Well over a month ago Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow. As the legend goes, winter will give way to an early spring. We would have to say the rodent was on to something this year. The recent weather was very spring like; however we aren’t out of the weeds yet.
There’s a coastal storm brewing up and a small craft advisory is in effect for Thursday. With southeast 20kts winds gusting to 30kts things will be churred up. Being only a couple days off the full moon (with a +1.62′ tide) there’s a coastal flood advisory for Thursday night. The bay’s high tide at the Causeway Bridge is at midnight so fortunately the worst will be in the overnight. Friday & Saturday are windy with cold night lows. Chance of snow Tuesday; however things warm up again to finish off the month with spring like weather.
We are looking forward to more good days like recently because fishing opportunities await. The more sunshine, the better it will get. Striped bass, winter flounder and perch. It’s firing up.
The early season spots (rivers, creeks, shallow mud flats) are the first places to look every year for striped bass. Few are participating but a couple reports of winter flounder from the deep bay. We suggest fishing the areas around the bridges live bloodworms. The upper reaches of creeks with brackish waters will produce perch March and April.
Store staffer Dan was out fishing with some friends on Monday. He reported good fun fishing with small bass chewing small plugs. “I caught a bunch. The small Yo-zuri Mag Darer was working.” He was back out Wednesday for a sunset session with store staffer Frezza. They reported much slower fishing but they caught a couple.
I dunked the boat on Tuesday and took a look at a few spots. The general areas were cold with water temperatures in the mid to low 40’s. A couple areas I wanted to look at were just about dry. The full moon’s super low tide shut off access to the flats however it roamed around and looks at some new water. The trip was a valuable scouting mission because a lot has changed. I’m looking forward to getting back out again soon for some recon and hopefully some fish!
Here’s a short fishing report update for Thursday March 14, 2019.
With more reports of anglers fishing comes more reports of fish being caught. Striped bass and white perch are the two primaries with a few targeting winter flounder. Bloodworms are the go to bait for early season fishing and we have them. For those turned off by the high prices of live bloodworms we highly suggest DynaBait Freeze Dried Bloodworms $5.49. You’ll be surprised and the amount you get and the quality of the baits. They stay on the hook and catch fish! They are also great for kingfish and spot in the summertime.
Breaking News – Holgate Beach Buggy Access Closed
The Edwin B Forsythe Wildlife Refuge Holgate Unit will be closed to all vehicle traffic tomorrow 3/15/19 at 6am. It will reopen to vehicle traffic in the fall. ~Long Beach Township Police Dept
The temperatures are warming up and the fishing are waking up. After a cold winter a little bit of sun has things warming up. Striped bass, winter flounder and white perch are around.
Saturday was a beautiful day that allowed some to get out and enjoy time on the water. One customer Adam was out on his kayak and found some bass. One of his nice golden striped ones is below.
Another recent striped bass report came in from Dan Rosetto. He caught using Bubblegum Finz, an awesome early reason soft bait choice.
As time goes on we expect striped bass reports to continue at the early season spots; river, creeks, sod banks and flats. It’s only getting better from here!
Good perch reports from local anglers fishing the rivers and creeks. One customer in getting a new small reel said that perch fishing is good on the Mullica. “I’m into a bunch of perch. There’s bass and catfish in the mix too.”
Winter flounder reports are hit and miss. One customer stocking up with essentials said, “My grand father caught a couple on Saturday.” Another report came from an angler who got the skunk.
March Madness OBX Style
The OBX offers big game tuna fishing at its finest. February and March are always the time when big tuna stack up and get on the feed. Over the years I’ve experienced the best fishing in early to mid March.
Here’s a photo of a big one that our friend Pat recently caught. He reported, “We did good this commercial season. It closed two weeks ago but we got in some good fun fishing. We just used our trophy tag on this 105” monster.
Jim Hutchinson Jr editor at the Fisherman attended the NJ Marine Fisheries Council Meeting this past week. He shared the following details on the summer flounder situation. He mentioned that nothing was finalized but it looks like 2019 will be status quo, 3 fish at 18″ with most likely a season from May 24 to Sept 21. We’ll share an update as soon as it’s finalized
2019 NJ Fluke Fishing Regulations Are Still In The Works
At the March 7th NJ Marine Fisheries Council Meeting, Summer Flounder was one of many topics on the agenda. While dates, minimum size and bag limits were discussed… nothing was finalized.
Once the State sets the regulations they will be posted here.
Until then here’s what we can expect… Jim Hutchinson Jr. at The Fisherman, shared the following details about the possibilities of the New Jersey Summer Flounder (Fluke) Fishing Regulations. “At this point it looks like status quo for 2019. The NJDEP officials are still mulling over the options. In all likelihood we’ll have the same three fish bag at 18″ and the same season length (most likely Opening Day Will be Friday May 24, closing on Sept 21).”
Jim said, “We’ll have a full write up in the April edition of The Fisherman. It will spell out everything.”
With March here the brutal conditions of winter are hopefully behind us. While we aren’t out of winter yet, it sure felt like it before Friday’s snow. At the time of this report it’s somewhat mild but looking out things are going to be chilly Tuesday and Wednesday with lows in the teens. Snow showers in the forecast next weekend will have most waiting it out. BUT, the end is near!
Soon we’ll have the best early season live bait… bloodworms. Due to the poor weather forecast and no emails or calls requesting/asking we decided to put it off. Right now we might even push it back another week. That is, unless we get requests. If you are looking for live bloodworms let us know and we will be sure to get them if enough ask. Until then for anglers who want to try an effective alternative to live bait…. Check out DynaBait Freeze Dried Bloodworms. These have proven effective for a number of years now and best of all they are convenient and affordable at only $5.99 a pack.
What & Where To Fish
Looking to get out and fish? Winter flounder, white perch and striped bass are the name of the game. We have heard about catches from anglers on all three of these species however all of the sharpies demand to remain anonymous and will not share their locations. Go figure!
Put in the work and you’ll find them. Just like every year it’s the same general areas. Look to rivers and tidal creeks as well as shallow back bay spots where the water warms first on sunny days. 2019 will however prove to be a little bit more difficult on those still stuck in the rut. Read on…
Get Out Of The Rut To Succeed This Early Season
Over the years lots of anglers from all over (near and far) took advantage of the early season epicenter, Oyster Creek. It was literally stupid fishing for so many years. With the closing of the Plant (late summer/early fall) putting an end to the warm water outflow and we believe most all of the fish moved out as fall progressed and the water temperature naturally cooled. A number of anglers we talked to who tried to fish over the winter all reported zilch. Even though that does not mean no fish, we can only assume any stragglers struggled to survive because this was the first year the Creek froze over. Yes striped bass can live in some very cold conditions but they must adapt to these. Case and point is the striped bass population which live in the rivers of Connecticut and far North East. Anglers ice fishing all winter long catch healthy striped bass.
This spring anglers will need to look outside the box in order to find fish early season.
Here’s a report and some guidance from store staffer Willie Davis…
Already some stripers were caught. It has been scattered but it’s starting none the less. A key factor early season you must pay close attention to the water temperature. With very cold ocean temperatures areas furthest away will be warmest and offer your best opportunity. Also outgoing tide is the classic go to for more active feeds. The incoming tide will push in cold water and turn off a bite like a switch.
On my first few trips this year (catch and release fishing before season opened) I found resident fish with no sea lice but recently lice on fish are hinting at new fish are trickling in. Look towards sod banks and mud flats as well as structure like bridges. This early in the year you will not find big fish but if you work hard and dial in a bite, it can be a lot of fun on light tackle.
Soon poppers will be effective but right now the fish are on the lazy, lethargic side. So fish slow. Softbaits rigged on light jig heads (1/8, 1/4, 3/8 oz) as well as small Magictail Teardrop Bucktails and swimming plug in the 3-4″ range will get looked at and bit. I prefer the Yo Zuri Mag Darter in the 4 ⅛” Size this time of year fished with a slow retrieve. Add a gentle twitch here and there. When fishing a bank be sure to fish the entire retrieve right to your feet! Bites commonly right in tight to the bank.
Holgate’s Wooden Jetty Beach Construction Project
Today was my first time to take a look at the finished construction project. I was shocked at how little was done. I expected a large, much longer structure. For those unaware, there was a project done to fortify the Wooden Jetty. What the goal was is still sort of unknown. At first there was concern and talk about protecting beach front homes. I’m no expert in construction nor coastal engineering but there is nothing that tells me this money spent will protect any homes.
The project used metal sheeting very similar to what was used to construct the groins at the Buxton Lighthouse in the OBX, NC. These sheets were driven deep down parallel to the Wooden Jetty on its north side. The height is much higher than the old Jetty and from the photo you can see some sand building up on its north facing side. The dunes of Beach One are still badly beaten. What is this new groin going to solve is really unknown to me. Anyone with knowledge on this topic please share! I would like to know what they expect it to do.
While on the topic of beach construction. Did you hear about…
The Back Bay Coastal Storm Risk Management Study? From what I reviewed there are some serious flood-mitigation strategies being dreamt up. From floodwalls, levees, breakwalls and living shore lines to FLOOD GATES!!! The photos below is actually an idea they are talking about. This is no joke! A flood gate at Barnegat Inlet, Manasquan Inlet and Shark River Inlet are actually being discussed and studied. With how successful their beach replenishment projects are/were I sure hope this is really done in a much better way. This is going to be a interesting hot topic to follow. Here is a link to a press release. The public is invited to provide comments on the interim report by April 1. I for sure will be sending in my comments as an LBI resident and waterman.
The Berkeley Striper Club’s 24th Fishermen’s Flea Market is this Sunday March 3, 2019. Every year it is a great show full of good gear. The plugs available exclusively at this show are second to none. Names like… Arsenal, Black Talon, Cedar Run Lures, Darby Creek, DMag, Northbar/Sporting Wood, TB. Just to hint at a few!
Doors Open At 9am
Location: Toms River Intermediate North School – 150 Intermediate North Just a minute off of GSP North Exit 83.
Here’s some info sent in by Carl Hartman of American Angler…
We would like to announce and invite all anglers to the Annual American Angler Classic Surf Fishing Tournament. This one day even will be held on Sunday, April 28 2019 on the beach in Seaside Park, NJ. Don’t miss out on a fun catch and release encouraged event with simple rules. Over $500 in cash prizes and a kids category!
Fishing 7:00 am to 2 pm. Followed by Awards Ceremony & Raffle Drawing at 3 pm.
Take advantage of the early registration… Adults $25 (18 and older) and Youth $10 (17 and under). Day of (late) registration will take place from 6am – 7am at the Seaside Park Municipal Complex (Upstairs 2nd floor Court Room) at 1 Municipal Plaza, Seaside Park, NJ. Adult $30 (18 and older) $30.00 and Youth $10 (17 and under). Free 4×4 access with paid registration.
To sign up & find more information on the tournament, rules and early registration incentives go to… www.americananglerus.com
Yesterday February 21st was a beautiful day in the neighborhood! It sure hinted at spring in a strong way. I was fortunate enough to get out and enjoy the day on the water.
Wednesday’s storm generated a medium sized but strong south east swell and Thursday’s light westerly winds made for clean conditions. The mid-island beaches have some beautiful sand bars set up and they welcomed in the waves. For most of the day chest high waves crashing on the bars. During the best tide 12-2pm it was most consistent with head high plus waves pumping in. Lots of fun!
Why share stoke of surf on FishingLBI?
Because the end of winter is near! And I have a couple things of value to local anglers looking forward to spring fishing.
Bait – While walking up current I saw two fresh bunker on the beach. I has beyond shocked and happy to see two fresh bunker on the beach. They were separated by about two or three blocks and both were being worked over by a lone gull. Spring + Bunker = Bass!
Water Temperature – The ocean water felt slightly warmer than my last surf session. Most likely due to the light winds, warm air and sun; however, I’m confident it came up a couple of degrees. The surf temperature might have bottomed out for the winter. If that’s the case it’s only up from here. sure water came up a couple degrees.
Beach Conditions – The mid-island beaches of Long Beach Island have some beautiful set ups. The bars, sloughs and cuts look promising. Also the 4×4 access ramps look very good in both Ship Bottom and Surf City. Our fingers are crossed they survive March. Last year we had a historic run of North East winds and swells which clawed out the beaches. March can be brutal!
The first ever Philadelphia Fishing Show will be held this weekend, February 22-24, 2019 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA. Over 75,000 square feet of fishing tackle, lodges, guides, apparel, travel destinations, boats, kayaks, RV’s and much more. Round the clock free seminars by professional guides and captains in two rooms presented by The Fisherman Magazine. Check out the 5,000 gallon Hawg Trough aquarium with local freshwater gamefish and then bring the kids over to the fully stocked Trout Pond where they can catch a fish at the show! A fly casting pond and cast net demonstration will help you hone your skills. Exhibitors will be displaying everything from dry fly trout tackle to giant bluefin tuna gear, and everything in between. $10 admission for adults, kids 6 to 12 are $5 and kids 5 and under are FREE. Free parking for everyone. Food and refreshments are available. Open Fri Noon -7PM , Sat 10AM-6PM , Sun 10AM – 5PM.
Check out www.phillyfishingshow.com for all the details, hours, location, exhibitor list, floor plan, attractions pictures, seminar list and much more. Hope to see you there!
Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Mid-Winter Report
By Jim Hutchinson Sr.
Strong winds, frigid temperatures, snow, and freezing rain can all make the 2019 fishing season seem very far off. The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association, however, have already begun preparations for spring fishing. For some, it has been a chance to just charge their own personal batteries and even do some fishing in the south. Others though are preparing their boats and gear for the season.
Captain John Lewis of the boat “Insatiable” reports that he was fortunate to spend a month in sunny Florida where he ate and fished his way through quite a bit of seafood. Captain John says that the Captains and Junior mates have been active attending local fishing flea markets where they have been spreading the good word on the fishing in Beach Haven and the BHCFA. Upcoming events where the members will be in attendance include the Southern Regional High School Fishing Flea market, the Philadelphia Fishing Show, and the Atlantic City Boat Show at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Once the shows end, the “Insatiable” will be looking to get into the spring striper run and some early season bluefish.
Captain Carl Sheppard reports his boat “Star Fish” is in dry dock at Morrison’s Marina in Beach Haven getting new windows installed and her bottom touched up. Meanwhile, the props are being fine tuned for the beginning of the season. The “Star Fish” will launch on the first of April with the new Garmin side scan sonar and GPS system. Her first trip is a bachelor party for 12 persons on April 6th. Captain Carl says he is hoping for a quick warm up and lots of large bass.
Captain Ray Lopez reports he has been working on the “Miss Liane” and upgrading his offshore tackle in preparation for the spring season. Included in this work was upgrading rods and reels and replacing worn cushions with new combing cushions.
Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” has done an extensive overhaul of his electronic system as he has transitioned to an all Humminbird system. Captain Brett has them hooked into his Minn Kota Ulterra trolling motor. This permits him to position his boat exactly where he wants to without using a traditional anchoring system.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.net.