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Saltwater Fish in NJ

The saltwater bodies of New Jersey are among the most popular fishing destinations for anglers. Make the most of your outing by learning common species to target and how to land them.

NJ Saltwater Fish Species

If you’re planning a saltwater fishing trip in New Jersey, you’re in luck! The state’s bays and coastlines are filled with a variety of popular species. Some of the most common fish species in New Jersey’s saltwater bodies are:

  • Striped Bass: This coastal favorite is popular game fish in the state for the fun and flavor it offers anglers. Just be aware of catch limits that may be in place for this beloved fish.
  • Fluke: According to the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, the fluke is probably the most sought-after fish by the state’s recreational anglers. And with its voracious appetite, you’ll likely have good luck hooking one!
  • Swordfish: This billfish species is commonly found along New Jersey’s coast in the deep ocean waters and gives up a good fight for a fun day on the water.
  • Winter Flounder: Most plentiful between Raritan and Barnegat Bay, this species of fish is a bottom dweller. For the best chance of success, use a chum bucket or other item to stir up the bottom a bit.
  • Bluefish: Bluefish can be found up and down New Jersey’s coast, in bays, and out in the open ocean. Since they travel in packs, the odds of catching one are pretty good!
  • Weakfish: Arriving in New Jersey around April each year, the best way to catch this more elusive species with by chumming with live shrimp.
  • Shark: If you’re looking to land a shark, New Jersey offers plenty of options, with species like tiger, hammerhead, make and blue sharks regularly found along the state’s coast.

Best NJ Saltwater Fishing Spots

Knowing what’s in New Jersey’s waters is one thing, but finding them is another! The best saltwater fishing spots in NJ are typically determined based on your target species, their migratory behavior, and feeding habits. Depending on what you’re after, you’ll likely want to target some of the most popular saltwater spots in the state, like Monmouth County and Ocean County. These areas includes lots of towns and townships that are home to marinas, piers, beaches, and more opportunities for fishing from shore as well as boat launches that allow you to venture into deeper waters. If you don’t have a boat, you can also book a fishing charter. The captains of these operations know just where the fish are biting and can schedule an outing to maximize your catch rates.

Catching Saltwater Fish in NJ

The tackle and techniques for landing saltwater fish can differ from that needed to catch freshwater species. To optimize your outing, it’s best to prepare by learning how to catch saltwater fish. Perhaps the biggest factor affecting your success with saltwater fishing is understanding the fundamental difference between fresh and saltwater. One of the most important things to learn is the impact of tidal currents on the areas you’re planning to fish and use the movements to your advantage. You’ll also want to pay attention to the effect of salt on your reel or hardware. Because of the impact of saltwater on your line, you’ll also want to buy a good quality rod and reel that will hold up to constant exposure to saltwater.