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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm fairly new to surf fishing. I've been reading up a lot to prepare myself for this spring/summer. But I have a basic question. Where does a guy from Philly go for surf fishing in NJ? I checked out the maps, and Point Pleasant seems the nearest beach. I know NOTHING about surfs in the NJ beach area.

Do you guys have any suggestions? I really appreciate your input/suggestions. Thanks.
 

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I usually fish between Sea Isle City and Cape May Point. I have never fished as far north as Point Pleasant so I can't speak for that area.

I don't think there are any bad spots on the beach but some spots are more consistent than others. Get to know the guys in the bait and tackle shops and they will point you in the right direction. Often if you fish the same spots at the same times you will run in to the same fisherman. Get to know them and maybe they will share some info.

I expect to start getting fish off the beach by the end of April. You have plenty of time to get squared away and try out a few spots before the spring run of stripers begins. Best of luck this spring/summer.
 

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Get to know the guys in the bait and tackle shops and they will point you in the right direction. Often if you fish the same spots at the same times you will run in to the same fisherman. Get to know them and maybe they will share some info.
Agreed. Pick a stretch of beach where you can safely park your car during the hours you want to fish (dawn or dusk, day or night) and invest time and dollars in the area. You can meet fellow fishermen at the local tackle shop, deli and/or watering hole. If you are north of the city, the Manasquan Inlet area (Point Pleasant) is an easy drive across 195. The Seaside area isn't bad if you leave early and get through Cherry Hill AND Toms River. I fish Cape May County a lot but after 20 years, it's my home turf. There are more fish on the beach in Ocean County.

Summer weekends are a different story. Good luck with the traffic.
 

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I'm fairly new to surf fishing. I've been reading up a lot to prepare myself for this spring/summer. But I have a basic question. Where does a guy from Philly go for surf fishing in NJ? I checked out the maps, and Point Pleasant seems the nearest beach. I know NOTHING about surfs in the NJ beach area.

Do you guys have any suggestions? I really appreciate your input/suggestions. Thanks.
Belmar is closer by about 10 miles or so. Just about any beach in NJ before Memorial Day and after labor Day. You'll have to find your 'own' beach(s) that you are comfortable + happy with. Read all the fish reports-as many as u can.

Fishing Reports Now..New Jersey fishing... is a good site that lists B+T reports all along NJ -- from Sandy Hook to cape May.
 

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You've obviously never tried to drive to Point Pleasant if you think it's the closest beach. :D

The beach town you can reach in the shortest amount of time from Philly is, believe it or not, Atlantic City. It's not the closest town in terms of distance, but to get to other spots, you either have to take a circuitous route or take single-lane roads. Take Island Beach State Park, for example: to get there from Philly, you either have to take 95 to 295 to 195, or you have to take Route 70 from the Ben Franklin Bridge all the way to Toms River. Once you get past South Jersey suburban hell, Route 70 is actually a very nice drive (I love driving through the Pine Barrens), but getting through the godawful Cherry Hill-Medford metroplex seems to take forever. With the A.C. Expressway, you can be on the beach in Frantic City in about an hour. This is the reason that Brigantine is so popular with Philly anglers - it's right next to A.C., and you can be there pretty fast.

That said, where you want to focus your angling attention will depend on how you want to fish. Do you want to be a daytime bait guy? A nighttime eeler? Do you want to fish with wood plugs 100% of the time? These kinds of things will matter, because the best spots for these methods vary, as does (and this is important) how crowded the beaches get.

Generally speaking, the catching from shore is more consistent farther north. But this comes with a catch: the beaches up there are more crowded, and access, especially parking, can be harder in the North than in the south.

The crown jewel of the entire New Jersey coast is Island Beach State Park, but to get the most out of IBSP, you really need a buggy. I would suggest joining a club, and/or bumming a ride with someone from Philly who buggies there. You'll get the lay of the land, and will learn a lot more than you'll learn on your own.
 

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Belmar is closer by about 10 miles or so. Just about any beach in NJ before Memorial Day and after labor Day. You'll have to find your 'own' beach(s) that you are comfortable + happy with. Read all the fish reports-as many as u can.

Fishing Reports Now..New Jersey fishing... is a good site that lists B+T reports all along NJ -- from Sandy Hook to cape May.
Don't forget the fishing reports from On The Water magazine. I know those guys and they are always there for you. As Billo said, it's a matter of finding your own comfort zone. Your profile says Jenkintown I would also give Brigantine a shot. Straight down the WHP from 73. You can get a beach pass there. But it's important to learn the lay of the land and be comfortable wherever you go. Feel free to email me when you have an area and I will tell you which shops to stop in. Most of the Bait and Tackle guys will be glad to give you some local directions.
 

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I live in Woodbury ,about 5 mins out from the WW bridge and always traveled to AC or Brigantine because they were the closest it would take me about an hour.Now I go to the more northern beaches ,it takes an extra 30 mins or so but its worth it.Wherever you go,hit the local bait shop and ask where the fish are and they'll point you in the right direction. Using bait is gonna be a little easier for a beginner so I'd go that direction.Use the "search " button and do some research on "reading the water" and learn to find structure on the beach,you'll be a lot more successful.
 

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I think brigantine is the most over rated beach for striped bass. Everytime I'm there I have yet to see anyone hook up, and have only one keeper there in probably 12 trips. I've been there day, night, and it seems like theres never bass around. I've had much better success north and south of brig. Maybe I'm a jinx in brig like I was last spring on Poverty beach. :wave: <--- If you see me you might as well go home
 

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Ditto on the OnThewater.com reports (obviously), you might as well go where the catching is....

I'll also second Island Beach, simply because of it's beauty, and all of the different options the park offers. You can bait fish, plug, jump the jetty, wade the back... and it is a place worth investing your time in to learn what your are doing. Also, make a few trips there and you will connect with some of the regulars, and their advice is priceless....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you everyone for your suggestions. It sounds like I should make a few trips anyway, check out the various towns/beach areas, and talk to the local tackle/bait shop guys, and figure out that way.

I'm thinking of starting with a bait-based fishing approach using 2 rods that I recently purchased (Penn Prevail and Daiwa Beefstick, and Penn battle spinning reels).

Would 1st weekend in April be a good time to get started or should I delay by a few days?
 

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First week of april is usually an ok starting time but this year may be delayed a little due to colder water. Some striper are being picked at now but mostly back bays and rivers. I think better surf fishing starts more mid to end of april. And by mid may fish should be starting out of the deleware river and up the coast.
 

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Would 1st weekend in April be a good time to get started or should I delay by a few days?
Wait. Check the ocean water temperatures, and don't go until the temp in the surf hits 50. The temp in A.C. today is a frigid 39, so we're still a ways off from that. For front-facing beaches, the first week of April is always early, and that's even more true this year, because the winter has been so cold, and spring figures to be late this year.

You can fish as early as you want, of course. You're just extremely unlikely to catch anything when the water is as cold as it is now. Waiting until at least the third week of April will give you a much better shot of hooking up.
 

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I think brigantine is the most over rated beach for striped bass. Everytime I'm there I have yet to see anyone hook up, and have only one keeper there in probably 12 trips. I've been there day, night, and it seems like theres never bass around. I've had much better success north and south of brig. Maybe I'm a jinx in brig like I was last spring on Poverty beach. <--- If you see me you might as well go home
please post your pic, Andy can put out a BOLO on you :wave:
 

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Ditto on the OnThewater.com reports (obviously), you might as well go where the catching is....

I'll also second Island Beach, simply because of it's beauty, and all of the different options the park offers. You can bait fish, plug, jump the jetty, wade the back... and it is a place worth investing your time in to learn what your are doing. Also, make a few trips there and you will connect with some of the regulars, and their advice is priceless....
AFAIK, no jetty jumping at IBSP this year due to work on the North Jetty.

Personally, traveling so far, I'd wait a bit in April, say 2nd or 3rd week and then do check for at least reasonable water temps (approaching 50 in the ocean).
 

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You've obviously never tried to drive to Point Pleasant if you think it's the closest beach. :D

The beach town you can reach in the shortest amount of time from Philly is, believe it or not, Atlantic City. It's not the closest town in terms of distance, but to get to other spots, you either have to take a circuitous route or take single-lane roads. Take Island Beach State Park, for example: to get there from Philly, you either have to take 95 to 295 to 195, or you have to take Route 70 from the Ben Franklin Bridge all the way to Toms River. Once you get past South Jersey suburban hell, Route 70 is actually a very nice drive (I love driving through the Pine Barrens), but getting through the godawful Cherry Hill-Medford metroplex seems to take forever. With the A.C. Expressway, you can be on the beach in Frantic City in about an hour. This is the reason that Brigantine is so popular with Philly anglers - it's right next to A.C., and you can be there pretty fast.

That said, where you want to focus your angling attention will depend on how you want to fish. Do you want to be a daytime bait guy? A nighttime eeler? Do you want to fish with wood plugs 100% of the time? These kinds of things will matter, because the best spots for these methods vary, as does (and this is important) how crowded the beaches get.

Generally speaking, the catching from shore is more consistent farther north. But this comes with a catch: the beaches up there are more crowded, and access, especially parking, can be harder in the North than in the south.

The crown jewel of the entire New Jersey coast is Island Beach State Park, but to get the most out of IBSP, you really need a buggy. I would suggest joining a club, and/or bumming a ride with someone from Philly who buggies there. You'll get the lay of the land, and will learn a lot more than you'll learn on your own.
Been fishing the surf,jetties,inlets + off boats since the mid 70's...
From JEKINTOWN - PT.PLEASANT + BELMAR is the closest... 71 miles 80 minutes taking the PA.TPK -to NJ - 195 straight to either beach town. I live in WILLOW GROVE -3 miles North of JENKINTOWN. Have done MOST of my fishing from Corsons to the Cape May Ferry area until the last couple years.
Been on a couple charters/pb's out of Belmar + Pt.Pleasant as well surf around SSP.

Getting to Pt.Pleasant/Belmar EASIEST 80 minutes to the beach(from the Jenkintown area) - HANDS DOWN !
 

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Thank you everyone for your suggestions. It sounds like I should make a few trips anyway, check out the various towns/beach areas, and talk to the local tackle/bait shop guys, and figure out that way.

I'm thinking of starting with a bait-based fishing approach using 2 rods that I recently purchased (Penn Prevail and Daiwa Beefstick, and Penn battle spinning reels).

Would 1st weekend in April be a good time to get started or should I delay by a few days?
If you have time to fish now and you are new to surf fishing it would not hurt you to give it a try asap. That way you can learn to deal with any unexpected circumstances and you will be ready to go once the fish show up. One example is there is a particular beach I fish where a NE wind over 25mph combined with an incoming tide that I cannot hold bait on the bottom even with 8 ounces of lead so I know under those conditions it is best to fish another beach. You only learn these things by putting in some time.

If you do head out this weekend don't get bummed if you don't catch. This is not the time to be burning the candle at both ends trying to put a catch together. There are fish to be had in April but May will give you the best chance of landing some fish from the beach. Good luck this spring!!
 

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AFAIK, no jetty jumping at IBSP this year due to work on the North Jetty.
.
Yep, forgot to mention that. According to the schedule, it should be done by Fall.
 

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If you have time to fish now and you are new to surf fishing it would not hurt you to give it a try asap. That way you can learn to deal with any unexpected circumstances and you will be ready to go once the fish show up. One example is there is a particular beach I fish where a NE wind over 25mph combined with an incoming tide that I cannot hold bait on the bottom even with 8 ounces of lead so I know under those conditions it is best to fish another beach. You only learn these things by putting in some time.

If you do head out this weekend don't get bummed if you don't catch. This is not the time to be burning the candle at both ends trying to put a catch together. There are fish to be had in April but May will give you the best chance of landing some fish from the beach. Good luck this spring!!
I agree with this. Also don't get bummed if you don't catch since surf fishing has the worst odds. The best guys in this sport still get skunked after 30 years of fishing and add in the fact you don't live at the beach so you are far this in tune with what is going on. Some guys on here are checking multiple spots each day/night. The might only fish for a short time to get a feel for things but that can be a huge advantage.

So go when you can. I'm also a PA fisherman as well. It takes almost as long to go south as it does to go north which makes picking a spot harder. It's easy for Cape May guys to fish there so why drive three hours north? The same is true for the North and Central guys. I would advise you to pick a beach/area and learn it instead of driving all over the place...that is unless someone reliable tips you off on when and where the fish are biting.
 

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A.C., the absecon inlet, and brigantine are only 1 hour from center city. Lots of fishing spots. There are plenty of jetties and inlet spots. and more than a few walkable beach areas. But I have to admit I think I fished the area out ;-) I might try ibsp this year.
 

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I've fished from Ashbury park down to Avalon there were some good locations and some that are just eh . I like belmar a lot and ashbury.
 
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