Sat., May 25, 2024
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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 2-19-18


Just one of Belmar’s party boats is fishing, said Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b>. The vessel fished Sunday with 10 or 12 anglers, and Bob didn’t know results, because he wasn’t at the shop that day. But the boat’s been reporting catches of cod, ling and blackfish. Bergals are also biting, and the angling’s slow, but the head boat is the only that’s fishing locally. No trip fished Saturday aboard, because of forecasts for snow. Anglers seem to avoid showing up in forecasts like that, so they can avoid driving in weather. They come from all over. No trip sailed today on the vessel, because only five or six anglers showed up. On a good day, 12 or 15 turn up. On a really good day, 20 do. The vessel is trying to fish daily. The shop is being geared up for the opening of winter flounder season beginning March 1. Worms are ordered for bait, and the rental boats will be available to fish Shark River for the flounder. The slowest time of winter is past, and business will pick up. The store is usually open 5:30 or 6 a.m. until 12 noon or 1 p.m. daily.


<b>***Update, Thursday, 2/22:***</b> A 12-hour trip for cod sailed on Presidents’ Day on the <b>Jamaica II</b>, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Fishing was slow, but a few photos of the catches were posted. The ocean’s temperature dropped in a strong tide from north. “Had ok life from the typical undesirables,” it said. That was a special trip for the holiday, and the boat is sailing on 14-hour trips for cod every Saturday and 12-hour trips every Sunday that fish the Mudhole.

A party boat from Belmar reportedly docked 25 cod the other day, said Alex from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. The trip probably also landed ling. A mate from a party boat closer to the store said blackfishing on that vessel was slow on a trip, totaling 20 of the tautog reeled in. That was all the fishing heard about. The shop had a booth at Surf Day Saturday. Coming up, the store will exhibit at the Berkeley Striper Club’s fishing flea market March 4 in Toms River, Asbury Park Fishing Club’s fishing flea market March 11 at Convention Hall and the Saltwater Fishing Expo March 16 to 18 in Edison. Dave Arbeitman, the shop’s owner, will give a presentation about tilefishing at the Saltwater Sportsman Seminar this coming Saturday in Linwood near Atlantic City.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Trips were expected to fish Saturday through today, Presidents’ Day, on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, Capt. Matt wrote in a report Thursday on the party boat’s website. That was the most recent report at press time. Prior to then, the most recent trip scooped up a few keeper and throwback cod “and a few small blackfish,” the report said. Forecasts for wind looked like seas wouldn’t be choppy on the trips in past days through today, Presidents’ Day. Clams and crabs were going to be carried aboard those outings for bait.  <b>***Update, Thursday, 2/22:***</b> Fishing will head for blackfish, cod and ling 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Matt wrote in a report on the boat’s site. Fishing was slow on a trip Saturday that searched all different depths and different types of bottom. He hopes the recent warm weather warmed the ocean and got fish biting better. On the trip, lots of life was marked at certain areas and looked like mackerel and herring. Matt hopes “a few cod will show up behind them,” he wrote. Crabs and clams will be carried aboard.

<b>Toms River</b>

Bloodworms will be stocked Tuesday, said Dennis from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. Anglers will fish for white perch in the Toms River with the worms. When striped bass season opens in back waters March 1, anglers will target them in the river. They’ll also go after winter flounder in the river when flounder season opens the same day. They’ll fish for bluefish when that migration arrives in early spring in the river. The river is fished from bulkheads as well as boats. The fishing season’s beginning at the store, and shiners and nightcrawlers began to be stocked in past days.  Dennis hopes to carry killies any moment. The store will probably be open daily beginning today. The shop’s Facebook page said the doors would be open at 9 a.m. today. Hours will be limited at first this season. <b>***Update, Thursday, 2/22:***</b> Photos of striped bass landed were posted on <a href="" target="_blank">Murphy’s Facebook page</a> this week. They’re here! one of the posts said. No location was mentioned, but the fish were obviously hooked in back waters. Release any stripers in back waters until the season opens for them March 1 there. Thanks for not spot burning, someone commented under one of the photos. The page also shared someone else’s photo of a bunker that a seagull dropped along Manasquan River, the person wrote. Bunker swam the river on incoming tide, the person wrote. 

<b>Forked River</b>

At <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>, Mike hopes to stock bloodworms this week, he said. A couple of customers bought supplies to fish Oyster Creek last week. When striped bass season opens March 1 in back waters, the creek, the warm-water discharge for Forked River power plant, is always one of the first places to give up the bass in the state. The creek can potentially hold stripers, blues, winter flounder and white perch. Flounder season will also open that day. Mike heard no details but knew that fish were being hooked at the creek. The store was open 8 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday. Weather was chilly but clear then and was supposed to become rough later that day into Sunday morning. He expected not to open that Sunday, and has been opening during those hours on Saturdays and Sundays when forecasts have been likely to attract customers.


White perch fishing seemed good on brackish rivers, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. Bloodworms and live grass shrimp were almost always stocked for the angling, and customers showed up from everywhere for supplies for the fishing. The fishing was heard about from Mullica, Great Egg Harbor and Maurice rivers. Dave’s been getting ready for the opening of striped bass season in less than two weeks, on March 1, in bays and rivers. Fair weather looks promising for the angling, and annual gift certificates will be awarded to the store for the season’s first stripers weighed-in, once the season opens. Dave will post details soon on the store’s Facebook page and website. <a href="" target="_blank">See last year’s winners</a> on the shop’s site. The store is one of New Jersey’s first to report striper catches each year, because of the certificates. The shop is open for no set hours, but Dave is usually there. Call ahead to confirm. The doors will be open daily beginning on the striper opener.


<b>***Update, Thursday, 2/22:***</b> This was posted last week and is being re-posted for a reminder or in case anybody missed it: Attend the meeting Feb. 27 about the new permit that New Jersey is requiring to drive a beach-buggy on Brigantine’s north end, a <a href="" target="_blank">post</a> said on <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>’s Facebook page. Click the link and read the post for details.  Previously, anglers with a Brigantine beach-buggy permit could drive the north end along with the rest of the town’s beach where driving is allowed. The state this year is beginning to impose an additional permit that anglers would need to buy to drive the north end.


<b>***Update, Thursday, 2/22:***</b> An open-boat trip will blackfish Saturday on the <b>Stray Cat</b> if wind doesn’t blow too strongly, Capt. Mike wrote in an email. The ocean on the grounds is 44 degrees, “good enough,” he wrote, for the tog to bite. Telephone to join the trip.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b> will probably fish for striped bass on the back bay after striper season opens in back waters beginning March 1, he said. He’ll run traveling charters to the Florida Keys in March, but if he gets the weather, he’ll fish for the stripers from Sea Isle, too. His trips hook them on soft-plastic lures or flies fished slowly along bottom at places like creek mouths that flush warm water into the bay on outgoing tides.  He’s hoping for a great run of bluefish in the bay that’s happened recently in early spring. That bluefishing’s fun. The trips to the Keys fish annually from Christmas until Easter, and some of those fished this weekend with Mike Roth aboard. Mike was mostly fly-fishing for tarpon and had just jumped one off when Joe gave this report this morning in a phone call aboard. He sight-cast to the fish in shallow water. He had one on, on a fly, that jumped off after a couple of leaps yesterday, too, and had other tarpon bites this weekend. The fish this morning were rolling around, were there. He also fished with conventional tackle this weekend, landing fish including lots of jacks and mangrove snappers. See the <a href="" target="_blank">traveling charters webpage</a> on Jersey Cape’s website. 


Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> is hoping for good fishing for black drum on Delaware Bay this spring, he said. The fishing was good last year, and the trips mostly fish in May and will probably be some of the year’s first angling aboard. Striped bass fishing is possible before then in spring. Currently, he’s guiding snow goose hunting. Trips this week are supposed to do that on Tuesday and Saturday. The trips hunt in Salem County near Delaware Bay in New Jersey, and then follow the migration north, as far as New York State. One to 1 ½ million of the geese populate this flyway. A hundred-thousand were currently at Pennsylvania’s Middle Creek Wildlife Refuge. So the northern migration just began. Jim will guide the trips into April. Jim’s <a href="" target="_blank">lodge</a> in upstate New York is booked into the first week of March. Afterward, the schedule’s pretty open. The beginning of March until early April is a good time for guests to fish for steelheads on nearby Salmon River. Current guests were snowmobiling, and plenty of snow covered the ground. Fins offers a variety of outdoor adventures.

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