When to Surf Fish
Regardless of where you start surfcasting New Jersey, be sure to follow local regulations. For example, while most beaches allow surfcasting in non-guarded locations, some only allow surf fishing during non-guarded hours. Still other spots may require a seasonal parking permit or beach badge. But the real key to the “when” of surfcasting is knowing the time to head out.
Jersey Shore surf fishing is best if you follow the eating habits of the species you’re after. For most anglers, that means you should plan to head out before dawn and in the early morning hours or before dusk. There will also be fewer beachgoers around during these times as well.
And don’t forget to pay attention to the tide since high tide drives fish to feed, making it easier to increase your catch rates.
Surf Fishing Gear
When fishing from shore, the key is to have the right rod. You’ll want to get one that’s longer than a standard size so you can cast as far as possible to catch larger fish.
For your line, anglers who enjoy surf fishing use either monofilament or braided types. It’s also essential to master saltwater fishing knots. Start by matching your knot to your needs by reviewing the most popular types like the Palomar or surgeon’s.
While artificial lures are popular when surfcasting New Jersey, live bait like shrimp tends to be best. And remember that bare feet can mean big problems so if you plan to stand in the water, it’s wise to get sandals to prevent injuries from rocks or even jellyfish.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, here are some popular surf fishing spots for those who wish to try their hand at Jersey Shore surf fishing. While many surfcasters set their sights on the northern Jersey Shore, don’t miss out on the southern part of the state. Those “flat” beaches can yield some pretty spectacular opportunities to land not only crabs, but also striped bass, if you know where to look.
Seven miles of pristine beach make this a desirable area in the northern part of the state. Bordered by the Atlantic on the east and Sandy Hook Bay on the west, the spot where the currents meet is dubbed “The Rip” and is a great location to catch striped bass and bluefish.
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
One of 13 active lighthouses in the state, Barnegat Light is located at the northern tip of Long Beach Island. The location is great for surf fishing whether you choose the productive jetty, striped bass-rich town beaches or bayside area with public bulkhead. The south jetty contains a walkway and handrails to allow easier access for disabled anglers.
Island Beach State Park
10 miles of undeveloped barrier beach between the Atlantic and Barnegat Bay make this a well-known spot for excellent surfcasting. Striped bass, bluefish, fluke, weakfish and kingfish are all common catches in the summer months. While you’re there, take in the wildlife and more than 400 species of plants.
From sport fishing to recreational outings, there’s a lot of year-round action in Ocean City. In addition to dropping a line from the 635-ft on-ocean fishing pier, surfcast the north and south ends of the municipal beach, visit the 5th Street jetty and be sure to head over to Corson’s Inlet State Park – where the Rush Chattin Bridge was specifically created for saltwater anglers – for more Jersey Shore surf fishing fun.
Miles of beaches and accessible jetties around the peninsula make finding a good spot for fishing from shore easy. Where according to locals, the stripers aren’t “keepers” unless they measure 28 inches or longer, with the right bait and tackle, you’ll be rewarded for heading to New Jersey’s most southern tip.
Tips for Surfcasting New Jersey
For a safe and productive day at the beach, here are some tips to follow.
- Check out your location at low tide to note hollows and banks as well as potential hazards like razorfish
- Pay attention to the weather, waves and undertow and always let someone know where you’re fishing
- Consider a rod holder to give yourself a break and enjoy the view