New Jersey Fishing Report- January 26, 2023

There's decent tautog fishing to be had around the wrecks, white perch fishing is good in the rivers and the ponds fish well for pickerel and bass.

Not much has changed since last week, except now we’re a week closer to spring.  

That may be small consolation for those itching to go fishing but that’s life. In the meantime, there’s still some blackfish being caught, white perch in the rivers and panfish, bass and pickerel in ponds and lakes. 

Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said think spring. There is very little going on there, he said, and the lack of ice has made things even worse for many of his customers. The only word he received on blackfish is that the better fishing is in deep water. He suggested it’s time to go through your tackle, see what needs replacing and get ready for better weather. If your reels need servicing, get them in soon. 

Patrick Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said it’s been quiet there and they’re using the lull to get ready for the Big Sale on Feb. 4.  He said there will be 30 to 50 percent off on everything in the store and there will 100 Back Bay Plugs for sale. The Tackle Box will be at the Fly Fishing Show this weekend in Edison. 

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said freshwater is the best bet right now. The relatively warm weather has anglers doing well in local ponds and lakes for crappie and bass. TAK Waterman will be at Surf Day on Feb. 18. 

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said things are very, very slow even for this time of year. The Big Mohawk and the Ocean Explorer are the only boats sailing out of the marina for blackfish right now and Matthews said that has been spotty. The Big Mohawk will be sailing this Saturday and Sunday. Matthews said freshwater has been keeping a lot of his customers busy catching crappie, catfish and bass. He also said it’s that time of year when flea markets and fishing shows give idle anglers something to do.

Nice tog continue to be caught aboard the Big Mohawk out of Belmar.

Upcoming events include this weekend’s Fly Fishing Show in Edison, the Hi-Mar Flea Market on Feb. 11 in Port Monmouth and Surf Day at Brookdale Community College on Feb. 18.  

In March, the Saltwater Fishing Expo in Edison takes place the 17th through the 19th and the Asbury Park Fishing Show is on the 19th at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park. 

Matt Haeger at The Reel Seat in Brielle said not much has changed since last week with a few blackfish caught in deep water and white perch in the Toms River. The panfish bite is still very good, he said, and they’ve been selling a lot of light tackle lately. Now’s also a good time to come in and stock up for spring, he added. 

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach said they’re still targeting tog every day and there seems to be some nice fish still around. He said they’ve been plugging away with some days better than others depending on conditions and the skill of the anglers. The Mimi VI will be sailing for blackfish through February. 

The Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach posted this photo of a beautiful blackfish caught last weekend.

Kyle Tanger at Fisherman’s Supply in Point Pleasant said freshwater is providing most of the action these days with panfish and bass responding well to small plastics and Rapala jerk baits. A slow retrieve is key for the jerk baits, he said. Since this is the quiet season, Tanger said they have plenty of time and plenty of line for those who want to fill their offshore reels. He advises not to wait until the tuna arrive.  

Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick reported there were still some blackfish on the reefs and wrecks and a few schoolie bass in the surf. The shop has moved to a new location at Lenape Plaza at 597 Mantoloking Road in Brick and is open every day except Monday. 

Scott Thomas at Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park said there is a pretty good white perch bite in the Toms River but he hasn’t heard of any bass on the beach, although he suspects a few diehards are still trying. Grumpy’s big Winter Sales Event is this Saturday and Sunday with Scabelly and Big Rock Lures in the house along with big savings on all merchandise in the store. Doors open at 7 a.m. both days. 

Dennis Palmatier at the Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River said the perch fishing in the Toms River was very good on bloodworms at the beginning of the week. It’s a night bite, he said, with anglers getting started around 7 or 8 p.m. High-low rigs have been doing the job catching perch up to a half pound. Palmatier said he was expecting another delivery of bloodworms on Thursday. The Mullica River has been good for perch as well but he believes the Toms is holding bigger fish. 

Mike Taylor at Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported pretty good perch fishing around Chestnut Neck in the Mullica River on bloodworms. He also heard it was decent in the Toms River. There are stripers in both places and they are off limits until March 1. 

Paul Lindsey at Fishermens Headquarters in Ship Bottom said he’s been getting fair reports on the perch fishing in the Mullica River. He also mentioned that anglers have been drawing the scrutiny of fish and game wardens. Lindsey said they’re keeping an eye out for those unwilling to wait for the opening of striper season. White perch is about all that’s going on down there right now and they’ve been keeping busy with rod and reel repairs. 

Best Bets for the Weekend 

As of Thursday, the weather forecast looks favorable for the weekend so a trip to your local pond or lake might be an option to wet a line for crappie, bass or another favorite freshwater species. 

There are still some nice tog being caught as well. The Big Mohawk and Ocean Explorer out of Belmar and the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach are still sailing for blackfish.  

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