With two weeks before the opening of trout season on April 2, and before the Mentored Youth Trout Day March 26, many anglers are itching to wet a line. Until then, you may want to try the New Jersey shore points for stripers.
According to fishing reports from On the Water Magazine, New Jersey back bays are heating up with large bass arriving around the rivers and will soon be moving into open water within the bays. The best weekend bet will be to soak bloodworms along the bay areas and there are plenty of spots so a boat is not always needed, especially during the early part of the season.
The reports indicate bloodworms were getting it done up north in the Raritan with more stripers coming in towards the end of the month. The bridges, of Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties have an excellent number of stripers being caught. In addition, it’s reported that some of the sedges and marshes have good access to channels or points that typically hold striped bass during this time of year. A few jumbo bloodworms or a bloodworm ball on an inline circle hook will do the trick.
More specifically, The Reek Seat in Brielle reports their backwaters are full of schoolies with some bass up to 35 inches being caught on artificials such as the Yo-Zuri Ma dater, Yo-Zuri twitch bait and soft plastics like paddletail shads. And fishing these in the back bays and rivers should be productive.
Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reports lots of stripers in the bays and rivers with most fish falling for soft plastics and bloodworms. Stripers are also being caught in the open water of back bays with boat anglers trolling SP minnows to help locate fish before casting for them.
Fisherman’s Supply Co., in Point Pleasant Beach, reports most anglers are hooking stripers in bays but close to the tidal rivers. They say the tide doesn’t seem to matter whether incoming or outgoing, anglers are still catching fish. Some small bass are moving into Point Pleasant Canal but the majority are in the rivers around bridges. Bass are biting during the day and night with most fish coming on 4-5-inch plugs such as Rapala X-Raps or small Yo-Zuri Mag Darters or by jigging Bass Assassins and ZMan soft plastics. Bloodworms are also working, but more fish are being taken on artificials.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to get your trout gear ready. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to spool on some fresh line and check rod guides for any burrs. Reels too could use a shot of lube. And don’t forget to check hip boots and waders for cracks or holes that may have developed over winter storage.
As for bait and tackle, especially if heading to Leaser Lake or the upper Jordan Creek to fish, Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy in Orefield has expanded their bait shop with large coolers for meal worms, crawlers and nightcrawlers along with tanks for Rosie reds and fathead minnows plus shiners. Bob’s also has an array of terminal tackle, Power Bait, Power Worms and spinners.
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.