New Jersey Fishing Report- February 29, 2024

White perch fishing has been good around the rivers and excitement builds for the backwater striper season opener on March 1.

New Jersey Fishing Report

The wait is over. At midnight tonight, striped bass season opens in New Jersey’s rivers and bays. And the word is the season should get off to a good start. 

But before we get to stripers, there’s fluke business on the agenda. 
 
The New Jersey Fisheries Council is still accepting public comment on summer flounder regulations for 2024. There are six options to choose from and they are listed at the NJ Div. of Fish and Wildlife website. The status quo is not one of the options. Written comments will be accepted through March 4 until a minute before midnight at njmarinefishpubliccomment@dep.nj.gov. You can also attend the meeting in person or virtually on March 7 at 5 p.m. Complete information on the meeting is on the website. Let your voice be heard. 

On the bass front, shops have been reporting stripers hitting bloodworms intended for white perch for weeks. The Toms River especially saw a lot of action and the activity did not go unnoticed by fish and game. The wardens were busy writing tickets. Now they’ll be checking the sizes. It’s still a one-fish limit at 28 to 31 inches. Winter flounder season also opens on March 1 with a two-fish limit at 12 inches. 


Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said they are all set for the striper opener and will have bloodworms in the shop by Friday afternoon. Hebert said last Saturday’s seminars on stripers, fluke and blackfish were a big success and they are looking to do more in the coming year. 

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said that he’s certain there are stripers in the back of Raritan Bay and local rivers. More bass should be in the bay in a few weeks and he’s got bloodworms in stock. The Tackle Box will be at the Asbury Park Fishing Show this Sunday, March 3 at the Berkeley Ocean Front Hotel. Doors open at 9 a.m. 

Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright will have bloodworms for the weekend. There haven’t been any reports of stripers in the Navesink or Shrewsbury rivers yet. 

Starting Friday, anglers can target spring stripers like this one caught by Jack Glassburg last April. The photo was shared by Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright.

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said the shop is fully stocked with any plug or lure you’ll need for the opener. ME (Maine) Fishing Co. plugs, which are new to the shop, are selling briskly and a restocking of Alan’s Custom Lures just arrived. TAK also offers lures from Tsunami, Hogy, Swagger Bait Company and many others. TAK Waterman will also be at the Asbury Park Fishing Show on Sunday and the Saltwater Expo in Edison on March 15. 

Jesse Thomas at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said he’s sure there are some bass in the Shark River but we’ll have to wait for Friday to be sure.  They’re stocked with bait and plugs and will be at the Asbury Park show as well. 

Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar has been busy working on the new Parker Pete Express, formerly the Atlantic Star out of Atlantic Highlands. He said they will be sailing again in April. 

Lloyd at The Reel Seat in Brielle said they are all set for stripers and he expects a solid start. He’s had reports of fish up to 30 inches released in the Toms River and he’s fairly certain they’re in the Manasquan River and back in Barnegat Bay. He said seats for all four of the ballyhoo rigging classes set for 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. this Saturday are sold out but spectators are welcome for free. 

Kyle Tanger at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said the shop is fully loaded for Friday and he’s sure bass are lurking in the Manasquan River and the Point Pleasant Canal. He’s got plenty of X-Raps and another store favorite, Gambler Soft Baits, in stock. 

Gabriel Tackle in Brick will be holding a Spring Shore Striper Seminar on Monday, March 4, at the shop presented by Prof. Adam Aguiar. Doors open at 6 p.m., seminar starts at 6:30. 

Dennis Palmatier at the Hook House in Toms River said there’s a lot of interest in Friday’s opener, especially since there has been a lot of striper activity in the river all winter. He’s got plenty of bloodworms and will be open at 7 a.m. 

Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park is very optimistic about the early season striper fishing. He said there are stripers all over Barnegat Bay and he expects the fishing to be better than last year in the early going. Grumpy’s has bloodworms in stock and they will be at the Edison show on March 15. 

Paul at Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Botton on LBI said they are all ramped up for stripers and he’s feeling pretty good about the season. White perch fishing has been very good in the Mullica River and the bass have been hitting the perch baits. 

Bill at Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor Township said everyone there is excited for the striper season to open. There have been some stripers caught by white perch anglers but they have been on the small side, under 20 inches. The perch fishing, he said, has been very good in the local rivers and creeks. 

Tara at Tight Lines Bait and Tackle in Somers Point said they’re all ready with bloodworms in stock for Friday. The white perch bite has been good in the local rivers and streams and she hopes it will be the same for spring stripers.  

Best Bets for the Weekend

The long-awaited striper season in rivers and bays opens on Friday. And, if the weather cooperates, suffering bass anglers will finally get a shot at their favorite target.  

Stripers have been reported in the back of Raritan Bay, Barnegat Bay and the Toms and Mullica rivers. Most shops are carrying bloodworms, a spring striper favorite, and are stocked with small plugs and soft plastics that are effective bass baits this time of year. 

You can also visit the Asbury Park Fishing Show, one of the oldest and best plug shows in the country. It’s this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park. 

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