Northern New Jersey Fishing Report- November 16, 2023

Stripers blitz on sand eels, peanuts and adult bunker along the beaches and tog are caught from the jetties to the wrecks as the 5-fish blackfish limit begins.

Northern New Jersey Fishing Report

The striper insanity continues. There were blitzes all week from Sandy Hook down to Long Beach Island with surfcasters catching fish from schoolies up to 45 pounds.  

This past Tuesday was the crazy day with massive schools of bass and bait tight to the beach all along the coast. But before we get into the details, it must be noted that the New Jersey fishing community lost one of the truly great ones this week with the passing of Bob Matthews.  

A constant presence behind the counter at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, Bob was always willing and ready to share his wealth of fishing knowledge with anyone who asked. He was a mentor to many and a friend to everyone.   

But it will be for his kindness, friendship and generous spirit that he will be most remembered. A true gentleman, Bob will be sorely missed by all those who were lucky enough to have met him.   

Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park heard all about the great beach bite with reports indicating it was a mix of sizes with a lot of keeper fish around. The only other species that came up this week, he said, were blackfish with Thursday’s opening of the five-fish tog season and the offshore sea bass bite, which has been very good.  

Danny Stolba at Fish Tail Bait and Tackle in Carteret reported good striped bass and blackfishing in the Arthur Kill. The big fish of the week was a 37-incher caught by Stolba on a bunker chunk. Togging has been good as well on green crabs with keepers mixed in with the shorts. 

Danny Stolba at Fish Tail Bait and Tackle in Carteret got this 36-inch striper in the Arthur Kill on a fresh bunker chunk.

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet reported there is no quit in the striper bite in Raritan Bay with the boats just crushing the fish. The bass are all over the place, he said, from the Reach, across to New York and down the beach. Stripers up to 30 pounds are hitting NLBN shads, spooks and metal-lip swimmers. He’s also had good reports on sea bass and porgies. 

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle said the weekend slowed down a bit but the anglers who put the time in found the fish. Then it broke wide open on Tuesday with stripers on the beach from Sandy Hook to Monmouth Beach. Poppers, spooks and shads were all catching a mix of stripers that were feeding on sand eels, peanut and adult bunker. Bob Pastor weighed a catch of his on a Boga Grip that topped out at 48 pounds. The bass were back on the beach on Wednesday but the fish were on the move most of the day. 

Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright shared this photo of Nicole Lignos and the nice beach striper she caught last week.

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch gave a quick report from the sand on Tuesday morning saying simply that it was going off. Later that day he reported shorts to mid-40-inch fish hitting shads, pencils and metal lips. Gleason said they were feeding on peanuts, adults and even some mullet. The next day he was out chasing bluefin and reported catching and releasing an 84-inch giant. 

TAK Waterman in Long Branch shared this photo of Jim Kuhl of the Tuna Junkie and the bluefin tuna he caught last week.

It was mayhem along the beach in Asbury Park, Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach on Tuesday. James Weir, a close friend of Bob Matthews, and I were pretty much alone as wave after wave of stripers came north. Weir landed a 36 incher along with at least dozen more while I had my fair share on spooks and a glider. The fish hung close to shore all day eating peanuts. 

Former Fisherman’s Den employee James Weir with one of the bigger bass he caught during Tuesday’s blitz in Bradley Beach.

Party boats out of the Belmar Marina targeting stripers, like the Big Mohawk and Golden Eagle, are having a tremendous fall run. Check their websites for sailing times and availability. The Big Mohawk will also be working tog trips into its schedule. The Capt. Cal II out of the marina begins its tog season on Thursday. 

Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar will take a break from the excellent striper fishing to start togging on Thursday as well. Capt. Sykes has spots available on several open boat striper trips scheduled for next week. Check his website for details. 

Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker had been doing well bottom fishing for porgies, sea bass and blackfish but had a banner day on Tuesday with striped bass. He was off Asbury Park and reported an excellent bite on shads. 

Capt. Jay Richardella of Side Job Charters said it’s been just incredible bass fishing for the last week. His charters have been getting keepers and jumbos livelining, on shads and trolling. He’s been fishing from off the Highlands Bridge down to Spring Lake. Check his website for remaining dates for the season. 

Capt. Jay Richardella of Side Job Charters out of Belmar shared this photo of one of the many bass caught aboard the boat in the last week.

Stanley G. at The Reel Seat in Brielle said on Wednesday that there were bass on beaches from Sandy Hook down to Seaside. You just had to be in the right spot at the right time. In addition to bunker, he said the bass were eating squid. He also mentioned bluefin breaking on bunker from three miles on in and it’s been drop and reel fishing for bluefin at the Texas Tower. Bait, jigs and poppers were catching tuna from 20 to 70 inches. 

Kyle Tangen at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said that it’s all about the three B’s now – bass, blackfish and bluefin. Everybody is catching stripers right now, he said, so it’s just a matter of going. The shop has bushels and bushels of green crabs for toggers and he said the blackfishing in the Point Pleasant Canal is lights out. One customer came back for bait three times and caught about 70 fish, most of them shorts. Tangen said bluefin are pretty close, zig zagging through the shipping lanes. 

Chris Parlow from Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach reported that the stripers have been blitzing the area beaches from Long Branch down to Island Beach State Park. Keeper-size fish are now consistently being caught, but the big cows are still around. Some days the fish are exploding on top water, he said, while other days the fish have been hammering flutter spoons on the bottom.  There have also been bluefin tuna in the mix and a number of 60-inch fish have been boated. The blackfish bite at the Manasquan Inlet and the Point Pleasant canal has also been very good with a number of fish in the 5- to 6-pound range being caught. 

Chris Parlow of Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach had this fluke hit his flutter spoon while striper fishing off Bay Head earlier this week. The fish was released.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach said it was a great week of striper fishing but it’s now full-time togging. There are some open boat dates so check the website for the schedule. 

Capt. Danny Gregory on the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach said he’ll be sailing for blackfish every day and there will be 10-hour marathon tog trips every Monday with a special super pool. There will also be a Thanksgiving morning striper trip from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and there are 18-hour offshore sea bass trips on the schedule as well. 

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said the weekend was a little slow but it broke wide open on Monday with blitzes everywhere from Normandy Beach down to Seaside Park. Most of the fish were keeper size and hitting white Kettle Creek shads and Tsunami and Vudu sand eels. There’s been a good night bite as well on black and blurple plugs. Kupper said conditions are shaping up nicely for the Surf Turkey Tournament taking place over the Thanksgiving Weekend. There’s still time to sign up. 

Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said there are stripers everywhere on the local beaches. Island Beach State Park has been giving up fish of all sizes day and night. Small shads, plugs and poppers have been doing the trick. There have also been bass taken on bunker chunks. Kerico said the fishing is good and it will only get better. 

Best Bets for the Weekend

Once again, stripers are the hot bite and this past week saw more fish hitting the beaches. They’ve been popping up everywhere so you might have to look around a bit to find them. Poppers, spooks, shads and metal lips are all working. 

Plus, the five-fish blackfish season is now open. Jigs and rigs have been catching them on the reefs and rocks, at the inlets and in the Point Pleasant Canal.  

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