Blues, a bunch, and four striped bass were tugged from Raritan Bay on a trip Wednesday with Angler Sportfishing Charters, Capt. Chuck said. Was a decent catch, and the ocean was “roaring,” he said, so the charter couldn’t fish on the ocean. Striper fishing could be even better there. The blues were fought while casting under birds and while bunker-chunking. The bass were chunked on the bunker.
Nobody really fished in the weather, either from shore or boats, said Joey from Joey’s Bait Shack. Previously, throwbacks stripers were played from shore at Keyport and Cliffwood Beach on Raritan Bay. No blues swam along the shore recently. Fresh bunker and fresh clams were dunked for the bass. Eels were livelined for stripers along jetties and piers. Baits stocked include fresh bunker, fresh clams, sandworms and eels.
One customer stopped by early this morning, just before Joe from Julian’s Bait & Tackle gave this report in a phone call, to buy sandworms to fish for striped bass in the surf, Joe said. The angler would probably catch, Joe thought, because stripers were around in the surf. Some boaters seemed to have difficulty bagging stripers, seeing the fish, but failing to coax them to bite. They thought the fish were full of sand eels or another bait. But one charter boat was nailing stripers, fishing with bunker and eels, at the lighthouses, and the bass swam along the lighthouses. Stripers could probably be eeled at the Highlands and Sea Bright bridges. Blackfish hovered along the Oceanic Bridge, and the fish are clammed there. Porgy fishing was good at Sandy Hook Reef and during reef fishing off New York. All baits, including sandworms, green crabs and fresh clams, are stocked.
Fishing for striped bass was going to be docked yesterday and today on the party boat Fishermen, because of wind both days and rain today, Capt. Ron wrote in a report on the vessel’s website on Tuesday. He doesn’t mind rough conditions when the bass are biting. He looked back at when striper fishing picked up last year, and October 24 was the first decent bite. He remembers the first three weeks, reporting patience, the bait is here, so the fishing just needs water to become colder. It’s no different this year. The water is 63 degrees, and the air temp is like Florida, and the bait is here. So patience – it’ll happen! he said. The year’s first keeper on the boat’s daytime trips was decked on Monday. Those trips began recently, and the vessel had already been fishing for stripers on night trips for some time. The daytime trips will resume Friday. The Fishermen is sailing for striped bass and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and for stripers 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
All trips sailed Monday and Tuesday on the party boat Atlantic Star, and only the morning trip sailed on Tuesday, and this morning’s trip was also docked in weather, Capt. Tom said this morning in a phone call. The angling was tough, poor, because of strong wind or conditions like the wind against tide. Some porgies and occasional blackfish were bucketed. A few catches were swung aboard at each place fished. Fish were marked, but not many bit. The boat will keep fishing for porgies and blackfish through Friday, on two trips daily from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. On Saturday, opening day of sea bass season, the trips will begin fishing for sea bass, porgies and blackfish. On Monday, one trip daily will begin fishing for those three fish, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The boat switches to one trip per day around this time of year annually to allow time to reach grounds farther from port. ***Update, Saturday, 10/18:*** On the trip this morning, opening day of sea bass season, sea bass, mostly throwbacks, but some keepers, some nice-sized, were pitched aboard, Tom said. Porgies, mixed sizes, were also toggled in. On the afternoon trip, more porgies than sea bass were claimed, and the trip would end up with a decent catch, he said with 1 ½ hours left on the trip, when he gave this report in a phone call aboard. All the trip’s anglers bagged fish, he thought. Two trips daily will sail on Sunday, and one trip daily will begin on Monday, mentioned above.
Last Lady Fishing Charters pumped in hefty cod on Monday and big blues last Thursday, good catches on both of the individual-reservation trips, Capt. Ralph said. Those were covered in the last report, and the boat’s engines are now being rebuilt. Fishing aboard is expected to resume in two Mondays, and the boat will cruise at 15 knots, instead of the current 10, and smoke will be eliminated, from the rebuild. Charters are available, and individual-reservation trips for striped bass are set for November 9 and 11. Three spots remained for an individual-reservation trip for blackfish on November 16, when the bag limit is jacked up to six of the tautog, from the current limit of one. More of the blackfish trips are slated for November 20, 23, 26, 28 and 30, and sign up now.
Weather finally calmed, so XTC Sportfishing fished offshore overnight Sunday to Monday, Capt. Jody said. At night, three yellowfin tuna and probably eight longfin tuna were boated, a few on bait, a few on jigs. Three swordfish – two pups and one 90-pounder – and probably 20 mahi mahi were also caught at night. Weather was rough on the way out on Sunday, but calmed at night through the trip home on Monday. A trip also fished offshore overnight Thursday to Friday, bagging three yellowfin tuna and a couple of tilefish at night. In the morning, probably 12 to 14 longfin tuna were trolled. The water’s been weedy for trolling, but the weeds were bearable, though the trip had to work to troll. Both trips fished on the east side of Hudson Canyon. On the trip Sunday to Monday, when Jody was at the helm, some boats fished on the west side, but moved to the east, because all the bait and fish swam there. Capt. Scott skippered the other trip. Otherwise, trips were weathered out aboard. Another charter is supposed to fish offshore overnight this Sunday to Monday, but forecasts look like the fishing will be weathered out.
Weather kept the party boat Golden Eagle docked today, but fishing for big blues was decent Wednesday in a “somewhat nasty ocean,” a report on the vessel’s website site. Forecasts look good for trips to resume daily on Friday, and angling for big blues to 17 and 18 pounds was very good on Tuesday and good on Monday aboard. The Golden Eagle is bluefishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Also see the Golden Eagle’s tuna schedule online.
Trips for sea bass are sold out Saturday and Sunday , opening weekend of sea bass season, on the party boat Big Mohawk, Capt. Chris said. But space is available afterward, including Monday and Tuesday. The trips during the weekend will sail at 6 a.m., but afterward are running 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, for sea bass.
Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters is supposed to fish for sea bass on Saturday, opening day of sea bass season, if weather is fishable, Capt. Pete said. Forecasts might call for rough weather, and not much was heard about fishing in past days, because of weather. Pete knew that bluefish were boated. A few stripers had been, the last time anglers had the weather to fish for them. Striper fishing should pick up soon, and many of Parker Pete’s trips will fish for them. Blackfishing will begin aboard on November 16, when the bag limit is lifted to six of the tautog, from the current limit of one. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Jump on Parker Pete’s website to subscribe to the emailed newsletter to be kept informed about last-minute, individual spaces available to fill in charters. Look for the place to sign up on the right side of the page.
No fishing news rolled in from the party boat Jamaica II. But sea bass season will be opened starting Saturday, Capt. Joe wrote in an email. Arrive early to jump aboard that day, “(and) after that, no worries,” he said. At first this season, the boat’s angling should feature sea bass, porgies and triggerfish. Later in the season, as water becomes colder, sea bass and porgies should remain, and triggerfish should depart, and ling and cod should be caught. So trips then should feature sea bass, porgies, ling and cod. A bunch of different trips are scheduled that will sail 7, 10 , 12 and 14 hours. Only the 14-hour trips require reservations. By mid-November, sea bass should push too far offshore for the 7-hour trips. Blackfish trips will also run in December, when the big ones usually show up. Whiting trips in December will be scheduled, lasting throughout winter. See the Jamaica II’s schedule online.
Point Pleasant Beach
Though fishing was weathered out in past days on the party boat Norma-K III, the angling will resume 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, targeting ling and cod, Capt. Matt wrote in a report on the vessel’s website. Starting Saturday, opening day of sea bass season, trips will run for sea bass daily, during the same hours. The boat is bluefishing 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.
The party boat Dauntless is being geared up for sea bass fishing when sea bass season is opened Saturday, Capt. Butch said. But trips currently picked at ling and winter flounder. A handful of porgies were plucked on a few days. Every time porgies were found, rough weather came, seeming to push them away. But Butch hopes the porgy population keeps growing, so trips can also fish for them, along with sea bass. The ocean was 64 or 65 degrees, getting cooler, and Butch would like to see the temps a little lower. The ocean is usually 59 or 60 degrees this time of year. Lots of bait including bunker and rainfish migrated. Lots of butterfish were also around, and some were even hooked aboard. Striped bass began to migrate a little. Butch saw a couple banked at Manasquan Inlet’s north jetty on Saturday or Sunday. The Dauntless is bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.
Surf fishing was a little slow, but mostly small blues were beached, said Mario from Murphy’s Hook House. They were fought during daytime on chunks of bunker or mullet, metal or popper lures. Throwback striped bass, not many, were banked from the surf before dark, on clams, Daiwa SP Minnows, swim shads or popper lures. Occasionally a striper was a keeper, but very few keepers were reported. Mario scored better catches on Barnegat Bay than in the surf, and the bay’s fishing was actually pretty good, if anglers knew when and where to go. Cocktail blues and throwback stripers were hooked from the bay along the sod banks behind Island Beach State Park and on the mainland side near Cedar Creek or Berkeley Island Park. Small swimming lures, like Rapala X-Raps, and small popper plugs, like Smack-Its, were fished for them. X-Raps in Glass Ghost worked great. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, bought Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River this year, and is running both shops now.
Lots of blues moved through the surf, jumping mostly on mullet, said Kevin from The Dock Outfitters. Metal also clocked them, and striped bass fishing was hit and miss in the surf. Sometimes one of the stripers was a keeper. The bass were banked on everything from eels to clams, bunker, Daiwa SP Minnows and Ava jigs, any of the usual offerings. Cocktail blues were wrestled from the dock on Barnegat Bay. Blowfish were hooked from the dock, but not as many as previously. Throwback stripers bit in the bay, like around Cattus Island County Park at Silverton, and toward Barnegat Inlet. Manasquan Inlet held lots, and Kevin heard that Shark River did, too. The Dock Outfitters, located on the bay, blocks from the ocean surf, features a bait and tackle shop, boat and jet ski rentals in season, a café and a dock for fishing and crabbing.
Striped bass caught were sometimes heard about, said Kyle from Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle. The fish were trolled in the ocean locally on umbrella rigs, and one angler said a friend boated a couple of 30-pounders on the ocean locally on bunker snagged and then livelined for bait. Tons of blues schooled, chasing bunker, like the stripers did, in the ocean. Nothing was reported about stripers from Barnegat Bay yet. A few blowfish swam the bay, and a few customers fished for them, between the weather. One tried for them but hooked none. Eels are stocked, and fresh clams will arrive Friday. All the gear for umbrella-rig trolling is on hand.
To be able to sail offshore for tuna, weather finally broke for an overnight trip Sunday to Monday on the Super Chic, the boat’s Facebook page said. Fifteen longfin tuna, a yellowfin tuna and five mahi mahi were decked. The trip got set up to fish at 9 p.m., and a steady bite began an hour later. The longfins averaged 40 pounds, and two weighed 50 to 55. The yellowfin was 60 pounds. Another trip was supposed to fish for tuna overnight this Friday to Saturday.
***Update, Saturday, 10/18:*** From an edited email from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the Hi Flier: “Heavy west wind is finally going to allow us to get out (today), Sunday and Monday. I never thought I would get to say that again. We’ve had most of the last four weeks blown out. There are 30-pound class stripers being taken. Trolling bunker spoons is the most productive, so that is the plan. If we encounter any birds or castable fish, be it school bass or gator blues, we’ll switch over to spinning rods and jig rods in a heartbeat. The only bunker-snagging fishing that was working was out near the 3-mile line, and although the hard west wind is going to give us a nice flat ocean on the trolling grounds, the ocean is going to get rough a few miles offshore. I’m only putting this out there so you don’t wind up on a boat trolling all day, when you really want to jig or cast. I love using light tackle as much as anyone, but not if it’s not producing yet. Very soon it’s going to be the thing to do, but right now there’s a good chance at boating a few of these bigger bass. We’re sailing out of Manasquan Inlet for the month of October. Running open-boat trips 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (today), Sunday and Monday. Three people max. All fish are shared. Same dates are also available to charter.”
Weather calmed somewhat today, and wind still blew up to 14 knots, but was do-able, said Sue from Surf City Bait & Tackle. Skates, dog sharks, small blues and kingfish bit in the surf. Sometimes so did stripers, even if none was large enough yet to enter in the shop’s tournament. The largest striper beached was 33 inches, and the bass must be 34 to enter. Entry is only $10, and all the cash is paid out for the top three stripers. A Tsunami Airwave surf-fishing rod was also just donated for fourth place by Folsum, the shop’s Facebook page said. The surf was in the high 60 degrees, still warm. Many anglers previously switched to larger gear to fish for stripers and blues in the surf. But now they switched back to smaller, because of kingfish. Kings did swim the surf. Blackfish were bagged along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks. The store will start stocking bloodworms again, because anglers requested them for the kings. The bunker and clam boats were docked because of weather, but fresh bunker, fresh clams, green crabs and eels are stocked. Like Surf City Bait & Tackle’s Facebook page.
Weather was rough, but throwback striped bass were angled and released on Mullica River during the weekend, said Brian from Scott’s Bait & Tackle. “So that’s a start,” he said, and the fish were eeled or trolled on Stretch lures or umbrella rigs. Bigger stripers were also trolled on the ocean during the weekend off Holgate and Barnegat Light on Stretches and umbrellas. Toward Barnegat Light, the fish were also taken on S&S Ocopi Jigs. The rigs trolled at all the places were sand eel ones, including from S&S, 9er Lures and Sportfish. White perch were heard about today that were nabbed at Collins Cove on Mullica River. Blackfish were reeled from along the bay’s banks and at Barnegat Light, but were 13 1/2 or 14 inches, smaller than the 15-inch keeper size. Sea bass season will be opened starting Saturday, and a good population of sea bass bit and were released when boaters last had the weather to fish areas in the ocean that held them.
Catches of striped bass were definitely on the increase on the back bay, said Capt. Dave from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. Many were throwbacks, but the number of keepers was growing, and the outlook seemed good. The fish seemed gathered at the mouth of Mullica River, and he believed also at the mouth of Great Egg Harbor River. But the bass were also scattered along the Intracoastal Waterway. He fished for them during daytime, but nighttime seemed best, though not many anglers fished in the weather. Dave ran exploratory charters for the bass at a reduced rate, preparing for the migration of big ones to arrive. The trips caught well, no big numbers, but throwbacks every time, and sometimes a keeper. Livelined spots caught best on some days, and Gulp soft-plastic lures did on others. The bay was warm, and anglers will see whether this week’s weather, including the hurricane offshore, will trigger the temps to drop. Dave expects the angling to pick up a lot around next week’s new moon. A load of small blues – not a lot that were “catching-sized” – schooled the bay. They interfered with fishing spots for stripers. One angler landed a 32-inch blue that grabbed a spot and failed to bite through the line, like they usually do. Dave guessed that was near Absecon Inlet. A few anglers fished for white perch on Mullica River, and the fishing seemed not too bad. Nobody was heard about who found schools of big ones, and many of the fish were smaller. Plenty of blackfish seemed around that could be hooked, if weather calmed, and water cleaned up. Blackfishing’s best in clear water. Not a lot of kingfish were reported from the surf, and the fishing was hit and miss, like all summer. Baits stocked include live spots, peanut bunker, eels and green crabs, and fresh clams.
Boaters caught well, said Capt. Andy from Riptide Bait & Tackle. One reeled in 10 or 11 striped bass, to 34 inches, Andy thought, from the back bay, while drifting live bait. But the big news was that sea lice were seen on some of those bass, a sign that the stripers migrated from the ocean. From the beach, blues were tackled. Sometimes stripers were, but the angling was slow. Kingfish were few and far between in the surf. The annual Riptide Striper Derby is under way until December 23, awarding prizes, and allowing beach-buggy access to Brigantine’s entire length, when accompanied by a Brigantine beach-buggy permit. Otherwise, not all the beach can be driven. The annual Riptide Striper Bounty was up to $765 and growing. Sponsored by Hess Plumbing, the bounty awards all the cash for the season’s first striped bass 43 inches or larger checked-in from Brigantine’s surf. Entry is $5 and required before catching the fish. The Brigantine Elks Fall Striper Classic will be held November 14 to 16. Proceeds from the tournament, for boaters and surf anglers, will benefit the Elks’ veterans programs.
Tons of snapper blues swam Absecon Inlet and the surf, said Noel from One Stop Bait & Tackle. He didn’t know whether this was their last appearance this season, but they were there, swiping mullet for bait. Good-sized blackfish pounced on green crabs along the jetties in the inlet and surf. The inlet is lined with jetties, and this was the best run of the tautog in a long time, and was still on. Striped bass were occasionally clammed from the inlet and surf, and a 12-1/2-pound 32-1/2-incher was weighed-in Tuesday from the surf at Massachusetts Avenue. A 47-pound striper was weighed-in from the surf at Margate at another shop. Kingfish and spots occasionally nibbled, and peanut bunker schooled. Lots of fish swam the channel in the inlet, even if they might not always be the fish anglers want, Noel said. Eels began to be stocked and are $1.25 apiece. Green crabs are $4 per dozen or three dozen for $10. Bloodworms are two dozen for $20 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Otherwise, the worms are $10.75 per dozen. Baits stocked, a large supply, also include fresh bunker, fresh clams and all the frozen baits, like mullet and head-on shrimp. A vending machine dispenses bait afterhours. Friend One Stop on Facebook.
On the Stray Cat, a bunch of blues and croakers were cranked in on Tuesday on the ocean, Capt. Mike said. All bit top-and-bottom rigs fished along bottom, and seas were choppy, and wind blew tremendously. The ocean was muddy within 6 miles from shore, and the water was 65.8 degrees, cooling off. Mike tried trolling lately, but no fish like false albacore bit. Sea bass trips are full aboard on this opening weekend of sea bass season. Space is available on Monday and Tuesday for open-boat trips for sea bass. The trips will leave at 7 a.m., earlier than usual, to push farther from shore. Trips need to fish 100 feet, going the distance, to find sizeable sea bass, not the small ones closer in. Sea bassing is also sold out the following weekend, October 25 and 26. Mike will try to run open for sea bass every Tuesday and Thursday. Anglers should reserve blackfishing aboard, while dates remain, for when the bag limit is increased to six of the tautog starting November 16. Black Friday is available. A couple of short, open trips will sail for blackfish on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve days, and lock them in, to ensure a spot.
Sea bass fishing is slated to sail 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily starting Saturday on the party boat Captain Robbins, Capt. Victor said.
Kingfishing, surprisingly, improved somewhat in the surf, said Justin from Fin-Atics. Few anglers targeted them, but two fished for the kings from the Ocean City fishing pier, bagging eight apiece, surprising numbers, compared with previously. Bluefish sometimes tumbled the surf, and the fish to 20 inches were heard about. Occasionally striped bass were beached from the surf along the jetties, definitely more throwbacks than before, and a few keepers. Many were hooked on soft-plastic lures, and a few were beaten on clams or bunker. Blackfish, from shorts to keepers, chomped along the jetties. Blackfish from tiny to keepers snapped in the back bay along the piers and bridges. Tons of blues, some to 20 inches, many of them small, swam the bay. Lots of small stripers, a couple of keepers, bit along bridges at night on small soft-plastics, clams and bunker. Only one report came from ocean boaters in the weather. But an angler reported a trip that Mohawked large blackfish, out-of-season sea bass that were released, and huge, out-of-season summer flounder that were let go, at the ocean reefs and wrecks. Maybe sea bass fishing will be great when sea bass season is opened starting Saturday, if weather allows boats to sail. “Big if,” Justin said. He knew about nobody who sailed as far as offshore for tuna, except one trip that broke down 80 miles from port.
Sea Isle City
Fishing’s been excellent, said Mike from Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. Striped bass swam all around the island. It’s striper season – they’re here, he said. Striper fishing was terrific on the back bay along the sod banks and at the creek mouths, for throwbacks with keepers mixed in, on popper lures. Some good striper catches were waffled along the surf jetties on poppers at sunrise and sunset. Popper fishing for stripers was especially the hot thing, and Mike was calling around to keep the plugs stocked. But during daytime, stripers were pulled from the surf on mullet. One customer totaled six of the bass to 32 inches on mullet. Stripers were also socked at night, both under lights and not. A customer totaled eight at night at Corson’s Inlet. Bluefish remained at Townsend’s Inlet, like before. A couple of anglers landed more than 20 apiece. Catches of the blues this morning were heard about, too. Blackfishing was good, and they were mostly heard about from the Avalon side of the Townsend’s Inlet Bridge. But other places with structure turned out the tautog. Many anglers geared up for sea bass fishing once sea bass season is opened Saturday.
Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service, affiliated with Sea Isle Bait & Tackle, did no fishing Monday to Wednesday in the weather, he said. But striped bass are smacking popper lures and flies in the back bay “for those who know where to go,” he said. The fishing’s a specialty aboard, and the ocean was too rough to hear news about angling there. Charters should be booked now to fish the migration of stripers and blues on the ocean in November and December. Traveling trips to Montauk will fish aboard for the final time this season this weekend. The trips smashed false albacore, lots, the fish that were targeted, and plenty of blues and some striped bass, covered in previous reports. Annual trips to the Florida Keys this winter will be the next traveling charters, and see Jersey Cape’s traveling charters Web page. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s blog.
A bunch of mixed species, mostly small bluefish and a few triggerfish and blackfish, and out-of-season sea bass that were released, were scooped from the ocean on the party boat Porgy IV last weekend, Capt. Paul said. The vessel had been sailing only on weekends, but will begin fishing daily for sea bass on Saturday, opening day of sea bass season. Starting Saturday, the Porgy IV will sail for sea bass at 8 a.m. daily.
Capt. George from the Heavy Hitter was just waiting for wind to calm, he said. But wind is forecast for the weekend, too. He knew about no boats that fished in the weather. Many anglers looked forward to sea bass fishing on this opening weekend of sea bass season, but they might not be able to sail. Charters are being booked for striped bass fishing this season, and telephone if interested. The season’s first striper charter is booked for November 1, but the trips will begin earlier, if the migration shows up earlier. The fishing used to begin in mid-October years ago, but started a little later recently. Small stripers 24 or 25 inches, probably occasionally a keeper, became more active than before in the back bays and along bridges and stuff. Those were young fish, yet to migrate. Anglers are waiting for large, mature stripers to migrate south to the local coast. Striper trips aboard will probably begin fishing on Delaware Bay with bunker chunks. Sometimes the bass show up in the Cape May Rips, and trips fish for them there with live eels or spots or bucktails. Sometimes trips find stripers biting in the ocean toward Hereford Inlet in fall. Blackfishing aboard will begin on November 16, when the bag limit is raised to six of the tautog, from the current limit of one.
Surf anglers dragged in blues, a few throwback striped bass and sometimes kingfish, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. Mullet was fished for the blues, fresh clams were dunked for the bass, and bloodworms were soaked for the kings. But one customer reported good fishing for stripers to 28 inches in the surf on lures and bucktails, saying sunrise was best. Blackfishing was good along the surf jetties. Striper fishing was good on the back bay while boaters chummed and fished with clams or bunker, or while they cast soft-plastic lures and popper plugs along the sod banks. The ocean was too rough to hear much about boating there. But bigeye tuna and wahoos were heard about from Wilmington Canyon.