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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 9-13-18


Fishing resumed Wednesday on a trip for porgies, the first trip this week because of the storm, with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario. The trip fished surprisingly okay – porgies were there and biting, despite the weather. Open-boat trips are sailing for porgies daily. Charters are available for up to 15 passengers. Down Deep’s other boat is fishing for fluke on the ocean, including on open trips daily. But stiff seas canceled that angling. Book fall sea bass and striped bass trips now. Sea bassing will begin on Oct. 8, opening day of the season for the fish.

The ocean sometimes held a big swell, and weather was nasty, and no trips fished this week on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. Sunday looks like the next day the boat will fish. That will be an open trip for fluke, and that will be the final Sunday of fluke season that will close beginning Sept. 23. Tuesday and Wednesday will be the next open-boat trips for fluke aboard, and telephone and reserve. Fall striped bass trips are beginning to book, and the angling will begin as soon as fluke season ends. Reserve charters for that fishing.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

On the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, fluke trips fished Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon, Capt. Tom said. Catches were no good, a few throwbacks, not much life, not many sea robins, even. But the crew is shaping up for every trip. The trips are scheduled to sail for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.

This was Johnny O’s first day back at <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b> this week, and he heard things were somewhat dead in past days, he said. Head boats fishing for porgies sailed and scored alright, he thought. Bulkhead anglers tugged in fluke okay, he thought. Nobody was interested in fishing from the store’s rental boats in the weather, but the bay was fishable today for the boats. This northeast wind will build and prevent the rental boats from sailing now. Crabs continued to be caught. 

The river’s temperature dropped the past two days, said Ron from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. He wasn’t asked whether that was the Shrewsbury or Navesink, but said the temp dropped to 72 degrees at night and 76 during daytime, according to a website. That was down from 80 to 82, and anglers look forward to cooler water that triggers some fishing in fall. Not much fishing news rolled around, except about porgies caught, and small bluefish boated on the ocean close to shore. Nothing was heard about fluke. Ron, a surf angler, fished from shore 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. last night, and only caught one small bluefish. He fished the river and bay, and even saw about 10 cownosed rays, tried to hook one, and had no luck. A buddy’s been beaching small striped bass, “micros,” from the ocean surf. One of the stripers seemed to bite here and there. He’s been fishing places like Long Branch every morning. More mullet than peanut bunker seemed around currently, at least toward shore. Crabbing’s been good. Ron watched a giant crab skitter past in the river every 10 seconds last night, and thought he should’ve crabbed, would’ve cleaned up.

<b>Long Branch</b>

The surf probably held seas to 4 and 5 feet, maybe some 6-foot sets, said Mike from <b>TAK Waterman Surf n Fish</b>. This is a shop for fishing, mostly surf-fishing, surfing and paddle-boarding, and Mike is an avid angler, from freshwater to surf to offshore, and surfer. The water wasn’t really fishable, but two days of light, northeast wind just happened, calming seas a moment. Now a swell began to build on the ocean from the hurricane about to slam the Carolinas. He saw lots of mullet in the wash at Long Branch. The baitfish were migrating to the ocean from back waters. That’s one of the first signs of the fall migration. This week’s rough weather was tough to fish, but these storms trigger the migration, Mike agreed, when this writer said that to him. “Hundred percent,” he said. The shop also produces the TAK Waterman line of clothing for those watersports and beach-going. The name comes from Lake Takanasee.


Wind and seas were rough, but <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> got in a fluke trip Friday on the ocean, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. The anglers fished hard for a few keepers in “not idle conditions.” Trips were blown out afterward, and individual-reservation trips for fluke are slated for this Sunday, Tuesday and Saturday, Sept. 22, the final day of fluke season. The Saturday trip will be a marathon, fishing longer than usual. An individual-reservation trip will fish for sea bass on Monday, Oct. 8, opening day of sea bass season. Ten sea bass 12 ½ inches or larger will be the bag limit. Fifteen of the fish 13 inches or larger will be limit beginning Nov. 1.


<b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> fished Wednesday for fluke on the ocean, Capt. Pete wrote in a text. The angling was slow, but the fluke caught were sizable, including a 9.2-pounder. Trips will fluke through the final day of fluke season, Sept. 22. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Book an individual space with a charter who wants more anglers.

Capt. Chris and the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b> sat out fishing, he said. Sounded like he could’ve fished on Wednesday in seas that calmed between the storms, but knew that unsettled water would’ve affected the fluking that’s scheduled daily on the vessel on the ocean. Trips will fish for sea bass beginning Oct. 8, opening day of sea bass season.

This fluke season was two weeks longer than last year’s, but fluking this week, one of those extra weeks, was mostly weathered out, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. More stormy weather is coming. Fluking was great just before. Mike Fauci from Neptune’s 3-pound 4-ouncer was the last weighed-in from Shark River before the weather. Small bluefish and small striped bass continued to blitz in the river on peanut bunker and spearing. The store’s rental boats are available to fish the river. No tumbled in from the ocean and surf. Anglers will have to wait for this next storm to pass to assess “what’s going on.”


Fluke were still hooked from Manasquan Inlet in this week’s weather, said John from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. He didn’t know whether any were keepers. Small bluefish were sometimes reported from Manasquan River. But the river was dirty. False albacore and bonito had sometimes pushed into Dog Beach on the river, but not recently in the dirty water. Seas became not bad in the surf yesterday, but began to rile up again today. Before the rough weather, fluking was good on the ocean. John last week landed five legal-sized on the party boat Big Mohawk from Belmar, keeping no more than a limit of three.

<b>Toms River</b>

Someone posted a video of one striped bass caught yesterday from Point Pleasant Canal and another today, said Mario from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b>. The angler is a customer and isn’t going to post what he caught the bass on, but probably eels, Mario guessed. A couple of blowfish were heard about that were picked from docks. That was all the news in the weather. A boat anchor would be needed to hold bottom in the surf. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

The approaching hurricane to the south beat up the surf, making fishing impossible, except for hardcore surf-casters who thrive on fishing approaching storms, a report said Tuesday on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Until the storm passes, not much will be reported from the beach. 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 customer yesterday bagged three blowfish and a kingfish from Barnegat Bay, said Johnel from <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Little happened with fishing in the weather, but people bought clam chum logs and other supplies for the blowfishing. That customer said seas were flat that day.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

The <b>Miss Barnegat Light</b> got out Wednesday with a small group, plucking a few keeper fluke among throwbacks from the ocean, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Two-pound bluefish, quite a few, were also sacked. Trips are fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. <a href="
" target="_blank">Tuna trips</a>, sailing 30 hours, will be launched on Sept. 22.


<b>***Update, Friday, 9/14:***</b> An edited email from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the <b>Hi Flier</b>: “It looks like the ocean is going to be ‘CLOSED’ for a stretch with all of the impending storms and swells they’ll produce. No worries! There's still fish to catch. Blowfish are here in good numbers. Lots of small but a good amount of ‘whales’ in the mix. Sure they won't dump any line off your reel, but they’re delicious, and it never gets old watching them blow up … This is really Plan B, because we’re going to start fishing with live grass shrimp ASAP. There are some weakfish in the bay, and live shrimp and/or shedder crabs are the bait to use for them, kingfish and about a dozen other species that you might encounter using these gourmet baits. We keep the tackle light, 6- and 10-pound spinning. Sailing open-boat or charter 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Four people max.”


Fishing Mullica River for white perch or small striped bass are options if weather’s rough like now, said Curt from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. Shedder crabs or bloodworms can be fished for them, and Capt. Dave, the store’s owner, will begin running charters for the stripers, and took his first trip for them today, landing 10. The price for striper charters is discounted during the early season, and he’s got bonus tags that could likely be used to bag a smaller striper. Here’s one of the stripers from today aboard. Before the rough weather, summer flounder were cranked from ocean reefs. Some of the ocean wrecks were loaded with them, Curt heard. Surely a few flounder remained in back waters, like along Brigantine Bridge. A 10-pounder caught near the bridge a week ago was the last big that Curt heard about from the back. Blackfish and sheepshead were lit into along the bridge, when the fishing was last reported. Few people fished in the weather. Live spots from Maryland and live mullet from locally are stocked. Eels, bloodworms and green crabs are on hand. Shedder crabs should be available through the month, at least. Call the shop ahead to see if soft-shell crabs for eating are in supply. Also watch the supply on <a href="" target="_blank">Absecon Bay Sportsman’s soft-shell crabs Facebook Page</a>. The store raises them.


Snapper blues schooled the surf, and brown sharks, required to be released, bit at night in the water, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. Customers fished the beach the past couple of days, but seas were rough. That was tough. Not many kingfish were heard about from the surf recently. Brigantine’s north end was just opened to beach buggies. A permit from New Jersey is required to buggy there, but if you have the permit, you can drive all the way to Wreck Inlet. The annual Fall Riptide Surf Fishing Derby kicked off Monday and lasts until Dec. 23. Prizes are $500, $300 and $150 for the three heaviest stripers, and $300, $200 and $100 for the three heaviest blues. Entry is $25 and includes a permit that allows Brigantine’s entire front beach to be driven, if you also have a Brigantine permit. Without the tournament permit, not all the beach can be driven. 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>

There’s always a place to fish near <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>, Noel said. Weather like this doesn’t shut that down, because there are different places to be protected from different weather or wind direction. From the T-jetty, on the ocean end of Absecon Inlet in town, to Harrah’s, along the back bay behind the inlet, can be fished. So can the surf beside the inlet. Customers fish all of these places on foot. They nailed summer flounder, snapper blues that blitzed, a 24-inch weakfish that was checked-in, schoolie striped bass, not big, but there, blackfish and a few kingfish, not a lot of kings. One in 20 of the blackfish was a keeper, but they were abundant, providing action. Abundant peanut bunker, spearing and mullet schooled, keeping the fish around, the waters alive. All baits, the full supply, are stocked. A bait vending machine dispenses frozen bait round the clock.

<b>Ocean City</b>

A few fish – small bluefish and striped bass, not many stripers – were angled from the back bay, said Ed from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. Some of the blues were a little bigger than before, a few of them 14 to 16 inches. A few blackfish were landed along the bridge. But very few anglers fished. The inlet and surf were unfishable. He looked at the surf on a camera when he gave this report this afternoon, and seas looked 4 to 6 feet “and all messed up,” he said. But hopefully seas and weather will calm after this weekend. Mullet were seen in back waters. Whether any migrated to the ocean yet was difficult to say. Any baitfish couldn’t really be seen in the sea conditions.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>, this week was gearing up to kick off annual traveling charters to Montauk this weekend, he said. The trips fish the migrations of striped bass, bluefish and false albacore until mid-October. He was keeping an eye on weather at Sea Isle more than Montauk. Forecasts looked fine for Montauk. Forecasts for remnants of the coming hurricane to the south were probably okay for Sea Isle, too. From Sea Isle, Joe expects fishing for summer flounder to be good on the ocean during this upcoming final week of flounder season, if weather enables the fishing. Fishing for striped bass on the back bay from Sea Isle should only become better as the water cools. His trips fish popper-plugs and popper-flies for them this time of year, and have already been catching them. See the <a href="" target="_blank">traveling charters webpage</a> on Jersey Cape’s website. Traveling charters to the Florida Keys fish every winter, too, and this isn’t too early to lock in dates. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

Bluefish from snappers to 2-pounders swarmed the bay and even the inlet and surf, all over, said Mike from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. The surf became calmer yesterday, though held seaweed and current. The blues in the surf were beached with mullet fished on bottom. But Snapper Poppers and spoons caught a little better, because they could be fished above the seaweed better. A couple of blackfish hit that were heard about yesterday and today in back waters. He heard about no keepers, and the tautog “weren’t biting hard.” But they were reported picked up on the changes of tides. Not much fishing was reported, but the blues and tog were more than might be expected. Even crabbing seemed slower because of weather. People who crab off docks daily reported a downturn, because of conditions like strong current.


High tides flooded into the shop a little a couple of nights, so the store was closed a couple of days, said Mike from <b>Canal Side Boat Rentals</b>. Plus, business was dead all week in the weather. Not a lot was heard about fishing. But Mike fished on the back bay on a trip, bailing a healthy bunch of striped bass, mostly 15- to 22-inch throwbacks, but one keeper, 30 inches. He’d been looking for snapper blues, and never found them. But he hooked the stripers on a rig meant for the snappers: a small, probably ¼-ounce bucktail with two spinners above, with pieces of herring on the hooks. Herring are shiny, and snappers like shiny. Also, spearing ran out at the shop, or he would’ve used spearing. He’s not re-ordering bait like that this late in the season. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Anglers could catch plenty of spearing that schooled. He was fortunate to land the keeper on the light tackle, but patiently played the fish and let it run, and his buddy netted it. The keeper had grass shrimp and what looked like pinfish in its stomach. The pinfish were partially dissolved, couldn’t be identified. No other news about fishing rolled in. Mike wouldn’t be surprised if summer flounder remained in the bay, because they did before this week. Crabs can definitely be trapped from the bay. Crabbing only becomes better, until the season’s weather drastically changes, and it has not. Mike will try to do business this weekend.  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 in-season. So is fishing and crabbing tackle and gear. When some of the bait like frozen spearing, mullet, three packs of herring and three packs of mackerel runs out, no more will be stocked for the year. Spearing ran out, mentioned above. Plenty of minnows are on hand. Crabs for eating will probably no longer be carried at the shop this season. In-season, the shop sells the crabs live, cooked or chilled, and also sells shrimp and littleneck clams for eating. The shrimp and clams are no longer carried this season, too. Customers enjoy the food, when it’s in, 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 in-season, too. Mike wasn’t asked whether the wine is still stocked.

<b>Cape May</b>

The party boat <b>Porgy IV</b> fished Wednesday in a break in weather for summer flounder on the ocean, Capt. Paul said. A few anglers climbed aboard, wanted to go, and not many flounder, one keeper and eight or 10 throwbacks, were landed. Sam Oh from Broomall had the keeper, a 20-incheer. Few fish bit, and Paul listened to captains on the radio who fished up and down the coast that day. Nobody seemed to catch much. The rough weather shut down the bite, he guessed. Some limits of flounder were taken last Thursday and Friday on the boat, before trips were weathered out. Forecasts looked like the boat will next fish early next week or maybe at mid-week. Trips are scheduled to fish for flounder at 8 a.m. daily.

Bluefish 12 to 18 inches were beached from the surf, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. Mullet schooled the back bay to the surf, and the blues in the surf chased them. Mullet were the bait to dunk for the blues, and the fresh and frozen baitfish are stocked. A few kingfish were bloodwormed from the surf. In the back bay, anglers focused on small striped bass. The fishing seemed good because of abundant baitfish: peanut bunker, mullet and spearing. Most anglers top-water plugged the bass. That usually works well during low light like in evenings, but this week, overcast skies throughout the day also gave up bites. That was about all the news this week in the weather. Baits stocked also include bloodworms, green crabs, minnows, eels and all the frozen for inshore and offshore.

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