South Jersey Fishing: Bass From the Beaches and Boats
And even in the bays and inlets.
To be sure, the last of the autumn run of stripers is underway, and if the numbers are any indication, and barring a spate of storms and ugly seas, it looks as if bass will be caught through December.
South Jersey surf and jetty anglers, from Barnegat Inlet south to Holgate and into Atlantic City (Oriental Ave. to Caspian Ave. especially hot) are finally getting decent shots at stripers gorging on peanut bunker moving don the surf line. Farther north at Ortley Beach, Manasquan and Point Pleasant, Seaside, and down along Island Beach State Park, the suds have been active with both casters and quarry. The push is now heading south, but it will take a few more days, perhaps a week, for some stripers to start getting picked off down around Ocean City to Cape May with any semblance of regularity. Then again, that could change by tonight. ‘Tis the season.
Poppers, swimming plugs, metals, and bucktail/grub combinations are catching sudsline bass. These are more effective overall than bait, like fresh bunker or clams right now because the fish are pursuing prey like peanut bunker and, pretty soon, sand eels. Yeah, some linesiders are being caught on meat (remember the non-offset circle hook law), but give it another week or so for the bait bite to really get going. And...don’t overlook an eel as an effective bait off the beach. Ditto is a jumbo blood worm.
Boaters are banging away big time anywhere from a couple of hundred yards to two miles to the three-mile demarcation. 9’ers (shad or eel) and Blackie’s (tube or eel) umbrellas, mojos, and weighted swim shads remain the most heinous offenders. As this was being written early this morning, we received a call from Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City that a blitz was going off around Wreck Inlet at Brigantine. Reported Noel, “Big fish. Bass to 48-inches. Sounds like it’s been tough to get the keepers in that 28 to just under 38-inch range.”
“Still plenty of bass in the back, from schoolies to keepers,” insists Mike Cunningham from Sea Isle Bait & Tackle, adding, “Tide or time of day doesn’t seem to matter right now. Use eels or spot and chances are you’ll catch bass.”
It’s a hit-miss-hit again scenario, but that’s to be expected this late in the year.