2024 NJ Saltwater Fishing Regulations, Seasons, Size & Bag Limit Laws

If you don’t know, let it go! So know before you go! Here’s an overview of the New Jersey Recreational Fishing Regulations, Season, Size & Bag Limit Laws for recreational anglers listed by species with the open seasons, minimum size limits and bag limits. This way you know!

Updated: March 22, 2024

2024 NJ Recreational Fishing Regulations, Seasons, Size & Bag Limit Laws

Click To Here To Download Printable PDF Version

All attempts made to ensure accuracy; however, fishery rules are subject to change. The data conveniently complied above was derived from the NJ Fish & Wildlife and NOAA Fisheries.

Saltwater Fishing in New Jersey does not require a fishing license however all anglers must participate in the Free NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program – Join &/or Renew Now!

How To Properly Measure a Fish

To obey fisheries laws it is very important that anglers know how to properly measure a fish. A fish is always (unless the state or federal law states otherwise) measured flat in a straight line, using a bump board under the fish with the mouth closed measuring the overall length to the end of the tail. When measuring Black Sea Bass always exclude the tail filament. Pursing (lightly squeezing) the tail is acceptable and proper. It is especially important with Striped Bass!

With the current slot limits with summer flounder and striped bass it is very important that anglers carry a bump board because a tape measure doesn’t always allow for the easiest measuring. Best The Gator Grip Aluminum Bump Boards are awesome!

There are situations/species that call for different measurements.

  • In the case of tuna, Curved Fork Length which is measured over the top of the fish by following the curve of the fish’s body from the tip of the ja to the inside fork of the tail.
  • In the case of billfish, Lower-Jaw Fork Length which is measured in a straight line from the tip of the lower jaw to the inside fork of the tail.
  • In the case of sharks, Fork Length which is measured in a straight line from the snout to the inside fork of the tail.

Proper Handling & Releasing Of Fish

Responsible fishing practices are very important as recreational anglers we all must fish with respect and respect the resource. Land fish as quickly as possible to prevent exhaustion. When applicable use a rubber mesh net to land. Handle with care and never touch gills. Be prepared with de-hooking device for quick hook removal. Always work with care to minimize injury. For best chance of survival, deep hook situations may require cutting the leader close to the hook. When releasing, be sure to revive the fish first. Always use circle hooks (non offset, non stainless) when using live or dead baits. Consider pinching hook barbs and replacing treble hooks with inline hooks on lures. It is the angler’s responsibility to reduce mortality!

Need Help Identifying Species?

Shark Identification Chart

Identification of Atlantic Tunas

Commonly Confused Mackerel & Tuna Species

Herring & Shad Identification Tips

Fishing Report 4/9/24 – Striped Bass & Tog On Tap

We finally catch a break and real Spring weather comes to town. The days of torrential rain and lots of wind were really getting old and depressing. In recent days a lot of anglers have shook off the winter dust and got fresh air and into some active fishing here in and around Long Beach Island. Here’s the Fishing LBI Report Update for April 9, 2024.

What Fish Are Biting Around LBI?

The primary target species right now are striped bass and blackfish also known as tautog or tog for short. Both of these are on great targets for land based and boat anglers. Also on tap in the April brine are species such as white perch, winter flounder, black drum, bluefish, cod, weakfish and kingfish. Now’s the time to go fishing!

Here is my latest fishing report video from Monday morning.

The chart above showing the Barnegat Bay water temperature off of Waretown shows the recent sunny warm days have the waters warming. The afternoon outgoing tides peaked at 53º 4PM Sunday and then 57.5º yesterday around the same time. It’s all about the sun! There’s no better time to fish the early spring then sunny afternoons as the warming gets the fish fired up and active. It’s very common to have a spring bite shut down like a flip of a switch with a tide/current change with the introduction of colder water. Look out for this and prepare accordingly to maximize your potential time on the water.

Early April Striped Bass Fishing Report

The surf has been quite with only a couple surf side catch reports. One catch recently and the other we shared about a month ago during that first warm break from winter. The area’s best striped bass fishing is in the bay. The bass are being caught with live bloodworm which we have in stock right now. Also some anglers are fishing salted clam as fresh have not been available to us just yet. We will have them as soon as possible. We know anglers are looking for them and the black drum are looking for them too!

Emmit from Top Notch Tackle Rigs was out this past weekend and got into some bass (photo above, right side). [We are fully stocked on his locally tied, fish catching rigs that are great for a variety of species. Be sure to check them out.] Emmit and Bobby Capri got into some good fishing catching both striped bass and black drum.

When not at the shop, store staffer Paul has been on the water picking at bass. He had a couple guides and put his clients on fish fishing worms and lures. Fish Heads Alumni Eddy (photo above, middle) has been catching too. We have had numerous other catch reports from the bay in the shop daily.

Usually we see a run of black drum and blues in April as well as surf side striped bass. This can pop off any day!

Simply Bassin’ – LBI’s Spring Fishing Derby / Tournament kicked April 6th. Sign up now for this spring fishing event. Also be sure to participate in the catch and release Spring Surf Master Division.

Early April Tautog Fishing Report

Tog season is open the whole month of April and anglers are catching. Land based anglers are catching tog on the Northend of LBI at the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. There tog are eating crabs fished on a rig or jig. For more details stop in the shop. On the bait side of things, at the time of this post we have both greens crabs and white crabs in stock.

Finally the ocean has settled enough (still a 2-3’+ ground swell today but light winds) to let anglers get offshore and hunt the snags. Tony Butch was out fishing with Fish Head Alumni Bill Bassant and another friend yesterday and they reported a fun day on the water. Tony shared this report…

Bite wasn’t on fire, but we managed to put together a 3 man limit picking of keeper sized fish. There was spurts of good life, followed by lulls. Maybe it was due to the water being in it’s early season cold state or maybe things haven’t settled enough after the recent storms. Moving around on the structure was the ticket for us.  Biggest one I ended up catching the biggest one of the day, just over 8lbs (photo above, left side) and released it to swim another day. Hopefully that will bring some good karma for the 2024 fishing season!

Reel Fantasea Fishing Charts

Captain Steve Purul has been in the shop a lot over the past couple weeks gearing up for the spring fishing season. He is in the water, fishing and catching like he always does. He shared this report…

I got our first scouting trip of the year and though it was a bit more scouting than catching we did manage to avoid the shutout with a nice scrappy 26” striper. It clobbered a Tsunami Split-Tail on a well appointed Fish Head’s light spinning tackle. We did have a few other hits that we missed. The sonar indicating a few more tight lipped spectators below. With the weather improving with both temperatures and less precipitation as well as the return of recent seasonal visitors (dolphins, laughing gulls and ospreys) I think this week will translate into a much better jump in local action! I have this weekend available for private or open boat fishing opportunities if you find yourself needing to get back out on the brine!
Captain Steve 609-290-1217 – Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters

March “Striper” Madness

Striped Bass Season was pretty much in gear since Day 1, very productive fishing and action each trip out with good quality Bayside Schoolie Stripers from 25”-30” attacking artificial presentations.
Mother Nature provided good weather conditions around the Moon and it was Fish’On.

Pictured Here: is a good fish that just recently smacked a Yo-Zuri Twitch Bait that I bought at Fishermans Headquarters LBI NJ

So the NJ Striped Bass season is off to a great start and will only get better as we now head into April.

“ April Showers brings Big May Stripers”

Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC 609-276-6983 / Email: Nightstrikes@comcast.net / For More Info

Easter Fishing Report

From all of us at Fish Heads… Happy Easter!

The striped bass remain active, a little less active than earlier in the month, but both bait and lures are catching day and night. The early season areas remain the epicenter, back bays, rivers and tributaries. Here on Long Beach Island there has been good fishing the entire month of March on the Ship Bottom bayside as well as the Causeway Bridge access points. We expect this to continue for all of April. A bigger class of striped bass have moved into the greater region with classy fish recently in the Delaware River and Raritan Bay. April is always a great month and we are looking forward to it.

Monday April 1st is opening day of New Jersey’s blackfishing season opens. Right now we have both green crabs and white crabs as well as all top tog tackles. Stop in and gear up today for this short but awesome one month season!

Just a heads up we are closing early today but will be back on Monday.

Wahoo & Tuna Fishing Seminar 4/6/24

For the most part targeting wahoo in the region has been an underground thing. In the past couple years wahoo have become a more popular target species and the demand for info and specific tackle has increased significantly. Captain Dave Adams (from Tormenter Tackle, base out of West Palm Beach Florida) shared his plan for a couple fishing seminars in the north east and asked me to help.

Save The Date! This Saturday April 6th we are having a Wahoo & Tuna Fishing Seminar at the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club House. Bring a friend, enjoy the seminar, ask questions, network with other anglers and talk fishing with an ice cold beverage.

This event is free and open to the public. Cash Bar. There will be door prizes, tackle raffle, giveaways and special sales. Also Tormenter is offering an opportunity to participate in a chance to Win A Trip To Cabo.

When: Saturday, April 6th from 5:30PM to 7:30PM
Where: BHMTC – 420 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Beach Haven, NJ 08008

LBI Fishing Report – March 25, 2024

Even with the recent chill, heavy rain and windy conditions, striped bass fishing continues to be good in the back bays and rivers. Today, Monday March 25th is the full moon of March which was named by the Native Americans, the Worm Moon. So far the early spring fishing has been good and things look promising as we approach Easter. We are looking forward to more fun striped bass fishing as well as perch, winter flounder, black drum and in the not too distant future… weakfish and blues! {Fingers Crossed}

Right now we have a beautiful batch of live bloodworms available at the shop, both regulars and jumbos. These are the best baits option to catch both striped bass and perch. We also have small jars of preserved grass shrimp which are fantastic for white perch too.

If you are looking to fish artificials… 3 and 5″ NLBN and Kettle Creeks are my go to producers.  Also minnow swimming plugs such as the Guides Secret Slim Twitchy (formerly called the Skinny Minnie), Daiwa SP Minnows (size 13/15), Yozuri Mag Darters (in the smaller sizes) and Rapala X-Rap Jerk Baits (in the smaller sizes) are great option.

Spring Tog Fishing!

The one month long spring tog fishing season is almost here!  On April 1, the nj recreational blackfish – tautog – tog season opens. For more info on the NJ Fishing Limits, Seasons & Regulations check out this detailed post.

 We have all the tog jigs and tog rigs ready to pick up.

Also if you are looking for a new rod or reel for this season we are stocked up with great options in a variety of price points all at competitive prices. Stop in at Fisherman’s Headquarters to get geared up.

LBI Fishing Report 3/14/24

Beautiful weather has really turned on the early spring fishing here in the Long Beach Island area. Recent days have offered good fishing for striped bass in the bay with bloodworms. Some days bait was hard to get but, this afternoon we got a nice delivery of bloods and we expect more tomorrow so we should be stocked up for the weekend.

Be sure to check out the Saltwater Fishing Expo this weekend… Friday, Saturday, Sunday! We will be at booth 401. Stop by and say hi. Click here for more info on the show.

By now we hope you have seen either the gannets in person or the videos we have been sharing on social. For a number of days, we have had a lot of gannets hammering on bait. This afternoon we got our first striped bass report from the LBI surf… here is a link to a short video.

Long Beach Island Fishing Spots

Here’s a list of Long Beach Island fishing spots to enjoy fishing and crabbing on the Island. The spots are listed from north to south. Please have fun, be safe, treat these areas as if they were your precious secret spot and always be respectful to the area and others. Carry out what your carry in! Leave the place cleaner than you found it!

North End Fishing

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

Old Barny Light House, Barnegat Light (N39.764352, W74.106227)

Located at the northern tip of Long Beach Island, Barnegat Light offers a variety of fishing opportunities. The bayside, the Inlet and the surf (front beach) are all fishy areas for many different species during the year. 

Barnegat Light’s Inlet Jetty (aka South Jetty)

Barnegat Inlet’s Jetty (aka South Jetty) is a very productive area to fish any time of year for a variety of species. The most popular species are striped bass and bluefish as well as tog and fluke. Anglers fish the rips near the lighthouse and along the concrete walk way. Some explore and creep the jetty further out. Depending on the day, conditions and tide fishing can be great anywhere along the Jetty. Please use extreme caution when fishing the rocks especially when wet. Be safe and wear the appropriate footwear like Korkers jetty cleats to ensure footing.

Barnegat Light’s Town Beaches

Barnegat Light’s Town Beaches (surf) are known for holding big trophy striped bass in the prime time season. These beaches are also great for fluke. Keep in mind some areas have very long dune paths to reach the water’s edge.

Barnegat Light’s Bayside

Barnegat Light’s Bayside has a large length of public bulkhead. This begins behind the Condos (4th and 5th Street) and continues to the area at the “end of the road” that is right outside the entrance to the park. This entire area can be very good and a great place with protection when the wind and swell have the Inlet churned up. In season tog fishing as well as fluke fishing here is very good. There are some snags in areas. This area can be great at night when the street lights draw in bait and feeding predators. Another area to fish the North End’s bayside is the open area south of the Barnegat Light Bay Beach (light tackle fluke or top water bass) and High Bar Harbor Dike.

The Dike – High Bar Harbor

The Dike at High Bar Harbor, Barnegat Light (N39.758111, W74.119707)

The Dike is a peninsula of land that extends out into the bay offering anglers a variety of options. Fly fisherman love the diversity of the water from shallow rolling flats to deep fast moving water. Barnegat Bay’s main thoroughfares Double Creek Channel and Oyster Creek Channel merge at its tip producing beautiful rippy water that is great for targeting striped bass as well as fluke, bluefish and weakfish. The Dike’s close proximity to Barnegat Inlet is one of its key features. Any fish that moves in or out of Barnegat Bay by way of Barnegat Inlet has to move past the Dike. Fishing can be great on both the east and west side. Do not hike through the over grown trees. It is infested with poison ivy and ticks. CAUTION!!!

Directions to the Dike at High Bar Harbor:
Once on LBI, take Long Beach Blvd north to Barnegat Light. Turn left on 20th street and continue straight through the next intersection. Then as the road bends (to the left) make your first right and then another quick right onto Sunset Blvd. At the end of the road, the sandy trail is the entrance.

Harvey Cedars Bayside Pier

Sunset Park, Harvey Cedars (N39.693943, W74.143886)

Harvey Cedars Sunset Park has a pier for crabbing and fishing. It is located near the Harvey Cedars Water tower. The entrance to the park is at West Salem Ave.

Harvey Cedars has a few public street ends that are great to explore for fishing and crabbing. The surf fishing here can be very productive just like the town to the north Loveladies and to the south North Beach. Harvey Cedars used to have many large jetties however numerous rounds of beach replenishment have buried them. When there is swell in the water, Cedars is well know for having the largest surf on LBI as well as a break that is closer to shore. It is also know for beach erosion too so the beaches can be short and steep.

Mid-Island Fishing

Surf City Bayside

Surf City has many public street end bulkheads that can be fished and crabbed. Some are better and have more space than others; 24th, 13th, 3rd, North 1st and Shore Ave, South 2nd.

The Surf City Public Boat Ramp on the bayside of Division Ave has a small area on both sides of the ramp that can be utilized for fishing and crabbing.

Surf City Surf Fishing

The beaches of Surf City are great for surf fishing spring, summer and fall. However in the summer months they have been historically closed to fishing during the daytime lifeguard hours. For more specifics consult with the Surf City Beach Patrol. During this peak summer season, fish early or fish late in the day.

Ship Bottom Bayside

Our home town at the heart of Long Beach Island, Ship Bottom offers opportunity for vacationers and day trippers to fish and crab without traveling too far. The Rt 72 Causeway Bridges offers some of Long Beach Island’s best and easiest fishing and crabbing access. There are numerous areas around and under all four bridges. Between 3rd and 4th street on the bay there is small yet spacious “Remembrance Park” with public parking with a  dock/bulkhead. It is an area dedicated to the victims of 9/11. The 6th street bay area used to be an awesome fishing spot with a large and open sand lot. But LBI has experiences a lot of development over the decades. However there is a little spot that remains at the west end of 6th street. There is also an area on 5th with a Gazebo and benches but here is for sunset than fishing.

Robert Nissen Park (Ship Bottom Boat Ramp, Bayside)

Robert Nissen Park (Ship Bottom Boat Ramp) is located on the bayside in Ship Bottom (10th – 12th Street) on the south side of the Causeway entering Long Beach Island. There is a large gravel lot for parking and there is a four plus block water front that can be fished. The Ship Bottom Fishing & Crabbing Pier is located net to the boat ramp. Depending on the season a variety of species are on tap. Anglers can fish with light tackle in the summer and target snapper bluefish, weakfish, fluke, blowfish, kingfish and spot. Also in the warmer month it is a great place to night fishing for sharks and rays. In the fall and spring striped bass, bluefish and drum are frequently caught. The area is also a good winter flounder spot in season.

Beach Arlington Park (aka Sunset Park, Ship Bottom Bay Beach)

Beach Arlington Park (aka Sunset Park, Ship Bottom Bay Beach) is located between 13th-16th on the bay in Ship Bottom. It is a summer time bathing “bay beach” area that is very popular among families, but in the offseason it can be a very good area to fish the bayside. It is best fished wading because it is shallow in close. There is a channel within casting distance. Certain times of year striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, fluke, blowfish and black drum are cruising the channel. It is a great place to launch a kayak to fish the eastern bridges and Ship Bottom’s bayside islands.

Ship Bottom Crab Cove Pier

Ship Bottom Crab Cove Pier is located on the on Central Ave between 25th and 26th Street in Ship Bottom. It is a great place to crab in the summer time. It usually isn’t much of a fishing spot but at times in the summer it can have a few snappers. Get there early because it can be crazy mid day and especially on the weekends.

Ship Bottom Surf Fishing

The beaches of Ship Bottom offer easy access with great opportunities for surf fishing. Usually Ship Bottom is know for having an outer bar which is out of casting range. Here angler focus their attention on the long shore sloughs and the “cuts” flowing through the bar. In the various season, these areas hold striped bass, bluefish, fluke, kingfish among other species.

Long Beach Township

Long Beach Township makes up a long stretch of the Island between Ship Bottom and Beach Haven. This open stretch of beach is great for surf fishing but like all of LBI, there’s shifting sandbars so the cuts and hole change frequently. Scout around and you’ll find some great water for surf fishing. This section of Long Beach Township also has many public street ends that can be good for fishing an crabbing; 53rd, 59th Kimberly, 67th Pier at Bayview Park, Harrington, Jeanette, Bayberry, Jerome, Alabama, California, Hideaway Bay/Cove bulkhead and kayak launch, Colorado, Utah, Mac Evoy, Ramapo,  Ohio, Indiana, 32-29, 15-13.

From Brant Beach’s 31st street (bordering Ship Bottom’s south side) to 13th Street in North Beach Haven (bordering Beach Haven’s north side) the mid-Island stretch of Long Beach Township is 5.3 miles of open public beaches. Here surf anglers will find similar beach set ups to Ship Bottom and Surf City with variety. Some areas are wide while and other areas short. Some have sandbars in close and others are further out. Like all of LBI the beaches change often.

South End Fishing

Beach Haven

Home to one of LBI’s largest surf side rock jetties, Holyoak Avenue, Beach Haven has great surf fishing for a variety of species in the spring, summer and fall. In the summer, fishing is allowed outside of the lifeguard flag designated bathing and surfing area of the beach.

Beach Haven Public Docks

The Queen City of LBI, Beach Haven has a large Public Dock area with phenomenal fishing. It is located at the west end of 2nd Street Dock Road. The bulkhead/boardwalk area has plenty of parking. The area offers some of the Island’s best bayside fishing. Depending on the season, a variety of species are on tap. In the summertime it is a great place to target weakfish, striped bass, fluke as well as sharks at night. In the spring and fall stripers love to cruise the lights at night looking for small bait.

There is also a public bay front area at west end of 9th and also Taylor ave however it isn’t great for fishing or crabbing. If trying here, it is better to use the northern end of the property just don’t restrict access to the boat launch. Other spots to explore include Center, Engleside, Amber, Coral as well as numerous street ends along West Ave. Technically it’s the town of Holgate, Rosemma Ave has a skinny access trail to the marshland – sod bank which is a historic fishing spot adjacent to the Clam Cove Reserve. Do not trespass on private property.

Holgate – Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

Edwin B. Forsythe Holgate Unit, Long Beach Township (N39.531009, W74.263405)

Located at the southern tip of Long Beach Island, the Holgate Unit of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is part of Forsythe’s designated Wilderness Area. It consists of more than 400 acres of barrier beaches, dunes and tidal salt marsh. One of New Jersey’s last remaining undeveloped barrier islands.

Holgate is a beautiful stretch of beach to fish during the day or night. It offers phenomenal fishing in the early fall during the mullet run (September) when bass, blues and fluke go crazy over mullet that are pouring out of the bay. The back side offers great clamming. Take note of daily tides and wind/swell forecast. Sometime around the moons the extreme tides can steal beach fast, cutting off the driving path at certain spots. Some times anglers are trapped and have to stay until the next tide. Use extreme caution and always make sure you have enough gas.

Holgate is best fished via 4×4 (need Long Beach Township permit) but there are opportunities for anglers with out a beach buggy too. Take Long Beach Blvd south all the way to the parking lot at the end of the road. This lot is a good place to park for those without 4×4, looking to fish the front beach via walk on access. HOWEVER!!!! This area, better known as Beach One and the Wooden Jetty, is one of the most popular surfing beaches on the Island, state and even region. If looking to fish this area do so at night or when when flat clam. We do not advise fishing here during sunlight hours as it is ruled with surfers.

Beach One Jetty is straight off of Washington Ave and the Wooden Jetty is the groin to the south. In Feb 2019 a metal “terminal groin” was sistered along side of the Wooden Jetty to help hold sand on Beach One and arguably protect the dunes and parking lot. It arguably created significantly more erosion to its south which in time very well may cut off access to the Refuge and become Beach Haven Inlet again.

**Access to Holgate is subject to special regulations. Pedestrians are allowed only on the beach and must stay out of the dunes to protect this fragile habitat. Vehicles are not permitted above the high tide line and a permit must be obtained from Long Beach Township for access to the site. The Holgate Unit is usually open to beach buggies September 1 through March 31 or as posted. Information on current status of vehicle access and beach buggy permits can be obtained from Long Beach Township at (609) 361-1000 or the Long Beach Township Police department at (609) 494-3322.

Fishing Spots on the Mainland

The following are fishing spots on the mainland not far from Long Beach Island. The spots are listed from north around Cedar Creek in Bayville down to south areas of the Mullica River.

John C Bartlett County Park

Bayville, NJ (N39.8229550, W74.1607102)

The Berkeley Island Park is a great to enjoy the Barnegat Bay with lots of area for both fishing and crabbing. There’s ample parking, a lot of dock space and a T-pier.

Laurel Boulevard Bay Front

Lanoka Harbor, NJ (N39.8229550, W74.1607102)

Along Laurel Blvd there are a couple public areas to fish. One, at the sand beach by the Gazebo. Two, to the south of there by the bend in the road.

Forked River Bay Front Park

Forked River, NJ (N39.8229550, W74.1607102)

This open area with public parking and some area to fish. It is the area just to the south side of the Forked River. It has a playground so it’s good for kids.

Oyster Creek Outflow

Oyster Creek Rt. 9 Bridge – Lacey Township, NJ (N39.811231, W74.199641)

The Oyster Creek Power Generating Station’s warm water discharge offered decades of awesome fishing as the hot spot held great year round fishing. It was shut down in 2018 Oyster Creek and subsequently the warm water outflow slowed and is nearly the same temperature as the bay. It was loved by stripers, weakfish, bluefish, winter flounder and anglers. Even in the cold of winter Oyster Creek would hungry striped bass. The hot bait was on bloodworm and the hot lures were small bucktails and soft plastics as well as small swimming plugs. Today fishing can be done at the Creek but it is not nearly as productive as it once was. Areas to fish are from the top of the east side of the Rt9 bridge. Do not fish the west side! And do not wonder around on the west side of Rt.9! The power plant has extra high security. It is best to cross the bridge and walk the Creek’s north side bank. Fish anywhere along the bank. Fishing can be good at the mouth of the creek however, access is difficult. Do not trespass on private property!

Directions to Oyster Creek: From LBI Take Rt.9 north past Waretown towards Forked River. You’re getting close once the Power Plants smoke stacks are visible. Park on the south side of the bridge and on the east side of the street. Park on the side of the street or in the small dirt lot. 

Waretown Public Docks

Waretown, NJ (N39.7914992, W74.1826289)

At the end of Bryant Road, this location has a nice long dock or T-pier for fishing and crabbing.

Barnegat Public Docks

Barnegat, NJ (N39.749315, W74.192656)

The Barnegat Township Public Docks and Municipal Boat Ramp has a large gravel public parking lot with a long stretch of boardwalk bulkheaded bay front dock. The area is well know for crabbing but it is also a great area to catch snapper during the day and weakfish at night when in season. When the bluefish invade Barnegat Bay another spot which is right around the corner is the Barnegat Public Bay Beach. It offers great fishing but you must wade out and use a longer rod like a 8 or 9′ light action plugging rod for more distance. Spring time bluefish action can be phenomenal where on poppers.

Directions to the Barnegat Public Docks: From the LBI area, take Rt.9 North. Once in Barnegat make right onto East Bay Ave. Continue over a small bridge and finally to the big gravel parking lot on the right side of the road with two story gazebo.

Bridge to No Where

Bridge to No Where, Stafford Township, NJ (N39.683927, W74.207613)

The Bridge to No Where is a very popular crabbing location that is located at the end of Stafford Ave. The Bridge was constructed in the 60-70’s by NJ Bell Telephone to run telephone poles and lines across the marshes. Since then it has been rundown and vandalized. Great crabbing! Look out for green heads!

Directions to the Bridge to No Where: From LBI take 72 west over all of the Causeway Bridges. Make right at first light, Marsha Drive then Left onto East Bay Ave. You will pass a gas station and marina on the right side. Then make a right on to Hilliard Blvd. Continue past the Manahawkin Elks Lodge Make a right onto Stafford Ave. The pot hole filled paved road will turn into gravel. Continue to the end of the road.

Cedar Run Dock Road

Dock Road Boat Ramp, Cedar Run, Stafford Township, NJ (N39.6437157, W74.2457654)

At the end of Dock Road there is a small boat ramp and bulkhead area which offers easy access for fishing and crabbing.

West Creek Dock Road

West Creek, NJ (N39.6142205, W74.2628564)

At the end of Dock Road there is a bulkheaded area which offers easy access for fishing and crabbing.

South Green Street Park

Tuckerton, NJ (N39.5766676, W74.3308008)

At the end of Green Street there is park, bulkheaded area and a T-Dock which is a great family spot with kids to fish and crab.

Graveling Point

Graveling Point, Osborn Island, Little Egg Harbor Township, NJ (N39.538612, W74.393345)

Graveling Point is a public fishing area that is part of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge Brigantine Division. It is a great early season hot spot for striped bass. Graveling Point is located near the mouth of the Mullica River where the sun warms the river’s outflow over the shallow water flats of Great Bay. Every year the seasons first striped bass are caught here. Fishing is best on the outgoing tide when the warmest water turns on the bite. It is very productive in March and April. Best bait is bloodworms. Graveling Point is mostly sod bank with some small sections of sand. We suggest wearing waders because in order to get out to the Point, one must cross a small creek.

Directions to Graveling Point: In the town of Tuckerton near the lake make a left on to Great Bay Blvd. Then in about a half mile make a right on Radio Rd. Continue over the small bridge to the end approximately 4 miles. Graveling Point is a few hundred yards to the right. Walk the sand beach heading west. Cross the small creek and then continue on along the sod bank. Fishing is great anywhere along the sod bank.

Seven Bridges Road

Great Bay Blvd., Little Egg Harbor Township, NJ (N39.509196, W74.320043)

Great Bay Blvd also known as Seven Bridges Road is a great area to fish and crab with a great view of the Atlantic City skyline! Although there are not seven bridges, the five offer great opportunities with the first and last two being the most popular. Fish the bridges and their surrounding areas or if they are busy with people drive all the way to the end and walk the trail to fish the bank. The first bridge crosses Big Thorofare, the second crosses Little Thorofare, the third crosses Jimmies Creek, the fourth crosses Big Sheepshead Creek and the fifth crosses Little Sheepshead Creek. At the end of the road is the Old Coast Guard Station which is now RUMFS, Rutgers University Marine Field Station. It’s a working lab with ongoing research year round.

Collins Cove

Collins Cove, Port Republic, NJ (N39.548247, W74.473983) 

Collins Cove is located on the Mullica River just west of the Parkway Bridge, about 2 miles west of Port Republic. Collins Cove was created when fill was removed to construct the Parkway Bridge over the Mullica River. Hence it’s massive hole which has some what filled in over time but still present. Collins Cove is know for its excellent white perch fishing in the winter and early spring. Depending on the year it can have great ice fishing in the dead of winter, January and February

Directions to Collins Cove: Take Parkway exit 48 which places you on route 9 South, about a half mile make a right-turn onto Rt 575 Chestnut Neck Road.
About two miles, make a right-turn onto Rt 624 Clark’s Landing Road. Right after you pass underneath the Parkway make the first right-hand turn onto the dirt road and drive parallel to the Parkway going North as far as possible into the Port Republic Wildlife Management Area. There is a small parking area at the end. At this point you will need to park and hike (yes, walk) less than 1 mile along a path NNE to Collin’s Cove.

There are many fishing spots along the banks of the Mullica River. Here are two of the more well known and easy access spots.

Hay Road Beach

Egg Harbor City, NJ (N39.5733920, W74.5395095) 

Hay Road is a great fishing access point to the Mullica River at Hog Island about 4 miles west of the Parkway Bridge. This an area that can be fished from the bank or a perfect areas to launch a kayak. It’s a prime early season spot for white perch and striped bass.

Lower Bank

Egg Harbor City, NJ (N39.5945439, W74.5497723) 

There are a couple areas to fish the Mullica River off of River Road; near the small River Road Boat Ramp and the Lower Bank Bridge.

Summer Flounder Minimum Size Debate

A NJ Marine Fisheries Council Meeting is tomorrow March 7th at 5pm where the Fluke regulations for BOTH 2024 and 2025 will be set. The written comment period is over but anglers can attend in person at the Atlantic County Library –  306 E Jimmie Leeds Rd, Galloway, NJ or online via webinar.

As I shared in my 2/23/24 blog post, the front runner is Option 32 which will give us 3 fish at 18″ and the longest season at 145 days offering early spring and later fall fishing. But there are six other options. Over the past couple weeks I’ve seen a lot of comments and a large number mentioning the commercial minimum size at 14″ being a problem. So in regards to the summer flounder minimum size debate, I must share the follow info so others better understand.

The smaller minimum size at 14″ for the commercial sector is in place for a reason. The idea is to let commercial boats fish, catch their limit and then get off the water. The quicker they catch and finish up, the better for the stock. If they were forced to cull and toss back shorts (under lets say 18″ range) there would be a significantly more dead discard. So rather than throw back dead, why not allow harvest so it goes to their quota and best utilize the resource? As recreational anglers we have a much better ability because of our fishing methods to catch and cull. But we too have a release mortality issue. It is a major issue in the management of striped bass right now. It is a significant issue with fluke too. We have to be careful with structuring regulations so we don’t box ourselves out of a fishery by having our dead discard exceed our harvest. Also remember that the summer flounder fishery is about a 55% commercial and 45% recreational fishery with regards to quota. With an 80% commercial discard mortality rate, it would be a MAJOR needle mover if the commercial minimum size was increased from. So we (recreational anglers) must be careful what we wish for or complain about.

Spring Updates At Fish Heads

This week with the opening of back bay striped bass (on 3/1/24) we expanded our hours a little bit. In a few more weeks we will extend some more.

Right now we are Open 7 Days A Week At 7am. Monday thru Thursday we close at 6PM, Friday and Saturday 7PM and Sunday 5PM. Stop in and gear up for the season.

Live Bloods & Grass Shrimp

The two best early season baits for striped bass and white perch are live bloodworms and grass shrimp. Right now we have both and will do our best to have both all spring.

Stay tuned for a bloodworm blog that will be published soon. On the grass shrimp side of thing… We are now carrying preserved grass shrimp. They come in a small dish like container at $8.99. See photo below.

Grass shrimp are a killer white perch bait and work great for many other species like weakfish, fluke, winter flounder, striped bass, snappers and blowfish. Everything eats grass shrimp! They are small baits so scale down with a small hook and light leader.

NJ Saltwater Fishing Expo

Reminder: Saltwater Fishing Expo is next week, March 15,16,17th! Be sure to stop by and See Us At Booth 401. Show Hours: Friday 12PM-8PM, Saturday 10AM-6PM, Sunday 10AM-5PM. It’s the best show of the year by a landslide so don’t miss out on the great event packed with informative seminars and demos. Explore fishing tackle hands on from A to Z.

Also, Sunday is family Day! Children 11 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult and the first 100 kids 11 and younger will receive a Daiwa rod/reel combo!

Q&A: Super Strike Darter Vs Bottle

Here’s a little throwback to something we did in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. At that time, when customers would email a question we would share it and the answer on our blog. While we might not post a bunch of these we’ll see where it goes!

Question: Andrew from Phoenixville, PA asks, “Would you recommend an either…a Super Strike Darter or Super Strike Swimmer for New Jersey surf fishing on LBI/ IBSP? Any suggested color? I have a Tsunami 10’6” Airwave 1-3.5 oz rod. Thanks!”

Answer: Hi Andrew – Both the Super Strike Darter and the Super Strike Bottle (aka little neck swimmer, casting swimmer, rattling swimmer) are two great lures that are a similar in size and profile. But they are very different lures from Super Strike.

The Super Strike Zig Zag Darter as its name implies has a lazy zig and zag swimming pattern. It is a slower and more shallow swimming lure that is most commonly a night time stand out. It likes an easy flowing current or rip but in a heavy side wind or very fast sweeping current the darter can struggle. However on a calm night, open beach with rolling sand bars with pockets of water and small swell pushing, a Zig Zag darter can really produce.

Darters are easy to fish too. Cast out (if there is a sweep be sure to cast up current a smidgen) and then catch up the slack to feel the lure’s swimming tension. At this point you need to retrieve slowly, just slightly more line than the conditions (wind, waves, current) call for to slow crawl the lure. It needs to move slowly through the water to work its magic. Every so often add a twitch. Some times a specific pattern or rhythm works better than others. Also don’t overlook omitting the twitch and going with a super simple straight consistent retrieve.

The Super Strike Bottle Plug (casting swimmer) has a more aggressive face/lip which digs into current and makes the lure swim with a tight wiggle and thumping pattern. This can drive fish nuts! The Super Strike Bottles also have a rattle and many believe the sound is an aid in attracting.

Bottles cast a little better than the ZZ darters, especially in a wind. Bottles also dig in more but they really don’t swim that deep, maybe ~2-3’deep. They are a great choice when there is swell and rolling white water. Also when there is a side wind and sweep. Bottles can be fished slow or at a moderate speed with or without imparted action.

As far as color goes, if I could only pick one color day or night it would be yellow over white. It is a classic color that has done me well for many years; day, night, clear water, dirty water, full moon, new moon. My #2 choice would be bone which is also a very versatile, followed by black and purple. The blurple color way has performed for me on cloudy, grey over cast days but I primarily fish it at night and in low light situations (early morning before sunrise and late in the day right after sunset).

Tight lines! ~Greg

PS the 10’6 Airwave is a great rod for casting a variety of lures on the surf. It will cast both the darter and bottle from Super Strike a mile.