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Fishing Guide for Atlantic City, Wildwood, Cape May, New Jersey Shore, Pier, Shore Spots

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The wide variety of freshwater and saltwater fishing locations in the Jersey Shore is no fluke - the region has 127 miles of Atlantic Ocean coast and nearly 83 miles of bay shores. Pier fishing, surf fishing, deep-sea fishing, and even pond, lake, and reservoir fishing attract aficionados (or, better said, a-fish-ionados) to the Jersey Shore every year. Progressive management, stocking programs, and an innovative artificial reef system are what make fishing fanatics spout nothing but praises for the Jersey Shore.

Fishing piers and public boat ramps are ubiquitous in the Jersey Shore making fishing accessible even for wheelchair-bound anglers.
Saltwater fishing in New Jersey does not require a license, but freshwater and trout fishing does. A seven-day vacation license costs about $20 and a two-day license costs under $10. Trout stamps cost $20 apiece, but two free fishing days in June permit freshwater fishing without a license or trout stamp. For more information about how to obtain a New Jersey Fishing License, consult the New Jersey Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Freshwater Fishing Trip Locations in the Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore offers a plethora of freshwater fishing spots throughout the region, many of which are recommended below:
  • Lake of the Lillies (20-acres) in Point Pleasant Beach, for largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel, and sunfish.
  • Deal Lake (158-acres) in Asbury Park, for largemouth bass, pickerel, catfish, carp, musky, crappie, and sunfish.
  • Shadow Lake (88-acres) in Red Bank, for yellow perch, catfish, channel catfish, carp, and crappie.

Saltwater Fly Fishing Trips along the Jersey Shore

There are numerous fly fishing and surfcasting saltwater fishing hot spots in the Jersey Shore where anglers can catch striped bass, blue claws, bluefish, stripers, weakfish, and fluke in the Jersey Shore.

Here are some of the better locations from which to cast your line:
  • Sandy Hook Bay - The entrance to Sandy Hook Bay, in particular, is excellent for striped bass, weakfish, and bluefish. If you head north of Plum Island, you will find Skeleton Island and Spermaceti Cove. Longrodder often hide in the channels, flats, and drop-offs. Surf fishing is also allowed and is quite popular along the beach near Parking Area F and just beyond Parking Area B.
  • Highlands - This is the area in which to fish for “Jersey Jumbos” (bluefish), near Shrewsbury Rocks and Ambrose Light Tower. The best season is from July-September; follow the flight of flocking seagulls - they will likely circle above the schools of fish.
  • The area along the strip of coastline between Sea Bright and Long Branch is excellent for catching stripers, blues, weakfish, and false albacore. Shrewsbury Rocks is the place to catch trophy bass, and, in the fall, peanut bunker. The backwaters of the Shark River Inlet (near Avon-By-The-Sea) are good for stripers and weakfish.
  • In northern Barnegat Bay, head out by boat to Herring Island, where you'll find Gunner's Ditch - the most prominent weakfish hole in the bay.
  • For the best fly fishing in Ocean County, head to Island Beach State Park. Waders will likely hook stripers, blues, or weakfish on the bayside of the island in the spring. The fall months are best for mullet, peanut bunker, and bay anchovies.
  • Cape May, particularly Wildwood and Stone Harbor, is irrefutably one of the best saltwater fly fishing spots in the U.S. The fishing season runs from March-June with the peak being late April/early May. White perch, small bass, weakfish, bluefish, seas bass, flounder, and northern stargazers are prevalent in this area, and many people catch up to four species in a single day.

Saltwater Fishing Charters along the Jersey Shore

Saltwater fishing charters for blackfish, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, and flounder (among others) are ubiquitous throughout the Jersey Shore, but Belmar is the Jersey Shore maritime mecca. Head to the Belmar Marina on the Shark River and you will find over 50 different watercraft willing to make daily fishing trips for blues, weakfish, blackfish, and albacore; many companies operate year-round. Other fishing party boat and charter companies are concentrated around Highlands, Atlantic Highlands, Sandy Hook, Brielle, and Point Pleasant. Most charter companies will give you your cleaned and cut catch at the end of the day.

Saltwater Fishing Piers on the Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore's numerous piers provide easy and dry, convenient, comfortable, and handicap-accessible locations for superb saltwater fishing:
  • Raritan Bay: Keansburg Fishing Pier, William A. Ralph Municipal Pier (Keyport), and Keyport Fishing Pier
  • Atlantic Ocean: Margate Fishing Pier, Ventnor City Fishing Pier, Seaside Heights Fishing Pier, and Ocean City Fishing Club
  • Absecon Inlet: Old Brigantine Bridge
  • Barnegat Bay: Beach Haven Pier and Seaside Heights Fishing Piers

Artificial Reef Sites on the Jersey Shore

There are 15 artificial reefs off the Jersey Shore region's Atlantic Ocean waters, which double as great saltwater fishing spots. Old ships, barges, and dredged rock teem with shellfish, crustaceans, sea bass, black fish, porgy, summer flounder, trigger fish, and lobster, among countless other species. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has created a map of the artificial reef sites.

Fishing Spots in Atlantic City, Wildwood, Cape May, New Jersey Shore

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