New Jersey Fishing Report- January 12, 2023

Tautog fishing is hit or miss, schoolie bass are active in the surf and crappie, bass and panfish are biting well in freshwater ponds.

The ranks of active anglers have thinned substantially since the beginning of the year, leaving only the diehards out there chasing fish. 

Striped bass, blackfish and freshwater species remain the prime targets. 
Blackfishing has been the most active but a bit up and down, hot one day and cold the next.

Striper fishing is confined to the beaches as the inshore fishery is closed until March 1. Anglers are getting mostly short bass on sand eel imitations and shads. There’s a pick of fish all along the coast but the better fishing appears to be down south. 

Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said he’s been getting fair reports on blackfishing depending on the day. The porgy fishing, he heard, has been good for the offshore boats. Freshwater anglers are picking away at trout, he said, while the hardwater folks patiently await freezing temperatures. Hebert advised that if you’re looking to get your reel serviced, get it in soon as wait times are increasing.  

Billy at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said it’s been really quiet there with just a few guys trying for bass on the beaches.  

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said freshwater is offering a good opportunity to catch something as things slow down. The crappie bite has been solid and there are perch and largemouth bass to be caught in the local ponds and lakes. As for saltwater, he hasn’t heard much of anything going on. 

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said we’ve entered the winter doldrums. Still, there are some stripers around as one customer got a keeper bass off a Monmouth County jetty last Friday. He reported that the boats sailing for blackfish out of the marina, like the Big Mohawk and Capt. Cal II, are doing fairly well with blackfish. Some days are just better than others. Pool fish run between 5 to 8 pounds along with plenty of short life to keep anglers busy. This week, he said, there were more customers turning to freshwater to get their fishing fix.  

Fisherman’s Den in Belmar posted this customer’s photo of the keeper bass he caught off a Monmouth County jetty last Friday.

Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker out of Belmar said he found solid blackfishing last Saturday with several limits and the pool fish weighing in at 9 pounds. 

Matt Heager at The Reel Seat in Brielle said things are winding down with a few people catching small bass on the beach on slim metals and teasers. He enjoyed a good tog trip last week on a private boat with a four-man limit and the biggest fish coming over the rail weighing in at 13½ pounds.  There were six or seven fish over 8 pounds, he added. Most of the action took place in about 100 feet of water, he said, and rigs and jigs with white leggers were getting the job done. He, too, said more folks are freshwater fishing with a good crappie bite going on.

Kyle Tanger at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said bucktails and shads were working for short bass around the jetties.  On the blackfish front, a customer reported a successful trip last week just five or ten minutes from the Manasquan Inlet. There were limits and one double-digit tog. Freshwater fishing, he added, is good for crappie and panfish in local ponds.  

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach had a good weekend of togging, then a slowdown at the start of the week. By Wednesday, he said, the fish were back biting. The Mimi VI sails open boat for tog every day at 6:30 a.m. with special limited trips on Tuesdays and Fridays leaving at 6 a.m. and returning at 4 p.m. Check the website for full details.  

A smiling fisherman with three blackfish he caught aboard the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach on Wednesday.

Capt. Danny Gregory on the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach reported a decent tog trip on Tuesday with some folks getting their limits while others got only shorts. He’s sailing daily for blackfish leaving at 7:30 a.m. and returning at 2:30 p.m. with special 10-hour trips on Saturdays and Mondays. 

This angler got his blackfish limit on Tuesday’s trip aboard the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach.

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said the bass are still biting down there with reports of 25- to 30-inch fish being caught at Ocean Beach and Chadwick Beach. The bass are hitting sand eel imitations and 4-inch shads fished with a teaser. Most of the bites are on the teaser, he said. Kupper said he will be closing the shop next week and reopening on March 1. 

Frankie Z at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said there are still bass being taken in the surf there but it’s nothing spectacular.  He did hear of some white perch being caught back in the rivers but that bite has been on and off. Frankie advises that if you have reels that need to be serviced, get them in now. He also said to mark your calendar for Jan. 28 and 29 for Grumpy’s Big Winter Sales Event. 

Best Bets for the Weekend

Blackfish are making the most noise in this quiet part of the year with tog boats sailing daily out of the Belmar Marina and Manasquan Inlet. 

More anglers are exploring local ponds and lakes for crappie, largemouth and panfish to satisfy the urge to wet a line.  

Or you can stay warm and attend the  Garden State Outdoor Sports Show now open at the Raritan Center in Edison through Sunday.  

Other upcoming tackle shows and flea markets include the Hi-Mar Flea Market on Feb. 11 in Port Monmouth, Surf Day at Brookdale Community College on Feb. 18, the Saltwater Fishing Expo in Edison March 17 to 19 and the Asbury Park Fishing Show on March 19 at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park. 

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