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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 1-28-19

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

One party boat from the marina fished throughout the weekend, for blackfish, said Johnny O. from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. He heard the angling was no good or slow on Saturday, and was yet to hear results from Sunday. That boat will probably continue to fish on weekends, Johnny thought. The store was closed for a winter break beginning today, and the sign on the door says it’ll be reopened on March 23. Johnny told boat crews that if they needed crabs for blackfish bait, Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, the sister store, will have the crabs and will remain open throughout winter.


Capt. Ralph wrapped up blackfishing for winter with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>, he wrote in an email. But the boat remains in the water, ready to fish, if he feels there’s a good shot at catching something. If cod show up, he’ll put together a trip for them. He expects to resume serious numbers of trips in April, beginning with cod fishing inshore, blackfishing and, afterward in May, striped bass angling. Rates for trips will increase this year, and book trips before March 31 to lock in last year’s rates.


<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/31:***</b> The party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b>’s fishing is wrapped up for winter, Capt. Chris said. Trips blackfished Saturday and Sunday aboard, and the angling was no good. The boat’s fishing will resume in April, beginning with blackfishing.

Just one of Belmar’s party boats is fishing now, said Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b>. The boat was out yesterday and was fishing today when he gave this report. The trips are blackfishing on the ocean, and the angling is slow. Some anglers catch three or four keepers. A few ling and ocean pout are mixed in. Another one of the boats, the Big Mohawk, also blackfished during the weekend and is now on winter break. Blackfishing is the only fishing going on along the coast, really. The store is open every morning until about 2 to 4 p.m., depending on weather. During weekdays, the doors are usually open until 2 at the latest, if weather is fair.


<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/31:***</b> Forecasts look good, and wreck-fishing trips will sail 3 a.m. lo 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for cod, ling and blackfish on the <b>Jamaica II</b>, the party boat’s Facebook page said.

A couple of party boats still fished for blackfish on the ocean, said Alex from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. The fishing was “nothing but a pick.” High hooks limited out on four apiece, and two keepers was average, if the anglers worked hard. The fishing was slowing down. Many customers headed to warmer locations to fish, like Florida or the Bahamas. Some took charters for bluefin tuna from Oregon Inlet, N.C., smoking the tuna. One customer reported fishing on a well-known boat on a charter that landed two of the bluefins larger than 100 inches apiece. The store is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Catch the shop’s exhibits at the Berkeley Striper Club’s fishing flea market on March 3 and the Asbury Park Fishing Club’s fishing flea market on March 10. The store won’t exhibit at Surf Day this year.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/31:***</b> The party boat <b>Dauntless</b> was in dry dock a moment and should be splashed Friday, Capt. Butch said. Then daily bottom-fishing will resume aboard the ocean. The trips last had the weather and sailed Saturday and one day last week, picking up a few blackfish, ling and cod. The angling was slow, and rough weather that surrounded those days didn’t seem to help. That weather seemed to cause blackfish to disappear from inshore. So the trips fished the deep in 120 feet of water to 150. The water was 39 to 41 degrees where the boat fished, and once the boat is splashed, the trips sail 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Weather “held up nice,” a report said on the party boat <b>Norma-K III</b>’s website, and trips aboard sailed for blackfish Saturday and Sunday. The trips made lots of drops, only bagging a few of the tautog. Some spots gave up a couple of blackfish, others turned out no life, and others only put out bergals. Current ran from south, probably cooling the water. The crew hopes for better results next weekend. The boat will keep after blackfish, sailing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

<b>Toms River</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/31:***</b> Anglers were mostly packing up blackfishing for winter, said Dennis from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b>. Maybe a local party boat or two still sailed for the tautog. One of the boats supposedly was going to try for cod last weekend. Whether the trip sailed was unknown. Salted clams, killies, nightcrawlers and garden worms are stocked. The store is open for no specific hours. But if Dennis’s truck is in the parking lot, the doors are open. Often the hours are posted on <a href="" target="_blank">the shop’s Facebook page</a>. Sometimes sale items are posted there, too. The store’s been participating in fishing flea markets. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.


A couple of customers bought grass shrimp and bloodworms from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b> yesterday, Capt. Dave said. He heard no feedback, and customers use the bait for white perch on brackish rivers like the Mullica. Striped bass also bit in the river, he said for the last report here. Striper fishing is closed in rivers and bays in January and February and must be released. Dave netted the shrimp Saturday. Now that weather was cold, the shrimp balled up in usual places. He’ll stock them a while, he expects, until they disappear like always sometime in winter. Telephone Dave about <a href="" target="_blank">a Guatemala fishing vacation</a>. That’s the place to be, he said, and fishing from there is up and running for winter.

<b>Ocean City</b>

No local party or charter boats seemed to fish anymore this winter, said Bill from  <b>Fin-Atics</b>. Some fished for blackfish on the ocean previously. A few private boats still fished, the last he knew. Nothing was heard about other fish, like striped bass from the surf. Customers traveled to warmer places like Costa Rica and Florida to fish. The store is open Thursdays through Saturdays.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Traveling trips to the Florida Keys will next fish this weekend aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. He runs the trips every winter, and the trips lately saw one or two tarpon a day. Fishing for them was fairly good. The trips also reeled in redfish, jacks, snappers, barracudas, groupers and a little of everything. See the   <a href="" target="_blank">traveling charters webpage</a> on Jersey Cape’s website. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.


<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/31:***</b> Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> set up his booth yesterday for the Great American Outdoor show, aka the Harrisburg show, in Harrisburg, Pa., he said. The show will take place from Saturday through Sunday, Feb. 10. So that’s a 10-day show, and, Jim thinks, is the biggest outdoor show in the nation. He’ll exhibit his guided fishing and hunting at booth 5127 in the outfitters hall. Immediately after the show, Jim will begin guiding snow goose hunting in New Jersey. Those trips eventually follow the migration north to Pennsylvania and then New York. He recently concluded guiding hunting for brant and ducks in Jersey and geese in Maryland. Those seasons are now closed. Jim’s saltwater fishing will resume probably in April and May for striped bass and, on Delaware Bay, black drum. Guests at his <a href="" target="_blank">lodge</a> in upstate New York fish for steelheads on nearby Salmon River throughout winter. Guests also snowmobile and cross-country ski this season. A discount is available for the lodge, but only on Airbnb.

<b>Cape May</b>

Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> did no fishing but might still fish on a friend’s boat this season, he said. The Heavy Hitter is stowed away for the season, but the friend would like to sail for tilefish offshore. Friends had thought sea bass season would be reopened on Feb. 1. But other friends said, no way.

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