Fishing Report Update March 30, 2019

The last stretch of March was good weather wise and the fishing continued to improve. As water temps rise more fish show in the back bay. More bunker sightings in the bay too and a solid showing of gannets have the stoke level high.

Here’s a photo from Matt R of action off the south end surf on Friday. For a look at the short video go to Our Instagram Page.

Fish Baits Like Worm & Clam

Winter flounder reports are few but striped bass reports are plentiful. Local anglers are getting out and finding fish here on LBI as well as local mainland spots. Worming and clamming bayside locations will produce.

Anglers fishing Mystic Islands, Great Bay and Mullica River river continue to have fish. Rich Beverly stopped by the shop and said hello yesterday. He reported just fishing earlier in the day, “This morning I was out and caught a bunch of cats, one striped bass and a big perch.

Store staffer Jordan was out the other night and got his first bass of the season this weekend.

Swagmattic Is Feeding Striped Bass Late Night Snacks

Fish Heads Ambassador Swagmattic (Matt S.) was out late Friday working the night shift. He found a couple good size striped bass that were hungry. For a late night snack he fed them white Kettle Creek Swim Baits. Here’s a photo of one catch. Notice he’s using his Daiwa BG reel. He said it best, “The Daiwa BG Spinning Reel is the best saltwater fishing reel at the $100 price range. From striped bass and bluefish to tog and fluke the Daiwa BG does it all in the NorthEast. Going south? Reds, Snook, jacks, small tarpon… you name it the BG has you covered. It’s also a great surf casting reels in the 4-8000 size.”

Store staffer Dan was on the fish with weekend. He reported, “Things are getting better in the bay. There were bunker at a couple spots I looked. I put in some time and caught bass.”

Word has it there’s a couple small bluefish around. We are hoping these guys show up in force soon for a gunshot start to the fishing run.

Those making the drive to early season areas are rewarded. The Delaware is heating up with bigger fish moving in. Anglers fishing worms are doing it. The Rapala X-Rap are also getting love. Any day the Raritan Bay is gonna tee off.

Notice To Mariners

Attention Barnegat Bay Boaters a navigational hazard has been found and brought to our attention by Captain Adam Sherer of Sherer’s Boat Basin. All boaters should be aware, share with others and as always navigate with caution.

“There are several unmarked hazards near the ICM from the Causeway bridge south to Beach Haven.  It appears that the ice flow over the winter has cut the old steel pylons (Channel Markers) off right at the water line.  While these are able to be seen on a low tide in daylight they become near impossible to locate at mid tide or higher or in low light or dark conditions. Some of the hazards are marked by buoys but some of the buoys are located 25-50ft from the submerged hazard posing a major threat to boater safety.  The answer is for the USCG to remove these navigational hazards not mark only some of them with a buoy with considerable distance between the hazard and buoy.  I have spoken with several other Marina owners and managers as well as those constantly on the water and they all have voiced concern about these ghost navigational hazards. Please share with anyone that is regularly on the water in this area.” ~ Captain Adam

Fishing Report Update March 27, 2019

Last night’s and tonight’s lows are cold but the 10 day looks good! Things are looking up and up.

Today (Wednesday) we received a nice delivery of primo live bloodworms. Unfortunately the Monsta Bloods were not available but the regulars are very good.

Monday morning the bay was a sheet of glass allowing any and all movements to be visible. Numerous eyes spotted life. One my way over the causeway bridges I saw what looked like bunker flipping. Another report came from a customer in the shop who saw small fish popping. Then a another report was sent in from Mary Egan who also witnessed the same things.

It’s great to see adult bunker in the bay. It’s my guess they are here doing their thing which will result in another peanut bunker plentiful summer. I checked in with one out our bunker guys who knows the deal and he said there’s bunker in the northern Barnegat Bay too but… He contradicted my idea. He said that I was wrong. Then enlightened me… “Bunker aka menhaden spawn in the ocean, inshore where the eggs hatch and the larvae drift into the bays eventually making their way into the rivers and creeks of our coastal back bay system.” While it sounds like a long shot I believe him.You learn something new everyday!

Alittle on the fishing front….

Some small bass and winter flounder were caught recently near the Causeway Bridges. Speaking of the Bridges… They have always been a great area to fish. And now they now offer a new updated facility. With the bridge construction, new walkways and railings were installed. They are a big improvement over the old sink holes lined with poison ivy. One complaint from us…The railings are very high and too close to the edge. It’s difficult to fish over and you can’t fish in front of them. Kids need a cooler to stand on in order to get height.

Anglers fishing Raritan Bay are starting to pick small fish. Soon they will have some great fishing. The Spring showing on the bay can be very impressive.

Off the surf one customer reported no luck fishing worms but he did see gannets dive bombing further off. One year I smashed bass bucktailing early April when the herring moved through It was light out. Maybe we will get a little taste of that again.

LBI Spring Surf Fishing Tournament

The 18th Annual Long Beach Island Spring Surf Fishing Tournament aka “Spring Derby” is coming up…. April 27 to June 23, 2019. Registrations ($20 Sign Up Fee) will begin in a couple weeks. More details will be posted in the near future. Save The Dates!

Village Harbour Fishing Club

Looking to join a fishing club? The Village Harbour Fishing Club is welcoming new members. Why Join A Fishing Club? Why not! Learn, share, network, socialize and so much more.

Meetings are held the second Friday each month, April thru November at 7:45 PM in Manahawkin CC 775 E Bay Ave. 2019 Meeting Dates: Apr 12, May 10, Oct 14, Jul 12, Aug 9, Sep 13, Oct 11 & Nov 8. Hope to see you at the next meeting!

$40 Annual Dues Yield Great Rewards
● 8 Meetings with Guest Speakers, Latest Fishing
News and Member Reports
● Over $1000 in Multi-Species Monthly Contests
● Monthly Newsletter April thru November
● Discounts from Club Sponsors
● Informative VHFC Website
● July Fluke Tournament & BBQ (Spouse Included)

About the Village Harbour Fishing Club

The Village Harbour Fishing Club (VHFC) was started in 1989 as a non-profit organization to bring together those anglers wishing to further their knowledge of sportfishing in our area of the New Jersey shore. Whether it is bay or ocean fishing that boils your blood, the VHFC has members that will share your enthusiasm! We support the conservation of our precious fishing resources as well as our inland and oceanic waters and adjacent lands. We also support the NJ Artificial Reef Program. We strive to promote the best interests of recreational angling, and to establish sportsmanship and fellowship.

Fishing Report Update March 24, 2019

The action is picking up! Store staffer Jordan reports, “Some bass and winter flounder in the back bay are chewing on bloodworms.” The early season spots are best however things are beginning to spread out.

As most know live bloodworms are hands down the best early season bait. Fish warming up from their long winter hibernation demand an easy to digest meal. Bloodworms are easy for fish to find and slurp. Key in and match the hatch. Right now we have some beautiful baits left from our recent delivery. If you stopped by and got some you scored some MONSTAS! Some of the biggest bloodworms we’ve seen in years. We are expecting more in a couple days.

Those anglers choosing to fish artificial are catching too. Reports are becoming more common with striped bass taking artificial baits. Small lures in the 3-5″ range are best with choices like little Yo-zuri and Rapala X-Rap plugs being the way to go. In the soft bait category the best baits are the Kettle Creek paddle tails rigged on a jighead. Also a Magictail bucktail tipped off with your choice trailer (jig strip, curly tail, Ron-Z) is a sure bet. Another stand out is the DartSpin (Patrick Sebile’s new bait from his company A Band Of Anglers) which is proving to be a hot new product that is catching fish. If looking for great versatile soft plastic check these out in store, soon we’ll have them listed online.

The best time to wet a line is 1-2 hours before low, fishing all the way out and then some. This will be the warmest water and help fish get a little more active.

Word from the Delaware River has been good. Before the rain things were getting good. It sounds like on Sunday things were starting to settle but a little more time is needed to fix up and settle after the storm. The majority are smaller bass but some classy ones were caught and more are moving in. Steve Polidore has been into consistent fishing working the banks with bloodworms. One recent day he caught over 15 bass. Reports of some classy fish moving into the rivers. We saw a photo from another angler who caught a 20 plus pound bass.

Store staffers Kelley and Frezza hit a lake Saturday evening and reported their local fresh water honey hole is producing, “The water is still cold so we are fishing the shallow waters and using a slow motion approach. We each caught a few small bass on plastic worms.”

White Perch fishing in improving. It will only get better.

Fishing LBI Report Update March 20, 2019

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!

LBI Fishing Report Update March 14, 2019

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

Fishing Report Update – March 10, 2019

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.

Summer Flounder – Fluke News

Here’s a link to our Fluke Fishing Regulation Page which for the time being has Fluke News as a place holder.

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

2024 NJ Fluke Fishing Regulations – Summer Flounder

Update March 8, 2024

The 2024 & 2025 New Jersey Fluke / Summer Flounder Fishing Regulations are as follows…

NJ Fluke Season is May 4th to September 25, 2024

This is a 145 day season (2023 was 149 days) which allows for both early season and late season fishing. This fills the demands of both North Jersey and South Jersey interests as well as land base, back bay and ocean going anglers. This regulation is for BOTH THE 2024 & 2025 SEASONS.

3 Fish at 18″ and larger

The minimum size of 18″ was a common length used for many years; 2008-2011, 2014-2021. A slot limit was used in ’22 and ’23 however science did not come back with positive date that supported continuing. Also the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) mandated a 28% cut. Out of 6 options that were approved after MAFMC Technical Committee review the option which the vast majority of the recreational fishing community supported ended up being chosen. This regulation is for BOTH THE 2024 & 2025 SEASONS.

Special Regulations

The special regulations for location specific areas in the state such as Delaware Bay (3 fish at 17″) and Island Beach State Park (2 fish at 16″) were left status quo for 2024. For those detailed specifics see the NJ Fish & Wildlife Digest or website.

Reduce Discard Mortality

If you can't keep it, save it. Reduce discard mortality and respect the species.

When fishing for fluke (or any other species for that matter) please remember, “If you can’t keep it, save it!” It’s the anglers responsibility to take proactive measures in order to reduce discard mortality. It’s crucial to our fishery.

Plan Ahead

Always have a net and de-hooker aboard. Dehookers are a great tool for removing a hook from a fish’s mouth, especially fluke. We suggest the Old Salt Dehooker or Baker T-Handle Hook Out.

Use Appropriate Tackle

Classic long leader fluke rigs have a tendency to gut hook fish therefor we suggest targeting fluke with bucktail jigs. If using a long leader “classic fluke rig” it is recommended to use circle hooks in the 4/0-6/0 size range (if using j-hooks 5/0 to 7/0 hooks) to successfully land bigger fluke as well as reduce dead discard of undersized gut hooked fluke. When small fish are plentiful crush your hook barbs or rig up with barbless hooks.

Handle Fish With Care

It should go without saying, always respect the fish you target, catch and release. Take the utmost care when handing fish and removing a hook. Time is of the essence so get the fish back in the water quickly. Ensure survival in anyway which sometimes calls for cutting the leader on a gut hooked fish.

Fish Smart! Future generations of anglers depends on our responsibility today.

We encourage any and all anglers in need of help or more information about fluke fishing to reach out and contact us at Fishermans Headquarters. We are here to help make you a better angler.

Fluke Love Bucktails! They are one of the most effective lures for targeting fluke all season. This early season fluke was caught drifting along a sod bank sitting right on a drop off.
Fluke Love Bucktails! They are one of the most effective lures for targeting fluke all season. This early season fluke was caught drifting along a sod bank sitting right on a drop off. Not only are effective, but bucktails are also one of the safest ways to catch and release fluke with minimal harm. Bucktails rarely gut hook a fish.

NJ’s Opening Weekend Fishing Report

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.

Berkeley Striper Club’s 24th Fishermen’s Flea Market

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.