Despite the brutal cold between Christmas and New Years, a few brave souls still put in their time for some big blackfish while finishing out the 2017 sea bass season with a few humpbacks. However, anglers are hit with a new weather term bombogenesis when a rare winter cyclone in the Atlantic brings heavy snow accumulation with wind gusts just shy of hurricane strength to the coastal region. The silver lining to this return of a real Northeast winter is good ice has been reported this week in many ponds and smaller lakes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with expectations high for larger water bodies like Hopatcong and Collins Cove on the Mullica. The party and charter fleet hopes to return to the action as soon as the docks and parking areas are cleared, with cod, pollock, ling and tautog on tap for those ready to get back into the action. As for black sea bass, the New Jersey marine fisheries council will meet on Thursday, January 11 to review options (meeting on Thursday, January 4th was postponed due to the bomb cyclone!) Get the full NJ/DE forecast as we shovel out with the rest of The Fisherman community!
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Anyone that is thinking of fishing in January please come in this weekend and get your fishing license. Out machine will go down after New Years and talking to Mike it is going to take the state most of the month of January to get the machine hooked up and teach him how to use it. So please come in this weekend and get those licenses. So everyone also knows we will be closed on New Years, back in to work 8 to 5 on Tuesday and Wednesday. All sales will have to be cash with our credit card machine shut down till Mike takes over. Thursday if all goes as planned we will be closed to do the transfer with Mike being in for his first day on Friday. Hours will be on winter hours Monday to Saturday 8 am to 5 pm with Sunday 8 am to 4 pm. Still going to be repairing fishing rods so before you put away for the winter take a look at the guides and if a problem bring in while I have plenty of time.
Not much to report this past week with all this cold weather. But what the cold weather has brought in has been the start of ice fishing. Now local lakes may have save ice over this weekend. I did hear of a few guys out on Penn Warner catching perch, pickerel and crappies. Stone Tavern in Jersey had safe ice with guys doing well with yellow perch and pickerel. Now the best ice has been in all the Pocono Lake with these guys all doing well with pickerel, perch and crappies.
The next best thing if you can stand the cold has been the sea bass and cod fishing off shore. These guys I have talked to be limiting out with monster sea bass with some decent cod mixed in. Clams, strip mackerel and jigs working best.
A few guys headed out to the Susquehanna River still doing great on monster smallies if you can stand the cold. There is ice starting to form on the river so this may be done now or after this weekend. The upper Delaware also has been good but ice is keeping guys from using the ramps.
Well I hope to see as many guys in this weekend. If you get out good luck and I hope everyone has a great weekend. Thanks for all the cards and bottles dropped off this past couple weeks. Bill
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I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years. This might be the last post of the season with inventory taking up most of my time. Again we will be here till the 31st of December and back again the 2nd and 3rd of January. If all goes as planned Mike will be here on the 5th to start his new business. Again if your looking for 2018 fishing license make sure you come in before the end of the year. Mike’s machine may not be up and running till the middle of January.
Still have 5 Brinkman shirts left in axle and xxxl if anyone interested. We also till have several of the St. Croix rods we have been looking to blow out.
Reports have been awesome for the saltwater fisherman. Stripers are thick from Atlantic City up to Barnegat. These fish have been hitting bunker spoons, umbrella rigs, Mojo rigs, Stretch 25 and 30’s and snagging and dropping bunker if you can find them. They are even getting stripers 25 miles out with the blue fin tuna. One customer said he was watching the tuna push 20 and 30 pound stripers right out of the water. Dan picked up a limit of bass off Brigantine all with shad bodes and Mojo’s. He said most of these fish were 20 to 30 pounds. Ryan has been out several times limiting out with bass 20 plus pounds out of Atlantic City. Frank up in the Highlands had a couple great days early in the week. Monday they boated 27 bass with a couple bigger bluefish. He did best with bunker spoons and umbrella rigs. Tuesday he only caught 11 bass but that was enough for a limit with 3 guys on the boat. Wednesday was the best day with over 30 keeper bass and 5 bluefish over 10 pounds. This day it was bunker and shad bodies. Now the beach guys are not doing as well. Most of these guys are catching a few bass but nothing of size. Clams, bunker, shad bodies and metal have been working best. Now down south in the back bay of Wildwood there are tons of 15 to 22 inch bass hitting smaller shad bodies, bucktails, shad bodies and clams. Fred said he has been catching 25 or better fish each trip out with a keeper here and there. Sea bass fishing has been the next best thing. The further north you head the bigger the fish are and mixed in are some nice cod, pollock and tilefish. Plenty of smaller sea bass with some nice keeper blackfish off the jetties around Atlantic City up to Brielle.
The hottest thing for freshwater has been the Susquehanna River. This river is low and alive with smallies. Live minnows tipped on bucktails has been the hot bait but just drifting minnows, throwing grubs, tubes and spinners are also picking up some fish. Jack was out of Duncannon Monday catching 27 fish all 16 to 21 inches. He also had 4 walleyes mixed in. Steve fishing out of Clemson Island boated over 75 fish over the weekend with 5 fish over 5 pounds. Wading down at Harrisburg one fisherman picked up 11 bass, 3 walleyes and a small musky fishing live minnows. Further down at the power plant I heard of some good size musky’s hitting large spinners, jerk baits and bigger crankbaits. Some of these fish have been 30 to 38 inches. Here again is a great spot for bass but much smaller bass in the warm water.
The upper Delaware slowed down for smallies but the few guys still fishing are doing great on walleyes 16 to 22 inches. Minnows or shiners seem to be the best baits but trolling bright colored crankbaits are working also. The lower river has been still pretty good for catfish in the 1 to 3 pound range. These fish have been hitting nightcrawlers, chicken livers, shrimp and clams the best. Bass, yellow perch and crappies are being caught in Dredge Harbor, Neshaminy Marina, Tullytown Cove and Warner’s Cove. Jigs tipped with live minnows or shiners have been working the best but some guys are also doing well with lizards, smaller Senko worms and twister tails.
Still a few trout in the Pennypack Creek at the Boulevard, Veree Road and Pine Road. Wax worms, mealworms and small jigs working best. Levittown Lake has been fair with some trout, crappies and bass hitting metal spoons, minnows, mealworms and wax worms. Core Creek still slow with perch and bluegills hitting up and down the lake on small twister tails, small minnows and mealworms. Shopping Center Lake a bunch of smaller catfish and bass hitting nightcrawlers and minnows fished on the bottom. Nockamixon still the hot lake for bigger smallies along the dam and the deeper ledges. Minnows fished on the bottom has brought a few guys fish 3 to 6 pounds. They are even getting several musky’s fishing bigger jerk baits, mid diving crankbaits and 6 inch twister tails fished like a plastic worm. Chris picked up 4 fish last week 22, 26, 29 and 31 inches. John still catching some good numbers of crappies and yellow perch off the docks with twister tails, tubes and live minnows. Jerry still doing very good for smallies, yellow perch and pickerel fishing minnows, twister tails and spinners on Marsh Creek. Each trip he has been going trough 5 dozen minnows.
The Schuylkill River slowing down fast. Joe said a few catfish with tons of white and yellow perch hitting nightcrawlers in the lower part of the river. Up at the dam fishing in the evening plenty of 12 to 15 inch walleyes hitting 2 to 4 inch shad bodies. Above the dam the catfish crew is down to a couple guys catching 1 to 4 fish an evening with nightcrawlers and shrimp. No flatheads in the past month. But the carp guys are still doing pretty well with fish 10 to 25 pounds with boilies, pop ups and home made carp baits.
Jersey freshwater lakes and rivers are still hot for pickerel with a few bass, crappies and perch mixed in. Jerry fishing his lakes and been catching all pickerel with live minnows. Richie said his lake is pickerel only with some nice perch in the river below the dam. Batso Lake and the spillway into the river have been great for pickerel with live minnows, twister tails and spinners. In the Mullica River plenty of pickerel hitting in the coves on minnows and twister tails. Tom only got out one time last week fighting a cold. Tuesday he hit Lake Hapatcong trolling grubs, spinners and crankbaits. Nothing caught all day long. But throwing Whopper poppers he did finish the day with 11 pickerel up to 24 inches.
Well that is all I have for you this week. Again Merry Christmas and Happy New Years and I hope to see you this weekend to finish your Christmas shopping. Bill
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American tradition that celebrate Christmas Eve with a full menu of fish and seafood; if youre interested in putting your own seven-fish line-up together, try giving this a shot. Small STRIPED BASS are in the wash in good numbers, though the best bet for a keeper is still jigging, plugging or trolling just offshore from Manasquan Inlet south to Fenwick Island. TAUTOG has been a pick, but the fish coming aboard of late have been good size, with several upper teen tog registered since last week – a couple of big COD taken on the structure too. Its the final week of BLACK SEA BASS fishing for a while which has put boats offshore on the humpback grounds in these last days; the bulkhead brigade too knows that WINTER FLOUNDER are in with just days before the 2017 closure to put a couple of sweet and tasty filets aside for the weekend. HERRING action for party boats starts right after the Christmas holiday, and the presence of those delicious pickling baits has brought the BLUEFIN in closer (though our reports this week finds guys trolling for bluefin 10 miles or more offshore finding it hard to get away from the stripers out there on the herring schools!) From our family to yours, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
While an arctic blast swept across the region this week, striped bass are still available in fairly good numbers throughout the New Jersey, Delaware region this week.
Though many folks have pulled their boats for the winter, big fish are being taken on the troll off South Jersey and down the DELMARVA peninsula, with mojos, spoons and plugs getting the nod. The Northern and Central Jersey bite continues as well, though its not the gangbusters action experienced earlier the season, and not the staggering sizes either. Along the surf, finding the right cut or slough this week and scaling down the gear can put double-digit striper catches on the sand, even if most of the fish are on the small side. The best news is stripers are still being caught along the South Shore of Long Island which bodes well for holiday action. Charter and party boats not jigging or trolling stripers continue to find a good tautog bite nearer shore than expected, though a few toggers in the past week working deeper waters have reported some bluefin on the move as well. Catch up the black sea bass before the December 31 seasonal close, and check back with TheFisherman.com in the days ahead for regulatory updates from the Beltway between DC and Annapolis where fluke and sea bass are in the regulatory spotlight this week.
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Three weeks to go for the Brinkman family. Please don’t forget us for your Christmas shopping. And again any gift certificates sold will be good with the new owner taking over the 5th of January. Our doors will be open on the 2nd and 3rd but will be cash only and no licenses. Again if you going to fish in the early part of January please get you licenses before the end of the year. THEY ARE ON SALE NOW!! Also a great Christmas present.
Decent week up the mountains this past week. Weather was great and the hunting over all was pretty good. Myself I got a 201 black bear. Our club we had 5 bucks and 1 doe. Not the best week but the great weather made up for everything.
When the winds are not keeping the boats docked up the striper fishing down the shore has been on fire. Most of the best fishing is from LBI up to Sandy Hook and in the Raritan Bay. Most of these bass have been hitting Mojo Rigs, Big shad bodies, 5 and 7 ounce Gator spoons, diamond jigs, umbrella rigs, bunker spoons and snagging and dropping bunker. Limits of 20 to 40 pound fish were caught all week long. Now the guys fishing the beach things have not been as good. Here guys throwing shad bodies, deadly dicks, diamond jigs and crankbaits have been catching some 20 to 30 inch fish. As you come down the coast the stripers fishing gets slower. I talked to Fred down at Wildwood and he said other than the smaller fish in the back bay and a few fish in the rips it has been dead down there. And a few guys out of Atlantic City are catching a bass here and there but nothing to write home about. But if you are fishing south off shore sea bass fishing has been pretty good. Lots of small fish but a few decent 3-pound fish mixed in. And off the jetties plenty of smaller sea bass and blackfish have been hitting crabs and clams. For bigger sea bass Barnegat north has been the best with limits of fish 3 to 6 pounds, blackfish 3 to 8 pounds and some nice cod mixed in. And for the best fishing off New York and Massachusetts some monster sea bass, cod and porgies are still hitting in great numbers. Keith fishing off Delaware coast said there are tons of smaller stripers hitting smaller spoons, bucktails and Gulp mullet. He picked up over 100 fish in the past week all 18 to 22 inches. Up in the Delaware Bay George picked up 1-keeper stripers drifting bunker heads just below Money Island. He also had several good run offs without hooking up.
Nockamixon had a pretty good week with muskies 21 to 30 inches. Bigger spinners, jerk baits and Whopper Ploppers were working best. John again fishing off the docks picked up a good amount of crappies fishing tubes and shiners. Couple guys had some decent bass fishing the upper end of Core Creek with power worms, rattle traps and chatter baits. One picture was of a fish 20 inches a bit over 5 pounds. In the main lake plenty of perch and bluegills hitting wax worms, mealworms and smaller jigs. In the spillway one fisherman picked up a couple smaller largemouth bass with live minnows. The landscaper picked up a bunch of smaller bass, bluegills and catfish fishing the shopping center lake with minnows and nightcrawlers. Giving’s Pond a couple guys did pretty good on bass 1 to 3 pounds fishing Ned rigs, smaller spinner baits, plastic worms and Senko worms. They are also catching a few decent crappies on this same lake with live minnows. Penn Warner has been a mixed bag with plenty of perch and pickerel hitting live minnows along the shoreline. Not the boat guys have been doing very well with largemouth bass 2 to 4 pounds with crankbaits, spinner baits, plastic worms and blade baits.
Only one report from the Pennypack with this customer picking up 5 trout in a couple mornings with mealworms, power bait and trout magnets. A few bluegills mixed in. A couple guys fishing Haunted Lane doing well with catfish fishing chunked eels and nightcrawlers. Further up the creek below the Boulevard one fisherman picked up a couple 8 to 12 pound carp fishing Uncle Josh carp bait. In the Skippack one fisherman had a pretty good weekend catching rock bass and bluegills with bead head nymphs looking for a trout. Charlie fished the Tohickon catching a few bluegills looking for some bass.
The upper river has really picked up for walleyes fishing minnows, shiners and jigs from Point Pleasant down to New Hope. One fisherman picked up 11 fish last Tuesday with 3 fish over 20 inches. Jimmy off the New Hope wing dam picked up 2 walleyes and 1 smallmouth bass last weekend fishing minnows in the slack water. And I talked to one person who told me how good he did this past summer for flathead catfish fishing the upper river from the Water Gap down to Trenton. He picked up over 150 fish this past summer some with live bluegills but also had fish with white perch and live eels. His one buddy fishing down around the airport who picked up flathead up to 40 pounds this past summer all with live bluegills.
Now the lower river has not changed with a bunch of catfish still hitting nightcrawlers, bunker, chunked eels and shrimp. Most of these fish have been 1 to 4 pounds. Back in Dredge Harbor the bass, yellow perch and crappies picked up fishing jigs tipped with live minnows around the rocks and pilings. Same in the Neshaminy Marina I have a few guys fishing off the backs of their boats catching some good size yellow perch with live minnows and nightcrawlers.
Schuylkill reports really dropped off this past week. Ron is still catching a few smallmouth bass all with live minnows up around Norristown. Joe said quite a few smaller catfish and white perch hitting nightcrawlers, shrimp and bagels below the dam. At Gladwyne the catfish crew is now down to a couple fisherman catching 20 catfish this past week all on worms and chunked eels. And a report I read online about one fisherman picking up a few bigger catfish up in the Reading area on live bluegills so they would have to be flatheads.
Jersey lakes and river really picked up in the past couple weeks. Larry fishing out of Crowley’s Landing picked up all kinds of fish. Fishing minnows and twister tails caught a bunch of pickerel in the coves. Then fishing further down river with white and bunker shad he picked up 50 stripers 15 to 22 inches. Jerry in his lakes has been crushing pickerel, bass, perch and crappies with minnows, spinners and twister tails. Richie said plenty of pickerel in Lake Lenape with some decent perch and pickerel in the river. Again his buddies have been fishing Colin’s Cove crushing smaller stripers with shad bodies, twister tails, spoons and crankbaits. Nothing over 24 inches. Tom picked up a 41 inch musky this past week with plenty of pickerel and smallies up to 5 pounds on Lake Hapatcong. Jerk baits and surface buzzers working best. Dennisville Lake has been very good for pickerel fishing live minnows around the shorelines. I even had one fisherman on the Pequest catch a few smaller rainbows with spinners.
Well looks like the weather is changing for the worse. Lets hope this winter holds and the fishing stays good. Bill
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.
I will be heading up state for buck season so there won’t be a report next week. And with the heavy winds all week long there is not too much to report this past week.
The shore has still been the hot ticket for stripers, sea bass and blackfish when the weather allows it. The Raritan Bay has been one of the hot spots for stripers mid 20 inch fish up to mid 40 pound fish. The most popular way of fishing has been snagging and dropping live bunker. But they are also doing great with big metal spoon, diamond jigs, bunker spoons, Mojo rigs and Umbrella rigs with tubes or shads. Frank was up Tuesday catching 17 bass with 4 fish limit all over 25 pounds. He did best with trolling Mojo rigs. Paul was also up on Tuesday catching 4 fish with one 52 inch 43 pounds jigging a 9-ounce Krock spoon. Off the beach at Sandy Hook Pete and his crew had a great weekend catching 8 bass up to 18 pounds, 7 bluefish up to 9 pounds and a bunch of junk fish. Bunker, mullet and diamond jigs were working best. Down off Barnegat plenty of bass and blue were caught with all these same baits. Here smaller fish up to mid 20 pound fish were also caught. A few guys off Atlantic City also had a few stripers 28 to 30 inches with Deadly Dicks fished on a teaser rig. Here also off the jetties plenty of smaller sea bass and blackfish with crab, jigs and strip clams. The best sea bass fishing is in North Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. In these waters sea bass up to 6 pounds are being caught with clams, squid, strip mackerel and chartreuse and white Gulp mullet. And the further north you go the better chance you have on cod and tilefish.
Several good reports on the upper Delaware River for smallies and walleyes. These few guys crushed bass and walleyes from Stockton up to Bull’s Island with live minnows, bucktails, Zoom Grubs and Rapala crankbaits. Now the numbers on smallies are dropping off but the fish that were caught were running 14 to 19 inches. Now fishing along the shoreline across from Bryan ramp Larry picked up 27 smallies and a 19-inch walleye fishing Monday evening. All the bass were 10 to 13 inches and all caught with minnows. Off the New Hope wing dam still some decent numbers of smallies hitting minnows, nightcrawlers and grubs.
The lower river has not changed much with plenty of catfish hitting bunker, chunked eels, chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Most of these fish have been running 1 to 4 pounds. Now there were a few bass picked up back in Dredge Harbor with live minnows, Senko worms and Zoom lizards.
Just talked to one fisherman that had a great week on carp on the Schuylkill River in the Gray’s Ferry section. Different boilies pop up and home made carp bait brought in fish up to 20 pounds. Same water Joe said the catfish and yellow perch are hitting nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Up above the dam the catfish crew said fishing dropped off big time this past week with the cold nights. Over the entire week 8 to 15 guys ended up with 17 catfish 1 to 7 pounds.
Only on report from the Pennypack with this fisherman catching 1 trout, 4 bluegills and a 6-pound carp fishing Roosevelt Boulevard. Corn and mealworms were his bait of choice. The fish hatchery was pretty good for 1 to 2 pound bass fishing live minnows for a few different guys. Core Creek still been very good for bass fishing the upper end with spinner baits, Senko worms and mid range crankbaits. Nockamixon bass fishing really picked up with 4 different reports. One fisherman off the dam picked up smallies up to 6 pounds with live minnows. His buddy fished up the lake a bit catching largemouth bass up to 4 pounds all with rubber skirted jigs tipped with brush hogs. Third report came from John who is still doing well off the docks with 12 to14 inch crappies fishing small tubes, twister tails and marabou jigs. Now the last guy did nothing on bass but drifting live minnows he picked up 11 pickerel up to 18 inches.
Jerry still doing well on his Jersey lakes with crappies, yellow perch, bass and pickerel fishing live minnows and twister tails on the different lakes off Routes 55 and 47. Richie picked up a couple 3 pound bass with 7-inch power worms on Lake Lenape with a bunch of pickerel. His buddies down the river are crushing stripers 18 to 26 inches with shad bodies and metal spoons. Batso Lake one fisherman did very well with pickerel, bass and perch fishing minnows, shiners and yellow twister tails. He talked to a fisherman that picked up pickerel up to 20 inches in some of the cut offs on the Mullica River with bigger CP Swings and Rooster Tails. Tom started back out for Muskies fishing the entire week on Lake Hapatcong fishing big spoons, jerk baits, big Rapala’s and bigger Whopper Ploppers. Six days of fishing he landed 6 fish 24, 27, 27, 30,31 and the big fish were 39 inches. He also picked up over 20 pickerel and 2 good size smallies.
I know it is a short report but that is all I heard. Lets hope this wind lays down to allow the boats to get off shore more often. Good luck, Bill
Fished the Cape May reef early in the week throwing all kinds of white and bunker shad bodies, 3 to 5 ounce metal spoons and even fished a dozen live eels. After 8 hours we caught 25 stripers without one keeper. The only keeper I seen caught was trolled up with a large deep crankbait and this fish was not much over 30 inches. Bob C.