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Gigantic feeding frenzy and not a boat present!

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.

LBI Fishing Report 12/9/23

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.”

There’s sand eels and bunker present now. To match the forage fish diamond jigs (with or without a teaser – there’s no better Sand Eel Teaser than the Buz Fly Sand Eel with hackle and herl), slender soft plastics (Tsunami Sandeel, Red Gill), needlefish (Guides Secret Needle Stick, Super Strike Needlefish) for sand eel imitation or to present a bunker profile from 4-7″+; metal lip swimmers (many choices but a staple is the Gibbs Danny Surface Swimmer), paddle tail swimbait (Tsunami Swim Shads or No Live Bait Needed) or a top water (Popper, Pencil) to best match the hatch.

Boating Bass Fishing

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.

Tyler Wilk of E-Fish-Ent custom rods put a beat on the stripers Friday off LBI and captured some great video. Be sure to check out the striper who tried to eat a go pro.

Inshore Bluefin Tuna Fishing

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!

LBI Fishing Report 12/3/23

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…

LBI Fishing Report 11/26/23

Just when you think it can’t get any better, it explodes! Today Sunday November 26th was another great one with acres of striped bass in close proximity to Barnegat Inlet. The conditions were sloppy but the fishing was savage! How long will this play on? Gotta go to know! Get out and fish the beach or boat to get some action before the year is over.

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us here, we wish you an awesome day filled with friends, family and great fishing as well as the best feast ever! We are thankful and appreciate our loyal customer, great vendors and the blessings of fish filled days. Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving From The Crew At Fish Heads!

We couldn’t make a post without some updated fishing info… Today Wednesday November 22, 2023 was a day that started out with flooded roads on LBI and monster swell on the beaches. The winds were on the lighter side for most of the day and the temperatures were mild. We got a few reports and one was a great one! Jim Holmes reported a great day fishing the mid-island surf, “This was a new personal best 47″ striped bass.” See his photo below. It’s prime time fishing here on LBI for the rest of the month. It’s great to see there are still quality striped bass around. This is commonly the part of the season where the size class comes down but the abundance increases in the suds. Let’s get after it and enjoy some great late fall fishing!

LBI Fishing Report 11/19/23

It’s prime time mid-November and great fishing went down this past week. It was the best week of fall striped bass fishing by a long shot. Some anglers are reporting epic, legendary, prolific and even biblical! Some days were better than others but all were very good. It’s great to see this large biomass of striped bass in the area heavily feeding day in and day out. There’s a lot more left in the tank this month so get in on the action and enjoy!

Striped bass, tog and inshore bluefin tuna fishing continues in the area. Whether a beach or boat angler, there’s lots of options right now. Consistent tog fishing at the BI rock jetty and bulkheads. Inshore wrecks and reefs have tog on tap too. Bassin’ in the boat has been nothing short of phenomenal and there are bass on the beaches of LBI. Migrating bluefin tuna are also hanging around the inshore waters making for some great big game fishing.  Here’s the Fishing LBI Report Update for Sunday November 19, 2023.

Striped Bass Fishing

The striped bass migration has flooded the central Jersey Coast and a lot of them have decided on an extended stay. There’s striped bass staged along IBSP and LBI with fish being caught daily. While here they are feeding and fattening up on all the bait; adult bunker, peanut bunker, sand eels, butter fish, etc. Earlier in the week it seemed the big bass were on adult bunker schools and live lining or fishing XL lures (7-12″) to match the hatch was best. However as the week progressed large schools of peanut bunker schooled up and the striped bass keyed in on them making smaller 4-7″ presentations far superior; metal lips, spooks, swim baits, etc. Then this weekend the sand eels really made their presence known. Slender lures prevailed; needlefish, AVA Diamond Jigs, soft plastics, Deadly Dick Lures, slender pencil poppers, etc. Some days where crazy boat traffic dampers a bite or swell has bait spread out in a broad areas with scattered fish trolling is an effective approach producing with umbrella rigs (9er’s), mojos, spoons and plugs.

Joe Handley Jr caught this striped bass off the LBI surf this weekend on a yellow/white Super Strike Popper. He reported, “I got into small blitzes of larger bass on the north end. Landed a 37, a 36″ and lost a much bigger bass that shook the hooks. Certainly a nice class of fat fish this year!” Joe alos got a nice redfish off the LBI surf on a recent outting.

Handley Jr has been getting into fish.. Nice red fish he caught off the LBI surf… He also got a nice striped bass on a super strike popper.

Some big blues are showing so be on the look out! Colin McHugh caught this yellow eye gator as well as a couple striped bass this past weekend.

Tautog Fishing

The NJ Tautog Fall/Winter Season opened up to 5 fish on 11/16/23. The local wrecks and reef sites have fish and great fishing is expected throughout this year and into the new year. This weekend Swag jumped aboard the Osprey out of AC and won the pool two days in a row. He said it was a great time but despite winning the pools fishing was not great, “I didn’t catch alot of fish. I ended up waiting all day for the right bite and fortunately got ’em both days.” Here’s a photo of Matt Sorrentino “Swag” with a 13.6# tog.

For more details and info on the New Jersey saltwater fishing laws and regulations, seasons, bag limits and minimum sizes be sure to check out this blog post which includes a link to a PDF which should be saved on your phone for quick access or printed out for reference.

Bluefin Tuna

The past couple of weeks we have seen, bluefin tuna hanging around the inshore waters. I reported earlier this month I had them blowing up while fishing bunker pods in along the beach in 25′ of water. Well I wasn’t the only one. Some anglers reported hooking up and getting spooled bass fishing with live bunker, casting lures and trolling. No striped bass tackle will stand up to these brutes! Those heading out with the appropriate gear are having a field day with them. Store staffer Frezza got a good one this weekend. Dante from Magictail reported going four for four on the troll, pulling Magictail Hoo Magic trolling lures, “Took a day off of striper fishing the LBI surf and went out chasing tuna with Brandon Kape. We set up on the troll and first three fish we caught we large stripers. I was starting to think I couldn’t get away from them. Then the wind came up hard and so did the tuna. We went 4-4 with a triple hookup and a single bite. Fish were 60-95 inches. Three hoos on HooMagics and the jumbo ate the RonZ tail. The Hoomagics are just about cheating and our rods 80-130# rods worked perfectly code.

LBI Fishing Report 11/16/23

Recent days have been good to anglers fishing LBI and the areas a little north (IBSP) and a little south (Brigantine). LBI surf anglers are catching striped bass on lures as well as bait with a great size ranging from bonus slot, slot and overs. It seems like after the new moon a new wave of smaller striped bass arrived but there are still big classy fish in the mix and at time dominating. There’s bunker stretched out along the island with striped bass feeding as well as occasion whales and bluefin tuna. I suggest to surf anglers who want to fish lures… blast pencil poppers (Guides Secret, Gibbs, NorthBar Flying Pencil, Cordell among many other chjoices) and trash them to raise stripers. Also Yo-zuri Twitch Bait and LC Minnow are two other studs. Here’s a video report update from yesterday afternoon.

LBI Fishing Report 11/12/23

Here’s a quick update to supplement yesterday’s report.

This morning started off like many other recent trips with a good bite of big bass live lining early. Commonly my early morning feeds have been phenomenal until broken up with boat traffic. While that did happen today it was a blessing we had stiff northerly winds which made for less boats, more challenging sighting of bait and much faster drifts. All of which were bonuses in my book!

I started the same area I fished Saturday (5-10 miles north of BI). In the dark I found the bait and in grey light had an active whale breaching. It put on a show but I’m not sure if it bet yesterday morning’s three boat side bluefin leaps through bunker. Just a moment after the whale’s third breach big striped bass came up on top crashing bait and we were hooked up with a couple good ones. The whale, bunker and bass were pushing south, down wind so I worked the same way. It wasn’t easy given it was against the grain (morning traffic along IBSP pushes north up the beach). About an hour or two later working and catching along the way, we ended up all the way back near the inlet where a crazy good bunker / bass feed came alive and pushed right into the north jetty and east. We caught a couple more in that, but the boat traffic got crazy so I spun around and ran back up the beach again. And I’m very thankful I did!

That is when things fired up and really crazy. A large, I’ll call it massive body of striped bass (IMO a new wave of fish moving down the coast) were stacked up and gorging from top to bottom on peanut bunker, adults and BUTTERFISH! It was a very broad area, stretched out for a few miles and from 30-60′ of water. Top water lures were working but due to windy / sloppy conditions and fast drift jigs and subsurface – sinking lures were superior, hooking up every drop. This was as close as it gets to striped bass jumping in the boat. Large jigging spoons and 6-9” swim baits were money! Metal lips were getting lots of follows and bites too but they are tough to fish when windy if not proficient in casting, stopping the line to turn the lure and swimming them with the right speed/action. Not easy to teach an 8 year old during a hot bite. I’m sure anyone who dropped trolling gear were tight in the matter of a minute.

Christmas trees of striped bass on the sounder (really wish I took some photos of the screen) and they were popping up on the surface chasing bait with the birds picking too. The best part was the spastic run and guns were absent which made for a gentleman drifts. It was the first day I fished in awhile the fleet wasn’t playing jump rope (jump boat) all day. Nice long active fish filled drifts!

Looks like this fall just keeps getting better. I’m looking forward to more of this great fishing and hope you all are enjoying it too. If not now is the time to go!

LBI Surf Report

The LBI surf has not contended with the action from the northern reaches of the state; however there are striped bass being caught and a whole lot less anglers. Today store staffer Paul got a nice striped bass off the LBI surf today after work! He reported, “I had to weed through the hickory shad and a couple sea trout to find the bass on an AVA Diamond Jig.”

Another recent LBI surf catch photo came in from Gary Cochran, photo below. Also a short update on the LBI Surf Fishing Classic… Chris Masino holds the lead with his 11.1# striped bass he caught 11/9. Duncan Turner’s recent 9.98# striped bass catch puts him into fourth place. There’s some big fish on the board in the Surf Master Devision (Catch, Photo, Release) and more submissions came in this weekend. Those will be scored and posted soon. For more info see www.LBISFC.com