Now that the rifle deer hunting season has ended, and before it kicks off again Dec. 26 in selected WMUs and for flintlock firearm hunters, there’s still some fishing action if you don’t mind traveling to the Jersey shore.
According to our fishing reporters from On the Water Magazine, there were striper blitzes on the beaches with anglers blind casting to holes and around jetties with fish up to 40 inches being hooked. Bass were hitting metal-lipped swimmers, shads and bucktails. There were also reports of better togging on the reefs and wrecks for boat anglers.
Rick Hebert from Tackle World in Rochelle Park, had good reports of bass in the ocean opposite the Highlands Bridge and from Manasquan Inlet on South. He added that blackfishing has picked up on the local reefs.
Mike Pinto, at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright, said there were blasts of bass on the beach over the weekend but things have slowed a bit. Anglers are still catching some keepers on shads, swimming plugs and poppers.
Mike Gleason, at TAK Waterman in Long Branch, reported there were blitzes on every beach last Saturday with surfers throwing bass assassins, bucktails and metal-lipped swimmers. He said the fish were a mix of sizes but there were some 30 pounders. He added that stripers had peanuts pinned against the beach in Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach last Friday. One bass looked like it would explode if it ate just one more peanut he surmised.
Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, said stripers are requiring a little more work but they’re still chasing bunker however the bait is not as wide spread as it was a few days ago. He recommends more casting and less looking is the better tactic. Matthews believes Tsunami sand eels fished with a teaser if the smaller fish are around. The better fishing lately, he added, has been on the beaches of Southern Ocean County.
Lloyd Bailey, at the Reel Seat in Brielle, said striper fishing remains good in his area. He and members of the Berkeley Striper Club tagged and released more than 600 stripers over the weekend. The bass were caught from boats and in the surf. The bite was best from the Manasquan Inlet to the south with Mantoloking being a hot spot. He also received good reports on blackfishing with fish 9 to 13 pounds being caught. There were also some bluefin hooked inshore by boat anglers.
Jason Szabo, of Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach, reported striper action remains reliable. There are occasional blitzes but blind casting along the beaches is producing fish he reports. Szabo said there are plenty of bass in Manasquan River and back through the Point Pleasant Canal that are hitting soft plastics. Blackfishing saw an improvement especially in the deeper drops. He also heard of a few bluefin tuna caught in the shipping lanes on popping plugs and RonZ lures.
Scott Thomas, at Grumpy’s Bait & Tackle in Seaside Park, said there were a few bass blitzes for anglers working the holes. Bass up to 40 inches were hooked on bucktails, shads, Mag Darters and SP Minnows.
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.