The borough of Belmar is located on the New Jersey coast. One of the most popular surf spots on the East Coast, it is frequently the host to surfing events and competitions, as well as home to a competitive summer basketball league. This small town has a permanent population of only 7,000 residents, but this population balloons during the seasonal warm months. Belmar sits at a prime location of clean, white beaches along the New Jersey Shore and enjoys an influx of more than one hundred thousand visitors per season, beginning with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, followed by the annual New Jersey Seafood Festival. Many hotels and bed and breakfasts provide lodging for visitors, and Belmar has multiple choices for dining, shopping, and casual drinking venues. Outdoor activities are normal part of locals’ daily lives here, and no less popular is fishing.
A large public marina and docks provide easy boating access to the Atlantic Ocean through the Shark River Inlet. The Belmar Municipal Marina is a full-service marina, and has a launch ramp, bait and gas. This is one of the premiere marinas along the Atlantic coast, less than a half-mile from the ocean and only eight blocks away from Belmar’s beautiful beaches. It is in close proximity to the Shark River and the Inlet towards which it runs. Belmar Municipal Marina hosts one of the largest and most modern party and charter boat fleets in New Jersey. Charter trips from Belmar Municipal Marina are available every day of the year. These trips can last only a few hours, or as long as overnight, depending on how long you want to be on the water and what size of fish you are after. Morning, afternoon, and evening excursions are available at most of Belmar’s marinas, along with any equipment and guidance even novice anglers may require. Some charters even offer night fishing trips, bringing an entirely new perspective to an already exciting activity.
All but the coldest winter months provide good climate for fishing, and there are enough waters around Belmar to keep everyone happy at almost any time during the year. Surf fishing is a favorite option along local beaches and, especially, the Shark River Inlet. Less experienced anglers and kids may prefer to wet their lines from the harbor or one of the local piers, still in casting distance from many of the local favorite species. Charters favor Ling from April through July, while chumming the bay and river for Winter Flounder is a good strategy in the spring. Fluke abound during the warmest months around the Spring Lake Hotel, and Elberon and Deal to the north. Drifting a combination of a strip of squid and a kellie is one recommended strategy. Bluefish are fished almost exclusively in the ocean from June through September, during day and night. Sea Bass and Stripers are everywhere from April through December; largest in the early spring, but growing more numerous during summer. A few favored methods to land Stripers include using live bait (eels and Bunker), clams, and trolling. The use of Bunker is preferable, as it usually attracts bigger fish, but availability can be limited. Blackfish and Mackerel are more popular during spring and fall. Other available offshore species include Bonita, Mahi Mahi, Porgies and Cod, with Marlin lurking farther from shore. Shark and Tuna trips are favorites for large charter groups and party boats, with numerous Tuna and Shark tournaments taking place locally during the late summer and early winter.
Unique within the Jersey Shore culture, Belmar offers a brisk summer rental market where families can enjoy inexpensive vacations without any lack of entertainment or distraction. This small, quaint seaside is virtually transformed into a vibrant beachfront entertainment complex during the warm seasons. With so many yearly tourists and visiting anglers party boats are a great option for larger crowds and families. But there is some good fishing for anyone, whether in a group or just after a solitary, quiet day on the water. Quiet, that is, except for all the fish!