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).
For braided lines… Cortland Master Braid, Power Pro (Original or Super Slick) and Spiderwire Invisi-Braid are all great choices! Be sure to tie up the terminal end with fluorocarbon to keep things stealthy.
Top Lures For Albies
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.
Well, Got To RUN, I See Albies Breaking…
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
By: Steve George – Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Svc. LLC
As the “Dog Days” of August fall upon us here along the shores of Long Beach Island New Jersey it’s a period of change. It is especially evident with Fluke Fishing (Summer Flounder) which is the main target species for most summertime surfcasters. As an angler looking for success catching and maybe a great dinner for family and friends, one needs to look for the signs and plan accordingly with tackle and gear.
Look Deeper When The Water Is Warm
This is the time of the year with the hottest weather for New Jersey. That means the water temperatures rise to a steady level high. We all look to cool off and so do the fluke! If you have felt the heat along the surf line and possibly lost the consistent bite or bigger fish it’s time to move.
The fish move into the cooler waters and that means deeper water. The main bodies of these schooled up fish will start staying out and away from most of our local beaches and that’s why boat anglers start to see an increase in action in the ocean.
But as a land based fishermen that doesn’t mean our season is over and in fact it sometimes it gets even better. Now is when I shift attention to the Barnegat Bay and Barnegat Inlet. The deeper holes and channels have water temperatures sometime 10 degrees cooler. This is where I find fluke holding for the rest of the season. At times better fish and active ones.
Last Season Fluke Fishing Gear
So you now know where to look. But it is also time to change up some of your tackle and gear! For the most part we use lighter 7’ and 8’ spinning rods and small spinning reels in the 2000-4000 size.
Along with it goes much lighter weight tackle; lead sinkers, bucktails, leader and line. However, you want to beef up some if planning on fishing along the rock jetty at Barnegat Inlet. There I would suggest a longer 9’ rod and a 4000-5000 spinning reel. You’ll need to be able to cast and fish weights up to 3oz. Here the fast moving current demand it. You’ll need to slow down your baits at times with heavier weights and be able to lift/swing fish up and over the jetty rocks to land them. Having a more moderate and higher rated fishing rod will allow you to do this with success. Smaller lighter rods run the risk of breaking.
Having a large landing net is a great option. Also for your personal safety on the jetty I recommend a good pair of Korkers Cleated Sandals!
Late Season Locations
Aside from the Inlet, another favorite place of mine to fish this time of year is along the banks of the bay. It is very similar to fishing the front surf line. In some occasions you will need just a bit more casting distance to reach the deeper channels where the fish are laying waiting for you. I try to hit these locations early in the morning before the boat traffic gets too hectic and also after sunset and into the night.
Some of my biggest fluke were caught late at night. Snapper bluefish and spike weakfish prey on baitfish around bridges and dock. Sometimes large fluke show up and feed.
Essentail Terminal Changes
Another change I make is to increase the size of hooks and bait. I go with a minimum of 5/0 hooks, up to size 7/0. They match up great on my go to baits, the 5-6” Berkley GULP! Grubs and Swimming Mullets. The fish like bigger baits at this point in the season and also it helps avoid gut hooked fish. We need to protect all throwbacks for the future of the stock.
As we head into the latter days of summer there’s a lot more fluke fishing still to go. Gear up right and target promising areas to make the most out of your trips. The Mullet Run is right around the corner and with it the back bay fluke exodus. Then we will have another chance to score on the beaches. Until then, there’s great opportunities to find and catch keeper fluke on the inside.
Good Luck and Stay Safe,
~ Steve George – Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC
Looking to book a guided land based fishing trip on Long Beach Island? Give Steve a call at 609-276-6983
Finally a beautiful stretch of weather along the beach, and the fluke bite is back on for sure in the surf, hit me up if you want to get in on the action the next few mornings/ evenings call 609-276-6983 Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC
Wow ! August 1st , can’t believe we are at the crossroads of Summer here already on LBI – And it means I only have 5 more weeks of Fluke Fishing left here before I shift gears and start fishing Northern NJ – So if you are interested in a Surf\Jetty Fluke Trip on The Beaches of Long Beach Island NJ >Now is the time to Book~It up until Labor Day 2020 😉 ( I’ll post soon about my plans starting in September that I think you’ll like 👍* Stay Tuned for That) , in the mean time just reach out to me for more information. Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC Call 609-276-6983