Fishermen fishing for striped bass at Island Beach State Park.
Clams and bunker chunks are the most popular baits.
Island Beach State Park is one of the best places to fish, and catch, striped bass from the surf. The ocean waters off the beach, readily accessible from Barnegat Inlet, are also popular with boat fishermen.
Island Beach State Park is situated on a narrow barrier island that stretches for 9.5 miles between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay. It is one of the few undeveloped barrier beaches on the Atlantic Coast, and many striped bass are caught from the surf there. Bait and tackle shops, motels, and restaurants are conveniently located in the town of Seaside Park, which is located just north of the entrance to the park.
A paved road runs down the center of the island. There are 23 spots along the road where you can park and walk through the dunes to the beach. At 3 spots, there are buggy entrances to the beach. A permit must be purchased from the State of New Jersey to drive your buggy on the beach. Permits can be purchased at the gate house entrance. An annual permit costs $195. A three day pass can be purchased for $50.
Air Station for Re-Inflating Tires
It is necessary to let air out of your tires to drive this beach without getting stuck in the sand. Take your tire air pressure down to 15 psi. There are two air stations along the road where air hoses are provided for you to re-inflate your tires on the way out.
The water at IBSP is almost always clear and clean with not much weeds. Also snags are rare on the sandy bottom. The beach at the park is fairly steeply sloped but their are some bars. When the tide is high fish anywhere. When the tide is lower, look for the cuts in the bars. I find fishing near the edges of the cuts often works well, as the stripers root for sand fleas where the moving water stirs up the sand. The cuts come and go with the storms.
Most fishermen set out rods spiked to the sand and fish with clams or bunker chunks for bait. They often keep one or more other rods rigged with lures and watch for surface action showing up within sight. Others patrol the beaches in their buggys looking for bird action and related blitzes. Sometimes, especially in the late fall they find a blitz, and that is when the fun starts.
In the last few years sand eels have invades the beaches in the fall. Then throwing an AVA with a teaser has been a successful technique for catching striped bass.
IBSP North Jetty
The north jetty of Barnegat Inlet is located at the south end of the park. Lots of striped bass, and bluefish, are caught off of this jetty and in the adjacent pocket.
The land comprising Island Beach State Park was originally owned by millionaire
Charles C. Phipps, an associate of Andrew Carnegie. Phipps' planned to develop the land, and build an
exclusive community of very expensive homes. His plans were interrupted by the 1929 stock market
crash, and the depression. In 1953 the State of New Jersey acquired the land from the Phipps family and turned it into a state park. Island Beach State Park was opened in 1959.
To get to IBSP take NJ route 37 east through Toms River. After crossing the bridge over Barnegat Bay, bear right onto route 35 south, and follow it to the entrance of the park. You will pass 2 bait & tackle shops, Grumpys on the left, then Betty & Nicks on the right. Both are outstanding. See photos below.
Grumpys Tackle is located at 906 NE Central Avenue in Seaside Park, NJ, Phone (732) 830-1900.
Betty & Nicks Bait and Tackle Shop is located at 807 SW Central Ave., Seaside Park NJ, Phone: (732)793- 2708.
To see fishing reports from IBSP, use the links on our Fishing Reports Page.
Entrance to Island Beach State Park
View showing the dunes at IBSP.
Early Morning at IBSP
A busy day in the fall at IBSP.
A fisherman throwing lures at IBSP.
Fly Fisherman at IBSP.
The Pocket by the North Jetty
Another view of the north jetty.
Boat fishermen get in on the action in Barnegat inlet, near the IBSP north jetty.