Author: NightStrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC
My Name is Steve George (a.k.a.Nightstrikes) and even though I cut my teeth growing up along the banks of the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek in Pennsylvania fishing as a child I quickly realized my real passion for fishing when I moved to New Jersey. The saltwater got into my veins very quickly and even today after over 40 years of fishing the Surf, Back Bays & Inlets of NJ the passion is still there stronger than ever. I’ve had a very important mentor back then just starting out and I have always vowed to give back to the sport that was given to me from him and others over the years. My journey really got interesting the last 20yrs or so as I started writing/reporting along with helping others during the infant age of the internet and the birth of the fishing websites/message boards like the BassBarn and StripersOnline to name a couple making many great friends over this time and lead me to become a member and officer of the Berkeley Striper Club – Seaside Park NJ.
Currently I have been writing a monthly column for On-The-Water Magazine called “From the Surf” for the last three fishing seasons and it has been a great experience sharing my adventures and providing some tips and techniques to my fellow fishermen.
It’s time to take to the next level of giving back as I would like to offer a variety of guided surfcasting fishing trips and private lessons to surfcasters of all ages and skill levels during the entire fishing season. Trips will be customized to every aspect of surf fishing that I do starting in April and continuing into December. Day and Night Trips will be offered from Sandy Hook NJ to Cape May NJ.
Early spring trips will target resident Striped Bass and the arrival of Big Bluefish invading our waters. These trips will include safe handling Catch & Release practices and tagging these young Striped Bass for research.
Come May will mean searching and catching maybe the fish of a lifetime as we will hunt Big Post Spawn Striped Bass migrating up the coastline fishing with some of today’s most sought after custom fishing lures that these Big Bass can’t resist during their journey. If you don’t have the tackle and equipment to handle and land these fish it will be provided for you.
Once summer rolls around its time to fish for Summer Flounder/Fluke along the beaches daily during the open season. Again if you don’t have the tackle and equipment to catch keeper fluke I will have you covered including my favorite baits and rigs along with access to the best locations I have found over the years.
And finally “The Fall Run” which is a special time that starts off looking for False Albacore in September and then looking for the migration of Striped Bass and Bluefish Blitzing our beaches shortly after during October and November into December.
Again what I really want to do here is to make you a better surfcaster going forward by teaching the techniques, how to read the water, understanding the tides and moon phases and strategies that you can use year after year.
I hope you come along with me on this next journey of my life and maybe someday you can pass on what you have learned to the next generation of fishermen with a passion for Surfcasting the Jersey Shore.
Contact me via Email _ email@example.com to book your dates for the 2020 Fishing Season or Call 609-276-6983
After last nights violent storms along the coastline water conditions held up well and the Surf Fluke bite was on fire this morning. Best bet is to get out this afternoon or early tomorrow before the coastal storm system also visiting this Memorial Day weekend takes shape and with the on-shore flow conditions will deteriorate rapidly and the bite on the beach for them.
That being said it does open up another opportunity this weekend to target the striped bass that are also in the area, they love rough water and should be feeding.
With all the questions surrounding the weather and fishing this weekend there is one thing for sure is that you need to stop in to Fishermens headquarters to get the latest information and any and all bait, tackle gear and accessories that you may need to have a successful holiday weekend fishing here on LBI.
GOOD LUCK everyone and have a safe and happy memorial day weekend 2021 ~ summer is here
If you’re looking to get out this summer call 609-276-6973 or email me at nightstrikes@Comcast.net to reserve your surf fishing trip this summer. Thanks SteveG
First I would like to say I hope everyone had a great winter/off-season and everybody is doing well.
I am now back on beautiful LBI for the summer and the 2021 Surf Fluke/Flounder season and running surf fishing trips/ fishing lessons daily until Labor Day.
I have already been scouting the island and have caught keeper size Fluke/ Summer Flounder in good numbers in multiple places, so the season should be off to a great start on Opening Day this Saturday May 22nd.
I have some open dates the rest of May -5/24, 5/25,5/26.5/27 & 5/28 to kick off the season plus of course dates during June, July & August. I provide all the bait-tackle-gear and beach access to multiple towns (beach badges) on the island and the Hot Spots where the action is happening. Best times are in the morning early after sunrise until around noon but I also do late afternoon Sunset Trips as well.
Call me at 609-276-6983 to discuss a trip or email me at nightstrikes@Comcast.net for rates and additional information. Thank you and look forward to fishing with you all again this summer.
~Steve George / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC 609-276-6983
I would like to announce that I have opened up my 2021 dates for Summer Fluke/ Flounder Surf Fishing Guided Trips on Long Beach Island N.J. >> *Daily starting 6/1/21 and running until 9/6/21 The last few seasons the fishing has been great and I expect that to continue this year and I’m really looking forward to hitting the beach again with everyone. I will once again be providing all tackle, bait and gear needed for a fun day fishing on beautiful LBI. *I would suggest if you are interested in joining me to Book as-soon-as-possible as I expect it to be another busy season with prime dates/days going fast. You can contact me for more information via email at Nightstrikes@comcast.net – Cell # 609-276-6983 or Direct Message me on my FaceBook and Instagram pages. Thank You,, Steve George / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Svc. LLC
By: Steve George / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Svc LLC
Boat’s out of the Water? Go Fish The Beach!
It’s December and the weather outside is delightful here on Long Beach Island NJ. Even though you may have pulled the boat already there’s still plenty of striped bass to be caught.
In late fall we usually see abundant waves of striped bass as they make their way down the New Jersey coastline. When the time is right and the weather cooperates they cross over Barnegat Inlet and into the waters of Long Beach Island. If the conditions are right and bait is present, striped bass stage up on the beaches of LBI. Most years anglers have consistent light tackle fishing on just about any beach right into the New Year.
Well this year is no different. The fish are here right now! We are fortunate to have the sand-eels in the surf zone attracting the interest from striped bass in the 20”-30” range. Just about every morning (the hour or two round sunrise) has been productive for surfcasters.
Go Light For A Better Bite
This time of the year it’s best to bring out lighter surf fishing tackle to have even more fun. Catching late fall striped bass is a lot more fun on light tackle. For me personally I like throwing a 9’ surf rod that’s rated up to 2oz. The rod is matched up with a 4000/5000 spinning reel to balance it out. Filled with a 20-30# braid and the outfit is ready for lots of light tackle surf fishing fun.
Match the Hatch
Sand-eels are long, slender and usually run around 4”-5” in length. It’s important to use a lure presentations that mimics them in order to have the best success. Here’s a couple of my favorites sand eel lures, all of which are proven stand outs over the years.
The Super Strike “Super ‘N Fish” Needlefish has a slender profile, it casts great and catches fish of all sizes in both the day and night. So many anglers are intimidated by needlefish because they don’t know how to fish them. They are simple and effective… The hardest part is choosing the right size/weight for the conditions. [More On This At End] Cast out, catch up your slack and let the lure settle, sink. Slowly retrieve adding a twitch. Sometimes add a double twitch and/or a quick crank or two. As with most lures on the surf, fish them all the way to your feet. Needlefish are very effective in low light and at night with a simple cast and straight slow retrieve. Bumps, pickups, bites on needles are a no-doubt-about-it hits and ones you will remember!
Sand Eel Soft Baits
The rubber weighted Tsunami Sand Eel is a great lure to use when the fish are in tight to the beach. It’s especially productive during calm conditions. While rubber soft baits offer the absolute best realistic imitation look and action they are the least durable. But Tsunami Sand eels hold up good compared to other soft baits possibly due to their inner holographic foil.
No one can fish a sandeel bite without some sort of metal lures! If you do you are missing out. Metals/tins offer the ultimate casting distance to reach out where fish are running and feeding. They are my go to lures because they cast a mile and with either a fast or slow retrieve can be worked off the bottom or just off the sand to drawl strikes. It pays to mix up retrieval speed to dial in how the fish are reacting and feeding on that particular day.
Two of my favorite metals for surfcasting when sandeels are around are…
Deadly Dick Lures – These (nickel plated solid brass) slender metals have a slender thin profile with a unique tweak on the ends. This character gives the lures their action both on the retrieve, jig and fall. The added prism flash tape helps catch the eye of fish too.
AVA Diamond Jigs – These (chrome plated lead) jigs are thin and long just like a sandeels. Their distinctive two-piece construction is made up of a metal body section and a latex tube dressed limerick hook. Fished slow in the sand the body puffs and makes a disturbance while the tubed hook swims with an erratic spin. One of the only lures that resembles a sand eel’s natural borrowing action.
Slender Minnow Swimming Plug
You can never forget a Daiwa SP Minnow! SP’s are a must have in every surf bag. These slender minnow profile lures cast great and have a special knack for triggering strikes in just about any conditions. Especially when sand eels are around, SP’s outproduce most other plugs due to their cast-ability and action. I’ve yet to meet a striped bass who could resist taking a bite when crossing paths with an SP Minnow.
Tease ‘Em To Increase Strikes
Add a teaser/fly above your lure to add extra attraction. I feel you will catch only half as many fish unless you use one. A teaser rig is easy to tie… With some leader material (mono or fluoro) tie a dropper loop. Then loop on the teaser/fly of your choice. Next add a swivel on the top terminal end and a Tactical Angler Clip on the bottom. Just clip on your lure and cast it out.
My favorite teasers are made by BuzFly Custom Flies. When you first see one you will know why. They beautiful and made right on quality hooks. Fish BuzFly teasers to up your success rate with life-like teasers.
So the fish are here! Get out early and watch for birds picking on the water. These birds are feeding on sand eels. Start casting because as the sun comes up the bass will be feeding shortly. Now is the time to get in some late season fishing before winter sets in.
Good Luck Out There!
[More On Needlefish Lures]
Needlefish come in many different sizes and weights made out of many different materials from plastic, wood and epoxy. Super Strike lures are plastic so they are durable and consistent. Currently Super Strike Needles come in three sizes (NF5 5″, NF6 6″, NF7 7″ ) and two weights (W Weighed “Black Eye”, HW Heavy Weighed “Red Eye”). There’s a size/weight combo for every situation. The most common option is the NF6W (6″ standard weighed 2.5oz). Choose the red eye heavy weight versions when fishing rough conditions or when there’s a stiff side wind or sweep.
247 Lures (in stock at Fish Heads but not listed online) offers a great wooden needlefish lure that shines in calm to moderate conditions.
By: Steve George / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Svc. LLC
When I say “Running” after False Albacore I am not lying. These fish are fast and you have to be faster!
No matter what way you fish during the fall when chasing Albie’s whether it’s by boat, off the beach, or around and on the rocks of the inlets you need to be able to move on the instant. As a surf fishermen you also need a lot of luck to time it perfectly. It’s more about being prepared ahead of time so you are ready for the bite and battle.
It’s October and it is finally feeling like fall with crisp cool predawn hours with smoke on the water. The local rivers, bays, inlets draining into ocean with them still being warm with plenty of baitfish swirling on the surface.
During civil twilight I can see the sparkling of bait down low as I crossed over the last bridge onto LBI. Making the long walk through the dunes I think back about previous encounters with False Albacore. After hooking up for the first time you are hooked for life. It’s so true you come down with a case of “Albie Fever”
I finally reach the water’s edge and immediately see a huge surface explosion then another and another. It’s on! But out of casting range. Maybe they move closer to shore. With the wind at my back I fire my lure as far as I can cast into the unknown. Within about 10 seconds of whipping my presentation across the surface as fast as I can… Slam-O!
The initial take is great and when the drag starts singing. But my favorite part is when they reach the shallow waters of the beach. They spaz out and make another one or two ripping pulls in every direction imaginable. Finally you win the battle and get a chance to look at those vibrant colors and mackerel patterns. They are beautiful under the sun and always a fish to remember. Their release is interesting with no turning back. They shoot out to sea like a rocket.
For Sure A Bucket List Fish!
I didn’t have to be fast on this day but it sure was important to be smart and ready. When hitting the water, knowing the “when” and “where” is very important. BUT! Actually being ready for success starts off with the right equipment.
Choosing The Right Rod & Reel For Albies
When it comes to targeting these speedsters from the surf a well balance light action rod in the 8-9’ range. Matched that up with compact, light, high speed spinning reel (4000 sizes) spooled with quality thin braided line (20-30#). This style outfit makes for a great weapon for land based anglers to effectively fish for albies.
A light action rod that has enough length and a whip allows for long casts with a small lure. A great affordable option is the Tsunami Trophy II Series, TSTIISS862DM. This rod is 8’6″, rated 1/2 to 1-1/2oz and has a special “distance moderate” action which is designed to easily load and launch small lures.
Albies are fast and feed fast! To burn a lure back in super fast (sometimes non-stop) a high speed reel is best. Try to look for a reel with a gear ratio of 6:1 or faster. The Penn Battle III Series is a great choice in either the standard (BTLIII4000, 6.2:1) or the high speed version (BTLIII4000HS, 7:1).
Slick looking spearing or bay anchovy baitfish presentations are key!
Small metal lures and epoxy jigs make for realistic small bait imitations. Anything from small chrome metals (Deadly Dick Lures) to holographic foils of Tsunami’s New Forktail Candy Lures offer a lifelike profile while offering the utmost casting distance. However these lure sink fast.
When the winds are light and conditions call for a lure that matches the hatch, casts great but doesn’t sink like a stone… turn to Epoxy Jigs! These jigs come in a variety of sizes and just about any color in the rainbow.
A few other essentials that are needed to track down your prey are a good pair of sunglasses and small binoculars. The ability to see any surface action and/or baitfish close or out in the distance is paramount
Dress for the weather and stay comfortable. That might mean going in the surf with sandals, a SPF Shirt and Shorts or it could be putting on boots or waders when cool and you don’t want to get wet. If fishing any rocks, jetties or inlets one of the most important pieces of equipment is a good pair of studded cleated boot or sandals with Carbide Spikes. KORKERS! Gotta stay safe!
It’s best to stay light, especially on warm days. You might need to hustle and run after a blitz.
I was just recently dropped in and put on a incredible bite of migrating Bass,Blues & Albies that were on a feeding frenzy and also at times just cruising the shallow water without a care in the world just swimming with the school. Just a Amazing Experience & Heading to Jersey Soon , we just need all the bait along the shore line like this ~ Fall Run 2020 call 609-276-6983 Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC
Beach Report 9/8/2020: Today after my morning beach charter I had some time to check out the Mid-Island Surf and found some very aggressive and good size Northern Kingfish attacking my Fluke baits. Still plenty of time to target these hard fighting and great tasting fish in the surf through the rest of this month at least. For me personally I still have a few more tides to hit here on LBI before I shift gears and start to head more North in search of False Albacore and the first waves of Bluefish & Striped Bass to start off the 2020 Fall Migration / Run. If your interested in fishing the Monmouth County / Sandy Hook area over the next two months just call me 609-276-6983 Steve George ~ Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC
Keeper (dinner size) Fluke from 18”-21” are still around and are feeding aggressively as we head into the Labor Day Holiday Weekend here on LBI. I have some limited availability this week if you are looking to get out before I shift gears and start looking for False Albacore further up the coastline -just Call 609-276-6983 Steve George ~ Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC
*Striped Bass Tagging Update #2 for this year > Again during the great Striper Schoolie 2019 Fall Run – I Caught a 21” Striper on the beach that I tagged & released at LBI NJ on November 18th 2019 and it was just re-caught recently down South this time around Annapolis Maryland also at 21” / I will be offering tagging trips come mid – late November into December on LBI > it’s a great opportunity to see first hand how to tag a striped bass and I’ll share my data and stories of over a decade of tagging results for the Berkeley Striper Club and you will get to name some of these fish with hopes that they will one day get reported back to us. Book your dates now – call 609-276-6983 / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC