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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 8-23-18


No fishing sailed Monday or Tuesday aboard, because of boat maintenance, but wind would’ve canceled the fluking anyway, Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> wrote in an email. On a trip Wednesday, catching fluke was tough. Bottom line, he said. Wind blew, the ocean held a swell and current screamed. The boat’s drift flew in the wind and current. Throwback fluke and sea robins were mostly hooked. Not even 8 ounces of weight on the lines held bottom. Lots of snapper bluefish chewed up baits. Fluke season will be closed one month from today. Charters are fishing, and the next open-boat trips with spaces available will fish for fluke Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 20-Sept. 2. Book early, because spots go fast. Telephone to reserve. Remember to apply for a bonus tag to bag an extra striped bass this fall. When a striper charter is booked, each angler will be given one tag, until the supply runs out. So book those trips early. The boat’s been given additional tags this year, like happened previously.


Bottom-fishing cranked aboard porgies, triggerfish, sea bass and a few blackfish, Capt. Joe from <b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b> wrote in an email. Fishing had to work for the blackfish, but they began to be bagged. Fluke fishing seemed to improve by the day, and he thinks they’re staging to migrate offshore. Fishing for them should keep getting better, and plenty of time is left. Bonito, false albacore and a few mahi mahi were tackled at the Klondike and the Farms. He heard about a few small bluefin tuna landed at Little Italy and the Atlantic Princess. It’s that time of year when a variety of fish like these can be fought inshore.

<b>Long Branch</b>

Angling for fluke in the surf was just okay locally, picking throwbacks, said Mike from <b>TAK Waterman Surf n Fish</b>. He was going to fish for them this evening, and gets after the fish in mornings and evenings before and after work. Small striped bass were mixed in while anglers fished for the fluke with bucktails with Gulps. The stripers could also be targeted with small rubber shads. Mike did no fishing for tuna this past week, because of windy weather and rough seas. He’s been fishing on a friend’s boat for bluefin tuna mid-range with popper lures, and catching, covered in previous reports here. TAK Waterman is a shop for fishing, especially surf fishing, surfing and paddle-boarding. The store also carries the TAK Waterman line of clothing for those watersports and beach-going. The name is from Lake Takanaseee.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Conditions were terrible for fluke fishing the past three days on the ocean, a report said on the party boat <b>Fishermen</b>’s website. The boat drifted fast, 12 ounces of weight or heavier had to be fished, and there was a swell. Today’s trip picked at throwbacks, a handful of keepers and some sea bass. The fishing was tough, but tomorrow’s trip will give it heck again, and conditions should be much better in lighter wind, and the the drift should be better. Trips are fishing for fluke 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

All the twice-daily trips for fluke fished on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. When wind blew too strongly or the ocean held a swell, the trips fished Raritan Bay. Not all boats had an option like that. The trips fished there the past two days, and fishing was pretty much the same as before. It was also about the same no matter where the boat fished. Throwbacks bit everywhere, and occasionally keepers did. Tom couldn’t promise you’d catch a keeper, but could say the fishing was fun. The anglers enjoyed, and everybody caught at least shorts. A few better-sized keepers were around, like a 5-1/2-pounder whacked on yesterday morning’s trip. Throwbacks 17 or 17 ½ inches, just under the 18-inch legal minimum size, were released. They were 2-pound, sizable, fat fluke. But all different sizes of fluke bit, and that was healthy for the population of the fish. Probably three or four year-classes were in. Anglers fishing rental rods caught just as well as anglers fishing their own rods. Anglers who worked hard at fishing Spros or other jigs maybe had an advantage. The crew was doing a great job of helping customers, Tom said. Some anglers took kids on the trips who were off from school. It was fun fishing, and trips are sailing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.

Fluke fishing seemed no good today on boats, said Johnny O. from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. Wind blew strongly. He’d just gotten back to the shop today, so was unsure how the fishing was previously. One of the store’s rental boats sailed for fluke today on the bay but returned quickly. Conditions were poor. Porgy fishing seemed to become a little spotty, but porgies were still around. Sea bass were around, if anglers wanted to fish a rock pile for them. Nothing was heard about fishing for tuna or other big game, probably because seas were too rough for trips. Crabbing seemed somewhat slower than before. All baits are stocked.


The weekly, individual-reservation trip for fluke on Tuesday on the ocean met weather and conditions that weren’t the best, Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> wrote in an email. But some fluke and big sea bass were managed. Eric Jensen limited out and won the pool. Individual-reservation trips will fish for cod at 2 a.m. Friday and multiple bottom species including ling, sea bass, porgies, triggerfish, fluke and so on, on Sunday. Spaces are available, and Ralph expects to announce more individual-rez trips for September. The weekly trips for fluke sail every Tuesday, and kids under 12 sail free on those outings, limited to one per adult host. Charters are available, and Last Lady fishes year-round. <b>***Update, Thursday, 8/23:***</b> Individual-reservation trips will fish for fluke at 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Sundays of Sept. 2, 9 and 16 and 6 a.m. until whenever finished on the final day of fluke season on Saturday, Sept. 22, Ralph said.


On the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b>, fluke fishing was good on the ocean, Capt. Chris said. It really was, and the fishing just needed a break in weather, he said. Some good-sized were clocked, like 9 pounds, 8 ½ pounds. Gulps on jigheads, fished on a spinning rod so you could cast around, were the tackle to fish. “That’s it,” he said about that. Trips are fishing for fluke daily, departing at 6 a.m. through Sunday. Afterward, the trips might depart at 6:30 a.m., because sunrise is becoming later. The early departure’s been helping with fluking, getting the boat on the fishing grounds early, also beating the heat of day.

With <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>, fluke fishing on the ocean was weathered out Sunday through Tuesday, Capt. Pete said. The angling resumed Wednesday, and a heave was leftover. Sea bass and some fluke were picked up, nothing spectacular. But catches seem likely to rebound as seas and wind calm. Forecasts are looking better, and fluke fishing was good last week aboard. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Reserve an individual space 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.

Ocean fluke fishing picked up, Capt. Mike from the <b>Katie H</b> said. Trips for them and sea bass have been great aboard. The sea bassing is drop-and-reel, and trips lately hit the sea bass first, limiting out on two per angler, then got after fluke. More of those trips are slated for Friday and Saturday. Tuna fishing is booked for Monday aboard. Whether the trip fishes mid-range or offshore is the charter’s decision. But the trip will probably fish mid-range. That sounded best recently, giving up a mix of bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna.

Chub mackerel put up great fishing and sea bass were picked away today on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email said from the party boat. At first, the trip hooked a few bluefish, after looking down the beach for them. Some bird life was seen, but only that number of blues bit. So the trip pushed farther from shore and anchored at rocky bottom for the sea bass. Trips are fishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily.

Wind and a fast drift kicked off today’s trip on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. But that settled, and the fishing was good. Sea bass, a healthy number of chub mackerel and some bluefish, fluke and good-sized sharks were angled. All anglers had a great time, it said, and weather looks beautiful for the next days. Trips are fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily.


<b>***Update, Saturday, 8/25***</b> A whopping three fluke heavier than 10 pounds apiece were bombed this past week on the party boat <b>Jamaica II</b>, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. The biggest, Kathleen Wojclya from Toms River’s 10.8-pounder, was iced on yesterday afternoon’s trip. The other two were Ron Rogers from Toms River’s 10.3-pounder and Carl Shimkus from Philly’s 10.1-pounder. Excellent fluking, on the ocean, was lambasted during the week aboard, and the fluke were big.  Many weighed 5 to 8 pounds. On one trip, fluke 6.1 to 6.9 pounds were the first three fish that Ray Bryant from South Orange caught. “Now that’s some great fluking,” Ryan wrote. Bryant is 84, btw. That 10.8-pounder, the biggest aboard the week’s trips, was caught on a rental rod with the bait provided on the boat: a Gulp swimming mullet. The Gulps are provided so everybody has a chance to catch, not just the regulars, Ryan wrote. Trips are fishing for fluke and sea bass 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays. Super Fluke Marathons will sail 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 3, 10 and 17. Jumbo fluke! Capt. Ryan wrote.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

<b>***Update, Saturday, 8/25***</b> Fluke trips, on the ocean, fished up and down on the <b>Gambler</b>, a report said Friday on the party boat’s website. When the boat drifts well for the angling, good catches are made. Sea bass are in the mix. On yesterday morning’s trip, not a ton of fluke gave up action, but some good-sized were sacked, up to 5 pounds, and a few anglers limited out. A 7.8-pounder is in the lead for the monthly pool. That fish could easily be beaten, the report said. “We’ve been catching (fluke) on squid/spearing combos as well as Gulp,” it said. On a trip Thursday night, wreck-fishing was slow. Mixed sizes of ling and some sea bass, chub mackerel and squid were swung in, “but not like (a couple of weeks ago),” it said. “We tried some deeper wrecks.” Next Thursday night’s trip will look in new areas. Sizable mahi mahi swam around the boat on the last few night trips but failed to be hooked. “… they have been shy …,” the report said. But the captain guesses that if anglers were ready to toss a live squid to them, the mahi couldn’t resist. Friday night’s trip was going to look for multi species and be ready to catch bluefish, the mackerel and sea bass. Trips are fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily. Wreck-fishing trips are sailing 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays. Nighttime trips are also sailing every Friday and Saturday during those hours. Check with the boat to find out what those trips will sail for.

Anglers on bottom-fishing trips on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b> mostly slapped aboard porgies but also a smorgasbord, Capt. Butch said. They also caught sea bass, triggerfish, fluke, snapper bluefish and chub mackerel. The porgy fishing was good a couple of days, slow a couple. Catching a limit of two sea bass per angler wasn’t difficult. Trips fished shallow in 20 to 60 feet of water, and the ocean there was 72 to 74 degrees. Catches were nice and steady, and the boat is bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Good fluke fishing today! a report said on the party boat <b>Norma-K III</b>’s website. Some anglers limited out, some bagged one or two and some only grabbed throwback fluke but keeper sea bass. Good-sized sea bass were in the mix. The boat drifted fast “so most of our fish were caught on bait and gulps today,” it said. Trips are fluking at rough bottom, so bring extra tackle for snags. Plenty of sinkers and plain rigs are carried aboard. On Friday and Saturday night’s trips, lots of chub mackerel and some 1- to 2-pound blues turned out action. The crew’s hoping more blues show up, and the blues will, eventually, the report said. Trips are fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily. Bluefish trips are running 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Moonlight and fireworks cruises are sailing at 8 p.m. Thursdays, returning when the fireworks end.

<b>Point Pleasant</b>

The <b>Tin Knocker</b> is next supposed to fish on an overnight tuna trip Friday to Saturday, Capt. John said. Mid-range tuna fishing sounded decent for bluefins and yellowfins. Whether the charter wants to fish there or offshore is up to them. Trips Friday and Saturday targeted fluke and sea bass in 50- to 75-foot depths on the ocean. A few keeper fluke were tugged up among throwbacks. Some sea bass were bagged.

<b>Toms River</b>

Snapper blues and some fluke came from the surf, said Mario from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b>. A few sharks were eased from the surf at night. A few fluke were reported from Barnegat Bay near the BB and BI markers the past couple of days. A buddy and friends boated four keepers there. Mario wasn’t asked about ocean fluking for this report, because seas were too rough. Blowfish swam the bay. An angler yesterday landed 30, and Mario saw a few of the fillets, and they were decent-sized. Snappers could be plucked from both sides of the Toms River. Crabbing had to weed through undersized, but keepers were there. Crabbers needed to work a place where others hadn’t. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Some good-sized fluke chomped in the surf, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Getting past all the throwbacks was the trick. Using bigger bait was one way to solve that. That can keep the shorts from jumping on the hook. Small bluefish and small striped bass hung along inlet jetties. In Barnegat Bay, blowfishing was heating up. Crabbing was okay, just a matter of working through many undersized. 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 boat and jet-ski rentals.

<b>Forked River</b>

A 9-pound fluke was weighed this week from the ocean just off Barnegat Inlet at <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>, Mike said. The angler bought bait for the trip, fished and returned with that whopper. The fluke bit a whole squid on the hook. Fluking was very good at the Tires on the ocean last weekend. Decent fluking supposedly could still be had on Barnegat Bay. In the bay, most fluke seemed near Barnegat Inlet. Blowfishing on the bay was the big thing last weekend. Those catches were good. An angler Tuesday landed two dozen near the research buoy. To catch the blowfish, chum with a clam-chum log and fish with small pieces of clam or squid. All of that is stocked. All baits for inshore and offshore are carried. A couple of kingfish were seen that were mixed with the blowfish. Snapper blues schooled places like along docks and in lagoons. Fish like bonito, Spanish mackerel and mahi mahi swam around Barnegat Ridge. Nothing was heard about tuna fishing, probably because of weather that prevented trips and slower angling for the fish recently. Crabbing was decent.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Fluke fishing improved a lot on the ocean Thursday through Saturday and was pretty good on the <b>Super Chic</b>, Capt. Ted said. Catches were probably the best this season, and trips were weathered out since. But the fluking on those days hooked lots of throwbacks and a pretty decent number of keepers. The trips fished in 45 to 50 feet of water. “That’s all,” he said. That’s shallow. One of the trips that was weathered out was going to fish for tuna last Sunday. Weather looks better for a trip that’s supposed to sail for tuna Friday night to Saturday at the offshore canyons. An inshore tuna trip is slated for Sunday. A trip Friday might fish for bonito, king mackerel and fish like that, close to shore. That angling was good toward the end of the week on boats. 

Barnegat Bay harbored fluke, like off the tip of the Dike and at Oyster and Double Creek channels, but quite a number were throwbacks, said Chris from <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b>. Fishing for keepers didn’t sound good, frankly, he said. Keepers came from the ocean like at the Tires and wrecks. Sea bass could be boated at the wrecks. Chris heard about no fish like weakfish and kingfish from the bay. He heard about no blowfish from the bay, either. Lots of snapper blues schooled, like along docks in the bay and lagoons. Before the rough weather lately, a ton of mahi mahi swam close to shore that boaters hooked on plugs and stuff, Vince Sr. from the shop said. Cobia swam Barnegat Ridge. Crabbing was a little slow, Chris said. Lots of pregnant females were in. They were big but pregnant. Clamming was good on the bay like at Clam Island and High Bar Harbor. Killies and fresh bunker are stocked. Live grass shrimp can be ordered. Bobbie’s features a complete bait and tackle shop, a fuel dock and boat and kayak rentals. The boats are used for fishing, crabbing, clamming and pleasure.


Boaters all seemed to target summer flounder at ocean reefs now, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. Weather looks good for that this weekend, and other catches including triggerfish loitered at the reefs. Flounder fishing in bays was a little “thin.” Dave had just gotten a telephone call this morning from an angler headed for striped bass along the sod banks. The angler landed four yesterday in the Absecon area, and none was a keeper, but some were good-sized. The mouths of Mullica and Great Harbor rivers fished well for them, Dave knew. White perch fishing was terrific on the Mullica, a good option if anglers want fish to bag. Kingfish and sharks swam the surf. Dave this morning when he gave this report on the phone was in the boat and going to try netting mullet he’d seen. He scored! See photos of the mullet including this one on the shop’s Facebook page. They’re now stocked live. He was also going to see how big peanut bunker were. The peanuts have been a little small to stock live, but the baby bunker are around, if anglers want to net them. Castnets and all supplies are stocked to net and keep bait like that. Live spots are stocked from Maryland, including a load of larger to fish for tuna. You’ll want them if you’re going for tuna, he said. A few spots, no big numbers, are swimming locally. But if you want to net them, they’re there. Lots of baitfish were around. Crabbing’s been good, and the full moon this weekend should trigger shedding and mating. Big jimmies can become a little difficult to catch then, because they won’t eat during shedding and mating. But not all crabs shed at once. The moon should mean that the year’s biggest soft-shell crabs for eating will be stocked. The shop raises them, and keep up with the supply on <a href="" target="_blank">Absecon Bay Sportsman’s soft-shell crabs Facebook Page</a>. Only a few sheds will be left this year before water becomes too chilly, and this current shed could be best among any remaining.


Surf casters beached kingfish and sharks, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. Fish bloodworms for the kings, and Fishbites artificial worms weren’t working. Mackerel sold in a three-pack landed the sharks at sunrise and sunset. Most shark species in the surf are required to be released. Snapper blues 3 to 5 inches were around in different waters. Fishing for summer flounder sorted through many throwbacks to score a keeper. Andy did see a photo of a keeper from the surf. The annual Riptide Fall Striper Derby will take place Sept. 9 -Dec. 23, and will include a boat division, not just a surf division. The annual Brigantine Elks striper tournament for surf anglers and boaters, benefitting a veterans’ fund, will be held Nov. 16-18.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Lots of snapper blues, almost cocktails, flooded all waters including off the sea wall, Caspian Avenue and the Flagship, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Kingfish, spots and croakers were yanked from the surf at the T-jetty, the Vermont Avenue jetty and the Massachusetts Avenue jetty. The shop’s carrying a kingfish rig that’s catching well. The top-and-bottom rig is made with 40-pound monofilament that sticks the hooked lines straight out. Fish bloodworms on them. Summer flounder were reeled up from the surf to Absecon Inlet to the back bay behind the inlet. Fish minnows with squid on a Hoochie Mama, Game Changer or Fluke Candy rig, all stocked at the store. Triggerfish and blackfish were copped along jetties in the surf and Absecon Inlet. The inlet is lined with jetties. Customers fish all of these places on foot. All baits, the full supply, are stocked, including bloodworms for $10.95 a dozen and minnows for $8 a pint.


Summer flounder fishing improved in past days on the back bay on the party boat <b>Keeper</b>, Capt. John said. Some of the trips landed a few more keepers than before, and action with throwbacks ramped up. Four keepers were taken on yesterday morning’s trip, and four were bagged on a trip the previous day. No bluefish turned up that did previously. John saw no birds working bait on the water where blues would be found. But lots of baitfish including peanut bunker schooled. Trips fished toward the back of the bay, where flounder lay in ambush on bait that swam off the shallow flats. Baby sea bass swam all over the water that do this time of season, stealing bait. Plenty of sea robins hit. The flounder chomped Gulps that anglers brought and minnows provided on the boat. Anglers should bring Gulps. Mackerel is also carried aboard for bait. Trips are fishing for flounder 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.


Watch a video of seas this week on the ocean on the <b>Stray Cat</b>. No trips fished in that throughout the week aboard, Capt. Mike O’Neill said. “Just a little chop,” he wrote on his personal Facebook page when he shared the video. “7 foot,” he wrote. “Riding the ditch,” someone else commented. When fishing resumes, trips will jump back on inshore trolling for bluefish, bonito, Spanish mackerel and mahi mahi that’s been great aboard. A tuna trip was postponed yesterday because of the conditions. Only two spaces are left for an open-boat trip for summer flounder 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday on the ocean.

<b>Ocean City</b>

The ocean really wasn’t fished for summer flounder because of wind and seas this week, said John from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. Great Egg Reef in the ocean gave up some, the last he heard, but that was some time ago. The bay’s flounder fishing was spotty, and any sizable flounder that remained in that water held mostly toward inlets. A good number of throwbacks swam the bay, and the keeper ratio was maybe 1 in 40. The fishing was good action, though. Anglers could have a good time, maybe hook a keeper. A bunch of snapper blues, very small, began to appear in the bay. They were seen along bridges at night and throughout the bay during daytime. Some fished for them with spearing on small hooks. Schoolie striped bass swam abundant along sod banks and, at night, under lights at bridges and docks. Not many keepers were heard about, but high tides around dusk were ideal for playing the stripers. He’d fish for them from dusk till 10 or 11 p.m. Soft-plastic lures and top-waters like Zara Spooks or other walk-the-dog lures lit into them. He likes the top-waters, likes to see the strike. Swimming lures like short Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows also worked. Swimmers 3 ½ to 5 inches worked, because they imitated peanut bunker that schooled. Kingfish and brown sharks were showing up in the surf. Browns are required to be released, and mixed reports were heard about the sharking. One angler would report hooking none for three days, and another would talk about nailing them. The surf was too rough for flounder fishing. Catches like bonito and Spanish mackerel had been heard about from farther north. Customers seem just not to do that fishing, but those fish might also swim locally at places like Sea Isle Ridge. Most customers who fish offshore were in Cape May to fish the MidAtlantic tournament this week. Entrants seemed to catch white marlin well. Fishing for whites seemed good from Cape May and for tuna seemed good from Ocean City, Md. Some mahi mahi were caught, too. 

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

<b>***Updated, Saturday, 8/25:***</b> One of the inshore trips for mahi mahi was headed back in with a group aboard today when Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>, gave this report in a phone call on the boat, he said. Seven mahi to 17 pounds were whipped on the troll. One of the trips Friday with two anglers trolled eight or nine of the fish to 17 pounds. Another on Thursday with a father and son trolled six mahi to 15 pounds. The fishing is good and usually lasts another week or two. One never knows, and the angling could last later into September. Or a storm could roll in and chase the fish away earlier. Not every summer produces the clear water to attract mahi close to shore. Take advantage of those conditions. A trip aboard tomorrow will probably fish for them. A trip last evening, on Friday, with Chase Kneeland and another angler fly-rodded for striped bass on the back bay with poppers aboard. Several bit, and only one was landed. High tides at dusk have been ideal for popper fishing for stripers on the bay in past days with lures or flies. Those conditions happen every other week. The popper fishing is a specialty aboard that lasts throughout summer. The angling attracts explosive, visual hits along the water surface.  Joe uses Crease flies he ties with a larger cup than usual to throw more water.  When fishing with lures, he uses Rapala Skitter Pops. Annual traveling charters to Montauk will fish the migrations of striped bass, bluefish and false albacore from September to mid-October. See the <a href="" target="_blank">traveling charters webpage</a> on Jersey Cape’s website. It’s not too early to book trips for New Jersey’s fall migration of stripers. For that matter, it’s not too early to book traveling charters to the Florida Keys that fish every winter. Click the link above for info about that. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

A 12.7-pound summer flounder was weighed from the back bay this week at <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. The fish was smashed on a charter, and weather kept the charter boat from fishing the ocean for flounder. So three charters aboard fished the bay for the flatfish, and conditions were tough there, but each trip grabbed some keepers and picked away at throwbacks. Anglers might think keeper flounder all migrated to the cooler ocean this time of year. Many trips were forced to fish the bay instead of the ocean because of weather. Some good-sized striped bass were angled along bridges at night. One angler plugged a 31-incher on a swimmer. Surprising reports about blackfish were heard for August from inlets and the bay. One of the crew from the shop who only ever fished for the tautog twice bagged an 18-incher. Blackfishers had to fish right, like working the right tides and things. The surf was rough and held seaweed. But kingfish were sometimes plucked from the water. So were very small spots and some pinfish and even a pompano. Shark fishing in the surf usually ends abruptly this time of year. But the sharking, for browns and duskies, both required to be released, has been good. Go for them now while possible. Some weighed 120 pounds, easily. Nothing was heard about fishing for tuna or big game. Like three boats fished the first day of the MidAtlantic offshore tournament from Cape May this week. No customers reported offshore fishing in the rough weather. But good shots of tuna and big game should turn on in the next weeks, anglers hope, and the store is fully stocked with baits for the fishing. Crabbing was awesome, really good.


The number of summer flounder that remained in the bay was surprising, said Mike from <b>Canal Side Boat Rentals</b>. Lots were throwbacks, and not everybody found a keeper, of course. A husband and wife each reeled in a keeper on a trip, both on minnows. That was maybe at Jenkins Sound or Grassy Sound. Boaters often fished for flounder in the basin off 10th Street, avoiding boat traffic, near the boat ramp. Mike sent a boat there yesterday that totaled 12, 15 or 18 keeper crabs and lots of baby sea bass, no keepers, but kids on the trip had fun with them. Plenty of 8- or 10-inch sea bass schooled back bays. Crabbing averaged a dozen or two keepers per trip. Minnows were top choice for flounder bait. Someone bagged a flounder along a jetty on a minnow in the ocean surf. Spearing was preferred for snapper blues that schooled. The snappers were small, but grow quickly this season. Catch them on high tides, and Mike’s got a bamboo pole with 16 feet of line that was a ball for catching the snappers. Mike in the height of summer avoids sending rental boats to fish the main channels for flounder because heavy boat traffic makes fishing difficult or even dangerous. Traffic began to lighten up on weekends for the season, though remained heavy on weekends. He’d bet flounder gathered along the channels. The right wind direction is also needed to drift boats right at channels for flounder fishing. West wind can be no good, drifting boats quickly across channels instead of parallel along them. Wind that’s too strong can also mess up drifting. Water temperature dropped a couple of degrees during the week, and fish seemed to bite better then. Canal Side rents boats for fishing, crabbing and pleasure and kayaks. <b>***<i>Get a $5 discount</i>***</b> on a rental boat if you mention Fishing Reports Now. A large supply of bait, including minnows, is stocked. So is fishing and crabbing tackle and gear. Crabs for eating were in supply that the store sells live, cooked or chilled. The price depends on the market price and was currently $35 for a dozen No. 1s, the largest size, and $25 for No. 2s. To cook them, the price is $5 additional per dozen. Sometimes the shop runs a special on chilled crabs for $45 for three dozen No. 2s. Mike had just picked up crabs from Delaware Bay. Commercial crabbers caught well there. Shrimp and clams, littlenecks, were also in for eating. Customers enjoy the food at tented picnic tables on the water at the store, or enjoy them at their own location. Bottles of wine from Natali Vineyards in Cape May Court House are sold at the store.

<b>Cape May</b>

The daily trip for summer flounder yesterday stayed docked on the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, Capt. Paul said. Only five anglers showed up, because of forecasts for wind. Strong wind did blow, so was probably good that the trip never fished. Paul spoke with a captain from Delaware whose trip also stayed docked because of too few anglers. Trips used to sail no matter, but in these days of online forecasts and weather apps on phones, anglers watch the weather. Wind began blowing on Sunday. A trip sailed that day, and John Szymanski from West Cape May decked a 7-3/4-pound flounder on the trip that was the biggest of the fish this week aboard. No trip fished Monday in wind. A few flounder were bagged Tuesday aboard, but wind blew. Weather is supposed to improve, and after no trip sailed Wednesday in wind, Paul hoped to resume the fishing, all on the ocean, today aboard. Trips are fishing for flounder at 8 a.m. daily. 

Wind blew since Saturday, said Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>. No trips fished aboard in that, but trolling for bluefish and catches like bonito, Spanish mackerel and chub mackerel has been good at 5-Fathom Bank on the boat, and that will resume when weather calms. A trip soon is supposed to fish for mahi mahi and wahoos 30 miles out, and that angling’s also available. Weather’s been so rough that some of the boats in the MidAtlantic offshore tournament fished Monday and Tuesday, but none fished Wednesday. Rough seas because of the weather beat up the trips Monday and Tuesday.

Fishing was a little tough in the wind, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. But the weekend’s supposed to be beautiful. Many summer flounder trips fished the back bay while wind prevented fishing the ocean. Lots of throwbacks but a keeper here and there were winged. But there was lots of action. When flounder fishing was last reported from the ocean, plenty of throwbacks bit, but the keeper ratio seemed improving. Some deep areas of reefs held big. Delaware Bay’s flounder fishing had reportedly slowed somewhat. But the bay’s fishing can do that: picking up, slowing down, picking up again. The last reports talked about catches near the 9 and 10 buoys on the bay. Near the 19 buoy or the Miah Maul area was another spot. Croakers seemed around in the bay. Someone at the shop while Nick gave this report said croakers schooled Cape May Channel. Cobia were reported hugging buoys from the bay to Cape May Rips and the ocean. In the surf, kingfish and a few pompanos swam. Shark fishing was still good in the surf, mostly in evenings. Triggerfish held along ocean jetties. Jetties along Delaware Bay held a few more sheepshead mixed with blackfish. Cape May is at the confluence of the ocean and bay. Mahi mahi fishing was good at the East and Middle lumps on the ocean. Spanish mackerel and king mackerel were there. Decent-sized, small bluefish schooled 5-Fathom Bank. Bonito roamed from there to about Sea Isle Ridge. Crabbing was excellent.  

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