<b>Outcast Charters</b> began fishing for the season this weekend, Capt. Joe said. New York’s winter flounder season opened April 1 for recreational anglers, and Joe and crew commercially fished for them this weekend on the back of Raritan Bay. The fishing was good for flounder to 2 ½ pounds, mostly weighing 1 ½ pounds. Reports were heard about flounder catches on the ocean, so the fish seemed to be migrating. New York’s striped bass season will open on Sunday, and the crew also took an exploratory trip for them during the weekend, bunker-chunking and releasing a very good catch of the bass that were all sizeable, from 15 to 20 pounds, on the back of the bay. Outcast pays bridge tolls with a receipt. Outcast is also offering trips from New Jersey this season, so anglers can abide by Jersey regulations, including for fluke, blackfish and sea bass.
A trip aboard fished the back of Raritan Bay instead of the ocean on Saturday, because of winds, and limited out on striped bass to 17 pounds, Capt. James from <b>Reel World Charters</b> said. A couple of the anglers mixed in fishing for winter flounder, limiting out on them, too. Active and retired military, first responders and law enforcement get a $50 discount on charters. To receive the discount, please call ahead and let Reel Class know.
A couple of keeper striped bass to 31 inches were bagged and shorts were released on Ed Miller’s charter Friday with <b>Papa’s Angels Charters</b>, Capt. Joe said. The fish were clammed on the bay. Waters were 51 degrees, and no bunker or bluefish were seen, and seas and winds were somewhat rough in the morning, but calmed later. Winds were frequent lately. Open-boat trips are available daily when no charter is booked. Call to climb aboard.
With <b>Andrea’s Toy Charters</b>, a morning trip limited out on striped bass, then an afternoon trip did the same, a report on Andrea’s Toy’s Web site said on Friday. On the morning trip, a charter, the angler bunker-chunked his limit quickly on light tackle. “Total count was 12 (stripers) to 34 inches,” the report said. So apparently additional stripers were released. On the afternoon trip, an outing with the captain’s brother and two other family members, for the brother’s birthday, a boat limit was crushed in the first half-hour. “Total count was eight keepers, four shorts, half a dozen released in 2 hours,” the report said. Andrea’s Toy is fishing for stripers on Raritan Bay from Keyport for the next couple of weeks or so. Then the boat will be moved to Point Pleasant Beach to fish the migration of stripers on the ocean.
Fishing conditions were tough on Friday’s daily striped bass trip, because of a strong tide from the full moon, Capt. Ron from the party boat <b>Fishermen</b> said in a report on the vessel’s Web site. “Very tough to hold bottom and work the lines properly,” he said. Many customers bagged no stripers, but a couple landed five, and some three, and some two or one. They kept no more than their limits of two apiece, or three with a bonus tag. An angler with an 18-pounder won the pool. The fishing began slowly. “We hung in there with it, though, and ended the day with several highlights ….” Ron said. “… Jig fish were non-existent in our area today,” he said. Check out a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwpUjNwNiU8&feature=player_embedded" target="_blank">video of the trip</a>. The Fishermen is sailing for striped bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
It’s bass fishing, said Capt. Tom from the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>. Shots at striped bass would turn up on trips, or sometimes the fish would bite a while, then stop. On both of Friday’s trips aboard, stripers were caught, but catches were slower than on Thursday aboard. On Saturday morning’s trip the angling began slowly, and the end of the trip gave up most of the trip’s stripers all at once, in a half-hour or 45 minutes. On Saturday afternoon’s trip stripers were hooked right away. Then the trip looked around, and more were grabbed at the end of the outing. Striper fishing on Sunday morning’s trip was no good, the worst aboard so far this season, for some reason. Only the morning trip sailed, because of Easter. Trips clammed the fish, and some anglers limited out on two stripers, and some bagged three with a bonus tag. The Atlantic Star is fishing for striped bass on two trips daily 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. <b>***Update, Tuesday, 4/10:***</b> The morning trip made it out Monday, on a plan to fish before strong winds that were forecast, and winds came early, and striper fishing was no good, in tough conditions, Tom said. “Couple of fish, that’s it,” he said. Winds ended up 40 knots. But the morning trip today was “a whole different story,” Tom said, when he gave this update in a phone call at the end of the trip. Only a few anglers climbed aboard, but striper fishing was much better, in much better weather. Catches included Jack McMillan from Piscataway’s 23-pound striper. The fishing was definitely an improvement over Monday’s and Sunday’s aboard.
The first three charters of the season sailed on the <b>Hyper Striper</b>, pummeling super fishing for striped bass, Capt. Pete said in an e-mail. Rick Pappera’s party on Friday clobbered the bass, limiting out early, releasing many to boot. Jack Schmidt’s gang on Saturday and Jeff Sheat’s group on Sunday did the same. “Super fishing now,” Pete said.
Striped bass fishing pretty much limited out on every trip with <b>Fisher Price Charters</b>, Capt. Derek said. Very good fishing, he said. Fifteen or twenty keepers per trip were averaged. On one day, the bass would weigh up to 20 pounds, and on another, they’d be up to 15. On the last couple of days trips clammed the fish. Trips will probably start to liveline and chunk bunker for the bass this week, and Derek heard a few reports about solid catches on the baitfish. No bluefish showed up on trips yet, and none was heard about. Charters are fishing, and the next open-boat trips for stripers are set for Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Call to climb aboard or to be kept informed about future open dates.
The season’s first trip with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> kicked off with good fishing for striped bass Thursday, Capt. Ralph said in an e-mail. Dave Peters and son on the trip limited out on the fish on the ocean 5 miles from Shark River Inlet while jigging and trolling. On an individual-reservation trip Saturday, ling, an excellent catch, were swung aboard. Blackfish didn’t cooperate, and only two keepers were decked. Waters were 47 degrees, and blackfishing will improve as waters warm. If stripers were biting that day, the trip would’ve also fished for them. “(But) the striper fleet could not find them,” Ralph said. Individual-reservation trips, limited to six anglers, are bottom fishing on weekends through the month. If stripers are biting, the trips will jig for them, after bottom fishing. Here’s the availability: Saturday, April 14, full; Saturday, Aril 21, full; Sunday, April 22, six spots; Saturday April 28, six spots; and Sunday, April 29, two spots.
The crew from the <b>Katie H</b> took a shakedown trip Saturday, fishing while moving the boat to Belmar for the season from the Shrewsbury River, limiting out on striped bass on Sandy Hook Bay by 10:30 a.m., Capt. Mike said. “Great way to start the season,” he said. The fish weighed up to 15 pounds and were trolled. The boat had been wintered on the Shrewsbury. No stripers were seen on the ocean while the vessel was moved to Belmar, and ocean striper fishing sounded slower in past days, maybe because of the full moon. The fishing had been hopping previously. Full- and half-day charters are now available from Belmar. Open-boat trips will also run, and call if interested in any of these outings. Fishing for either striped bass or blackfish is available.
On the <b>Big Kid</b> trips pounded good catches of striped bass lately on the ocean on trolled shads, Capt. Ken said. The boat’s got rebuilt engines and transmissions this season, practically zero hours on them now. Blackfish trips are also available, and the crew loves blackfishing. Trips for cod and any species available are also on tap. Space is available on Memorial Day weekend, and book fast. A few dates remain this month and in May. The Big Kid is sailing from Hoffman’s Marina this season.
Ling fishing on Sunday’s trip was good on the party boat <b>Jamaica II</b>, Capt. Joe said in an e-mail. “Steady picking all day long,” he said. The catches have been good on the vessel. Customers and their catches on the trip included: Paul Papadopolis, Iselin, 59 ling; Mark Adamarek, Garfield, 35 ling; Gary Leung, New York City, 34 ling; Barry Crawford, Philadelphia, 32 ling; and John Cheung, 31 ling. New schedule: The Jamaica II is fishing for ling and cod 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
Ocean striped bass fishing became somewhat slow, maybe because of the full moon, said Dave from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. Previously good catches were boated. But, for example, on Saturday anglers motored all the way south to Island Beach State Park’s bathing beach, without much luck. Occasional stripers were reeled from the surf, but in no pattern. The fish chased lots of herring, and surf casters seemed to chance into the right place at the right time, wherever the bass popped up. The bass might’ve been hooked at places like Sea Girt or Spring Lake, and so on. No bluefish were heard about from the ocean so far this season, but blues probably swam southern Barnegat Bay. Blackfishing was slow in the past days but was better before. One of the crew from the shop landed blackfish, including keepers, at the Point Pleasant Canal. Not a lot was heard about winter flounder, because the shop carries no flounder bait. But boaters were seen fishing Manasquan River, so the flatfish seemed to be migrating there already, from northern Barnegat Bay. Check out new tackle arriving at the shop. Some 30-percent sales are being held, celebrating the store’s 30 years in business. Stingo jigs are available for 30 percent off, until the shop’s supply runs out. Wahoo Baitfish Bucktails are on sale at 30 percent off.
<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>
<b>***Update, Tuesday, 4/10:***</b> The ocean looked barren a moment when today’s trip broke the inlet, said Capt. Bob from the party boat <b>Gambler</b>. Then gannets were seen hitting the waters, and striped bass schooled, when the trip headed south along the beaches. The trip slugged a pretty good catch of stripers probably 12 to 20 pounds. No bluefish were seen. The anglers caught the bass with big Krocodile spoons. The Gambler is fishing for striped bass 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, except trips on April 21 and 28 will instead fish for tilefish offshore. Openings remain on the first tile trip, Bob thought.
Bluefish popped up in the early mornings, chasing pods of bunker, around Graveling Point, a report said Friday on <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>’s Web site. Striped bass were tugged in from Mullica River that day, and a 34-inch striper was weighed in that day that was caught “‘inside’ the bay,” the report said. Striper fishing turned on at Graveling and Pebble Beach on Saturday, and two 30-inchers were weighed in from the fishing. Clams and bloodworms seemed to catch. Bluefish also showed up at Graveling that day. Early on Sunday morning, “anglers had a little bit of activity,” the report said, before the bright sun of day. Nothing specific was reported about drum in past days. “We didn’t hear much about drum (Saturday),” was all the report said. But drum were reported banked and boated in the Graveling area occasionally in previous days.
Three anglers together weighed in three striped bass from the surf Friday, a report on <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>’s Web site said. Then another weighed in a 15-3/4-pounder from the beach that day. Then another checked in a 15-pounder from the shore the same day. “It’s official,” the report said then. The fishing was on. “Had a nice bite (Friday afternoon)” the report said. A 12-pound drum was brought to the shop that was heaved from the surf that day. The angler also bagged a 31-inch striper from the surf on the trip. Another drum was heard about that was dragged from the surf the previous day, Thursday. On Saturday a 12-pound striper was weighed in from the surf, and a 10-pounder was checked in from a boat. On Sunday a 24-pound 39-inch striper was checked in from the surf. That was the only striper carried to the store that day, and the doors were closed early for the holiday.
<b>Sea Isle City</b>
It’s time. Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b> was trailering his flats boat back to New Jersey from Florida this weekend to begin trips from Sea Isle City for the season. He wrapped up trips this weekend that he offers annually from the Florida Keys from winter to early spring. At Sea Isle, striped bass began to bite well in the bay, and Joe’s trips will go after them immediately. Bluefish should invade the bay any moment, if they didn’t already. Joe’s trips fish for both this time of season, and the fishing is some of the best of the year. His anglers cast jigheads with soft plastics like Bass Assassins or Clouser Minnow flies, bouncing them slowly along the bottom in the cool waters, to catch both. Joe looks for warm waters, like at creek mouths on outgoing tides. The bay was probably in the low to mid 50s. Anglers aboard will target summer flounder when flounder season opens May 5, and flounder were already caught and released on the bay. The early season can be best for flounder catches in the shallow, relatively warm waters. Those waters therefore are also some of the first to give up flounder in the state. Joe had a good season in Florida this year, and will offer the trips again next year, starting at the holidays. The winter was warm, and that seemed to improve Florida’s fishing. He wrapped up the Keys fishing in the past days with trips with Jay VonCzoernig and Dave Stuart. They mostly wanted to fly rod for tarpon, thought winds were rough, hampering the effort. Winds made the presentation difficult, and somewhat made the tarpon difficult to sight, though tarpon were seen. So the anglers fly-rodded barracudas, jacks and speckled sea trout to make up for that. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s blog</a>.