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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 12-13-18

Note, Monday, 12/17: 
Fishing was washed out throughout the weekend in the storm. So this report won’t be fully updated again until Thursday. But a few updates were posted today.


Plenty of keeper blackfish were plowed aboard, plenty of throwbacks bit to keep anglers busy, and the angling was pretty good with <b>Down Deep Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Mario said. Open-boat trips are blackfishing at 6 a.m. daily, and charters are available for up to 15 passengers. No striped bass fishing will sail again until April. Call early to reserve spring striper dates. The boat features a heated cabin, a full galley and plenty of fishing space. <b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> The blackfishing was weathered out in past days aboard, Mario said. The angling’s been good, and the high hook landed eight legal-sized, keeping no more than a limit of five, on the most recent trips.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Blackfishing was the same as before on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>: catching keepers among throwbacks, Capt. Tom said. Some days fished better than others, but the fish were belted aboard every day. No trips fished Monday, but Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s trips fished. The boat is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> Blackfishing sailed Friday but not Saturday and Sunday aboard, Capt. Tom said. The fishing Friday was about the same as before, catching the tog, including some keepers. Saturday’s trip could’ve sailed because wind blew calmly in the storm. But only four anglers showed up at the marina. Wind kept Sunday’s trip in port, and was probably going to prevent today’s trip. The angling might resume Tuesday or Wednesday.

Some striped bass, lots of throwbacks, were hit from the surf from Sandy Hook to Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach, said Jay from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. That was on diamond jigs and teasers. For boaters, blackfishing was good “if the weather stays with us,” he said. Green crabs are stocked, and white crabs arrive on Saturdays. If you want the whites, order by Friday, and they’ll be available Saturday. Worms and all baits are stocked.

Catches of blackfish were coming on better, said Johnny O. from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. None of the head boats sailed for them today from the marina. The shop is located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina. The party boats that had been striped bass fishing discontinued those trips, he thought. Throwback stripers were plucked from the surf sometimes on jigs like Ava 17’s and 27’s. Green crabs and white crabs are stocked.

<b>Long Branch</b>

News about the surf slowed the past couple of days, said Mike from <b>TAK Waterman Surf n Fish</b>. Plus, he did no fishing for the surf’s small striped bass that had been biting. So there was no news. When the catches were last reported, they were landed on lures like sand eels with teasers, reeled slowly along bottom. TAK Waterman is a store for fishing, especially surf-fishing, surfing and paddle-boarding. The shop also produces the TAK Waterman line of clothing for watersports including these and beach-going. The name is from Lake Takanasee. 


An individual-reservation trip is rescheduled for Saturday, Dec. 29, that was supposed to fish offshore this Saturday for sea bass, porgies, cod and pollock, Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> wrote in an email.  That’s because of questionable weather. A trip for sea bass offshore is a go Friday, though. Anglers Tuesday aboard cranked in good fishing for blackfish to 8 ½ pounds. An individual-reservation trip will blackfish Sunday. Jump aboard. Charters are available on weekdays. Contact Ralph if you only have a few anglers, and he’ll make up a charter, getting other anglers to join the trip. <b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> Cod, pollock, sea bass, white hake and ling were pasted on an offshore wreck-fishing charter Friday board, Ralph wrote in an email. Good fishing, and individual-reservation trips will sail for blackfish Thursday and Friday. <b>***Update, Wednesday, 12/19***</b> Room is available Thursday for an individual-reservation trip for blackfish, Ralph said. The fishing will be weathered out Friday, and the next available one of these trips is on Friday, Dec. 28.


Catching some fish, Capt. Chris from the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b> said about blackfishing on the ocean aboard. Yesterday’s catches were slower than the previous day’s, but that’ll happen, and a 12-pounder was drilled on yesterday’s trip. Most  blackfish were jigged aboard, but the bigger were hooked on rigs. Trips are blackfishing daily, and green crabs are provided. White crabs are available for sale aboard.

<b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> is mostly blackfishing now, Capt. Pete said. The boat fished for striped bass previously, and fishing for stripers was good Sunday. Blackfishing was productive on most days, depending on conditions. On some days, some good-sized snapped. On others, a bunch of throwbacks did. You just have to get the weather to fish for them, and it is December. Jigging caught the tautog better than bait yesterday. <b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> Blackfishing probably could’ve sailed Saturday but was canceled aboard because of forecasts, Pete said. Some weekdays are available through the end of the year. Pete will see how the weather is afterward to determine whether the angling will continue. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Book an individual spot with a charter who wants more anglers.

Surf anglers could wing two or three small striped in an hour or two, but not 20 like before, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. The numbers took a nosedive, and maybe another push of the bass will show up before the catches end for the fishing season. Blackfishing became tough along jetties, but some could be boated on the ocean. Shark River’s winter flounder fishing held up, “(but) we are at an impasse,” he said. The catches were good on some days, not on others. Hardcore anglers are the customers now. I’m already thinking spring, Bob wrote.


<b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> Fishing will next sail Tuesday on the <b>Jamaica II</b>, for blackfish, the party boat’s Facebook page said. No trip was going to run today, apparently because of wind. Trips are blackfishing 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays. Twelve-hour trips are heading for sea bass at 5 a.m. on Wednesdays through Fridays. Fourteen-hour trips are running offshore for sea bass, cod and ling at 3 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Last weekend’s trips were obviously weathered out.

Fishing slowed in the surf the past couple of days, but some bigger striped bass to 30 inches had shown up, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. A few herring had appeared, so wooden plugs with blue backs worked. But sand eels still schooled, so lures like Ava jigs caught. Only a few boaters fished for stripers on the ocean, but they picked away from Asbury Park to Deal and Lavallette to Island Beach State Park. Ava jigs caught, and so did trolled tubes. Blackfishing was decent, mostly in 60 to 80 feet. Sea Girt and Axel Carlson reefs and wrecks in the area held them. Green crabs and white crabs lit into them. During better weather, jigs tied into them well. On rough days, rigs did. On offshore trips, fishing wrecks 60 to 80 miles out, fishing was slower the past couple of days than before. But big sea bass and large porgies were angled. Not a lot of junk fish bit. Ling fishing became slower on the outings.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

<b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> No fishing sailed with <b>Mushin Sportfishing</b> because of wind, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. Offshore wreck-fishing charters and open-boat trips will run for giant sea bass and jumbo porgies when weather is fishable. The crew is already making plans to fish for tuna and other big game from Cape May in June and July like Mushin’s done in recent years on charters and open trips. Anglers are strongly encouraged to book tuna fishing for the early season. That’s been the most consistent of the angling in recent years.

Fishing on the <b>Gambler</b> is looking to take a serious crack at striped bass Friday and Saturday, the party boat’s Facebook page said. The trips will look up the beach, and weather looks good for Friday. Weather should be good Saturday until the end of the day, and the boat will already be back in port. Capt. Bob Bogan and crew would like nothing more than to stretch striper season out longer. The fish were caught into January during some years. <a href="" target="_blank">Offshore sea bass trips</a> will fish later this month. <b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> None of the striper trips were going to fish last weekend through today because of weather, the boat’s Facebook page said.

Great weather on the ocean the past two days, a report said on the party boat <b>Norma-K III</b>’s website. Blackfishing was decent aboard yesterday. The high hook limited out, and the pool-winning blackfish weighed 7 pounds. Today’s trip’s blackfishing was a little slower, but John Flaig from Glassboro clobbered a 14-pounder on the outing! A few 6- to 8-pounders were whacked on the trip. Some bigger blackfish are biting. Both green crabs and white crabs caught on both trips. Both are carried on the boat, and trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> The ocean calmed, and blackfishing will resume Tuesday aboard, a report said on the vessel’s website. No trip will fish on Christmas, but a trip will blackfish at 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

<b>Toms River</b>

Throwback striped bass 18 to 24 inches, a token keeper, were still dragged from the surf, said Dennis from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b>. The fish seemed a little smaller than stripers that were in previously. Customers mainly bought Ava and Jetty Ghost jigs to fish with teasers for the bass. They reeled in the jigs right to their feet, because sometimes the stripers bit right against shore. You have to fish every day to catch this time of year. On one day you run into them. On another you don’t. Or on one afternoon you catch. On another day, you find them in the morning. Pockets of fish showing up. Skates and sharks were in the mix for surf anglers fishing bait. Blackfishing was pretty darn good on the ocean from Barnegat Inlet to Atlantic City. Some big were heaved in. The wrecks fished farther north began to get cleaned off of the tautog, Dennis guessed. A few white perch were nabbed from the Toms River. A few anglers got after them. A few winter flounder were eased from the south end of Point Pleasant Canal. Dennis knew about nobody who tried for flounder on the Toms. A netter picked up flounder and perch near Route 37 Bridge. So flounder were migrating to this area. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Forked River</b>

Not much was mentioned about fishing in past days, said Mike from <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Even the radio was quiet. But when customers fished, that was for blackfish on the ocean. They kept buying the store’s green crabs for that. No striped bass fishing was reported, but weather was rough in past days. If striper trips sailed during the weekend, he wasn’t at the shop then, so didn’t hear. Frozen baits are also stocked.


A sporadic pick of striped bass, really sporadic, was boated Sunday on the ocean along the 3-mile line, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. No fishing news rolled in since. Blackfish were there, but in the deep. In the middle of stripers, actually. Stripers kept grabbing crabs meant for blackfish on a trip that fished for the tog at an ocean wreck. Mullica River turned out good white perch fishing. A few green crabs and some live spots and eels are stocked. The store will be open through Sunday. Afterward, the shop will be closed about 10 days while Dave will be away. The store will be open again after New Year’s. Then there will be no set hours, but Dave is usually there. Telephone ahead and confirm. Winter’s a time to take a <a href="" target="_blank">Guatemala fishing vacation</a>.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

<b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> Anything biting? The weather, Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b> said Sunday. Nothing was doing with fishing in the storm during the weekend. On Saturday he awarded cash to the winners of the store’s fall striped bass tournament. Some phenomenal stripers were entered, he said, and the winners and prizes were: a 47.7-pound 51-incher, $650; a 47.7-pound 49-incher, $390; and a 42.5-pound 45-incher, $260.  The store will now be open for no set hours. Telephone ahead to confirm. Noel will go on a break through winter soon.


Open-boat trips Friday through Sunday will fish for blackfish farther from shore, in the 15 to 20 miles range, on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. Close to shore began to fish poorly for them. A trip fished for striped bass Tuesday on the ocean. But the water was filthy, and no stripers were there. Few if any sand eels or bunker schooled the water. Wherever stripers were, they weren’t within 3 miles from shore. Striper fishing is closed beyond 3. Stray Cat will probably fish until mid-January. <b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> Mike got a report about good blackfishing Friday in deeper water, he said. Fishing for the tog will resume Wednesday through Saturday on open-boat trips aboard. Open trips will get after the fish every day when weather’s fit.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

<b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>, did no fishing this weekend. “Not even me,” he said! He had been going to fish for striped bass on the ocean, but the storm nixed that. He’s probably finished fishing from Sea Isle for the year, and will begin annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys that fish from Christmas to Easter. See the <a href="" target="_blank">traveling charters webpage</a> on Jersey Cape’s website.

<b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> Three or four charter boats were catching striped bass on the ocean, said Mike from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. That was mostly on trolled umbrella rigs and Mojos. The local party boat last fished for blackfish maybe two weekends ago on the ocean. That seemed to go fairly well, and getting enough customers for the trips to sail seemed the biggest challenge this time of year. The store is now open for no set hours and is open when that seems worthwhile. Most customers are coming in from 7 to 10 a.m. Call or message the store on Facebook to confirm whether the doors will be open. Green and white crabs are stocked. A few live spots are still in the tank. Eels are on hand.


<b>***Update, Monday, 12/17:***</b> Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> was in full waterfowling mode, and it was all a blur, he said. He was guiding the heck out of trips that hunted brant from Barnegat to Cape May, shot a few black ducks and buffleheads and got after sea ducks on the ocean. The hunts scored great but worked hard, because most of the birds remained to the north. Colder weather was needed to pull the migrations south. Not much of the migrations arrived locally yet. On a hunt Tuesday on the ocean, he saw a fair number of boaters fishing for striped bass. But Jim wrapped up his angling for the year. Weather’s been brutal for the hunting, like it’s been for fishing. On the trip Tuesday, seas weren’t bad on the ocean but were terrible in Townsend’s Inlet. The duck boat he was towing back from the ocean on the day’s trip filled with water in the inlet because seas were unmanageable. The towed boat never completely sinks. But it became fully submerged, and he had to tow it back that way. That’s not overly difficult but inconvenient. Jim heard nothing about steelhead fishing recently on Salmon River in upstate New York. Anglers fish for them from his nearby <a href="" target="_blank">lodge</a> from fall to early spring. The fish winter in the river. Loads of snow covered the ground around the lodge. He could tell because snowmobilers were booking the place like crazy. A discount is available for the lodge, but only on Airbnb.

<b>Cape May</b>

No blackfish trip on the ocean sailed Wednesday on the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b> because of weather, Capt. Paul said. On Tuesday’s trip, the angling was off in a big swell. Maybe Paul went to the wrong place, he said, but he thought the seas might’ve been a reason, and that the catches were off everywhere because of that. Previously, a few trips in a row fished well for the tautog aboard. Some good-sized to 9 ¾ pounds came in during the weekend. So he hoped Tuesday’s downturn was temporary, and expected to see today. Today’s trip was expected to fish, and the trips are slated for 8 a.m. daily.

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