New Jersey Fishing Report- January 19, 2023

A few anglers are picking away at bass in the surf and tautog on the wrecks, but freshwater fishing is the hottest action available right now.

The calendar makes for very tough fishing. 

While the weather was unseasonably mild this past week, it is January and things are slow. Only the truly dedicated are out there now. They’re picking stripers off the beaches and blackfish on the reefs and wrecks.  
Local ponds and lakes are getting more attention as anglers turn to freshwater to satisfy their urge to fish. 

Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said it’s all very quiet. He hasn’t heard much in the way of blackfishing except that the number of party boats sailing for them has dwindled to just a few. Freshwater holds the most promise right now except if you’re an ice angler. The current warm spell has those folks wondering if there will ever be a freeze this year. 

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said there’s nothing going there except preparations for the big sale scheduled for February 4th. Sciortino said there will big price reductions on many store items and there will be a new order of Back Bay Plugs in stock just in time for the event. 

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said the best action is happening in freshwater. The crappie and largemouth bite have been good in the local lakes and ponds.  

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said it’s all quiet there. Just a few of the party boats, including the Big Mohawk and Ocean Explorer, are still sailing but the blackfishing has been tough. The Capt. Cal II is done until spring. He said folks have been trying for tog at the Shark River Inlet and have been getting a few fish. There haven’t been many and even those have been small. Matthews said he’s heard rumors of white perch and stripers in the Toms River. The perch are fair game but stripers are closed until March 15. Now’s the season for tackle shows and flea markets, Matthews said, or to check out freshwater opportunities at the local ponds and lakes.  Freshwater licenses are required, he added, and reminded everyone to sign up for the Saltwater Registry. Fisherman’s Den is now open from 5 a.m. to 5p.m. daily. 

Capt. Steve Spinelli of the Skylarker out of Belmar said he’s done on his boat until spring but he was out togging on Wednesday catching blackfish up to 9 pounds.  

Matt Haeger at The Reel Seat in Brielle said he went perch fishing in the Toms River a few days ago and did pretty well with bloodworms. He said folks are still pulling some blackfish but it’s turned into more of a pick. The shop is selling more freshwater tackle lately with crappie set ups making up most of the traffic. 

Vinny at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach reported that the blackfishing seems to have died out with waning participation on the part of both anglers and the tog. The better bite, he said, has been for those fishing the jetties for stripers. Soft plastics and patience have been the ticket for anglers willing to put the time in. He also said there is more interest in freshwater fishing these days with crappie and other panfish popular targets. There are also largemouth bass around and he said Kyle Tanger from the shop did well flyfishing for trout in the streams and rivers up north. 

Capt. Danny Gregory on the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach reported that he’s done blackfishing and will be heading to the yard soon to get ready for spring. 

Three nice blackfish caught aboard the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach last week. The Norma K III is done sailing until the spring.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach said it was a tough week, getting blown out late last week and most of the weekend. He sailed Monday and Tuesday but the bite was slow. But, he said, they’re in it for the long haul and as long as there is interest and the tog are biting, the Mimi VI will sail through February. 

Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick said the blackfishing remains decent on the wrecks and reefs and there are still schoolie bass being caught off the beaches.  

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said he heard of white perch being caught in the Tom River but that’s been about it. He’s heading south this weekend and will return to open the shop on March 1.  

Scott Thomas at Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park said they’ve been getting reports of perch in the Toms River as well on small jigs and bloodworms. Blackfishing, from what he’s hearing, has been spotty. Grumpy’s is getting ready for its big winter sales event on January 28 and 29. Scabelly and Big Rock Plugs will be in the house along with blowout sales of rods, reels and tackle. Doors open at 7 a.m. 

Sean Smida and Ray Kerico of Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park with a couple of nice tog caught on a recent trip.

Best Bets for the Weekend

The best fishing going on right now is in freshwater.  

The crappie bite is getting high marks in local ponds and lakes while there are some largemouth bass, pike and pickerel around as well. Streams and rivers up north offer trout fishing in slightly more remote settings.  

Tackle show and flea market season is coming up, so now is a good time to check your gear to see what you’ll need for the spring. 

Some of the 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.

1 thought on “New Jersey Fishing Report- January 19, 2023

  1. John linde

    Back in the 1960’s I fished for Tommy cods at night with a flashlight under the GW Bridge and filled a garbage can of 2 lb fish Does anyone remember those days?

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