New Jersey Fishing Report- February 8, 2024

White perch feed in the rivers, blackfishing is a slow pick, and the freshwater ponds are giving up pickerel, crappie and largemouth bass.

New Jersey Fishing Report

At least the sun came out. After days of gray, sunshine returned to the Jersey Shore at the start of the week. 

But the people who thought it might spark better fishing were in for a letdown. Blackfishing has been slow with shorts making up most of the catch. There have been ling, pollock and some cod caught as well but it’s been a pick at best. 
Freshwater anglers are having the most luck with panfish, pickerel and largemouth bass. 

Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park heard very little in the way of action this week with the exception of store customer Chris Sellino catching his personal best blackfish, a 15½-pound tog, on a Jigging World Ghost Hunter 150 spinning rod. 

Tackle World in Rochelle Park shared this photo of Chris Sellino with his personal best blackfish of 15.5 pounds caught last Friday aboard the Sea Owl.

Patrick Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said the Back Bay Day storewide sale last Sunday was a huge success with the stock of 130 Back Bay lures selling out in about 30 minutes. As far as fishing goes, it’s very quiet but his hopes are up with the improving weather. The shop expects its first order of bloodworms by the end of the week if all goes according to plan. There are white perch to be caught in the rivers feeding Raritan Bay, he said. The Tackle Box will be at the Hi-Mar Fishing Flea Market this Saturday in Port Monmouth. 

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said the shop will return to regular hours by the second or third week of March. There will be a lot of new rods, reels, lures and tackle coming into the shop this spring, he added. 

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said the freshwater anglers are having all the fun with perch, crappie and largemouth. Gleason said they are getting ready for Surf Day at Brookdale Community College on Feb 17 where Tak will be introducing two new plug makers that are now available at the shop.  

Jesse Thomas at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said it’s been slow there with just a few boats still fishing. The Ocean Explorer continues to sail for tog, pollack and cod but the Big Mohawk will be heading to the yard for maintenance and then back fishing in April. 

Kyle Tanger at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said the only thing he heard this week was birds diving on unidentified bait at the Manasquan Inlet. Other than that, it was freshwater action. Fishermen’s Supply will be at Surf Day on the 17th and Tanger said there will be plenty of rods, reels and tackle to choose from. 

The Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach is now taking care of maintenance but will be putting some offshore wreck trips on the schedule for March.  Check the website for details. 

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach continues to sail for blackfish and has spots available on open boats trips scheduled for this weekend.  

Dennis Palmatier at the Hook House in Toms River said the perch bite has been slow in the Toms River. One reason, Palmatier said, is that there hasn’t been a whole lot of people trying.  He does have blood worms in stock. He, too, said freshwater fishing has been good with a number of nice pickerel caught. 

Scott Thomas at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said there are white perch being caught back in Barnegat Bay on clams and grass shrimp. He expects bloodworms in the shop by the end of the week. Perch anglers are also getting stripers as bycatch. Backwater striper season doesn’t open until March 1. To help anglers get the most out of their spring striper fishing, Grumpy’s is holding a special free seminar, Targeting Early Backwater Bass, on Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. at the shop. Details are on Grumpy’s Facebook page. 

Korey Renart at Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island said there’s a decent perch bite in the Mullica River. He added that the few boats that are still sailing for blackfish are finding some big ones on the local wrecks. 

Carl at Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor Township said it was a quiet week there. He had good reports of perch fishing in the local rivers last week but it went quiet the last few days. 

Tara at Tight Lines Bait and Tackle in Somers Point said the perch fishing picked up in the Mullica and Great Egg rivers this past week. She said they will be getting bloodworms in by the weekend. 

Best Bets for the Weekend

There’s milder weather on the way for the weekend for those anxious to wet a line. Freshwater species offer the best chance to catch a fish with perch, crappie, pickerel and largemouth bass biting in local ponds and lakes. 

You can also head to the Hi-Mar Fishing Flea Market and Seminar Series this Saturday, Feb. 10 at VFW Post 2179 in Port Monmouth. Doors open at 8 a.m. 

Other upcoming events are Surf Day, Feb. 17 at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, the Asbury Park Fishing Show, March 3 at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park and the Saltwater Expo is in Edison, March 15 to 17. 

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