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Crabbing, Fishing, Hunting, etc. in NJ

This topic came up, generally speaking, on another thread, on another Board. See, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9148... It suggested to me some interest personally, and among fellow 'hounds, in the pursuit of our own chow in the waters of the Garden State. So, I figured, perhaps it's worth a more specific discussion.

Personally, living at Monmouth County's southeastern tip and being part of a family that has long enjoyed the bounty of the sea, I have drawn quite a few "free" meals from the Atlantic and the various inland waters that decorate our coast. For example, I've crabbed the Chesapeake, but I'm just as happy throwing lines into the Barnegat Bay off a lagoon dock in Mantoloking. I know there are lots of great spots dotting the gentle shores from Point Pleasant to Holgate, in Manahawkin and Toms River.

Taking a pole to the edge of the surf before the fall sun comes up, in the often Quixotic quest to have a striped bass dinner, can be sheer joy. Armed with nothing but a clam knife and extra tackle, realizing that anything but the expected disappointment will be gravy on the mashed potatoes of the zen moment one really sets out to embrace. I mean, if you really wanna catch bass, you convince a buddy with a boat to take you up to Sandy Hook.

Speaking of boats, how 'bout dropping lines near a wreck? Catching fluke in the River? Maybe getting serious and seeking out some tuna?

I s'pose that's enough to get the point across - the topic launched. Anybody else love the notion of REALLY fresh fish? A bin full of crabs? A freezer full of venison cuts?

Where do you go? What do you seek? Any advice for others who might want to try? Good charters? Boat rentals? Anecdotes?

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  1. You should be in an Old Milwaukee commercial. lol

    1 Reply
    1. re: ebchower

      I'm holding out to see what Schmidt's offers.

      In the hopes of inspiring others, and by way of thanks, I offer Elvin Bishop's ode. Not the best recording, but a mood setter in one way or another:


    2. been fishing my entire life....literally since I grew up on poricy pond. I graduated from bluegills and bass to the baddest fish in the ocean.

      I enjoy all types of fishing but offshore fishing is just the best (and ridiculously expensive)

      got wasabi?

      1. I love black fishing in shore....thats my favorite inshore fishing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: corvette johnny

          I just deep fried a couple whole blackfish on Sunday. Real good chow - much better than the game (although, admittedly, the Russel Stover chocolates I battered and fried in the same oil after the fish were even better than the game. Hell, goin' hungry would of been better than the game.)

        2. Well let me get this party started...................

          The tale of my 43 years on this earth starts with my conception, which is suppose to have taken place aboard a boat, at the now Sandy destroyed Winters Yacht Basin, in Mantoloking NJ. I guess being conceived on the water helped contribute to my love of the shore and all things water. We always maintained a boat and eventually summer homes on the water in Toms River. I've spent many years dropping crab lines and traps into the Jersey waters and enjoying the bounty of the catch.

          I've spent many a summer nights with a cooler full of beer a flashlight and a net, just shining the light into the water and scooping them up as they swim towards the light. (Is that frowned upon?) Anyway, I can't count the nights me and a few buzzed up buddies came in the house at 2am with a bushel of blue claws that we had to eat NOW. Mom waking up to our clatter in the kitchen as someone knocked the bushel over and we were now re-catching our catch on the linoleum floor. God forbid they made it onto the carpet, then they could dig their claws into the nap of the rug and really hold on for dear life.

          Favorite blue claw crab is steamed, cleaned then sauteed with garlic, oil, chopped hot peppers (or seeds) seasoning to taste. From there you can add anything you want to the mix, some spinach, broccoli rabe, and some pasta..........that's an Italian Jersey Shore feast!!! (watch for shell fragments!!)

          Although we had our own boat, mom frowned upon us using them for fishing, so it was the Capt. Bill Van charter out of Belmar, when we wanted to catch the treasures of the deeper waters. We were on the boat one night when the Belmar bridge got stuck and couldn't open for us to return to dock, we had to dock at the coast guard station and be transported back to our cars in a military transport truck.

          Now I've taken a liking to surf fishing mostly in Long Branch and/or Island Beach State Park/Seaside Park. Nothing like bringing in a stripped bass against the surf, cleaning him and bringing him home for immediate consumption. (well some consumption then the rest goes into the freezer for friends). I like taking the filet, cutting it into finger sized pieces coat with soy, ginger and garlic and into the oven for 15 mins. Good eats.

          I've never been much of a land hunter, although I recently went to a friends property in upstate New York and did some hunting, shooting. I kind of enjoyed it and am considering giving it a try again some time in the near future.

          As far as any other land hunting experiences go.....about once or twice a year I will go on what might be considered a bit of a taboo hunting adventure. The wild eyed Monmouth County Cougar, most frequently hunted at Beuno Sera in Red Bank, Fri & Sat. nights. It seems the music, the lights, the lay of the land attracts wild eyed cougars from all over the Garden state, the land is ample with prey. Being married for 20 years I have to practice the the catch and release method, but it's always been the thrill of the hunt for me.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jrvedivici

            Curious as to what your wife is doing whilst you practice your cougar hunting skills. Getting a pedicure from the pool boy, perhaps?

            1. re: Jerseygirl111

              Always remember this is the Internet, you shouldn't believe everything you read. :-)

              1. re: jrvedivici

                I believe everything I read on the internet. I am super gullible.

          2. Ok seriously guys...I have no experience catching fish but love the allure of the fresh catch! Can we do a Chow fish n eat day?

            And jr, we need to go cougar hunting together.

            5 Replies
            1. re: joonjoon

              When the spring comes and the stripped bass are running if someone wanted to do a "chow surf fish" night, you can bring a portable grill on the beach and we could cook and clean them right there.....and I would be interested in that.

              1. re: jrvedivici

                That sounds like a fantastic idea!! Some fresh sashimi too.

              2. re: joonjoon

                I still think that you should rent a boat in Point Pleasant and go crabbing in the Bay this summer, joon. There are a few places you can find online. The gear needed is pretty cheap and we'll gladly talk you through any questions you may have.

                In the end, you get to practice patience, connect with the water, and eat well when you get home.

                1. re: MGZ

                  Yep, it would be tough to beat a day like that.

                  I was in Maryland with mrs porker and her elderly mother a few years back. I told them I was renting a pontoon boat, buying a few collapsible traps, and bringing them crabbing in the bay.
                  They tried to refuse, thinking it was just another of my crazy ideas.
                  Turned out to be a highlight of our trip and they still talk about it today!

                  1. re: MGZ

                    I think the place at the bottom of the rail bridge on West Front St. might be closer for Joon. I've crabbed at Marine Park in Red Bank over the years, those waters do have a healthy supply. Though as I've mentioned not very many big ones.

                2. Born in Newark, grew up in Iselin, moved down the shore when I got married. Grew up as a beach chick, my parents honeymooned in Seaside-yep. We rented a house every August and spent our days lounging on the beach or crabbing on the very dock mentioned in the other post. We ate our crabs in marinara with macaroni. My father was a recreational fisherman, stripers, flounder or blues, mostly on boats out of Belmar. To this day I still prepare the bluefish the same way he did, tomato and onion under the broiler, squeeze of lemon, maybe a little butter. To the people that say they hate bluefish, I say, good, more for me. It kills me when I hear people throw them back as trash. Sadly, my dad is gone and my husband and I both get seasick so it is rare that I get access to truly fresh fish anymore. I am willing to take any and all offers of whatever you catch.

                  We had no hunters in my family, though my husband used to go with his dad and brothers on Thanksgiving up by Round Valley when he was young. I have not had the pleasure of venison or wild duck, turkey, pheasant, rabbit or bear but again, anyone willing to give it away, I'll glady take it off your hands.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Jerseygirl111

                    Try an over the counter medication called Marezine. It is great stuff and works for me all the time, even in wicked off shore swell.

                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                      my fishing experience is limited to my childhood when we lived on a lake and fished off our dock for perch, bass, sunnies and the occasional brown or rainbow trout. Now that we're landlocked in NJ, we seek out restaurants that offer the daily catch.

                      If you'd like to get out on the water, try using an earplug in just one ear to avoid seasickness. Worked for me while sailing in storm swells and it doesn't knock you out. Thanks to Spinsheet for the tip:


                      1. re: Foody4life

                        You don't have to limit your self to local restaurants for fresh caught fish, there are quite a few streams and lakes close to you in Princeton that are stocked with trout by the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. Here's a link: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/access... Time to dig out your old rod and reel!

                        1. re: Foody4life

                          No, you don't understand. I get motion sickness everywhere, riding in the car on a Saturday morning, in revolving restaurants, on carousels, I have puked up dramamine on airplanes. I will never take a cruise because they would have to fly me off the ship via helicopter after an hour. I wish I didn't but I do.

                          1. re: Jerseygirl111

                            so I guess we won't see you on any coasters at Six Flags?!?

                            Give the single ear plug a try. Sounds strange, but should work for all types of motion sickness.

                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                              I was petrified to take a cruise, I have terrible seasickness and am prone to motion dizziness too, and out of desperation I bought one of those wrist bands with the accupressure point for your wrist. They sell that at Walmart and CVS etc, not hard to find. Then by sheer luck we sailed off right into Hurricane Sandy! I was the only one that wasn't sick.

                              1. re: coll

                                Poor you! That's my worst nightmare.

                        2. A close friend of our family owned a marina in Tuckerton when I was a kid. Sold commercial real estate as a living all year and took the summer off to fish and be with fisherman all summer. I would beg my parents to drive me to the marina so I could be around those folks. Hung out in the trailer and learned how to clean fish to earn my keep. I envy your stories and memories as much as I miss my own familiar Tuckerton marina spent youth.

                          Cleaning fresh fish for dinner is one of my fav things to do.

                          Hunting is a diff experience. I have not done any hunting myself but again I love the meals derived from those who do and do so in harmony with nature.

                          1. As a young boy (me) in the 70s, my father would pack up the car and we'd drive down the eastern seaboard (from the Montreal, Canada area) for 2 weeks every summer.
                            He loved the sea.
                            Sometimes we'd get to the end of the line in Key West, sometimes we'd end up in Atlantic City or Wildwood.
                            It was in the Wildwood area where he showed me how to crab from backwater, rickety piers. He was too cheap to buy traps, so we'd use string, a net, and frozen chicken parts for bait.

                            We also went hunting of a different sort;
                            I'm going back 40 years, so the details are sketchy...It was in the Cape May area (likely near the lighthouse or the point) where we came upon a pebble beach (as opposed to sand). The pebbles were all worn smooth from wave action and we hunted "sea glass" - broken pieces of glass tumbled smooth.
                            Besides the few glass gems, my father thought the pebbles would do well to decorate our patio back home, so we filled two 5-gallon pails of the stuff.

                            They were some of the best times of my life.

                            1. We have a beach buggy pass for Island Beach and are there all the time in the summer. My husband and father go in the spring/fall for the Striper runs. I am always happy when they bring home striped bass and bluefish. My husband caught a couple of kingfish two summers ago but we didn't know what they were so he released them. Now we know they are edible and supposedly delicious so we will keep them if we ever see them again.

                              1. What a beautiful day I am having just reading all these memories, wishing I had some of my own to add. I love the water and when I was very young my parents bought some sort of boat. Problem was we spent more time repairing it than riding in it and that is all she wrote.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: EL7

                                  Two best days of owning a boat? The day you buy it and the day you sell it. So they say anyway.

                                2. Used to ,in my youth, surf fish on the Northern Shore of Lower Raritan Bay....Snappers,Fluke,Ells,Blue claws, Flounder, Blues, and a Weakfish if I was lucky....OK, not NJ, but a shared water body...
                                  We weren't allowed to bring the blues/snappers home, or the porgies....how time change...

                                  1. I usually crab the Shrewsbury River a few times a year, though last summer the crabbing was pretty slow. I've also done some fluking and trolling for snapper blues and stripers in the Shrewsbury. My boat is only a 14 footer with a 9.9 on the back so I wouldn't take it out on the ocean, but I thought about going out to Raritan Bay if it is a calm day. Maybe next summer I'll give it a shot. On the Shrews I launch at the free ramp in Long Branch. It's LT a mile from the ramp to the main river.

                                    I've done some surf fishing throughout my life but not enough to say I'm a serious surf fisherman.

                                    When I was a kid we'd spend a week or two on LBI or in Cape Cod and I'd usually go surf fishing in the evenings. More recently my parents lived on the Outer Banks for a while and I'd do a little surf fishing when I visited them.

                                    When we were in college we learned pretty quickly that the police hassled kids drinking on the beach at night, but left the fishermen alone, so we'd party on the beach but make sure we had a few surf poles in the water, usually without any bait. The cops would say hello then go hassle another group of non fishermen a short distance away.

                                    I bought two new surf rods and reels over the winter and my dad gave me a few more old ones in decent shape, so I may give it a shot this summer.

                                    Most of my fishing is freshwater. I'm on my local lake in Morris County 2-3 evenings a week in the spring, summer and fall. Usually going after bass, but the lake also has walleye and trout so sometimes I target them.

                                    On weekends I put the motor on and hit Monksville or Round Valley. I'll also take the fly rod or my ultra light spinning tackle on trout streams in the spring and fall.

                                    I rarely keep freshwater fish for the table however. If one is bleeding badly and probably won't survive I'll keep it. Or if it's a trout caught in "put and take" waters where trout won't survive the summer, but other than that the freshwater fish go back.

                                    I'll be doing some hardwater fishing tomorrow. It's been a great winter so far for ice fishing. We should have solid ice into March. Put in a few tip-ups, grab a beer and a cigar and hang out waiting for a flag.

                                    Hunting, I have no interest in it, but I'll eagerly take some venison or game birds from any hunter with extra.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: briansnat

                                      I like that crabbing/fishing is passed on in families.

                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                        I like that the police left the fishermen alone!

                                    2. Well after years of begging my other half to buy a boat so we could salmon fish I decided he was never going to get on board (lol) so went out and my my first boat last year. I live minutes away from some of the best chinook/spring (or king if your american) fishing on the west coast of bc. Thanks mainly to the amazing funding and effort the americans put into the hatcheries and habitat.

                                      We can go out set the crab traps in the morning and on a good day on the right year (which was last year catch 20 plus coho 20 plus pink and 20 chinook (if your really good) all in one day! All fish we don't keep are never bought into the boat or net and are gaff released at the side.

                                      We have pretty strict limits and in peak season its 2 a day with only one being over a certain size and both being over a certain size and a max of 25 a year.

                                      Finally got a halibut set up so we've been out twice but no luck yet. Prawn traps are next!! should be a awesome year.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: daislander

                                        Good for you! Life is too short to wait around. Sounds like loads of fun but oops, no salmon in NJ.

                                        1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                          oops lol. I don't go into subcatoagorys to see what section things are in. I just click main button to bring up active topics and read what interestes me.

                                          Bust Out Another Thousand

                                      2. I'm planning a day trip this Tuesday to Red Bank, NJ to do some crabbing. My first time ever, despite having eaten thousands of them in my lifetime. A place called Red Bank Marina apparently rents boats and gear.

                                        Any advice for a newbie in that part of NJ?

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: mhujm

                                          Lots of impressive estates on that river.

                                          1. re: ebchower

                                            Unfortunately they won't allow them to take the boats to that section of the river.

                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                              JR, there is a place over in rumson that rents boats. (the one you are thinking of is probably the red bank one next to the bridge on west front st)

                                              It's about the end of crab season so I would honestly hold off until next year.

                                              1. re: corvette johnny

                                                Yes that is the one I'm thinking about, I think that is where mhujm said they are renting from, Red Bank Marina. The one you are referring to is behind Barnacle Bills? I agree I think the prime crabbing is over for the season but I didn't want to discourage mhujm from having a nice day on the water, this weekend is suppose to be a nice one!! (although if they wanted to save the expense of the boat rental I would suggest throwing some traps in the water at marine park, I was there last weekend and they were still crabbing and fishing off the pier there)

                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                  I haven't been crabbing there in years, but we used to rent boat at Paul's Boats in Rumson. They were right next door to what is now the Salt Creek Grill. I remember going only in the Autumn. We would crab on the eastern side of the Oceanic Bridge north of the channel, and would catch very large crabs right up until the day before Thanksgiving when Paul's Boats would close for the season. Granted we didn't catch as many as in the Barnagat Bay in the Summer, but the quality of the crabs was much better late in the season.

                                                2. re: corvette johnny

                                                  I think mhujm could still have some fun dropping some chicken backs into the river. Weather's nice, water's still warm, I think we've still got one more full moon until the season's really done - at least as far north as Exit 98.

                                                  As to advice, to the newbie, I'd say nothing more than that the patient profit. Be slow until you see the white belly and fast as hell with the net. Good Luck!

                                          2. I grew up in Vernon up in Sussex County. No sea fishing but tons of bass that has grown huge off of all the meadow-muffins fertilizing their ponds! We were in the middle of the woods on the NY border and used to hunt grouse and pheasant all the time in the woods. Heck, we would shoot skeet in the front yard. Now i'm down by Red Bank so that's not really an option but having the ocean just a couple miles away is pretty nice.

                                            3 Replies
                                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                Those nice, large, high-fiber creations that cows leave in fields :)

                                            1. Caught my first trout at age 3. After that it was bass, pickerel, carp, catfish, sunny's and just about anything that swims in a lake. When we got a little older my dad started taking us salt water fishing.

                                              The season would start off winter floundering in wooden row boats with a kicker on the back rented from Baxter's in Ship Bottom, LBI. Then it was off to the Delaware Bay where we rented boats from Anderson's in Fortescue. Back then the weakfish & flounder were stacked up like cord wood. Eventually my dad bought a boat in the 1970's which we ran every weekend.

                                              As we got older, dad brought us blue fishing mostly on the Miss Barnegat Light with the late Capt. John Larson at the wheel. I developed a friendship with Captain John and fished commercially 3 to 5 nights a week bringing thousands of lbs of blues to the market every week. Continued every spring/summer/fall while in college.

                                              Have enjoyed blue water fishing, mostly in FL where the Gulf Stream is within easy reach. Super fresh Mahi Mahi is hard to beat.

                                              Getting my daughters into Flounder fishing. Weakfish are all but gone in the Delaware Bay and blues have been scarce since Sandy. Hope the Stripers pay a visit this year.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                In the late 70s, the Miss Barneget Light was the only big boat my towheaded, lowercase self was allowed to drop lines off of.

                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                  She is a beautiful boat. Wide catamaran, extremely stable, little lower to the water for easier fish lifting and with close to 3000 Horsepower capable at cruising at 25 knots compared to the standard 12 to 15 knots most party boats cruise at.

                                                  Capt. John also owned several commercial boats and 1/2 of Viking Village. Unlike many Captains, he was always willing to burn diesel and throw as much chum as it took to show everybody a good trip.

                                              2. I see there was bear hunting up in West Milford this week...

                                                1. I'd be curious to hear if anyone's gone crabbing near the Cohansey, Tarpon or Nantuxent Coves off Cumberland County. I realize the season's over, but my sister and BIL just moved down there. It seems a natural to me just based on geography.

                                                  1. I have a home near a lake here in Jersey, I also own the pier,
                                                    I set 5 crab traps, and average 30 to 40 crabs in 4 hours.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: LEOFONT

                                                      Crabs in a lake? Is it brackish water?