LBI 2022 Year End Fishing Report

First and foremost Happy New Year! Thank you to everyone for a great 2022. It was a fishy fun filled year! We wish you tight lines in 2023. May your many trophy fish dreams come true. Let us at Fish Heads meet and beat your expectations this new year.

This week was much more mild compared to last week’s cold snap. Most anglers getting out are targeting blackfish. Some went deep for sea bass and a few are still catching striped bass too! For a look at the current Barnegat Inlet temperatures take a look at the end/bottom of the post.

On the black fishing front, the rock solid bite that went strong most of December hit the brakes with last week’s cold snap. The inshore wrecks and reefs were very good but the Artic weather took over and sunk to slow the action. Most anglers reported slow to sporadic fishing with better reports coming from the deeper water areas where the bottom temps held up better. It seemed that white crabs were doing best. As the temperatures creep back up we expect the bite to too. Dante from Magictails is fishing as hard as always getting out every weather. He has tagged and released a lot of big monster tog this year. On Wednesday he couldn’t get this one to swim away. It weighed on the shop scale at 18.35#, a true monster!!!

We get asked many times a day… “Are there still tog biting in Barnegat inlet?” We can’t say there is a bite but it’s possible you might find a fish or two. This seal was caught eating some tog in the inlet on Monday by Eric Tell.

Striped bass, Yup they are still around! Few to no reports off the surf but if the temperatures stay mild there will be schoolies in the suds all of January. As far as striped bass in the ocean we had two recent reports. Captain Mark aboard the Waterproof reported finding striped bass on top during their ride to go tog fishing (inside 3 miles). He said catching them was quick and easy. Another report came in on Friday (12/30) from Captain Mike Greene aboard the Luckey Stripes. He said tog fishing wasn’t good, alot of small fish, but striped bass fishing was. “28-34″ bass on bunker. They were all hanging on the surface slow motion rolling only a couple miles from Barnegat Inlet.”

Deep water sea bass fishing was on tap with anglers getting out and catching. A recent report came in from Zach P, a Fish Head’s team employee home from college for the holidays. He was out fishing aboard the Voyager out of Point Pleasant and caught a bunch of black sea bass and a couple weakfish. We received more positive deep water bottom fishing reports from other local anglers getting out there. Unfortunately this fishery is closed Jan 1, 2023.

Reminder, today 12/31/22 is the last day of the 2022 Striped Bass Bonus Program. 2022 Permits/tags are NOT valid in 2023. Be sure to submit logbooks before January 15, in order to be eligible for 2023. All harvests were to be reported at time of event but if not done, get it in now. 2023 Applications usually start up in the early springtime.

Another reminder 2022 Fishing Regulations and Limits remain in effect until official updates are published by the state. Stay tuned to the winter meetings to see how things play out.

Below are two screen shots from the Barnegat Inlet tide and temperature gauge. Before looking know that the location of the gauge is USCG Station Barnegat Light which means that it is in the bay, just inside the inlet. The gauge records bay waters on the outgoing tide/current and ocean waters on the incoming tide/current. The one month chart/graphs show a steep temperature drop on the evening of 12/23. December 24th LBI was frigid, icy flooding, hard west winds. There was a morning windchill of -12º and a wild sea smoke sunrise. The cold stuck around for a few days but since Christmas the temperatures has slowly trended warmer and just got back to the 40º mark.

This sea smoke sunrise was captured by Matt Reitinger on the morning of Christmas Eve. It was an Artic blast that had LBI sub zero and an icy mess. Streets were flooded skating rinks and many seasonal houses that were not winterized (or people out of town for the holidays) had busted pipes adding to the icy streets.

LBI Fishing Report 12/23/22

The water temperatures are cold; skim ice in the lagoons, bay at 37º near the BI marker, ocean in the mid to upper 40’s depending on the area. The weather has been brutal with very short weather windows but “open” there’s fishing opportunities for those who still can’t shake the itch. Both striped bass and tog were caught Wednesday and Thursday. Also heard of a nice bluefin tuna caught too.

Here’s a late season Fishing LBI Report Update for the Long Beach Island area, most likely the last one of the year.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy New Year!

Striped Bass Fishing

The prime bass fishing from the beach and boat is well behind us but there are fishing opportunities for those looking. Recent weather windows proved to be successful for a couple boats working the troll. Mark Dear reported good fishing on Wednesday fishing off of Brigantine in 40-50′ of water. He said all of the fish were caught on whiote mojos, “Birds were around and we were marking a ton of fish.” Sounds like they also could have tried dropping some spoons or jigs.

Off the surf there is little participation but anglers are picking some schoolies. Joe Handley reported peanut bunker and a couple striped bass on the LBI surf, “They (peanut bunker) were stretched out patchy the length of the Island pretty much all day Wednesday. I was snagging and putting them, out on a Carolina rig. Some bait pods has bass. I caught 4 mega fat shorts.”

Store staffer Paul has been putting in time off the surf and has been finding a few small bass fishing a AVA Diamond Jig rigged up with teaser.

Blackfish – Tautog – Tog Fishing

Tautog fishing is good when weather allows boats to get out. Right now and into the new year it will be the main game for anglers looking to get tight and bend a rod. Right now we are fully stocked up on tog baits and tackle. We have live green crabs and white crabs however it’s uncertain how long we will have these prime baits stock.

Bluefin Tuna

Every year in the Thanksgiving to Christmas timeframe we get a shot at some nice bluefin moving through our area. Usually these fish are taken on popping gear. This time of year it is not for the faint of heart as conditions can be brutal. Here’s a recent catch by Alex Widney fishing aboard Rum Tales with Capt Fred Soper.

Striped Bass Commercial Quote Transfers

Tonight (12/20/22) was NJ’s Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) hearing on Draft Addendum I to Amendment 7 to the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fisheries Management Plan (FMP). If not aware, there is consideration to allow commercial quote transfers of striped bass. As mind boggling as it might sound, it is true. There was a piss poor turn out, peaked at 40 attendees, but fortunately the majority was there to support striped bass conservation.

Passionate fly angler Bob Bruns knows the importance of striped bass conservation and respects the species that offers so much enjoyment to his fishing and life. This photo is one of many striped bass Bob caught and released on the fly, fishing aboard Fish Head Charters on November 7th.

Current Bass Situation

Despite a really great fall run we all experienced in NJ the coast wide striped bass stock is NOT in great shape! The 2022 Stock Assessment tells us the striped bass female spawning stock biomass is overfished. Right now we are on track, at best slated for a 78.6% chance we will meet the goal to rebuild by 2029. Managers must take prudent action to rebuild the stock, NOT facilitate more removals. Transfers could elevate F (fishing mortality) and undermine the rebuilding goal.

The only option that should be considered is Option A Status Quo – Transfers NOT permitted.

Please comment now!

Give thanks to the striped bass and show them support by taking the time now to comment for conservation. Keep it short and simple… Provide your name, your home town state and “I support Option A, No commercial transfer permitted.”

Deadline for public comments is January 13, 2023 11:59PM
Subject: “Striped BAss Draft Addendum I”

For a more details watch the ASMFC video on the topic…

LBI Fishing Report 12/12/22

Here’s a short late fall fishing report update from the beaches of Long Beach Island. With the many days of foul weather, lots of wind and swell there are few reports to share. Many of the surf anglers battling the conditions reported most beaches are weedy, especially mid-Island. Fortunately we did hear a couple catch reports from fishable beaches. There is without a doubt bass in the suds on LBI however it isn’t epic fishing. The striped bass are mostly smaller schoolies but a few keepers were caught recetnly. hitting small lures and teasers. Anglers are also picking a couple on bunker, but getting fresh will be difficult. Demand had dropped off so we are no longer able to supply.

Yesterday Dante from Magictails was on the north end surf and caught one striped bass plugging. His buddy also had one too. Another surf catch report came in from Greg Davis who got one plugging. Also Jimmy Betz got a 30.25″ on bunker.

With the LBI Surf Fishing Tournament ending Sunday and the recent trend of a smaller class of bass, weigh-in reports will be few and far between. With the mild temperatures we are confident fish will be caught on the surf for the rest of the year, maybe beyond.

Sorry no boat reports, few if any have been able to get out in recent days. When the weather settles down we expect late season stripers to offer some fun BUT tog will be the name of the game!

Reel Reaction Sportfishing – Open dates Tautog/Bass

We are cancelled this weekend, but we have the following openings for tautog or striped bass. All tautog trips are 6hrs and include white crabs/tackle/gear/etc.

12/18, 12/28 booked, 12/29, 12/30 booked, 12/31, 1/2, 1/7 booked, 1/8.

Capt. Brett Taylor ~

Call or text: 609-290-7709

Hi Flier Open Boat Stripers Mon Dec 5

The striper bite is relentless. Every day brings blitz style fishing to the shoreline from Belmar to Seaside. Thousands of birds, pick your own flock, surfacing stripers. We haven’t had to troll yet. Everything has been on surface plugs and soft plastics on light spinning gear. This is a migration run for the ages. 

Running Open Boat or Charter Monday, Dec 5, 7AM to 3PM. $275 person, 4 people max, all fish are shared.

Dave DeGennaro

Hi Flier Sportfishing

732.330.5674 cell