are the key to alot of anglers success, so try to support them this weekend on Small Business Saturday, as most shops are offering good sales.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River had excellent reports of striped bass off the beaches from Mantoloking to Seaside. Poppers, swimmers, shads, and pretty much anything in the box has been working. Most of the bass have been in the 25 to 36 inch size range. The bay still has some smaller bass and white perch hitting on bloodworms.
Lacey Marine in Forked River had good reports of tautog from the north jetty of Barnegat Inlet with green crabs working the best. Jigs from 3/4 to 1 ounce have been the ticket for the larger specimens. Boaters trolling the bathing beach area found some nice striped bass to 34 inches being picked up on trolled 9’ers.
Jerzey Buoyz Sportfishing said it’s been a good tautog bite as the skipper has been working some inshore pieces to put keepers in the box. They did run a striped bass trip and had good action on bass to 34 inches.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported similar fishing conditions with striped bass being landed to 40 inches. Anglers working trolling gear, jigs, shads, and plugs are finding good numbers of bass. Island Beach State Park and Long Beach Island had some bass being landed off the beach along with spiny dogfish. Toggers found lots of short action and some keepers from the jetty and inshore pieces. The store is ramping up for their sales over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown has been running back to back trips and the crew has been finding excellent success on artificials. The last weekend had over 41 striped bass released while both crews kept a combined 13 striped bass for the table. The skipper has some tautog dates left in December, so give them a call.
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The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light reported good striped bass fishing as the boat has been jigging and using live spot for striped bass. The boat will be running charters for striped bass, followed by a few tautog trips.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin had nice reports of striped bass from both beach and boat off IBSP. Plugs, shads, and artificials have been the best lures to use and the fish have been between 29 and 38 inches. The bridges also have some fish around, but they are on the smaller side topping out at 27 inches. The tautog bite has been good at the wrecks with the Axel reef being red hot for tog.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City received word of striped bass starting to trickle down to the area and the beaches of Brigantine had a few nice stripers being landed. Chunked bunker and clam have been responsible for the bass off the beaches. Spot and eel have also been working in the deeper channels. The tog bite has been very good from the inshore wrecks on green crabs and white leggers. The bay bite continues to be consistent with the Tuckahoe management area providing some nice opportunities for striped bass on artificials.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point said it’s been spotty on striped bass in the ocean, but better in the backwaters on live eel and spot. Anglers working parts of the ICW close to the inlets have found striped bass to 32 inches. Green crabs have been excellent on tautog at the inshore wrecks and reef sites.
Badfish Charters in Ocean City reported some nice conditions in the back for striped bass along the sods and marshes. Capt. Brian had anglers casting light tackle soft plastics and plugs for striped bass. The charters have been consistently catching bass from 24 to 33 inches in the back.
The Cape May and Wildwood area reported a quality tautog bite over the past few days with a few boat limits of blackfish being caught. Individual wrecks and reef sites have been the spots to go over the past week. Striped bass fishing has definitely been much slower than the northern part of the state, but fish are beginning to trickle into the area. The Fortescue area had some more striped bass move in, while white perch and smaller striped bass still remain in some of the back creeks. Anglers using bloodworms have been catching these fish with consistency.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for the holiday weekend will be to either hit the beaches or boat for striped bass and if we get some cloudy, windy conditions – look for these striped bass to bite all day. I recommend bringing white or bunker swimshads and working the early morning close to the beaches. The bite was fantastic just past the breakers, but anglers need to get out early to beat the traffic. The boat traffic definitely puts a damper on the bass bite. Tog fishing has been pretty good in terms of life, but you have to work for the keepers. If you plan to go, a half to a full bushel of crabs are needed as there has been tons of short life. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!