Known for its scenic boardwalks and large piers full of amusements, “America’s Playground” has a lot to offer visitors, especially in the busy summer months. Atlantic CIty has a colorful reputation, helped in no small part by shows like Boardwalk Empire. Atlantic City fishing charters have action to rival anything on land, and the characters beneath the waves are as exciting as anything HBO can conjure up.
From the shallowest flats of the Absecon Bay to the darkest depths of the Atlantic Ocean, big fish fight hard to break off your lines. The list of species is enough to get any angler’s blood pumping. They range from light tackle favorites like Speckled Trout and Red Drum to heavyweight titans like Blue Marlin, Mako Sharks, and Bluefin Tuna. And that’s without even getting started on the incredible Striper and Bluefish action you’ll find nearby. You’re certainly not going to get bored here!
Atlantic City Fishing Spots
Whether you’re looking for a quick trip bayside before hitting the beach for the day or an overnight adventure trying for a record catch, you’ve got a lot of spots to choose from. So many, in fact, that we’ve had to seriously limit ourselves when writing up our favorites. Your guide will always have their own, and you won’t regret hitting them, but here are a few to help give you the lay of the land.
You don’t even need to leave town to find great fishing in Atlantic City. The sheltered waters of the Absecon Bay hold big populations of Flounder, Fluke, Weakfish, and Striped Bass. Stripers are known to winter here, extending the seasons well past its traditional run. Lakes and Reeds Bays are also good, although they lack the freshwater influx of Atlantic City Reservoir.
Atlantic City Ridge
AC’s outside fishing starts as soon as you come out of the inlet, with dozens of wrecks and reefs full of Tautog, Seabass, and other tasty bottom fish. The ridge is notable for its great Bluefish and Striper bite, and can easily be combined with surrounding sites to maximize your catch.
28 Mile Wreck
Also known as the Varanger, this 9,000-ton tanker was down by a German U-boat back in ‘42 and has been drawing big fish ever since. A trip out here will get you on some of the biggest Bluefish around, as well as a variety of Sharks. It can also hold tasty big game species like Bluefin Tuna and Mahi Mahi when they’re in season.
You’ll need at least 16 hours to enjoy the best deep sea fishing
Atlantic City has to offer. Make the trip out to Baltimore or Wilmington Canyon, and you’ll be well rewarded for your perseverance. Blue Marlin and huge Bluefin Tuna hunt in these waters, alongside monster Makos and even Swordfish down in the depths. This is big game fishing as it should be - loads of huge fish all packing into one tight spot!
Atlantic City Fishing Pier
If you’re a fan of Striped Bass, you can’t leave town without hitting the iconic Vermont Avenue Jetty. Atlantic City Striper fishing was rocketed into the limelight here when Al McReynolds pulled his world-record fish out of the water in 1982. His 78-pound, 8-ounce record has since been beaten, but who knows what else is hiding here?
Head south, and you hit endless shoals and awesome structure like Great Egg Reef and the Stone Beds. Head north, and you can worm your way through Brigantine Bay into the awesome freshwater fisheries of Mullica River. There’s no end to Atlantic City’s angling potential, so get out there and start fishing!
Now that you know where you’re fishing, you may want to know how you’ll be doing it. A lot of the bayside action focuses on live bait and light tackle, especially for species like Fluke, Seatrout, and Red Drum. Bluefish and Stripers are targeted one of two ways. Throwing jigs or plugs on spinning gear can get great results. Otherwise, stoke up a feeding frenzy with snag-and-drop style fishing, tearing a triple hook through bait shoals, then freelining it back into the pack to be devoured by hungry hunters.
You’ll be using a variety of techniques in the deep waters offshore. Marlin are caught by fast-trolling over the canyons, zig-zagging over them to hit different depths in the shortest time. Big Bluefin can also be caught by trolling, but you’ll have more fun taking them on poppers or jigs. Sharks are caught the same way the world over: Drop a chum slick and wait. Whatever you’re after, using heavy, 80-lb stand-up gear is a middle-of-the-road set-up that keeps your options open to whatever decides to hit your baits.
Need to Know
There’s no general saltwater fishing license in New Jersey. When fishing aboard Atlantic City fishing charters, you’re not required to carry any kind of license. When fishing from piers or from the shore, there are different permits depending on what you are targeting. You can find full details and get yours from the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s website. Seasons and limits for Highly Migratory Species (like Tuna, Sharks, and other big game fish) can change over the course of the season. Your captain will be able to give you the full details of all current seasons during your trip.