Southern New Jersey Fishing Report- November 16, 2023

Stripers take live bunker, flutter spoons and swim shads just off the beaches, tautog season kicks off, and sea bass, porgies and triggerfish are caught around the reef sites out front.

Southern New Jersey Fishing Report

The fishing off Island Beach State Park has been off the charts or as so many anglers have been calling it, “EPIC”!  Stripers from 25 inches to 45 pounds were in mixed schools for most of the waters from 30 to 50 feet.  Flutter spoons, topwater plugs, and poppers have been the main lures of choice as has the snag, re-hook and drop technique.  Tog fishing continues to improve on the reef sites, but some of the best bites still remain off the jetties and bridges along most of south jersey.  The season opens up on Thursday for 5-fish per person at 15 inches.  White crabs are the top baits, but the water has been so warm that you’d have better luck finding Bigfoot than finding a shop carrying white leggers.  Sea bass are still in play, especially for boaters out of Cape May. 

Here is this week’s rundown: 

Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River said it was a bang-em up bite off Seaside Park to Lavallette on white shads and swimming plugs.  Stripers have ranged from 25 to 44 inches and at the early morning hours the bite was consistent throughout the latter half of the week.  Anglers picking up green crabs are finding some tautog off the northern jetty of Barnegat Inlet. 

Creekside Outfitters in Waretown continued to report good numbers of striped bass transiting our area with bigger ones on bunker over the weekend.  During the last few days, a batch of fish have moved down off of IBSP and anglers are finding them with Nichol’s flutter-spoons.  Live spot are taking some striped bass to 31 inches in the Oyster Creek Channel and around the local sod banks.  Tog fishing has been excellent from the Barnegat Inlet on green crabs, but anglers are having to work through alot of shorts to find keepers.

Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown was busy over the past week working combination charters for striped bass to 50 inches and tautog to 20 inches.  Anglers working some live baits find cooperative bass from 24 to 31 inches in some of the skippers choice areas.  The togging spots have been loaded with shorts and keeper ratios have been running about 20 to 1.  The boat has been boxing easily limits of tog to 6-fish.  The skipper is completely booked out for the remainder of the 2023 season, but has bookings and gift certificates available for 2024. 

Reel Reaction Sportfishing client Bob Ferry released several fish from 30 to almost 50 pounds off IBSP on live bunker. He scored his PB on his 72nd birthday!

The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light had decent action on striped bass off of Island Beach State Park and Long Beach Island.  Live bunker, large white swim shads and 6-inch plugs have been working the best for anglers.  The skipper will be togging in the coming weeks with the season opener occurring this week. 

Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin reported a slower week on the striped bass bite in the backwaters, especially around the bridges.  The ocean striped bass bite improved over the past week for anglers fishing from Seaside to Harvey Cedars.  Live bunker, flutter spoons, jigs, and plugs have been working for anglers.  The inlet walls have been lined with tautog fisherman almost everyday as the bite has been off the charts.  The surf bite has been pretty solid for IBSP and a tad slower for the northern parts of LBI. 

Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City also reported the movement of some striped bass off Brigantine and Atlantic City as schools of bunker have been harassed by bass, whales, and even some thresher sharks off the beach.  Anglers finding bunker and live-lining on circle hooks found a few to 40 pounds.  The tautog bite this season continues to be excellent on action, but a pick in some spots on 15-inch keepers.  Green crabs, mud crabs, and even spider crabs. 

Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point had some nice tog brought into the shop with one weighing 6.5 pounds.  The bite was very good this past week off of multiple jetties from Atlantic City south to Ocean City.  Green crab on jigs or rigs have been producing the best bites.  Anglers working the backwaters with eels at night and spots during the day are finding some better striper action.  The back marshes and creeks also produced some classy bites on quality fish during the week.  

Badfish Charters in Ocean City was working the backwaters over the past week with fly rod in hand to put clients on some nice striped bass to 32 inches.  The skipper has been releasing quite a few striped bass off some of his choice spots.  Capt. Brian is a backbay specialist when it comes to light-tackle and fly fishing for striped bass and he has a few openings, so give him a ring. 

The Cape May and Fortescue area reported some decent striped bass action occurring off the Fortescue waters for striped bass on live baits.  Anglers have been boxing a few limits of 29- to 31-inch fish.  The rivers are producing excellent numbers of white perch on bloodworm or grass shrimp if you can net them.  The Cape May area has been spotty off the beaches with only a few bass and lots of dogfish, but better for some of the boat fisherman working eels during the night tides.  Tautog continues its epic pace through November, and with the opener occurring today (Thursday), fisherman will be able to keep 5 tog per angler.  Green crabs tipped on rigs or jigs have been the best baits.  There were a handful of boats hitting the sea bass grounds and anglers found cooperative sea bass to 17 inches along with some porgies and triggerfish. 

South Jersey Fishing Forecast

The best bet for this weekend will be to work one of our local jetties for tautog as the keeper limit increases to 5-fish per person and the bites have been excellent.  Green crabs, mud crabs, cooked shrimp and spiders are excellent baits for this time of year.  Unfortunately the water is still unseasonably warm, so target depths should be 45 feet or less as a higher percentage of keepers will be found there.  In addition to targeting depths, white leggers are next to impossible to find.  Crab potters are having one hell of a time to finding them due to the warmer waters.  Striped bass is the second “go-to” with the best areas being from Island Beach State Park to Atlantic City for the surf and ocean bite, while Atlantic City southward for the back bay bite.  Ocean goers should carry snag hooks, circles, white shads and flutter spoons.  Back bay action is best with live spot, eels, or 4 to 6 inch soft plastics in pink, white, or chartreuse.  Areas adjacent to tidal creeks and outflows off marshes are great places to find ambushing striped bass as well as our South Jersey bridges.  Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines! 

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