Great weather here on LBI this week but things are turning. Tomorrow (Thursday) a southerly wind and wind swell blows in a 2-3′ swell on the beaches which will stick around all weekend with the support of a coastal low pushing through Saturday night.
The cold blast last week has curbed the spring progression but didn’t stop it. Recent days have offered fun fishing for anglers fishing live bloodworms. There’s no better bait at this stage of the game. Early spring striped bass and winter flounder LOVE BLOODS! Right now we are loaded up with premium live bloodworms!
Dave Moores caught a couple winter founder recently fishing the Barnegat Bay.
Mike Nunziato had some fun fishing Great Bay a few days back.
Some sharpies are catching with artificial; however, most are finding slower fishing with lures. Store staffer Frezza has been getting out and catching. Store staffer Paul has been putting in his fair share of time and catching too. Store staffer Eric is catching a lot of bass this spring. Just the other day he caught a released 27″ tagged striped bass. He called it in and is waiting for the details. Each and everyone had a great story.
I went for a walk on the beach this morning and had gannet dive bombing all over! See this video!
NJ Saltwater Expo
This past weekend’s NJ Saltwater Expo was another awesome show. It once again blew out our expectations. Thanks to all who attended and patronized the booth. We greatly appreciate everyone’s support.
Some years start off cold and slow but not this year. So far early spring striped bass fishing the bayside of Long Beach Island has been nothing short of exceptional. The bass are and have been ravenous, chewing baits and lures. The team is getting into good fun fishing. Reports from customers fishing the greater local area are also positive. The local river action continues and spots in the adjacent river mouths/bays are turning on.
White perch are highly sought after during the winter and spring. These delicious panfish can be caught on bait and artificial. Grass shrimp, bloodworms and earthworms are the baits of choice. Small grubs and minnow style soft plastics 1-2″, 3″ at absolute most, work on a small jig or can be fished on a float.
Winter flounder are another tasty species to catch during the spring months. These are best targeted using bloodworms as well as clam and/or a kernel of corn. Chumming is suggested. Winter flounder have much smaller mouths than summer flounder so be sure to use a small hook or use a classic winter flounder rig.
Tide Chasers Podcast
Over the winter I was asked to join in on the podcast and share a little bit about myself, business, fishing, the LBI area, offshore wind and much more. The Tide Chaser Podcast is live now!
Striped Bass season kicked off with a bang on Wednesday, March 01. As expected with the moderately warm winter the fish are here and active in LBI’s bay and tributary rivers. On opening day, the bite was strong with bass chewing both live bloodworms and lures. On the lure side; 3 inch No Live Bait Needed, Tsunami Swim Shads, Kettle Creeks, Rapala Xraps, Nomad Design Max Vibes and Shikaris were the ticket to get tight. Thursday, Friday and Saturday the lure bite slowed somewhat with the water dropping a few degrees, but the blood worm bite remained.
There’s good numbers of bass here locally and some have been caught to 34 inches. With the days getting longer and hopefully warmer and sunny, the water should jump back up a few degrees to turn the lure bite back on.
Stop in the shop to get geared up for all your back bay fishing needs. If not in the local area we can get a tackle package of essential sent quickly to you. Reach out or shop online, FishermansHeadquarters.com.
P.S. No reports on winter flounder but now is a good time to try for them.
The 2023 Regulations have been set and they are the same as last year. Opening Day on Tuesday May 2nd and until Wednesday 9/27. *5 Month Season Size & Bag Limits: 3 fish possession limit with a slot. Two fish at 17 to 17.99 inches and one fish at 18 inches or greater. *Message Me for more information if you are interested in booking a trip to enjoy / learn such a great fishery we have here during the entire Summer on beautiful Long Beach Island NJ Prime Time Days go fast especially weekends so it pays to set your day/dates early before the season starts.
**Can’t wait to see what adventures wait in 2023 as I celebrate 40yrs fishing the Jersey Shore 👍 and I hope you can join me.
call 609-276-6983 or Email me at Nightstrikes@comcast.net and you can also find me on FaceBook & Instagram
Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC / Steve George
The early spring can offer some of the year’s best fishing. With regards to our local area, south central NJ coast, Barnegat Bay, Manahawkin Bay and the areas in close proximity to the north and south anglers have great fishing opportunities. It’s usually special because compared to the fall there is a lot less anglers fishing. But don’t expect great fishing off the LBI surf or at the inlets. In the early spring look around back!
What to catch in the early spring
Striped Bass, Winter Flounder, White Perch
Baits:Baits like live bloods are always best and effective on all three species. No fish can turn down an east to digest worm in the early spring! If the price of live bloods or the necessary care that comes along with live baits is a hassle for you, check out DynaBait’s Freeze Dried Bloodworms. Other natural soft baits like squid and clam are options. Grass shrimp is a prime bait for perch. Also striped bass love them. Last September I was grass shrimping for weakfish and caught a winter flounder so I know they eat shrimp too. For worming bass early season these TNT rigs are perfect. Here’s the classic winter flounder rig options from Tide Rite.
Fish the warmest water you can find, which is commonly mid to later in the day, shallow areas on the outgoing time.
Where to fish the early spring
Sorry I can’t publish exact spots but stop in and patronize the shop, get to know the team and we’ll help point you in the right direction. It’s best to start out searching for public access on Google Maps or Google Earth. Lots of valuable information can be gathered scouting satellite images as well as the old school method of nautical charts (we have them in the shop) or the new school method of Navionics. Some local fish producing general areas over the years… the Mullica River and the river mouth, Great Bay area, Toms River and the many west side of the bay creeks. All are fishy area to scout. The early spring is all about fishing the rivers, creeks, sod banks and bay!
How to fish the early spring
Generally speaking in the early spring, approach with a slower retrieve, smaller lure profiles. As the spring progresses larger profiles will prevail. On the bait side of the game, nothing beat live blood worm for striped bass and winter flounder. Other details were previously provided in the sections above under baits and lures.
Another Major Considerations…
Current Water Temperatures
The water temperature is one of the most important factors to consider in the spring. Much more so now than in the fall. Why? Because the waters are cold and the fish are on the lethargic side. As the days get longer (March 17th will be the first time we have 12 hours of sunlight 7:06am – 7:06PM) the sun warms the rivers and shallow areas of the bay first, especially darker mud bottoms. As we get into spring the average daily temperatures help turn up the dial too. As these shallow waters warm the bottom water temperatures especially in deeper areas stay cold. This stratified water column can make or break an outing. Tide plays a huge role is spring time fishing success too. It’s even more important when fishing closer to the ocean or ares that have ocean water tidal flow/influence.
Here’s current water temperature data for the Barnegat Bay from USGS. The top chart details the west side of the bay near Waretown. The bottom chart details the east side of the bay, near the inlet in Barnegat Light. The Barnegat Light location gets both bay (outgoing) and ocean (incoming) waters temperature readings depending on the tide. The Waretown location gets much less influence of ocean water.
Looking at the past 30 day chart… The Barnegat Bay water temperature at Waretown is currently (3/1/23 2:30PM) at 45º. It had a low of 30º on Feb 4th at 2:49am and a high of 48º on Feb 17th at 3:45pm and then again on Feb 21st at 3:54pm. Barnegat Light is currently at 42º (3/1/23 2:30PM). It had a low of 32º on Feb 5th at 3:30am and a high of 45º on Feb 17th at 2:49pm and then again on Feb 24th at 5:30pm.
The ocean temperature yesterday record by IBSP Park ranger 44º.