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New Jersey & Delaware Bay


Posted By Jim Hutchinson, Jr., December 9, 2019
It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog! Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom shared this photo over the weekend of birds working over a school of small bass piling on sand eels and tiny peanut bunker in the wash. While the fish in the surf haven’t been enormous, the enormity of the action has not bee lost on casters who’ve scaled down to enjoy double-digit catches in relatively short order.
Seems as if most of the best keeper striped bass action is coming in South Jersey at this point where boats from as far south as Lewes and Indian River in Delaware are joining the trollers from Atlantic and Cape May counties at the Jersey Shore for some inside the line action on the linesides. Umbrella rigs seem to be best, though jigging on marks and under birds is a good bet as well. In tight to the beaches, the best surfcasting action in the region continues to take place from Manasquan Inlet to Island Beach State Park, though plenty of short stripers seem to have jumped the border there to feed on sand eels along the LBI stretch as well. There was some epic, lights out catch and release action off Ortley Beach over the weekend for boaters, while surfcasters continue to plug along primarily with tins and teasers; however, keep a few of the smaller peanut bunker matches handy as well (small Storms, Al Gag’s, etc) as short stripers are also corralling the tiniest of peanut bunker in some pockets as they slowly slide south. A few reported sightings of herring off the beaches as well, so there’s still a chance at a big bass or two where those bigger treats can be found. Over the weekend, a few striper fishermen also reported some bluefin in rather close to shore as well. Of course, the best of the boating action right now is the nearshore tautog and offshore sea bass where the “biscuit” of the week was more like a pizza pie, with angler Jose Bastos hitting a massive 8.12-pound black sea bass on the Jamaica II over the weekend while using a Jigging World Dark Knight custom rod and Accurate Valiant 300 reel. That monster sea bass was literally ounces away from a new state record!
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