Fluke fishing broke wide open for the Down Deep Fleet this week, Capt. Mario said. Trips are fishing the ocean rough bottom for them, and high hooks landed 11 keepers apiece, keeping no more than a limit of five. A 9.4-pounder was biggest, and many 3- to 6-pounders were hung. Don’t miss out, take a nice day, he said, and open-boat trips are fishing for fluke daily. Open trips are also bottom-fishing daily, and ling fishing improved much on those outings. High hooks totaled 30 apiece, compared with 15 before. A handful of winter flounder to 3 ½ pounds were angled on the trips. Charters are available for either fishing, and join the Short Notice List on Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about special open trips. Book charters now for fall striped bass, sea bass and blackfishing, while preferred dates are available, and don’t miss out.
Capt. Frank from the Vitamin Sea was traveling, but some large fluke were hauled from the ocean, he knew, he wrote in an email. Now is the best opportunity to catch big ones, and charters or open-boat trips are available Friday and Saturday, September 2 and 3, and Monday, September 5, Labor Day. Fall striped bass charters are being accepted, and every angler on the trips will receive a bonus tag to bag an extra bass while the supply lasts. So reserve the charters.
Trips on the party boat Atlantic Star fluked at many places, including Flynn’s Knoll, Chapel Hill, Swash and Sandy Hook channels and between the channels, Capt. Tom said. Throwbacks were hooked everywhere, and by the end of each trip, a few keepers were landed. The trips couldn’t guarantee an angler a keeper, and the fishing wasn’t good. But the trips tried to give anglers a good time, and all seemed happy. Fewer throwbacks bit than before, except at some places. A customer Tuesday decked three keepers including a 7-pound 4-ouncer. The Atlantic Star is fluke fishing 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.
Anglers slugged away at fluke throughout Wednesday’s trip on the Fishermen, a report said on the party boat’s website. Some drifts of the boat fished better than others, and some areas produced better than others. A 7-pound 5-ounce fluke won the pool. One customer bagged a fluke heavier than 6 and two heavier than 5. Several 4- to 6-pounders were creamed on the trip. Beautiful sea bass were in the mix. The day was beautiful on the water, and no report was posted for Tuesday. But on Monday, seas were rough in a roll. Still, anglers slugged away at just-keeper-sized fluke and throwbacks. A 6-pounder won the pool, and one angler limited out on five. Several landed no keepers, and bait including Gulps caught that day, because bucktails couldn’t be fished in the seas. The Fishermen is sailing for fluke 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, for striped bass 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and for porgies 6:30 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Tuesday night’s striper trip scored a good shot at the fish. Some big were nailed, including the 33-pound pool-winner. Fish no braided line on the striper trips, the report asked.
The Rattlesnake in the ocean was the spot for fluke, said Jay from Julian’s Bait & Tackle. Many fluke migrated to the ocean, and the angling was good there. Striped bass were clammed, wormed and eeled near Verrazano Bridge. Porgies with kingfish mixed in were plucked off the Coast Guard Station and the bulkheads on Shrewsbury River at Highlands. Crabbing was good. All baits are stocked.
Many fluke migrated to the ocean, and many that remained in back waters were throwbacks, said Chris from Fisherman’s Den North. But keepers were found at places like Reach Channel. Private boaters seemed to run around and catch keepers. Catching keepers at places like that could be tougher for party boats, but the head boats found some. A 9-pound 4-ouncer was nailed on the party boat Atlantic Star from Atlantic Highlands. Two private boaters competing in a fluke tournament during the weekend bagged an 11.9-pounder, a 7-plus-pounder and a 6-plus-pounder on the ocean in a trip. That was more than 20 pounds for three fluke. A trip today on a private boat docked nine keeper fluke from the ocean off Long Branch. The party boat Fishermen is fishing for fluke during daytime, striped bass Monday and Tuesday nights and porgies Wednesday through Saturday nights. Tuesday night’s striper trip socked a bunch of bluefish, eight or nine keeper stripers and a couple of throwback stripers, Chris thought. Porgy fishing was good at night on boats like that. Lots of snapper blues schooled the harbor, chasing peanut bunker that schooled the water everywhere. The snappers grew to good-size by now, almost cocktail-size. Not much was reported about tuna fishing locally. But one boat landed a couple at Wilmington Canyon, a long way from Atlantic Highlands. Baits stocked include fresh peanut bunker, and fresh jumbo spearing will probably be on hand the next couple of days. Live eels are carried for striper fishing. Killies and a full, large selection of frozen baits are stocked for inshore. All offshore baits are in supply, like flats of butterfish and sardines and rigged and non-rigged ballyhoos. The store, new this year, the sister shop to Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, is located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina, down the dock from the party boats, charter boats and private boats.
On the Par Tee II, sailing from Twin Lights Marina, Tracy bagged two fluke 22 and 19 inches and Jay bagged a 24-incher at Ambrose Channel, Marion wrote in an email. John and Gina were also aboard the trip, and Jay fished on another trip on the vessel, catching fluke to 6 pounds on the bay. Paul, Becky and Ally on the Second Home boated seven fluke at Ambrose. On the Cara Marie, the Galiteli party bucktailed fluke to 24 inches “near the rocks.” Scott Risko racked up ling, fluke and sea bass at Sandy Hook Reef. Twin Lights, located on Shrewsbury River near Raritan Bay and the ocean, with no bridges before them, includes a marina with boat slips, dry storage, a fuel dock, and a combined bait and tackle shop and ship’s store. The fuel dock is available 24 hours a day with a credit card. Baits stocked include all for offshore.
With Last Lady Fishing Charters, good fluke fishing was pounded on the weekly individual-reservation trip for them Tuesday on the ocean, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. Most anglers bagged fluke and sea bass, and next week’s one of the trips will fish Wednesday, though the outings usually fish every Tuesday. Kids under 12 sail free on those trips, limited to one per adult host. The boat will be in dry dock September 1 to 9, getting readied for fall fishing. Individual-reservation trips for cod are full that were announced previously here. If you want to sail on them next year, book early. Charters for cod are available. Individual-reservation trips will fish for sea bass October 27 and blackfish November 16. Bag limits will be increased to 15 sea bass beginning October 22, from the current limit of two, and six blackfish beginning November 16, from the current limit of one.
Anglers picked at 1-pound bluefish Wednesday on the Golden Eagle, a report said on the party boat’s website. The fishing was good sometimes, a pick at others, decent overall. On Tuesday’s trip, many blues broke the water surface, and lots of birds worked the water. But the blues were difficult to catch. Some were landed, some weighing 2 to 3 pounds, others 1 to 2. On Monday’s trip, a decent catch of 1- to 3-pound blues was pulled in during the first hour or two. The angling slowed at mid-day, turning back on at the end of the trip. The catch ended up okay. Runoff hammered jigs and teasers caught on the trips. The Golden Eagle is fishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Afternoon fishing and sunset cruise trips are sailing 4:30 to 8:30 daily, reservations required.
Some anglers landed 10 to 15 bluefish apiece, and some cracked two dozen, Monday on the Miss Belmar Princess, an email from the party boat said. They kept no more than a limit of 15, and sea bass were sometimes mixed in. The blues bit at first on the trip and toward the end, excellent angling toward the end. Tuesday’s trip also beat blues, 3-pounders, somewhat bigger than before. The blues swam the water surface first thing in morning, and most of the trip’s drift of the boat “picked with shots,” it said. Wednesday’s trip began with excellent fishing for chub mackerel, then fished for blues. Blues gave up good catches the second half of the trip. “Overall, it was an excellent day,” the email said. The Miss Belmar Princess is fishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Family fishing and sunset cruises are sailing 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily. Kids 14 and under are sailing free on morning trips Mondays through Thursdays through September when accompanied by an adult paying full fare. The back-to-school special, a $40 value, is limited to one child per adult and cannot be combined with other discounts. No reservations are required.
Rivers, bays and the ocean all gave up good fluke fishing, Bob from Fisherman’s Den wrote in an email. The shop’s rental-boaters docked keepers from Shark River, though most of the river’s fluke were undersized. The keeper ratio was much better on the ocean. Bluefishing was picking up on the ocean on Belmar’s party boats, though the blues were smaller than wanted. That could change because of the fall migration of blues. Snapper bluefishing was good in Shark River, and young anglers took advantage of the scrappy fish. Porgy fishing was good “in the inlet area of Shark River,” and spots, small ones, were angled in the area on sandworms and bloodworms. Porgy fishing was good on the ocean on party boats. Crabbing this year was better than usual, and turned out plenty of keepers. Fishing can only become better as fall approaches.
Offshore fishing was slow, and XTC Sportfishing would normally be chartering for that currently, Capt. Scott said. The trips were postponed until the angling improves, and the offshore trips that sailed aboard made catches like white marlin and mahi mahi, no tuna. So charters are fluke fishing on the ocean, and that was good or Scott couldn’t complain. Trips mostly fluked to the south at Axel Carlson Reef, and a 7-pounder was biggest. A few customers were good at bucktailing and did that. But bait also caught.
With Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters, fluke fishing was excellent on the ocean, Capt. Pete said. The anglers aboard Tuesday dragged bait, and that was a little tough. A bunch of bucktailers fished Wednesday on the boat, and most limited out. The fishing was great, and throwbacks bit the whole time, and keepers were mixed in. None of the keepers was a monster, but the keepers were good-sized, 3 to 6 pounds. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s anyway about individual spaces available on charters. Sign up for the email blast on Parker Pete’s website to be kept informed about the spaces. The spaces and available dates for other trips are also posted on a calendar on the site.
The ocean swell was gone, and wind blew northwest, so fluke and sea bass cooperated this week for the Jamaica II, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. Fishing for them was good aboard, and customers and their catches included Roy Williams with limits of fluke to 7 pounds and sea bass and Bruce Casagrande, also with limits of fluke to 7 and sea bass. Frank Pogue limited on fluke to 6 ½ pounds and sea bass on three trips this week. Carla Winestead also limited on fluke and sea bass. The Jamaica II is sailing for fluke and sea bass 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday through Sunday and 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Monday. Extended Fluke Marathons will sail 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. September 5, 12, 19 and 25, the final day of fluke season. Fluke season’s winding down, so get out for them, “while they are biting,” Ryan wrote.
Point Pleasant Beach
Good fluke fishing was locked up yesterday morning on the Gambler on the ocean, an email from the party boat said. The fish weighed up to 6 ½ pounds, and action wasn’t fast, but a good percentage of fluke hooked were big. “Still catching some keeper sea bass, too,” it said. Thursday night’s wreck-fishing trip and Friday night’s bluefishing trip didn’t sail. The email gave no reason. But Saturday night’s bluefishing trip fished, plundering a good catch of small blues. Night trips were expected to resume tonight, and trips are fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily. Trips are fishing wrecks 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. every Thursday and are bluefishing during those hours every Friday and Saturday.
Good bottom-fishing was shoveled aboard the party boat Dauntless, Capt. Butch said. Porgies, sea bass, fluke and blackfish, a variety, were swung in, and he was happy with catches. Yesterday’s trip scored great. Almost all the trip’s anglers limited out on porgies, he thought, and quite a few limited on sea bass, even if two is the sea bass limit. Some limited on one blackfish. Trips mostly fished for that variety, so mostly fished shallow in 30 to 80 feet of water. Trips occasionally fished deeper, and fishing there was a little slow for ling, but produced sizable winter flounder. Anglers probably averaged 20 to 50 or 60 fish apiece on trips. The ocean was 78 to 82 degrees on the fishing grounds, and some of the fish felt chilly, after swimming along bottom, but not as chilly as earlier in the year. On nighttime trips, fishing was slow but angled a few cod, sea bass, ling and blues. The Dauntless is bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily and, this weekend for the final time this year, 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.
Despite wind, fluke bit Monday on the ocean on the Norma-K III, a report said on the party boat’s website. On the morning’s trip, the fishing began slowly but improved. On the afternoon’s, fluke gave up action from the start, though conditions were the same. Pool-winning fluke weighed 5 to 6 pounds on the trips. On Tuesday, weather was gorgeous, and the boat never drifted much on the morning’s trip. A few fluke were picked, but the angling could’ve been better. On the afternoon’s, life was much better. Throwbacks and some keepers were plopped aboard, and sea bass helped fill buckets. Pool-winning fluke on Tuesday’s trips also weighed 5 to 6 pounds. The Norma-K III is fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily and is bluefishing 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
In the Toms River, tons of snapper blues schooled, biting spearing on Snapper Zapper rigs, said Dennis from Murphy’s Hook House. Fresh spearing were stocked, and probably 100 Snapper Zappers were sold a week. Blowfish and baby black drum bit in the river here and there. The river’s crabbing picked back up pretty well, after the full moon slowed the catches from shedding or mating that the moons can trigger in some of the crab population. Crabs that are shedding or mating won’t eat, making them difficult to trap. In Barnegat Bay, fluke were still landed at the BB and BI markers. The keeper ratio wasn’t great, and Dennis boated a keeper among shorts Tuesday there. A few weakfish were reeled from the bay here and there on Fin-S Fish and Rat-L Traps. Not many anglers tried for them, and most weaks were caught during other fishing. Some fluke were bagged from the bay’s flats behind Island Beach State Park. Kayakers there also saw big rays. Water was so clear that people scooped crabs from the flats while walking in the water. In Barnegat Inlet, blues 1 to 1 ½ pounds were fairly active each day, jumping on small metal. In the surf, a few kingfish, small blues and fluke were banked. The fluke were bucktailed, and on the ocean, fluking was alright, and Axel Carlson Reef was the hot spot. A few fished for the summer flounder in 50 to 60 feet of water off Mantoloking. A couple of head boats targeted fluke off Ortley Beach and Lavallette last week. Two anglers this week boated 12 fluke including one keeper on the ocean on a trip. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.
The number of keeper fluke caught was on the increase for both surf anglers and ocean boaters in past days, a report said on The Dock Outfitters’ website. Sizable sharks and big rays were wrestled from the surf at night. Weakfish were nabbed from Barnegat Inlet’s north and south jetties. In Barnegat Bay, snapper blues swam everywhere. Crabbing on the bay weeded through tons of throwbacks, but okay catches of keepers were possible. 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, boat rentals and jet-ski rentals.
Fluke fishing pumped up many throwbacks not lots of keepers yesterday on the ocean, and the boat failed to drift with Tuna-Tic Sportfishing, Capt. Mike said. Offshore trips would normally fill the schedule now but were postponed until tuna fishing picks up. So fishing for fluke and sea bass at the reefs will continue.
Catches of fluke were good on the ocean and Barnegat Bay, said Grizz from Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle. One might think the bay’s fluking would slow this time of year. But one angler bagged three keepers at the bay’s research buoy during the weekend. “So who knows?” Grizz asked. In the bay, most fluke came from Double Creek Channel and near Barnegat Inlet. On the ocean, 50 to 60 feet of water seemed to produce. Sea bass bit along with fluke at ocean reefs. Back in the bay, weakfish and blues could be mixed in. A 3-1/2-pound weak was weighed-in. Blowfish were found at the 40 can, the BB marker and “the 42, we call it,” he said. Baits stocked include fresh spearing and all the frozen for inshore and offshore.
Lots of action with “some keeper sea bass, a few fluke and lots of chub mackerel,” the party boat Miss Barnegat Light’s Facebook page said about today on the ocean aboard. Fishing was slow yesterday, Wednesday, on the vessel. Tuesday’s trip caught a handful of keeper fluke per drift of the boat on some drifts, a bunch of throwback fluke, “a few sea bass,” the page said, and a Spanish mackerel. Monday’s trip hit “shorts and a few keepers,” it said, and the Miss Barnegat Light is fishing for fluke and sea bass at 8 a.m. daily.
Bigger fluke were boated from the ocean, and smaller from Barnegat Bay, said Rob from Van’s Boat Rentals. Snapper blues were tugged from the bay, and weakfish were heard about from the bay, though Rob saw none. They might’ve been few and far between, but must’ve been there, because customers asked for grass shrimp for bait for weaks. The shop stocks none of the shrimp, but customers can order the live bait from the store. Call ahead a couple of days, and the shop will let you know if the shrimp are available. Baits stocked include killies, fresh clams and the entire selection of frozen. Many items are on sale for the end of the season, including Gulps, chum logs and a table of assorted things. Crabbing wasn’t bad at High Bar Harbor. “Not bad at all,” he said. Van’s rents boats from 9 h.p. to 50 h.p. for fishing, crabbing and pleasure. Kayaks are rented, and facilities include a bait and tackle shop and a marina with slips, gas and full boat servicing.
Barnegat Bay’s fluke were often throwbacks, said Ashley from Bobbie’s Boat Rentals. Fluke began to migrate to the ocean, and many anglers put together good catches of them there. Weakfish were sometimes seen from the bay. A few small blues were seen from the bay from a charter captain. Crabbing trapped many pregnant females, and crabbers often prefer to let them go. Clamming was good. . Bobbie’s features a complete bait and tackle shop, a fuel dock and boat and kayak rentals. The boats are used for fishing, crabbing, clamming and pleasure. The store is known for bait supply, including live bait in season. Baits stocked currently included minnows and fresh bunker.
Tuna fishing’s been slow, but a satellite chart showed good water forecast to shove into Lindenkohl and Spencer canyons last night and today, and a few tuna were entered in this week’s MidAtlantic tournament, said Capt. Lindsay from the June Bug. Anglers want to fish for tuna this weekend on the boat. Tuna catches apparently weren’t great in the Cape May tournament so far, but some were caught, according to results and press releases on the event’s website. Nobody competed Monday, the first day, because of weather. On Tuesday, the Pez Machine from Barnegat Light entered a 230-pound bigeye tuna, the biggest in the event at the moment. Another boat that day entered a 76-pound yellowfin tuna that was in the lead for those fish, and also caught two 67-pounders on the trip. On Wednesday, a few other yellowfins in the 60 and 70 pounds were entered. Seas were rough but improved for the fishing Tuesday, and were better Wednesday. Some blue marlin and plenty of white marlin were caught during the contest. A 432-pound blue and a 77-pound white were in the lead. Wahoos and mahi mahi were also entered.
Excellent summer flounder catches were cranked from the ocean the whole week, said Chris from Scott’s Bait & Tackle. Little Egg Reef and Garden State Reef South produced there, on jigs and a variety of baits. Many sea bass hovered the reefs, and abundant mahi mahi swam the ocean, not even as far as the reefs. Mahi catches were heard about all weekend from wherever anglers found clear, warm water like 80 degrees. On the bay, fishing was mostly quiet. A flounder was claimed here and there along the Intracoastal Waterway. Fish like croakers, weakfish, kingfish and a million small sea bass swam the bay, a variety of small fish like happens in summer. Good white perch fishing was boated on Mullica River, and plenty of bloodworms are stocked for bait for them. Baits carried also include minnows, and a couple of bushels of fresh, whole clams might arrive Friday, but fresh clams are scarce from suppliers. Offshore boaters subdued white and blue marlin at Wilmington Canyon, sometimes tuna in southern waters. Crabbing was excellent.
Ocean anglers reported good summer flounder fishing, said Jay from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. Sea bass fishing was decent on the ocean, if anglers wanted to limit out on two. In the back bay, many flounder were small, but if anglers put in time, they took a couple of keepers. A few weakfish swam the bay, and the store’s owner boated one today. Small weakfish reportedly chewed along Atlantic City’s jetties. Surf anglers waxed kingfish and small bluefish. A few blackfish nibbled along bridges. Plenty of live bait is stocked, including spots, peanut bunker, mullet and shedder crabs. Plenty of soft-shell crabs are on hand for eating, and the shop raises them. Keep up-to-date on the supply on the store’s soft-shell crabs Facebook page.
A load of kingfish were yanked from the surf today, said Capt. Andy from Riptide Bait & Tackle. The 12- or 13-inchers were bigger than those from the surf previously. Bloodworms hooked them, and snapper blues schooled the surf, pouncing on small pieces of mullet on fireball rigs, because the blues were yet to be large enough to bite mullet on mullet rigs. Five or six big rays were battled from the surf, after no rays were seen from the water in a week. Spots moved into back waters from the surf, if anglers wanted to catch them for live bait on small pieces of bloodworms on Sabiki rigs. Many summer flounder migrated to ocean reefs and wrecks from the back bay. A couple were still caught off Harrah’s. One angler boated a smooth pufferfish from the ocean.
Kingfish, triggerfish, blackfish and croakers were angled from Absecon Inlet, said Noel from One Stop Bait & Tackle. So were summer flounder off Caspian Avenue, and customers fish the nearby, jetty-lined inlet on foot. They dunked bloodworms, minnows and spearing for bait, and lots of peanut bunker, spearing and mullet schooled the water. All those baits the anglers fished and more, the full supply, are stocked. ***Big Heads Up:*** Noel began a petition for anglers to protest the government’s planned closing of fishing the jetties along the inlet. The government’s been rebuilding the boardwalk there, and the new boardwalk is the reason it says the access will be closed permanently. The inlet is historically a hugely important location for recreational fishing in New Jersey. The previous world-record striped bass, 78.8 pounds, was even caught a short walk from the inlet, at the Vermont Avenue jetty in 1982. The inlet is one of the best striper fisheries for recreational anglers in the Northeast, and therefore the world. But the government apparently doesn’t know about fishing like that, and it’s up to anglers to stop the closure. The petition is currently available to sign at eight tackle shops including One Stop, Riptide Bait & Tackle in Brigantine and Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon, all stores that have provided fishing reports to this website for years. The inlet fishing matters to each of the shops, let alone anglers. Stop in and sign the petition, and contact government officials to protest. News recently reported that the government said access will be provided. But that was only words. Blowing smoke, it seemed.
Egg Harbor Township
Plenty of summer flounder and sea bass were scooped from ocean reefs and wrecks, said Joe from 24-7 Bait & Tackle. Mahi mahi swam the wrecks, and so did sharks like spinners. Find the sharks, and you’ll find mahi. In the bay, flounder swam, but most were throwbacks. Still, Joe knew anglers who bagged one or two per trip consistently. They sorted through 30 shorts for a keeper. Offshore boaters fought many white marlin at Wilmington Canyon but also all canyons. They also pasted bigeye tuna, at all canyons, really. Those who targeted them usually nailed one or two in a trip. Crabbing was great on Patcong Creek, running past the shop. Many were No. 1s, and the store’s rental boats are available for crabbing and fishing on Patcong and nearby waters, including Great Egg Harbor River and the bay. Patcong is one of the best places for crabbing. Minnows are half-price throughout the fishing season: $3 for a half-pint, $6 for a pint and $12 for a quart. Baits stocked also include shedder crabs. No fresh clams were carried and were scarce everywhere, mostly unavailable from suppliers. Offshore baits are in supply. The company also owns 24-7 Bait & Tackle in Marmora.
Back-bay fishing for summer flounder bagged a few, not hot at all, but catching on the party boat Keeper , Capt. John said. Some of the keepers were good-sized or 3 and 4 pounds. Any flounder as big as the minimum size these days is sizable. Throwbacks caught were lots more common, of course, and the number of flounder landed was about the same as last year at this time. Many sea bass, sea robins and sharks bit, and many kids fished aboard, before schools began, and those catches kept them happy. Many will return to school beginning next week. Minnows and mackerel are provided for bait, and minnows caught the flounder great. Gulps that anglers brought worked, but the sea bass bit off the tails, and also chewed the mackerel. John had been netting peanut bunker to keep live for bait aboard. He might try again today, seeing whether the baitfish grew bigger than before. The Keeper is fishing for summer flounder 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 5 p.m. daily. The trips are only $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and $20 for kids, because fishing is near port, and the pontoon boat is economical on fuel. Rental rods are free.
Fishing was great, said Capt. Mike from the Stray Cat. Lots of bonito, mahi mahi, false albacore and Spanish mackerel were trolled aboard. Combo charters sailed, bottom-fishing for sea bass and summer flounder on the ocean, and trolling before and after. Was amazing how many fish could be hooked in a few hours. Flounder fishing was terrific currently. A trip Tuesday never even bottom-fished, because the trolling was so good. Cedar plugs, Zukers and Nos. 2 and 3 Clark spoons were trolled at 6 ½ knots. The albies broke off No. 1s, sometimes No. 2s. Open-boat trips will begin September 11, fishing for flounder, sea bass and blackfish. Blackfishing will kick in once the bag limit is raised to six of the tog beginning November 16, from the current limit of one.
Boating for summer flounder at ocean reefs was pretty good, said Bill from Fin-Atics. Ocean City and Great Egg reefs gave them up, better at one on one day, the other on another, and that’s typical. But the back bay still tossed up flounder sometimes, from deeper water. They seemed either small like 16 inches or large like 7 pounds. Few were between those sizes. Not many striped bass were played on the bay. A few were caught on lagoons, but waters like these became warm for stripers. The surf cooled, because of wind direction, and shark fishing had slowed in the surf because of that. The water had been in the low 70 degrees, not reaching 73 or 74 needed for sharking. But the surf was 75 degrees when Bill checked this morning, so maybe sharks will bite in the next day or two. Kingfishing was good, consistent, in the surf in the last week or so. The fish weren’t bailed, but many were hooked all over town. Small weakfish were mixed in at a few spots. Tons of mahi mahi held 20 miles from shore at many lobster pot buoys in 80 to 120 feet of water. Many white marlin were landed at Wilmington Canyon, and not many tuna were boated anywhere.
Sea Isle City
Surf anglers beached fewer kingfish than a month ago, but fairly good catches of them still, said Cameron from Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. They fought sharks from the surf mostly toward night. Ocean reefs fished pretty well for summer flounder, and the store’s owner boated a 7-pounder and two other keepers at Ocean City Reef in a trip. Townsend’s Inlet Reef gave up flounder, including a 6-pounder for a customer. A few flounder still came from the back bay. A couple of kids brought in a 3.3-pounder and a 3-pounder from Ludlam Bay from a trip, actually. Mahi mahi fishing was good on the ocean. Little was heard about tuna. Crabbing was good and probably best for catches on the bay.
Mahi mahi fishing’s been great, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service, affiliated with Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. A mother and son trolled six of the fish to 16 pounds Tuesday aboard. A father and sons trolled four mahi to 17 pounds Wednesday aboard, and other trips recently nailed the dolphin on the boat, too, covered in previous reports here. The fish weren’t far from shore, and Joe couldn’t know how long the angling will last, but it’s been white hot, he said. Keep up with his fishing on Jersey Cape’s Blog.
A couple of keeper summer flounder were brought from the back bay Tuesday, the only two, but they were good fish, said Mike from Canal Side Boat Rentals. A substantial population of flounder remained in the bay, surprising, because many flounder usually migrate to the ocean this time of year, but they were there. Flounder fishing was good on the ocean, especially at Wildwood and Cape May reefs this past week. A friend boated them well at both reefs, and usually fishes minnows, but bought spearing and squid for bait for them from the shop lately. No weakfish were seen from the bay recently, and once in a while somebody reported catching a weak while flounder fishing on the bay. Anglers who target the weaks had caught them well on the bay until four weeks ago. Many small striped bass swam the bay. Crabbing on the bay was the same as recently. High salinity seemed to chase the crabs from the bay’s flats and into the bay’s deep and up creeks. That was because of lack of rain and happens during dry summers. A friend crabbed a certain place in a creek once or twice a week, trapping four or five dozen keepers per trip. The shop doesn’t send customers to creeks, because they can become stuck in creeks during low tides when unfamiliar with the place. Canal Side rents boats for fishing, crabbing and pleasure and kayaks. ***Get a $5 discount*** on a rental boat if you mention Fishing Reports Now. A large supply of bait and tackle is carried. Crabs for eating are sold, and the price depends on the market. No. 1s were currently $32 per dozen live, $34 pre-cooked and chilled and $36 cooked to order. No. 2s were $22 per dozen live, $24 pre-cooked and chilled and $26 cooked to order. No. 2s were also on special for $35 for 1 ½ dozen live or pre-cooked and chilled. Clams, shrimp and occasionally oysters are also sold for eating. Those were the main foods sold, and customers enjoy the food at picnic tables with tents on the water at the store. Or they take out the food and enjoy.
Fishing for tuna’s been postponed until the angling improves within range for Caveman Sportfishing, Capt. John said. Trips caught and released sharks inshore instead. A few tuna were caught at Lindenkohl Canyon or also farther north toward Toms Canyon in past days. The fishing was 90 miles from Cape May, too far to sail from the port. But maybe the fish were a sign that tuna might be moving back in. Tuna were caught 40 miles south of Cape May, at inshore grounds, with Caveman in past weeks.
The party boat Porgy IV failed to drift on Wednesday’s daily trip for summer flounder on the ocean, Capt. Paul said. The day was beautiful on the water, and no drift is always tough on flounder fishing. A few anglers bagged three apiece on the trip, he thought, and many landed no keepers on the outing. Those who could work for a bite, in no drift, instead of waiting, could catch. Sometimes anglers can “wait” for a bite when a boat drifts, letting the drift impart action. The trip scored some action, and that might’ve been better somewhat in a better drift. Conditions were good for a drift on Sunday’s trip, and flounder fishing’s all about drifting conditions. On Sunday, Young Li from New York limited out, and Bob Brett from Cape May Court House bagged three, including 5-1/2-pounder to win the pool. On another trip, Craig Busch from Pleasantville limited out on flounder to a 4-1/2-pounder. Paul sent a photo that would be posted on this website’s photo pages of Bud Callahan with a 7-1/2-pound flounder he bagged aboard another trip in past days. He bagged three flounder on the outing. Better-sized flounder remained inshore currently. The boat tried fishing offshore, but smaller flounder, too many of them throwbacks, bit. The Porgy IV is fishing for summer flounder at 8 a.m. daily.
The ocean’s summer flounder fishing sounded good, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. That included at Cape May and Wildwood reefs that seemed to give up a decent number of keepers and also sea bass. Some bigger flounder came from the Old Grounds and Reef 11. Flounder were still caught from the back bay and Cape May Harbor. Flounder seemed to be boated on Delaware Bay toward Fortescue. Closer to the store, weakfish and croakers schooled Delaware Bay at 20-Foot Slough and Brandywine. Kingfish, croakers, small flounder, small weaks and tons of blues swam Cape May Channel. In the surf, the same fish were sometimes banked from Poverty Beach on the ocean to Delaware Bay. Cape May is at the confluence of the ocean and the bay, so the surf stretches along both waters in the town. Large sharks were fought from the surf at night. Mullet began to be seen in the surf and back bay. Snapper blues should chase them in the surf soon, and maybe the mullet will attract red drum to the surf. The drum, the southern species, showed up there in late summer in recent years. Pelagics like Spanish mackerel could be found in the inshore ocean. Mahi mahi held from 5-Fathom Bank to offshore. For offshore boaters, waters seemed to begin clearing a little. One angler landed a yellowfin tuna at Baltimore Canyon. Lots of white marlin seemed to hold at Wilmington Canyon’s north end. Again, water seemed to begin to clear there and at Lindenkohl Canyon. Crabbing was excellent.