LBI Fishing Report March 30, 2022

The recent cold snap really put the breaks on what was a great early spring start. Things already started to bounce back temperature wise and we expect the fishing to rebound too. Here’s the Long Beach Island Fishing Report for March 30, 2022.

Tautog opens on Friday April 1st for NJ’s saltwater anglers.

LBI Spring Surf Fishing Tournament registration has begun. The event runs 4/2 to 6/26. $20 to join. For more info www.lbisfc.com/lbi-spring-surf-fishing-tournament

LBI’s Bayside Fishing Report

The bayside striped bass fishing has been nothing short of phenomenal. Great feedback has poured in just about all month long. The past week or two was the best of it with schoolie striped bass hungry and feeding on both bait (bloodworms) and lures (3-4″).

The crew from the shop has been getting out and finding fish both day and night. Frezza reports, “Numerous nights, the bass were piling on the pink Yozuri Mag Darter.” This should be a surprise as the Mag Darter is a proven fish catcher year in and year out.

Another great lure (which is new to the scene) that the bass are loving right now is the Nomad Vertex. I fell in love with this new lure when first fished a sample last fall. It’s hard not to love a lure that hooks up on the first cast with. Long story short is a Vertex aka Vibe is a rattle trap and rubber swim shad morphed together. They can be fished many different ways; burn it, straight crank, snap jig, stop and go, yo-yo, even slow and steady. A straight crank with an intermittent sweep is my most effective. This lure has sold like wild fire since its release and was a hit at the recent Saltwater Expo. We have a limited selection with more expected soon. Check one out today and keep an eye out for the next deliver.

Early season spots (backbay, creeks, rivers, sod bank points) are where you want to focus time but any day things will break on the surf. If you’ve looked at the surf maybe you say the bird activity. Some days it looked like armageddon. The recent stiff west winds had the gannets fired up and diving. Both bunker and herring are in the waters. 

LBI Surf Fishing – Spring Derby Is Near!

Spring has arrived. You may not know that from current air temperatures, but the calendar says it is so, as do some early catches of striped bass.

The early arrival of stripers in the back bays and tributaries bodes well for the upcoming start of the 2022 version of the annual LBI Spring Derby. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the popular kickoff to the Long Beach Island surf fishing scene.

This year’s contest opens on Saturday, April 2, and concludes on Sunday, June 26, at 6:00 PM. Entry into the event is $20 with a unique prize structure. There is a 100% pay out of money taken in. The winning striped bass receives half of the entry fees while the second largest bass is good for 25%. The third bass rakes in 10%.

In addition to the striped bass prizes, there is a 15% payout to the largest bluefish weighed in.

Anglers are advised to have cell phones or cameras on hand while fishing. Adding spice to the tournament are weekly prizes for photos taken while fishing the event as well as a grand prize-winning photo.

Here’s a link for more information on the Spring Derby.

The spring fishing tournament was an outgrowth of the ever-popular Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic which has run in the fall months since 1955. Surf anglers have enjoyed that event so much, a parallel tournament in the spring was a natural. Thus, the spring contest sprung up.

So far this spring anglers have been reporting a high level of success in many of the customary early season “hot spots.” This includes sodbanks on the west side of the bay and various areas at the mouth and tributaries of waterways such as the Mullica River. While bloodworms traditionally produce the best results, some fish have been taken on plastic lures and even plugs.

Usually, the first catches in March of stripers are almost completely comprised of throwback fish too short to be legal. So far this year, there have been keeper sized fish reeled in practically every day. This early season success seems to suggest that more fish are spending their winters inshore than in past years.

It is difficult to say why this trend is so. One reason might be that there was an abundance of bait in the water back in the fall that kept the fish around. Also, water temperatures are already in the low 50’s, which has gotten the fish moving around much sooner than usual.

The LBI Spring Derby is the opening fishing tournament in the southern Ocean County area. It is set up for shore-based anglers only. 

Last year’s winning fish was a 22.44-pound striper caught by Garry Grippaldi. Charles Avila reeled in the largest bluefish weighing 10.42-pounds.

With a limited number of prizes, the rules are designed to make the event a “low kill” event. Unless a fish will be on the leaderboard or taken home for the dinner table, safe releases are recommended. 

Anglers are urged to do all they can to ensure fish are released safely. The regulation that only circle hooks be used while fishing with bait for striped bass is a large help. 

All fish releases should be done as quickly as possible with a minimum of handling. Anglers are urged not to hold fish by the gills or allowing them to flop around on the ground. Release the fish gently back into the water avoiding waves that might wash it back to the beach.

The photo prizes give anglers the opportunity to share their catches and still release them safely.

Registration for the Derby can be accomplished at any of the three official weigh-in stations. These are Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven, Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, and Surf City Bait and Tackle in Surf City.

The official website for the event is  www.lbisfc.com. Those of you on Facebook can check out the event on its Facebook site, LBI Surf Fishing Tournament.

LBI Fishing Report March 16, 2022

Mid-March fishing on and around LBI has been good for striped bass, winter flounder and perch. Some great reports are coming in from around the state too. The weather is great and it’s time to get out and enjoy some time on the water. Let’s fish!!!

Kory from Philly sent in this catch, photo, release yesterday. He's always fishing the LBI surf but right now he's fishing and catching good bass in his backyard.
Kory from Philly sent in this catch, photo, release yesterday. He’s always fishing the LBI surf but right now he’s fishing and catching good bass in his backyard.

NJ Fluke, Sea Bass and Scup Regs for 2022

NJ Fluke Regulations

  • Season: May 2nd to September 27, 2022
  • Bag Limit & Sizes: 2 Fish at 17-17.99″ and 1 Fish 18″
  • Special regulations for Delaware Bay (3 fish at 17″) and Island Beach State Park (2 fish at 16″) were left status quo.

NJ Black Sea Bass Regulations

  • May 17 – June 19: 10 Fish At 13″
  • July 1 – August 31: 2 Fish At 13″
  • October 12 – Oct 31: 10 Fish At 13″
  • November 1 – Dec 31: 15 Fish at 13″

NJ Scup/Porgy Regulations

  • 50 fish at 10″
  • No closed season.

By Paul Haertel the JCAA Past President/Board Member

Published March 8, 2022

A lot of people have been asking what is going on with our fluke and sea bass regulations for this year and why they have not yet been set. What happened was that initially the ASMFC/MAFMC had mandated a 28% reduction for sea bass after being pressured to do so by the NMFS. However, after further review of the matter it was later determined that a 20.7% reduction would suffice. Yes, we all agree that having any reduction at all is ludicrous for a stock that is rebuilt to 210% of its target but that is what we are stuck with.  The various regions were then given to 3/2 to develop and summit the methodology they intended to use to develop their regulatory options. The methodology was approved by the ASMFC Technical Board on 3/2 so now each region is able to develop their regulatory options. The regulatory options for each region must be submitted, reviewed and presumably approved by the ASMFC Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Board on 3/24.

The NJBMF and is currently working on these options. A 20.7% cut in sea bass could result in a shorter season, an increase in the size limit, a reduction in bag limit or any combination thereof. We were also forced to take a reduction in scup (porgies) as well but that will be done solely by raising the size limit from 9” to 10”.  There is much better news regarding fluke as we will be able to liberalize by 16%. I speculate that options for a longer season, smaller size limit or even a slot limit might be considered. I anticipate that an advisers meeting will be held in the near future and shortly thereafter, various options for fluke and sea bass will be submitted to the Board by 3/24. Then, sometime in late March or April the NJMFC will hold a special meeting to set our regulations. The public will be invited to give their opinions prior to the council voting on the final measures.

Please follow the Jersey Coast Anglers Association FB page for further updates on this as well as many other important matters pertaining to our fisheries.

Striped Bass Amendment 7

Below is the link to register for the webinar for the NJ webinar pertaining to Amendment 7 for striped bass from 6 – 8 PM on Monday, March 14th. register.gotowebinar.com/rt/6557659292797688075

You may also watch a video recording about the amendment at the link below.

 For those who prefer to read the amendment.

Regards,

Paul Haertel – JCAA Past President/Board Member

LBI Fishing Report March 5, 2022

Here’s an update to supplement the recent fishing report post, Early March LBI Fishing Report. Today Paul Lindsey weighed in a 29″ striped bass and won the $100 gift certificate for the first striped bass of 2022 season. He turned around and donated it on the spot to the Southern Regional Fishing Club. Four members (high school students) just scored $25 Fish Heads Gift Cards. Thanks & Congrats Paul!

Do You Fish The Artificial Reefs?

Most every saltwater anglers fishing the Central Jersey Coast has fished the local reef sites for fluke, sea bass and tog. If you want to give back and support their ongoing reef building project please Donate Now! No amount is too small or large.

The Beach Haven Charters Fishing Association needs you help to keep the project growing! Last year they spent $100,000 to buy and deploy two new pieces; a tug and a barge. Right now they have 60 reef balls coming up from Florida and need to fund the purchase, transportation and the deployment. Check out this short video of the reef building process.

Early March LBI Fishing Report

We kicked off March with some great weather which had anglers out and about comfortably fishing. The main target species right now are striped bass, perch and winter flounder. Catch reports have come in from all around our local area. Here’s the report…

Striped Bass

Early season striped bass fishing is all about targeting areas where are holding over and the areas in close proximity. Also focus on finding and fishing the warmest water temperatures which also coincide with the most fish activity. This means fishing higher sun, afternoons, evenings and the outgoing tides.

Right now the rivers and creeks have hungry bass eating both bloodworms and lure. We’ve also received reports of striped bass out back on the mid-Island bayside.

Shop alumni Jordan reports great fishing on the west side of Barnegat Bay, “The bite has been good. I found some healthy sized fish (over 28″) Wednesday evenings.”

Last night Paul Lindsney reported action fishing the mid-Island bayside last night, “The conditions were grassy but I was wailing bass.” He mentioned that lures were tough to fish in the conditions so he switched to bait. This time of the season hungry bass can’t resist the live bloodworms. “I lost my grandfather on Tuesday and he was sending me these fish on almost every cast.”

Last night Paul Lindsney reported action fishing the mid-Island bayside last night, "The conditions were grassy but I was wailing bass."

Winter Flounder

Two reports in one from a land based angler who fished the mid-island bayside. He chummed hard but didn’t catch any.

A boat report came in from Dave Moores who is in the northern Barnegat Bay area. He was fishing with his buddy Nick and they caught some winter flounder yesterday.

A boat report came in from Dave Moores and his buddy Nick who caught some winter flounder fishing Barnegat Bay.

Cold Water Kayak Close Call

I saw this posted on social media and shared it in hopes it promotes cold water fishing safety.

Public Safety Announcement by Travis Iapicco

If you are crazy/hardcore enough to be out in a kayak this time of year please realize you are risking your life. Wear a PFD and ideally a dry suit. Have your other safety gear like a whistle and maybe even a hand held VHF radio and water activated light.

I currently work out in Raritan Bay off Staten Island on a construction project. Our crew boat runs periodically during the day bringing people back and forth from site to our launch/office in Laurence Harbor. Posting this cause hopefully it will end up saving somebody from being in same situation…

This afternoon around 1pm my phone started going off from guys out at the site. Our crew boat was making a run back to drop some people at the office when one of the guys aboard thought they saw someone waving their arms a few hundred yards away. The captain slowed down and that’s exactly what it was – two kayakers had fallen overboard out of their kayaks while going for winter flounder. One said he got knocked out from a rogue wave. The other flipped trying to help his friend. First guy had a PFD aboard but not on. What I understood was 2nd guy had his on but took it off and threw it trying to help save his buddy.

This capsized kayaker is in trouble. Add in cold water and the situation is life threatening fast. This photo is not from the event detailed here but a stock photo from Walking Rivers.

Fortunately the crew boat had all the proper gear onboard the boat to help; a hypothermia kit, a Jason’s Cradle, etc. so they could be safely retrieved and get their body temps back up. One guy barely made it up and needed assistance. We try to do man overboard drill monthly too and it paid off for them. They said they were in the water for 10 mins. Our buoy at site says water temp is about 40 degrees presently. One of the guys onboard our boat called Old Bridge PD/EMS and they met the boat at our dock to care for them. The kayakers were released without going to the hospital. Only casualties were a lost paddle, lost rods, and maybe cell phones.

If it wasn’t a matter of time and space, people would be posting links to local fishing groups about how there’s a search underway for 2 missing kayakers in Raritan Bay. It’s great to get out on the water but everybody be safe and realize the danger especially this time of year when you are basically alone on the water.