Northern New Jersey Fishing Report- November 2, 2023

Stripers and bluefish storm the surf in pursuit of peanut and adult bunker, and big sea bass are caught on bottom.

Northern New Jersey Fishing Report

The hot striper bite went up a couple notches this past week. 

Boaters and beach anglers were enjoying solid bass fishing over the weekend but it blew open on Tuesday with an onslaught of big stripers from Sandy Hook down to Spring Lake.  They were still biting on Wednesday. 

The bass were feeding on peanut and adult bunker and there was a mix of sizes among the stripers. While the majority of fish were jumbos, there were keeper-size fish taken. Live bait was the best option for the boaters but the surfcasters got fish on a variety of offerings including bucktails, shads, poppers, swimmers and gliders. 

Oh, and the bottom fishing was pretty good, too. 

Dominic Cataline at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said it’s stripers on the beach and stripers in the bay. A new body of adult bunker moved into Raritan Bay in the last couple of days, he said, bringing big bass with them. The fishing held up as well in the surf on the beaches of Sandy Hook. Trout fishing has been good in the Ramapo River and the South Branch of the Raritan, he added, for anyone interested. 

Danny Stolba at Fish Tail Bait and Tackle in Carteret said the bass continue to bite in the Arthur Kill with bunker chunks the bait of choice. Stolba said the regulars have been recording a steady catch of keepers. 

Fish Tail Bait and Tackle in Carteret shared this photo of George the Morning Guy and the keeper bass he caught on Wednesday in the Arthur Kill.

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said Raritan Bay remains red hot with jumbo and keeper striped bass. Peanuts and adult bunker are fueling the bite and the area close to the Navy Pier around Belford and Leonardo has been very productive. Sciortino said livelining has been working best but flutter spoons, spooks, shads and trolling Mojos are catching fish as well.  Sciortino said if they’re not buying what you’re selling, change it up. He added that blackfishing on the rockpiles has been good, but porgies have become scarce. 

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said it’s been a sensational surf bite for the last several days, with Tuesday delivering a truly epic bite from Sea Bright to Long Branch. Pinto said he’s never seen so many big bass in one place. Bucktails, swimmers, shads, Outcast plugs and Doc and Next Level spooks all caught fish. Many of the stripers were over 40 inches. Wednesday’s tougher weather hurt participation but he said the bass were in and out behind the shop all day. Boats off the beaches are also doing very well with stripers and Pinto said the shop just got a new shipment of ODM boat rods.  

Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright shared this photo of shop regular Tommy the Greek and the big surf bass he caught over the weekend.

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said the bass fishing is just crazy good. It was an all-out blitz on Tuesday with stripers in the 30-pound range gorging on peanut bunker in the Long Branch surf. The fish were in an out all morning hitting bucktails, shads and surface plugs. Gleason said he’s heard of tuna offshore but reports have been thin as everyone is concentrating on the striper bite. The bass, bait and birds were going nuts off Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Bradley Beach, Avon, Belmar and Spring Lake on Tuesday. Two-pole Mike Compoly found them on the beach and caught eight up to 43 inches, all on poppers. 

TAK Waterman in Long Branch posted this photo of the big striper Carter McCoy caught in the surf Tuesday morning.

Tommy Palmisano at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said the party and charter boats out of the marina, including the Big Mohawk and Golden Eagle, are taking full advantage of the great striper fishing. There are bluefish in the mix as well. He also mentioned that winter flounder are biting in the Shark River and anglers targeting them are having no trouble getting their two-fish limit. 

Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar has been enjoying a spectacular fall run but he said the recent bite is beyond description. Tuesday saw a 12-mile-long stretch of bass and bait and everybody was catching fish. The bass were back out there again on Wednesday, he said. Capt. Sykes said there are just a few spots left on Sunday’s open boat trip and there will be more open boat trips scheduled for next week. Check the website for details. 

Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar reported an epic day of striper fishing on Tuesday.

Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker out of Belmar said he’s been doing well bottom fishing lately with sea bass up to 4 pounds, blackfish and bluefish. He, too, will be getting into the stripers with his first trip planned for Thursday.  

Eric Bunz at The Reel Seat in Brielle said the bass bite on the beach and for boaters has been terrific and captured pretty much everyone’s attention. But it’s not the only game in town. He reported a nice body of bluefin just east of the Triple Wrecks for anglers anxious to do battle with a big tuna but not necessarily take one home. There haven’t been a lot of reports out of the Hudson Canyon but he said that’s probably due to lack of participation. He did hear of some longfin and bigeye caught there and the swordfishing has been very good. He also reported good sea bass fishing at the Resor Wreck and solid blackfishing on pieces in 30 to 50 feet of water. Bluefish are still running around, he added, and there are bonito at the Sea Girt and Axel Carlson reefs. You’re also likely to find false albacore popping up in the same area.  

Kyle Tangen at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said stripers are the name of the game and there is a line of bass from South Amboy down to Seaside. Livelining has been working best for the boaters while surfcasters are getting them on shads, bucktails, spooks, swimming plugs and poppers. He said there were bluefin out by the Bacardi but the weekend’s full moon seemed to throw them off their feed. Tanger also reported good daytime fishing for swords out in the Hudson Canyon. Togging has been good by the bridges in the Manasquan River and excellent in the Point Pleasant Canal while the Shark River Reef continues to hold porgies and sea bass, he added. 

Capt. Danny Gregory on the Norma K III has added 18-hour offshore sea bass trips to the calendar starting this month. Check the website for details. He is also sailing for bluefish this Friday and Saturday night at 7:30. 

Chris Parlow from Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach reported that the fall run is in full gear. On Wednesday, big stripers were feeding right outside the Manasquan Inlet and were caught livelining bunker and on a variety of lures including swim shads, Doc Spooks, Mojo’s and bunker spoons. The sea bass and porgy fishing picked up on the Shark River Reef this week with a number of big sea bass being reported. Parlow also had a report that yellowfin are still biting in the Wilmington Canyon. 

Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach shared this photo of Brad Degler and the 3-pound, 6- ounce sea bass he caught at the Shark River Reef earlier this week.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach has been doing well bottom fishing catching sea bass, blackfish, blues and winter flounder.  He has a few open boat bottom fishing trips on the schedule and will be turning to blackfishing full time when the five-fish season begins on Nov. 16. 

Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick reported that the striper bite remains excellent with big bass up to 40 inches, mainly north of the Manasquan Inlet. Striper fishing is also good in the Point Pleasant Canal and at the Manasquan River bridges on live eels.  

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said they’re getting ready for the 12th Annual Surf Turkey Catch and Release Tournament taking place over the Thanksgiving Weekend. Cash and prizes will be awarded for the longest striped bass. 

Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park said there’s been a steady catch of bass in the surf but he’s sure it will break open when all the bass up north make their way down south. They are on the move and he said it won’t be long. In the meantime, there are stripers being caught out back in Barnegat Bay and the blackfishing has been good from the inlet jetties and in the Point Pleasant Canal. He said the shop is fully stocked for fall and they just received a big shipment of waders from Frogg Toggs. 

Best Bets for the Weekend

It’s prime time for stripers. The bass crashed the beaches this week and, with a favorable forecast for a change, it’s an ideal time to hit the sand. The beaches north of the Manasquan Inlet were hot spots, but there’s no telling where the bass will pop up. Carry a wide selection of plugs, bucktails and shads in your bag as the bass can get a little picky.  

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