Surf fishing in New Jersey is incredibly popular. New Jersey’s coastal waters provide diverse fishing spots, including sandy beaches, jetties, inlets, and back bays. Local bait and tackle shops cater to surf anglers, offering a wide range of equipment, bait, and expert advice.
8 Best Surf Fishing Locations in New Jersey
1. Cape May Point
Located at the southernmost tip of New Jersey, Cape May Point is a renowned destination for surf fishing. It provides access to both Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, offering opportunities to catch species such as striped bass, weakfish, flounder, and bluefish. The Cape May Canal, located near Cape May Point, is also a popular fishing spot.
Cape May Point features several piers and jetties and the most popular spots to fish striped bass include Cape May Pier and Sunset Beach Jetty.
2. Long Beach Island
Long Beach Island, a barrier island in Ocean County features long stretches of beach that provide access to various species, including striped bass, bluefish, fluke, and black drum.
Long Beach Island’s back bay areas, including Barnegat Bay and Little Egg Harbor, are very popular spots. Look also for Seaside Park located along the Barnegat Bay. Seaside Park features fishing piers that extend into the water, providing access to deeper areas and increasing your chances of catching fish.
3. Island Beach State Park
Located in Ocean County, Island Beach State Park provides miles of shoreline for surf fishing. It is known for striped bass, bluefish, fluke (summer flounder), and weakfish.
The park provides several access points and there are designated parking areas where you can park your vehicle and easily access the beach for fishing.
The Belmar Marina is a popular starting point for fishing excursions in the area. It offers boat rentals, charters, and a bait and tackle shop where you can get supplies and information about current fishing conditions.
The Shark River Inlet, located near Belmar, provides access to both saltwater and freshwater fishing. The Belmar Fishing Pier is also a popular spot for fishing. It extends into the Atlantic Ocean and gives you access to deeper water.
5. Sandy Hook
Situated at the northern tip of the Jersey Shore, Sandy Hook is known for its abundant striped bass runs during the spring and fall seasons.
The bay side of Sandy Hook provides access to calmer waters, making it suitable for fishing from kayaks, canoes, or small boats. The North Pier and the Bay Avenue Pier are your best bet.
6. Brigantine Island
The north end beaches of Brigantine Island are great spots to surf fish. The back bay areas around the island, including the waters around Absecon Inlet and Brigantine Cove, are also a favorite of anglers.
Also check: Complete Guide to Fishing in Brigantine, NJ
The Manasquan Inlet is another great place for surf fishing. You can also fish the Manasquan River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Manasquan Reservoir is a freshwater reservoir located in Howell and Farmingdale, not far from Manasquan. It provides excellent fishing opportunities for species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, perch, and more.
8. Ocean City
Popular surf fishing spots in Ocean City include the 34th Street beach, the 59th Street beach, and the beaches near the Ocean City-Longport Bridge.
What’s more, the Ocean City Fishing Pier, located near the boardwalk, offers a designated fishing area for anglers.
What Is the Best Time of Year for Surf Fishing in New Jersey?
Fall is considered the prime time for surf fishing in New Jersey. It is the season of the “fall run,” when striped bass, bluefish, and other migratory species move south along the coast.
Spring is known for the arrival of striped bass and bluefish along the New Jersey coastline. As the water temperatures rise, these species migrate northward, providing excellent opportunities for surf anglers. Fluke (summer flounder) also become more active in the spring.
The summer months offer a wide variety of fish species for surf fishing in New Jersey. In addition to striped bass, bluefish, and fluke, you can target weakfish, blackfish, kingfish, and various species of sharks. Warm water temperatures attract these fish closer to shore.
What Kind of Bait is Best for Surf Fishing in NJ?
- Bunker (Menhaden): Bunker is a commonly used bait for surf fishing in New Jersey. It is an oily fish that attracts larger predatory species like striped bass and bluefish.
- Clams: Clams, such as surf or razor clams, are great bait for striped bass, fluke, and blackfish. They can be used whole or cut into strips.
- Sandworms and Bloodworms: They are effective for catching striped bass, weakfish, and kingfish in the surf.
- Mullet: Mullet can be used live, dead, or cut into chunks. Mullet attracts striped bass, bluefish, and other predatory species.
- Squid: Squid is a versatile bait option that attracts fluke, blackfish, bluefish, and striped bass. It can be used whole or cut into strips.
In addition to natural baits, lures like bucktails, swimbaits, spoons, and metal jigs can imitate baitfish and attract predatory fish.
Do You Need a Permit to Surf Fish in NJ?
Yes, you need a permit to surf fish in New Jersey. The specific permit required for surf fishing is called the New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program (NJ Saltwater Fishing Registry).
This registry is mandatory for all anglers ages 16 and older who are fishing in marine and tidal waters of New Jersey, including surf fishing.
Anglers fishing from a for-hire vessel (party boat or charter boat) that has a valid marine fishing license are exempt from the registry. Additionally, anglers fishing in freshwater (non-tidal) areas are also exempt.
Anglers can register for the NJ Saltwater Fishing Registry online through the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife website. The registration process is quick and straightforward,