Keep Warm When Winter Fishing NJ

Keep Warm When Winter Fishing NJ

by Matt Sorrentino, (@swagmattic)

There’s no doubt, it takes a special breed to be eager for fishing in the cold. However, for those that are dedicated to fishing the rewards are often bountiful. Striped bass, Blackfish, Jumbo Sea Bass, Cod and plenty of other species are waiting for courageous anglers in the winter. 

Keeping warm is easy…  Layer up folks! 

Your parents were right! Although your dad still looks goofy in those old white long johns, the old adage remains true… Layer Up! Be sure to lean heavily on that wisdom in the colder months.

Start with a moisture wicking base layers. Ditch the old cotton waffle thermals for performance fabric underwear like the Grundies Long Sleeve Shirt and Grundies Pants. These are a best seller go to choice! Another great option is Guy Cotten’s Denali Pant and Denali Crew Shirt.

Then a mid layer is key to warmth via insulation. The Guy Cotten Polar Pants and the Arctic Hoodie are impossible to beat!

These two layers are worthless without an outer shell that is waterproof and windproof because staying dry is the real challenge. Frigid winds and sea spray can easily turn an epic day of fishing into a horrid nightmare.  Your shell is something that you do not want to cheap out on.  

More than once, I found myself fishing in wind, rain and snow! It was cold, but because I prepared and dressed appropriately I was warm enough to stay at the rail and keep on fishing.

Here’s what I use to keep dry and warm winter fishing in New Jersey.

We’ll start from the feet and work our way up. 

My feet are warm and dry thanks to my Xtratuf Tall Insulated Boots.  Designed for commercial fishing in Alaska, they’re flexible, warm and comfortable for an all day, everyday wear. 

Grundens… Seriously… You do not own a pair of Grundens Bibs?  Eat fish, Wear Grundens.  It’s an actual rule.  There are plenty of bibs options and anyone will make your day much better.  Bib pants (sometimes called waterproof overalls or  slicker plants) block the wind, they are waterproof so stay dry. When you take them off at the end of the day, you are clean and don’t smell. The Grundens Hercules Bib Pants are a  classic choice but I wear the Grundens Neptune Bib Pant. They are durable, lightweight, have a little bit of stretch for comfort and they are only $69.99. The cargo pocket and interior chest pocket are also very helpful. 

I finish my top layer with a Stormr Strykr Series Jacket.  They are heavy but nothing offers the warmth of a Stormr neoprene jacket. It’s a fantastic choice that you’ll appreciate in the early spring and late fall/winter. The company might not be the best at spelling, but they’re experts in keeping you warm and dry! Knowing some are allergic to neoprene another great choice is the Grundens Balder Jacket or the fleece lined Grundens Neptune Thermo Pullover.

When it comes to gloves, it’s more of a different strokes for different folks kind of thing.  There are plenty of gloves that will keep you warm. Some like ultimate warmth and the easy on and easy off of waterproof Atlas Freezer Gloves. These are great when you need to keep your hands dry but they are difficult to fish with. When fishing, I can’t lose “touch” with the line. Maintaining that “feel” is key for me.  So I go with a flip-mitt glove like the Glacier Glove Cold River Flip Mitts. I also like the Glacier Stripper/Fighting Glove fingerless glove but a whole you’ll need a lot of hand warmers in your pockets.

Don’t forget the sunscreen either folks.. that sun can still do some damage in December! I hope this helps you stay warm! Good luck fishing.

Catching Blackfish With Jigs

Catch Blackfish With Jigs

by Matt Sorrentino (@swagmattic)

Whether you’re new to the game or an old salty dog with decades of experience dropping rigs on wrecks, there’s a lot to learn if you want to catch blackfish with jigs.

Skip ahead to the videos!

Do you attempt to catch blackfish with jigs? You should! At times they out fish rigs and produce really big catches. I must ask… How did anglers target summer flounder 10, 15, 20+ years ago? The majority now target them with jigs. The migration to the jig occurred in the sea bass and tuna game years ago and guess what… The tog game too!

Light tackle jigging for tautog is still a relatively new technique and the concept is simple.  Lighter line, small reels and lighter rods all directly contrast conventional tog fishing wisdom.  Lighter tackle allows the  small jigs to get to the bottom faster, entice more bites and with its stealth approach gives the fish a sense of security so they take the bait. Unlike heavy blackfish rig fishing (typically use 6+ ounce bank sinker) the tog can pickup the smaller jigs and swim away without feeling the tug of the line and weight as they crunch and munch the bait. Light tackle jigging for tog allows anglers the most natural presentation of baits. This directly results in more bites and opportunities to catch. The obvious first step top catch blackfish with jigs is to pick out the jig.

December 6th with a limit+ of blackfish/tautog using a 2oz MagicTail Tog Jig.

Tog Jig Options

There are a variety of tog jigs options on the market. With all of the brand names,  at some point you’ll ask, “What type of Tog Jig should I use?” Or “What is the best Blackfish jig?  In my book, the answer is simple. It’s in the name of the jig…  The Magictail “Game Changer” Tog Jig is the best jig. Whether targeting blackfish from the boat on reefs and wrecks or land based fishing, Magictail Tog Jigs outproduce.

There are 3 basic types of Jigs used for Blackfishing.

The Bean Jig – The bean jig is a flat jig that lies with the hook on it’s side.

The Football Jig– Resembles a football with the hook pointing upright.

The Banana Jig – Similar to the football jig this jig is more slender and the hook point still faces upright.

How do Blackfish feed?

Tautog pick at their food.  They’re typically chewing on mussels, barnacles and other crustaceans clinging to rocks and structure.  When feeding off the bottom they come at the bait from above and pluck at it.  That is why you get those small taps when you first feel the fish.  Setting the hook on a tog is a process that gets refined only with practice and experience. But as common sense would point out, if the fish’s point of attack is from above the jig, you would ideally want the hook pointing in that direction.  When you swing that hook is more likely to land and set in the fish mouth then with a side facing jig. 

This photo shows the unique design of the Magictail Tog Jig.

So what sets the MagicTail Game Changer Tog Jig apart from the Football and the Banana Jig? 

It’s all in the intricate design which was advanced from the classic football and banana styles. The Magictail Tog Jigs take the concepts to the next level! The lead head shape ensures the jig always lays flat and doesn’t roll. The long shank, super strong and super sharp Mustad Black Nickel hook has all of the right qualities; shank length to easily bait and accept large pieces of crab while offering the ultimate in strength and point sharpness. The upward facing hook sits with open space between the hook and the bottom structure.  This allows the fish to swim in and take a clean swipe at the whole hook. It makes the elaborately timed hook set process a whole lot easier and increase your hookup percentage.  These are is the Magictail Tog Jig secrets which set them apart for all the others.

Check out the video links below to learn more about the Magictail Game Changer Tog Jigs.