LBI Surf Fishing Classic – The Kick Off & Early Day Recap

Despite rough surf conditions caused by a nasty northeaster, the 67th annual LBI Surf Fishing Classic opened up on Saturday, October 9, and already has three entries on the board.

The Classic offers cash prizes for striped bass, bluefish, kingfish, and red drum. The first entries of 2021 were all kingfish, taken on fresh bloodworms. Topping the chart at this point is the 1.06-pound kingfish
caught by Austin Campbell, entered in the juvenile division.

Campbell caught his fish on Tuesday, October 12, on the beach in Surf City and weighed it in at Surf City Bait and Tackle. He is fishing as a member of the Southern Regional High School Fishing Club.

The first two entries were caught on opening day, Saturday, October 9. Derek Mason Jr. landed his 1.04-pound king in the Holgate area and weighed the fish in at Jingles Bait and Tackle. Ted Schmid II weighed
catch weighing just under one pound. He caught his fish in Barnegat Light and also checking it at Surf City Bait and Tackle.

Now that the rough seas are calming down, registered anglers are looking forward to this weekend and the upcoming days on the beach. Water temperatures are dropping indicating the arrival of migrating bass is getting closer.

The main question at this point is what should anglers be targeting right now? Connor Smilon from Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven recommends targeting kingfish with either fresh bloodworms or Fish Bites. He adds other options might be looking for a bluefish with fresh mullet or stripers with lures.

Here’s Emmet from Top Notch Tackle hand tied fishing rigs with a recent surf side catch. Recently small blues and kingfish are active on the beaches of LBI. Soon we’ll see bigger bluefish and striped bass move in. Are you ready?

Emmet Fitzgerald at Surf City Bait and Tackle also suggests aiming for kingfish. “Most definitely,” He replied when asked. In addition to using bloodworms, Fitzgerald lauded the use of chartreuse Fish Bites. “I have been using chartreuse, and they are really working for me,” noted Fitzgerald. He acknowledged the presence of some stripers toward Barnegat Inlet in the 24-26-inch range.

Greg Cudnik from Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom made it three votes for kingfish. Cudnik does suggest fishing with two rods. He likes the idea of fishing one lighter rod with small hooks and bait for kings while fishing another larger rod baited either with clams or mullet on the chance a striper is in the area.

Instagrammer Saltyreelsfishing caught this kingfish off the LBI surf on live bloodworms.

Helping to kick off the contest Saturday was the annual surf fishing seminar conducted by the Long Beach Island Fishing Club. Weather conditions reduced the turnout this year, but the presentations were accompanied by some very productive questions and answer sessions. Cudnik went so far as to say, “This might have been the best we have ever had.”

The seminar is held each year for registrants of the Classic and is geared to provide information for beginners and veteran anglers alike. Besides the information refreshments were provided in the form of doughnuts from the Crust and Crumb Bakery in Beach Haven and coffee from How You Brewin in Surf City.

The Classic will run until December 12. Registration can be handled at any of the bait and tackle shops mentioned above. Complete information on the contest can be found at

Columbus Day LBI Fishing Report

We’ve got unruly conditions on the beaches of LBI today Monday October 11, 2021. It’s very windy (42mph gusts this morning) and the surf is rough. The Station 44091 Barnegat Ocean Buoy was at 10-12 feet today. The coastal flood advisor is still in effect and even though the area has had little rain there’s water in streets. The persistent onshore winds from this long living low pressure system have the waters stacked up. Slowly the system will let loose and pull out. But lingering easterly swell will be in the water this week.

This past weekend anglers fished the sheltered bayside area and caught fish; blowfish, tog, blues, weakfish and striped bass. There were a few that even battled the rough surf and caught a couple fish. Case and point, Ted Schmid’s and Derek Mason’s kingfish weigh-ins for the LBI Surf Fishing Classic (both on bloodworm). Long story short, there’s fishing opportunities to take advantage right now and it’s only getting better as we progress into prime time fall fishing!

Later this week the weather looks beautiful with unseasonably warm temps. Let’s get out, go fishing and enjoy every bit of it!

Lighthouse Sportsfishing 10/10/21 Report

Well, fall fishing is living up to expectations and then some. Right now fishing opportunities abound. The rough spots have seabass, blackfish, and triggerfish. Along the beach, there are literally acres of small weakfish with the occasional bigger variety. Still some sushi-grade bonito around, as well as jumbo Spanish mackerel. False albacore are making the best inshore showing in years. They love rainfish (bay anchovies). If you have never caught one you don’t know what you’re missing. If you have caught them before, I’m sure the scream of the drag echoes in your memories. Pre-storm I was out with my BFF Capt Dan Siegel and we chased down the albies for a while. The attached picture is of me with that was one over 11 lbs. that headed to the smoker. Speaking of 11 lbs., I also landed several blues in that range at the inlet (pic attached). Bass are active at times around the inlet and throughout the bay. Just put in the time, fish the right place at the right time, and you will find the bass. If I can you can, lol. Blowfish are still holding on strong in the bay but some have started existing to find warmer water. Dates are filling in, so contact me if you want to experience some of the best back bay and inshore fishing this area has to offer.

Screaming drags,
Capt. Alex

Fishing Report Update 10/8/21

From tog, triggers, sea bass and sheepshead to bluefish, striped bass, albies, kingfish, blowfish and weakfish there’s a lot of options for angler fishing the waters of Long Beach Island. The unseasonable warm water and air offer a comfortable feel to the great early fall fishing.

Today October 8th, NJ Black Sea Bass fishery opened up to 10 fish at 12.5″ adding another great species to target.

Every day more bass reports from the bay, inlet and surf. He’s one Sloane caught last night aboard Fish Head Charters.

We also heard of a nice striped bass caught off the surf today. Speaking of the surf…

The 67th LBI Surf FIshing Classic kicks off tomorrow morning. Sign up now! It’s kind of late for a notice now but the annual opening day surf fishing seminar is at 9am at the Ship Bottom Firehouse. See you there! Click here for more info on the surf fishing tournament.

Here’s a recent fishing report video I posted yesterday…

Lots of bait around… mullet, bunker, spearing, bay anchovies, butterfish, SQUID and much more! Last night I caught a bucket full with Sloane and Swag. Lots of fun and it will be a great feast tomorrow!

LBI Fishing Report 10/4/21

Updates on the Long Beach Island fishing front…

LBI Surf Fishing Report

Jonathan Czarnecki was fishing the mid-Island surf yesterday evening and caught a nice redfish about an hour before high water. The red took a whole mullet. Jonathan said, “The 32″ red put up a great fun fight!” Each year October is the month that offers anglers on and around Long Beach Island the best shot at targeting and catching redfish. It’s also prime time to target pompano!

The Long Beach Island surf anglers are primarily catching kingfish and bluefish. Some days better than others. For kingfish use live bloods and/or FishBites. For blues use fresh mullet or any type of lure that matches.

Barnegat Inlet Fishing Report

You can’t beat the Barnegat Inlet Jetty this time of year! It offers the best variety of opportunities for angler who want to fish lures or bait. In recent days there has been a variety of species caught from blues, striped bass, weakfish and albies to tog, triggerfish and sheephead.

For the most consistent bites/action target tog with green crab. They are stacked along the entire stretch of the Jetty from the inside on out to the tip. Expect the entire month to offer great fishing fun.

John Bonner with an albie he caught on Saturday morning off the Inlet Jetty.
Here’s John Bonner with an albie he caught on Saturday morning off the Inlet Jetty.

Bayside Dave shared,”I was on the jetty when the albies came by around 8am on Saturday. I was ready with a Hogy Epoxy Jig and managed to land three. Four other guys were there with me and including my three, ten other albies were caught.”

Recently we’ve received a lot of questions and interest in false albacore fishing. Here’s a great blog post Running With Albies by Steve George.

Barnegat Bay Fishing Report

Still the same story line as last reported with little change. Weakfish, blowfish, striped bass and blues.

Missy Fillman shared, “Looking for a fun day with non-stop action? Blowfish are plentiful on the Ship Bottom bayside.”

The striped bass continue to offer early fall light tackle fun in and around the local bays. Here’s JP with one of many from recent trips.

The striped bass continue to offer early fall light tackle fun in and around the local bays. Here's JP with one of many from recent trips.

Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Update

The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are eying the cooler evening temperatures and thinking about the arrival of striped bass. Meanwhile, they are finding good inshore wreck fishing, good numbers of blowfish and even some weakfish in the bay, and eying the continued presence of tuna offshore.

Captain Gary Dugan of the Irish Jig had some recent noteworthy trips. He has switched gears and is hunting for the many species of wreck fish. One recent trip yielded a few nice blackfish, sea bass, and monster trigger fish. On Saturday he had a group working some ocean structure. Despite all he could do, they could not locate any blackfish. They did catch some very nice out of season black sea bass which had to be released in addition to plenty of small bluefish and some very nice trigger fish. He has done some bay charters for small stripers and blowfish. He is getting tackle ready for the striped bass run that will be here shortly.

Question & Answer

Tyler Harkins questioned, “Thanks for the great reports. Are there still sharks in the surf at night this time of year?”

Yes there’s currently sharks on the beach. At this point in the season it’s the transition from the summertime warm water sharks to the cooler/cold water sharks. Spinners and black tips really like warm waters in the upper 60’s and 70’s. They are still here but will be leaving soon. Browns also like this warmer water but will tolerate a slightly cooler water. Sand tiger are some of the first to arrive in the spring and tend to hang around the longest in the fall. Threshers (while might not be abundant) will be around in our local coastal waters for the fall. We usually see these sharks on the bunker pods near the beach but rarely caught from the surf. Also dogfish (smooth and spiny) will show up in full force soon. We already saw some show this week. Usually around Halloween they invade. As always know the state and federal laws. Know before you go!

Hello October… Let’s Fish LBI!

It’s finally here! A month that sun tanning beach goers don’t like but anglers rejoice. At this point summer is in the rear view mirror and that means the peak water temperatures are behind us. The bait is moving (peanut bunker, bay anchovies, spearing, mullet) and we are having a blast fishing the waters of Long Beach Island! Here’s the fishign report update for Saturday October 2, 2021.

Here’s the LBI Fishing Report video posted on our YouTube page yesterday Friday October 1.

Right now the weakfish and blowfish bite remains strong in the bay. Schoolie striped bass and small bluefish also offer great light tackle fun. Everyday more reports of striped bass with better fish showing much more commonly now than a few weeks ago when the mullet run first started. The past three days the area saw a great push of mullet. By far it has been the best days of the NJ 2021 Mullet Run so far. Is this the climax?

At the Barnegat Inlet tog fishing has been very good for most anglers. Fishing green crabs is the classic bait to catch them. In the same area there’s blues as well as the occasional striped bass and weakfish. Some day’s tide and conditions are better for these two.

There’s a few albies around. Maybe one of these days it will pop off again! On Friday I found a couple of fast moving and skittish schools of them but couldn’t connect.

Off the surf kingfish are the primary species but there’s small blues and out of season fluke being caught. October is the month that all of LBI’s beaches are back open for 4×4 beach permit holders.

67th Annual LBI Surf Fishing Classic Kicks off Saturday October 9, 2021 – Sign up today!

67th LBI Surf Fishing Classic

Night temperatures are cooling, leaves are turning color, and football games are filling stadiums. Fall is on its way, On Long Beach Island that means the LBI Surf Fishing Classic is fast approaching.

The 2021 version of this historic fishing tournament promises to be an exciting one with cash and other prizes awarded for four varieties of fish. Striped bass lead the way with prizes also available for bluefish, kingfish, and red drum.

This year is the 67th annual running of the contest with a starting date of Saturday, October 9, and ending up Sunday, December 12. Entry fee is $30 for adults with those seventeen and younger paying just $15.

Anglers can sign up at any of the three official weigh-in stations on LBI including Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven, Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, and Surf City Bait and Tackle. Official Classic 2021 hats and decals are available to those who register early.

John Donnelly caught this quality striped bass off the LBI surf in last year’s Classic.

Once again there are daily, weekly, and grand prizes available along with special “Bonus Prizes.” There are also special prize categories for junior anglers seventeen and younger, “Senior Citizen” prizes for those 62 and older, and “Ladies Prizes.” Prizes range from $50 daily awards to $100 and $250 weekly prizes, $500 and $1,000 for 3-week segment winners, and $1,000 for the grand prize for bluefish.

Frankie Lenetti battling rough conditions to hunt fall run striped bass on the beaches of LBI. Photo by Aimee Higman

Local fishing experts are optimistic about this year’s fall fishing run on Long Beach Island and its impact on the Classic.

Steve Palmer, owner of Jingles Bait and Tackle, is looking forward to the upcoming action. “I have a gut feeling this will be an exciting tournament. We have had a good spring and summer on other fish, and I expect it to continue.” Palmer advises anglers to be ready to “put the time in.” He likes the prospects of action at Holgate to lead the way for surf fishing. He notes strong showings of mullet and other baitfish in that area already.

Greg Cudnik from Fisherman’s Headquarters also expects good surf fishing this fall. He points to a strong run of striped bass in the spring and feels the new striper regulations seem to have resulted in more fish already. Cudnik is expecting a good number of new entrants this year. He has seen an increase this year in anglers new to the area and looks for many of them to enter the contest. He too is encouraged by the amount of bait in area waters and is keeping his fingers crossed for good weather conditions. “We have had good, clean water all summer. We now have plenty of anchovies and
mullet around and as long as they are here, we should have fish feeding on them.”

Sue Castrati of Surf City Bait and Tackle points to striper action already happening around Barnegat Inlet and the LBI Causeway with good numbers of schoolie stripers showing up. “We are having a good start
already on bass, and the amount of bait in the water is encouraging.” Her shop has already had a goodly number of anglers signing up for the Classic and attributes the interest to “a great annual tradition.” She saw an increase in new registrations in 2020 and is hoping for more again this year.

Joe Czapkowski and his dog fishing sunrise on the LBI surf. Do you know of a better way to enjoy a fall morning on Long Beach Island?

Last year was the first to offer prizes for kingfish which will once again be included. “Adding kingfish was an attempt to get an early start to the Classic,” observes Jim Hutchinson Jr., chairperson of the Classic committee. “This move stirred up interest and developed winners right from the opening bell.” Hutchinson points to outstanding support from not just local bait and tackle shops but also, “the entire business community.” Some businesses supply bonus prizes. “All money raised goes to prizes and tournament expenses. There are no salaries, and we award scholarships to members of local high school fishing clubs.”

Kick Off Surf Fishing Seminar

Each year (with the exception cancellations due to covid) the tournament kicks off with a surf fishing seminar. This year it starts at 10am on Saturday October 9th. The location is the Ship Bottom Fire House, 2006 Central Ave, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008. It is between 20th and 21st street. Save The Date Today and be sure to join. There will be lots of information as well as door prizes.

Registrations and information for the Classic are available at any of the three official weigh-in stations. Information can also be located on the tournament website and Facebook page, LBI Surf Fishing Classic.

LBI Fishing Report

Fall is here and the Mullet Run is on. Right now there is good fishing for a variety of species such as blues, kingfish, weakfish, blowfish, tog and striped bass. Here’s the LBI Fishing Report for Sunday September 25, 2021.

Here’s a Saturday late afternoon fishing report update video. Just a heads up this is a longer one with some good info on the back half. Don’t check out early.

Things got going last week and really ramped up around this week’s moon (Monday night was the full moon). The Mullet Run here on Long Beach ISland is firing on all cylinders with both bluefish, striped bass and weakfish gorging on finger mullets all throughout the bays and inlets. Sunrise and sunset are undoubtedly the best times to fish during the Mullet Run. However some days you can catch ’em good at high noon.

When casting artificials this time of year it is a must to match the hatch. Fish are keyed in on mullet so topwater poppers, small pencils and spooks will work like magic. Also small swimming plugs in the 3-5” range can be very effective. Our favorite mullet run lures are the three classics: Stillwater Smack-It, Bomber Windcheater and the Cordell Red Fin. A couple new baits that are consistently raising fish are the Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Top Knock Pencil and the Yo-Zuri 3D Twitch Bait.

Yo-zuri is well know for making very good lures. This here is their Top Knock Pencil which is a phenomenal top water lure that has a perfect mullet profile, puts off a v-wake and has a great top water action when worked with the right candace. Simply deadly!

Barnegat Inlet Fishing Report

At this point of the year there isn’t a better area to fish than inlets. The summertime species exit and the fall species arrive. Add in baits flushing in and out with the tide and we get some great fishing.

Case and point is the bluefish action the past couple of weeks and this morning’s weakfish blitz. We received a handful of reports all themed around active weakfish crashing bait during the morning hours.

Tog fishing is and has been phenomenal with anglers catching 20-30-50+++ fish a day. Good numbers BUT keepers are hard to find. A couple anglers caught keeper tog today but it requires dedication, skill and some luck.

The triggerfish are also chewing and a few sheepshead. Sand Fleas have been more productive with the triggers and sheeps although they will almost always eat any type of crab offering.

Aaron Parker stopped in mid-day looking for bait. He wanted live green crab but we were sold out. We have sand fleas so he got them and hit the jetty with friend Ashley Webb. They reported back, “Caught a bunch of short tog and sea bass. Ashley caught a big triggerfish on a flea.”

LBI Surf Fishing Report

The Long Beach Island surf temperature continues to hang around in the low 70’s. For the most part it’s the same surf story…

Anglers fishing live bloodworms and Fish Bites are catching kingfish on the beaches of LBI. From time to time, there’s also small bluefish present on some beaches. Using mullet or bunker will get these hungry and aggressive blues to bite.

If there’s visual bird and fish activity… throw jigs like a Hogy Epoxy Jig, Diamond Jig, Hopkins, Acme Kastmaster or Deadly Dick Lures. All of these are great fall fishing lures that cast great and resemble the various baits that are present right now.

74th Annual World Series of Surf Fishing

Today was the 74th Annual World Series of Surf Fishing hosted by the LBI Fishing Club. This one day ASAC event had a strong showing with 36 teams and a total of 206 anglers. All together there were 374 total scorable fish caught; 140 bluefish and 182 kingfish.

Sandra Lee took this sunrise photo of the surf anglers lined up for the World Series of Surf Fishing Tournament.
Sandra Lee took this sunrise photo of the surf anglers lined up for the World Series of Surf Fishing Tournament.

Current Surf Conditions & Outlook

Today’s conditions… South east swell continues on the beach of LBI today. Expect reinforcing swell tomorrow (Sunday) from TS Teresa which is developing near/above Bermuda. Everyone should also keep an eye out for Hurricane Sam which is a small but powerful story that is tacking in our direction. So it should send us swell later this month and then additional, more powerful swell the first week of October.

Barnegat Bay Fishing Report

In the bay there’s a lot of life! From game fish to bait, the variety of species is amazing. It’s crazy to think we’ve seen sardines, cigar minnows and goggle eyes mixed in with the peanut bunker.

The two most abundant game species are blowfish and weakfish but blues make their presence known. Blowfish continue to be caught in good number by anglers anchoring, chumming and fishing small baited (clam, squid, worm) hooks.

So far this year the weakfish are plentiful, possibly the best we’ve seen in quite some time. A lot of weaks in the 12-20″ range with a few quality ones up to 26″. These are mainly being caught on small jigs and soft plastics, with a few being caught on peanut bunker and mullet. Also shrimping for weakfish has been great!

A healthy showing of resident striped bass in the smaller size ranges (20-26″) continue to offer light tackle fun. There are a few keeper size in the mix. Slowly (but surly) bigger striped bass are showing.

Dan caught this 40" striped bass in 4' of water on a Smack-It popper!
Here’s Team Fish Head’s Dan D with a classy bass he caught this afternoon fishing the flats. He caught this 40″ striped bass in 4′ of water on a Smack-It popper! It’s safe to say we have new arrivals here now!

Big Game Fishing

The big game fishing has been phenomenal all summer and it has transitioned right into fall. The past couple of weeks have been crazy with monster bluefin tuna in the Bight very close to the shores of northern Jersey and Western Long Island. Anglers are also still picking away at yellowfin a couple big eyes, a few wahoo and really good catches of mahi.

Here's a big bluefin tuna caught in late September in the BIght by TJ.
That’s a real one! TJ has geared up at Fish Heads for many many years. When he called us early in the week and said he needed another big gun outfit we had a new Shimano Tiagra 80 wide spooled and and ready to go! Happy to see our customers getting out and accomplishing serious life goals!

LBI Fishing Report 9/16/21

Things are happening faster than you might notice! Before we dive into that let’s cover the current weather. Low pressure off of the Carolinas is creeping up and giving us a few days of north-east flowing fall like weather. Moderate north east winds with 3-4′ south east swell will be on the beaches of Long Beach Island Friday and Saturday. At this point it looks like the winds will drop out Saturday afternoon but will be cranking up again Sunday morning 10-15-20mph in a northerly flow. High pressure parks in the Gulf of Maine Monday – Tuesday – Wednesday which will keep the onshore flow going.

Local LBI Water Temperatures

Today’s Ship Bottom surf temperature was 67º. About 7 miles off of the beach at the Garden State North Reef site the ocean water temperature was 72º. Since today was a cloudy overcast day it was a good one for true water temperature readings since most days the surface temperature is effected by solar heating.

Looking at the Barnegat Bay buoy changes are evident. The downward trend started at the beginning of September and will continue.

Barnegat Light water temperature chart.
The large swings in temperature plotted on this chart is due to the buoy’s location very close to Barnegat Inlet. It records bay water on the outgoing tide and ocean water on the incoming tide. Take note of the sharp drop in water temperatures on and around August 20th. That is the recorded upwelling event due to Hurricane Henri.

It’s happening faster than you might notice!

To gauge where we are at… Saturday is the last day with sunset in the 7 o’clock hour. Days are getting shorter. That gets the bait moving and migration into gear. Full moon coming on Monday 20th! Around the moons, the tides are more extreme. That gets baits moving and migration into gear. Summer ends on Wednesday Sept 22nd. Fall is almost here!

Long Beach Island Fishing Report

Late summer fishing on Long Beach Island is a special time where it’s warm, there’s a variety of species and there’s a lot less traffic.

Fluke Fishing The 9th Inning

There’s only a few days left to get the last of this year’s fluke fishing in. Unfortunately the closing weekend isn’t shaping up to be a very friendly one to ocean bottom fishing. Savvy anglers will find opportunities in protected areas and also land based spots.

Fishing On The Surf

The best best right now off the LBI surf is kingfish. For many weeks anglers using Fish Bites have had success. This afternoon Dave Russo from Blanchard, PA stopped in the shop to gear up with some things and deliver a batch of custom flies. He shared this report, “This morning I was into kingfish on the surf up the street from the shop. I caught about ten of them on chartreuse Fish Bites. Remember what Lefty said. If it ain’t chartreuse, It ain’t no use!”

Theo Door posted this photo of his son with a recent kingfish catch.
Theo Door posted this photo of his son with a recent kingfish catch. “Me and my son caught ’em up today on Fish Bites.”

TIP: We’ve found that Fish Bites are very effect however loose their edges in cool/cold water. As the ocean temperatures cool, live bloodworms will slide past and emerge the winner.

Other species present on the LBI surf and ripe to harvest… fluke (while open), blues/snappers, spike weakfish and a couple croakers. With the mullet run picking up steam using them is a great option. Fish whole, chunks or strips for blues, fluke and striped bass.

Fishing In The Bay

The most abundant species in the local backwater is blowfish. Throughout the bay many different areas offer good fishing for them. Also present, weakfish, snapper, fluke and striped bass are on the menu.

The local docks and lagoons are stacked up with baits. We have the classics… peanut bunker, spearing, bay anchovies, and mullet as well as some southern neighbors hanging around for a late season visit spanish sardine, scaled sardine, threadfin herring, butterfish, cigar minnow and scad. RARELY do we see this variety of baits.

Fishing At The Inlet

The Barnegat Inlet State Park, adjacent beaches and bayside bulkheads are all productive fishing areas with easy public access. Right now there’s great opportunities to catch small bluefish with lures. Work the right windows and you might lock into a striped bass or two. Tog, sheepshead and triggerfish are present and are three great targets for all of September. Many other species traverse the Inlet on a daily basis too.

Light tackle bluefish action is fun aboard Fish Head Charters.
Most of the bluefish are running small this year, smaller snappers up to three pound range. But a few larger ones could show at anytime. Case and point, here is a sizable 34″ long, 16.5″ girth bluefish from a recent trip.