Southern New Jersey Fishing Report- May 25, 2023

The black sea bass bite has been hot, weakfish and fluke bite well in the back bays, and stripers and bluefish hit poppers and minnow plugs around the inlets.

The official start to summer begins this upcoming weekend with the Memorial Day holiday, and so does the amount of boaters, anglers, and cruisers on our waterways.  Fishing has been very good for most of our southern bays with fluke being landed and some nicer fish to 8 pounds being caught.  The bluefin tuna bite started this past week with some larger fish to 400 pounds being caught on live baits.  Sea bass fishing has been excellent, but the issue has been the steady winds which have kept most boaters tied at the docks.  Striped bass and bluefish continue to smack poppers, plugs, and baits along the jetties from Barnegat Inlet south.  Weakfish have been showing up in better numbers with some fish to 7 pounds being caught, so hopefully this trend continues. 

Here is this week’s rundown:
Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River reported a decent striped bass bite at the Route 37 bridges on schoolie striped bass, while the “Park” has seen some solid action on beach striped bass. Bunker chunks, clam baits, and plugs worked during the evenings and have been consistently producing fish to 44 inches. 

Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported a good fluke bite from the “BB” to the “BI” on minnows and Gulp combinations.  Most anglers have been using 1 to 1.5 oz bucktails and jigs due to the heavy winds.  Bluefish have also been fairly active along some of the open flats and the inlet.  There were a good number of striped bass landed from the Barnegat Inlet from boats and from jetty anglers.  There was word of a bluefin tuna bite occurring around the Atlantic Princess and beyond with some 90 to 100 inch fish being landed. 

Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown had excellent results over the past few trips with 7 to 10 keeper fluke being landed per 4-hour charter on small jigs.  Most of the action has been in fairly shallow water and some nice keepers to 23 inches have been caught.  Trips have been averaging 35 to 50 fish being released, so the action continues to be excellent.  June is completely booked out, but there are openings in July and August. 

A few happy anglers with their fluke catch from a day of fishing aboard Reel Reaction Sportfishing.

The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light has been working through some tough wind conditions to produce full coolers of sea bass.  Capt. Ted said the wrecks have been loaded with sea bass along with some ling.  The boat has openings in June, but you need to give them a call. 

Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin reported excellent fishing both north and south of Route 72 as the summer flounder have been biting Gulp baits.  Anglers working along parts of Tuckerton have been catching quality flatties to 6 pounds as well as weakfish to 27 inches.  Soft plastics and pink Gulp baits on 1/4 to 1/2oz jigs have been the hot lures to use.  Crabbing started off with a bang over the past week as the moon phase and warmer temperatures have the blue crabs actively on the feed. 

Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City had good reports of fluke in the backwaters, but fighting through the slime has been the biggest issue.  Anglers finding clean water have been doing much better on keepers.  Striped bass and bluefish action has consistent behind Atlantic City and parts of Brigantine.  Anglers working some of the deeper holes along the marshes have also been finding cooperative weakfish on the higher tides. 

Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point had some nice fish brought to the shop with fluke and weakfish in the 5 pound range.  Gulp and minnows have been the top baits for fluke in the backwaters while pink Zoom plastics worked on the weakfish.  The shop said the sea bass bite has been excellent, except for the winds. 

Badfish Charters in Ocean City has been working striped bass and flounder in the backwaters.  The skipper said it’s been a soft plastic and popper bite on the bass as the winds have been tough on the fly.  

The Cape May area was drum central over the past week with quality fish to 90 pounds being landed from anchored boats.  The bite has been one of the best over recent years and it’s not uncommon to get 5 to 10 fish per trip if you’re in the right areas.  The deeper sloughs have been producing and most GPS packages should have bottom contours.  Striped bass fishing has been solid along the Cape May beaches, while the jetties and bridges have been showing some signs of weakfish activity.  The wrecks are loaded with sea bass and anglers targeting the 90 to 120 depths are finding good action.  Summer flounder fishing has been a little on the challenging side, but locating clean water and good temperatures has been the ticket to keepers. 

South Jersey Fishing Forecast

The weather looks a tad iffyfor the weekend if you plan on hitting the inshore reef sites and wrecks for sea bassMost of the headboats have been working the 60-80 foot depths, so finding wrecks or structure 60 feet and out would be a good place to startClam baits and diamond jigs are working with good success, and dont forget to carry a surface popper as there have been bluefin aroundAnglers looking to hit the backwaters should have decent shots at catching a grand slam as there are good numbers of striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, and fluke aroundOffshore anglers should look to hit the 200 to 300 foot depths for bluefin and live-line ling, bluefish, or bunker to get the shot at a 100-inch bluefinRegardless of the type of fishing you enjoy, have a safe Memorial Day weekendGood Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines! 

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