Six Easy Stay At Home Fishing Projects

Time are tough and the world is upside down. It’s safe to say the best thing for everyone to do is stay home and quarantine. But aren’t you going stir crazy? Can’t watch another minute of the same news roll repeat over and over again? Had enough of watching youtube and seeing one amateur after the next try to teach you how to do something they just learned from their neighbor less than a week earlier? We already know you watched every episode of Peaky Blinders, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Shooter and Tiger King!

Make the most of your time at home with these Six Easy Stay At Home Fishing Projects so when things open back up you are best prepared for fishing!

Tie Some Leaders & Rigs

Are you ready for summer flounder season? NJ’s fluke season opens May 22! Get a jump start on it now by tie up some fluke fishing rigs.

Seaguar Fluorocarbon (30#) is by far our best seller among fluke anglers however some choose to tie up with classic nylon monofilament leader like Ande Monofilament Leader which is significantly less money than fluoro.

Fluorocarbon fishing from Seaguar is top quality leader line. Another great leader line choose is Ande. Both mono and fluoro line are good for tying leaders and fishing rigs.

The traditional wide gape “English” hook (37160) from Mustad is a good choice when fluke fishing with live or dead bait; however, we prefer the ultimate black nickel all purpose hook… the Gamakatsu Octopus Hooks. The Gami Octopus hooks can be used in just about any saltwater fishing situation.

These three hooks are great for fluke fishing! When tying your own rigs always choose quality hooks.
Here’s three great fluke fishing hooks. On the left, the classic English Hook from Mustad, model 37160. In the middle, the ultimate all purpose hook from Gamakatsu Octopus. On the right, the new Gulp Hook from Mustad, model 3400.

If planning on baiting the hook with Gulp Baits we highly recommend the Mustad 3400 Specialty Hook. This hook is based off of the classic long shank O’Shaughnessy, but it is not offset. It features bait holder barbs on the shank to keep Gulp Baits in position. The turned back eye is also great for snelling or attaching with a double looping a dropper loop. This hook is shown above on the right.

Making teaser rigs? You should because they are one of the most popular fluke fishing rigs for good reason… they outfish! A small (50# in the bay, 75# in the ocean) Tactical Angler Clip at the bottom is a fast, strong and convenience connection for changing jigs. The Tsunami Rolling T Swivel is a good option for making hi-lo drops and are a great substitute for the classic Spro Three Way Swivel

Are you into the mid-shore and offshore game?

Tuna trolling, jigging and chunking will be here soon. Last year there was a good bite in mid/late May. Will you be ready if it pops up early again?

If you didn’t over the winter already… re-rig spreader bars, chains and other trolling lures. Also prepare some chunking leaders. We’ve got all of the essentials. Last season the boats that scaled down out-fished the fleet. Catching 30-80# tuna (bluefin and yellowfin) on 40-50# might sound too light but it’s not. Some days sharpies scale down even lighter to fool line shy fish. Light line also allows live baits and chunk baits to settle freely and drift naturally in the chum slick.

When tying up we like palomar knot direct to the (J-Hook For Chunking & Live Baits or Circle Hook For Chunking & Live Baits). These medium wire 4X strong hooks are best for light line tuna fishing. Some prefer a 130 or 230# Spro Power Swivel. Suggestion: When scaling down to fool line shy tuna, tie your braided line directly to your fluorocarbon leader (line to line knot like an FG or double Albright) and fish a longer leader.

Research Your Water

How good do you know the waters you fish and navigate? Now’s the time to study up! Get a chart (Home Port Charts are a great resource to have) which details the area you want to learn and do some reconnaissance. With addition to a chart, take a good look at Google earth too. Look for features that interest you. Then when the time is right get out and scout these areas and fish them. You’ll be surprised at the results!

Nautical charts are a great resource for learning the lay of the land before pushing off the dock and navigating new waters. While staying at home study a chart and learn the waters.
Nautical charts are a great resource for learning the lay of the land before pushing off the dock and navigating new waters.

Tip: When visually scouting new area try to focus on days with more extreme tides, when the moon phase is full or new. Going at times when the water level is lowest can be very helpful to see characteristics which can be missed at high tide. Also persistent westerly winds drive water out of the bays resulting in blow out tides. These are also prime tides to scout. Another great resource is Navionics Marine Cartography App.

Organize Your Tackle

Unless you are a neat freak and keep up with it, fishing tackle always seems in need of organization. Dealing with jumbled up lures and miscellaneous tackle bins can be frustrating and time consuming especially when looking get on fish quick.

Organization can be hard, but it doesn’t need to be. With Plano Tackle Storage Solutions fishing tackle is easy to find and store away making everyday more enjoyable. The all new Plano Edge Stowaway Utility Boxes offer lots of options for both general purpose and specialized storage. This series is a top choice for fishing tackle organization because it features Dri-Loc seals to keeps water out, Rustrictor coating to prevent rust, one-handed latch design for quick easy use and crystal clear lid to its easy to identify what’s inside.

This Plano Edge 800 is the largest of the family and is great for softbaits especially Gulp! One of the best ways to make the most of time at home is cleaning and organizing.

Plano isn’t the only one offering great solutions for taming fishing tackle. One of our favorite tackle boxes and a best seller for good reason is the Gamakatsu G Box Utility Series. Availalbe in a variety of sizes they are great for terminal tackle and lures.

The G3200 box is great for small fishing tackle. Keep all of you swivels, clips and snaps all together so they are easily accessible when rigging and fishing.
The Gamakatsu G3200 is a great small tackle box that can be set up for small lures and jigs as well as divided out to organize small terminal tackle.

The G3200 is perfect for terminal tackle like swivels, clips, beads and hooks. The 3500D is slightly larger and deeper so small and medium size lures fit nicely. The 3600 comes in two versions with micro-adjustable dividers or the 3600SF with slit foam that is great for hooks, rigs, flies and jigs. The 3700 is the most popular size and great for a variety of tackle. The added depth of the 3700D is great for large bulky tackle.

Now’s the time to get things orderly.

Spring Clean Your Lures

Hunt down rusty hooks and replace them! VMC offers great quality trebles at a good price. When taking action and doing hook swaps a quality split ring plier makes the task of changing hooks much MUCH easier. Choose Texas Tackle!

While checking for rusty hooks it’s a really good idea to inspect some of your best fish catching lures. Chances are you 2019 MVP’s could show signs of damage. Tweaked hook hangers or crack in the seam are signs complete failure is next. Why risk your next trophy catch to a lure that could be replaced?

Change out rusty treble hooks to make sure you don't get a rusty one in the hand and also to ensure you don't loose a fish due to hook failure.
Friends don’t let friends fish rusty hooks!

Inspect, Clean & Lube Your Fishing Gear

Now is the time to review and tighten up your tackle. Protect investments in quality fishing rods and reels with a little TLC. The best time to service reels s at the end of the season however better late than never. Get them cleaned and lubricated but don’t forget to service your other fishing tools like pliers, crimpers, dehookers and knives. A quality corrosion inhibitor lubricant like Corrosion X is a great product! WD-40 is also a great app purpose lubricant.

Saltwater fishing tackle needs to be lubricated to protect it from the harsh elements.

It’s good practice to remove reels from rods and clean reel seats. We like the a mild citrus cleaner like Penn Rod and Reel Cleaner. It cleans dried on fish slim, salt and grease and also leaves behind a light thin residue protectant. When cleaning rods, always check guides and tip for cracks/chips. An easy way to seek out the hard to find hairline cracks is with a q-tip cotton swab. It’s

It’s Time To Replace Old Fishing Line

Your fishing line is the vital link between you and your next trophy. It’s best to know this part of the equation is up to the task. It can’t be tired, compromised, sun damaged or chaffed. Re-spool in the spring so you are ready for the season ahead with confidence.

Old fishing line must be recycled properly.
Be sure to recycle your old fishing line properly. Fishermans Headquarter is a drop off location that accepts old monofilament fishing line.

Hopefully you’ve found these Six Easy Stay At Home Fishing Projects helpful. Maybe some of these are already crossed off your list. Good Job! Best of luck fishing. From all of us at Fisherman’s Headquarters we wish everyone a safe and health 2020.

Fishing Report Update 4/25/20

It was nice to finally have Thursday & Saturday, days without a horizontal flag all day. The winds were light and the ocean was fair. The conditions were prime and anglers took advantage, got out and found fish! There’s some positive news buzzing around… Here’s the Fishing Report Update For Saturday April 25, 2010 but first…

Belated Earth Day

A little late but better late than never. Let’s all take the Earth Day holiday as a reminder… It’s everyone’s responsible to do their part each and everyday.

Respect The Environment & The Fisheries With These Tips

  • Kick Plastic! This campaign was launched by Costa a couple years ago at ICAST to help reduce the amount of plastics finding their way into our waterways. Eliminate single use plastic from your everyday life! Strive everyday to recycle and reuse.
  • Carry Out What You Carry In – Always prepare by packing light and making it a point to never leave anything behind when done fishing. Pay It Forward by carrying out trash that was left behind by someone else.
    • Always keep trash secure because on the beach or boat things can blow away at any moment. Most trash isn’t left/dumped on purpose. It’s accidental. Take steps to prevent this beforehand.
  • Keep The Waters Tangle Free – Recycle your fishing line properly! Here at Fish Heads we are part of (and have been for 20 years) Berkley’s Line Recycling Program. Each year, we ship them 10-12 large boxes packed full of used monofilament line. Anyone is welcome to drop off used line at the store for recycling.
  • Harvest Responsibly – Only take what you need. Future generations depend on the fisheries. Practice catch and release.
Recycle your old fishing line by dropping it off at Fishermans Headquarters, Ship Bottom, NJ.
We recycle old fishing line and lots of it!

Are You On Social Media?

If so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. We will not disappoint. It’s health to get a break from the constant news roll filled with virus and political talk.

All of the questions our followers and customers have are very important to us. We spend a lot of time on a daily basis replying to and helping customers. For this reason we’ve decided to set aside time a couple times a week to share the questions and answers. We also toss in some shop news, current events, trending fishing topics and occasionally have a special guest. So far we’ve shared some awesome stuff, really letting the cat out of the bag.

Get on Instagram and give us a follow to be notified when we go live next this way you can Join in on our live broadcasts. So far we’ve done about ten and are floored with all of the love. All feedback has been positive and motivating to keeping it going. We are doing our best to slowly archive as many as possible to our the Fisherman’s Headquarters YouTube Page. Unfortunately, some of the live sessions have had the same glitch on the IG platform which prevents us from saving and sharing. Due to these limitations some of these broadcasts are a one time thing. Don’t miss out!

Above is one recent video. Feel free to look at the timeline in the video comments and jump around if you don’t have a full hour to watch. Please leave a comment and let us know what you would like to hear discussed on the next one.

Now onto the fishing report update!

Final Days Of Tog

It’s the final stretch of the tog fishing season in NJ as it will close at the end of April. So far the entire month of April has been good and we expect it to finish out strong. Get in on the action now because the inshore wrecks are loaded with tog and producing big fish! Another plus… there’s cod present too!

Paul Haertel caught this 15.85# tog while fishing a deep water wreck with a live crab baited Magictail Tog Jig.
Paul Haertel caught this 15.85# tog while fishing a deep water wreck with a live crab baited Magictail Tog Jig.

On Thursday we got two great reports of togzillas. The first report we’ll share is from none other than Paul Haertel. Paul, a master multi species angler and bottom fishing extraordinar, hunted down this new personal best. This monster weighed in a 15.85#. There’s no one more deserving than Paul. It’s great to see all of his hard work and dedication pay off.

Paul said, “With this social distancing, I’ve been fishing by myself or just taking one person on my boat. Thursday I took a ride out deep to look for big fish.” He did not catch a bunch of tog but got the right one. He went on to say, “Thanks to Dante at Magictail for teaching me how to jig fish for tog and also for making such great products. Magictail Tog Jigs This one is getting mounted and going up on the wall.” Paul – It looks like you will need to reinforce the wall first because you already have a solid display of hefty trophies hanging!

Paul got out again on Saturday and reported, “Another great day on the tog grounds with quality fish up to almost 9# and a bonus cod just under 10#.”

Ron Redrow caught and released this togzilla that was right at the 16 pound mark!
Ron Redrow caught and released this togzilla that was right at the 16 pound mark!

The second big fish report came in from Ron Redrow, with both a photo and a video submission. The photo is posted above and the video (of the release) we published on our Instagram page. Ron was out fishing with Swagmattic and Captain Tony out of Waretown. Ron reported, “Finally joined the club! Thanks to Tony for putting me on my first double digit. It weighed in just under 16 pounds (15.15) on the boat’s digital scale. Released it to fight another day.” Big props to Ron and crew on the catch and the release!

Some other anglers shared reports recently from the inshore wrecks as well as land based anglers all are catching good number of fish. Get crabs and go fish!

Black Drum Fishing

Black drum fishing in South Central Jersey is best now and will be good for a few more weeks. In the past couple days, some nice black drum were caught. On this past Tuesday evening, Mateo and Zach from Magictails caught four. Craig Hotter send in the black drum photo below and shared he caught it in the bay behind Beach Haven.

Surf clams are the best bait for black drum. Unfortunately this spring they’ve been hard to get. To catch theirs, Mateo and Zach used hard clams (aka chowder clams or bay clams).

Just a heads up, Friday we got a delivery of live surf clams so if you want some act now! They will be gone soon.

Striped Bass Fishing

The striped bass fishing in the Long Beach Island area continues to be focused around the same early season spots that have produced for the past month plus. These area are seeing the occasional larger class of fish but still nothing classy. Shop regular Grey Colston has been on the bass all spring long and having a blast doing it. Friday night he reported having some fun. “Nothing large yet but more fish in the upper 20″ range. Most are 23-26″ but got three at 28″ tonight and recently a couple over 30″ so they are around.”

Grey sent in this photo of a striped bass he caught fishing the the nightshift.
Grey sent in this photo of a striper he caught working the nightshift.

To date only one surf side striped bass, as reported on the April 10th update. With the surf temperatures flirting with breaking the 50 degree mark any day we expect striped bass to be cruising the surf however, with the beach access restrictions in place there will be few fishing so reports will be few and far between.

Fishing The Spring Transition – Soon the LBI area and surrounding waters will get rolling into prime sprint time fishing! Right now we just need some warm sunny days to push the water temps up and fire up fishing!

As far a the larger class of fish and the state’s best fishing it should not come as a surprise. It’s old news, the striped bass fishing on the Raritan Bay is very good. It has been for weeks and it continues to be good. Expect it to be strong for a couple more weeks and possible beyond.

I was happy to get out again and fish on Thursday with Max aboard the Mono-E-Mono. We had a great time catching striped bass ranging from 20-35 inches. It was a nice day. The fishing was good but not great. We knew going into it the incoming tide’s cold water wouldn’t help the bite.

This week we got a bluefish report but didn’t share it until now. On April 21st, BPM Fishing sent us a report, “The gator blues are back! I just caught my biggest blue ever.” Any one who wants picture and video proof… go to Instagram and give @bpmfishing_nj a look. For the record it was caught in the Raritan Bay. Unfortunately nothing materialized after that. This was a one and done thing. Maybe a forunner and more will show soon? We have our fingers crossed.

Scott Paikin caught and released this monster striped bass while fishing the Delaware River this past week. Congrats Scott that new personal best bass will be hard to beat.
Scott Paikin caught and released this monster striped bass while fishing the Delaware River this past week. Congrats Scott that new personal best bass will be hard to beat.

Another area that offers good fishing in the spring is the Delaware River. This year it has been good. One outstanding recent catch was made by Scott Paikin when he caught a monster from the bank, “OMG This just happened!! Landed my personal best 50# striper from land.” Scott shared, “So stoke beyond belief. Had that fishy feeling with heavy steady winds in my face and fresh bait. This river monster took the bait and fought. Landed her, took a fast photo and quickly released the beauty to continue on her journey to spawn.”

Can you Believe It?

NJ Fluke season is less than one month away? We just stocked up on a huge delivery of bucktail jigs and are expecting more to arrive in the next week or two. If you are looking to gear up for the summer flounder fishing season give us a call or shop online. We appreciate the support.

Ship Bottom Beach Access

Hopefully everyone is making the most out of the quarantine and staying busy around the house. Just wanted to share that there’s a small light showing at the end of the long tunnel ahead.

We got the call from our Mayor (who is an avid anglers) and he told us he was making a push to open the beaches to fishing however with strict rules. Residents can fish in the town of Ship Bottom from 6pm to 10am daily. Fishing is prohibited from 10am to 6pm daily! Turns out later in the day an official press release was made. Thanks Ship Bottom for keeping everyone safe and their minds sound.

Fishing LBI Report Update 4/21/20

Can you believe it? 34 Days to Memorial Day and 60 Days to Summer! Time flies even when life is on lock down. The spring is rushing by but anglers are finding safe places to fish to take advantage of the good fishing at stake. Here is the Fishing LBI Report Update For April 21, 2020.

Two Common Fishing Questions

Right now the two most common questions of calls and emails are…

1) Is the Island Closed?

  • Most of the beaches on LBI (and the entire state of NJ) are closed but not all. There are areas to safely access the water and fish on LBI. In fear of publicly broadcasting specific spots we must refrain to hopefully prevent further shut downs.

2) Are The Bluefish Running!

  • Quick easy answer is no, not yet. But, anyday! Usually Mother’s Day is a time when blues are chewing good. We expect them sooner especially if some warm sunny days some along.

Tog Fishing Report Update

Some open seasons for some species feel like they opened and close in a blink of an eye. This case and point is no more evident than with April’s spring tautog season. Not only is 30 days short. April is well known to be a month full of weather. As the saying goes April showers bring May flowers. This April so far is no different, full of many weather events. However those anglers that are fishing the seams between weather are getting out and catching quality fish. There’s limited days left so go!

Here’s a photo of Captain Tony with a nice health tog that was caught fishing an inshore wrecks using a Magictail Tog Jig baited with live crab.

Fish Head Ambassador Swagmattic is out on the sticky bottom every chance he gets. Most trips he’s fishing with his good buddy Captain Tony who runs a Parker out of Waretown. The two have had a great April so far

He shared this recent report, “After some rough weather and a few days of rough fishing the blackfish started to chew again today. We picked at keepers from our first drop until the south wind blew up. Live white crabs were the ticket! Had fresh clams and greens, but the whites were what they wanted outfishing all other baits.

Johnny-O knows all about April “Double Digit Time” tog fishing. He recently picked up some live white leggers and got out fishing. He hung a 12.46# fatty on our scales a couple days ago.

Eric Murry got in the first tog trip with his new Rhodan GPS Anchor. It was sporty but the Rhodan is a beast! There was a time that it was too rough and had to drop anchor for awhile but oh man is the Rhodan GPS Anchor amazing… Total Gamechanger!

Barnegat Bay Blueclaw Crabbing

The bay water temps are still cold but creeping up. The crabs are out of the mud and active. Numerous reports of good action on the west side of the bay. Now’s the time to fix up your crabbing gear and go soak some traps.

Report From Anthony On The Dirty Hooker

On Sunday morning, I went out on the boat. Bay is still cold, 48.8. Looked around at my usual spots for schoolies but no luck. Found some bait and saw gulls flying with bunker. Looked around the Inlet and the ocean. Temp was 47.9 degrees (outgoing tide) and there was a good 3-4′ sea. On the way I spotted some things floating with a few seagulls following. Upon closer look it was blowfish and the gulls were catching them. I saw atleast 6 blowfish float on by. I scooped up one with my net. It was really big and fat. Looks like this might be a hint that it could be another good blowfish season this year.

Here’s Anthony Ziegler holding out one big fat blowfish that he caught on Sunday.

Another blowfish report came in from Rob Crossley. “This past weekend there were lots of blowfish floating around.” He said, “It looked like balloons from a distance.”

LBI Striped Bass & Black Drum Fishing

The most productive fishing locally on LBI is the bayside striped bass fishing. The bay is loaded with resident striped bass and as the spring progresses the size will increase. We’ve already begun to hear reports of keeper size stripers that were caught. Store staffer Steve has caught and released a few “keeper” size bass fishing the bay with light tackle.

Striped bass in the back bays will continue on and also the drum as well. Yes black drum are around. The next few weeks will be the season’s best shot at them. We are doing our best to get clam but the struggle is real. At times we have hard clams as a holdover substitute. While on the bait topic, bunker is in and out of the shop; however sales are slow. We are opting to hold off and will not get another deliver for a few days. Then we will pick back up.

Raritan Bay

The solid striped bass action countries at the Raritan Bay. Store staffer Max is into solid fishing up there with fish ranging from small to medium to large. Last week we shipped a tackle order to Ryan Warford to gear him up for the spring action. He reported back, “I had a great day fishing! We were it bass the whole morning.”

This little piggy didn’t finish his first snack and he was already going for another.

Fishing The Spring Transition

By @Nightstrikes_Surfcasting_Guide (Steve George)

April is a fun month with great expectations for the upcoming season. It’s what we dream about all winter long. As the days get longer and warmer the local fishing around the back bays and surf comes to life like clockwork. Each year young Striped Bass and then the early arrival of Big Bluefish start a feeding frenzy on baitfish before their seasonal migrations and spawning occurs. Being there, in the right place, at the right time and with the right tackle makes all the difference for your success. Here’s some tips to help you make the most of Fishing The Spring Transition on the Central Jersey Coast.

Resident Spring Time Striped Bass Fishing

Over the years I timed my first fishing trips of the season around the moon periods of the month. Either the full or new moon, it doesn’t really seem to matter, because both of these have the strongest tidal currents. As a result the flow delivers plenty of baitfish to ready and waiting striped bass. Local bridges, bulkheads, piers and docks have fish hanging around them. Game fish like these spots as great ambush points and provide protection for them. Day or night they will be there but much more active after dark!

Steve George with a late night spring time striper selfie Fishing The Spring Transition. Striped bass love roam around the shadow lines and ambush bait that is commonly drawn to the lights.
Author Steve George with a late night striper selfie Fishing The Spring Transition. Striped bass love roam around the shadow lines and ambush bait that is commonly drawn to the lights.

Light Action Tackle For Early Spring Stripers

For this early season fishing I am mostly targeting young striped bass that on average run between 20” to 28” in length. So to use the term “match-the-hatch” I go with light action fishing rods capable of throwing from 3/8oz to 1oz presentations in the 6’ to 8’ in length. I match these rods with a reel in the 3000-4000 size class spooled up with light (20#) braid and 20# leaders.

This springtime striped bass was caught, tagged and released to hopefully one day provide some valuable data to help learn more about the local striped bass stock.
This springtime striped bass was caught, tagged and released to hopefully one day provide some valuable data to help learn more about the local striped bass stock.

Having a versatile outfit makes all the difference for success. As I make my way to the water’s edge on the right tides I never really know what to expect how the fish will be feeding. One night they can be found busting on the surface and hitting surface poppers. The next night they still might be popping but not as aggressively and will only hit subsurface lures like stick shads and swimmers. On most occasions a rubber swim shad lure will also draw a lot of attention during these conditions.

Hungry striped bass love a late night snack. The Kettle Creek Paddletail Lures are very versatile baits especially when Fishing The Spring Transition.
Hungry striped bass love a late night snack. The Kettle Creek Paddletail Lures are very versatile baits especially when Fishing The Spring Transition.

And one thing to note if you show up and for some reason the fish are not showing themselves don’t assume they are not there. This is the time to fish your presentations lower in the water column as they could be looking to feed on something bouncing along the bottom. In most of these occasions it’s weather related and/or tide related with colder water temperatures. This is the time to break out a little heavier jig/lead head or bucktail.

Spring Time Slammer Bluefish

At some point in the spring and it’s usually the end of April or early May we start to see the first signs of big lean and mean Bluefish. Traveling in small tight packs these “racers” cruising in from the deep to investigate our local inlets, beaches and bays in search of feed. These blues wreak havoc on any baitfish and get the small stripers moving. The bass begin to venture out of the back bays and things start to get really interesting.

This is the time to transition and beef up the tackle and equipment to prepare for battle with these fish.

My Spring Time Bluefish Bag

It never changes and it’s always ready to go on the spur of the moment. It consists of mainly big and strong lures that can take a beating but can also be replaced if need be. Because when targeting early spring run bluefish, you will lose some tackle at times. It’s not a matter of when. It’s a matter of what. For that reason you do not want to fish those hard to find lures. If you do you’ll regret it!

Here's a spread of common top producing lures. From topwater to the bottom and everywhere in between, this four lure selection gives an angler the ability to cover the entire water column.
Here’s a spread of common top producing lures. From topwater to the bottom and everywhere in between, this four lure selection gives an angler the ability to cover the entire water column.

The number one thing I do is to make sure to fish single hook lures. Bucktails and jig/lead heads with trailers are ideal. Very early on when the big blues first arrive for the most part they do not show themselves like you think they would. Early on they are not active on the surface. They are cruising slowly under the surface and you need to put your presentation on their nose for them to hit it.

Bomber and Daiwa Minnow lures are great to use for this situation. I would suggest removing the stock treble hooks and replace them with In-Line Single Hooks for easy releases. They are also much safer for anglers. Eliminate the trip to the local ER if at all possible. If a treble hooks get imbedded in your hand it’s game over. I also do the same hook swap with my poppers and larger swimming lures.

Anthony Scalea got this treble hook buried deep in his finger and it required a trip to the hospital. Crushing your barbs allows for easy removal of hooks in emergency situations but also allows fish to shark a hook much easier. Weigh the pros and cons and make the decision for yourself.

Break Out The Big Guns

Earlier in the spring I go light but this stage is a different story. Bluefish test your tackle and if you are not prepared from the get go your fishing trip will come to a fast end. I’ve seen many fishing rods snapped in half during this time of the year. And it’s not always during the fighting of the fish but the actual landing.

Big bluefish love to stay down deep in the water column. Penetrate down to the zone with a 1-3oz bucktail and let it swing through to hook up! When Fishing The Spring Transition do not ever go fishing without a bucktail.
Big bluefish love to stay down deep in the water column. Penetrate down to the zone with a 1-3oz bucktail and let it swing through to hook up! When Fishing The Spring Transition do not ever go fishing without a bucktail. Both striped bass and bluefish love them!

Many surfcasters try to lift a fish up on to a jetty or bulkhead. It can be done successfully however you’ll want to follow these guideline to prevent a catastrophe…

  • If you are going to lift a fish you need to have a strong enough fishing rod.
  • Do Not High Stick! Keep the tip down and use the butt and midsection of the rod to lift and swing. Do not use the tip with a high angle vertical swing.
  • A leader man or a friend with a net or gaff can be very helpful. Some gator blues can be three feet or longer and can weigh fifteen or more pounds. It’s best to get some help landing these monsters.

When choosing a big fish rod and reel you’ll want to look for quality rod and reel that is capable of handling the lures, fish and drag you plan to fish. Most importantly the two tools must match properly and perform together, casting the lures you need to the fish as well as handle and turn big fish in current. Without that ability you’ll never have a chance at landing them.

Good Rod Choices

For rods, I choose a surf rod in the 9-10’ length, med-heavy action, rated in the 2-6oz range. Here is a list of some options in a few different price points. Each level of pricing offers different manufacturing origin, quality and materials (blank and components).

Good Reel Choices

For reels, I choose a spinning reel which has an all metal body, quality gearing, powerful cranking and smooth drag. Also, a reel must hold enough line. The following are some options in a range of price points. All of these will get the job done. It’s up to you how much you will use it and how much you want to invest. Note: Each reel brand has its own unique sizing nomenclature.

Single tail hooks on poppers are very helpful when dehooking a large toothy bluefish!
Single tail hooks on poppers are very helpful when dehooking a large toothy bluefish!

When thinking of line don’t skim out! Beef up your braided fishing line to a minimum of 30lb, better yet 40-50# and use a strong leader. 60-80lb class leader line might sound like overkill but toothy bluefish fish demand it.

Get out and start Fishing The Spring Transition! It’s a great time of the year to be fishing. Good Luck & Have Fun!

NightStrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC
Steve George – Call: 609-276-6983

Any anglers looking to advance their fishing and learn from an experienced and accomplished saltwater guide is encouraged to contact Steve at Night Strikes Surfcasting Guide Service to set up a guided fishing trip.

LBI Fishing Report Update April 10th, 2020

Things are progressing along with spring fishing however state and local authorities are clamping down with tighter restrictions. Stay up to date by monitoring official statements by state and local agencies. A little more on this towards the end.

Happy Passover & Happy Easter

Downside Of The April’s Moon

Tuesday’s “Pink Moon” was the biggest and brightest of 2020, perigree aka supermoon. Why Pink? Because of early spring flowers that give its name. Even with all the hours everyone is spending home inside it’s easy to see things are blooming everywhere. Also due to the moon, the Perigean spring tides have made their presence known with some extreme high tides.

Striped Bass, Tog, Black Drum, Perch… Bluefish?

The first full moon of spring is a point in time when things really get rolling for fishing in the Long Beach Island area.

Striped Bass Are Here

The striped bass fishing in the Barnegat Bay as well as other early season spots in the state is and has been strong for weeks so there’s no need to reiterate. But what is breaking news… the first Long Beach Island surf side striped bass was caught and reported in by local angler Chris Masino. While this very well might not be the first, it was the first that was directly reported to us with photo proof. It’s only up from here!

Softbaits like Kettle Creek Paddle Tails are a great lure choice. They are very effective in the spring and fall on the surf and in the bay.

Tog Are Here

Reports are strong. Once this weather allows anglers will be able to get back on this great fishing and what is a very short April season. Paul Haertel shared a short report, “Outstanding tog fishing today (Tuesday) with fish to 9.5 pounds and a bonus cod.”

Black Drum Are Here

Like clock work on the moon, more black drum reports pop up. Again it was Kirsten Holloway with a nice catch! Now’s prime time for these but baits are tough. Surf clams seem to be impossible for us this year. Most anglers who do not want to fish frozen or salted are fishing big hard clams aka bay clams or chowders.

White Perch Are Here

Captain Alex from Lighthouse Sportfishing has been staying safe and making the most out of the quarantine. The well versed outdoorsman, environmentalist and science teacher is watching nature through all of this. He’s birding and fishing. Alex reported that he thinks this will be a great year for white perch. He reported, “Perch fishing is strong! Was catching them on almost every cast. Looking forward to some good fun fishing.”

Bluefish Maybe Soon?

Just got word about some blues showing on the Delaware surf. The report came in from a social media follower @DEFishingGuide. It’s great news to see and we have our fingers crossed the show here soon!

Another species we expect to arrive any day if not already is weakfish! Keep an eye out for the tiderunners.

Fishing Access – Where Can I Fish?

We are getting lots of calls, messages on social media and emails…. All want to know… Can I Fish?

That is a loaded question! Right now the best we can say is that we are not the authority. We have to defer because the situation continues to develop. Sorry we can not provide a firm Yes/No or go fish here. All we can say is that those looking to fish are finding safe ways to enjoy the water while adhering to social distancing as well as the rules and regulations that are in effect. Read on for some helpful details.

Long Beach Island Beach Closures

We can share that most (could possibly be all soon) Long Beach Island beaches are now closed. Ship Bottom beaches are closed. Long Beach Township and Beach Haven is restricted to access by permit holders only (full time resident and property owners). The Beach Haven Beach Patrol posted on their social media page, “Beaches are closed unless you have a storm re-entry pass. If you don’t know what that means it indicates you do not have one and should not be on the beach.

Photo take by local photographer Melanie Cassie on Tuesday evening when Ship Bottom closed the beaches until further notice.

The Barnegat Lighthouse State Park posted on their social media page, “Park is closed. Full closure includes parking lots, grounds, facilities, trails and playgrounds. Trail use is prohibited.” With that said it is grey area if angles can fish the outskirts of the park. From what Fish & Wildlife say some areas are fair game.

Info from NJ Fish & Wildlife shares, “Wildlife Management Areas are currently open for hunting and fishing. We want to keep it that way, so we need YOU to observe proper social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to practice safe social distancing at all times! Be safe. Be smart. Keep your distance and keep our Wildlife Management Areas open!”

Fish With Respect

No more than ever all anglers must fish with respect for others. It should need to be said but it must be just as a warning. One bone head could ruin it for everyone. It happened already on Long Beach Island with some punk ass surfers telling off the mayor, who they clearly didn’t know was the mayor. This could easily happen on the fishing front and lead to a shut down. Use your head!

I just read an article in a fishing trade publication and learned that due to the crisis fishing is prohibited right now in Indonesia. Anglers can face up to four months in jail if they are caught fishing. All fishing participation is banned there. Please don’t let this happen here!

Fishing LBI Report April 6, 2020

Hope everyone is safe, healthy and sane! Fishing remains a great way to practice social distancing. Get out and enjoy the sunshine and salt air! Here’s the Fishing LBI Report Monday April 6, 2020.

Fish Heads News

We continue on open with no public access. Curbside Bait & Tackle, Sales Service & Much More. If you needs something give us a call, 609.494.5739 Daily 8am-7pm. Shop Online 24-7 at

Beach Access?

Just today news broke that some towns on LBI have closed the beaches to non residents. Still unsure how this will play out. FYI The gates at the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park are closed however all are welcome and passive recreation is permitted. Examples of PR: fishing, walking, wildlife viewing, photography, among other but do not include active recreation such as soccer or basketball. Park access is allowed but all must practice social distancing. No gatherings. People need to keep their distance. Be Smart! Be Safe! Just a reminder pets are prohibited on the jetty and the beach (to protect nesting birds) April 1 to September 15. Facilities are closed to the public, no restrooms.

The recent swell event upwelled the nearshore ocean water temperatures. What was in the high 40’s is now in the mid 40’s. Sunday it was 45 degrees along the beach. On the next rebound we expect a bump in the local ocean action. It’s bound to kick off. Wet a line and you might catch one of the spring’s first surfside striped bass! On the boat, it usually it starts with some bird plays (we already have lots of them) and scattered fish so trolling can be the most effective method. Bunker spoon lures are traditionally a very good spring time lures as well as Magictail Mojos. But when the fish are schooled up and feeding the light tackle lure approach can outfish.

Fishing LBI Report On Tog

Blackfishing opened up for April and it kicked off strong with land base anglers getting all of the love. That was until Sunday/Monday when the boats were able to get out. Recent reports were strong from both boat and land based anglers. It’s great to see everyone is catching good numbers of quality blackfish.

On The Jetty

“The jetty was on fire today. Everyone was catching on both jigs and rigs!” Jared Grady reported catching with his buddy Torr. Sloane Endick was also in on the fun. She posted a photo from her trip and tagged us, below. Shop regular Tom also reported he caught tog today too. @FishSeanLBI recently posted, “First trip out fishing and got one for the dinner table. It was nice to get out and feel a little normal today.”

On The Boat

Fish Head Ambassador Swagmattic is back in the saddle! He and crew picked up right where they left off at the end of last season. He was out today getting toggy and reported… “I had an 8 pound fish on the first bait I dropped down. We had a boat limit by noon and then played catch and release for a few hours before heading home. Both crabs and salted clams caught. Mike Cline got the biggest at 14lbs, below We also had a bonus fish a keeper cod!”

Mike Cline got this 14lbs tog fishing an inshore wreck with live crab. Also known as blackfish these game fish are challenging to catch and are very good to eat.
Mike Cline got this 14lbs tog fishing an inshore wreck with live crab. Also known as blackfish these game fish are challenging to catch and are very good to eat.

Rhodan Changes The Game

After talking at the Saltwater Soiree, local angler Barry Baxter purchased a Rhodan GPS Anchor from us. He decided on the Rhodan 36v 120# thrust 84″ Shaft and we got it to him fast. He’s already rigged up and fishing. He gave us a quick review that he is very happy with the unit. His first day out was Sunday and even in the big 4-6′ long period swell the unit performed great. “Absolute game changer. We tog fished yesterday and crushed ’em. I couldn’t be happier with the 84″ Rhodan. Thank You!”

We are stoked to see another happy Rhodan customer on the water hanging their game! From experience I’ve learned the long period swell is ok because the boat rides up and down the waves easily and clean. However the short period tight together chop is a much different story. When the conditions make the vessel excessively pitch and heave the units can not perform due to cavitation. Want to learn more about Rhodan GPS Anchors? Give us a call!

Striped Bass Fishing Report

Striped bass is strong locally and at the state’s early season hot spots. Get out there and have some fun. Right now there’s some nice bass moving into the bays and rivers to spawn and they are making their presence known.

Store staffer Willie was in on the action today. Here's one of many striped bass that he caught and released.
Store staffer Willie was in on the action today. Here’s one of many.

Michael Sibilia sent in a thanks with a photo, “Line and rod are holding up great Thanks Again!”

No other fishing reel offers better performance and durability in the saltwater fishing ring than Van Staal. Get one today and go to battle!
No other fishing reel offers better performance and durability in the saltwater fishing ring than Van Staal. Get one today and go to battle!

The bite continues on locally here in the Barnegat Bay too with lots of small striped bass! Ryan Curtis was out on his skiff fishing and reported, “Lots of schoolie bass in the back bay around the sod banks and islands. I caught them all on soft plastics!”

Here is a photo of store staffer Max with a recent striped bass that went for a Kettle Creek Paddletail. There is something about these soft baits that striped bass can’t resist. It’s got something to do with their ribbed profile and paddle tail as well as their secret scent. They are deadly!

Another lure that is deadly year in and year out… the Rapala X-Rap! Jerry Zumpetta just reported, “I caught well over 20 fish on the outgoing tide tonight (Sunday) with X-Raps. I even snagged an adult bunker.”

Freshwater Fishing Report

While we aren’t a freshwater shop we got some good reported in from customers so wanted to share them. The state authorities are encouraging anglers to not travel and focus on fishing locally so this report should be helpful to some.

By now everyone should know NJ Trout fishing is open. Degennaro and son (Dan Chris and Son Ryan) had a good time fishing this weekend. Chris reported, “We made two stops today. First stop was torture… seeing fish break, watching fish swim at our feet, no nibbles. Second top was non stop action including a donkey. All catch and release. Not too bad for rookies.”

Ryan Degennaro caught this big trout while fishing with his dad Chris this weekend. What a great way to Keep America Fishing especially during the pandemic.
Ryan Degennaro caught this big trout this weekend while fishing with his dad Chris. What a great way to Keep America Fishing especially during the pandemic.

Another freshwater fishing report came in from Pete E. He was out with the family this weekend at a local lake. He reported they enjoyed the beautiful spring weather outdoors catching fish. “We caught and released 15 pickerel and one yellow perch.”

Fish Head Charters

The phone calls don’t stop and I love it BUT I’m forced to turn everyone away. With the birth of my son in September I already had a set plan that I was not going to run any/many charters for Spring 2020. Then came the pandemic. Anyone looking to get out and fish aboard Fish Head Charters please touch base for fishing dates in late summer and fall. I’m saving dates however no deposits at this time.

Sunday I put the boat in for a sea trial. It was great to be on the water again. The boat ran great so I punched out the Inlet and took a look around. I was happy to see gannets and lots of them in a huge flock. At times they were dive bombing hard. I marked a large bunker school close by but didn;t see the tell tale boomerangs that are a sure mark of game fish. I only had a surfboard but should of had a rod. I think there were some fish with ’em. I’ll be back out on the hunt soon enough.

Added April 7, 2020 3PM

A blog comment came in so I wanted to share the comment and reply publicly in hopes it brings value to all readers.

After reading a blog post John posted the following comment 4/7/20 at 1:30PM, “The beaches are closed… had no bunker this morning and the tide chart was wrong. 58 miles one way for nada.”

Here’s my reply to him. What I feel will bring value to all readers is the info on LBI Beach Access (can change by the day) as well as the topic of tide and current.

Hi John – So sorry to see and read your comment. I apologize for the mix up in information and your inconvenience. Unfortunately the information is your reply is not all accurate. I wish you would have seen and read our post which was sent live yesterday April 6th. The post which you commented on is from March 18th post. It was tagged as sticky so it would stay at the top and not be lost in all of the other posts so viewers can see we are open doing curbside pickup.

Yes some beaches are closed however not all. The gates at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park are closed however access to fishing is open. See the post for info on the action. It’s good right now. As far as the town beaches each municipality is unique and most have different rules in place. As far as I know (as of yesterday) the Ship Bottom beach is close and all of Long Beach Township beaches are restricted access, must have a “disaster-rentery pass” (residents and property owners). Surf City, Barnegat Light and Beach Haven were open. It’s best to monitor the individual town’s Facebook pages for news updates.

As far as the bait situation, we update the bait report frequently and have the disclaimer right below the update date and time “Call To Confirm”. Bait comes and goes fast. We sold out after the first couple customers this morning but we have more which should be delivered at 2:30pm today.

As far as the tide app widget on the sidebar of the blog page… it is powered by Tide Graph Pro, arguably one of the best tide apps available. It is very accurate so long as you are looking at the right location and date. Tide (vertical water movement up and down) and current (horizontal water movement left to right) are different. Just cause the water is flowing in does not always mean the the tide is coming in. In reality the time high or low tide (top and bottom of tide) are not slack water. Depending on many variables slack water can be 1/2-2+ hours different. With all of that said today is the full moon and what is called a perigean spring tide aka super moon. Due to the moon’s close proximity to the earth today is one of the year’s largest tide events. The high tide is significantly higher than normal. The morning’s minor high was +5.4′ and the evenings major high is +5.66′. Those are some high tides!

Hope this all makes sense. Again I apologize for the mix up and your inconvenience. Your bunker are on me next trip down. Stay safe and healthy my friend, Greg

April Is Finally Here

The month we’ve all waited all winter for… April Is Finally Here!

It’s funny (not really quite depressing) how right when a season opens King Neptune decided to get angry. Lost days can’t be made up so please tell him to turn the wind machine off!

Here’s the FishingLBI Fishing Report Update dated April 3, 2020.

Fishing Long Beach Island

As of this report (Friday Night, 4/3/20) the beach of Long Beach Island are open to walking, fishing and surfing. HOWEVER, any groups/gatherings are forbidden! All MUST maintain proper Social Distancing practices following the CDC’s guidelines.

Here’s a statement from Long Beach Township Mayor Mancini as published in a recent article by author Jon Coen in The SandPaper, “I don’t want to close the beach. I understand that people have to get outside. There’s a lot of space on the beach(s).” Don’t fish, surf or walk in a group or you will ruin it for everyone! Show up at a spot and see others already there? Don’t join and mug ’em! Find another spot. Practice Strict Social Distancing!

Now on to some fishing report news…

The very mild winter has things progressing and happening much sooner this year. When compared to other years we are without a doubt a couple weeks early. Sure enough one of the better springs in a long time and bam! The world turns upside down.

The surf temperature is just hitting the 50 degree mark. That and the abundance of recent bird plays tell us striped bass in the surf. However we expect slow fishing until the water temp hits the 54 degree range. That is when the surf kicks into gear striped bass wise.

The best action right now for striped bass is in the early season spots. They are abundant in local bays. Adult bunker are also in the bay. Speaking of bunker we just got our season’s first delivery of primo frshies. If you want to try a chunk bait, we have bunker. Get out and enjoy fishing BUT be sure to Practice Strict Social Distancing!

Just a reminder – As of April 1, 2020 the new New Jersey recreational striped bass regulations are in effect. It is one striped bass 28″ to less than 38″.

Winter Flounder no recent reports other than from those who caught more small striped bass than flatties. One anglers shared that striped bass were stealing the worms on the small flounder hooks. When the hook size was scaled up they were catching striped bass one after the other.

White Perch get worms or shrimp and go! April is a great time for them.

Toggy Time!

Blackfish season is open the entire month of April… 4 Fish at 15″.

Anglers are going and catching keepers. Land based angler, Anthony Gagliardi got bait a couple times from us and reported today, “So far I’ve caught 7 keeper tog on crabs.” His recent outing he limited out!

Soon the weather will settle down and then we expect tog fishing in the ocean to be good. We’ll post reports when we get them!

Update from the Shop

We are cranking daily (8-5pm) on a skeleton crew taking extreme precautions with extreme cleanings and no public access… curbside pickup and web/mail order only. If you want line or reel service give us a call to let us know you are dropping off. Looking for a new reel? Call us and we are happy to hand a few off for you to review curbside in the parking lot. We are here and happy to help you with the same great products and customer service we’ve offered since 1962. Thanks for all of you support over the years!

Just a heads up… our ship times on web orders are on point! So if you need tackle and aren’t close by or can’t make the trek… let us know and we’ll get it to you fast. Before shopping elsewhere online you might want to inquire about ship times. We’ve got word from two customers recently their online orders (purchased from competitor) were “unknowingly delayed” and “still after 10 days not delivered when promised delivery in two days.” These are uncertain times but we are transparent. Call us and we will tell you if the product is in stock or out. If it’s in stock you’ll have it fast. Please Support Small Local Business!

PS: We just got in the long awaited restock Tsunami SaltX 4000 Reels in both Silver and Black. If you are looking for a Tsunami SaltX… here’s a video of a couple of the guys from the shop having fun with a SaltX.

Lighthouse Sportfishing Report 4/1/2020

First, let me say I hope everyone is staying healthy and sanitized. In times like these, we often find comfort in things that are always there like friends and family. Some also find solace in the outdoors and reconnecting to important things from our past. Well, I did just that when I socially distanced myself from my friend Chris Lido on one of NJ’s amazing trout conservation areas (ind of an oxymorone there).

Growing up trout fishing the NJ rivers often led to lost sleep from the excitement of hitting the stream in the morning. Chris, a professional fly-fishing guide, did a great job brushing off the dust on me. Dust that accumulated from literally decades. The end results were: I took away a book’s worth of knowledge: I can ride a bike after not being on it for years; and I caught, photographed, and released 9 rainbows. Some video from this adventure can be seen here Trout fishing, NJ

Screeming, drags,

Capt. Alex

Lighthouse Sportfishing