Striped bass are without a doubt the most sought after gamefish that frequent our waters of Northern Ocean County throughout the year. With seasonal restrictions with other popular species like fluke, winter flounder, tautog, and other species, stripers come to the forefront in our angling community from April to January.
The Point Pleasant Striper Season can be broken down into two completely separate seasons, spring and fall.
• The spring striper season runs from roughly the end of April through the first week of July. The spring season is more of a bait fishery, for typically bigger fish.
• The fall striper season runs from around October 1st through January 15th, give or take a few weeks on either end because of extreme weather (tropical or cold). The fall fishery features more fishing with artificials, but for smaller stripers.
In the Point Pleasant area, spring fishing kicks in gear by late April and can last into July. The early spring fishing (April into mid May) is typically a clam and worm fishery, taking place in areas where the waters will be the warmest – in tidal rivers and bays, as well as the shallows along the beaches on the ocean side. Typically, with this early fishery, we fish an area that is holding stripers by anchoring over readings or structure, cracking whole skimmer clams, sending a chum pot down full of clam bellies, and fishing whole clams on fish finder rigs As the waters warm, a jigging-trolling-plugging fishery develops as smaller baitfish like rainfish and sandeels re-enter our area. Spring jigging brings a lot of bluefish on the boat, but bass can be real whoppers topping the forty pound mark, or even better. Jigging metals like AVA’s, crippled herrings, krocodile spoons, butterfly jigs, or other shiny metals brings bass to the boat in short order. Trolling is typically done with bunker spoons or shad rigs over structure, and plugging is done when the fish are up on top and you can cast big wood plugs at the fish.
When the adult bunker arrive – our fishery pretty much turns into a livelining game. We fish whole, live bunker around bunker pods targeting trophy stripers of twenty-five pounds and greater – this fishery can be incredible as you can see these huge bass blasting adult bunker right out of the water when the bite is on!! The bunker fishery can occur anytime from Mid May into Mid July, but typically I like to see it as a Memorial Day to Independence day fishery.
Summer time in Point Pleasant is strictly fluke and bluefish season – but once the end of September starts to roll around we start gearing up for the fall run of stripers. Typically in the fall, the bass are more numerous then they are in the spring, but they tend to run a tad smaller.
From the time the bait starts to migrate out of the inlets, first mullet, then rainfish and peanut bunker, and the ever-present sandeels, then finally herring mackerel and whiting, the fishery is an artificial-first fishery. Jigging, plugging, and trolling again take center stage with the jig fishery being the most reliable, and most exciting!
Typically we look for fish schooling up on the surface, where blitz fishing is common, and if that is not occurring, we use the fishfinder to find the fish for us, and we send the jigs down to the bottom where the stripers are feeding on scraps from feeding fish above. We typically catch A LOT of fish in the fall, but the size is smaller. Again, lots of voracious bluefish join the mix, along with false albacore and bonito through early October.
Striper fishing in Point Pleasant is incredible, and if you try hard enough, you can catch them roughly ten months of the year. They are a great sportfish, taste great on the grill, and are a challenging adversary for catch & release anglers. Come on out!
Capt Allen Gonzalez
Reel Class Sportfishing, LLC
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ