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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 9-6-18

Note, Monday, 9/10: This report wasn’t fully updated on 9/10, because few anglers fished in the storm in previous days.

But a few individual updates were posted.

These storms, caused by the change of seasons, happen every year. Although they can prevent fishing for brief moments, they trigger the fall migration. Bring that on!


Catches of porgies were excellent aboard, said Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>. Unbelievable. Lots of large. On the company’s other boat, fluke fishing on the ocean was up and down. Some days good, some days not so much. Open-boat trips are fishing for porgies at 6 a.m. daily. On the other vessel, open trips are fluking at 6 a.m. daily. Charters are available for up to 15 passengers. Both boats feature full galleys and large cockpits. Book trips now for sea bass or fall striped bass for preferred dates. Sea bass season will open Oct. 8 with a bag limit of 10. That’s up from a limit of two during the last sea bass season that closed at the first of this month.

A trip for mahi mahi landed 42 Tuesday, 25 miles off Sandy Hook, on livelined peanut bunker with <b>Manicsportfishing</b>, Capt. Greg said. Another trip will fish for them Friday, before the forecasted rough weather, and space was available when he gave this report. The trips are limited to four anglers. Mahi have been abundant. When peanuts are tossed to structure like a buoy for chum, a swarm appears, like from nowhere. Two trips fished for fluke in past days, each bagging two less than a limit for the boat. Fluke are hugging reefs including off Long Island, Sandy Hook Reef and reefs farther south. But Manic is finding the best angling locally at hard bottom, not even rocky bottom, in the ocean. On one of the fluke trips, a 280- to 300-pound sandtiger shark was landed and released. In 50 feet of water! For fluke, anglers generally think a rig with a bucktail on bottom and a teaser above catches best. But Greg fishes a simple rig he ties with a three-way swivel with a Gulp grub or swimming mullet, and that out-fishes the bucktail rig aboard every time. Lesson: Use what works best on a given boat. When Greg fishes on a party boat, for instance, he asks the mates to set him up with a boat rig. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing with Manic.

Great fluking was whipped Wednesday on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. The six anglers limited out on the fish to 6 pounds and released many throwbacks. A good number of the summer flounder weighed 3 and 4 pounds. This weekend looks like a blowout, but if the forecast changes, he’ll post the open-boat schedule on <a href="" target="_blank">Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page</a>. Trips will begin eeling for striped bass soon. Jump aboard for the final few fluke trips. “Anyone booking a full fall striped bass charter will receive one additional bonus tag for each member of their group while our supply (lasts),” he wrote. <b>***Update, Monday, 9/10:***</b> Fluking continued to be great on Thursday aboard, Frank wrote in an email. The boat limited out on every trip through then, and rough weather kept the vessel in port since. When the weather calms, the trips will resume. The fluke weighed up to 7 pounds on recent trips, and multiple 3- to 5-pounders were boxed. A 10.6-pounder aboard this season made the cover of a local magazine. Striper trips will begin as soon as fluke season ends starting Sept. 23. Follow Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page for updates and schedules.


Capt. Joe from <b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b> just returned from fishing for giant bluefin tuna from Prince Edward Island in Canada, he said. The fishing was phenomenal, and abundant bluefins gathered only 10 to 15 miles from shore. Land could be seen. Bluefins 400 and 500 pounds jumped from the water. Any offshore angler should visit, he said. He fished on a commercial trip that bagged a 500-pounder, and a charter that released three bluefins including a 700-pounder. An 800-pounder was reportedly landed the day he left. Commercial fishing can only bag the first bluefin hooked on the trip. Charter fishing is essentially catch-and-release, because charters with a permit can only bag one giant a year. Joe flew to the island, and one of Sour Kraut’s mates drove. Driving took 15 hours. Back at home, fluke were bagged from deeper water, and porgy fishing remained strong, Joe heard. He’ll have to wait out the impending weather to fish for them again and to see how the weather might affect fishing.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

The season’s best fishing was pounded on today’s daily fluke trip on the <b>Fishermen</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. Sixteen sizable keepers were hammered on the first drift. On the second drift, “we did it again,” it said. “… We finally got to enjoy Fluking the way it used to be …,” it said. Many of the anglers limited out and landed additional legal-sized, keeping no more than their quotas. A 7.7-pounder won the pool. Fluking was good Wednesday aboard, too, and trips are fishing for them 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Fluke fishing was about the same, said Capt. Tom from the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>. No matter where was fished aboard, results were similar. Plenty of throwbacks and sometimes a keeper bit. Some anglers just want to fluke fish. The trips are having fun, enjoying the angling. Customers have been great, accepting the keeper ratio. The angling was mostly luck. All customers caught throwbacks, at least. Not all landed a keeper. So the trips fished from Raritan Bay to the ocean, and results were the same at both places. Sometimes wind or current prevents ocean fishing. Plus, Tom’s not going to beat up anglers if the ocean’s rough, for a few fish. On the bay, or the mouth of the bay, trips recently fished Flynn’s Knoll. On the ocean, they fished Ambrose Channel. A simple rig with a combo of spearing and Gulp caught fine. On one of the afternoon trips in past days, Gulps weren’t even necessary. Spearing are provided aboard. All trips have been sailing aboard. If forecasts call for 15- or 20-knot wind from east, even if they call for small craft warnings in those conditions, trips duck out of the weather in the bay. Trips are fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Monday, 9/10:***</b> No trips fished Sunday aboard in the weather, and today’s trips would also be canceled because of forecasts, Tom said. The fishing is expected to resume Tuesday. Saturday’s trips fished, but the angling was no good, only hooking some throwbacks. Weather prevented that day’s trips from fishing at some places. <b>***Update, Wednesday, 9/12:***</b> Trips fished yesterday morning and this afternoon aboard, and the fluking was no good, Tom said. "We’re waiting for things to settle down," he said. A few throwbacks and not much life, including not many sea robins, were turned up. But the crew is shaping up to sail on every trip.

Many boaters who fluked worked Ambrose Channel, said Jay from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. They tied into some pretty good catches, and fewer of the fish were throwbacks there. The keeper ratio could be 1 in 40 at other places. Porgy fishing was good. Bonito swam the ocean off Monmouth Beach. He guessed they were on rainfish. No fish like that or false albacore seemed to pop up in the local surf. Those fish including albies were farther off. A few fluke, not many, were banked from the local surf. Tuna fishing was exploded, not offshore, but closer in. Mahi mahi were caught. Crabbing was good at Red Bank and Rumson. Lot of nice, he said. All baits are stocked, including those like fresh peanut bunker.

When party boats had the weather to reach off Sandy Hook and rocks in the ocean, they made some good catches of fluke, said Johnny O. from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. Lots of throwback fluke stretched from Raritan Bay to the ocean. Two of the store’s rental boats fluked the bay today, picking throwbacks quietly. The 16-footers are too small to sail to off the Hook safely. Porgy fishing gave up steady, good catches. One of the party boats from the marina was running for them. The shop is located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina, down the dock from party, charter and private boats. Striped bass were hooked along bridges at night, fewer than two weeks ago. Plenty of snappers schooled, like along the bulkhead, and they were growing bigger. Plenty of peanut bunker jumped around in waters like that. Crabbing was decent. On the ocean, everybody was fishing for mahi mahi this week, because the dolphin showed up. Now rough weather was coming, and whether that will change fishing, including for the mahi, will be seen. Stormy weather is forecast for the weekend. If the year’s first hurricane shoves into the East Coast next week like is possible, rough weather could last into next week. All baits are stocked, including for offshore.


Taking a run from <b>Twin Lights Marina</b> on Wednesday, Greg Hanna and Tom Psota on the Annie H smashed porgies to 14 inches and many bluefish at the Coney Island flats, Marion wrote in an email. On Tuesday, Capt. Wayne O’Neil from Twin Lights, Capt. Chris Bauer and Alex Bender boated tuna, skipjacks and mahi mahi at the Triple Wrecks on the Old Gray Mare.  On the same day, Bob Dreyer on the Patty Girl boated Sandy Hook Channel, reeling up two keeper fluke and some sand sharks and sea robins on Gulps and killies. Twin Lights, located on Shrewsbury River near Raritan Bay and the ocean, with no bridges before them, includes a marina with boat slips, dry storage, a fuel dock, and a combined bait-and-tackle shop and ship’s store. The fuel dock is available 24 hours a day with a credit card.

<b>Long Branch</b>

In the surf locally, fluking was decent, and plenty of throwback striped bass swam, said Mike from <b>TAK Waterman Surf n Fish</b>. Keeper fluke could be located among a thick population of shorts. Fish a bucktail with a Gulp. The stripers pounced on rubber shads or the bucktails with Gulps. Cocktail bluefish tumbled around the surf. Mike heard about no false albacore or bonito in the surf recently. He reported bonito last week. Fishing in the surf wasn’t bad, maybe even better than usual for late summer. Seas are now coming from predicted rough weather. Anglers will see how that affects fishing, if it does. TAK Waterman is a shop for fishing, especially surf-fishing, surfing and paddle-boarding.  The shop also produces the TAK Waterman line of clothing for watersports including these and beach-going. The name comes from Lake Takanasee.


Catches began with a bang on Tuesday’s weekly, individual-reservation trip for fluke on the ocean with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. Four keepers were quickly decked. On the rest of the trip, a few more keepers and a load of throwbacks were axed. Can’t bail them every day, he said.  On a charter Monday with a crew from Mercer County Anglers, fluking was great on the ocean. All quality fluke to 7 ½ pounds were bagged. All were bagged on bucktails with a 6-inch Gulp. Individual-reservation trips are fishing for fluke every Tuesday, the next two Sundays, Sept. 9 and 16, and Saturday, Sept. 22, the final day of fluke season. On the Tuesday trips, kids under 12 sail free, limited to one per adult host. An individual-reservation trip for sea bass was just added for Oct. 8, opening day of sea bass season. More individual-rez trips will be added for sea bass and striped bass. Last Lady has bonus tags to bag an extra striper. Charters are available.


Was a pretty good week of fluke fishing on the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b> on the ocean, Capt. Chris said. Some days fished really well. Some fished, eh, okay. Some big were canned, including 11 pounds, 10 pounds. Bucktails with Gulps, fished on spinning rods, catch best, by far. The spinning rods let anglers cast around. Trips are fishing for fluke daily. This week, they’ll depart at 6:30 a.m. An early start helps the fishing. The trips target sea bass beginning Oct. 8, opening day of sea bass season. 

Angling for fluke on the ocean was back and forth, depending on conditions, said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. On some days, wind or current drifted the boat well for the catches, and on some, they didn’t. Some decent catches were hung. Big fluke were still bombed aboard. Fluke 8 to 9 ½ pounds were usually the biggest on a trip. Larger were sometimes lost. If an angler let a large wallow too long on the hook, the fish jumped off, like always. Anglers with more experience dealt better at catching keepers. But novices caught, too. Trips were a grind in terms of moving from piece to piece or wreck to wreck. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Book an individual space with a charter who wants more anglers. A couple of trips like that still have spaces before fluke season closes. Room for a charter for fluke is very limited before the season ends. Striped bass and blackfish charters are booking up for October to December.

Great fishing today on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. The catches began with terrific bluefishing. When that slowed, the anglers yanked in bonito, throwback fluke, keeper fluke and chub mackerel. Out-of-season sea bass were released. Bring a spinning rod if you can. Bluefishing aboard was good Monday, super Tuesday and a pick Wednesday. Other catches like bonito, Spanish mackerel and fluke were also toggled in. Trips are fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily.

Fishing served up another fantastic day of bluefish catches yesterday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email said from the party boat. Trips have been fishing north of Shark River Inlet, and Ava 27 jigs, both plain and with tails, caught terrific. The blues weighed 2 to 4 pounds on the trip, and most anglers limited out by 12:30 p.m. Bonito and fluke were mixed in. On a trip the previous afternoon on Tuesday, a good number of fluke began to be seen. Some keepers and lots of throwbacks were beaten. Plenty of out-of-season sea bass were tossed back, and the sunset was stunning on the ride home. Great night, and passengers had lots of fun, the email said. Trips are fishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Monday, 9/10:***</b> Anglers picked away at 2- to 4-pound blues most of Saturday’s trip, an email said from the boat. Some of the customers limited out, and the afternoon’s trip and all trips afterward through today were scrubbed because of weather. Trips are also canceled tomorrow.


The party boat <b>Jamaica II</b>’s fluke fishing on the ocean was excellent on Labor Day weekend, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. Lots of limits were bagged, and the boat actually limited out on Labor Day itself. Many fluke 4 to 7 pounds were racked up on the trips, and the trips’ fluke were hooked on all baits and tackle, from squid and smelts on rigs to bucktails with Gulps. Everything worked, and he hopes the fishing holds up this month. Frank Munson from Lavallette was in the lead in the monthly pool with an 8-1/2-pound fluke. Trips are fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Super Fluke Marathons are sailing 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. the next two Mondays, Sept. 10 and 17.

For fluke anglers, fishing was pretty good on the ocean today, better at Axel Carlson Reef than Sea Girt Reef, said Dave from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. Some of the Belmar party boats fished up there, so anglers would have to think the fishing was better there than farther north at Shrewsbury Rocks. Fluking in Manasquan River picked away at mostly throwbacks. Surf fishing depended on the day, but sometimes a couple of shots of bonito and false albacore raced through the water first thing in morning. Bonito, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel were fought at places like Little Italy to between the Klondike and Shrewsbury Rocks, not far from shore. Plenty of mahi mahi gathered a pot buoys. Many white marlin gathered at Hudson and Toms canyons, but also throughout waters like that to canyons down south. Dave tilefished on a party boat at Wilmington Canyon on Monday, and whites swam that water. The tilefishing was good, and he drilled all of his on slow-pitch jigs. Dave’s an avid tilefisher, and even books party boat trips for tiles that sometimes anglers are welcome to join throughout the year. Call the store for info. The shop is also a place for info about the sport, and even sells a custom tilefish rod that might be the only available off-the-shelf. The store also carries the variety of slow-pitch jigs and the reels and rods to fish them. That’s becoming popular for catches like sea bass, cod and, well, tilefish. That is the first slow-pitch tilefishing reported on this website ever. The tackle for the jigging previously was only available in Japan and Australia. The shop can educate you about the jigging.  Slow-pitching is an entire system that uses reels, rods and lines to match the jigs.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Bottom-fishing was not too bad, picking right away, on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. Porgies were sacked, well on some days, a little slower on others. But pretty steady, decent. Fluke, triggerfish and small bluefish were angled. So were out-of-season sea bass that had to be released. Trips fished in 20 to 60 feet of water, and the ocean was 74 to 77 degrees there, depending on location. Clams are provided for bait. That was best for porgies, and clams are good all-around bait for many fish. Sometimes anglers brought squid, sometimes other baits, they fished. Some cast jigs they brought for the blues. Trips are bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

The following report was posted Wednesday as an update and is being re-posted in case anybody missed it: An open-boat trip crushed yellowfin tuna, including on popper lures and jigs, Sunday with <b>Mushin Sportfishing</b>, Mushin’s Facebook page said. The trip was scheduled to fish overnight. But so many tuna were caught – “filled the boxes,” the page said – that the trip headed home in late afternoon. At first, in the morning, the tuna were trolled. But they were so abundant, so the boat was stopped on them, and more were clobbered on Madd Mantis poppers, Sting-O jigs and chunks of bait. The trip limited out, and the anglers grew tired of catching and releasing more. “Nice quality Yellowfin to 80#!” the page said. The trip also nailed some “beautiful mahi off a piece of flotsam,” it said. Charters are fishing, and open-boat trips for tuna have been added for Sept. 22 to 23 and 29 to 30.

It’s time! The year’s first tuna trip will sail Sept. 17 on the <b>Gambler</b>, and room is available, the party boat’s website said. The trips are already filling, and do fill up, so book them. See the <a href="" target="_blank">tuna schedule</a> on Gambler’s website for info, including about reservations. Trips currently aboard include daily fluke fishing and nighttime wreck-fishing.

<b>Point Pleasant</b>

Fluke fishing tackled nine keepers to 5 pounds and a bunch of throwbacks in 50 to 60 feet of water on the <b>Tin Knocker</b> on Monday, Capt. John said. Tuna fishing is booked for this weekend aboard but might be weathered out. But tuna trips are running on the vessel. Inshore fishing for tuna still seemed better than offshore, for now at least.

<b>Toms River</b>

Surf-fishing improved, and a little bigger bluefish than before showed up, said Mario from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b>. Many anglers locked into them well at Barnegat Inlet’s north pocket yesterday at Island Beach State Park. Deadly Dicks worked on the fish. Fluking was good for surf casters. Striped bass fishing began to light up behind Island Beach in Barnegat Bay for kayakers and waders, probably because mullet began to migrate. A few were keepers the last two nights, and the anglers caught stripers there on all different tackle that imitated the “hatch” of either mullet or spearing. The bay’s blowfishing was very good between the BI and BB markers. Anchor and chum heavily with clams, and fish bits of clams or squid. The chum and frozen clams and squid are stocked. Crabbing picked up on both sides of the Toms River. Plenty of snapper blues schooled the river. 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 surf’s bluefishing heated up at Island Beach State Park, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Mid-sized, bigger than before, showed up the last few days, swiping artificials and bait. Plenty of bait swam the surf and around inlets. The mullet migration will get going any moment, and should attract blues and striped bass. Bucktails with Gulps could whack fluke in the surf. From the dock, keeper crabs and snapper blues were picked. 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>

<b>***Update, Friday, 9/7:***</b> Fluke anglers cashed in on some good catches at Barnegat Inlet Reef and around the inlet, said Mike from <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Bluefish 2 to 4 pounds schooled the inlet, smacking metal or chunks. Blowfishing clipped lots of the puffers near the research buoy on Barnegat Bay in 6 to 12 feet of water. Chum with clam logs and fish with small pieces of clam or squid. Mahi mahi loitered anywhere from a mile from shore to 20 miles out. A mix of mahi, bonito, Spanish mackerel and false albacore could be found in the inshore ocean. Crabbing seemed decent. All baits are stocked including for offshore. Even pre-cut butterfish chunks are carried for offshore.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

A couple of fluke were docked from the ocean here and there at <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b>, including a 9-pounder, George said. Fluke were angled from Barnegat Bay, but many were throwbacks. Blowfish, abundant, were socked from the bay. A couple of blackfish came in from along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks. Baits stocked include minnows and fresh bunker. Live grass shrimp can be ordered if the supplier has enough orders. 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.


Fishing for summer flounder in the ocean has lit up, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. That’s at the reefs, and flounder still swam everywhere from back bays to the ocean, and many were undersized. The larger number of better-sized in the ocean was the reason the ocean’s fishing for them was popular. But some keepers were had at places like inlets or along structure in the back. Baitfish swarmed everywhere. That’s why flounder even swam the surf: baitfish were there. Striped bass were everywhere in bays. When the bait shows up somewhere in those waters, so do the stripers, though Dave couldn’t know where they came from. Striper fishing was best at night. Tackle like popper plugs or live bait like spots or mullet were fished for them. Eels were swum for stripers at places like bridges at night. Stripers were also caught in the mouth of Mullica River on the live bait. Shedder crabs were also fished for them. White perch fishing was good in the river, including if anglers wanted a good shot at catching dinner. Weakfish were about the only fish Dave heard not much about. He saw a couple. But with all the bait around, more weaks would be expected. Speaking of baitfish, nearly any angler could castnet them to keep live. The baitfish were everywhere, and the store stocks all the different nets and supplies to keep the live bait, like pens and aerators. Dave just netted another batch of mullet stocked live at the shop. Night is the best time to round up mullet, though castnetting at night is more challenging than during daytime. If weather is reasonable this weekend, he’ll net and stock peanut bunker live. But weather might be too rough for demand for peanuts, and they don’t live long in captivity, so he might hold off. Live spots from Maryland are stocked. Crabbing was good, and the most recent crab shed might’ve been ending. They’re starting to feed well again, and the next two weeks are traditionally the best crabbing. When crabs are shedding, the store raises soft-shells for eating. Keep up with the supply on <a href="" target="_blank">Absecon Bay Sportsman’s soft-shell crabs Facebook Page</a>.


Surf anglers dragged in kingfish on bloodworms and brown sharks on mackerel, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. The browns, required to be let go, were still there. Snapper blues, small ones, were nipped from the surf. Fresh mullet’s been stocked that caught the blues. Mullet are schooling the back bay. Summer flounder fishing was good at ocean reefs and wrecks for boaters. Gulp 6-inch grubs are stocked in Pink Shine and some other good colors. If Andy were going to fish for the flounder, that’s what he’s using. Brigantine’s beach-buggy permits became available beginning Wednesday, and can be used starting Monday, except the front beach cannot be driven in September. The annual Fall Riptide Surf Fishing Derby will begin Monday, lasting until Dec. 23. Prizes will be $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>

Customers banked many summer flounder from the surf to Absecon Inlet to the back bay off Harrah’s, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Two anglers today landed six flounder to 6 pounds from the surf. Customers fish the surf beside Absecon Inlet in town. Kingfish, good-sized, were nabbed from the surf on bloodworms. Triggerfish were hooked along the inlet rocks. So were blackfish, and probably none will be a keeper, but there was action with throwbacks. Bait schooled plentiful, including peanut bunker and spearing. Corncob mullet were around. Fishing was on like Donkey Kong! he said. All baits, the full supply, are stocked including bloodworms, minnows, green crabs, clams, mullet, mackerel – you name it, he said. A bait vending machine dispenses frozen bait round the clock. Many new products arrived, including M3Tackle spoons for flounder, new Sebile lures and Daiwa’s new Mebachi Popper Lures. A variety of Gulp 6-inch grubs are carried that anglers are looking for. So are Gulp imitation fluke-belly strips.


Back-bay trips for summer flounder will now fish on Saturdays and Sundays on the party boat <b>Keeper</b>, Capt. John. That’s the schedule after Labor Day, and the trips fish daily the rest of summer. The trips will sail 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 12 noon Sundays. 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.


The ocean’s summer flounder fishing picked up, became good, said Capt. Mike from the  <b>Stray Cat</b>. A couple of customers limited out, and a tremendous number of throwbacks bit. A bunch of bluefish and a good-sized cobia were also reeled in. The water was still warm at 78 degrees. The fishing is expected to be weathered out in the next days throughout the weekend aboard in the impending storm. Open-boat trips will fish for flounder next week on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Open trips will also fish for them daily during the following week, the final week of flounder season, Sept. 16-22. <b>***Update, Monday, 9/10:***</b> Mike hopes to resume fishing on Wednesday, he said. Spaces are available for open trips for flounder that day, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday on the ocean. Friday is sold out. The fishing was excellent when the boat last sailed. Where the fish showed up from was unknown, but the angling became drop-and-reel. The open trips will also run next week, the final week of flounder season.

<b>Ocean City</b>

The surf harbored kingfish and, along jetties, a number of small summer flounder and a couple of small striped bass, said Justin from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. Small bluefish swam up and down the coast’s surf, biting nearly anything, including metal and soft-plastic lures. Brown sharks, required to be released, remained abundant in the surf. Inlets were loaded with small blues 6 to 8 inches. A number of flounder held in inlets, including decent-sized keepers. Boaters just had to seriously work for the keepers. In the back bay, striped bass bit along bridges and piers at night, and small sea bass, a load, hovered around those structures during daytime. In the ocean, tiny mahi mahi swam along Great Egg and Atlantic City reefs. Those waters were so full of skates and sand sharks that no flounder were really hooked. No fish like bonito schooled the ocean locally. They seem only to show up farther south like at 5-Fathom Bank and farther north. The only offshore reports were about lots of white marlin to the north. How crabbing was depended on who told results. Many crabbers say small crabs were abundant. But Justine would say crabbing was fairly good.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

A trip for mahi mahi inshore trolled four, jumped off several and landed false albacore, big ones, with two anglers Monday aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Fun fishing, and get after mahi before they migrate away. This has been a good season for the angling. High tides at dusk are ideal for fishing for striped bass on the back bay in the next days with popper lures or popper flies, a specialty aboard. Joe hoped to do that fishing this evening. He’d like to fish for summer flounder on the ocean soon. The angling’s been productive. Weather might be too rough this weekend. He’d also like to fish for white marlin soon. That’s been super. Only a week to go: Annual traveling charters to Montauk will fish the migrations of striped bass, bluefish and false albacore from mid-month to mid-October. See the <a href="" target="_blank">traveling charters webpage</a> on Jersey Cape’s website. Traveling charters to the Florida Keys fish every winter, 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>. <b>***Update, Monday, 9/10:***</b> Trips popper-plugged a few striped bass from the bay Thursday and Friday evenings aboard, Joe said. The water was 80 degrees, and that’s warm for the angling. But he’s poppered the fish in 84 in past years, and the bay should cool soon. Eight-four is extremely warm. Traveling charters to Montauk, mentioned above, will begin this weekend, weather permitting. After Friday, his fishing was weathered out.

From the surf, anglers plucked kingfish and spots, and began to see bluefish move in, said Budd from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Sometimes a pompano was dragged from the water. In the back bay, sometimes a keeper fluke was found. Lots of throwbacks bit. The water was warm – someone said Paddy’s Hole was 80 degrees – so anglers searched for deeper, cooler holes. A couple of throwback blackfish were heard about from the bay. Peanut bunker schooled the bay, but no mullet seemed to. The store’s owner and a buddy boated an ocean reef, bagging just under a limit of flounder to a 5-1/2-pounder. Click the link for a photo from the shop’s Facebook page. Every keeper was hooked on mahi mahi belly strips, available at the shop, on Belly Dancer rigs, the page said. Many throwbacks were grabbed on Gulps in Pink Shine on the trip, it said.


One customer hit a couple of keeper summer flounder in the back bay behind North Wildwood on a trip, said Mike from <b>Canal Side Boat Rentals</b>. Flounder, many of them throwbacks, were still active in the bay. A friend had a keeper behind North Wildwood on Tuesday. Not a lot of reports came in, and participation is always quieter in the days after Labor Day. But bits and pieces of news rolled in like this, showing that flounder were still there. Minnows seemed best bait. A couple of customers headed for flounder at Cape May and Wildwood reefs on the ocean, and Mike waited to hear results. But customers who fished those reefs last week caught well, though not many more were keepers than in the bay. An angler who works at the shop played snapper blues, baby sea bass and a couple of small porgies behind North Wildwood. Snappers and the sea bass are common, and anglers might not be aware about the porgies. But a few are not uncommon. Crabbing was similar to before, trapping 1 to 1 ½ dozen keepers per boat. The blueclaws still skittered around. 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. 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. Crabs for eating were in supply that the store sells live, cooked or chilled. The price depends on the market, and was currently $35 for a dozen No. 1s live, and $25 for a dozen No. 2s live. To cook the crabs, that’s $5 extra per dozen. The crabs currently were good quality. 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>

Mahi mahi fishing  picked off a bunch Monday 30 miles from shore on the troll, not as many as on the previous trip, but scoring okay on the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>, Capt. George said. Trips are also trolling 5-Fathom Bank for plenty of bluefish and some bonito, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel. That was the mix of fish George heard about in past days.

Thirteen keeper summer flounder to 6 ¼ pounds were shoveled from the ocean Tuesday with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. Lots of shorts bit, good action. A trip for marlin Wednesday went 3 for 7 on whites and broke off a 300-pound blue at the canyons in 100 fathoms. Then the trip tilefished, but only on half a drift, because two pods of tuna were seen. The trip went after the tuna, but they disappeared. Still, the tilefishing cranked up five goldens and three rosefish. The biggest goldens weighed 43, 27 and 23 pounds. Daytime swordfishing trips will begin on this month’s full moon. The fishing should begin to be great then. Swordfishing during daylight is common to the south like in Florida. Tom is pioneering the fishing locally. The trips fish the bottom in deep water for the light-sensitive swords. The trips first tilefish, then get after the billfish. Charters and open-boat trips are sailing.

On the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, daily trips for summer flounder picked the fish at the ocean reefs, sometimes a good-sized, a few anglers limiting out, some landing no keepers, Capt. Paul said. On Wednesday’s trip, Al Thomas from Ocean View won the pool with an 8-1/2-pounder and limited out. Also on the outing, Joshua Schuman from Harrisburg, Pa., and Casey G. from Salem limited.  On Tuesday’s trip, Young Jung from Cape May Court House totaled two keepers, winning the pool with a 6-pounder, and Matt Lamelza from Ocean City limited. The boat had absolutely no drift on a couple of trips in hot weather that was windless. That makes flounder fishing tough. Trips are fishing for flounder at 8 a.m. daily.

The deeper reefs including Cape May and Wildwood reefs tossed up good fishing for summer flounder, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. Tons of flounder still roamed back bays, but catching a keeper was tougher there this time of year. Any keepers in the back seemed to come from inlets or close to inlets like in the harbor. They seemed to be migrating out. Delaware Bay’s flounder fishing sounded good near the 19 buoy or Miah Maul. Croakers and kingfish schooled off Higbee’s Beach in the bay. Boaters and shore anglers hooked them. Boating for kings, croakers and snapper blues was probably a little better fishing than that, at Cape May Channel off Cape May Lighthouse. That’s at the confluence of the bay and ocean. Also in the back bay, fishing for striped bass, not big, 18 to 24 inches, but steady catches, could be good along sod banks. If anglers castnetted their own baits, they fished baits like live peanut bunker or mullet for the stripers. Other anglers cast lures imitating the baitfish to the bass, from soft-plastics to hard lures like MirrOlures to spoons. Inshore trolling pasted southern species like bonito, false albacore, skipjacks and small jacks, because of warm water. McCrae’s Shoal to the Middle Lump turned them up. Barracuda were even heard about from inshore. Nick waited to hear about a tarpon. Why not? He knew about a spearfish caught offshore, too. Tuna fishing was pretty sporadic in warm water at places like the Elephant Trunk. But marlin fishing, mostly for whites, was unbelievable, a banner year, at the offshore canyons. That mostly seemed from Poorman’s to Baltimore canyons. A few blue marlin were also fought. Crabbing was fairly good. Baits stocked include fresh, shucked clams, bloodworms, minnows, fresh bunker, eels and all offshore baits.

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