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Saltwater Fishing Report

Report from Monday, February 8.

| Belmar | Brielle | Point Pleasant Beach | Absecon | Sea Isle City | Avalon | Cape May | Last Week's Report |

***Update, Thursday, 1/11:*** The party boat Big Mohawk blackfished Saturday and Sunday on the ocean, and the angling was pretty good on the first trip, and not good on the second, Capt. Chris said. Rough weather kept fishing docked since aboard, and the boat will blackfish next when the weather breaks. The trips are slated for 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and green crabs will be provided, and white leggers will be available for sale on deck.

Great fishing for herring, with mackerel mixed in, was pounded Sunday from the ocean on the Golden Eagle, a report on the party boat’s website said. “Full coolers of herring,” it said, and decent herring fishing was whacked on a trip Saturday aboard. “We did have (a) pick at the mackerel,” it said. Weather looks like it’ll keep the boat docked the rest of the week. “(We’ll) let you known when the next day of fishing will be,” the report said.

***Update, Thursday, 1/11:*** Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters did no fishing since the blizzard on January 23, Capt. Pete wrote in an email. Winter was mild until then, and blackfish bit well aboard, until the trips stopped. No more trips might fish until spring, but the crew is prepping the vessel for the coming fishing season, doing fluke seminars and exhibiting at outdoor shows. Catch one of the fluke seminars at 12 noon Saturday, February 20, at the New Jersey Boat Show & Expo in Edison. Visit Parker Pete’s exhibits at the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow from February 25 through 28 in Oaks, Pa., and the Saltwater Fishing Expo from March 18 through 20 in Somerset, N.J. Charters and individual spaces on charters will be booked at all these events. If you don’t have enough anglers for a charter, plenty of individual spaces are available with charters who would like more anglers. Striped bass trips will be some of the first fishing this coming fishing season aboard, from mid-May through June or earlier, depending on when the migration arrives. Fluke and bottom-fishing will sail in spring and summer. A new family trip will be offered this year: a 4-1/2-hour cruise and fishing trip late in the day through sunset. Families have often requested a shorter trip, and these will be available at a discounted rate from the usual, longer charter. The focus will be to get the kids on the water to enjoy a sail up and down the coast, fishing for fluke, sea bass, bluefish or whatever bites. Pack food and drinks, sit back, relax “and fish the sunset away,” Pete wrote.

***Update, Thursday, 1/11:*** Some cod, pollock, ling and a few mackerel were scooped from the ocean on the most recent trips on the party boat Jamaica II, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. Getting the weather to sail was difficult recently, but the boat will keep fishing. Bill Watson from Lansdale, Pa., won a recent pool with a 19-pound pollock and also bagged another pollock, two cod and five ling. Carl Jameson from Philadelphia’s catch on a trip were three cod, two pollock and four ling. Trips are fishing for cod and ling at 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays and 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. One of the trips will also fish 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Monday, Presidents’ Day.

A few blackfish bit at wrecks to the south, said Eric from The Reel Seat. The angling seemed to be slowing down, but wrecks toward Seaside Heights or Seaside Park, for example, gave up a few of the fish from 90- to 100-foot depths. Cod and ling fishing was fair at best or no great shakes but turned up some of the catches. The Reel Seat is open Thursdays through Sundays.

Point Pleasant Beach
Was a great weekend to be on the ocean, Capt. Matt from the Norma-K III wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. Weather was beautiful, and blackfishing was slow on a trip Saturday but much better on a trip Sunday aboard. On Saturday’s trip, a few blackfish were decked, a few cod were mixed in, and conger eels “were a real pain,” he said. A 7-pound blackfish won the pool, and on Sunday’s trip, blackfishing was nothing fast and furious, but good-sized were hooked around the boat. A 16-pounder won the pool, and a 12-pound blackfish was next biggest. Quite a few 4- to 8-pounders were bagged, and high hooks limited out. Some anglers bagged one to three, “and a few had (a) tough day overall,” he said. The boat will now fish on weekends, after fishing daily previously. The Norma-K III is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. One of the trips will also fish on Presidents’ Day next Monday.

A few blackfish landed were heard about second-hand, said Capt. Dave from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. A handful of green crabs are stocked for bait for the tautog, and sometimes anglers telephoned to ask about the bait. But none stopped by to pick up the green crabs. A couple of customers stopped in, like one who bought a rod and reel for a gift. Plenty of tackle is stocked, and Dave’s unsure whether more live bait will be stocked in the next weeks, but all frozen bait is carried. All bait will be stocked beginning March 1, and full-time hours will begin at the store then. Dave is usually at the shop currently, but telephone ahead to confirm. He holds no set hours this time of year. Fishing was great, as usual, even better than usual, at Dave’s Guatemala charters business.

Sea Isle City
Some of the traveling trips to the Florida Keys fished this weekend aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service and Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. The anglers, Dan Rath and Skip Metz, landed a tarpon and had shots at several other tarpon. They also reeled in lemon sharks and bonnethead sharks to 50 pounds, mutton snappers, jacks, groupers, a bonefish and more. The fishing, on Florida Bay, was good, and shrimp on jigheads were tossed to the tarpon. Free-lined shrimp were cast to the sharks, on the flats. Jigs with shrimp or Gulps were thrown to the rest of the catches. Wind was severe on Sunday, but the anglers were able to fish, and that’s one of the good things about the trips. The Keys offer someplace to fish no matter the weather, from the bay to the ocean side to the Everglades on the mainland. Weather was good Saturday, with calmer wind, clear skies and 74-degree air temperature. The annual charters are offered each winter aboard, mostly on weekends. Anglers can arrive on a Friday evening, fish all day Saturday and part of Sunday, return on Sunday evening, and be back to work on Monday. Or they can fish on a different schedule. The trips can be like a mini vacation. See Jersey Cape’s traveling charters Web page. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s Blog.

Capt. Jim and Fins and Feathers Outfitters is exhibiting at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pa., known as the Harrisburg show, through Sunday at booth 5129, he said. The show was fantastic so far, he said, and lots of attendees visited. The show began Saturday, and before then, Jim closed out Pennsylvania’s Canadian goose hunting season with a hunt for the birds he guided in Pennsylvania. The hunters limited out on the geese on the trip, snowmobiling to the fields across 32 inches of snow. Once the show ends, he’ll guide snow goose hunting during New Jersey’s season for them that lasts from February 15 through April 5. Fins offers a variety of outdoor adventures, including saltwater fishing from New Jersey, duck and goose hunting in New Jersey and surrounding states, salmon and steelhead fishing on upstate New York’s Salmon River from Jim’s nearby lodge, snowmobiling from the lodge, and fly-fishing for trout on Pennsylvania’s trout streams like the Yellow Breeches.

Cape May
***Update, Thursday, 1/11:*** Blackfishing sailed Saturday on the party boat Porgy IV on the ocean, and the catch was lousy, Capt. Paul said. So fishing will go on break aboard and will resume on April 1, sailing for blackfish again. Blackfish season will be opened beginning that day, after being closed throughout March. Saturday was a “slick-calm day,” he said, and the anchor couldn’t be kept tight. But the bottom line was that blackfish weren’t caught on the trip, he said. A keeper and some throwbacks were landed. Anglers wanted to blackfish Sunday aboard, but that wouldn’t have been worthwhile, Paul decided. The angling seemed to shut down inshore, at least near Cape May. None of the ocean is deep within 20 or 30 miles of the port. Small boats are running around blackfishing when weather’s good like that day. Those anglers didn’t seem to catch much. A party boat from Sea Isle City’s been blackfishing at the Deep Water Reef, Paul thought. But that’s 33 miles from Cape May.

Last Week's Report
Report from Monday, 2/1:


This winter’s been warmer than last winter, Capt. Frank from the Vitamin Sea wrote in an email. So spring striped bass fishing should begin earlier than last year. Open-boat trips for stripers will sail Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3, kicking off the vessel’s fishing season. Winter flounder bait and chum will also be carried aboard, making these trips combo ones for stripers and flounder. “Sounds like a good way to rid yourself of cabin fever,” he said, and telephone to reserve a spot. Space is booking fast for spring striper trips, including charters, and Frank’s not surprised. Book trips while preferred dates are available. Afternoon charters and open-boat trips will be offered this year, for the first time. They’ll sail in addition to morning trips, and the outings will include Working Man Special Open-Boat Trips from 4 to 9 p.m., during the peak of the spring striper run. Frank has wanted to offer trips during those hours for the working person. He’s hired Capt. T.J McNaly to run afternoon trips, and Frank had been looking for someone for that for some time. T.J.’s the right man for the job, a pro, he said. Frank looks forward to seeing anglers aboard.


***Update, Thursday, 2/4:*** Some blackfish were swung in from the ocean, an improvement in the angling on the last couple of trips, on the party boat Big Mohawk, Capt. Chris said. That was compared with last week, when the catches resumed slowly after the blizzard. Some of the angler’s limited out on Tuesday’s trip, and pool-winning blackfish recently weighed 6 to 10 pounds, mostly about 8 pounds. No trip fished Wednesday, because of weather, and today’s trip would probably be weathered out. But Friday’s through Sunday’s trips are expected to sail. The Big Mohawk is blackfishing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and green crabs are provided, and white leggers are available for sale aboard.

***Update, Tuesday, 2/2:*** The Miss Belmar Princess will be taken to the boat yard for annual maintenance and Coast Guard inspection, and will resume fishing in late March, an email from the party boat said. The crew had been keeping watch to sail for mackerel, if enough of the migrating fish showed up to fish for.

Some herring and just a few mackerel were pitched aboard the Golden Eagle on Sunday, and the fishing was slow, a report said on the party boat’s website. Check the Golden Eagle’s website or telephone the boat for when the boat will fish next, it said.

No trips fished since the blizzard with Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters, Capt. Pete said. The boat will blackfish on the ocean, if periods of calm weather develop. In the meantime, the crew will work on seasonal maintenance on the boat. The blackfishing sounded “pretty picky,” he said, and the ocean became colder, because of the snow. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s anyway, about individual spaces available on charters. Catch Parker Pete’s exhibits at the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow from Feb. 25-28 at Oaks, Pa., and the Saltwater Fishing Expo from March 18-20 at Somerset, N.J.


***Update, Tuesday, 2/2:*** The party boat Jamaica II fished during the weekend, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. Strong current and large ground swells, because of stormy weather during the week, hampered the angling. A few cod and ling were picked. Huge eels and dogfish were a nuisance, because the bottom was churned. Hector Costa from Perth Amboy won one of the pools with a 14-pound cod, and Steve Crane from Hazlet won the other with a 12-pound cod. “Looking for better conditions this weekend,” Ryan said, and trips will sail for cod and ling at 3 a.m. Saturday and 5 a.m. Sunday.

Blackfishing on the ocean sort of slowed, said John from The Reel Seat. That seemed because of the blizzard and cold-water runoff from melting afterward. Some boats sailed for cod and porgies on the ocean, but no results were heard. Nothing was heard about fishing at Manasquan Inlet. The shop previously reported lots of herring jigged at the inlet. Reports became scarcer after the blizzard. The Reel Seat is open Thursdays through Sundays.

Point Pleasant Beach

Some anglers limited out on blackfish Saturday on the Norma-K III, Capt. Matt wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. Some customers only landed throwbacks, but the trip produced “quite a nice catch,” he said. An 8-pound blackfish won the pool, and the angling was slower on Sunday’s trip, including because of an ocean swell, because of wind Saturday night. The catch wasn’t as great, but blackfish were sometimes bagged, and a 7-pounder won the pool. The Norma-K III is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. ***Update, Thursday, 2/4:*** “Wow!” Matt wrote about Tuesday’s trip in a report on the boat’s website. “What a great day to be out in February! Better action for us today!” he said. This was after slow blackfishing Monday aboard. Tuesday’s trip hooked some keepers among lots of shorts. High hooks limited out, a few anglers bagged one to three, and some only hooked shorts. On Monday’s trip, a light crowd jumped aboard, so the boat fished “local.” The blackfishing was pretty slow most of the trip, and the final drop gave up some keepers and shorts. Tom Wicki won the pool with a 13-pound lunker. Tuesday’s trip fished a different area. No trips were expected to sail Wednesday and today, because of weather. Today’s weather didn’t look terrible, but the crew would wait to resume fishing Friday, letting the ocean settle, doing maintenance on the boat instead.

Mystic Island

Mullica River was sometimes frozen, sometimes not, said Chris from Scott’s Bait & Tackle. Depended on the day, he said, and he drove past the river in the morning toward the end of the week, and the water looked frozen over. On the drive back that afternoon, it looked like slush. Anglers surely fished for white perch on the river recently, but none of the angling was reported, and the store is closed for a winter break, so not much would be heard. The shop is accepting rod and reel repairs, and telephone to confirm that someone will be there. The crew is working at the store, preparing for the coming fishing season. The shop will be reopened beginning March 2. Scott’s will hold a Fishing Season Kick Off Event on Saturday, April 2, featuring tackle reps from Avet, Berkley, Penn, S&S Bucktails, Tony Maja, St. Croix, Tsunami and more, sales, giveaways, food, drinks and more.

Ocean City

Party boats blackfished on the ocean to the north and south, like from Sea Isle City, said Bill from Fin-Atics. But no results were heard, and not much fishing was heard about since the blizzard. No boats fished from Ocean City that he knew about. Waters were relatively warm, though. The surf was 41 or 42 degrees, and the ocean a mile or 1 ½ miles from shore was 46, he thought. If this winter remains mild, striped bass will probably bite in back waters as soon as fishing for them is opened beginning March 1. Striper fishing is closed in rivers and bays in January and February. Once the fishing is opened, stripers are usually hooked in rivers first, and bays later. Rivers are warmer than bays that time of year. The store is open on Fridays and Saturdays and sometimes a few hours on other days. No regular hours are held on those other days.

Cape May

***Update, Thursday, 2/4:*** Blackfishing sailed Saturday and Sunday on the party boat Porgy IV, Capt. Paul said. Anglers showed up for the trips. “We had some people,” he said. But hardly any of the fish bit. The water was dirty, and most spots fished gave up no hits, zero, and any blackfish that were caught mostly came from one place. Still, anglers are telephoning to sail for blackfish this weekend, saying things like maybe the water will have warmed. So trips will sail for blackfish at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. “We’ll blame it on the water, snow and wind,” Paul said. Last weekend’s trips were after the blizzard. That angling wasn’t good, but if anglers want to try for blackfish, the boat is going to target them. Maybe the ocean will have warmed and cleared, compared with before.

Capt. George from the Heavy Hitter is finished chartering for the season, but might still blackfish on the ocean with friends, he said. A private boater he knows has been blackfishing on the ocean, saying the catches were pretty good. George was in Cape May on the Sunday after the blizzard in New Jersey on that Saturday two weekends ago. Cape May was flooded during the blizzard, but not much snow, maybe a half-inch, lay on the ground.