With the recent warm weather and increasing ocean temperatures, Jersey Shore anglers say catches of the prized striped bass are spiking.
Outervention Charters operator Tim Husar, who has been running regular missions from his Shark River port up to the Raritan Bay, says the striper season is “heating up.”
“Bigger head boats are anchored up from the tip of Sandy Hook all the west to the NJ Transit train bridge. 35-40 pound striped bass have been caught on bunker chunk, clams, storm shade and also on trolling,” he says.
Substantial bunker pods, a bait fish that stripers chase, have been spotted along the New Jersey shoreline, Husar says, adding that surf anglers have been having success with bunker and lures on incoming tides.
Husar says striper activity should increase in the ocean as ocean waters pass the 55 degree mark, and that will also spawn another annual migration: bluefish.
Large “gator” blues have been caught in the Barnegat Bay and a few on clams and bunker along the ocean surf, according to the charter boat operator.
— Surf City B&T (@SurfCityBT) April 22, 2017
Betty and Nicks Bait and Tackle’s John Bushell Jr. reported “big” bluefish off Seaside Park Saturday morning and striped bass activity in the Barnegat Bay.
Bushell’s Facebook group has been receiving numerous photographs of anglers holding their striped bass catches.
The Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association says fishing continues to improve in the southern shore area.
The association reports that the charter boat, “Irish Jig Sportfishing,” recently hosted a group that caught 14 stripers up to 26-inches.
And in Cape May, Clean Sweep Sportfishing says “school is in session.”
The charter reported that a group caught numerous stripers up to 40 pounds on Saturday.
Striped bass, named for the black stripes that extend along their bodies, are “moderately fatty” with a “rich flavor and a large, firm flake,” according to Bon Appétit magazine.
— Recipes Magazine (@MagazinRecipes) September 23, 2016
New Jersey anglers are permitted to keep one striped bass at 28 inches to less than 43 inches and one at 43 inches or greater. There’s no closed season from the shoreline to three miles offshore, but striper fishing is prohibited greater than three miles.