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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 12-20-18


Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> thanks anglers who fished this year aboard and wishes everybody Happy Holidays! he wrote in an email. In spring, striped bass fishing was fantastic aboard. In summer, fluke trips had to travel a long distance for keepers but fished great. Fluking never really developed closer to port in Raritan Bay. Also in summer, porgies gave up super catches. In September and October, eeling was good for stripers on the vessel. In November, weather was exceptionally unsettled. Striper trips had mixed results that month: from super to a pick. When stripers that could be jigged showed up late in the season like they do, most were throwbacks. Sometimes more than a hundred could be landed. Reservations are being accepted for 2019. Frank looks forward to the trips. 

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

The party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b> fished for blackfish today, Capt. Tom said at 10:30 a.m. on the trip in a phone call. But weather was so calm that the anchor lines went slack, and that affected the angling. A couple of keepers and some shorts were angled so far. The boat couldn’t be kept atop the right spot. When it floated above the right place, blackfish, mostly throwbacks, were hooked. Just didn’t have the conditions. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, except no trip will fish on Christmas. <b>***Update, Monday, 12/24:***</b> The trips for blackfish aboard sailed Thursday and Sunday and not in weather Friday and Saturday, Tom said. Sunday’s trip fished slower, maybe because of rough weather and seas the previous two days and somewhat dirty water on the trip. But Tom hopes the fishing will pick back up. No trip will fish on Christmas, and Jan. 6 will be the final trip before the boat goes on winter break. <b>***Another Update, Monday, 12/24:***</b> The fishing was better on today’s trip, Tom said. Definitely better, and the water was a little clearer. Maybe that was a reason, but he couldn’t know. He’d like if more keepers chomped, but hoped the better fishing meant the angling was rebounding. He wishes everybody Merry Christmas, and the trips will resume Wednesday.

Surf anglers seemed unable to find striped bass, said Jay from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Boating for blackfish was good when wind was calm enough for the trips to sail. Offshore sea bass fishing was productive. Baits stocked include green crabs. Anglers can order white crabs by a Friday, and the crabs will be available that Saturday.

The party boats that are blackfishing all sailed today from the marina, said Johnny O. from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. That angling’s been picking decently, reportedly. The shop is located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina, down the dock from party, charter and private boats. Baits stocked include white crabs and green crabs.


An individual-reservation trip for blackfish is supposed to sail today with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. The fishing will be weathered out Friday, and the next available one of these trips is on Friday, Dec. 28. <b>***Update, Wednesday, 12/26:***</b> Weather looks good for an individual-reservation trip for blackfish Thursday, and three spots are available, Ralph wrote in an email. White crabs, green crabs and tackle are included in the price. Friday’s trip is weathered out, and a sea bass trip offshore is full Saturday but a go because of good weather forecasts.


<b>***Update, Saturday, 12/22:***</b> Boats from Belmar scored well on blackfish to 15 pounds, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. That was all he had to report. Weather was the pits. Merry Christmas and healthy, happy New Year, he said.

<b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> fished yesterday, for blackfish on the ocean, for the first time in days because of weather, and the angling was good, Capt. Pete said. They were still inshore, and still chewing. Trips aboard will keep sailing for them as long as the weather is fishable. A couple of the trips are already booked for the beginning of January. The angling will probably be weathered out after today through Christmas. Space is available after the holiday. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Book an individual space with a charter who wants more anglers.


A few throwback striped bass, not many, were landed from the surf, said John from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. A few anglers who popped around to look for them found them, catching on sand-eel imitations like Ava jigs, Tsunami sand eels and teasers. When anglers had the weather to boat for blackfish, they caught okay on the ocean. Jigs clocked them best. Offshore sea bass fishing was decent, not fantastic, but decent. Some ling and sometimes a cod or a pollock were mixed in.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

On the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, bottom-fishing picked catches, not a bail by any means, on the ocean, Capt. Butch said. Mostly blackfish were hung. Occasional sea bass and stray cod were socked. But the sea bass were sizable. Anglers bagged say two to five fish apiece and released a fair number of throwbacks. Trips fished shallow in 60 to 90 feet of water, because not a lot of anglers joined the trips this time of year. Deeper water was 48 degrees, and shallows were 45, about normal for the time of year. A few mackerel were caught aboard at times, not every day, and only a handful. A couple of throwback striped bass were hooked and released. That was beyond 3 miles from shore, where striper fishing is closed, so keepers would’ve had to be let go. Trips are bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. No trip will fish on Christmas, the only day the boat isn’t scheduled to fish each year.

A few blackfish were decked from each spot fished the past few days on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, but the fishing was picky, a report said on the party boat’s website. The weekend’s weather, a strong blow, might’ve “stirred them up a little.” Today’s trip fished a little better. Plenty of the fish seem to be swimming the water. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Friday’s and Saturday’s trips are canceled because of forecasts for rough seas. Sunday’s trip is expected to sail. The trip on Monday, Christmas Eve, will be shorter, sailing 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. No trip will fish on Christmas. Green crabs and white crabs are carried aboard.

<b>Toms River</b>

A couple of customers headed to the surf and banked a couple of oddball striped bass, throwbacks, said Dennis from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b>. Customers also geared up for blackfishing on boats, buying tackle including jigs. That fishing went well. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Forked River</b>

Customers headed for blackfish on the ocean the past couple of days, said Mike from <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>. That was about all of the news, and the store will be closed from Christmas through New Year’s. Afterward, it’ll be open 8 a.m. to 12 noon every Saturday.


Blackfishing ran yesterday on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, working 75-foot depths, Capt. Mike said. A slow pick of the fish was grabbed, and some wrecks gave up the tautog, and some didn’t. The water was 48 degrees and gin-clear, looking good for the angling. He’ll try to run an open-boat trip Sunday for blackfish. Afterward, open trips for them will sail on days when weather’s fit. The trips will continue as long as the weather holds, and Mike’s got enough crabs for bait to last the fishing season. He saw no striped bass and no bait that stripers would forage on during the trip. <b>***Update, Monday, 12/24:***</b> No trips fished in past days, and open trips will fish for blackfish Wednesday and during the weekend, if weather is fishable during the weekend, Mike said.

<b>Ocean City</b>

Small striped bass could probably be plucked from the bay, said Bill from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. But he knew about nobody who tried for them. Nothing was heard about blackfishing on the ocean. After Christmas, the store will be open Thursdays through Saturdays.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b> will next begin annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys from Christmas to Easter, he said. See the <a href="" target="_blank">traveling charters webpage</a> on Jersey Cape’s website. He’s probably finished fishing from Sea Isle for the year. He had been sailing for striped bass on the ocean from there.

<b>Cape May</b>

Some trips fished well for blackfish and others struggled a little, depending on the bite on the day, on the ocean with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. Fourteen were bagged on yesterday’s trip, and 35 were bagged on the trip before. Every once in a while a double-digit blackfish 10 or 12 pounds came up on trips. Another lobster was reeled in yesterday, he said. Practically all striped bass swam beyond 3 miles from shore, where striper fishing is closed. If anybody landed a legal-sized, that was beyond 3. Fishin’ Fever fished for stripers earlier this season. Anglers are booking trips for next year aboard, and many dates are already reserved. But some remain.

The fishing season was wrapped up on the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>, but Capt. George might still fish on friends’ boats, he said. He’d like to fish offshore for sea bass. Terrible weather hardly gave opportunity to do that.

Better numbers of blackfish were shoveled aboard the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b> on Friday, Capt. Paul said. Yesterday’s trip was the next to sail, because of weather, and the angling was a slow pick that day. A few customers bagged some, and some didn’t. On that trip, Ken Minnett from Mays Landing limited out, and Sam Oh from Broomall bagged three of the tautog to 7 pounds.  A trip would probably sail today. Saturday’s weather looks rough, and phone calls sounded like enough anglers wanted to fish on Sunday for a trip to run. The trips are slated to fish for blackfish at 8 a.m. daily. No trip will fish on Christmas, but a trip will blackfish on New Year’s. Day.

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