Outcast Charters began fishing for the year, limiting out early on striped bass on Raritan Bay on Sunday morning, Capt. Joe said. Seemed a morning bite, and a few more bit after the initial catches, and then the angling seemed to taper off. Weighing 15 to 20 pounds, the stripers were bagged on live and chunked herring. Both seemed to catch equally, and a few bluefish were also boated. Charters are available from both Staten Island, N.Y., and Sewaren, N.J. Trips from Jersey will sail for sea bass when Jersey’s sea bass season is opened May 23 through June 19.
Striped bass to 36 pounds, including many heavier than 25, were plowed from Raritan Bay with the Down Deep Fleet, very good fishing, Capt. Mario said. The bass were hooked on chunked and livelined bunker, and a few were trolled on Mojos. Open-boat trips are fishing for stripers daily on the Down Deep Bull, one of the company’s two boats, both 40 feet. Striper charters are available. The Down Deep, the other boat, will sail on the season’s final two open trips for blackfish on Wednesday and Thursday. Space is available, and blackfish season will be closed beginning Sunday. Blackfish charters are also available, and both boats can accommodate up to 15 passengers. Book fluke and sea bass trips for when those seasons will be opened beginning May 21 and 23, respectively. Join the Short Notice List on Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about open trips. See available dates on the calendar on the site. That includes dates for sea bass trips, and sea bass season will be open May 23 through June 19, less than a month.
Fishing for striped bass was on fire on Raritan Bay on the Vitamin Sea, except on Thursday, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. These were big stripers to 41 inches. On Thursday, the fish were marked, but wouldn’t bite, and the angling was no good. On Friday, the same fish bit their heads off. Saturday morning was the same, and Saturday afternoon “was just insane,” he said. Wind blew strongly Sunday morning, but that failed to bother stripers. The boat limited out before 8 a.m. More and more stripers will pour into the bay in the next weeks. “If you are waiting for a better bite, I don’t think you’ll find one,” he said. Anglers are fortunate for this fishery in the bay. More and bluefish are showing up in the bay. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing. Tuesday, May 3, and 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 7, are available for charter or open-boat. A Working Man’s Special is available 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 4. Like Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page to keep up on daily reports and to see photos.
Striped bass fishing was tough, poor, on the party boat Atlantic Star, Capt. Tom said. But trips are trying for them twice daily, an opportunity to fish for stripers. Maybe the bite will turn around on a trip. The boat fished all different places on Raritan Bay, including Flynn’s Knoll and the back of the bay. Sometimes stripers were trolled on other boats that were heard about, but the bass weren’t taking bait fished on the Atlantic Star. A few bluefish began to be seen, and anglers can bring two rods, one for bait for stripers, and another for jigs or rubber shads for blues. A bluefish was decked on Sunday morning’s trip, and maybe blues will begin to fill a void. The Atlantic Star is fishing for striped bass 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.
One angler won Friday’s pool with a 16-pound striped bass and landed two more stripers on the trip on the Fishermen, Capt. Ron wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. That was the most recent report posted at press time, and another angler reeled in two on the outing, but most of the anglers caught none. Those fish boated came from the season’s first stripers seen feeding along the water surface this year aboard. That didn’t last long, because the tide was ending. Throwbacks were hooked at the end of the trip, but the angling still wasn’t good. “Soon!” Ron wrote. The Fishermen is sailing for striped bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 3:30 to 9:30 Sundays.
Tuna-Tic Sportfishing began fishing Friday for the year, for striped bass on Raritan Bay, limiting out on the trip, Capt. Mike said. Trips Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning also limited, and a trip was fishing Sunday afternoon when he gave this report in a phone call aboard. Morning trips limited early, and afternoon trips had to work somewhat harder, but caught all big stripers 38 inches to 44 inches. Plenty of stripers to 44 inches filled the bay. The trips mostly trolled them, and that caught the biggest stripers. Some were hooked on livelined bunker, and clams landed smaller stripers. The fishing was good and should only become better. A couple of afternoons and some weekdays are available for charters. An open-boat trip will fish on Mother’s Day, if anglers express interest. The trip would depart early, like 5 a.m., and return early, like 12 noon, so anglers can spend time with mom.
Fishing will be launched this weekend for the year and space is available with Last Lady Fishing Charters, Capt. Ralph said. Individual-reservation trips will sail for blackfish Saturday, the final day of blackfish season, and for cod, pollock, ling and winter flounder Sunday. For the blackfishing, white leggers, fresh clams and shrimp will be aboard, and the crabs and clams have been scarce. An individual-reservation trip for sea bass has been added for June 8, because only two spots remain for one on May 27. Two of the trips are sold out May 23 and 24, and sea bass season will be open May 23 through June 19, less than a month.
A trip Saturday was postponed with Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters, because not a lot of striped bass arrived in the ocean yet, Capt. Pete said. The migration should fill the ocean any moment, and should really get going after the next full moon. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Book an individual space on a charter that needs anglers. Visit Parker Pete’s website to subscribe to the email blast to be kept informed about the spaces. Also see a trip calendar, where available dates are posted, on the site.
On the Golden Eagle, Saturday and Sunday were tough days of fishing for striped bass and blues, a report said on the party boat’s website. Fish were around, “but getting them to chew is another story,” it said. “I think once we get past this full moon, things should turn around,” it said. No trips were expected to sail today and Tuesday, because of forecasts for weather this afternoon to Tuesday. Trips for stripers and blues, slated for 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, are expected to resume Wednesday.
Ocean striped bass fishing slowed somewhat in past days, because south wind cooled the water, said Eric from The Reel Seat. The fish had begun to be boated a little, previously. Surf anglers picked a few schoolies from Island Beach State Park to Sandy Hook. Striper fishing was excellent on Raritan Bay on trolled Mojos, spoons and umbrella rigs. Chartreuse seemed to catch best, after white did previously. The bay’s boaters could land all the bluefish they wanted. Blues sometimes were run across in the ocean near the shop, and blues often shot through Manasquan Inlet in mornings and evenings. Blues were fought in Manasquan River off the old hospital on the tides. The river’s winter flounder fishing was a slow pick but nabbed some. The river’s flounder anglers hooked some big blowfish on clams. Blues and stripers were angled from Point Pleasant Canal, mostly on outgoing tides. Back on the ocean, blackfishing was good at local reefs and wrecks, and shallow water seemed to fish best for them, like 40 or 50 feet off Deal. Clams seemed to catch more than crabs did. Cod fishing was fair on the ocean, if boaters fished the right wreck.
Point Pleasant Beach
Angling picked some blackfish Wednesday on the Norma-K III, Capt. Matt wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. Some of the anglers scored well, “and others had a tough day,” he said. Life was found at each drop. “It seemed like you would catch them right away and that was it,” he said. “The life would not build up while sitting there a while.” The trip made quite a few drops, so a catch was put together. Blackfishing was slower on Thursday’s trip. Some were picked, but the life wasn’t as good. Wind blew up from the south pretty hard, and that didn’t help. An 8-pounder was the pool-winning blackfish. That was the most recent report posted at press time, and the Norma-K III is blackfishing 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. through Saturday, the final day of blackfish season.
Catches of keeper striped bass erupted in the surf Saturday morning on swimming plugs and bait, a report said on The Dock Outfitters website. “A decent bite,” it said, and shorts to keepers and medium-sized blues began to be beached Friday more than before. The reports rolled in from Seaside Park and Island Beach State Park that day, and lures, cut bunker and clams caught. In Barnegat Bay, bluefish, sometimes good catches, were honked on popper lures, swimmers and metal. Sometimes stripers were yanked from the bay. Keeper crabs were plucked from the dock, “no real blitz, but decent catches for this time of the year, for those willing to put in the time,” it said. 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, in season, boat and jet-ski rentals.
The year’s first fishing is booked for May 21 on the Super Chic, Capt. Ted said. The first trips will probably sail mostly for sea bass and bluefish. Striped bass will be targeted if they’re in. Trips are being booked, and the boat’s in the yard, being readied to install new fuel tanks, and the maintenance will probably take that long to be finished. Currently, good-sized bluefish were fought on Barnegat Bay toward Waretown, Forked River or the Forked River power plant. They were hit on top-water lures in mornings and evenings, he guessed, and were trolled the rest of the day. Not many stripers were heard about from the ocean yet this year, and a few were caught in the bay. Two Fridays ago was the last time Ted heard about stripers boated on the ocean. Last week was relatively warm and sunny, and this week should be, too. That might warm water, amping up fishing.
The Miss Barnegat Light will begin fishing for the year on Memorial Day weekend, from that Friday to Monday, sailing for blues, the boat’s website said. The trips will also fish on the weekends of June 3 through 5 and 10 through 12. Half-day fluke trips will sail daily beginning June 17 through September 25, the final day of fluke season. Sea bass could be in the mix on those outings, when sea bass season is opened. Different seasons and regulations will be open for sea bass throughout the year. Evening cruises will be available in summer, and tuna trips will steam in fall. The tuna fishing had been on hiatus and resumed last fall and was a success.
Graveling Point gave up a bluefish blitz Saturday morning, a report said on Scott’s Bait & Tackle’s website. Each angler banked a couple of the fish, it said, and boaters lit into blues at Grassy Channel then. Drum fishing held steady around Graveling. Incoming tides and evening and nights usually produce best. Grassy Channel can hold them this time of year, too. Striped bass fishing was sporadic, and sometimes stripers were plentiful someplace, and the spots kept changing. Side creeks and rivers off Mullica River were good places to try for them, namely Nacote, Ballanger and Oyster creeks and Bass and Wading rivers “… and up around the Mullica River bridge,” it said. Outgoing tides, flushing out bait, could fish best. Sand sharks and skates gathered at Little Egg Inlet.
Some big striped bass were plundered from Mullica River, said Capt. Dave from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. Photos of some were posted on the shop’s Facebook page, and Dave’s nephew’s son also landed a couple. They were a 43-incher that was a spawned-out female and a 37-incher, and the nephew also lost a couple. The river’s stripers seemed to be reaching peak spawning, and they’re hungry after they spawn. Plenty of herring and bunker swam the river, and the fishery was looking good. Big, slammer bluefish seemed to swim back waters nearly everywhere, including from Great Egg Harbor Inlet to Absecon Inlet, and behind Absecon Inlet. The blues didn’t seem schooled much anywhere yet, but all who fished for them fought a couple. Anglers hope the fish will gang up more, and enough bait is around, like in the Mullica, to make the blues do that. The Landisville Gun Club’s white perch tournament, the big, annual tournament, was this weekend, and results were yet to be known. But perch fishing was improving, and the perch are holding far upstream in rivers for spawning. A couple of keeper blackfish are biting along Brigantine Bridge. Weather wasn’t so fit for blackfishing on the ocean. A few more green crabs will be stocked to get through this final week of blackfish season. Fresh clams and fresh bunker are stocked. Dave expects to net bunker from Mullica River to keep fresh. The Take It to the Limit Summer Flounder Tournament, benefitting the Save the Summer Flounder Fishery Fund, will be held at the shop on May 21, opening day of flounder season. The event features great prizes and major sponsors, and check it out.
Big bluefish were wrestled from the surf, including today, a report said on Riptide Bait & Tackle’s website. The lead changed a number of times in the bluefish category in the shop’s striped bass and bluefish derby in past days, and an angler today took over with a 12-pounder. Another angler today beached a 7-pounder. A 27-pound drum was hauled from the surf Thursday, covered in the last report here. A 19-pounder was checked-in from the surf Saturday. A couple of drum were heaved from the surf recently. Clams for bait are becoming substantially scarce, a trend in recent years. Fresh clams were available, but were small. The price kept increasing. Clams might need to be regulated tighter.
Lots of schoolie striped bass were nabbed, torpedo blues showed up, blackfish were bagged and a 29-inch, out-of-season summer flounder was released, said Noel from One Stop Bait & Tackle. Fishing was on and cracking, he said, and the stripers were bloodwormed at the T-jetty and nearby jetties in the surf. The blues to 13 pounds showed up late last week in that area, and now were fought daily from there to the bay, on bunker. They had bitten in the bay previously. The blackfish, good-sized, were hung from the T to along Absecon Inlet. The T is on the ocean end of the jetty-lined inlet. The flounder was released from the T. Baits stocked, a large supply, include bloodworms, fresh bunker, fresh clams and green crabs. Bunker are $2 apiece or three for $5. Bloodworms are on special on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for $20 for two dozen.
Sea Isle City
Tim Adkins and buddy on Sunday fly-rodded bluefish 9 to 15 pounds, lots, and a striped bass on the back bay aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service and Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. Very, very good, Joe said, and Joe Herter that afternoon, fishing with soft-plastic lures on jigheads on a spinning rod, smashed the big blues on every cast at times aboard. On Saturday morning, Rick Clark, his son and Rick’s buddy tackled the big blues to 14 pounds non-stop on spinning rods and jigs aboard. Some of these blues have been as long as a leg, like 34 inches. In the afternoon, John Mattiacci’s family whipped the blues to 14 pounds and a striper on jigs on the boat. The fishing, all on the bay, has been great, “bordering on world-class,” Joe said. He didn’t know if he wanted to say world-class, because people might not believe. But it’s been awesome. The blues have been abundant, and none have been small. The fish were sub-surface, not seen. Anglers wouldn’t know the blues were there, until hooking them. Joe hadn’t fished for them with popper lures or popper flies this weekend, because the fish were subsurface, and fishing under the water was better. The flies fished during the weekend were Clousers on intermediate lines or floating lines, for instance. That worked best for flies. But anglers aboard hooked the fish on poppers previously this season. The bay was in the mid-50 degrees and was beginning to warm. So the blues were spreading throughout the bay, and that was good, instead of holding at specific spots. None of the weekend’s trips hooked out-of-season summer flounder, and weren’t fishing in ways likely to do that. But trips aboard released flounder that bit in the bay previously this season, and Joe knew anglers who continued to land the flounder. The fluke season will be opened May 21, and fishing for the flounder is best in the early season in South Jersey’s shallow, warm bays. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s Blog.
Blackfishing sailed Saturday and Sunday on the Heavy Hitter, Capt. George said. That was the year’s first fishing aboard, and blackfishing was weathered out the previous weekend on the boat. The angling was decent, didn’t limit out, but bagged decent numbers of keepers to 3 and 4 pounds, none huge. Plenty of throwbacks bit, and Saturday’s trip, Bill Brennan’s charter, scored non-stop bites and more keepers and better-sized blackfish than Sunday’s trip, Tom Ebbecke’s charter, did. Saturday’s weather was better, and northeast wind blew probably 15 to 20 knots on Sunday, and seas were bumpy then. The tautog preferred clams for bait, and hardly touched crabs. A couple were hooked on crabs Saturday. Clams have been scarce for bait. Telephone if interested in blackfishing, because the tog are biting, and the season for them will be closed beginning Sunday. Heavy Hitter will fish for drum on Delaware Bay in May, and a buddy’s trip cranked up two drum, including one sizeable or 70-some pounds, from the bay Saturday. Some drum were caught that day on the bay. George knew about another trip that headed for drum Sunday on the bay, but turned back, because of white caps. Though wind blew northeast on the ocean Sunday on the Heavy Hitter’s trip, wind blew northwest inland. Westerly wind can rough up Delaware Bay on the New Jersey side. The trip that turned back expected to return and fish for drum that night, Sunday night, on the bay.