Tag: where are the striped bass biting biting

The essence of November


A Striped bass I caught while targeting speckled trout.

A  striped bass I caught from the sand, 11-10-2014

The first breath of the November woods ends my saltwater fishing season. Bowhunting  has my full attention at this point. I logged well over 100  saltwater fishing trips  this year, I will post a season review soon.

Striped bass continue to be the best bite in Cape May County waters. However, do not expect to drive the beaches and find them schooled up under the birds. The beaches have produced very few stripers this season, reserved for the skilled and dedicated fishermen. The same way for the rips and traditional fall chunking spots in the Delaware Bay, so far. I had 47 degree water temperature at my dock today, 49 degrees at my fishing spot in the back waters.


Chip Gruff  worked the rocks for this striped bass.

Chip Gruff worked the rocks for this striped bass.


Chris shows a nice striped bass. 11-2014

Chris shows a nice striped bass. 11-2014


NJ Red drum and speckled trout


 One of today's striped bass, at the end of the fight.

One of today’s striped bass, at the end of the fight.

I fished numerous areas for them, and applied a ridiculous amount of effort.  I found clean water, baitfish and the correct water temperature, not a hit. Not even a rumor of a New Jersey red drum or speckled trout being caught, to spite prime conditions this past week. The only way I avoid getting skunked, is by cherry picking striped bass on the way home.    Worst October for Jersey reds and speckled trout in a lifetime, so far.

Two Jersey specks

Two Jersey specks


How much effort does it take ?



This striper made some drag screaming runs , that included pulling the  skiff.

This striper made some drag screaming runs , that included pulling the skiff. 10-2014

There is a pretty good swing in the amount of effort it takes to catch fish. When you have  the right conditions and  knowledge  coupled with a large number of fish,  your chances of catching fish are best. As the fish numbers  decreases, the amount of effort, knowledge  and time it takes to catch them increases. The number of sport fishermen also decreases with each step of difficulty. Long before any fish management authority declares the Striped bass or any other game fish over-fished, the ability to catch fish is out of reach for most.

In the past, many  striped bass  fishermen caught ,100, 500 and a few hit 1000  28″ keepers in a season here in Cape May County, NJ. Most of these exact fishermen have not caught a striped bass this season, let alone a keeper.  Weakfish, at one point recreational fishermen  would line up at fish dealers like Jack king’s,  with hundreds of  weakfish to sell. I doubt, if any of these fishermen could catch a single weakfish using the same fishing techniques  today.

The good news is the Striped bass and weakfish population numbers  are good enough for the (skill sharp) angler to consistently catch. However,  an adjustment of expectations is  necessary for anyone striped bass fishing this season.

Here is the new norm:  25 striped bass for the season,  including shorts , is  obtainable for the weekend fisherman. A 100 striped bass season is within reach for those that are able to pick their days.

Many skill sharp anglers that dedicated their time targeting weakfish, during primetime,  caught 25 weakfish for the 2014 season.  An elite few hit 100 weakfish for the season. I would say a good 95% of these weakfish were released.

The jury is still out on New Jersey red drum and speckled trout for the 2014 season.

A beautiful late summer  weakfish.

A beautiful late summer weakfish.


Cape May County ‘s resident striped bass


Wayne shows one of today's stripers

One of today’s striped bass

Striped bass fishing in Cape May County, NJ  has been  dependent upon our local striper population, so far this season. The conditions necessary for the migratory fish to  show up , wind direction, water temperature and other factors, have not lined up yet and may not. Mother nature dictates the conditions, every year is unique.   However, if you arm yourself with information specific to fishing for our resident striped bass,  your catch rate will skyrocket. Watch for upcoming articles in On The Water  magazine (New York/New Jersey)  for detailed information on this subject.

Striped bass play on the flats


Wayne with his first striped bass of the 2014 fall season

Wayne with his first striped bass of the 2014 fall season

Nothing frustrates a fisherman more than sighting a beautiful striped bass , only to find the striper is not interested in his offerings.  Crystal clear water and a sunny sky made it very easy to spot the fish on the open water  flats, but they would not hit any of our arsenal. We watched in awe as they terrorized the baitfish. We were  enjoying the striper show, but catching stripers was the order of the day.

We moved off to a new locating, we found the tide running a little harder coupled with a freshly clouded sky . On the first cast a 24″ striper put Wayne’s drag in motion, more action followed.  Hopefully we will get some NW wind in the near future. A south wind this time of the year really slows the bite. The water temperature is back up to 64 degrees.

October weakfish


Obviously,  there are still a few weakfish remaining in the back waters. My son caught 3, to 25″ last night. He also hooked some nice stripers and a few flounder.

I was out today in the back water striper fishing. No pictures today due to the driving rain. It was a real hunt to find the stripers on this trip. However, when I secured the gear for the run home, I had boated 8 stripers to 28″.

I spotted brant in the sound for the first time this season, ( before the rain). This is a good indicator that red drum, speckled trout and migrator striped bass are close by.