The annual Southern Regional Fishing Flea Market is coming up quick!
Save The Date: Saturday 2/11/23
The event is in the Southern Regional Middle School cafeteria.
Doors open at 8am for public.
All proceeds benefit the Southern Regional High School Fishing Club. The money raised goes to offset the cost of fishing trips for the club/students and also fund the scholarships for four year members of the club.
We are looking forward to seeing you at this year’s show.
First and foremost Happy New Year! Thank you to everyone for a great 2022. It was a fishy fun filled year! We wish you tight lines in 2023. May your many trophy fish dreams come true. Let us at Fish Heads meet and beat your expectations this new year.
This week was much more mild compared to last week’s cold snap. Most anglers getting out are targeting blackfish. Some went deep for sea bass and a few are still catching striped bass too! For a look at the current Barnegat Inlet temperatures take a look at the end/bottom of the post.
On the black fishing front, the rock solid bite that went strong most of December hit the brakes with last week’s cold snap. The inshore wrecks and reefs were very good but the Artic weather took over and sunk to slow the action. Most anglers reported slow to sporadic fishing with better reports coming from the deeper water areas where the bottom temps held up better. It seemed that white crabs were doing best. As the temperatures creep back up we expect the bite to too. Dante from Magictails is fishing as hard as always getting out every weather. He has tagged and released a lot of big monster tog this year. On Wednesday he couldn’t get this one to swim away. It weighed on the shop scale at 18.35#, a true monster!!!
We get asked many times a day… “Are there still tog biting in Barnegat inlet?” We can’t say there is a bite but it’s possible you might find a fish or two. This seal was caught eating some tog in the inlet on Monday by Eric Tell.
Striped bass, Yup they are still around! Few to no reports off the surf but if the temperatures stay mild there will be schoolies in the suds all of January. As far as striped bass in the ocean we had two recent reports. Captain Mark aboard the Waterproof reported finding striped bass on top during their ride to go tog fishing (inside 3 miles). He said catching them was quick and easy. Another report came in on Friday (12/30) from Captain Mike Greene aboard the Luckey Stripes. He said tog fishing wasn’t good, alot of small fish, but striped bass fishing was. “28-34″ bass on bunker. They were all hanging on the surface slow motion rolling only a couple miles from Barnegat Inlet.”
Deep water sea bass fishing was on tap with anglers getting out and catching. A recent report came in from Zach P, a Fish Head’s team employee home from college for the holidays. He was out fishing aboard the Voyager out of Point Pleasant and caught a bunch of black sea bass and a couple weakfish. We received more positive deep water bottom fishing reports from other local anglers getting out there. Unfortunately this fishery is closed Jan 1, 2023.
Reminder, today 12/31/22 is the last day of the 2022 Striped Bass Bonus Program. 2022 Permits/tags are NOT valid in 2023. Be sure to submit logbooks before January 15, in order to be eligible for 2023. All harvests were to be reported at time of event but if not done, get it in now. 2023 Applications usually start up in the early springtime.
Another reminder 2022 Fishing Regulations and Limits remain in effect until official updates are published by the state. Stay tuned to the winter meetings to see how things play out.
Below are two screen shots from the Barnegat Inlet tide and temperature gauge. Before looking know that the location of the gauge is USCG Station Barnegat Light which means that it is in the bay, just inside the inlet. The gauge records bay waters on the outgoing tide/current and ocean waters on the incoming tide/current. The one month chart/graphs show a steep temperature drop on the evening of 12/23. December 24th LBI was frigid, icy flooding, hard west winds. There was a morning windchill of -12º and a wild sea smoke sunrise. The cold stuck around for a few days but since Christmas the temperatures has slowly trended warmer and just got back to the 40º mark.
The water temperatures are cold; skim ice in the lagoons, bay at 37º near the BI marker, ocean in the mid to upper 40’s depending on the area. The weather has been brutal with very short weather windows but “open” there’s fishing opportunities for those who still can’t shake the itch. Both striped bass and tog were caught Wednesday and Thursday. Also heard of a nice bluefin tuna caught too.
Here’s a late season Fishing LBI Report Update for the Long Beach Island area, most likely the last one of the year.
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy New Year!
Striped Bass Fishing
The prime bass fishing from the beach and boat is well behind us but there are fishing opportunities for those looking. Recent weather windows proved to be successful for a couple boats working the troll. Mark Dear reported good fishing on Wednesday fishing off of Brigantine in 40-50′ of water. He said all of the fish were caught on whiote mojos, “Birds were around and we were marking a ton of fish.” Sounds like they also could have tried dropping some spoons or jigs.
Off the surf there is little participation but anglers are picking some schoolies. Joe Handley reported peanut bunker and a couple striped bass on the LBI surf, “They (peanut bunker) were stretched out patchy the length of the Island pretty much all day Wednesday. I was snagging and putting them, out on a Carolina rig. Some bait pods has bass. I caught 4 mega fat shorts.”
Store staffer Paul has been putting in time off the surf and has been finding a few small bass fishing a AVA Diamond Jig rigged up with teaser.
Blackfish – Tautog – Tog Fishing
Tautog fishing is good when weather allows boats to get out. Right now and into the new year it will be the main game for anglers looking to get tight and bend a rod. Right now we are fully stocked up on tog baits and tackle. We have live green crabs and white crabs however it’s uncertain how long we will have these prime baits stock.
Every year in the Thanksgiving to Christmas timeframe we get a shot at some nice bluefin moving through our area. Usually these fish are taken on popping gear. This time of year it is not for the faint of heart as conditions can be brutal. Here’s a recent catch by Alex Widney fishing aboard Rum Tales with Capt Fred Soper.
Tonight (12/20/22) was NJ’s Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) hearing on Draft Addendum I to Amendment 7 to the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fisheries Management Plan (FMP). If not aware, there is consideration to allow commercial quote transfers of striped bass. As mind boggling as it might sound, it is true. There was a piss poor turn out, peaked at 40 attendees, but fortunately the majority was there to support striped bass conservation.
Current Bass Situation
Despite a really great fall run we all experienced in NJ the coast wide striped bass stock is NOT in great shape! The 2022 Stock Assessment tells us the striped bass female spawning stock biomass is overfished. Right now we are on track, at best slated for a 78.6% chance we will meet the goal to rebuild by 2029. Managers must take prudent action to rebuild the stock, NOT facilitate more removals. Transfers could elevate F (fishing mortality) and undermine the rebuilding goal.
The only option that should be considered is Option A Status Quo – Transfers NOT permitted.
Please comment now!
Give thanks to the striped bass and show them support by taking the time now to comment for conservation. Keep it short and simple… Provide your name, your home town state and “I support Option A, No commercial transfer permitted.”
Deadline for public comments is January 13, 2023 11:59PM Email: email@example.com Subject: “Striped BAss Draft Addendum I”
For a more details watch the ASMFC video on the topic…
Here’s a short late fall fishing report update from the beaches of Long Beach Island. With the many days of foul weather, lots of wind and swell there are few reports to share. Many of the surf anglers battling the conditions reported most beaches are weedy, especially mid-Island. Fortunately we did hear a couple catch reports from fishable beaches. There is without a doubt bass in the suds on LBI however it isn’t epic fishing. The striped bass are mostly smaller schoolies but a few keepers were caught recetnly. hitting small lures and teasers. Anglers are also picking a couple on bunker, but getting fresh will be difficult. Demand had dropped off so we are no longer able to supply.
Yesterday Dante from Magictails was on the north end surf and caught one striped bass plugging. His buddy also had one too. Another surf catch report came in from Greg Davis who got one plugging. Also Jimmy Betz got a 30.25″ on bunker.
With the LBI Surf Fishing Tournament ending Sunday and the recent trend of a smaller class of bass, weigh-in reports will be few and far between. With the mild temperatures we are confident fish will be caught on the surf for the rest of the year, maybe beyond.
Sorry no boat reports, few if any have been able to get out in recent days. When the weather settles down we expect late season stripers to offer some fun BUT tog will be the name of the game!
The striper bite is relentless. Every day brings blitz style fishing to the shoreline from Belmar to Seaside. Thousands of birds, pick your own flock, surfacing stripers. We haven’t had to troll yet. Everything has been on surface plugs and soft plastics on light spinning gear. This is a migration run for the ages.
Running Open Boat or Charter Monday, Dec 5, 7AM to 3PM. $275 person, 4 people max, all fish are shared.
Here’s a short fishing report update to supplement yesterdays deeper dive. Today Tuesday 29th was another really great day of striped bass fishing on light tackle. Top water and the jig were crushing fish. The large body of striped bass has not moved much. If anything they pushed a little north into the morning wind/current. They are still HUNGRY too. This is about as good as it gets! In the morning fishing was good. As the day went on, the wind dropped out and the fishing ignited. It fired up even better going from really good, to great, to well… you had to be on the bite. Fortunately there were not 100’s of boats driving over the fish so was much better!
I tried to keep today’s video short on the report side of things to prevent being a broken record. I wanted to share some helpful tips on strategizing your approach with lures. I hope it brings some value and better fishing to you!
The back stretch of November and December is traditionally very good to anglers of Long Beach Island. Whether hunting striped bass or tog there’s great opportunities right now for both beach and boat fishing.
Here in the final days of November we must look back on recent days and weeks to give thanks for a November To Remember! BUT also keep focused and keep a wet line as the biomass of striped bass is still here now and feeding on their southerly migration. If you got in on the recent fire fishing, great! We are stoked to hear. If you haven’t, now’s the time to give a go. I don’t see any snow or wintery mix in any of the upcoming weather systems. Below normal temps Thursday night and Friday but likely above normal Saturday and normal temperatures to follow after the weekend so things look promising!
Here’s my most recent video report update which I forgot to post here on the blog in a timely fashion. This is one good reason to subscribe to the Youtube Channel to get notified as soon as they go live! I’ll do my best to get another one up to close out the month or kick off the new month of December. Stay tuned.
For the most part the past two weeks LBI was left out (a touch too far south) of the historic day after day bass blitzes. But anglers fishing the Island have caught some fish (more so since Thanksgiving day), just nothing like the magnitude or day to day consistency like up north. Hungry striped bass ranging from schoolies to overs (and more than occasionally some trophy size fish in the mix) rolling on bait; peanut bunker, scattered adult bunker, butterfish, squid, herring. Some days bass feeding for miles. It’s just an absolute beautiful “Nat Geo” site to see and witness the what seems to me as a really health striped bass stock (despite what data and managers are say, the opposite). Top water, metal lips, gliders, spooks, on the fly, light tackle or trolling umbrellas and mojos… Take Your Pick, Pick Your Poison.
Looking back on November all I can say is it proved to be one of if not the best month for local striped bass fishing out of the year. Fishing comfortably in t-shirt and jeans, just about the whole first half of the month. It was mild until about November 13/14/15, when the cold snap came and temps fell fast.
The Barnegat Inlet water temperatures dropped from 61º to 51º on the 13/14th and it was then that the back bay bass activity, arguably one of the best “bay runs” this area has seen in many many years, shut down. The inlet bite, also one that was phenomenal, came to somewhat of an abrupt stop. The fish didn’t disappear the activity just stopped due to the cold snap. As things settled and fish acclimated, it crept back but not nearly a crumb of the cake we had. What a sweat cake it was! I shared info on the bite as it materialized and cranked on and on, so I hope each and everyone got a piece of it. I know Jason Peak (photo below) amongst many others put in a lot of time and scored numerous great nights of fishing on the bay.
With all of that said, there’s a good showing of bait still in the bay, lagoons and coves. Soon this will exiting and join the party out front. I’m still fishing hard as I know there’s a lot more to come, especially for the Long Beach Island beaches. More on that topic below.
The Barnegat Inlet tog fishing was on fire during this same time period. It too was slowed by the cold but the tog fishing held up significantly better. Eventually, the majority moved off to the many inshore/mid-shore wrecks and reef sites that they will call home for the winter. Sure there’s still some land based tog fishing to enjoy but for the most part that season is setting. The ocean areas are most productive now and will be into the New Year. Fish live green crabs and white leggers on a rig or jig and enjoy the fun! As of today (Monday) we have both greenies and whites in stock available for sale in half bushels (15#) or full bushels (30#). As always we sell greenies by the dozen too.
LBI Surf Fishing Report
The weigh ins for the LBI Surf FIshing Classic (Live Results Page) trickled in, a couple a day, up until the 19th when there were none until the 25th. The 6 day period (19-24)was for the most part dead on LBI while areas north had epic fishing. The good news is, the LBI surf fishing got going on Black Friday 25th and is rolling along, slow and steady. At times some great fishing took place, on the north end one day, the south end the next and a couple flurries in between. Nothing consistent but we hope to see things kick into another gear.
Sunday afternoon Dante from Magictails (and a long time LBI surf rat and sharpie) reported on his first trip out on the beach in weeks, “The exist! I was told there are not fish on LBI! I caught a dozen in the 24-34” range on bucktails and metal lip swimmers. Fishing my new Magictail Rods, 8′ medium one piece rod it was a blast. We smoked the bass on the boat with the rod all fall but today it proved to be perfect for the surf too. It’s exactly what I designed it for, an all around versatile saltwater fishing rod.” There aren’t many one piece 8′ rods in the market place yet there should be since it’s the perfect size for a rod that can do all with tog and striped bass… Fish the surf, Fish the boat, Fish the jetty. Check them out today at the shop. We have them in stock and on display.
Bill Tyson shared this report, “I fished the mid-island south during this afternoon’s outgoing tide and got into a few striped bass in close. Lost one in the wash but was able to land one 26″ fish. Used my bonus tag to score it for dinner. A big shout out to the team at Fisherman’s Headquarters! I caught this fish on my new St.Croix and Penn Slammer combo with a 6″ paddle tail that the team recommended. Paul at the shop helped me and also let me know that the bass were biting on the south end today.”
Pat Ciervo caught a red drum off the LBI surf on bunker Monday. The fish was over the 18-27″ slot so it was safely released.