With the spring fishing season approaching, everyone is asking us… What are the 2024 fishing regulations?
One would think these decisions would be made well in advance of the season however thats not the case. Due to the levels complexity with so many different regulatory bodies each one’s decision basically works down the line in a chain reaction. This year expect the NJ recreation fishing regulations to be finalized at the NJMFC meeting on 3/7 in Galloway 5pm.
Here’s Anthony Butch with more than his handful after a fun wreck fishing trip.
For the most part everything is the same except for the following 2024 changes…
Summer Flounder: 28% Reduction – See the list of 6 options in the chart below which are currently on the table. These all assed technical committee review confirming they meet the reduction mandate.
Porgy/Scup: 10% Reduction – Expect a 30 fish bag at a 10″ minimum size with a with first half of the year season running 1/1/24 to 6/30/24 and then a second half season 9/1 to 12/31.
Yes we couldn’t believe the ASMFC news either but lets be honest going from last years reg to potentially 3 fish at 18″ looks like a win and liberalization and not a cut in most anglers eyes.
The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council is seeking public comment on the 2024 NJ Recreational Summer Flounder options. The 6 are listed above, but note status quo is not an option and only there for reference. Written comments will be accepted through March 4, 2024 (11:59 p.m.) to email@example.com.
Submitted comments will become part of the public record for the NJ MFC meeting 3/3/24 5pm at the Atlantic County Library, Galloway Township Branch, 306 East Jimmie Leeds Rd, Galloway, NJ.
Next week is our 2024 Philadelphia Fishing Show in Oaks, PA, Feb 16-18. This will be our 5th Annual and biggest show to date. There are 145 different companies filling out over 220 booths, as well as boats, RV’s, and attractions. This is a pure fishing show, no junk booths. Only five percent of our floor is non-fishing and I hand pick those exhibits: hot sauce, pickles, mustard, jerky, crab cakes, moonshine, bourbon, and more! Check out the Hawg Trough, a 5,000 gallon aquarium full of freshwater gamefish. The kids can even catch a fish at the show in the fully stocked Trout Pond. There is also a fishing simulator where you can go toe to toe with a tarpon or sailfish. FREE Seminars: there are three seminar rooms going around the clock for all three days with some of the area’s best guides and captains sharing what they know about their favorite sport.
I do have some news about the Hi Flier. I retired from my truck driving job, so I will be available full time, 7 days a week for charters. We will be starting to striper fish in late April and will keep fishing into Thanksgiving. Those of you that fish with us know we fish Barnegat Bay to the tuna grounds and everything in between.
We will have a booth at the show, Booth 426, if you want to stop by and say Hey to me or Capt Nick. I am rarely in the booth, as I am usually all over the show making sure everything is running smoothly. But if you want to book a trip, have a question, or just say hello, have Nick or anyone with a bright green STAFF shirt get me on the radio and I will meet you at the booth.
Looking forward to a great show and fishing season!
Considering the date, this week was a mild one with fair fishing conditions. The predominantly west winds and small swell allowed anglers to hunt for striped bass and tautog. Just like the last report post, both offered good fishing. It seems like since the big storm the inshore-midhsore tuna are gone.
On Thursday Bob Haines went out of Barnegat Inlet striper fishing off of Island Beach State Park. He said earlier in the morning marking fish but they were not biting. It took a couple hours and finally turned out. He reported, “Another great day on the water!” Photo of Bob and crew is at the end of this post.
Here’s the most recent Fishing Report Video Post…
On Monday I kicked off the new year the right way and went fishing with my buddy Tony. His drop he hooked a 10# tog (10.22# official weight at the Beach Haven Marlin Tuna Club) and proceeded to roast them all day. It wasn’t full on firing fishing but we did have steady action. I struggled for most the day, basically feeding crabs to small tog and being patient with small scratchy bites. I hooked a few fish but for the most part kept my swing count low. Towards the end of the day we decided to try another piece which I like and previously caught some nice tog on. In route we ended up stopping on a super small snag that we stumbled over and marked. After very little time, Tony had another classy tog in the 8# range. He was dialed in and having his way on a great day. He finally snagged up and broke off. It was getting late, so I said, “One more crab and I’m done. Let’s pack up and go in.” I drop down and within five seconds of my Magictail 2oz Tog Jig touching down I got slammed and I struck back and quickly got five cranks on the handle. Then tug of way with neither side giving an inch. I’m so happy I was fishing my Magictail 7’6″ 2-6″ rod because if I was using my usual 1-3 or 1-4 oz rods I most likely would not have had a chance. Fortunately I had the right tackle for the fish, especially 50# Cortland Master Braid. Finally got it up and decided to keep it boat side in the net to revive and tag. Got a quick weight at 10.12#, a photo and the fish took off strong. I’m hoping it lived and someone else will catch it when it’s even bigger. It was awesome to kick off the new year with a pair of of double digit tog on the boat as well as a solid quality size limit.
This past year was a good one with some great fishing throughout the year. We have a lot to celebrate and also look forward to in 2024. From the entire team at Fishermans Headquarters, Happy New Year! We wish you all the best in the new year.
In celebration of New Year’s Day the store will be closed, Monday January 1, 2024. On Tuesday we will be back at the helm on our winter hours; 7AM to 7PM for now but that might be cut back another hour or two so stay tuned or call to confirm.
Reminder with the new year come some changes…
Tog is now at a 4 fish bag limit, Jan 1- Feb 28th
Black Sea Bass season is closed, opens May 17th (pending regulation changes)
Striped bass fishing is closed in the back bays and rivers until March 1st. Until then only surf and ocean is open.
NJ Striped Bass Bonus Program is closed effective 1/1/2024, Logs are due by 1/12/2024
2023 ends but there’s more gas in the tank! Fish on!
Even on the last day of the year, there’s still some good fishing taking place by both beach and boat anglers.
Yesterday Nate Kirby and his uncle enjoyed some time fishing the surf and caught a couple stripers. Nate said the teaser was getting it done. Today Joe Handley caught a 26″ striped bass fishing the mid island surf on clam. He reported an active whale and some birds in the area so that means there’s bait present. One can assume bunker and or sandeels. Another LBI surf fishing report came in from Gary Grippaldi when he stopped by the shop to pick up his LBI Surf Fishing Classic Surf Master’s Award for catching the combine total three largest striped bass in the catch and release division. His combined 113 points (~inches) scored him a glass engraved plaque, a custom fishing lure lot and a $100 Fish Heads Gift Card. He shared, “Still a couple little guys around!”
Boat anglers have gotten after the bass too! In recent days great blitz fishing was reported by a number of customers fishing the near shore waters of LBI, IBSP and Seaside. Captain Steve aboard the Reel Fantasea has put his clients on fish all year and the last couple days of the year were icing on the cake. Capt Steve said the fishing was on fire!
December and January are prime time for tog!
Right now is the time to get after big tog. Fishing has not been as good as previous years, possibly due to a variety of reasons. The recent storm was the biggest swell the area has seen in many years and that surly spin up the bottom and shuffled things. Also the past couple years have put much more pressure on the stock now that compared to ten years ago. New anglers targerting the species, new tackle advancements as well as new technologies being adopted by the masses like trolling motors (GPS anchor) and high resolution chartography. These make anglers much more efficient. Ok so the tog fishing isn’t lights out epic, BUT there are limit catches and some double digit trophies hitting the deck. What more can you ask for? Whether fishing the rig or the jig get live white and/or green crabs and hit your favorite wreck or reef site.
On Christmas Eve we will be open but closing early at 1pm. The shop will be closed on Christmas Day. On Tuesday we will be back on our new winter hours. In celebration of New Year’s Day we will be closed Jan 1st 2024.
Right now the area is still recovering from the bomb cyclone that generated the largest swell the region/area has seen in decades. Turbidity and residual swell is still here today and it looks to linger a few more days. Slowly the ocean is settling down and the water will soon clear up. Once eased, we look forward to some late year fishing for both tog, striped bass and tuna.
Three Options: Tog, Bass, Tuna
Before the blow all three of these species were good targets.
Tog – Late year and all winter offer good fishing opportunities for tautog fishing. Bait up with live crabs and pick a good weather day for your best shot at a double digit tog on the jig or the rig. Now’s the time! There’s no better baits than live white crabs and we have some beauties in stock right now. Give us a call to reserve a half or full bushell of the best white crabs you can find!
Striped Bass – Striped bass fishing in the boat will most likely be a trolling game but we have our fingers crossed for some more late year feeding flurries of action. This fall was awesome so whatever plays out it icing on the cake! On the surf if fishing bait, go with smaller bunker chunks or clam. On the lure side of things think sand eels; Diamond Jig with a sand eel teaser, Needlefish lures or slender swimming plugs like the Daiwa SP Minnow.
I expect fishing to be better in the afternoons when the sun has had all day to warm the surface/surf temps and also it provides time for lazy lethargic stripers to wake up and stretch out. That’s not to say a morning trip isn’t worth it but that’s my suggestion.
Tuna – The inshore bluefin fun action this entire year has been one to remember AND it’s not over. Alot of fish have moved through the areas but there’s still more time to get after them. Both the casting game and trolling has produced. When they aren’t foaming trolling is the more effective way and there’s no better choice than pulling ballyhoo way way back. We have PREMIUM Baitmaster Ballyhoo in stock as well as Joe Shute Trolling Lures and Magictail HooMagic Trolling Lures in stock both rigged and unrigged.
Great report from Captain Jeff Davis aboard Let It Fly Charters
Sunday December 10th, Party of 4, 6:00am departure from Van’s Marina in Barnegat Light. Threats of high winds, rain, pressure dropping, Gale Force Warnings issued by NOAA. Results = Inlet very normal, seas normal, wind normal, no rain. “Red sky in the morning; sailors take warning”?
Not another boat going out. Barely first light, we begin to search for birds working, although we can barely see, scanning the fish finder. Not one boat in any direction as far as the eye can see. We literally have the ocean to ourselves. So we begin to zig zag back and forth from beach at 25-30 feet deep to 50-60 feet heading north up as far as the Pavilion along Island Beach State Park. Very few birds looking along with the fish finder screen showing next to nothing.
We trolled a little bit and picked a 1/2 dozen fish. Then headed up the beach a little more. That was when all hell broke loose!
First we saw bird play and then the bait and stripers filled the fish finder screen solid. We took light spinning outfits with Ava 27 diamond jigs, one Atom popper and one Nordic Eel. It was clouds of birds down on the surface of the water feeding. Stripers hitting everything on the bottom, mid column and very wide spread on the surface flopping and smacking the bait. It was pandemonium! “Fish On” every drop or cast. Fish on the deck, measuring each fish, tagging the bonus size 24-28’s and ending up with everyone limiting out. We left them biting.
This was an event of magnanimous proportions. It was eerie and surrealistic with absolutely no other boats out or even within sight. It definitely was a fly fishers’ dream. Can’t depend on it again, although it’s that time of year. The ride back into the wind was very reasonable.
Temperature was mild. I guess everyone listened too closely to the weather forecast. Wednesday’s forecast looks good and we’ll be back out looking for more.
The first full week of December was good to us here on Long Beach Island as well as the great Central Jersey region. Striped bass activity continues and we have seen a few more striped bass on the Island’s beaches. This is the last weekend of the 69th Annual LBI Surf Fishing Classic which ends on Sunday December 10th at 6pm. Here’s the Long Beach Island Fishing Report Update for Saturday December 9, 2023 as well as my latest fishing report update video from December 7th.
LBI Surf Fishing Report
The Long Beach Island surf fishing has not been epic blitz fishing; however there are anglers putting in time and picking fish. At times there have been highlights, we’ll call them flurries of good fishing but none sustained through numerous tides or days. That was until this weekend. Both Friday and Saturday were two good days for surf anglers on LBI.
Yesterday Friday December 8th offered good fishing for anglers fishing the afternoon incoming tide. As per our post on LBI Area Fishing Reports page on Facebook, “Heard a few good reports today (Friday) Loveladies, Cedars, North Beach… striped bass, adult bunker and whales.” We had a number of reports in the afternoon and more after sunset.
Joe Handley Jr (photo above) weighed in a 8.3# striped bass yesterday and shared a solid report with us. Turns out the 8.3# was his first keeper catch of the day at 29-1/8″ then a little later he got a really fat one just a hair under 31″… might have been the tournament winner but it went back in since he already harvested one. He shared, “It was good action for four of us. Bass were pushing adult bunker right up on the beach. Got a couple freshies for chunking tomorrow. In total, I had 8 total bass from 26-34”. Emmit from Top Notch Tackle was fishing and he had a bunch as well. Big metal lips produced best for me. I got one on a super strike popper and two on Super Strike Needlefish and rest on metal lips. Bunker, whales, striped bass and a couple big tunas busting.”
Again today’s afternoon flood tide had good action. A repeat, possibly better with reports coming in from a lot of anglers in many different towns. Today December 9th was the most active weigh in date for the Derby. Too bad tomorrow’s the last day.
Joe Handley was back out again and he reported 10-11 bass, “Five in the daylight and five or six in the dark. Bigger lures worked better today.”
Here’s a few more reports from today…
Tommy McCann got this one chunking today. (Saturday, photo above)
Chris Painter reported, “We had an insane fishing day. I caught seven and my daughter caught two. All released.”
Joel from Rustic Drift got into the afternoon action of the surf and managed not only striped bass but a cutlassfish! (photo below)
Todd Luyber, “Finally a solid evening session on the LBI surf, right up the street from the shop with a few fish over 30″ right in the wash. Let’s hope this blow doesn’t ruin everything.”
Boat bassing really doesn’t need any more boasting as it’s a broken record. It has been as good as it gets for many weeks, but it is nice to share the near shore fishing off LBI has really turned up a level. And as the days pass there’s more and more boats pull out for the year leaving the feeds uncrowded. Something that is sort of new is a smaller class of of fish with a new showing of adult bunker which were absent for a week or two. It’s hilarious watching smaller stripers feed on adult bunkers. They look like drunken sailors trying to gulp them down.
This fall has been one for the memory books with a phenomenal showing of bluefin tuna inshore. It has went on for two months now and they have been spread out over a lot of different areas.
Still today fishing is still going strong and there is no sign of them letting up. It could rock right into the new year. Anglers are catching both casting and trolling. Trolling does seem to be more productive with Hoo Magic, Joe Shute and Wolfpack trolling lures are what you’re gonna want in your spread. Dante from Magictail has been putting a hurting on them, he went 9/13 on Thursday with Captain Nick Perello. Select and Horse size Ballyhoo are what he’s been putting behind his trolling heads. We’ve got beautiful Baitmaster Ballyhoo in stock!
Blackfishing The Wrecks
Late fall and early winter is a great time to target blackfish!
The local wrecks and reef sites are heating up with great blackfishing. Recent reports have had talk of tog over 10lbs and loads of quality keeper fish. Store staffer Jared went out a few days ago with his buddy Torr and got into some great fishing. They boxed up their limit and played catch-and-release for the rest of the day. 1.5-2 oz Magictail Tog jigs tipped with white crab were the ticket. We’re loaded up on live crabs… both GEM White Leggers and Green crabs… Get ’em now and head out to your favorite snag when the weather allows!
What a November to remember! Striped bass and tuna like we’ve never seen. The great fishing has continued right into December and we expect it to roll on for the next week or two. There’s no telling when fishing will fall off but with the end of the calendar year near, now is go time to take advantage of what we have now.
The LBI surf is not boiling like some of the beaches to the north however there are fish spread out along the Island’s bars and striped bass are being caught. We have our fingers crossed for some December Blitz fishing. Recently fresh bunker has been very difficult to get. Two of our bunker guys who supply us all year have had trouble catching very few to none. Anglers fishing salted clam have picked some bass and also anglers fishing lures are catching too. There’s peanut bunker, sand eel and a few herring around too. Match the hatch accordingly.
Nine out of the 29 fish entered into the LBI Surf FIshing Classic’s Surf Master Segment were caught in the past week. There are more recent submissions which were not scored and posted yet too. Two most recent stand outs are Al Parente’s 43 point bass and John Ipri’s 41 point bass that they both caught and released on 11/30. John Ipri’s 48 point bass holds the lead for the largest and Gary Grippaldi currently holds the lead with a total of 110 points for combined three total. Just today fishing in the rain, Gary caught and submitted another fish that looks to better his smallest 24.5 point bass. The Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic runs until December 10.
Here’s the latest fishing report video which I posted 12/1/23…