Early Season Striper fishing In Belmar, New Jersey (Jigging Required)
In New Jersey, particularly out of Belmar we experience an early season striper run like no where else on the Coast. In the early season when the boat pressure is minimal and the bait is schooled up tight it is not uncommon the catch 40 and 50 Stripers in just a few hours. The fish move in at various times each year, however when they arrive, it is with intent. Because these are typically smaller fish they feed vigorously in order to pack on pounds and less face it, they are no different than any other teenager, who will clean out your kitchen no matter how well stocked it is.
So the question remains, how do we approach finding (because they do not often feed on the surface) and catching these early season Stripers here in New Jersey? Often times when it is still really early in the season and we have not quite dialed in on the fish we will take the boat out, troll around and cover a lot of ground to find the schools of fish. The trick to finding them is not always reeling in whatever bites the line, but instead paying close attention to your electronics and knowing what each species of fish looks like on your screen. Some manufactures marks look different than others so it is important to be familiar and comfortable with the instruments that you are using. In addition it is even more important to know that your instruments are set correctly and that you know what each function on your machine does to either enhance or distort your understanding of what is below you. Now that you have your electronics set and you know what you are looking for, you can start putting together what it is you see on your screen, to what it is that comes up on the end of your line. For determining exactly what the bait is that I am reading you can use several different methods such as a cast net, sabiki rig, and if all else fails, open up the stomach of the fish and see what is in there, and again match the species up with what you see on your screen.
Well now that the leg work has been done and we found the Stripers, our next step is getting them on the hook. I have taken note of a couple different hard baits that work well for these fish in the early season and those include Diamond Jigs, Krocks, and Hogy’s on a heavy jig head. Therefore most of our fishing will be done by drifting, dropping our rigs right in front of the fish, and enticing them to bite by employing a few different jigging methods. The typical lift and drop has claimed many, many fish and is at the top of my methods list. Next we have the cast, sink and Slow retrieve/jig, which ideally works a couple feet off of the bottom and has proven deadly as well. In third place I keep the drop to the bottom and Jig/retrieve back up to the boat. Of course there are many different methods you could use, but in my opinion they are all just variations of these basics jigging methods. When you fish with the Jersey Nutz crew we help you fine tune your methods and all the anglers on the boat work together in order to find what is working best each time out. Our Captain and Mate will be right there with you giving you a hand and making sure everybody is having the best day that they can. It is important for us to know that you had the best experience possible and that we did not miss a chance to capitalize on a bite.
Our waters here off of Belmar, NJ offer distinct capabilities to be some of the most productive waters on the coast for Striped Bass during prime times of the year, however many people do not consider the early season to be a “Prime Time” but here on the Jersey Nutz, WE DO! And we would like to share this with our customers.