NOVEMBER FISHING IN NEW JERSEY
Fall is here and we’re ready to make you more prepared for life on the water. If you like bottom-fishing, then November is the month for you. Sea Gear Marine and Sea Gear Outfitters have your key essentials for this season and more. Learn more about what fish you can catch during the November fishing season in New Jersey.A RECAP OF NEW JERSEY REGULATIONS
2023 New Jersey Recreational Size Limits for November: Striped Bass is limited to 1 fish caught within 3 miles from shore, size 28” to 31”. Tautog is limited to 15” and just 1 fish before November 15th. From November 16th til the end of the year, Tautog is limited to 5 fish. As for Black Sea Bass size limits, New Jersey will allow 15 fish at 12.5” from November 1st-December 31st.
THE CHALLENGE: STRIPER
The temps have dropped and that means striper is on the move from our coast down to the Carolinas. Striped bass is one of the more exciting fish to catch as it’s the most sought after saltwater species from Maine to Virginia. Because they’re big and put up a fight, anglers enjoy the challenge of trying to catch striper.
Catching striper in New Jersey starts with the weather. Plan to head out in the mornings before sunrise or at low light, or in the evening when this fish is most active. During fall migration, striper extend their activity into daylight and on cloudy, overcast, or stormy days.
SEA GEAR TIP: If you’re casting from the shoreline or dropping anchor in the ocean, try our Grunden’s Neptune Thermo Anorak or Neptune Thermo Pants for full protection against rain, wind, and spray. Built with medium-weight polyurethane-coated fleece lined fabric, this jacket offers comfort and flexibility, too.
Follow the moon and tides for striped bass, too. The strong ocean wind currents are a favorite of the striper. This month, the new moon is November 13th, and the full moon is November 27th. Fishing three days before and after these dates could yield better results. As for the tide, every location varies. Some anglers report the best fishing is during slack tide while others say Inlet fishing during the outgoing tide is the way to go.
Striper will eat just about anything but look for bunker, mackerel, or even fresh clams. Chop the tail off fresh bunker and drop it in a school. If you prefer dead bait, use the body or the head on your line and the tail for chum. If you’re in an area with a strong current and hard structure where clams typically smash and break open, try some fresh shelled clams as bait. Striper love the smell and will seek them out even in the murkiest of waters. Mackerel is a good choice for chunk bait, and it’s oily meat gives off a strong scent for stripers.
THE FIGHTER: TAUTOG
If you’d rather wait til the sun comes up, there’s no better time to fish for tautog; aka blackfish. Known as one of the hardest fighting bottom feeding fish, the reward of tog’s sweet tasting, white filets is worth the hard work. With the right bait, tackle, and technique, you can get that reward, too.
The best place to fish for tog in Cape May County is any hard structure you can find, like a jetty, pier, or bulkhead. While they gather close to the structure and are difficult to catch, if you have bait they will be biting! For larger tog, hop on the boat and head to a rock structure or wreck. Large tautog will be swimming! Be patient with these fish. They’re fighters and on a nice sunny day a tog spot easily becomes overcrowded. Take your time; if you haven’t had a bite in 15-20 minutes, move on to another area.
SEA GEAR TIP: Catching blackfish requires patience which means you’ll be out on the water for awhile. A warm beanie, gloves, and base layers are a must to stay warm and dry. Check out our Carhartt MidWeight Base Force Henley that is great for under your favorite hoodie.
For this fish, wait til the middle of the month when the limit increases from 1 to 15 fish; November 16th. You’ll want to plan to fish in the daytime as tautog goes dormant at night. As for the tide, three hours before and three hours after a high tide are ideal.
For bait, use green crabs as these abundant crabs are loved by tog. If you are shore fishing, opt for Asian crabs as they’re easy to find on tidal shorelines. To catch big tog out near wrecks, you’ll want to go with “white leg” Jonah crabs. Be sure to have scissors; crabs are easier to get on a hook without the claws and legs. You can use the claws and legs to throw into the water for a feeding frenzy!
SEA GEAR LIFE HACK: Use our floating lobster crate to store your crabs. The interlocking top makes it easy to open to quickly grab more bait and the foam edge ensures floatability. These can be used for various types of fishing. Best of all, they’re stackable so you can have as many as you need with a small footprint of storage space. See how to use it here
THE BEST OF ALL: BLACK SEA BASS
Don’t think we forgot about the sea bass! The most excellent fall/winter fish is heading for warmer waters, so you’ll want to catch this one from a boat. Enjoy quality fishing on ledges in anywhere from 100' to 240' of water, sometimes even deeper. For the best black sea bass fishing in New Jersey, head out in these next couple weeks.
A high-low rig with bait is the best to catch black sea bass. Sea bass feed 12-18” above the ocean floor. Keep your line vertical and up and down movements to attract sea bass. These fish are aggressive and there will be no question when one takes your bait.
Speaking of bait…there’s much debate when it comes to finding the best bait for sea bass. Squid is a favorite because it is easy to find, cheap, and can be cut into strips. However, fresh clams tend to yield better results time after time. A variety of other baits bring in the fish, too, and after time each angler finds their favorite.
SEA GEAR TIP: Stay warm and dry on the boat with the new Grundens Sherpa Lined Ankle Boot. These boots offer 100% waterproof protection plus traction and stability. No matter how you’re fishing for sea bass, be sure to have the proper knife for the job. Find your new favorite by searching our collection of Dexter Knives on our website or stop in to see them on display.
Don’t forget to show us how you’re living life on the water. Good luck with the New Jersey fishing season this November.