According to On The Water Magazine’s saltwater fishing report, big stripers are feeding in the inlets in Southern New Jersey, and in the ocean waters off the central and northern coast. Stripers up to 58 pounds were reported this week from the boats and fish to 40-plus-pounds have been reported from the surf. The mix of post-spawn Delaware Bay and Chesapeake fish are contributing to the large number of large stripers in New Jersey right now.
Folks are catching big striped bass, monster blues, and limits of black sea bass. And, come Friday, summer flounder will be back on the menu. If the weather cooperates, it could be a memorable Memorial Day Weekend for anglers.
Capt. Phil Sciortino at The Tackle Box reported bass up to 50 pounds caught on Mojos and bunkers spoons in Raritan Bay and off Sandy Hook. Trolling is currently the way to go, but some fish have been caught on jigs, shads and live bunker.
He also weighed in a 33-pound striper caught from the sand on Sandy Hook by Mike Mikovich using a bunker head. Sciortino added that big and small bluefish are biting around the bay, from 3 to 15 pounds.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc on the Sea Hunter out of Atlantic Highlands said he has no complaints with the striper fishing right now and added that it looks like it’s going to hold up for a while. His anglers have been catching bass up to 20 pounds on jigs and shads. There are lots of nice size fish in the area, he reported, with Wednesday’s pool winner in the mid 20-pound range.
Capt. Ron Santee on the Fishermen and Capt. Hal Hagaman on the Sea Tiger II, both out of Atlantic Highlands, have been getting into the stripers as well, with the Sea Tiger II boating a 37? pounder on Monday.
Capt. George Bachert on the Angler, also out of Atlantic Highlands, has been concentrating on sea bass and said it’s been a good week with most folks getting 6 to 10 keepers each. There have been a few ling in the mix as well. The Angler will be sailing for fluke come Friday.
Mel Martens at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said there are some nice bass up to 20 pounds in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers, hitting shads and plugs. The big blues are biting in both rivers as well.
Guys throwing bucktails and shad in the rivers for bass are also picking up some nice fluke, with a few up to 6 pounds. Based on what he’s been hearing, Martens expects it to be a good opener for summer flounder. Boats fishing for bass in the ocean are also seeing more fish, mostly on the troll, but there is some snagging and dropping going on. Boats are congregating in packs off the beaches in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar believes Friday will bring a good start to the fluke season in the Shark River. There have been a few big ones caught and released there already, with Matthews reporting one was estimated well over 8 pounds. Blues up to 12 pounds have also been caught in the river from the pier back by the boat ramp. The striper and sea bass boats out of the Belmar Marina also have been doing well.
Capt. Pete Sykes on Parker Pete’s Sportfishing said the fishing for bass in the ocean is definitely picking up with fish up to 48 pounds caught this week. The bite has been mostly on the troll with Mojos and bunker spoons, but a few fish have been caught livelining.
Capt. Rich Falcone on the Golden Eagle out of Belmar, reported Wednesday was tough fishing but the he found blues and bass on Sunday and Monday. The bluefish were around 5 pounds and the bass were up to 40 pounds. He’s sailing for bass and blues every day.
Capt. Bobby Quinn on the Ocean Explorer out of Belmar had another good day of sea bass fishing on Wednesday with a number of folks getting their limits early. Capt. Quinn reported anglers jigging definitely had the edge. Capt. Quinn said a diamond jig with a sand eel teaser has been getting the bigger fish.
Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker out of Belmar, said his anglers are getting their limits of sea bass as well, along with a few cod. He’ll be sticking with sea bass until the ocean warms up a bit to get the fluke biting.
John Vafanidas at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the blues are thick in the Manasquan River, describing last Sunday’s action as off the charts. Small to chopper-size bluefish are hitting swimmers, poppers and metal from the Manasquan Inlet back to the Route 70 Bridge. There’s also some small to keeper-sized bass in the river, along with big fluke that are hitting baits intended for stripers. The bass are on the beaches in the area, hitting shads and SP Minnows. Vafanidas is looking forward to fluke season, with all the signs pointing to a good opener in the Manasquan River.
Lou at Brielle Bait and Tackle said most of the action there has been on the blues in the Manasquan River. He said anglers have been having luck with stripers, but that bite has been mostly at night. The sea bass fishing, he reported, has been good for the Jamaica II out of Bogan’s Basin.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.