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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 4-30-18


Choose a good day, and jump aboard for striped bass on Raritan Bay with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. The fishing is wide open, catching on bunker chunks, cast rubber shads and on the troll, depending on the day. Open-boat trips are fishing for stripers daily, and charters are available. Each of Down Deep’s boats accommodates up to 15 passengers. Follow <a href="" target="_blank">Down Deep’s Facebook page</a> for spaces available on open trips. Coffee is free, and each of the 40-foot boats features a full galley and large cockpit for comfort.

Striped bass fishing was incredibly good on Raritan Bay, Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> wrote in an email. Trips kept limiting out and releasing additional, and the stripers weighed up to 37 pounds aboard. Many weighed 30-some pounds, and the big ones were released. “Anglers (aboard) showed great respect for these magnificent, egg-laden females,” he wrote. The striper fishing showed no signs of letting up yet. Charters are fishing, and the next open-boat trip with spaces available is on Sunday. Three spots remain, and telephone to reserve.


Fishing for striped bass on Raritan Bay was slower Sunday than previously but limited out with <b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Joe said. Just took longer, four hours. Previously, trips limited within a half-hour and released additional afterward. The bass weighed up to 20 pounds on Sunday’s trip, and a 32-pounder is the biggest so far this season from the bay on the boat. Rough weather Saturday night might’ve caused the slower fishing Sunday. Stripers were scattered Sunday. Saturday fished the best of the season for the stripers aboard. Trips have been trolling the bass on Mojos and plugs. Acres and acres of bunker schooled the bay, and Joe looks forward to when the bass will respond to livelined bunker when water warms. Even bigger stripers are usually hooked then. No bluefish seemed around yet. Someone mentioned catching a blue off Keyport in the bay, but that was unconfirmed.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Was good fishing for striped bass on Raritan Bay on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. None of the twice-daily trips fished Friday. Sometimes the trips nearly limited out. Sometimes only a few anglers joined the trips, and Tom guessed anglers waited for reports instead of making reports. A 25-pounder, the biggest so far on the boat this season, and a 23-pounder were clocked aboard. The trips fished with clams, and clams have been difficult to obtain. But Tom’s been fortunate to carry them aboard. Trips are fishing for stripers 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Monday, 4/30:***</b> Too few anglers showed up for a trip to sail this morning, Tom said. But this afternoon’s trip got out – wind calmed, though weather became cold or 53 degrees, and felt colder, and some drizzle fell – and four keepers and probably 15 throwbacks were boated so far, he said at 4 p.m. in a phone call aboard the outing. A handful of anglers joined the trip in the weather. <b>***Update, Tuesday, 5/1:***</b> Stripers that could be jigged popped up sometimes, Tom said. Fishing aboard got on none, but if anglers want to bring two rods, one for bait and another, a spinning pole, for a jig or a rubber shad, they’ll be prepared if jig-fish turn up. This morning’s trip fished not as well as previous trips, but caught a few.

Plenty of throwback striped bass and a keeper here and there were angled Thursday on Raritan Bay on the <b>Fishermen</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. The hot hand landed 16 throwbacks and a pool-winning keeper. The trip’s keepers were under 30 inches, so the captain was waiting for bigger stripers to show. No news was posted for Friday and Saturday, except Thursday’s report said rain was expected Friday, and rain used to mean just another day of fishing. Maybe the forecast kept anglers from showing up. On Sunday’s trip, striper fishing was a slow pick. Shots of the fish bit, then nothing. The boat would be moved a couple of times, and stripers would bite right away, then nothing. That happened throughout the trip, and a handful of keepers and a bunch of throwbacks were pulled in. The boat is fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.


Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing was great aboard, said Capt. Mike from <b>Tuna-Tic Sportfishing</b>. Only a couple of dates are left for the charters. Friday’s and Saturday’s trips mugged the bass and released additional. On Sunday morning’s trip, the stripers bit at first and then stopped. Sunday afternoon’s trip was bailing them when he gave this report in a phone call. A new body of smaller bass seemed to arrive then, and one of the anglers was fighting a big one during the call. Stripers on the trips weighed up to 25 pounds and were all trolled. Once the bay’s fishing slows, the boat is moved to Forked River, home port, to fish for the bass on the ocean from Barnegat Inlet. The stripers will have migrated there.


An individual-reservation trip for striped bass is full on May 12 and is the next fishing scheduled aboard, said Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>. More of the trips are slated for May 20 and 29, and spaces are available. Individual-reservation trips for sea bass have spaces available May 26 and June 12 and 22. The boat had been blackfishing, but today is the final day of blackfish season. A couple of cod trips already fished this season aboard. Most results of the blackfishing and cod fishing were covered in previous reports here. Choice dates for charters are booking quickly.


<b>***Update, Tuesday, 5/1:***</b> An edited email from Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> at 3 p.m. today: “BASS on our beaches, big numbers, small bass on nearly any lure, SP Minnow, small Bomber and teasers. The fly fishermen having a great time, fish up to 28 inches common. You can pick any of your favorite beaches and catch 10 to 20 bass. Weather is great, get out and enjoy.”  

The <b>Big Mohawk</b> was headed for blackfishing on the ocean on this final day of blackfish season, the party boat’s Facebook page said early this morning. The angling was tough Saturday morning and somewhat improved later in the day. A big swell made the fishing difficult. Nothing was posted about Sunday, and maybe that day’s trip was canceled in rough weather. Once blackfish season closes tomorrow, the vessel will sail for striped bass, bluefish or whatever bites until fishing for sea bass daily when sea bass season opens May 15.

A couple of keeper striped bass were landed and several stripers were lost Saturday on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. That was a big improvement over the fishing previously. “A couple of stripers today,” a report said about the next day’s trip on the site. The water was up to 51 degrees, and the crew expects bluefish to show up soon for trips aboard, because of that temp and because blues were reportedly fought along Manasquan Inlet’s jetties. The report mentioned those blues on Saturday. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 .a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

The <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b> began fishing this weekend for the year, for striped bass and bluefish, an email said from the party boat. The fishing was slow, and one striper was caught, on Saturday. The water was a little cold, and hopefully a shot of warm weather forecast for this week will make fish more active. Plenty of fish and bait were marked on Saturday’s trip. The boat is fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

From <b>Celtic Stoirm Charters</b>, Capt. Mike hopes to begin the year’s fishing during the second week of May, he said. Striped bass fishing on the ocean will start the angling, and trips are booking quickly.

Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> expects striped bass fishing on the ocean to pick up substantially by mid-May, he said. But a trip is slated to get after the bass this weekend aboard, launching the year’s fishing aboard. Parker Pete’s is all about the striper fishing in spring, and a few dates remain in May for the trips aboard. Pete had splashed the boat, tested a new prop and found that a smaller prop was needed. He hoped the new prop would be ready today and that the boat would be back in the water at mid-week. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Book an individual space with a charter who wants more anglers. Join the email blast on <a href="" target="_blank">Parker Pete’s website</a> to be kept informed about the spaces.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Daily trips for striped bass will kick off tomorrow on the party boat <b>Gambler</b>, Jill said. The trips sail 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and fish the ocean.

A small crowd joined the daily blackfish trip Friday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. That was the most recent report at press time. A little rain fell, but the ocean was “beautiful,” and some anglers limited out. A few bagged one to three, and some only caught throwbacks. Not great, but not bad. Today is the last day of blackfish season, so the boat starting tomorrow will sail for ling and cod 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The trips will switch to sea bass beginning May 15, opening day of sea bass season.


A few striped bass were trolled at Shrewsbury Rocks on the ocean Saturday, nothing great, but encouraging, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. Anglers are waiting for the ocean’s striper fishing to kick in. Raritan Bay was the best place to find stripers. A bunch including good-sized were boated there on trolled Mojos, cast rubber shads and chunked bunker. Closer to the store, small stripers were beached from the surf, mostly on rubber shads, but also on Daiwa SP Minnows, clams and worms. A good number of throwback stripers bit in Manasquan Inlet and throughout Manasquan River to Route 70 Bridge on rubber shads, SP’s and small popper lures. White was best color for the shads, and mostly the shads caught at the inlet. Small stripers also hit in Point Pleasant Canal. A few 4- to 6-pound bluefish, not many, not the main run, swam the inlet, the river at the 70 Bridge and the canal. The full migration of blues to local waters was late. Four- to 6-pound weakfish were hooked in the river on the same tackle that the stripers chased. Nothing was heard about winter flounder from the river or nearby Barnegat Bay, apparently because few anglers tried for them. A couple of out-of-season fluke were seen from the river near the old hospital. A few also seemed to migrate to Shark River. Today is the final day of blackfish season, and the tautog were boated on the ocean in 50 to 60 feet of water. Clams and crabs seemed to catch equally. Keeper blackfish were also taken from Point Pleasant Canal on sandworms. That’s uncommon bait for blackfish but worked. Cod were picked from the ocean on clams and jigs, especially at Shark River Reef. Slow-pitch jigging nailed them, and most cod were throwbacks, but some were keepers.   

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Bluefish, no blitz but a fair showing, showed up in Barnegat and Manasquan inlets Friday, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. The next day, big blues that weighed in the double-digits were nailed off the shop’s dock on cut bunker in late afternoon. That is the year’s first first-hand report about bluefish on this website. Only second-hand reports about blues were written about here previously. Surf-fishing for small striped bass began to heat up “on the night tides,” the report said Friday. That was all on bait. Larger stripers from the mid to upper 30 inches began to be hooked Friday in the surf and Barnegat Bay, the report said Saturday. The bigger ones were on surf clams and Daiwa SP Minnows. “Warmer weather is coming this week, (and I’ve got the) feeling things could just bust wide open,” John from the shop wrote in the report. Have your ducks in a row, because it’s almost game on! he wrote.  The Dock Outfitters, located on Barnegat Bay, blocks from the ocean surf, features a bait and tackle shop, a café, a dock for fishing and crabbing, and, in season, boat and jet-ski rentals.

<b>Forked River</b>

“Just got some good reports Blue Fish in the bay inlet to Oster creek,” <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>’s Facebook page said Friday. At press time, nothing further was posted about that. The above report from The Dock Outfitters in Seaside Heights says the year’s first blues, big ones, were tackled Saturday off the shop’s dock on Barnegat Bay, and says blues showed up Friday along Barnegat and Manasquan inlets. A report from the party boat Golden Eagle in Belmar talks about blues appearing at Manasquan Inlet sometime in past days.


The <b>Hi Flier</b> will launch fishing this weekend aboard, Capt. Dave DeGennaro wrote in an email. That’s a little later than usual, but the boat was just repowered with twin 150 Suzukis, and that was worth the wait. He’ll break in the new engines this week and begin open-boat trips and charters Saturday through Monday for striped bass and blues. Contact Dave to climb aboard. If seas are calm, the trips will troll for big stripers on the ocean. If the ocean’s rough, the trips will anchor on Barnegat Bay and clam for stripers, and also hunt blues on the bay with surface lures on spinning rods. If anglers want, trips could combine the ocean fishing with the bay bluefishing. This stretch of warm weather that’s about to begin will ignite all of these fisheries. He can’t wait to begin the new season and see everybody aboard.

<b>Mystic Island</b>

Graveling Point was giving up a pretty good fishery for small striped bass, a report said Friday on <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>’s website. Scott from the shop apparently wrote the report. The throwbacks consistently offered up catches, and once in a while one was almost the 28-inch minimum size to bag. Three keepers were known to be reeled up in past weeks. Bloodworms produced most bites at Graveling, but sometimes fresh clams worked better. Black drum were tied into there during low-light hours or cloudy days. Thirty-three inches was the biggest known about, and clams were the bait to dunk for the drum. A 24-inch weakfish was banked in the area, and this was on schedule for weaks to show up. Graveling is a shore-angling spot at the confluence of Great Bay and Mullica River. No anglers were seen fishing Little Sheepshead Creek for weaks, but maybe this was time to try. Anglers fish for weaks on foot at the creek with pink Fin-S Fish. Still, weather seemed cool for that, and not many weaks would be expected until gnats show up. “I remember years past having a special kind of fortitude to suck up clouds of gnats while plugging away for weakies along that bank in Sheepshead Creek,” the report said. Scott saw no gnats while catching grass shrimp to stock for the store. The number of shrimp increased that he found. So did the number of minnows and spearing that he saw while grass-shrimping. Maybe all of this meant that weather was finally warming. The annual $100 gift certificate remained up for grabs for the angler who checks in the year’s first bluefish from Graveling, nearby Pebble Beach or that whole area. One was rumored to get away when it flipped off a hook while being landed. Blues can be around when drum and weakfish appear. A photo of a kingfish was seen from the Graveling area. Maybe a few were in. Scott saw no blueclaw crabs while grass-shrimping. He usually finds small ones in his net when the crabs begin to stir around. Was a little early, he supposed.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Striped bass, some of them keepers, were pasted from Absecon Inlet off Melrose and Madison avenues, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Bloodworms, fresh clams and fresh bunker will hook them, and customers fish the inlet on foot. One angler trying for stripers in the area nabbed five or six kingfish in a trip and two or three on the next trip on bloods. This was early for kings, and Noel was surprised. He expected the bluefish migration to arrive before kings, and heard about no bluefish yet. Lots of out-of-season summer flounder swam the back bay. Noel even saw a few blueclaw crabs that were trapped this early in the year. All baits, the full supply, are stocked.


Blackfishing was pretty good yesterday on the ocean on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. The fish were cranked in from 65 to 80 feet of water that was 52 degrees. Whales were seen pushing up the beach on the way in. Mike so far this season saw no striped bass in the ocean and marked no fish inshore. An open-boat trip will fish for sea bass May 15, opening day of sea bass season. Beginning that day, open trips will fish for them every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Been good fishing, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Mike Roth fly-fished the back bay Saturday aboard, landing nine schoolie striped bass. Sunday was cold and windy, and Joe motored out briefly and fished the bay in the morning, not for long. Two anglers aboard Thursday totaled 18 schoolie stripers, a half-dozen out-of-season summer flounder and three decent-sized weakfish on the bay on soft-plastic lures on lead jigheads. Catching a mix of fish like that is possible this time of year, something great about the season. The bluefish migration was yet to show up that usually fills the bay by now. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

<b>Cape May</b>

A couple of blackfish less than the boat’s limit, including some big, were decked Saturday with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. The big included a 10-1/2-pounder and a couple of 9-pounders. A handful of 5- to 8-pounders were also slugged. Blackfish season will close tomorrow, and black drum fishing will be available then aboard Delaware Bay. The drum began to be reeled in, and Tom knew crews that bagged up to five in a trip on the New Jersey side. Tilefishing is available offshore on short notice during weather windows. Trips for sea bass will begin when sea bass season opens May 15. All of this angling is available on charters and open-boat trips. Fishin’ Fever usually fishes for bluefish currently, but the bluefish migration was yet to arrive. That seemed because of cold water this spring. The water was 51 to 52 degrees during the blackfishing.

Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> heard about a few black drum heaved from Delaware Bay, he said. Charters fish for them in May aboard. Not a lot of boats were in the water yet at Cape May. A couple of the port’s party boats apparently fished, were gone from the dock, Saturday in beautiful weather. Sunday was cold and windy. He was wrapping up seasonal maintenance on the boat that day, and the wind was blowing stuff around the cockpit every time he set something down.

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