They are the most delicious eating and the toughest fighters. And they’re making their run down the Atlantic coast right now.
If you haven’t guessed, we’re describing stripers, or linesiders as old salts call them.
They can be found from Maine to North Carolina and right now they can be caught along the beaches and slightly offshore of the New Jersey coast. And if you can brave the wind and cold, now’s a good time to hit the saltwater’s of the Jersey coast.
Here’s a sampling of what happened last week down at the shore according to New Jersey’s Fishing Report site.
MYSTIC ISLAND: Last Sunday, one boat angler called the striper fishing “stupid fishing” according to Scott from Scott’s Bait and Tackle. He said that because the boater landed 15 stripers including a double-header. The same action prevailed on Monday of last week. Stripers were hitting Mojos the best, followed by umbrella rigs. Others said the key was to find birds working the water. Find the birds and you’ll find fish. Fish that weighed in at Scott’s B&T shop ran 34-35 pounds.
ABSECON: There were loads of stripers schooled in the ocean but many were beyond three miles from shore, the area the season for stripes are closed. But Dave, from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center, said he ran last Sunday and decked 27 and 15-pounders in the legal waters on live-lined spots. On an earlier trip, dogfish kept biting off the spot, but they still managed a 32-inch linesider.
LONGPORT: Seas were to high, rough and rolling for Capt. Mike from the Stray Cat charter to venture out. But this week he’ll fish strictly for stripers on Wednesday, Friday and through Sunday.
SEA ISLE CITY: Capt. Joe from Jersey Cape Guide Service and Sea Isle Bait & Tackle, said the striper migration seemed to be pushing a little farther south, and closer to home. Trolling produced a few good catches for him.
CAPE MAY: Seas the past weekend were 8-10 feet but Capt. Andy Gallagher’s charter bagged eight stripers and lost a few on trolled Mojos in the ocean. Brian Hill’s charter last week bagged six stripers and lost one on the troll in water that held a 3-foot swell.
The folks at Fisherman Magazine reports that there was a 62-pound striper caught at Overfalls Shoals with many 20-30 pounders also being taken throughout the southern Jersey region. Down in the Delaware area waters, Mojos trolled plugs like Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D minnow deep divers, Stretch 30s, Bomber CDs and Rapala X-Rap Magnums luring the bass to boat. And the bigger the lure the better say the trollers.
The magazine says that the Central and North Jersey Coast has seen an influx of herring with surf casters live-lining herring to good size stripers.
Checking their logbooks, it appears that this action will not let up anytime soon. But if your surf-casting, you’ll have lots of company as the above areas had shoulder-to-shoulder anglers.
They’re finding that boat anglers who are dragging Mojos and plugs from South Jersey to the Delaware Coast are finding fish in the 30-40 pound class and they’re hitting peanut and adult bunker.
Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle in Philly reports that Mojo rigs plus Mann’s picked up over 100 stripers over the past 10 days as told by his regular customers as they fished out of the Highlands in Jersey. Customer Paul and crew fished out of Raritan Bay and had their 10 fish limit and also released 25 other bass. Most were caught by snagging bunker ad dropping 5-7-once spoons and heavy shad bodies.
The following are some Jersey striper hotspots, including surf fishing spots, you may want to try:
* Brigantine Inlet, Brigantine, NJ
* Beach Haven Inlet (Hole Gate), Beach Haven, NJ
* Long Beach Island, NJ
* Barnegat Inlet South Jetty, Barnegat Light, NJ
* Barnegat Inlet North Jetty, Island Beach State Park, NJ
* Sedge Island Barnegat Bay, Island Beach State Park, NJ
* Island Beach, Island Beach State Park, NJ
* Manasquan Inlet, Brielle/Point Pleasant, NJ
* Manasquan to Long Branch (Jetty Country), NJ
* Sandy Hook Point, Sandy Hook, NJ
* Corson’s Inlet (Strathmere Inlet), Strathmere, NJ
* Absecon Inlet Plus, Atlantic City
* Townsend’s Inlet, Sea Isle City and Avalon, NJ
* Hereford Inlet North Wildwood, NJ
* Cape May, NJ
Once the striper run passes Cape May, it’s off to the Outer Banks and Cape Hatteras. If pursuing them, remember to dress warm and bring an ice cooler.
To learn all about these striper hotspots, including directions, where to fish and tackle to use, check the web for Frank Daignault’s “Striper Hotspots” that covers striper fishing from Maine to New Jersey along with do’s and don’t for surf anglers.
The 228-page softcover gives the most detailed coverage of regionalized striper fishing. It’s published by The Globe Pequot Press in Old Saybrook, CT.
In his book, Daignault also shows a graph as to which locations are best for fly, Jetty, Inlet, Oversand Vehicle Allowance and Oversand Vehicle Necessary striper fishing. It’d make a dandy stocking stuffer for all anglers.
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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.