The relentless cold night time temps and modest “daytime highs” appear to have obstructed our season progression this week a bit more than I had anticipated. Although fishing remained strong for our resident population [ and likely joined newly arriving schoolie stripers] no signs of blues as of yet. With winds brisk as they have been , weather windows to try and test the nearshore waters along our beaches for larger bass has been sparse at best.
Plants blooming and fish zooming! What a great weekend it has been. Spring has sprung!!!
“In celebration of Earth Day please post a blurb about packing out what you bring in! Just did a clean up with the family at the Bridge. The amount of plastic and trash on the bay front is unreal. It’s mostly all left by anglers. ”
~ Ken Sullivan of Ship Bottom
Remember Fishing’s Two Golden Rules – 1) Pack Out What You pack in. If there isn’t a public garbage can (or in the event a public receptacle is full) bring your garbage home.
Early season fishing reports continue strong and we are set for a great back half of April. It’s the same story at early season spots in the back bay with anglers are enjoying the striped bass fishing. The nice run of sunny days as of late has the Barnegat Bay water temp (BI-BB area) at 50 degrees. Austin Pounds recently got into some striped bass on the fly. Store staffer Max has caught bass on lures during his recent trips.
Bait like bloodworms, clam and cut squid are getting bites as well as lures. The go to lures are be bucktail jigs and soft plastics. One of our best sellers for many years is the Lunker City Fin-s which is a killer bait on bass and weakfish. Also the Tsunami Swim Shads are producing.
This past week more weakfish showed as well as some black drum and speckled trout. Chris Bender stopped in the shop yesterday. While here he shared he’s catching specks and also having fun with bass. He also stepped into a new pair of waders and wading boots. He opted for the Frogg Toggs Hellbender Stockfoot Waders a great value 4 ply wader with double reinforced knees at $129.99 and a pair of Korkers Wraptr Wading Boot.
These new wading boots are outta this world! These $199.99 boots feature Krokers exclusive Wraptr Tech Armor. This ultimate one piece single seam design and compression molded construction solves the age old problem with all wading boots, seam failures. They are surprisingly light and like all Korkers boots offer the ultimate comfort, support and OmniTrax interchangeable soles!
Yesterday the Carolyn Ann III out of Barnegat Light reported a good day on the ocean. “Bob Wallace won the pool with a nice 10.5 pound tog and Jimmy Mac caught his limit.”
Other anglers aboard reiterated the trip’s success. Richard Ackerman reported, “It’s always a great time fishing aboard the CA3 with a super crew and friends.”
Matt Sorrentino was also aboard. He checked in his biggest at the shop, a 4.72 pound white chin and reported, “Slow start but we finished the day strong. I was one shy of a limit. Nice fish with a mix of shorts.”
Paul Haertel was also on the water this weekend. He shared, “Gave the trout and steelhead a break today (Saturday) and caught my limit of blackfish up to 8.5 pounds.”
It’s great to see anglers getting out on the wrecks with the nice weather. Land based anglers are picking a few small tog. We expect this to improve as the Barnegat Inlet offers prime jetty tog fishing in late April and May.
Long Beach Island Surf Fishing
The surf fishing along the Island’s beaches as been dead! The water is just too cold for the bite to materialize. Last we heard it was 44 degrees. Those looking for a productive outing should turn to the bay side until the surf creeps up to 48-50 degrees. Once the water warms things will come alive.
Matt Polito was out on the hunt Saturday. He drove the beaches and looked for life but didn’t find anything. He reported, “I went of the search for a striped one or yellow eye. Covered lots of ground but no fish. All of the anglers I crossed paths with had the same report. NOTTA! Any day it’s going to happen.”
The LBI Spring Surf Tournament kicked off this weekend. Sign up now for the $20 event. And be sure to join the Fish Head’s Calcutta for $10. Half goes to the largest striped bass and half to the largest bluefish. Next weekend there is a one day surf tournament too.
Hopefully with our progression into mid-late April, the current warming trend and the increase in participation (especially with these two events) some reports will fill in. Soon anglers will man their battle stations as the bluefish invade.
Today was another solid morning with striped bass while employing light spinning tackle . Although the wind was a bit brisk the bass didn’t mind what so ever. Utilizing both artificial and natural baits continues to reward our anglers aboard the Reel Fantasea with double digit catches being the norm.
Although Thursday’s weather [4/19/18] looks like wind driven rain in the forecast , Friday’s weather looks a bit better and we will be fishing 1pm – 6pm [ afternoon time rescheduled] targeting stripers , weakfish and blues. Winds are predicted to blow NW but pose no problem for our local protected bay/inlet waters and usually produce the best action as well!
This week’s light tackle action continued to be busy and fun with scrappy schoolie striped bass testing our anglers skills and light spinning tackle rods. These down sized bass are ranging in size from 12-27″ but employing our well matched tackle to maximize the encounter and sport is what really brings the smiles to all anglers aboard this week. All trips continue to see double digit catch numbers with some of our savvy anglers scoring double digit catches themselves!
This awesome stretch of weather has anglers getting out and finding fish! More reports flowing in from both local waters as well as elsewhere in the state. The fishing is consistent and new arrivals are boosting the fishery setting the stage for a great spring.
School sized striped bass are active on lures (soft baits, jigs and select hard baits) as well as live bloodworms. The early season spots (like the Oyster Creek outflow as well as Great Bay, Graveling Point) offer great fishing opportunities for land based anglers and those “early birds” with their boat in the water. Both of these areas are some of the New Jersey’s most popular early season fishing spots. They are no secret and heavily fished. As with any fishing trip, please follow Fishing’s Two Golden Rules.
Fishing along the Island’s bayside was very good this past week. The action focused on the westside’s docks and bulkheads. More recent striped bass reports tell the linesiders are also stretched out along the bay with anglers beginning to catch from many different areas. Store staffer Dave caught some bass wade fishing off a local bank with lures. A few nights ago, store staffer Steve-o got three bass working a light line with soft plastics.
Rick Zane took a peek at the Barnegat Light House Jetty on Thursday. He reported, “Took some casts but no one was home. Water was 45 degrees.” It’s time to get out and try for some blues. They will invade the area any day.
Still no reports off the surf. We expect that to change very soon. It is our assumption fish are present but few are trying with much more productive areas to fish.
Some anglers opting to travel out of the local area found the spring’s best fishing with quality bass. Both the Raritan Bay and the Delaware River are prime time fishing areas in the month of April and May. Some areas of the Raritan Bay put out non stop action the past few days. Store staffer Dan D was in on the action. Here’s a photo of one beauty.
Here’s one photo from the Delaware River. South Philly Fred reported, “Five hours of fishing, one hit. OG River Rat Tim strikes again with a quality striped bass.”
Daniel from Arsenal Lures shared this report… “My son (photo below) stuck some really good fish Friday. I’m proud he did it all on his own!” Turns out those Peanut Gliders are hot! Those looking for one are gonna have to look really hard. You thought those guys at the winter shows waiting in line at 3am were nuts? They are but look who’s laughing now! Those Getting in line at the winter shows at hat anglers.
Fishing’s Two Golden Rules
Fishing’s Two Golden Rules go for all types of fishing and really hold merit with all types of outdoor activities.
- Pack out what you pack in. If there isn’t a public garbage can (or in the event a public receptacle is full) bring your garbage home.
- Treat others how you would want to be treated. Local residents demand the utmost respect. Be mindful and courteous when parking, gearing up or down at late hours. Treat access points like they were your own backyard. Don’t take them for granted because every year anglers around the country loose these precious pathways to fishing. Also falling into this Part 2 of the is… Don’t mob someone who got an early spot. It’s like showing up late to a standing room only concert, pushing to the front in reckless disregard. It’s respectful to give anglers space.
LBI Spring Surf Fishing Tournament
Tournament Registrations Have Begun! Check out our detailed post from mid March or for more details www.LBIFT.com
Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Report
by Jim Hutchinson Sr.
Spring is late this year. Although warm weather is still behind schedule, some striped bass and even a few bluefish are showing in the waters around Beach Haven. The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association have been putting the finishing touches on their boats and gear getting ready. The recent dredging of Little Egg Inlet will make the passage out the inlet much easier.
Captain Gary Dugan has already had the “Irish Jig” on a striper trip in Great Bay. Despite the cold temperatures, Captain Gary said it was still great to get out on the water. They managed to boat one bass while having a couple more show interest in their baits.
Captain Lindsay Fuller is excited about the maintenance done “June Bug” this winter. The boat received a complete new paint job at its winter storage in North Carolina and is looking spiffy. Captain Lindsay had maintenance himself with a knee replacement. He is noticing improvement with his rehab and anticipates being better than ever. He is looking forward to bringing the “June Bug” north in May for a good fishing season.
“Star Fish” Captain Carl Sheppard reports he is optimistic about the new fishing regulations. He notes that a longer fluke season should help the good local September fluke fishing. Captain Carl has had the “Star Fish” through the new dredged inlet and found at least 10-feet of water the whole way to where the bell buoy used to be. He plans to get in on some of the tautog fishing before the end of April.
Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction” Sportfishing is new to the BHCFA but has been a captain for quite some time. He is a noted seminar speaker and outdoors writer while also serving as advisor to the Barnegat High School Fishing Club. Captain Brett reports his boat has had some upgrades with new electronics and is ready to get in on some solid spring striped bass fishing.
Captain John Lewis spent time this winter basking in the Florida Keys while his boat, the “Insatiable,” had some cosmetic work done. Captain John is adding sunset cruises this year along with new six and eight-hour inshore shark trips. He notes he is pleased with the new fluke regulations.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.net.