Surf Day 2019 Surf Fishing Show

Save The Date – February 16, 2019

Surf Day 2019 Is Days Away

Surf Day 2019 is quickly approaching. Save the date now and don’t miss out on the year’s best fishing show.

  • Who: The Jersey Shore Surfcasters
  • What: Surf Day 2019
  • When: Saturday Feb 16, 2019 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • Where: Brookdale Community College at 765 Newman Springs Rd, Lincroft, NJ 07738

This purely surf fishing show run by JSS, a group of die hard anglers, is well known in the North East. Many have tried to copy the format and ideas however none come close. This long standing show is a must attend show for surf casters.

The seminar schedule looks great this year with top speakers lined up. John Tiedemann from Monmouth University will be doing a morning talk titled “The Conservation Corner”. The two feature seminars will be given by Comanche Surfcasting “Fishing The Edge” and John Skinner “Bending the Rods – Staying Happy In Today’s Fishery”. These as well as all of the seminars are a can’t miss part of the show!

While the seminars are the backbone of the show, the special part is seeing
the surf fishing community all under one roof. The networking and knowledge shared is second to none. Whether a rookie, novice or veteran Surf Day is for you.

The crew here at Fisherman’s Headquarters is looking forward to the show. We’ll have a full spread of surf fishing tackle, equipment and supplies from A to Z… all at Show Special Pricing. For those that have attended in the past, we will be at our same location. In the main room right as you enter on the left side. Stop by and say hello! See you there.

Van Staal VR Series Fishing Reels

Van Staal VR Series Fishing Reel Overview

Well known for their quality no nonsense saltwater fishing reels, Van Staal reels have “No Limitations”. Offering two families of spinning reels, the VS X-Series and the VR Series. Commonly customers ask about the features, benefits and differences. See the end of this article for a quick run down on the VSX vs VR Series. For purposes of this article, our primary focus is to detail and review the Van Staal VR Series.

Van Staal VR Series Fishing Reels are built tough yet still lightweight.

The Van Staal VR Series Fishing Reels offer coastal angler’s the best in class saltwater spin fishing reel with materials and performance never possible in its price point before. Starting at $489.

Van Staal VR Series Offers Functional Simplicity

Built on a modular design, the Van Staal VR Series (Sizes 125/150/175/200) has very few parts. All four sizes share the same body, 4.75:1 gear and handle. There’s two rotors (125/150 & 175/200) and four individual spools. So yes, with just a few additional parts a VR125 can be transformed into a VR200. This ability to step up or down in size offers versatility not found in other reels. Are you looking to transform your VR Reel up or down in size? Give us a call (P:6094945739) for more details.

Welcome the all new Van Staal VR50… Built on it’s own unique platform. (Read More Below)

Van Staal VR Series Maintenance & Serviceability

The simplicity of the Van Staal VR Series is an easy to self serviceable fishing reel. With minimal tools and a short amount of time the reel can be disassembled, serviced and reassembled. The one specialty tool is required and included in box when purchased.

Van Staal VR Series Bail Configuration

VR Series reels offer saltwater anglers fishing flexibility with two bail configurations. Packaged with the full bail (standard), a single roller bail-less (manual) conversion kit is also included in reel box. Converting from standard to manual is easy and best of all parts are provided. Additional part purchases are not required. When buying from us, Fisherman’s Headquarters will convert any Van Staal VR reels to manual pick up upon request at no charge. Just let us know.

Van Staal VR Series Stand Out Features

  • Fully Sealed Water Resistant Construction
  • Machined 6061-T6 Aluminum Body, Sideplate, Rotor, Spool
  • Hardened Stainless Spiral Bevel Drive & Pinion Gears
  • Solid Stainless Steel Main Shaft with Titanium Nitride Coating
  • Sealed Waterproof Drag (Putting Out 25 Pounds) with MicroClick tuning for wide ranges of accurate fishable pressure.

Available in 5 sizes… VR50, VR125, VR150, VR175, VR200

Van Staal VR50 Spin Fishing Reel

Please welcome the newest addition to the VR family… The Van Staal VR50! It’s an incredibly capable small, lightweight yet tough spinning reel. At first sight (ICAST 2017, July) I was impressed. I loved the feel, smoothness and weight. It’s compact size and handle knob grip felt great in my hand.

In the fall of 2017 I had the opportunity to fish it (pre-release). The best way to describe it… The Van Staal VR50 Reel Is A Compact Powerhouse!

Van Staal VR50 Construction & Gearing

The Van Staal VR50 is machined from 6061-T6 aluminum. Weighing in at 8.9 oz the reel is 2.3oz lighter than the Van Staal VS100 X-Series Reel. The stainless gearing offers a good balance of speed and torque simultaneously providing cranking power and the perfect speed retrieve. The 6.3:1 gear ration puts out 37″ per turn moving just the right amount of line. When fishing, I never felt behind. Never did I struggle to keep up and stay in contact with the lure even in current and wind.

Van Staal VR50 Line & Drag Capacity

With a spool holding about 350 yards of 20# braid, the capacity is more than adequate. Some anglers sacrifice distance and opt for more breaking strength/diameter going to 30 or 40# braid. The VR50 will even hold plenty of monofilament line in the 10 or 12# class; 240yds of 10#, 200yds of 12#.

The Van Staal VR Series loves the sand and salt as much as you do. Here in this photo is the Van Staal VR50 Fishing Reel matched up on a G.Loomis E6X Inshore Spinning rod and spooled up with 20 pound braid. It’s the ultimate inshore rod set up for targeting striped bass, fluke and false albacore.

I feel the perfect equation for most general fishing applications, is to back up the spool with about 50yds of 12# mono then fill up with 225yds of 20# braided line. This option offers the best for long casts allowing small lures to punch into the wind.

The solid stainless shaft with pin and waterproof drag (** not found on the other four sizes) puts out 25 pounds of ultra smooth drag. The VR50 is the ultimate inshore reel when targeting big fish on light tackle.

Van Staal Offers Dependability & No Limitations

Coming from the makers of the ultimate surf fishing reel, the Van Staal VR Series is the best surfcasting reel for it’s value. Starting at $489 the VR Series is an exceptional choice for the coastal angler and anglers who travel. Kayak and stand up paddle board anglers love the VR. The reel shines for those anglers fishing the surf and wadding or walking the water’s edge. Locally in the North East it is a stand out reel for targeting striped bass, fluke and false albacore. In the South East it’s a great option for redfish, snook, jacks, permit and tarpon.  

Buy Van Staal VR Series Reels

The Van Staal VR50 is a great reel for walking the surf targeting striped bass.

What Rod Mates Best With The Van Staal VR50?

Matched up with a G.Loomis E6X Inshore 964S (8′ Heavy Mod-Fast Action 10-20# 3/8-1oz MSRP $210) it’s an awesome set up for casting and jigging small lures. Great for both boat and land based anglers.  It has great ability to launch small jigs and plugs a very good distance. The rod and reel excels as a great combination for false albacore, fluke, striped bass and bluefish. It’s also a very good choice when stalking jacks, snook and redfish.

My preference is to match it up with an 8′ rod but some prefer an 7′ length. In the 7′ length the G.Loomis Pro Blue Series has a couple great options. Also brands like St. Croix, Lamiglas and Tsunami have great rods that excel with the VR50.

Travel Rod & Reel

The Van Staal VR50 is a great travel reel because it’s super powerful yet compact. When fishing new unknown waters, you never know what might bite! The Van Staal VR50 and the G.Loomis Escape three piece rod combination is travel set up that is ready for anything.=

Surfcasting Review From Nightstrikes

Shop regular and hardcore surf fishing angler Steve George aka “Nightstrikes purchased a VR50 from us when the reel first hit the market. He put it through the paces and shared his review on its worth.

Steve said, “I purchased the reel for its high speed gearing and planned to us it as my false albacore reel. Once I fished it, I found it was very versatile. It’s powerful, fast and compact.”

Spooled up with 20# Power Pro Braided Line Steve uses the reel to target striped bass, bluefish and fluke from the surf and back bay waters of New Jersey. “After many long hours in the surf with lots of fish, I’m very happy with the reel. I have not experienced any issues.” Steve mentioned even hooking into a big cow nose ray the reel was great.

Here’s a cow nose ray that Steve foul hooked while targeting fluke off the surf. Most reels in its class would have struggled but the VR50 held up great. Photo: Steve George

Van Staal VSX-Series Vs VR Series

There’s a lot that can be said about Van Staal Fishing Reel Series and all of it was proven over years of dedication to anglers who fish hard. Depending on your preferences and fishing style, either model could be great for you.

Which is the best Van Staal Reel for your needs? To keep it short and to the point here’s our take…

The VR is a reel for anglers who want a dependable saltwater spinning reel which is self serviceable, all metal and machined. It’s a lightweight weapon so it perfectly matches the new lightweight surf rods. Looking for an awesome reel with a light tackle approach! Go for the Van Staal VR Series.

The Van Staal VS X-Series Stand Apart

The VS X-Series is the ultimate surf reel. It might not be the lightest or smoothest; however the Van Staal X-Series is the absolute best in terms of durability, quality and waterproof ability. With its Titanium Main Shaft and Waterproof Sealed Drag. Van Staal X-Series is for the most demanding saltwater anglers fishing the most brutal conditions. The Van Staal VS Series has stood the test of time and is proven the world’s most durable and powerful reels! The X-Series takes it to the next level with improvements to the oscillation (helps line lay) and the drag (added detents).

Van Staal does NOT offer the VR Series in right hand crank aka leftie version. There’s a possibility sometime in the future but no guarantee.

As of January 2019

Reel Reaction Charters – Winter Report

First, I have secured a sponsorship with Humminbird / MinnKota and will be replacing all of my “other brand” electronics with 2 Humminbird SOLIX units/SONAR/GPS/RADAR. We will start doing charters early March for combo Winter Flounder and schoolie Striped Bass charters. April will bring Tog or Blackfish in the crosshairs. I’m very excited for 2019 and can’t wait to get back on the water.

In addition, I have been asked to do fishing seminars at the Edison Boat Show, Philadelphia Fishing Show, and Atlantic City Boat Show. I will be also doing several appearances in Atlantic City January through March! February will be a busy month, followed by splashing the boat in early March!! Lastly, we are in the beginning stages of possibly adding another boat and captain to the fleet to target skinny-water backwater fishing. But more on that in the future. FHQ has some nice deals going on right now and throughout the winter months. I will be stopping in to gear up for the 2019 season, so hopefully will run into some of you there!

If interested in booking a charter, book our site ( or call/text 609-290-7709. As always, we use the highest quality gear and everything is included: gear, tackle, fish-cleaning, and ICE! It’s “no worries” fishing. Just come aboard and FISH.

Fishing Report Update – Monday January 14, 2019

Here’s the Fishing Report Update for Monday January 14, 2019. This time of year reports get few and far between; however, some anglers are getting out and fishing. This is what they shared.

One report of information came in from a boater who took a ride on Saturday. “I took advantage of the flat calm conditions and burned some fuel. The water was cold and everywhere was void of life. Bay temp was in high 30’s and the ocean was in the mid to low 40’s.”

Bottom Fishing When Weather Allows

When the weather allows, anglers targeting blackfish are rewarded. Tog fishing continues to be good with the fish still in surprisingly (close) shallow water for the time of year. January fishing is the time to start looking deeper in search of a trophy size blackfish. Full boat limit light be hard to reach now but there’s still plenty of good tog fishing going down.

Some boats are heading offshore trips for porgies, cod and pollock. We recently had customers in to shop gearing up be have not heard any reports back. Unfortunately Black Sea Bass season is closed.

Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Report

On the surf there’s not much going on. The water’s cold and all of the fish have migrated out of our waters. There’s a possibility to find a roaming resident but it’s slim. On his way to the surf, one Ship Bottom based angler stoped into today and picked up a few small lures. He reported, “Last two trips out I got the skunk. One more strike and I’m out till Spring.”

Princeton Tec SNAP Headlamp/Light

New Product Alert – Princeton Tec SNAP

Here’s a great product that we brought in for 2019…

The Princeton Tec SNAP Headlamp/Light is a multi-talented light perfect for everyday life and adventure. Featuring a magnetic mounting solution, the SNAP is a one stop tool for all lighting needs; headlamp, flashlight, bike light, safety flasher, lantern and magnetic area light.

All Of These Option, All In One SNAP!

One Light So Many Options!!! The Princeton Tech SNAP offers all of this in one light.

More Info About The SNAP

The Princeton Tec SNAP starts as a straightforward headlamp but what makes it an unique and award winning light is its modular, adaptable design. The SNAP’s Light Unit has a magnetic mount which allows for quick transformation from a headlamp, to a lantern on carabiner, pipe/pole or a boat rail. It can even stick on a metal surface.

Above all the SNAP is basic and simple to use. A large, easy to find button on the head unit turns the versatile spot beam on, dims it and switches over to flash mode.

Performance Rating – 200 Lumens

Putting out 200 Lumens of power the SNAP offers a good balance of power and run time for its size. The three AAA batteries put out 40 hours in High (~36 meter distance reach), 130 hours in Low (~9m), 130 hours in High – Safety Flash (~36m) and 40 hours in High

Water Resistance Rating – IPX4

Featuring an IPX4 rating, the Princeton Tech SNAP is designed for water resistance to splashing and quick dunks. It is not made to be submerged for a long period of time.

Made In The USA & Backed By A 5 Year Warranty

The Princeton Tec SNAP is packaged and sold as a kit. It includes:

  • The SNAP Light Unit With Magnetic
  • The Headlamp Mount Attachment
  • Carabiner Mount & Clip (Two Way/Position)
  • Pipe/Pole/Handlebar Mount Attachment

Since 1975 Princeton Tec has proudly innovated in the USA pushing the limits with reliable, durable lights that shine bright in every situation

Here’s a link to other great lights from Princeton Tec.

Togzilla On A Magictail Tog Jig

Yesterday Wednesday January 2, 2018 Magictail’s Dante Soriente stopped in with TOGZILLA. Here’s his report from the day…

Big Blackfish Love Magictail Tog Jigs

What a day! I’ve been on the hunt for a 15 pound tog on one of my jigs. I caught ten double digit blackfish this year (2018) but nothing over the 13 pound mark. I can’t believe it finally happened today!

Dante and Magictails set out to make The Best Tog Jigs that would outfish all competition based on superior design elements. It’s safe to claim they hit a home run!

More tog and the biggest tog in the past two years have been caught on Magictail Tog Jigs than any other tog jig on the market.

On 1/2/2019 I fished with Paul Haertel aboard his boat the Angler. We got into some really good fishing. It all started off when I caught a really good fish. On my Boga Grip 15 it pulled down and almost bottomed out. This fish which was about 14.5-15 pounds. It was photographed and released. Then a few minutes later another double digit fish hit the deck. This 12 pound tog was also released. An hour went by and Paul caught a 11.5 pound tog on the jig.

About two hours later I hooked a big fish on a baited Magictail Tog Jig, 2oz Glow White Legger. This fish actually pulled drag and took me deep twice. What An Epic Battle! Shocking all of us it bottomed out my Boga Grip 15. Fortunately Paul had a Boga Grip 60 onboard. It weighed in between 20-21 pounds. I was going to release it but Paul wouldn’t let me. He said, “It’s a true giant!”

Once back on land I stopped in at Fishermans Headquarters and got a certified weight, 20.96 pounds. Just a few pounds shy of the state record. I’m so happy to have smashed the 15 pound mark. I’m in shock that I broke the 20 pound mark. Best of all I did it on my Magictail Jig… Mission Complete!

That’s a smile only a 20+ pound tog can produce! 20.96 to be exact. Congrats Big D on a fish of a lifetime! With all the time and dedication, you earned it!

Tog Jigs are very effective and at times outproduce. For those blackfish anglers looking to add to their arsenal and learn more about targeting tog with specialty jigs, we published a fishing blog article just for you. But first…

Here’s Paul Haertel with a large blackfish that fell for a Magictail Tog Jig.

Here’s a testimonial from ace anglers Paul Haertel, “I’m sold on using Magictail Jigs! Up until a week or so ago I was more of a rig fisherman. Today I caught my limit plus, all on jigs. With a new boat record and all of these double digit catches they proved their value to me.”

Light Tackle Fishing Florida’s South Central West Coast

Light Tackle Fishing Florida’s South Central West Coast

For the holidays (late 2018), I enjoyed some family time down in the Sunshine State visiting family. Not knowing our exact plans I did not book a guide in advance. I managed to score a last minute light tackle trip with Captain Jim Klopfer of Adventure Charters out of Sarasota, conveniently only 15 minutes from in law’s house.

The day started off slow due to dense fog. Looking for game we worked some mangrove lined creeks with small Rapala X-Rap Swimming Plugs but we came up short. Live bait might have made the difference but we stayed away from the dark side. Captain Jim kept us moving and on the hunt with a hit and run mentality.

On The Hunt For Game

It paid off! On the way to check out another area we came across jack crevelle crashing on top. It was a frothy feed! My cousin Mike struck first and enjoyed the fight on a 20# braid, Penn Conflict 2000 Spinning Reel and St. Croix 6’6″ Medium Action Rod. The feed dispersed.

Here’s Mike enjoying the fight, hooked up with a Jack Crevelle. The Penn Conflict Reel and St Croix Rod make a perfect light tackle inshore rod and reel setup.

We continued to work the area and our patience paid off. I managed a hook up on the 7wt fly rod blind casting a sink tip line with an Olive/White clouser minnow. During my tug of war, Mike hooked up again on the X-Rap. Before we knew it the jacks were smashing on top again.

Boat Side Top Water Take

Above all other, the next couple of minutes are ingrained in my brain for awhile. I punched out a good cast but was a little bit short of the target. One strip and then I let it settle. Second guessing my placement I quickly stripped the line to clear and recast. Five feet from the boat a big jack half out of the water fright trained my clouser. One solid strip set and he took off, clearing my line and into backing. These challenging close encounters is why I’m hooked on saltwater fly fishings!

Here’s a short video from our day light tackle fishing Sarasota Bay with Captain Jim…

We finished the day working some flats (grass and oyster beds) with Berkley Gulp Shrimp on a lead head jig. Using a snap jigging technique similar to fluke fishing at home we caught a couple ladyfish.

In the end we had a great day with a ton of fun. The jacks (three on fly, five on spin) and ladyfish kept our line tight for the majority of the four hour trip.

Highlight Note: While pulling into the ramp at the end of the day a very rare jet engine powered boat was leaving the dock. It’s shown at the end of the video. Have you ever seen a boat like this before? Let us know in the comment section.

Here’s a link to a short fishing report from Captain Jim as well as a blog post he wrote about Fly Fishing Jack Crevelle. Also stay in the loop with Jim’s reports here.

Anyone looking for a light tackle guide in the Sarasota Area? Call Captain Jim Klopfer of Adventure Charters, 941-371-1390

Happy New Year!

From all of us at Fish Heads… Happy New Year!

Thank you for making our 2018 a fantastic year.

Here’s Special Gift For You

Reel In 2019 and SAVE 19% Off Any Order Over $50 with online shopping cart checkout code NEWYEARS

Looking Forward To The Next 365 Days

We hope that we helped your 2018 fishing adventures. Here’s to new horizons with new species, tackle and techniques! Our goal is for everyone to catch more fish, bigger fish and have even more fun doing so. All year long, we are seven days a week to help assist.

Start To 2019

What an awesome start to 2019! The mild temps and sun today felt more like the first day of spring. I spent the day enjoying the waves surfing mid-island. The water was churned up but lots of water foul, gulls and gannet were roaming around. One angler was waling the beach plugging. No hook ups that I saw. My assumption is he didn’t connect, but as long as the brutal cold stays away, I expect bass in the suds.

Fishing Report Update

On Sunday store staffers Frezza and Kelley were out with Swagmattic (Matt) and the guys from South Jersey Saltwater Anglers Fishing Club. They all fished with Captain Sammy aboard the Mary M. out of Barnegat Light. They reported solid day with fish up to 8.5 pounds, 10 fish shy of a 16 man boat limit. Matt reported, “Kelley was on fire and had the right touch. He boated thirteen keepers and was high hook.”

Here’s Mike Frezza with a nice tog he caught aboard the Mary M on Sunday December 30, 2018.

Reminder: New Jersey does not have a saltwater fishing license, but it does have a mandatory Saltwater Angler Registry for all anglers age 16 and over. Now’s the time to renew for 2019. For those anglers still unaware be sure to follow the link, read and register. NJDEP Saltwater Registry Program