While crowds have lightened up heading into the second weekend of December, were still hearing of quite a few personal best fish being registered on both the striped bass and blackfish grounds throughout the region. The largest of the stripers were being trolled off South Jersey and into Delaware before the wind and rain this week, from a mile off the beach out to the three-mile line. Plugs, spoons and mojos have done well for trollers, though hot bunker schools are still popping up all over and yielding fishing. Still stripers in the Central and Northern range too, and Jersey Shore surfcasters continue to score on bunker as well as plugs and tins (with teasers). Wreck reports this week have blackfish on the chew in 35 to 50 feet of water off the Central Coast, while Delaware sites 10 and 11 are still giving up some good fish. While many party boats are looking to the snags for tautog this weekend, the black sea bass run continues through December as well. If youre boats in dry storage and youre looking for a final inning striper, best bet this week is turn to the South Jersey for-hire fleet as they run and gun on the 30- and 40-pound bass on their southern run.
While officially entering the 2017 holiday season, South Jersey and Delaware anglers are beginning to see glad tidings with jumbo stripers on several tides. Fish have been trolled up, jigged and livelined from Wreck Inlet down to the famed Rips of Cape May, with a 50-plus incher registered this week out of Brigantine. While there are still pockets of good-sized fish throughout the reporting area, much of the surf bite has been about micro bass which are there in great numbers one day, on the sly the next. While there remains a chance or ten to score a monster on the chunk or plug, scaling down now with tins and teasers on lighter tackle can produce quantity over quality when conditions are right. Bass hunters are anxiously awaiting signs of herring and sand eels this week, while the wrecks continue to produce double-digit size blackfish, sea bass and porgies for bottom fishermen looking to score big.