A trip limited out early on blackfish to 6 pounds Saturday with Outcast Charters, Capt. Joe said. Another charter limited on the tautog to 6 pounds Sunday aboard. The trips fished in 40 to 70 feet, and Outcast will also stop and fish for striped bass, if stripers are seen on the way to and from the blackfish grounds, if anglers want. No stripers popped up on these trips. Porgies and one bluefish were also hooked on Sunday’s trip on the crabs meant for blackfish. Seas were a little lumpy Saturday and considerably better Sunday. Outcast fishes from either Staten Island, N.Y., or Sewaren, N.J.
Striped bass fishing was good on Raritan Bay and the ocean with the Down Deep Fleet, Capt. Mario said. Blackfishing aboard was okay, not fantastic, and was good Saturday. Open-boat trips, by reservation, are sailing daily for stripers and daily for blackfish on Down Deep’s two boats. Charters are running for either. Join the Short Notice List on Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about open trips. Also see the site’s open-trips page about the outings.
Fishing for striped bass “took a bit of a downturn” Saturday, Capt. Frank from the Vitamin Sea wrote in an email. Bait was difficult to find that was so plentiful before. A few bonus-tag stripers were managed aboard. Still, Frank doesn’t think striper fishing is finished for the season. One more shot of the fish might migrate to local waters, and water temps were right for the angling. Blackfishing was good, and a great catch of the tautog, including 6- and 7-pounders, was plowed Sunday aboard. Green and white crabs seemed to catch them equally on trips. Sharp, experienced toggers limited out and landed more on every trip. Charters are fishing, and the next open-boat trip will fish Sunday. If you wait to book a spot, you won’t get one. “Get your dose of Vitamin Sea!”
Anglers on today’s trip so far picked some blackfish, not great, but not bad, Capt. Tom from the party boat Atlantic Star said at 12 noon in a phone call aboard. One angler limited out, some bagged two and some bagged one so far. Lots of throwbacks bit, and there was action, and the fishing was a matter of getting keepers. The boat had just been moved for that, and would be moved again, if necessary. Lots of anglers became hung up on bottom, and maybe needed to get a feel for the fishing. The daily trips for the tautog sailed every day since Thursday’s trip was weathered out. Today’s trip probably fished better than Sunday’s so far. Sunday’s blackfishing was tougher than Friday’s and Saturday’s. During Sunday’s, one angler limited out. “He can catch them,” Tom said. Another bagged three or four, and keepers were hung here and there by other anglers, and many landed no keepers. Green crabs are provided, and white leggers are sold aboard when available, and they’ve been available. Neither bait seemed to catch better on Friday and Saturday. The white crabs might’ve held an advantage Sunday. But the anglers could make a difference, too. The Atlantic Star is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The trip on Thanksgiving will return somewhat early, probably between 2 and 2:30. Tom didn’t want to make the three-quarter-day trip a half-day one, because sometimes the boat needs to travel longer to the fishing grounds. ***Update, Wednesday, 11/25:*** Today was a nice day of blackfishing, and weather was good, Tom said. One of the trip’s anglers only bagged one of the tautog, and another limited out, and the rest bagged two to five. Dogfish were annoying, probably the worst this season, though the anglers fished crabs, not clams. Dogs especially bite clams and other soft baits. Thanksgiving’s weather looks good, and the holiday’s trip will sail aboard. Happy Thanksgiving! Tom said.
The Fishermen’s daily trip for striped bass decked the fish Saturday on the first few drifts, until boat traffic became crowded, Capt. Ron wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. That was the most recent report at press time, and once the crowd arrived, the boat was moved. New life was found, and fishing was great for throwbacks and keepers. The angling slowed late in the trip there, and the trip moved to where stripers were hooked around the same time the previous afternoon aboard. The bait, and so stripers, seemed to move from the area. Friday’s trip got into action from the start with stripers. Birds worked the water most of the trip, but the boat had to be kept on the move to stay with it. Lots of smaller stripers were in the mix, and all anglers were able to use a bonus tag to bag a slot-sized bass, because the crowd was light. Don’t wait long to fish for stripers. Loads of bait was around, so the fishing should last into the week. The Fishermen is fishing for striped bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. every Monday through Saturday.
One-stop blackfishing was hammered on a trip Sunday with Last Lady Fishing Charters, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. He got a chance to fish, though that was unusual, and landed more than 30, putting his limit in the cooler for the anglers. Most of the anglers caught, and most newcomers don’t realize blackfish can be difficult to hook, even when the bite is on. Blackfishing was also good on a trip Saturday aboard, and one of the anglers reeled up at least nine keepers, keeping no more than a limit. A striped bass trip scored great Friday on the boat. Stripers are still here in good numbers. Individual-reservation blackfish trips are sailing Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and December 6, 13, 20 and 27, and space is available. Charters are available daily. If you’ve got a few anglers who want to sail for either fish, contact Ralph, and he’ll try to put together a trip. ***Update, Tuesday, 11/24:*** Stripers still swam locally in good numbers, so an individual-reservation trip will sail for stripers Friday, December 4, Ralph wrote in an email. Blackfish bait will be carried aboard, “if we want to switch,” he said. Book now.
Windy weather changed fishing this past week, and fishing was a roller coaster, Bob from Fisherman’s Den wrote in an email. The school of large striped bass swam farther south, but more large stripers could arrive locally from the north. Boaters in the last few days jigged more small to medium stripers on the ocean than before, and a few big were mixed in. Many charter and party boats took advantage of this year’s bonus-tag program that allows a 24-inch to less than 28-inch striper to be bagged. That helped put fish in the boat. Surf-fishing for stripers was a little slower the last few days than before, but many surf-casters bagged stripers to 18 pounds on clams and cut bunker. Stripers from throwbacks to 36-inchers were plugged from the surf, but fewer than a week ago. “But that should change with the N.W. wind forecast for this week,” he wrote. Blackfishing was good for boaters on the ocean, and many trips limited out. White crabs seemed to catch best. Ian Eitner from Jackson boated a 10-pound blackfish. Shark River’s winter flounder fishing was super, and worms for bait were difficult to obtain. But clams will land a limit of two, and that just might take longer. Fishing is good, and have fun, Bob said. “But keep only what (you’ll) eat,” he said. “Don’t waste.”
The Katie H will next fish Friday and Saturday, mostly for blackfish, Capt. Mike said. If striped bass are biting, the trips might get after them, too. Striper fishing seemed on and off, or the fishing was good on one day, slower on another. The boat is concentrating on blackfish and stripers. Cod trips might be coming up, too. Mike hated to say tuna fishing was finished for the year aboard, but trips weren’t getting the weather to reach the offshore waters. He’d probably stow away the tuna gear for the season. The 46-foot Katie H features speed and all the amenities. Fish in comfort this season.
A mix of striped bass and blackfish were angled from the ocean Saturday with XTC Sportfishing, Capt. Scott said. A handful of the stripers were keepers, and most were undersized. Scott doesn’t carry bonus tags, so bonus-sized stripers weren’t bagged. On a trip Sunday, 20-some keeper blackfish were pumped in.
With Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters, fishing was weathered out Thursday, and no trip was slated for Friday, Capt. Pete said. But blackfishing was good on other boats Friday. On Saturday with Parker Pete’s, blackfishing was good, and some of the anglers limited out. The trip searched for striped bass at first, but only throwbacks were landed in the fleet. So the trip blackfished, and seas were lumpy that day. On Sunday, seas calmed, and stripers bit on a trip with Parker Pete’s, and tons of the fish were marked. In the morning, lots of shorts and slots bit. In the afternoon, 18- to 25-pounders were nailed. Livelined bunker and trolled rubber-shad rigs caught. Some anglers thought striper fishing might’ve been slowing down locally. But Pete didn’t think so. He’ll fish for them into December, as long as the bass remain. Plenty of space is available for trips that month for stripers and blackfish. Space is available on striper charters that need anglers Wednesday and this coming Monday. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s anyway, about individual spaces available on charters. Visit Parker Pete’s website to subscribe to the email blast to be kept informed about the spaces. Look for the place to sign up on the right side of the page, where it says Join Our Newsletter.
After a few days of super striped bass fishing aboard, the angling was slow Wednesday on the Golden Eagle, a report on the party boat’s website said. No report was posted for Thursday, and maybe the trip was weathered out. On Friday’s trip, lots of fish broke the water surface, and some keeper and bonus stripers, and some blues, were cranked in. Many bonus stripers had to be released, because anglers didn’t bring bonus tags. On Saturday’s trip, seas were nasty, and some keeper stripers to 25 pounds, some bonus stripers and some blues were caught. Anglers without bonus tags had to release some bonus bass. On Sunday’s trip, a few keeper and bonus stripers were taken, a dozen throwbacks were released, and a dozen blues were swung in. The Golden Eagle is fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 or 3 p.m. every Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday. Striperthons are sailing 6 a.m. to 3 or 3:30 p.m. every Monday and Friday.
***Update, Tuesday, 11/24:*** Only a handful of striped bass were eased aboard during the weekend on the Miss Belmar Princess, an email from the party boat said. On Saturday’s trip, seas were nasty. On Sunday’s, seas calmed, “(but) the fish just didn’t cooperate,” it said. But on Monday’s trip, striper fishing was great. Stripers to 20 pounds were bagged, and jumbo blues were mixed in. Some anglers limited out on stripers, and most bagged at least one. The Miss Belmar Princess is fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. On Thanksgiving, a trip will sail 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for those fish.
If boaters could still reach the offshore canyons, tuna fishing was good, said Eric from The Reel Seat. Yellowfin, longfin and bluefin tuna were hooked at Hudson Canyon. The bluefins weighed 250 to 400 pounds, and all three tuna were chunked and jigged during daytime. The fish-holding water seemed to slide down to Toms Canyon and actually, by now, Spencer Canyon. The Spencer held yellowfins. Closer to shore, sea bass fishing held up, mostly in 120- to 150-foot depths. A few remained closer to shore. Blackfishing was excellent. The catches were good at Axel Carlson Reef and off the Long Branch and Monmouth Beach area. At the Axel, the fish bit in 60 to 70 feet. Off Monmouth County, they were concentrated in 40 to 50 feet. Green crabs and white leggers seemed to land them equally, or neither crab seemed best. Striped bass fishing was good for boaters on the ocean the last couple of days, after somewhat of a lull. The fish foraged on bunker anywhere from Long Branch to Mantoloking. Boaters hooked them on bunker snagged and then livelined for bait. Jigging for the bass worked well. When no concentration of stripers schooled, the fish were trolled on bunker spoons and Mojos. In the surf, blitzes of stripers let up somewhat during daytime, compared with before. But some of the fish were run into at Monmouth Beach and Long Branch. A few popped up at Spring Lake and Brick Beach. That was all during daytime. Surf-fishing for stripers sounded good at night from Sandy Hook all the way to Island Beach State Park, if anglers found structure where the fish fed. Mostly Daiwa SP Minnows lit into the bass at night. Fishing at Manasquan Inlet and back waters was pretty slow.
Point Pleasant Beach
Trips fished for striped bass on the ocean Friday to Sunday with Mushin Sportfishing, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. The angling was tough for many in the fleet Friday, and none of the fish was bagged with Mushin that day. On Saturday’s trip, the second trolling rod hadn’t even begun to be fished, and a striper was on. A catch of more of the slots was scratched together on the troll, until the tide and bite was lost. Then the anglers blackfished, and the tautog scratched at the baits, wouldn’t commit, but some 3- to 5-pounders were bagged. Sunday’s trip was a different day, Alan said. A striper heavier than 30 pounds was trolled on a spoon at first, at good marks and gannets working the water. Then good reports were heard about stripers foraging on bunker, and the trip headed there. The anglers snagged and then livelined bunker for bait at small pods of the baitfish, limiting out on unders 25 to 35 pounds, releasing countless others. Looks like good striper fishing should continue. Mushin means a relaxed state of readiness. The crew pride themselves on sharing the concept on outdoor adventures.
On the Norma-K III, the blackfish trip Saturday picked and plucked away, Capt. Matt wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. Some anglers limited out, some bagged a few, “and some just had a tough day,” he said. “Overall, it was as decent day.” Blackfishing was slower on Sunday’s trip. “I think it was just the day,” he said. The fishing began with action, and slowly picked afterward. Plenty of blackfish are holding in the boat’s area. The Norma-K III is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. On Thanksgiving, a trip will blackfish 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“Sand eels?” John from The Dock Outfitters asked in a report on the shop’s website today. “Sure starting to look that way,” he said. Striped bass were sometimes beached from the surf on Ava jigs and needlefish lures the past two days. “This usually signals sand eels are present,” he said. Birds diving on bait, with no disturbance along the water surface, is another sign. “If all this is true, the bass bite should extend into December … wouldn’t that be nice!” he said. Clams and cut bunker also caught stripers from shore. The Dock Outfitters, located on Barnegat Bay, blocks from the ocean surf, features a bait and tackle shop, boat and jet ski rentals, a café and a dock for fishing and crabbing.
A few striped bass were picked on each drift on Sunday’s trip, until boat traffic scattered the fish and bunker, a report said on the party boat Miss Barnegat Light’s website. The fishing never turned on again the rest of the outing. One angler “showed us how to catch them,” it said, nailing the stripers on a 5-ounce, white bucktail. Saturday’s trip picked at stripers later in the day. Seas were sloppy early in the day. But once the trip “zeroed in on bunker schools, the action improved,” it said. The Miss Barnegat Light will fish 7 a.m. to 1 or 2 p.m. this Friday through Sunday. On Thanksgiving, a trip will sail 6 a.m. to 12 noon sharp.
***Update, Tuesday, 11/24:*** “Stripers for Thanksgiving!” Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the Hi Flier wrote in an email. “That’s not to say that I caught them, but if I’m there when it’s happening, I feel it’s okay to report on it. I had some regulars on Saturday’s trip, and we pulled a complete zero for our morning of fishing. The wind was cranking out of the NNE, and the inlet and ocean were really rough, too rough for my boat. I wasn’t too concerned, as the inside game had been good every day. Yeah, not this day. I took these guys to every spot I’ve caught a striper in the bay ... twice! Some spots, three times. Using live spots. Hitless, I offered them 50 percent off their next trip. BTW, that inside bite is back on now. Saturday was a little heavy on the boat traffic running out the inlet and turning right around to come back inside. The water clarity was bad, too. Sunday was a little better, but I felt more like an observation vessel than a fishing boat. In the end, we put one decent fish in the cooler, like 10 or 12 pounds, and released three slot-sized fish. We could’ve kept them with my tags, but the group opted to release them. All three were all at once on one of my homemade umbrella rigs. Released a gator bluefish, dropped two fish on the bunker spoons and that was that. Two of my friends were fishing the same exact spot, and one was blasting away casting lures on the drift, and the other was connecting on the troll on every pass with decent-sized, cooler fish. All the action was off Seaside. So, even though we weren’t at our best, the fishing was good. The migration run is in full swing. More readings than bird play, but 7- to 12-pound fish on light tackle. Bunker pods are still around. They didn’t have the kind of fish pressure they had last week, but it usually doesn’t take the new herd of fish long to find those pods. Great readings of big bait balls. Some of it’s bunker, some are squid, and also sand eels. Here’s how the next five days are laying out: Go striper fishing! Every day for the next five days the wind is forecast as 5 to 10 knots from every direction on the dial. That makes for a calm ocean during the height of the migration. The air temps are in the high 40s to low 60s! At this time of year, you don’t wait to hear how good it was. You get a weather window like this in late November, you grab it with both hands. We’ll sail on two trips a day, every day, from Wednesday through Sunday, 5:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 12 noon to 5 p.m. Except Thanksgiving, no afternoon trip. Also, on Thanksgiving morning’s trip, we’ll be back by 11:30 sharp to get everyone back in time to get to where they need to be. Including me! On the other days, if I don’t have the afternoon booked, I usually stay a little longer. Three people max on the open-boats. All fish are shared. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!”
A half-day trip fished for striped bass Saturday on the June Bug, Capt. Lindsay said. Seas were rough, and one of the fish was hooked but got off, and none of the fish caught was heard about until 20 minutes before the trip headed back to port. Then the catches began to be heard about on the radio, but the anglers couldn’t stay and fish. By the time the trip docked, the radio was full of reports about catching the bass, pretty much right off Beach Haven, on the ocean. But anglers on the radio also talked about catching from Barnegat Light to Cape May on the ocean. During the trip, plenty of bait or bunker schooled the water, and stripers seemed to be marked. But the water was riled up and dirty, seeming to keep them from biting. Striper trips are slated for this coming Friday and Saturday.
The Stray Cat is landing blackfish and a few striped bass from the ocean, Capt. Mike said. The blackfishing is fair, catching best at shallower wrecks in 40 to 60 feet. The stripers are being jigged at bunker pods on Ava 47s and 67s with red and green tails. The jigging’s seemed most productive, especially when larger groups like 15 or 16 anglers are aboard. During trolling, only a few lines can be fished. Cape May boats fished for stripers at the Cuma Lumps, local waters for the Stray Cat, on Sunday. Some of the boats hooked five, and some hooked two. Trips are blackfishing aboard the next few days, unless stripers pop up and the trips mix in fishing for them. Plenty of spaces are available on the trips. A few spaces remain on an open-boat trip 8 a.m. to 12 noon on Thanksgiving, and the fare is only $40.
Sea Isle City
Mike Roth fly-rodded two striped bass to 25 inches on the back bay Saturday aboard on a Clouser minnow on a sinking line, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service, affiliated with Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. Stripers in the ocean bit mostly on the troll, and the trip had no luck fly-rodding the fish there. Roth wanted to fly-fish for the bass, so the trip moved to the bay. If the trip had trolled on the ocean, stripers would’ve been caught there. Jersey Cape is focusing more on the ocean, but conditions weren’t right for fly-rodding there. All kinds of bait schooled the ocean, including large bunker. The bay was in the mid to low 50 degrees, and the ocean was in the mid 50s. Trips will also fish for blackfish and sea bass on the ocean aboard this season, when anglers want. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s Blog. Annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys will fish from Christmas to Easter. A large variety of fish can be targeted, from speckled sea trout, redfish and snook to tarpon, sailfish and blackfin tuna. See Jersey Cape’s traveling charters Web page.
Part of the following report was posted Friday as an update and is being re-posted today in case anybody missed it. Ocean striped bass fishing was going off, crazy, on Friday morning, Mike from Sea Isle Bait & Tackle said in a phone call then. Telephone calls came in the whole morning, talking about big stripers boated on the ocean on jigs and the troll. Mike’s brother, who mated on a charter boat 10 years, never saw the fishing like this, the brother said. Weather kept boaters from fishing the ocean the previous couple of days. The trips met the full-out blitz Friday, when they returned to the water. The fishing slowed Saturday, the shop’s Facebook page said. Seas were rough that day, and calmed on Sunday. On Sunday, the striper fishing took right back off, the Facebook page said. Reports kept rolling in about the catches. It’s go time, the page said.
Fins and Feathers Outfitters is supposed to fish for striped bass Friday to Sunday, Capt. Jim said. Fins is also towing the duck-hunting boats to New Jersey this weekend. He’s been hunting ducks and bears in Pennsylvania most recently. Trips will begin duck and goose hunting along Delaware Bay in Jersey soon. Anglers can even enjoy a combo of striper fishing and duck hunting on Delaware Bay over a series of days. Pennsylvania’s duck hunting’s been fantastic for him recently. Three limits were bagged in 60 minutes on opening day of duck season there, and the ducks were definitely migrators. Cold weather could be used to shove the migration south, because lots of ducks still flew in Pennsylvania. Fins offers a variety of outdoor adventures, including saltwater fishing in New Jersey from the ocean to the back bays and Delaware Bay, and duck and goose hunting on Delaware Bay and in surrounding states, following the migrations. Salmon and steelhead fishing are available on upstate New York’s Salmon River from Jim’s nearby lodge. The lodge also hosts snowmobilers, and Fins also offers fly-fishing for trout on Pennsylvania’s streams like the Yellow Breeches.
Blackfishing was good Saturday on the ocean with Fins & Grins Sport Fishing, Capt. Jim said. Lots of throwbacks bit, but so did some sizable keepers. Striped bass fishing wasn’t happening off the local coast yet, but the migration moved closer. The fish were boated on the ocean toward Sea Isle City, 25 miles north. They should reach the local ocean soon, maybe by the weekend. Local boats ran north to off Sea Isle to catch the bass, and striper trips are slated with Fins & Grins for Thanksgiving and this weekend. Space is still available aboard Friday on this holiday weekend. Fins & Grins is slated to fish every day, and reservations aren’t required but suggested. Telephone for availability.
Eight striped bass were bagged, and others got off, on the ocean on the troll Sunday on the Heavy Hitter with Kevin Driscoll’s crew, Capt. George said. The fish were 35 to 42 inches, and about twice as many got off, because multiple were hooked at once. So the fishing was good, and on Saturday, seas were rough, brutal, on John Jones’s trip aboard, and striper fishing was tough for the fleet, on the ocean. But the trip on the Heavy Hitter got lucky and bagged one. George knew about another trip that bagged one, and a few other stripers were picked up among the fleet, that day. On Sunday, wind was supposed to blow, and seas were supposed to be rough, but seas were calm, and weather was beautiful. Drizzle fell later in the day. The trips caught off Ocean City, and the fishing erupted, became good, on Friday. These were the season’s first striper catches aboard. Loads of bait, “mountains,” George said, filled the water. Trips for blackfish and sea bass are also sailing, and telephone if interested in any of this fishing.