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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 5-14-18


Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing remained excellent for the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. The fishing was a little slow during boat traffic, but plenty of the bass swam the water. They weighed up to 42 pounds aboard recently, and were landed on rubber shads, jigs and on the troll. Fishing with bunker-chunks failed to catch so well, and the bass seemed not to prefer bait during spawning that was happening currently. Open-boat trips are fishing for stripers at 6 a.m. daily and 1 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. One of Down Deep’s two boats will fish for sea bass and other bottom-fish on open trips daily beginning tomorrow, opening day of sea bass season. Charters are available for up to 15 passengers. Both boats are big and comfortable and include full galleys, he said. Sign up for the Short Notice List on <a href="" target="_blank">Down Deep’s website</a> for special open trips. Look for the link underneath “Contact.”

Every trip limited out on striped bass last week on Raritan Bay on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, except on Sunday, when one fewer than a limit were bagged, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. The fishing was excellent, this has been a fantastic spring run, and the angling shows no signs of letting up. The bigger stripers weighed in the high 20 pounds, and when trips could catch bunker, the baitfish were livelined for the bass. Bunker chunks were also fished when bunker were caught. But neither of that fishing worked best, and Frank didn’t say what type of fishing did. Women and children have also enjoyed the angling aboard. Charters make for a great family day, and the catch is some of the best-eating to boot. Capt. T.J.’s been running trips on weekends and in afternoons. Frank couldn’t explain how great T.J.’s been. But so many guests contacted Frank to say how professional T.J. was. Spaces are available Thursday afternoon, Friday morning and Sunday afternoon. Open-boat trips or charters can book those times. Four spots are left for an open trip Saturday afternoon. Charters are available on the Saturday to Monday of Memorial Day weekend. Book now, and the fishing is as good as it gets.


<b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b> limited out on striped bass once again, Capt. Joe said. That was on a trip Saturday that trolled the fish on Mojos. A friend boated a few of the bay’s stripers on livelined bunker. The livelining will be the preferred fishing with Sour Kraut, if bunker are found to liveline on a trip. Bluefish began to appear in the bay. Sour Kraut hooked none, but Joe knew a few anglers who did.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Much better fishing today for striped bass on <b>The Fishermen</b>, a good bite, a report said on the party boat’s website. Several good-sized keepers and plenty of throwbacks were pulled in. Several good readings were marked while the trip traveled, so maybe the fishing is settling in. Trips are fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

The trip this morning was picking right away at striped bass on Raritan Bay on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, and the fishing’s been better lately, Capt. Tom said. A few keepers were already bagged at 10 a.m., when he gave this report in a phone call on the outing. Throwbacks were steadily picked. “We’re having a nice morning,” he said. No bluefish showed up yet on trips, and blues did by now last year. Don’t be scared off by weather reports. Trips are fishing for stripers 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.


The boat will be moved to Forked River this week to fish the rest of the year, said Capt. Mike from <b>Tuna-Tic Sportfishing</b>. The vessel is moved annually like that, and from Forked River, trips at first will fish for big striped bass on the ocean out of Barnegat Inlet. The ocean fishing’s been dead but should kick off in another week or two. Big stripers will finish spawning in back waters like Delaware River and pour into the ocean. Until the stripers arrive, sea bass fishing will be available beginning tomorrow, opening day of sea bass season. The boat’s been fishing Raritan Bay for stripers from Highlands until now this season. One more of those trips was going to fish today, and the vessel does this fishing each spring. Every trip limited out on those bass so far. Phenomenal, he said.


<b>***Update, Wednesday, 5/16:***</b> Striped bass including two heavier than 25 pounds were angled yesterday on a charter aboard, Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> wrote in an email. The trip also fished for sea bass, during slack tide, tugging some in. That was opening day of sea bass season, and Last Lady will do much fishing for sea bass now. Trips will also striper fish. Striper fishing was slow last weekend aboard. One trip totaled six keepers, and another totaled three. Individual-reservation trips will fish for: stripers on Sunday and May 29; sea bass May 26 and June 12, 17, 19 and 22; inshore cod May 22; and offshore cod June 27 and July 11. Annual individual-reservation trips that fish every Tuesday will begin on June 19, first fishing for sea bass, later fishing for fluke. Kids 12 and under sail free on those outing, limited to one per adult host. Charters are booking quickly.  <b>***Another Update, Wednesday, 5/16:***</b> Space is still available for Sunday’s striper trip, and the trip will also drop for sea bass most likely, Ralph said.


Anglers are waiting for striped bass and bluefish to arrive locally in the ocean, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. A fair number of smaller stripers and small to medium-sized blues swam rivers. In the surf, small stripers dominated. Blues were yet to run the surf much. Sea bass season will open Tuesday, and party boat trips will sail for them from Belmar on the ocean. Big numbers of fluke seemed to hold in rivers. Fluke season will open on May 25. The shop’s rental boats are used for fluking on Shark River.  <b>***Update, Tuesday, 5/15:***</b> Some big striped bass to 35 pounds were clobbered today on the party boat Golden Eagle, Bob wrote in an email. Good catches of sea bass were slugged on Belmar’s head boats on this opening day of sea bass season. In the surf, lots of small stripers roamed. Fluke scurried around rivers, and fishing for them might be good when fluke season opens on May 25. This would be a good time to get your gear ready and fish, he said.

No stripers were boated on the ocean yet, really, said Capt. Mike from <b>Celtic Stoirm Charters</b>. Trips had to sail north to Raritan Bay for stripers.

<b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> fished on most days since Wednesday, Capt. Pete said. No striped bass bit in the ocean yet, and each trip looked for them. Afterward, the trips sailed to Raritan Bay, sometimes catching stripers. That’s more than 25 miles from port, and sometimes that leaves too little time to wait out factors like the tide. But Pete hopes for stripers to become active in the ocean soon. Plenty of dates are available for charters, and book them while they are. Once the ocean fishing takes off, the charters book up. 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. <b>***Update, Monday, 5/14:***</b>  A trip limited out on striped bass on the ocean this afternoon aboard, Pete said. He thought the fishing might begin around the new moon, and it did. Runoffs were scored on livelined bunker. But the fish let the bait go, so the trip trolled and smashed 30-pounders right away. “Big, crazy fish,” he said!

On the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, Sunday’s trip read fish stacked under the boat at times, but they just wouldn’t bite, an email said from the party boat. Trips are fishing for striped bass and bluefish 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. On the trip, a good amount of bait was read from the ocean off Shark River Inlet to Sandy Hook. Some customers snagged bunker and fished the baitfish live where fish were marked, but nothing would even bite that. The crew looks forward to better fishing soon. Friday’s trip did much searching, and fishing was tough. Saturday’s trip decked one striper and one blue.

Fishing for sea bass begins Tuesday on the <b>Big Mohawk</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. That’s opening day of sea bass season, and the trips will fish daily. The first of the trips, from Tuesday through Thursday, require reservations and will depart at 6 a.m., earlier than usual. Be at the boat by 5:30 a.m. to start the boarding process. “We have a couple of spots open,” the report said.

For anglers on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, fishing was slow Saturday, a report said on the party boat’s website. A large striped bass was lost at the boat, and bunker that were fished did get chewed up by bluefish. The fish are there, and the boat will keep at it. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.


Not many striped bass bit yet for boaters on the ocean, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. A few scattered reports talked about trolling the bass, not big, up to 15 or 20 pounds, at Shrewsbury Rocks on Mojos. The best striper fishing remained on Raritan Bay. The angling became somewhat more inconsistent than before, because the fish were spawning. They weighed mostly in the teens but up to 30 pounds, and were trolled on Mojos and small bunker spoons. Some were taken on livelined or chunked bunker. Plenty of schoolie stripers swam Manasquan River, and fishing for them was slower than two weeks ago, but produced on small rubber shads, other soft baits like 4-inch Fin-S Fish and small hard lures. Bluefish hit in the river mostly between Route 35 and 70 bridges. Lots of fluke seemed to hold in the river, and anglers hoped that boded well for the opening of fluke season on May 25. In Manasquan Inlet, bluefishing was very inconsistent, yet to blow open like the blitzes in recent years. Small stripers were played in Point Pleasant Canal at night. Bluefish were picked away in the canal. The surf harbored stripers in Bay Head to Lavallette. On clams and bunker chunks, a handful of 20- to 30-pounders were nailed. On plugs, a handful of 15- to 20-pounders were. A bunch of schoolies were hooked on Kettle Creek shads, small plugs and teasers.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

<b>Mushin Sportfishing</b> expects to fish for tuna beginning in June, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. The boat is moved to Cape May annually for that fishing at the southern canyons that month and in July. The fishing will begin on June 2 this year, and also targets mako sharks and tilefish. Charters and a limited number of open-boat trips sail for the angling. Telephone Mushin to reserve and ensure you get aboard, and for info. Striped bass fishing should break open soon on the ocean locally. Mushin’s been heading north to fish for them in the Sandy Hook area, including on Saturday. A good catch of the bass to 42 inches was trolled. The trips have been trolling Mojos on braided line. That’s worked well for short trolls on concentrated stripers, instead of blindly trolling around.

Sea bass fishing will be launched tomorrow on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. That’s opening day of sea bass season, and the trips will sail 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily through Friday. Beginning on Saturday, the trips will run twice daily from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. Daily trips for ling and cod were slated through today, and those outings last sailed early last week. There was nothing new to report about that fishing.  Bluefish trips will steam 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday through Sunday beginning on Memorial Day weekend.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

“Some quality fish (were) taken in the surf (Saturday),” a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. That apparently meant striped bass, and lures caught best. Those included Daiwa SP Minnows, Yo-Zuri Mag Darters, paddle-tails and bucktails. Surf fishing was also good on Thursday for bluefish, stripers and black drum from Lavallette to Island Beach State Park, until wind became stronger. Bluefish were fought from the store’s dock on Thursday. Currently, they still were, the report said yesterday, and cut bunker clocked them. 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 are now splashed for crabbing. They carry up to five people.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Sea bass fishing is supposed to sail this coming weekend on the <b>Super Chic</b> on the ocean, Capt. Ted said. Sea bass season will open tomorrow, and he ran the boat out for cod or other bottom-fish yesterday on the ocean, because no other fish were in season or were around. But that angling was no good. No striped bass were around yet, except small were hooked in Barnegat Bay. A few bluefish, not many at all, showed up in the bay. A friend trolled the bay for blues three hours and only boated two. If water keeps warming, that should improve fishing.


This 37-pound 45-3/4-inch striped bass was weighed today at <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. The fish was landed from the jetty along Absecon Inlet in Brigantine, and put the angler in the lead in Riptide’s Spring Striper and Bluefish Derby that will end on Sunday. “The big bass have started to move (in),” the caption said with a photo of the fish posted on Riptide’s Facebook page. Click the above link to see the photo. “… This week the scale will be ringing as the leader board changes,” it said. A good-sized striper was also weighed at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center, Riptide’s Facebook page said. That fish was a 23-1/2-pounder that was reeled from the inlet area last night in the dark, Absecon Bay’s Facebook page said. “Definitely the movement is on,” or the fish are migrating north, that page said. The second- and third-place stripers in Riptide’s tournament weighed 13 pounds and 10 pounds 4 ounces. The leading bluefish weighed 11 pounds 3 ounces, 9 pounds 6 ounces and 9 pounds.

<b>Mystic Island</b>

The year’s first bluefish was brought to <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b> two Saturdays ago on May 5. That was covered here in the previous report, but a report on the store’s website on Friday gave a few more details. The fish weighed 8 pounds and was 30 inches, and was picked up from shore off Iowa Court. That’s along Great Bay near Mullica River. “Most of those first blues were in the one to three pound range,” the report said on the shop’s website. No other details were posted about fishing.


An angler with a 23-1/2-pound striped bass waited for <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b> to open at 6 a.m. today, a post said on the shop’s Facebook page. The fish was angled last night from “somewhere around” Absecon Inlet, it said. The angler thought the fish weighed 32 pounds, because a buddy’s scale said so. But the fish weighed 23 ½, according to the store’s scale. The angler had brought the fish to claim the annual $100 gift certificate to the store for the year’s first striper 30 pounds or heavier weighed at the shop. The prize is still up for grabs. “Definitely the movement is on and the Stripers are on their way north,” the post said. Plenty of surf clams are stocked, and fresh bunker are expected to arrive this afternoon. Get out and catch your share, the post said.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Lot of bluefish, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Blues were pasted from the surf beside Absecon Inlet to the back bay. As many as in recent springs? Noel was asked. They’re catching, he said. Currently the blues were somewhat smaller, but they usually weighed 10 to 12 pounds. Sometimes they weighed up to 15. Striped bass were also angled from the surf to the bay. He saw a 45-inch striper taken from the inlet. Black drum hit in the surf and bay. An occasional weakfish was hung from the inlet off Melrose and Madison avenues. Customers fished all of these locations with a Fish Stopper soft-plastic lure the shop is stocking. That caught most, but fresh bunker, fresh clams and Daiwa SP Minnows also connected. All baits, the full supply, are stocked.


Sea bass fishing is sold out tomorrow, opening day of sea bass season, on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. Spaces are available for open trips for sea bass Wednesday and Friday. Charters are available. He scoped out the ocean on a trip in past days, releasing a few out-of-season sea bass, fluke and blackfish. The water was 60 degrees.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Two anglers aboard Wednesday fly- and spin-rodded striped bass and a few bluefish on the back bay, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. The blues weighed up to 12 pounds, if he remembered. Doug Gillespie and Joe’s son aboard Thursday evening tackled seven or eight blues to 14 pounds on the bay on jigs. One of the blues was at least 34 inches long. Dick Lackman on Friday evening aboard subdued a few sizable blues to 14 pounds on jigs on the bay. Saturday’s fishing was tough on the bay, like the flip of a switch, maybe because of the storm that morning. Maybe too much freshwater entered the bay. Blues avoid low salinity. Two out-of-season summer flounder were jigged and released on that day’s trip. Fewer blues held in the bay this season than in recent springs, and they were spread out more this season. They were the same size as in recent years, though, from smaller to big. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.


A trip searched the back bay and ocean close to shore Friday for bluefish aboard, and none showed up, said Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b>. Blues had been reported from the surf in the area he looked. Blues could still turn up, and he’s not giving up. He plans to fish for black drum on Delaware Bay next. During the trip that searched for blues, terns, no big birds, worked bait along the water surface. Tons of bait schooled. A school of some kind of fish was marked in 50 feet of water on the ocean. Spiny and smooth dogfish bit during the outing. Some of those were 4 ½ to 5 feet long. Sea bass season will open tomorrow. Sea bass usually school deep water farther from shore this time of year. Jim usually fishes for them in fall when sea bass gather closer to shore in shallower water.

<b>Cape May</b>

Good catches of black drum were made on Delaware Bay on Friday and Saturday, said Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>. Sunday’s weather was rough in howling wind that began to calm as George left Cape May in the afternoon. Charters are about to fish for the drum aboard, and a sea bass trip is slated to sail tomorrow, opening day of sea bass season, on the ocean on the vessel.

Twelve black drum to 70 pounds were already hauled from Delaware Bay aboard Sunday at 7:30 p.m. when Capt. Tom from <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b> gave this report in a phone call on the trip, he said. Four drum to 85 pounds were totaled on a trip Saturday aboard. He wasn’t going to say where he was fishing, but said drum are biting on both the New Jersey and Delaware sides of the bay. Sea bass fishing will be available on the ocean on the boat once sea bass season is opened tomorrow. Trips are also fishing offshore for tilefish on short notice during windows of weather. The year’s first of those outings fished last week, covered in a previous report here. Charters and open-boat trips sail for all of this angling.

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