Striper Bite Still Hot in South Jersey
Old news is good news.
And the news that won’t get old is about the continuing torrid striped bass bite that’s still going on along the south Jersey coast.
“The best late-season bass fishing I’ve experienced in five years,” enthused Capt. Scott Newhall from Time Out Charters based in Absecon, adding that trolling white shad umbrella rigs, chartreuse or white mojos, or Nos. 3 and 4 white or chartreuse bunker spoons has been the tactic for big catches of mixed size bass, including lots of “overs” that must be released.
Jigging weighted bunker pattern or white shads or diamond jigs is also putting bass on the deck.
How long this will last is predicated on the rate of the inevitable slide of water temperatures, the abundance of bait (read: bunker, and herring and soon-to-be sand eels), and how many stripers are still north and will be making their way down the coast. Communication with sources as far north as Raritan Bay indicates that there are still loads and more loads of bass on the move. This being the case, it’s reasonable that the bite could last several weeks into the New Year.
Most importantly, the majority of the linesider migrants are inside the three-mile demarcation from Seaside south to Cape May, making them a legal quarry. To be sure, the longevity of the run and the quality of the bass being caught in South Jersey are just incredible compared to the past few years.
Surf action has been spotty, with some areas hot and some not. That can change by the afternoon, much less the day if bait gets pushed in close to the wash. Not to be overlooked are the decent opportunities still existing in the bays and tidal rivers. Stripers from schoolie to keeper sizes are still being caught on plugs, bucktails, and shads and, if you can get them, live spot and eels. By law, the latter must be presented on non-offset circle hooks. However, the waters inside are close to bass fishing starting January 1 and will not reopen until March 1. As such, you have less than two weeks to enjoy some light tackle striper action.