Sunset Tide Beach Trips- Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Svc.

Some Great “Sunset Tides / & Open available Dates are setting up nicely for this upcoming week.
Contact Me if you want to get out and have fun fishing the beaches of LBI ~ Long Beach Island NJ for some really nice Fluke/Summer Flounder off the beach. #LBI ~ Visit >Fishermen’s Headquarters ~ Ship Bottom NJ CALL Me @ 609-276-6983 Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC/ Steve George

Barnegat Lighthouse N.J.

LBI Surf Fishing For Fluke 6/19/20

It’s Prime Time to hook up with keeper size fluke (aka summer flounder) fishing the beaches of LBI. There’s an abundance of fish along the beaches and some days we are limiting out. Now’s the time to get your toes in the sand and catch this great summer time species.

*Open Surf Fluke Trip Dates Are Available Now Thru July 4th Weekend.*

Contact me for the best dates/tides. Call Steve George at 609-276-6983

Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC

Here's Steve George with a recent limit catch of fluke of the LBI surf. Call Steve today to get in on the action.
Here’s Steve George with a recent limit catch of fluke of the LBI surf. Call Steve today to get in on the action.

The Hunt For Big Bass

By: Steve George / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service

The late May into mid-June period has to be one of my favorite times to
fish for Big Striped Bass. It is also the time that I do not get a lot of sleep
and my days and nights get mixed up. Don’t ask me what day is because I will most likely get it wrong.

Homework

My late spring reading consist of tide charts, moon phases and wind forecast all for good reason. As these major factors go into my planning to target these post spawn migratory striped bass heading northward up the NJ coastline.

The personal log books that I have kept for as long as I can remember are my starting point. But Mother Nature has a way to make my work even harder when it comes to finding the feeding patterns that can change from year to year. I know where to be on certain dates and it always seems to fall under the full and new moons consistently but the weather can really make such a difference as to how to target these fish.

I love to make reports. They say you shouldn’t follow reports but to
tell you the truth I don’t know one fishermen that doesn’t check the
fishing reports on a daily basis. This is very vital information knowing
what is happening and where. With today’s technology it doesn’t get any easier! For example right here at FishingLBI.com. Don’t leave home without checking it out.

The Equipment

You want to handle and turn that 30/40lb+ Big Striped Bass in the surf and heavy current? You better have a fishing rod and solid fishing reel to get the job done. Personally I use nothing under 11’ in length with a moderate/fast action and a 2-5oz lure rating. There are so many great options available today for surfcasters as today’s rods are made lighter and stronger than ever. Lamiglas, ODM, Tsunami among others offer great options in a variety of price points to fit any surfcaster’s needs.

Reels also are lighter and strong. A powerful drag is a must! They don’t necessarily have to be waterproof but it does help under some conditions. The Penn SSVI is a great reel that is affordable and durable. For those who demand the best, Van Staal!

One of my best investments made was a very good pair of pliers. Van Staal Pliers and Danco Premio Pliers are two great options. When you are talking about Big Striped Bass, trying to get hooks out of a fish in a timely manner is a must. Gotta have a quality pair of pliers on your surf belt.

The Tackle

Your hook is the first thing between you and the fish. Whether on your lures/plugs or your bait rigs. Buy the best ones available and keep them sharp! Mustad and VMC offer great treble hooks. Gamakatsu offers some of the best chunking and live bait hooks.

Next is your leader. Both nylon monofilament and fluorocarbon line are good. I use 40# fluoro but you can get by with 30lb. If you are fishing around rocks go heavier, 50-60#.

This brings us to your main line. Braided fishing line is the way to go for both casting distance and rock solid hook sets on the slightest hit you feel. It’s a must have when fishing lures but there are still some occasions where monofilament line comes into play. Some still use it for bait fishing.

The Lures

I am a big fan of fishing darters and bottle plugs especially Super Strike Lures. I have confidence in them for big bass which feed under the cover of darkness. Their action is irresistible when worked the right way in the right conditions. Moving water is preferred during moderate and calm seas as long as you can stay in contact with the lure. Swimming stick bait plugs also have their moments and I never head out on a trip without a Daiwa SP Minnow or Yo-Zuri Mag Darter as they flat out catch.

This night a big hungry striped bass went for a Yo-Zuri Mag Darter.

The Catch

So you made you plan of action by studying your tides. The weather is favorable and you are all set to go. Gear is ready and you made
your way to the water’s edge. It’s time to make that first cast. Confidence in yourself to get the job done is the number one thing is you need. This comes from everything you did up to this point. On each and every cast stay focused on your retrieving and presentation… Then BAM!!!

Do not hesitate to set the hook hard and be sure to never let a big bass get the upper hand. Your gear will do the work – keep that rod tip high and your line tight the entire fight. Allow the fish to run if it wants to. If the fish is taking too much line tighten the reel drag a little but this should have been set before hand. Eventually the fish will tire and turn. Keep the momentum to bring it in.

Keep in mind and be ready for that one last gasp power run. Allow it but don’t let up. Stay in control. At this point, start to back up and use the waves coming into the beach as leverage to ride the fish in. Don’t ever horse it. Keep the line as tight as possible until it’s on the beach and close enough to grab the leader. From there using the leader or lip the fish to officially land it. Now’s the time to rejoice but also act fast with a photo and release.

There is no better feeling of accomplishment at this point as you put in the work and conquered. Now it’s time to do it all over again!

NightStrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC
Steve George – Call: 609-276-6983

Any anglers looking to advance their fishing and learn from an experienced and accomplished saltwater guide is encouraged to contact Steve at Night Strikes Surfcasting Guide Service to set up a guided fishing trip.

Fluke Are Here

Mother Nature threw a wrench into our plans to kick the Summer Surf Fluke season on LBI this morning. Heavy rain and thunder canceled our first trip of the year. So it was time to put Plan “B” in effect and try to find some cleaner water during the afternoon tides before the next NE Blow returned. It didn’t take long to find a few willing to co-operate as I found a few including two keeper size to save the day. It looks like as we head towards the last days of May this coming week things will be improving weather wise and there should be plenty of action on the island and good tides to target these aggressive and hard fighting fish going forward and into June. If you want to get out and enjoy some fun summer fishing just give me a call as I’m fishing daily on LBI. Steve George / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC. Call 609-276-6983

Fishing The Spring Transition

By @Nightstrikes_Surfcasting_Guide (Steve George)

April is a fun month with great expectations for the upcoming season. It’s what we dream about all winter long. As the days get longer and warmer the local fishing around the back bays and surf comes to life like clockwork. Each year young Striped Bass and then the early arrival of Big Bluefish start a feeding frenzy on baitfish before their seasonal migrations and spawning occurs. Being there, in the right place, at the right time and with the right tackle makes all the difference for your success. Here’s some tips to help you make the most of Fishing The Spring Transition on the Central Jersey Coast.

Resident Spring Time Striped Bass Fishing

Over the years I timed my first fishing trips of the season around the moon periods of the month. Either the full or new moon, it doesn’t really seem to matter, because both of these have the strongest tidal currents. As a result the flow delivers plenty of baitfish to ready and waiting striped bass. Local bridges, bulkheads, piers and docks have fish hanging around them. Game fish like these spots as great ambush points and provide protection for them. Day or night they will be there but much more active after dark!

Steve George with a late night spring time striper selfie Fishing The Spring Transition. Striped bass love roam around the shadow lines and ambush bait that is commonly drawn to the lights.
Author Steve George with a late night striper selfie Fishing The Spring Transition. Striped bass love roam around the shadow lines and ambush bait that is commonly drawn to the lights.

Light Action Tackle For Early Spring Stripers

For this early season fishing I am mostly targeting young striped bass that on average run between 20” to 28” in length. So to use the term “match-the-hatch” I go with light action fishing rods capable of throwing from 3/8oz to 1oz presentations in the 6’ to 8’ in length. I match these rods with a reel in the 3000-4000 size class spooled up with light (20#) braid and 20# leaders.

This springtime striped bass was caught, tagged and released to hopefully one day provide some valuable data to help learn more about the local striped bass stock.
This springtime striped bass was caught, tagged and released to hopefully one day provide some valuable data to help learn more about the local striped bass stock.

Having a versatile outfit makes all the difference for success. As I make my way to the water’s edge on the right tides I never really know what to expect how the fish will be feeding. One night they can be found busting on the surface and hitting surface poppers. The next night they still might be popping but not as aggressively and will only hit subsurface lures like stick shads and swimmers. On most occasions a rubber swim shad lure will also draw a lot of attention during these conditions.

Hungry striped bass love a late night snack. The Kettle Creek Paddletail Lures are very versatile baits especially when Fishing The Spring Transition.
Hungry striped bass love a late night snack. The Kettle Creek Paddletail Lures are very versatile baits especially when Fishing The Spring Transition.

And one thing to note if you show up and for some reason the fish are not showing themselves don’t assume they are not there. This is the time to fish your presentations lower in the water column as they could be looking to feed on something bouncing along the bottom. In most of these occasions it’s weather related and/or tide related with colder water temperatures. This is the time to break out a little heavier jig/lead head or bucktail.

Spring Time Slammer Bluefish

At some point in the spring and it’s usually the end of April or early May we start to see the first signs of big lean and mean Bluefish. Traveling in small tight packs these “racers” cruising in from the deep to investigate our local inlets, beaches and bays in search of feed. These blues wreak havoc on any baitfish and get the small stripers moving. The bass begin to venture out of the back bays and things start to get really interesting.

This is the time to transition and beef up the tackle and equipment to prepare for battle with these fish.

My Spring Time Bluefish Bag

It never changes and it’s always ready to go on the spur of the moment. It consists of mainly big and strong lures that can take a beating but can also be replaced if need be. Because when targeting early spring run bluefish, you will lose some tackle at times. It’s not a matter of when. It’s a matter of what. For that reason you do not want to fish those hard to find lures. If you do you’ll regret it!

Here's a spread of common top producing lures. From topwater to the bottom and everywhere in between, this four lure selection gives an angler the ability to cover the entire water column.
Here’s a spread of common top producing lures. From topwater to the bottom and everywhere in between, this four lure selection gives an angler the ability to cover the entire water column.

The number one thing I do is to make sure to fish single hook lures. Bucktails and jig/lead heads with trailers are ideal. Very early on when the big blues first arrive for the most part they do not show themselves like you think they would. Early on they are not active on the surface. They are cruising slowly under the surface and you need to put your presentation on their nose for them to hit it.

Bomber and Daiwa Minnow lures are great to use for this situation. I would suggest removing the stock treble hooks and replace them with In-Line Single Hooks for easy releases. They are also much safer for anglers. Eliminate the trip to the local ER if at all possible. If a treble hooks get imbedded in your hand it’s game over. I also do the same hook swap with my poppers and larger swimming lures.

Anthony Scalea got this treble hook buried deep in his finger and it required a trip to the hospital. Crushing your barbs allows for easy removal of hooks in emergency situations but also allows fish to shark a hook much easier. Weigh the pros and cons and make the decision for yourself.

Break Out The Big Guns

Earlier in the spring I go light but this stage is a different story. Bluefish test your tackle and if you are not prepared from the get go your fishing trip will come to a fast end. I’ve seen many fishing rods snapped in half during this time of the year. And it’s not always during the fighting of the fish but the actual landing.

Big bluefish love to stay down deep in the water column. Penetrate down to the zone with a 1-3oz bucktail and let it swing through to hook up! When Fishing The Spring Transition do not ever go fishing without a bucktail.
Big bluefish love to stay down deep in the water column. Penetrate down to the zone with a 1-3oz bucktail and let it swing through to hook up! When Fishing The Spring Transition do not ever go fishing without a bucktail. Both striped bass and bluefish love them!

Many surfcasters try to lift a fish up on to a jetty or bulkhead. It can be done successfully however you’ll want to follow these guideline to prevent a catastrophe…

  • If you are going to lift a fish you need to have a strong enough fishing rod.
  • Do Not High Stick! Keep the tip down and use the butt and midsection of the rod to lift and swing. Do not use the tip with a high angle vertical swing.
  • A leader man or a friend with a net or gaff can be very helpful. Some gator blues can be three feet or longer and can weigh fifteen or more pounds. It’s best to get some help landing these monsters.

When choosing a big fish rod and reel you’ll want to look for quality rod and reel that is capable of handling the lures, fish and drag you plan to fish. Most importantly the two tools must match properly and perform together, casting the lures you need to the fish as well as handle and turn big fish in current. Without that ability you’ll never have a chance at landing them.

Good Rod Choices

For rods, I choose a surf rod in the 9-10’ length, med-heavy action, rated in the 2-6oz range. Here is a list of some options in a few different price points. Each level of pricing offers different manufacturing origin, quality and materials (blank and components).

Good Reel Choices

For reels, I choose a spinning reel which has an all metal body, quality gearing, powerful cranking and smooth drag. Also, a reel must hold enough line. The following are some options in a range of price points. All of these will get the job done. It’s up to you how much you will use it and how much you want to invest. Note: Each reel brand has its own unique sizing nomenclature.

Single tail hooks on poppers are very helpful when dehooking a large toothy bluefish!
Single tail hooks on poppers are very helpful when dehooking a large toothy bluefish!

When thinking of line don’t skim out! Beef up your braided fishing line to a minimum of 30lb, better yet 40-50# and use a strong leader. 60-80lb class leader line might sound like overkill but toothy bluefish fish demand it.

Get out and start Fishing The Spring Transition! It’s a great time of the year to be fishing. Good Luck & Have Fun!

NightStrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC
Steve George – Call: 609-276-6983

Any anglers looking to advance their fishing and learn from an experienced and accomplished saltwater guide is encouraged to contact Steve at Night Strikes Surfcasting Guide Service to set up a guided fishing trip.