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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 5-10-18


One angler from <b>Dockside Bait & Tackle</b> trolled a 31-pound striped bass at Old Orchard Shoal on Raritan Bay, Tim said. Tom Nespole was the angler, and most stripers that were boated on the bay seemed to come from Old Orchard to the Ammo Pier to Sandy Hook Point and Coney Island. Michael Rodriguez landed a 32-incher from Carteret Pier. Boaters also seemed to catch stripers near piers like that on the bay. The pier fishing itself was slower than before, but produced. Somebody else checked-in a 20-pound 6-ounce striper, and whether that was from a boat, shore or a pier was unknown. No bluefish were heard about. But some must’ve arrived, Tim thought. Fresh bunker and salted clams are stocked. Sandworms and bloodworms are on hand, but maybe not for long. Demand drops off. Freshwater baits including nightcrawlers and trout worms are also carried. Dockside, located on Smith Creek, a tributary of the Arthur Kill, is accessible from land and water at the fuel dock.


Limits of striped bass became the norm again on Raritan Bay on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. The fishing kicked back in after a slow couple of days at the end of last week. Afterward, Monday was the only day the fishing didn’t limit, “mostly due to us trying to catch the way we wanted instead of staying the course with what works,” he wrote. Twenty-pounders were the bigger stripers, and no bluefish invaded yet. That will change soon, “and the mayhem will begin,” he said. Bluefish get a bad rap. If you like a battle, there’s no better fish. Fluke season will be opened on May 25, and the Vitamin Sea is a dedicated fluke boat throughout summer. Bookings for fluke charters are being accepted, and Frank will post open-boat fluke trips, sailing in mornings and afternoons, soon. “We find them and our pictures say it all,” he wrote. 

Striped bass including a 42-pounder yesterday and a 40-pounder the day before were muscled from Raritan Bay with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. A 12-year-old nailed the 40-pounder. Many 25- and 30-pounders were released the past three days aboard. Open-boat trips are fishing for stripers every morning and at 1 p.m. every Wednesday and every Friday through Sunday. One of Down Deep’s two boats will fish for sea bass daily beginning Tuesday, opening day of sea bass season, on open trips. The other will keep fishing for stripers. If you want to enjoy a nice day, jump aboard these big, comfortable boats with full galleys, Mario said. Charters are available, and sign up for the Short Notice List on <a href="" target="_blank">Down Deep’s website</a> for the weekly open-boat schedule.  Look for the link underneath “Contact.”

The new boat, a fully customized, 31-foot Steiger Craft, is supposed to be ready to fish next week, said Capt. Greg from <b>Manicsportfishing</b>. Then charters and open-boat trips will begin for the fishing season. Striped bass were still crushed in Raritan Bay. Many weighed 20 to 25 pounds, and friends smashed heavier. Manic will fish for the bass on the bay and, when they migrate, on the ocean. That will last into June. Trips will also fish for sea bass and fluke soon.


A trip had just limited out on striped bass Wednesday on Raritan Bay aboard when Capt. Joe from <b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b> gave this report in a phone call, he said. The fish were trolled on Mojos and Stretch plugs, and the fishing was a little slower than previously. The bass bit well early in the tide, and hit less when the tide started slacking. More rumors about bluefish boated were heard about from the bay than before, but Joe saw none. Anglers said blues were run into on the Leonardo flats. Here’s a season’s first on this website: news about offshore fishing. Joe’s keeping an eye on a warm eddy that looks fishy and is heading toward local offshore waters. If the eddy fails to dissipate and he hears about tuna caught, he’ll sail for them.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

For surf anglers, more and more bluefish seemed to move in every day, said Ron from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. He’s a surf angler, and the fish bit in both Raritan Bay and the ocean, but mostly in the bay. Ocean surf fishing seemed hit or miss, like the fish were just passing through. A couple of blues were caught each day, but blues were here, and were big. Boaters were yet to report much about blues. The blues were sluggish and thin, the way blues look when water’s cold. They’re too cold to each much. He and friends were fishing the surf with Redfins and SP Minnows, and one buddy beat four blues who was standing next to Ron. Ron couldn’t hook one. 

Bigger striped bass were belted on Tuesday’s trip on the <b>Fishermen</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. Rubber shads and jigs caught them while the bite lasted, not long. Steve Toth won the pool with a 24-pounder. A 19-pounder and an 18-pounder were also socked. A few anglers reeled in two apiece. That was the most recent report at press time. The next most recent was from Sunday, and that was covered in the previous report here. Striper fishing had improved Sunday after slow fishing for them for a couple of days. The boat is fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

For anglers on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, striped bass fishing was slow on Raritan Bay in past days, Capt. Tom said. Trips are fishing for stripers 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.

Catches of striped bass were slow on party boats from Atlantic Highlands on Raritan Bay today, said Johnny O. from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. Some private boaters scored a little better on the troll or at night on bait. The fish were spawning lately, Johnny guessed. Bluefish caught were sporadically reported, but were big. Three of the store’s rental boats are in the water, available for fishing. All will be splashed for opening of fluke season on May 25. All fluke baits including killies and tackle will be stocked. Fresh clams and bunker are currently in.


Fishing for striped bass picked up on Raritan Bay this week, Capt. Pete from <b>Fin-Taz-Tic Sportfishing</b> wrote in an email. Good-sized were trolled on bunker spoons and clocked on livelined bunker. Reserve charters and open-boat trips as soon as possible for June through August to save a spot. All bait, tackle and ice to bring fish home is supplied. The crew fillets your catch. Coming up, fluke trips will sail. Fluke are already swimming Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. 

Trolling and jigging for striped bass was good on the <b>Tuna-Tic</b> on Raritan Bay, Capt. Mike said. A couple that topped 40 pounds were biggest recently. Small were still tugged from the bay, but no throwbacks were on the Tuna Tic the past two days, he thought. He’ll move the boat after this weekend to Forked River, where the vessel fishes the rest of the year. Trips from there fish for big stripers on the ocean out of Barnegat Inlet, after the bass spawn in back waters and return to the ocean. The season might be early for that to happen next week, and if so, trips will fish for sea bass, because sea bass season opens Tuesday. Trips will fish for the stripers when that picks up. Shark fishing kicks off soon afterward aboard. After that, tuna fishing does.


The fishing schedule will be busy beginning Saturday aboard, Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> said. Striped bass trips are set for Saturday and Sunday. If you want a charter, you better book. Saturdays and Sundays are sold out in the near future. Sea bass season will open Tuesday, and individual-reservation trips for sea bass with spaces available will fish May 26 and June 12, 17 and 27. Individual-reservation trips will fish for cod, pollock, hake and winter flounder inshore on May 22, and offshore for cod June 27 and July 11. The number of passengers is limited on the offshore trips. Winter was cold, so Ralph’s hoping for a good cod season.


The year’s first fishing, for striped bass, was going to head out today with <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. The trip would sail to Raritan Bay, and no stripers really bit in the ocean yet. But the ocean fishing should turn on soon. Parker Pete’s jumps all over that fishing, one of the year’s highlights aboard. Bluefish showed up in Shark River. Pete was hooking 3- to 4-pounders from the dock. Not big, but the blues were a sign that fish were “moving.” Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Book an individual spot with a charter who wants more anglers. Sign up for the email blast on <a href="" target="_blank">Parker Pete’s website</a> to be kept informed about the spaces.

The year’s first fishing will be underway Saturday with <b>Celtic Stoirm Charters</b>, on a trip for striped bass, Capt. Mike said. Stripers are biting in Raritan Bay, and should show up in the ocean near Belmar soon. Book now. Sea bass season will open Tuesday, and trips can fish for them, too.

The <b>Katie H</b>’s first fishing of the year, for striped bass, will break the inlet on two trips Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20, Capt. Mike said. The trips could stop for sea bass, too, because sea bass season will open Tuesday. Sea bass are probably swimming deeper water.

Trips will fish for striped bass at 6 a.m. or earlier Friday and Saturday on the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b>, Capt. Chris said. The number of passengers will be limited. First come, first served. Bring spinning rods, rubber shads and bunker-snagging hooks. Sea bass fishing will sail daily aboard beginning Tuesday, opening day of sea bass season. That day and Wednesday are sold out.

On the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, fishing was slow yesterday, a report said on the party boat’s website. “Everything seems a little late …,” it said. The boat is fishing for striped bass and bluefish 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

A handful of striped bass were bagged Tuesday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princes</b>, an email said from the party boat. A handful of throwbacks were also pulled in, and a good number of stripers were seen along the water surface. Wednesday’s trip did much searching and saw plenty of bunker at quite a few places. But no stripers were caught. Trips are fishing for striped bass and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.


Bluefish finally piled into Manasquan Inlet, said John from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. The fish to 12 and 15 pounds arrived yesterday morning. Now blues also swam Manasquan River. Striped bass held in the river. For the blues, anglers cast metal, plugs like Daiwa SP Minnows, rubber shads and popper lures. For the stripers, they tossed the plugs, poppers and Kettle Creek shads. Weakfish kept being rumored caught from the river. He saw none, but there were rumors. Stripers and blues were picked from the surf on the same lures. Puppy black drum came from the surf a little farther south, like at Island Beach State Park, Seaside Heights or Park and Lavallette. A few show up each year, but this year more than usual seemed to. A few ling and cod, not a lot, were boated on the ocean. 

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Ling were picked today on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. A few small cod were swung up, and the trip fished in 140 feet of water to 200. Weather looks great for tomorrow, and trips are sailing for ling and cod 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Beginning Tuesday, trips will fish for sea bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. That’s opening day of sea bass season.

<b>Toms River</b>

Throwback striped bass and a few keepers were beached from the surf, said Mario from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b>. A few bluefish and black drum were dragged to shore, too. Metal, swimming lures, popping plugs, bunker chunks and clams connected in the surf. Gator blues showed up in Manasquan Inlet. Blues were scattered in Barnegat Bay. Throwback stripers were trolled from the bay near Route 37 Bridge. Throwbacks kept biting in the Toms River at night on bloodworms at Island Heights. Pat Murphy whacked a 31-inch keeper from the river on a Tsunami Talkin’ Popper at night. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Sure looks like things are coming together, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Surf fishing was good Wednesday for sure. Striped bass, blues and black drum were beached. Stripers to 27 pounds were weighed-in from the angling. Anglers fishing bait dunked bunker-chunks and clams, and some had steady action at times. Those who fished lures chucked Daiwa SP Minnows and paddle-tails, and had some action. Fishing the surf on Tuesday was also “more like it” for blues, stripers and drum. Not every angler hooked-up, but the fishing was better than on the previous few days. Seaside Park through Island Beach State Park fished best that day. A sizable bluefish was subdued from the shop’s dock that day. In previous days, stripers were picked from the surf from Lavallette to Island Beach. “All we need now is for the crabbing to get started!” the report said. The wait was on for that from the dock. 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. Some of the boats should be available beginning this weekend.

<b>Forked River</b>

Word about bluefish caught began to come from the surf yesterday, said Mike from <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>. The fish seemed to be slowly arriving. Lots smashed the coast farther south in New Jersey in past days, this writer told Mike. Anglers hope they’ll arrive locally. News was fairly quiet locally until then. Anglers targeting striped bass on Barnegat Bay picked up throwbacks and an occasional keeper. Nothing to write home about on the keepers, and the anglers mostly looked to play the throwbacks, fishing clams or bunker. Occasional anglers targeted weakfish on the bay. Off Oyster Creek was the place heard about, and paddle-tails in pink or Nuclear Chicken were fished for them. Crabbing produced. Not a lot of the blueclaws, but some, definitely. Fresh clams and fresh bunker were stocked. Demand for bloodworms drops off this time of season, and the bait supplier didn’t even mention the worms.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

<b>***Update, Friday, 5/11:***</b> Anglers tangled with 10- to 12-inch bluefish, good-eating sized, while fishing on foot from Barnegat Inlet’s south jetty on the ocean side, said George from <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b>. They also hooked striped bass, mostly throwbacks. Blues were yet to invade Barnegat Bay, as of yesterday, at least. Not much was heard about boating the bay, and few boats were in the water yet. Fresh bunker and frozen baits are stocked. Bobbie’s features a complete bait and tackle shop, a fuel dock and boat and kayak rentals. A few skiffs and pontoon boats are in the water, and more will keep being launched as demand picks up.

The party boat <b>Miss Barnegat Light</b> will begin fishing on May 25, Karen said. That’s the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, and trips will sail for fluke and sea bass 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends starting then. Daily trips will kick off on June 15.  Check out the revamped <a href="" target="_blank">Miss Barnegat Light’s website</a>, including to see about tuna trips, bluefishing, striper fishing, cruises and more.

<b>Mystic Island</b>

The year’s first bluefish was checked-in Sunday morning from Graveling Point at <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>, Brandon said. The angler won the annual $100 gift certificate for the first. Big bluefish showed up at Little Egg Inlet on Saturday, so anglers figured they’d arrive at Graveling by the next day. And the blues did. They swarmed at Graveling and all over now. Just ridiculous, he said. Graveling is a shore-angling spot at the confluence of Great Bay and Mullica River. Fishing for throwback striped bass became spotty at the Point, but still caught. Stripers begin to shy away from the Point once blues arrive, and many of the throwbacks were landed previously. Puppy black drum were still around at the Point. White perch fishing was slow in Mullica River. But fishing was generally good. The blues were battled, and sometimes stripers and drum were nabbed. Fresh bunker, fresh clams and bloodworms are stocked. No bloodworms are on hand, and Scott from the store netted more than usual for a tournament last weekend. When he tried afterward, he found none. So he thought he’d give the shrimp a rest a moment.


Surf anglers banked some blues, black drum and striped bass, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b> Not hot and heavy, but a few. One angler weighed-in a 9-pound 3-ounce blue from the surf that took the lead in Riptide’s Spring Striper and Bluefish Derby that will end on May 20. Second and third place weighed 9 and 8 pounds. Chris Ferrari checked-in a striper in the derby. The chances of entering bigger blues and stripers are still real. The Riptide/<a href="" target="_blank"></a> 43-Inch Striper Bounty was up to $210. The cash is awarded to the season’s first angler to stop in with a striper 43 inches or larger from Brigantine’s surf. Entry is $5, and the bounty will grow, and all the entry fees are awarded to the angler. Fresh bunker and clams are stocked, and more will be tomorrow.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

It’s crazy, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Bluefish 7 to 12 pounds showed up two days ago, and kept blitzing since. This was in the surf beside Absecon Inlet in town. Throw fresh bunker or Daiwa SP Minnows for them. If you never caught a fish, Noel can guarantee you will, he said. Striped bass and weakfish were hooked among them. So were kingfish and blowfish. But mostly blues attacked. All baits, the full supply including fresh bunker, are stocked.


The party boat <b>Keeper</b> is in the water and will start fishing on May 25, opening day of summer flounder season, Capt. John said. The vessel fishes for flounder the whole season each year. The trips run 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 5 p.m. daily. The rate is only $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and $20 for kids, because the fishing is near port, and the pontoon boat is economical on fuel. Plus, rental rods are free.


A big push of bluefish finally arrived, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. They were all big or 5 to 12 pounds, and blew up yesterday for shore anglers at Atlantic City beside Absecon Inlet for the first time this season. They’re going off now. Striped bass, mostly throwbacks, are mixed in. The smallest throwbacks won’t be anymore, because the blues will eat them! Dave on a trip yesterday tackled a big blue on Great Bay, his first blue of the year. Numbers of them were yet to arrive in the bay, but are probably coming. Dave ran a couple of charters this week that smoked throwback striped bass, lots, on the back bay. Lots of action on Gulps on jigheads. Dave wasn’t asked the kind of Gulps, but usually fishes the Nemesis. Big sea robins swam the water, and Dave landed a 3-pounder yesterday that he planned to enter in The Fisherman magazine’s Dream Boat Contest. The contest includes a category for the junk fish, and a customer weighed-in a 2.6-pound sea robin the other day. Dave’s charters will fish for stripers and blues, and summer flounder after flounder season opens on May 25. He’ll run no charters on opening weekend, because the store always holds a big Grand Slam tournament, for all the different species of fish that are common locally in saltwater, that weekend. A few stripers were slid from Brigantine’s surf. Black drum were heard about from the surf this past week, and he heard about none from bays in past days. Drum should be active in bays on the new moon that’s coming up. White perch finished spawning in brackish rivers like the Mullica, and fishing became excellent for them. They began feeding again.  


An open-boat trip for sea bass is starting to fill Tuesday on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. That’s opening day of sea bass season, and another will fish Wednesday. One of the trips is sold out the following Sunday, May 20.

<b>Ocean City</b>

Bluefish 8 to 12 pounds, a mess of them, showed up in Corson’s Inlet yesterday, said Justin from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. Anglers fishing for striped bass tackled the blues on Daiwa SP Minnow lures.
Tremendous numbers of small stripers schooled the surf and back bay.  In the surf, they seemed to prefer bait: bloodworms or small pieces of clams. In the bay, soft-plastic lures seemed to catch most. Nobody reported trying for kingfish and blowfish in the surf the past couple of days. But two anglers previously bailed them, including double-headers. Those species probably remained in the surf currently. Those anglers were probably the only two fishing where they were on the trip.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Good-sized bluefish, lots, stormed Townsend’s Inlet beginning about two days ago, said “old” Mike, not Mike the owner, from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. At Corson’s Inlet, small striped bass jumped on Hopkins lures or small pieces of clams. Weakfish 3 to 5 pounds chewed in Ludlam Bay on bloodworms on weakfish rigs. Not much bit in the surf, but stripers there began to give up catches, not many, but a start.

<b>Cape May</b>

A trip for black drum was fishing Delaware Bay when Capt. Paul from the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b> gave this report at 6 p.m. yesterday aboard, he said. No drum were hooked at that time, and he was hoping the fish would bite once the tide began to move. He texted a <a href="" target="_blank"> photo of a drum</a> from the trip soon afterward. Trips will fish for the drum 2 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Telephone to reserve, because Paul needs to order bait. Trips for sea bass will sail at 8 a.m. daily beginning Tuesday, opening day of sea bass season.

A bunch of striped bass were coming from the surf every day, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. He plugged a 20-pound 42-incher on Tuesday on a JoeBaggs Swarter. On Wednesday, another angler bunker-chunked a 42-incher. Today another angler bunker-chunked a 47-inch 33-pounder. Bluefish catches began to be heard about from the back bay, mostly on lures. Anglers waited to see if they ended up in the surf. Puppy black drum were clammed from Delaware Bay’s surf. Cape May is located at the confluence of the ocean and bay. Anglers who fished from small boats fished for drum in shallows tight to the bay’s shore, like off Pierce’s Point. Those in bigger boats fished farther out, a half-mile from shore, in somewhat deeper water off Coxhall Creek. Anglers fishing the surf along local jetties eased in a few weakfish, not big, on bloodworms. Others who fished the back bay hooked a few spikes – small weaks – on soft-plastic lures.

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