JB Kasper – The Fisherman

JB Kasper

November 23, 2020 - 09:44:21

The month of November has always been an unpredictable month when it comes to weather and fishing; and it sure lived up to those parameters this year. I’m not the type of person who lets the weather stop me from fishing, so the wardrobe in my four by four looked like the clothing section of a sporting goods store. Insulated uppers and lowers, heated vest, insulated boots, Helly Hansens, light rain gear, wind breakers, etc. all got a good work out. Weather conditions ranged from highs in the 70s to lows in the 20s; fog; misty rain; heavy down pours; nice days and two or three day spells of rain and oh yea gale force winds. One only has to look at that collection of weather conditions to understand why some days you hammered the fish where others had a hard time finding a few. When it comes to the fishing in December some offerings to the weather gods might help. Bass fishing was decent in the deeper water in November and this should hold true in December. Likewise crappie fishing was excellent in many waters and the last month of the year is usually primetime for the slabs. Pickerel fishing in the lower part of the state has been outstanding thanks to the good water levels from all the rain that fell in November in that region. Trout fishing will be worth the effort if you are looking for a few good size fish left over from the fall stocking now that the leaves are mostly flushed out of the streams. Walleye fishing should continue to serve up some good catches in the bigger reservoirs and lakes where they are present. Don’t forget the land locked salmon in the four waters they have been stocked and the northern pike and musky that are prime targets during the cold water season as well as the trout fishing in Round Valley and Merrill Creek reservoirs. Last but not least I would like to wish all our readers a safe and happy holiday season.

November 23, 2020 - 09:40:11

While the month of December has always been a roll of the dice when it comes to the weather and fishing, this year it looks like the fishing will not be a problem. Schools of stripers fueled by large schools of sand eels and bunker, coupled with above normal inshore water temps will keep the bass fishing good well into December and maybe even the New Year. Likewise there are plenty of blackfish in both shallow and deep water and here too this fishery should remain very good, especially once water temps begin to drop. Throw in the better bag limit on sea bass and decent numbers of ling and some cod and sinker bouncers should enjoy some good fishing. Winter flounder in Shark River and other coastal rivers also saw good numbers of fish. There is a song in bluegrass music called “You Can’t Trust the Weatherman” and while they are predicting milder weather this winter the second part of that dice roll will determine not only how good the fishing will be, but how much fishing we will be able to get in. So keep your fingers crossed the weather gods will smile on us.

November 16, 2020 - 09:25:59

Sweetwater fishermen got their weekly dose of weather on Wednesday and Thursday this past week. Early week warm weather pushed water temps into the 50s in most waters and jumpstarted some good bass and crappie action in some waters. The effects of over 1-1/2 inches or more of rain were negligible due to the heavy amounts to leaves on the ground which soaked up a lot of the rain. This put a lot of tannin in the water and made the water dark which is a typical fall condition. Of course weekend weather saw a dip in temps once again and water temps dropped back into the upper 40s and low 50s. Most shallow waters are seeing bass fishing wind down, while in the deeper bodies of water the bass are starting to retreat into their winter haunts. Crappie fishing is alive and well and will stay good right up until ice up if we have one this winter. Pickerel fishing in the lower part of the state is excellent right now and here to the fishing should stay good until ice up. Likewise trout fishing is a cold water sport and will also remain good especially now that a lot of the leaves have been washed out by the recent rains. Both land locked salmon and walleyes are producing some decent fishing in the waters where they are present, while perch fishing remains good in the tidal streams.

November 16, 2020 - 09:22:21

What is being called the best striped bass fishing since Sandy continued this past week. While not as many 40- and 50-pound fish were caught, the number of keepers and slots was off the charts. Likewise big blues and a few weakfish are also mixing in with the bass. A couple to boat captains I spoke with told me there are also more sand eels around and in closer than anytime since before Superstorm Sandy. For those of you who don’t remember prior to Sandy many years saw sand eels right off the beaches and those years always saw stripers into Christmas or later as long as the eels were around. Now that the coastal beaches and shorelines have finally bounced back we are starting to see this again and this bodes well for the future. Normally the increase in the tog limit would be the headline for this time of the year; however that’s not the case this fall with a blow predicted for the first few days of tog fishing and all the striped bass around it’s a good bet striped bass mania will continue to overshadow everything.

November 09, 2020 - 10:06:04

Sweetwater anglers saw an up and down week of fishing thanks to the cooler weather, heavy early week winds and cooler water temps from last week’s rains. Most bodies of water did not rebound until the middle of the week when moderating temperatures jumpstarted fall fishing again. With temperatures back up into the low 70s over the weekend water temps, which had dropped into the 40s in many places, should rebound to more seasonable levels. In many waters crappie fishing had already rebounded by mid-week and bass fishing was also on the upswing. Both should provide some good fishing this week. Trout fishing in the streams should also provide some good fishing however leafs could be a problem in many areas. Coastal tidal streams are still giving up some good numbers of perch along with short stripers, and pickerel fishing remains hot in the lower state cedar waters on livebait. Walleye fishing is starting to improve in rivers, lakes and reservoirs where they are present.

November 09, 2020 - 10:02:22

The big striped bass explosion along the northern coast jumped up a few notches this past week. After heavy winds whipped the northern coast on Monday and Tuesday the fishing rebounded quickly amid week and Thursday and Friday the fishing was off the charts. While the fishing was still good over the weekend heavy boat traffic made the bass a lot pickier. Schools of sandeels stretched from north of Coney Island south to Lavallette and fueled the heavy bass action outside, while mixed size bunker and other forage fish were plentiful in Raritan Bay and fueled good fishing there. With slots, keepers and overs all mixed together several boat captains told me it simply doesn’t get any better that this. Not only do you have a shot at a trophy fish, but anglers can also take some fish home. If it looks like I’m only talking about stripers this past week, well it will suffice to say that while the bottom fishing remained a very good bite of sea bass, porgies and tog, and winter flounder fishing is on the upswing, not many fishermen wanted to miss a chance at the banner striper action that has overrun northern waters.

November 02, 2020 - 15:50:50

Well it’s time to make a sacrifice to the weather Gods and ask them to have a good talking to Mother Nature who sure made things miserable in October. Let’s hope she has a change of heart in November. This past week saw a few fisheries that really served up some good fishing for anglers who braved the weather. At the top of the list is the pickerel fishing in the lower part of the state which has been on fire, thanks to some good water levels from the recent rains. Trout fishing throughout our reporting area also has been very good but high water conditions and tons of leafs from the last storm will take some time to clean up before the fishing rebounds. Crappie fishing is coming into primetime in many waters and perch fishing continues to be very good in the tidal streams. Walleye fishing is also heating up in the reservoirs. High water in the streams and rivers has slowed the smallmouth fishing, while the largemouth fishing is hit or miss in most waters. A few hybrids, northerns and muskies are still active along with landlocked salmon in a couple of waters and very good brown trout fishing in Lake Ontario tributary streams.

November 02, 2020 - 15:47:17

With the big bass explosion on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning it’s a shame Mother Nature had to throw another nor’easter on Thursday and Friday. Fishing did rebound on Saturday but it was nowhere as good as during the week. The weekend did see a good amount of keepers and slots which allowed anglers to take a few fish home. How the early week action goes this week will have a lot to do with the Sunday rains and Monday heavy winds that are predicted. Schools of bunker did stay in the bay and this should keep the bass on the feed now that the full moon is behind us and boat traffic will be lighter during the week. Bottom fishing should also rebound this week once waters settle down from the weather. Look for the better fishing to be in the deeper water in 80 to 120 feet. Don’t forget the change of sea bass regulations as of November 1; we’re now at 15 fish at 13 inches through the end of the year. Winter flounder numbers are getting better by the day in Shark River and we should start seeing some flatties in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers as well as along the lower side of Raritan Bay. We should also start seeing bass and blues hitting the schools of baitfish that are moving in the undertow in northern waters.

October 19, 2020 - 10:11:14

Some welcome early week rains made from some better sweetwater conditions this past week, while Friday’s rains gave steams and rivers another boost heading into the weekend. Had it not been for some ensuing windy weather it would have been a perfect fall week for fishermen. The fishery that benefited most from the better water conditions was the fall stocked trout. Our reports on the trout fishing were a lot better this past week than the week prior. The state finished up the fall stocking this past week, but will be stocking more waters as part of the stocking program later on this fall. In addition to the trout the state stocked 28 waters with channel cats some weighing as much as 6-1/2 pounds. Largemouth bass fishing also shifted into full fall feed mode and livelining bass is in primetime. Likewise smallmouth fishing in reservoirs and rivers is also at its peak. Reports on the crappie fishing also tell of excellent fishing; however this fishery will get even better as the water cools. Walleye action is also on the upswing with the cooler water in lakes and rivers where they are present. Another fishery that is coming into primetime is the cedar water pickerel fishing in the lower part of the Garden State. Perch fishing also continues to serve up good catches in the tidal streams. Rounding out some good bets for this week are hybrids, snakeheads, pike and muskies in the waters where they are present.

October 19, 2020 - 10:07:42

Suffice to say that the weatherman did not play nice this past along the northern coast. Early week rain followed by windy weather, then a couple nice days followed by more rain on Friday, with the weekend starting off with some windy weather. This resulted in a mixed bag of reports with some anglers doing well while others staying in port or finding rough conditions. Truth is I know a lot to striped bass fishermen that prefer rough weather and those that did tough out the rains and wind did find some good striped bass fishing. Off and on good fishing was seen in New York Harbor and the East River, and a few big bass were caught outside. Reports to plenty nice bass to our north which were headed our way sometime this week gave us a ray of hope for this week’s fishing. Surfcasters fishing lower side beaches and ocean beaches from Asbury Park north also got into a decent number of smaller bass along with some bluefish amid schools of baitfish moving in the undertow. Likewise some bass were also caught in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. Bottom fishermen did not fair so well because of the rough seas. There are still good numbers of sea bass, with the bigger ones being caught in 70 to 120 feet of water, porgies and tog for the taking when conditions are favorable. There are also a mix of blues and false albacore being caught a few miles off the beaches and winter flounder are showing up in better numbers in Shark River. No one sailed for tuna until Saturday evening, but several boats were headed offshore on Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed the more favorable weather report holds up this week and serves up some better conditions.

October 12, 2020 - 10:31:21

The first full week of October saw some decent fishing in the sweetwater. Fall trout stocking is underway, and while the full rundown is at the Division website keep in mind that a few waters saw some stocking points skipped because of low water conditions. Largemouth fishing saw a nice uptick this past week in most areas, and crappie fishing also produced some decent fishing especially in the evening. Smallmouth action in the larger reservoirs in the northern portion of the state was still on fire and fishing in the upper Delaware, South Branch and other large streams was also decent for anglers live-lining minnows. Anglers are seeing an excellent fall for pickerel in the cedar waters of the Pine Barrens and perch continue to move into tidal streams along the lower part of the Garden State. We also got reports of good numbers of stripers moving into the tidal Passaic, Hackensack and Maurice rivers. Rounding out some bets for a decent catch this week are hybrid stripers, walleyes, northerns and a few muskies.

October 12, 2020 - 10:26:36

The much anticipated sea bass opener, for the most part produced mixed results. Some boats cancelled or postponed their first sea bass trip, while those that fished amid bumpy seas found good fishing. Friday and Saturday saw good fishing; however enter the remnants of Hurricane Delta and a lot of boats once again stayed in port on Sunday. With word of striped bass being caught off Montauk this past week the upside of a change in wind direction to the east could push bass into the Sound and move them via the East River into Raritan Bay. In past years when this has happened it meant some good bass action. This past week saw mixed results with the stripers and here too the approaching new moon could come into play. On the down side porgies are starting to move into deeper waters. Back on the upside is the very good bluefishing: however fewer albacore and bonito are mixing in with them. Reports we got this past week also showed tuna moving farther offshore. The first winter flounder were caught in Shark River this past week and that fishery should slowly come into its own by the end of the month. Last but not least schools of baitfish are starting to move along the beaches and this is stoking up some mixed size bass and bluefish action.

October 05, 2020 - 10:05:48

Sweetwater fishing saw its ups and downs this past week with an early week storm that dumped as much as 3 inches of much needed rain on different areas of our reporting area. Soon to be stocked trout streams benefited the most for the rains and more rains are predicted for this week, which should also benefit the stocked waters. The fall stocking starts on Tuesday, October 6. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are in a full fall feed mode in most waters and reports are very good from some of the bigger reservoirs in the northern portion of the state, as well as some of the larger streams. Pickerel fishing is red not in the cedar waters of the lower state and coastal tidal streams are full of perch for light tackle fishermen. Crappie fishing is very good in many waters, especially in the later afternoons and early evenings. Catfishing is also good in most streams and rivers. We also got very good reports on the salmon fishing in Lake Ontario and the lake’s tributary streams thanks to the improved water levels from the recent rains. Rounding out this week prospects for some good fishing are hybrids, walleyes, northerns and a few muskies.

October 05, 2020 - 10:02:19

The big news along the northern coast is the influx of striped bass, along with tons of bunker into New York Harbor and Raritan Bay. The biggest bass we have reported so far is a 46-plus pound fish that was taken outside of Long Branch according to Keyport Marine Basin. However bass to 30-plus pounds are being reported in Raritan Bay and New York Harbor. Fish coming through the East River means they are coming from the Sound and that usually bodes well for the fall fishing. On other fronts the yellowfin action in the canyons continues to produce some decent numbers of hefty fish along with some bigeye, longfin and mahi. Inshore fishing is serving up albies and a few bonito mixed in with the bluefish. Porgy fishing is still serving up decent numbers and some kingfish and croakers are also being caught. Some decent size blackfish are bending rods in the backwaters around piers and wrecks and on the wrecks and snags in the ocean. In addition some baitfish are starting to move along the beaches and this fueling a mix of stripers, bluefish and some of the biggest fluke of the year which have to be returned to the waves because of the closed season. As predicted it is looking like October is going to serve up some very good fishing barring any weather problems. So get off your duff and put some time in. It’s a good way to get away from the bug, politics and all the other disasters the world has been serving up lately.

September 28, 2020 - 10:00:57

As the month of October dawns low water conditions are common in many places. As with most Octobers the main event is the annual fall trout stocking. This year’s deposits will start on October 6 with 40 waters being stocked in the ensuing two weeks. As with the spring stocking no dates will be announced for the stockings and waters will be posted after they are stocked. Hopefully the low water conditions most streams are seeing as of this writing will get some help from Mother Nature. As of this writing water temps in most waters are in the upper 60s and October should see the fall feed in most waters come into primetime early in the month. Bass action is already very good in some waters and crappie fishing is also on the upswing. Pickerel fishing in the lower part of the state is in primetime and tidewater streams are loaded with perch, and a fair amount of small stripers. In the larger lakes and reservoirs walleyes and hybrids are serving up some good fishing. Smallmouth fishing in the upper Delaware, South Branch, Raritan and other large streams is very good. Catfish, carp, northern pike and plenty of panfish round out some good early October fishing.

September 28, 2020 - 09:56:21

The combination of rough seas early in the week and not to much to fish for since the fluke fishing closed made for a spotty week of action along the northern coast heading into the final weekend of September. Some boat captains even took time off to get their boats ready for the fall fishing, particularly with the sea bass opener on October 8. Porgy fishing, while getting more sporadic, is still serving up some good numbers, and there are plenty of snappers around for light tackle fishermen. Two to six-pound blues have been zeroing in on schools of baitfish in the bay and giving surf casters some action along the northern ocean front. Ling and a few whiting are being caught at the Mud Hole and some triggers are still around. Last but not least local stripers are giving anglers some action in New York Harbor, the lower Shrewsbury River and in the rips off the Sandy Hook, as well as in the surf. The outlook for October’s fishing remains very good as long as the weather behaves itself.