<b>Outcast Charters</b> steamed for blackfish Monday, Capt. Rob said. He believed the trip limited out on the tog with five or six anglers, though he wasn’t on the trip, and his brother Joe ran the boat, and Rob was yet to hear details. Still, Outcast limited out on blackfish on all trips lately, and the fishing was okay, including this weekend. The fish on Monday weighed up to 7 or 8 pounds, Rob believed. So they weren’t huge, but some were good-sized. Waters lately were 53 or 54 degrees, warm for the time of year. Bunker schooled along Great Kills, late in the year for them. Sizeable bluefish ran the surf at Great Kills this week, also late in the season for them.
Striped bass swam along shore from the Arthur Kill to Fort Wadsworth at the Verrazano Bridge to Great Kills, said Pat from <b>E-Z Catch Saltwater Traps & Tackle Co.</b> He heard about no bluefish in a week. Good blackfishing was nailed on party boats. E-Z Catch is open straight through winter from Tuesdays to Thursdays, and fresh clams and vacuum-packed bunker are stocked the whole time. The store is also a <b><i>premier manufacturer and supplier of saltwater traps</i></b> for wholesale and commercial, including custom building and servicing. See the online <a href="http://www.e-zcatch.com/catalog" target="_blank">catalog of traps</a>. E-Z Catch is also a train store.
The crew shaped up to sail on the daily striped bass trip Tuesday on the party boat <b>Fishermen</b>, but only four anglers showed up, so the trip stayed in port, Capt. Ron said in a report on the vessel’s Web site. But the anglers jumped on a bottom-fishing boat. “At least they did get out fishing,” Ron said. Wednesday’s and today’s trips were scrubbed because of weather. But the boat fished Monday “with a bunch of the regs,” Ron said. Fog was thick all day, so the trip used radar to chase birds working the waters, getting a couple of shots at small stripers, “but it was very tough on myself, the crew and the customers, with such lousy conditions,” Ron said. “…but we still gave it hell!” The next trip will probably sail Friday, based on weather forecasts. “Will fish as long as we have something to catch, and the weather stays okay,” Ron said. The Fishermen is sailing for striped bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
Before the week’s blow, striped bass were jigged, trolled and eeled, said Jimmy from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Surf casters banked stripers, and they were out Wednesday in the weather. Blackfishing was good, and ling fishing might’ve been picking up. Only a few catches of cod were heard about, and that angling should gain steam as winter comes on.
Fishing was weathered out Wednesday and today on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. Forecasts called for winds to 45 knots today. Friday will probably be the next day the vessel sails. Seas were flat calm on Monday’s trip, and the boat “flopped around a bit” on anchor, Tom said, and fishing was slow. But a few blackfish, only one ling, were pulled in. One angler bagged two or three keeper blackfish, some grabbed one and some none. Fishing somewhat improved on Tuesday’s trip, and only one angler landed no keeper blacks, and the rest totaled two to four apiece. The Atlantic Star is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
The weather was rough in the past days, but <b>Fisher Price Charters</b> fished Tuesday, Capt. Derek said. He and crew also fished Wednesday, when they ran a vessel to Point Pleasant Beach. Good blackfishing was beaten on the trips, and angling for the tog was generally good lately with Fisher Price, and some days were better than others. An 8-pounder was the biggest aboard this week, and buddies hauled in 10- and 12-pounders, so sizeable ones were around. Fisher Price located the slipperies in 30 to 80 feet. Charters are fishing, and spaces are available for open-boat blackfish trips Saturday and Sunday. Those will be the final trips of the season on Derek’s boat, but afterward he’ll captain and mate on the vessel he ran to Point Pleasant Beach this week, sailing from there for blackfish, ling and cod as long as possible into winter, until the weather closes in. Waters were currently 50 to 53 degrees, plenty high for fishing.
Good blackfishing finally turned on during the weekend for <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>, and good-sized ones were creamed aboard, Capt. Ralph said in an e-mail. That was covered in the last report. Dates and spots available for individual-reservation trips for blackfish are as follows: Saturday (1 spot from a last-minute cancellation), Sunday (4 spots) and December 17 (2 spots), 18 (4 spots), 23 (2 spots), 24 (4 spots), 26 (all spots -- just added), 31(4 spots) and January 1 (5 spots). An individual-reservation trip for cod will fish offshore either December 29 or 30, whenever the weather is best. An offshore cod charter is set for January 2. Charters are available for blackfish, offshore cod or Mudhole cod all winter “till we can’t catch them,” Ralph said.
Blackfish, good catches, were beaned aboard the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b>, Capt. Chris said. “Very good,” he said. The fish weighed up to about 11 pounds, and white leggers often worked better for bait, but green crabs scored well on some days. Green crabs are supplied on the vessel, and white leggers are available for sale aboard for $6 per dozen, better than a typical price of $9. Friday’s and Saturday’s trips will leave early at 6 a.m. Otherwise the Big Mohawk is sailing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Note: The boat’s Web site was down the last several days, but should be back up today.
Anglers ran for blackfish, copping very good fishing, Saturday and Monday with <b>Fin-Ominal Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Jared said. The group on Saturday’s charter bagged 40-some keepers, probably totaling 80 hooked, including throwbacks. The gang on Monday’s charter had never before blackfished, bagging 25 or 28 keepers, totaling 50 to 80 hooked, including throwbacks. Probably more would’ve been bagged, but the anglers had to get the feel for the bites, and the fishing was excellent. <b>***<i>Boat for Sale</i>***</b> Fin-Ominal’s beautiful 42-foot Sportfisherman is for sale, because Jared upgraded to a larger, 44-foot boat. The new boat will be up for certification Monday, probably being certified to accommodate at least 12 or 13 passengers, or 15 to 18 at the most, compared with 6 passengers on the previous boat. Trips for the larger groups are being booked for next season.
With <b>Fish Stix Sportfishing</b> no trips sailed during the week’s weather, but blackfishing’s been good, Capt. Kris said. Charters are fishing, and space will be available on open-boat blackfish trips next week. Fish Stix in the past days upgraded to a 30-foot Island Hopper for up to six passengers. Trips on the previous boat, a smaller vessel, carried up to four passengers. The new boat cruises at 20 knots for more fishing time, less traveling.
Fishing for striped bass and blues last sailed Monday on the party boat <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, because of the weather, Capt. Alan said. A fairly good catch of stripers was made, and the final trips aboard for stripers and blues this season will run through the weekend. Then the boat will go on break until fishing for mackerel on daily trips, when the mackerel migration arrives, probably by the third week of the month. The Miss Belmar Princess is sailing for striped bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily through Sunday. Mackerel trips will begin when the Bostons arrive.
Few boats sailed because of weather, but some of the party boats blackfished Wednesday, scoring well, said Bob from <b>Fishermen’s Den</b>. But how blackfishing was going was difficult to say, because of few trips. Surf fishing for striped bass was very good farther south at Island Beach State Park on Wednesday, and reports said not much was caught there today. “Every day is different,” Bob said. “It’s getting to be that time of year.” Not many stripers were hooked on the party boats, but the vessels probably traveled less than before to locate them, because of fuel costs and fewer passengers this time of year.
<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>
Trips stayed docked Tuesday and Wednesday, but the party boat <b>Gambler</b> sailed for striped bass Monday, Capt. Bob said. Keepers and shorts were caught, and so were bluefish. The striper fishing wasn’t very good, but produced some of the fish. Ava 47 jigs with or without tails caught them well. Lots of bait filled the ocean on the trip, and water temps remained good for striper fishing. So Bob really thinks another shot of the bass will migrate through local waters before Christmas. The Gambler will keep striped bass fishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily when the weather allows. Today might be a blow out, but the crew will be at the docks, in case the trip can sail. Special Jumbo Sea Bass Trips will steam 1 a.m. to 8 p.m. December 17, 26, 28 and 30, and call the boat for reservations or for updated availability. <b>***Update, Friday, 12/9:***</b> Stripers were hooked today on the ocean from the Shrewsbury Rocks to Barnegat Inlet. “So it looks like it’s on again,” Bob said. The boat was docked a couple of days until a trip aboard sailed today, and caught. The 16 anglers, a small crowd, limited out on stripers with bonus tags. The bass weighed up to 15 pounds, and throwbacks were also let go, and big blues were also belted on the trip. The stripers apparently moved offshore in the last days but moved back in, chasing sand eels. “Excellent fishing,” Bob said.
Mostly ling and a few sea bass, blackfish, cod, bluefish and stripers were swiped on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. The fishing was okay, and the ling fishing wasn’t bad, actually. Anglers could sometimes total 15 to 30 ling apiece in the past couple of days. Quite a few bluefish remained, and were hooked in the deep on the trips, when the blues didn’t bite off the bottom-fishing rigs. More than two dozen blues were landed on a trip the other day. A few stripers were reeled in, like one on Wednesday, and two on Monday. So the season was early enough for the migration of blues and stripers to be around. Trips fished in 100 to 180 feet, somewhat deeper than before. The ling held in deep waters, but trips tried to avoid fishing too deep because of dogfish. The dogs were somewhat annoying on some days and very annoying on some, in deeper waters. But overall fishing was okay, when the dogs could be avoided. Waters were 50 to 52 degrees on the fishing grounds. That’s warm, so Butch doesn’t expect the mackerel migration to arrive until the first of the year, unless waters become colder quicker than they’ve been. If the mackerel migration swims close enough to shore, trips always go after them, then go bottom fishing on the same day, mixing it up. The season was also early enough, or waters were warm enough, for bluefin tuna to be around. A load of the tuna were seen on Saturday’s trip, and one or two were hooked, spooling the bottom-fishing reels, breaking off. The Dauntless is fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.
Surf fishing was tremendous for striped bass the last couple of days, said Dennis from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. Anglers lost count of the bass they beached, like a couple who reported 30-some of the catches on a trip, and another who said he reeled in 20-some. Island Beach State Park, from the middle of the park to the south, was the best spot. But the bass on Monday and Tuesday were also banked at Brick Beach, a place that hadn’t produced previously. The surf’s stripers, averaging 9 to 14 pounds, grabbed teasers 75 percent of the time. Anglers fished with metal like Ava’s and Deadly Dicks with the teasers, and sometimes the metal caught. Stripers taken at Island Beach on Ava’s included Bill Kisslin’s 11-pounder and 10-pound 13-ouncer, Anthony Carrino’s 9-1/2-pounder, Bill Koenigsmark’s 12- and 14-pounders and Mike Meyer’s 9- and 11-pounders. Rod and wife Debbie checked in 11- and 16-pound stripers they reeled from the Island Beach surf on Kastmasters and teasers. Rod on another day stopped by with two 10-pound stripers clocked from the beach on Ava’s. Ron Rogers cranked in a 9-pound 12-ounce striper and a 9-pounder from the surf Wednesday on an Ava with a teaser. Barry Yourkiewicz slugged a 12-pound 5-ounce striper in the surf on an Ava at Mantoloking. Nothing was heard from boaters about fishing for stripers. Before the weekend, boaters hooked stripers, mostly on jigs, on the ocean mostly farther from shore, in 50 to 60 feet. On Barnegat Bay, a few stripers were eeled along the sod banks at night. But most boaters fished the ocean when sailing for stripers. Bob Tweed checked in six blackfish 3.8 to 4 pounds boated at Barnegat Reef.
Surf casters picked at striped bass, not hot catches, but the bass were weighed in, mostly by the same people each time, said Jaybo from <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>. Teasers and Ava’s caught them, mostly at Island Beach State Park and Seaside Park. Seaside Park John landed two keeper stripers and 10 throwbacks on Ava’s and teasers. John Pizuto beached eight shorts to 25 inches at Island Beach on an Ava. Paul from Grumpy’s reeled in a keeper and 11 shorts. Phil G. totaled one keeper and six shorts on an Ava.
Weather like rains that lasted through Wednesday night kept many from fishing, and participation was dropping off by this time of year, said Kyle from <b>Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle</b>. Weather probably kept boaters from sailing for striped bass on the ocean. A few stripers were probably eeled on Barnegat Bay along the sod banks at night. Blackfish snapped at places like Barnegat Inlet’s south jetty.
Bruce from <b>Surf City Bait & Tackle</b> missed two striped bass in the surf Tuesday morning, he said. He returned in the afternoon, whaling six stripers to 25 pounds 8 ounces in an hour. Fishing with bunker, he couldn’t even get two rods fishing. A striper pulled on the bait on the first rod before he could set up the second rod, and stripers never stopped biting afterward on his trip. A customer today beached two throwback stripers on metal. So stripers were around in the surf, and a bluefish Bruce landed from shore on Friday was the most recent blue he caught from the beach. Fresh bait is somewhat scarce, and fresh bunker is on hand at the shop but is somewhat old, but is the bunker Bruce will use to fish Friday. Frozen, salted bunker and vacuum-packed bunker that is flash-frozen fresh is carried. Fresh, shucked clams and frozen, salted clams are on hand. No green crabs are stocked, but one customer landed eight blackfish 18 inches apiece along the rocks at Barnegat Inlet near the lighthouse on a trip.
Striped bass fishing was okay, was up and down, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. He didn’t think the migration of them was nearly finished, and more of the bass than before started to be seen in the ocean, but anglers had to look for them. On one day the stripers were there, and on another, they weren’t. Charters he ran Sunday and Monday crushed stripers and blues, lots, an equal mix of the two. The blues still being around made him think lots of fish remained to migrate south to the local coast. But on Tuesday a trip with him managed only two big blues and two throwback stripers. Good weather is forecast for the weekend. The bunker supplier netted lots of the menhaden today, so the shop will carry a good supply of very fresh bunker for the weekend. Live spots and eels and fresh clams are stocked.
Winds were horrific, “awful weather,” said Scott from <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>, and very few customers were around. Still, striped bass and blackfish were around, though anglers had to look for them. But for December 8, that wasn’t bad. “You can’t ask for more,” Scott said. Winds are supposed to blow west on the weekend, so boaters should get back out to jig and troll for stripers on the ocean. Lots of boats were seen on the roads, being trailered away from slips for the season, but that was typical for the time of year. One customer, a hardcore angler, bought clams to fish for stripers at Little Egg Inlet today. The fish should be there. A 25-inch, throwback striped bass was reported hooked at Graveling Point from shore Wednesday, and a 16-pound keeper was taken there last Thursday. So there was an inkling that stripers might be there. But most surf anglers headed to Long Beach Island and Island Beach State Park, because of great striper fishing. Nobody mentioned white perch fishing on the brackish rivers. Fresh, shucked clams, eels, bloodworms and green crabs are stocked. Though customers were scarce at the shop, business went well at <a href="http://www.pennparts.com" target="_blank">PennParts.com</a>, the shop’s online store featuring every Penn part currently manufactured, and many discontinued Penn parts.
Surf anglers pumped in striped bass and blackfish when the weather cooperated, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Ling and bluefish were also banked from shore. Fresh clams, fresh bunker and eels hung the stripers. Green crabs and clams clocked the blackfish. Clams took the ling, and bunker bonked the blues. Fresh clams, fresh bunker and the complete supply of baits is stocked. “We’ve got it all,” Noel said.
Weather and seas made fishing difficult in the last days, said Ed from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. But previously good catches of striped bass were sometimes bunker-chunked and eeled at Great Egg Inlet. A few blues were mixed in, and similar catches – stripers and a few blues – were sometimes beached from the surf at the south end of the island. When boaters could sail the ocean, they ran into scattered striper catches, one here, another there, mostly on the troll. Waters remained relatively warm in the mid 50s, so more of the fish should keep migrating south to the local area. Catches of bluefish, one of the first fish to depart south from the local coast in the migration, were still reported far north, including beyond Staten Island. Fishing on the inshore reefs and wrecks was some of the best angling, when boaters could reach the grounds. Blackfishing was good there, and a few sea bass and ling and occasional small cod were in the mix. Blackfish were sometimes still hooked along the bridges, jetties and docks, were yet to fully depart for offshore.
<b>Sea Isle City</b>
Weather was rough, difficult for fishing, but was good during the weekend and the beginning of the week, said Mike from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Striped bass and bluefish were sometimes run across in the ocean, but fishing for them was slow during the week. Still, the fish remained to the north, and they should migrate south to local waters, and Mike hoped the current cold snap would trigger them to slide down. Maybe three stripers were checked in from the surf this week, so the fishing was slow but not dead. Blackfishing was excellent at T.I., Ocean City and Wildwood reefs and all the wrecks between. One angler’s trip bailed a bunch of sea bass and some cod while deep-water wreck fishing offshore. But dogfish were sometimes so abundant that they looked like a wreck on the fish finder. Not much was heard from the back bay.
Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>, will fish for striped bass and blues on the ocean this weekend, and will see what happens, he said. Ocean fishing wasn’t epic last weekend, but bluefish were decked, and sometimes stripers were, and out-of-season summer flounder were let go. The ocean was relatively warm, and that should mean the migration of stripers and blues will continue locally. Annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys are coming up soon, beginning late this month, lasting until April. See Jersey Cape’s <a href=" http://www.captainjoehughes.com/page4.html" target="_blank">traveling charters page</a> for info. Anglers can arrive at the Keys on a Friday evening, fish all day Saturday and part of Sunday, return Sunday evening, and be back to work Monday. The trips can be a mini, fish-filled vacation, for a large variety of catches from redfish to sailfish. Keep up on Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s blog</a>.
No boats seemed to sailed in the weather this week, said Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>. The Heavy Hitter also stayed in port, but a striped bass charter is set for Friday aboard. His last trips bunker chunked stripers on Delaware Bay during the weekend, covered in the last report. The Heavy Hitter will be pulled from the waters for the season after Sunday, but afterward George will run charters on a friend’s boat. So charters will remain available for stripers, blackfish, sea bass and cod.
When daily blackfish trips got the weather to head out, the anglers decked the fish on the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, Capt. Paul said. Catches were better on some days than others, and were good on Monday’s trip, and several of the anglers limited out. A number of anglers limited out on the tog on the last several trips, and several of the anglers probably only bagged one or two keepers. Phil Bradley, Downington, Pa., limited out on the fish to 10 pounds, and was thrilled with the 10-pounder, Paul said. Some of the anglers with limits in recent trips also included: Pete Marsden, Gloucester City; Joe Cardone, Pennsauken; and Fred Nelson, Philadelphia. The Porgy IV is sailing for blackfish at 8 a.m. daily when the weather allows. However, no trips will sail this coming Tuesday and Wednesday.