Anglers fishing the LBI region have a lot of fishing opportunities right now with a mix of action. The surf, inlet and bay all have produced this past week and weekend. Now’s the time to get out and enjoy great spring fishing!
We are ready to start fishing this weekend. The water temps on the west side of Barnegat Bay are in the 57 to 60 degree range and that is prime for stripers. Going to try the usual haunts on the west side looking for bird play or swirling fish to cast lures. If there are no visual signs we can troll lures on the light spinning rods until we find some life. This is an early morning bite more than a tide bite so we will be starting before sun up. The bass need to be 28″ or over to keep as the bonus program does not start until May 15.
After a few hours of bass fishing we can try the inlet jetty for blackfish. I have a very unique and effective way to target these early season jetty fish on light tackle. Spinning rods, bobbers, and the majic bait! This technique is also very good for the stripers at the inlet. The blackfish limit is 4 per man at 15″ or over.
Sailing Open Boat or Charter:
Saturday April 22, Monday April 24, Saturday April 29, Sunday, April 30
Also Monday May 1, but we will be targeting only stripers in the bay and inlet as blackfish season closes May 1.
All of these dates are 6 hour trips. 5:30AM to 11:30AM. $175 person. 4 people max. All fish are shared. Everything is provided.
Looking forward to seeing everyone on board again!
Hi Flier Sportfishing
When the dogwoods are blooming, the bass fishing is booming! Here on Long Beach Island we’ve had a great run of weather and a great run of fishing. Striped bass are being caught up and down LBI with reports coming from the north end, mid-Island and south end. The surf action is definitely a week or more earlier than last year. We expect this to continue and hopefully only get better as we enter May, one of the best months out of the year for surf fishing Long Beach Island.
Here’s video report update on 4/19/23 at 10AM, click above.
LBI Surf Fishing Report
A good wave of fish arrived a handful of days back and they have stuck around! Great striped bass reports continue for a number of days now with anglers catching on both bait and lures.
Fish Heads Team Member Frankie, our in house Van Staal Reel Tech Guru, has enjoyed good fishing in the LBI suds. On Monday evening he was out fishing the mid-Island surf and had good fishing. He reported he as well as other anglers fishing in the area were hooking up with multiple fish. “It’s great to see rods up and down the beach bent!”
Here’s (above) Frankie with one of mnay striped bass he caught off the LBI surf the last couple of days.
It seems that the majority of striped bass on the front beach are being caught on clam. Right now at the time of this post we have fresh clam in the shell, fresh shucked and also fresh shucked salted. There is also striped bass on the surf eating worms; both bloodworms and sandworms are great spring time on the surf. HOWEVER, if fishing bait right now be sure to prepare accordingly! There’s a good showing of blowfish right now in the surf and they are notorious bait nibblers. Bring some extra bait. Rigging up with a small hook rig isn’t a bad idea either. Why not take advantage of the tasty critters? It wouldn’t surprise me to see kingfish soon.
Both are slender, tight swimming, long casting lures that striped bass love. These two lures are very universal and they produce season after season so if you haven’t fished one yet, I suggest you ad one to your arsenal today. Better late than never. As far as color… an angler can never go wrong with a bone and a natural with a chrome/flash finish.
This morning Greg Davis reported good action plugging. He stopped in to share the report and also hook up the team with PIZZA… HUGE thanks! Fish Heads Team Member Paul, who is usually running the front counter weekday mornings, enjoyed the sunny afternoon plugging for bass.
Here’s (above) Paul with a nice striped bass he caught Tuesday afternoon off the LBI surf on a bone Yozuri LC Minnow lure.
LBI Spring Surf Fishing Tournament
Click here for the live results page. Here’s the top three striped bass.
Tautog Fishing Report
NJ Spring Tautog Season: April 1 to April 30th, Four Fish Bag Limit, 15″ Minimum Size
Great tog reports from the boats and land based tog anglers continue and point to a strong second half of the month/season. Land based anglers fishing live green crab and sand fleas are doing a number on blackfish at Barnegat Inlet. Positive catches reports from the local wrecks and reef sites are also common. There, green crab and white crab are best. We’ve heard numerous double digit reports.
Here’s (above) one of many monster tog that Dave Moores has caught this spring.
NJ Fluke / Summer Flounder Fishing
Summer flounder fluke fishing gonna pop off here really soon. May 5th is opening day and the regulations re the same as last year… 2 slot fish 17″ to 17.999″ and 1 18″ or greater.
Every year the early part of the season offers some of the best back bay fluke fishing. With the way other fisheries are a head of schedule there’s no doubt that early fluking will be good. We have already heard of some caught as back bay bass bycatch.
No better time than NOW to gear up with essentials for the season ahead!
Are You Ready?
Be sure to check your rods and reels are in good working order, clean and lubricated because if you put them away wet and salty last season, chances are you’ll have some issues right now or in the near future. The worst way to start off spring is broken down. Also be sure to check rod guides for damage as a cracked ring or no ring at all will almost certainly result in a lost fish. Here at Fish Heads we are a full service bait and tackle shop offering professional rod and reel service.
Now is also the time to respool with fresh new line and replace rusty hooks with sharp and strong new ones. Here at Fish Heads we have all of the essentials and are open seven days a week or shop 24-7 online at fishermansheadquarters.com. There’s no better time then now to prep for the season that is upon us or the season ahead; striped bass, fluke, tuna, or what ever species is on your list.
This past week’s full moon marked another new stage of the season. The waters are warming up and fishing is on all accounts on or ahead of schedule. On the surf side we almost at that magic 50° mark where things pop off. The forecast is looking good for this upcoming week and into next weekend; sunny and warm. Further warming will have result in more/better fishing activity. I have a positive outlook for the next few weeks as we transition into the prime time spring fishing season here on LBI.
Happy Easter! The Easter Bunny was good to anglers fishing Long Beach Island this holiday weekend! Here’s a fishing report update for the Long Beach Island area. Gear up with us at Fish Heads and let’s go fishing!
Long Beach Island Fishing Report
Striped bass hold the spotlight as the most popular target species both in the bay and surf, but others, especially tog, perch, winter flounder and black drum are great options too. We heard of a weakfish caught in the South Jersey backwaters and when there is one, there is more. The next month or so it traditionally the time for spring time tide runners. Our fingers are crossed for some blues to show one of these days!
Fish The Bay
Fish the bay and rivers for striped bass, winter flounder, black drum or perch. Rig up for striped bass with a simple hi/lo or single dropper rig and bait up with live bloodworms or clam. To target winter flounder or perch you’ll need to use a small hook, while on the other hand a larger (6/0-8/0) hook with a short leader for black drum.
The Causeway Bridges offer numerous public access points with good proven fishing over the past coupe of weeks. Other areas like public street ends, docks and bulkheads are worth a shot too.
Cooper Lachowicz sent in a photo of a bass caught the other night off a bayside private dock.
Recently some better size bass in the lower 30″ ranger were caught, so keeper size fish are not out of the question. Here’s a photo of one caught by Bayside Dave.
Black drum are in Great Bay as well as the surf. We expect to see these drum propagate into the Manahawkin Bay as well as the lower Barnegat Bay. Gary Adair has been out in his boat catching a few nice Black Drum on the night shift. He said, “Fresh surf turkeys were the ticket!”
*NJ Black Drum Regulations – 16″ minimum size, 3 fish bag
Fish The Surf
Fish the LBI beaches for striped bass or black drum. Rig up with clam and/or worms and soak. The surf of Long Beach Island has produced both striped bass and black drum in recent days.
Shop regular Jamie Gramley caught and release a nice black drum off the mid-Island surf Sunday. He was fishing clam looking for a striped bass.
Another Easter Sunday catch report from the surf came in from Chris Painter. He caught this 36″ bass (photo above) on live bloodworms as well as a short striped bass. He reported, “No takers on the clam.”
The LBI’s Spring Surf Fishing Tournament Simply Bassin’ is on. Join now and participate in this simple and fun surf fishing tournament.
Tautog Fishing Report
The Barnegat Inlet area has tog. Anglers are catching on green crabs and sand fleas using jigs and rigs. Also reports have come in from wreck anglers. Right now we are in the one month April/Spring Tog Season so taken advantage while it lasts because once closed it will not reopen until August.
*NJ Tautog / Black Fish Regulations – 15″ minimum size, 4 fish bag, April 1-30th
Tony Butch got out to some snags and reported good fishing. Anglers fishing the Mary M out of Barnegat Light caught some fish too. Bayside Dave reported a solid tog bite this weekend. “I got three keepers and took a 16.5″ fish home.”
And just like that April is here and “Spring Has Sprung!” The mainland areas have serious bloom-age and the island’s buds are popping. All signs are pointing to fun fishing. The April Full Moon is Wednesday night. The return of the laughing gulls to the area mean any day, usually 7-14 days later, the arrival of migrating striped bass and bluefish. Saw some of the season’s first gnats and that means the black drum will be here soon, most likely on this moon. The drum could be here now!
The radical weather and wild temperature swings are a challenging part of the spring transition. Anglers closely monitoring and riding the storms like salty cowboys get rewarded. This time of year more than any other, picking and choosing location and time/tide is of the utmost importance. Fish smart!
Fish Smart – Pick & Choose Wisely
Fishing after a cold blast chill isn’t the best way to find an active bite. Fishing after a heavy rain usually isn’t a good option either. Fishing in the early mornings after a cold night will more than likely be slow.
The keys to spring fishing this area are fishing the sunny days and fishing the afternoons when the waters are at their warmest. Warmest water is when the fish will be most aggressive and active. Fish the outgoing tide, all the way out and even a portion of the turn. These sections will be the warmest. Get back. Way way back and you’ll find them in the back bays, river mouths, sod banks, tributaries and rivers.
Welcome Back To NJ
More fish move into the state and there’s larger, more active ones too. Both the Delaware River and the Raritan Bay have fish. The arrivals are coming into the bays and heading up the rivers. Stacking up and making their move eventually to spawn soon. Photo below is a lot of striped bass stacked up like cord wood on Monday afternoon.
Here’s Kory Fishbein with a 46″ pig he caught and quickly released on Sunday. Kory lives in Philly and fishes the Jersey Coast beaches as well as the Delaware River. He shared the photo shortly after releasing it, “I finally made up for the one we lost!” This goes back a few year to when Kory had a monster bass on and I managed to loose it on him trying to net the fish boat side. Massive wood plug that was in the fish’s face and challenging to steer into my XXXL striped bass net. The net wouldn’t stay open due to the current and the fish pushed into the net and snagged up the plug. Fish was laying on top of the net but too far out of reach. One big head shake and the fish was free. It sat and looks at us for what seems like 20 seconds before tail slapping a splash of water in our face.
The LBI surf isn’t know for having good surf fishing in March and usually early April is slow too. This year the beaches have been quiet (other than some bait and gannets) until today. Corey Perich caught a 14.98# 35.75″ bass off the Beach Haven surf on salted clam. Yes I repeat a striped bass was caught off of the Long Beach Island surf. It was weighed in at Jingles. No the fish was not in the Spring Derby but would have been one hell of a first fish on the board.
We have seen and heard of other keeper fish caught in the local area too. Jbroz C. sent in a blurry night time keeper striped bass photo recently,”Caught on live bloodworms at 1am.” We also had a striped bass weigh in a few days ago but the team failed to record the anglers and catch info. Photo below.
Now’s the time (and all month) to catch some winter flounder. Brandy Hillegass caught this 2.35# flounder, just a hair shy of 18″ last week while worming for striped bass at the bay. The belly was loaded with freshly stolen bloodworms as well as native brown worms (unsure of the proper name but they were sand worms, super slender and about 6-8″ long). Not everyday that anglers catch winter flounder (which have super small mouths) on a 4/0 inline circle hook! One more reason to scale down to 2/0 circles this time of the year when light tackle worming. Brandy said, “The catch was a great surprise!” Brandy also caught a short striped bass today (Monday) fishing bloods on the bayside. “Thanks for the juicy worms!”
Tog hunters didn’t have a great kick off to the short one month (just April) spring tog season. It was sour with poor conditions. Nate Kirby reported, “The inlet was rough and the water was brown. Fishing around back it was weedy.” He’s looking forward to things settling down. Peter Gan reported catching a couple but, “the bite was real slow.”
Fishing the waters around Barnegat Light docks, bulkheads and rocks anglers should find a couple but don’t expect anything phenomenal like the crazy fall fishing. It’s also a good idea to have a plugging rod and a small plug bag when looking for April tog at the Barnegat Inlet. The toggers are usually the first ones top see a wave of bass or blues show up.
Land based tautog fishing can get good in the spring but for the most part it is a boat bottom fishing game so long as the weather allows. Some party boats further up the coast reported slow bottom fishing. Norma K III said they are catching fish but working hard for them, nothing great. They shared that what life they did find wanted “all crab. Not a touch on clam.” Usually clam is a great spring time tog bait. It’s a soft bait and it’s said that at this time tog prefer the soft baits in the spring. Not this day. The cod will hammer and slurp clams so you gotta have them!
And we will. We expect our first delivery of live surf clams this week! We have both live green crab and live white leggers in stock. While on the bait topic, I will share we plan to have fresh bunker towards the later part of the month.
On the bloodworm front, things aren’t looking promising. I’m told theres a couple issues that we are up against; persistence cold is making worm digging hard, recently poor tides, depleted resource from over fishing and also habitat destruction. Muscle dredging into the high water wares tore up the seed beds and without the beds you can’t expect to have a fishery. There’s large areas that were once prime time that are void of worms. We have managed to get some nice worms but this year more than ever we have got a lot of small pins. I’m sharing this to say we don’t want them either! But when the delivery shows up it’s either take it or leave it and small baits are better than no bait, no? If we refuse it then the next delivery (that might be better worms) isn’t coming our way.
I plan to dive more into the bloodworm topic in a future blog. Stay tuned!
Here’s a quick report from Store Staffer Frezza…
After an exceptional March full of striped bass fishing (locally and elsewhere in the state) April really came up fast. Time flies when you are having fun! I’m looking forward to black fish this month but will not loose focus on the bass fishing as it’s good and only getting better.
The fishing on the bayside of LBI continues strong with some nice slot fish on both live bloodworms and artificials. The reports from down my way, Tuckerton – Great Bay are starting but not great.
For me and the boys, the No Live Bait Needed paddle tails are working great (as always) around the bridges and sod banks. Store staffer Danny has been on the Bass since March 1st and his lure of choice is the 5” and 3” NLBN in Greenback and White.
As far as other fishing options… We’ve had a few Winter Flounder reports around the Ship Bottom – Surf City and Causeway Bridges area. Some creeks have white perch active on grass shrimp and bloodworm.
The sedges and sod banks have been loaded with Striped Bass and White Perch. Bloodworms have been working best but Store Staffer Frez and Tyler fished local to him and picked a few school sized Bass on 3” NLBN on a 1/2oz head.
Store staffer Paul is in on the action with aforementioned, NLBNS, while also scoring on Super Strikes, Yo-Zuri Mag Darters, SP minnows and Kettle Creeks Paddle Tails. After, the last moon waned many fish were exclusively feeding on grass shrimp and worm from the sod banks, and teasers worked well at that point to match the hatch. Let’s see what this next moon brings us – Tight Lines!
Updated Spring Hours!
Easter Hours: 6:30 to 3PM
Monday – Thursday: 7am – 7pm
Friday: 7am – 8pm
Saturday: 6:30am – 8pm
Sunday: 6:30am – 6pm