Tons of big bluefish attacked along Reach Channel on Raritan Bay, said Capt. Chuck from Angler Sportfishing Charters. No striped bass were caught, because nothing could be fished without blues jumping on the hook. The fishing was like that anywhere on the bay, like at Old Orchard Lighthouse, where the boat also fished. Chuck suspects nighttime is best to fish for stripers at the moment, and is up for night trips. The bluefishing was good, though. The five anglers aboard Saturday fought the slammers until worn out. A couple of strong runoffs seemed to be stripers, picking up and dropping the bait. Bluefish were marked under the boat, and fish were read under the blues that seemed to be stripers. But a hook couldn’t be dropped to reach the stripers, before a blue engulfed the hook. New York’s fluke season was opened starting Sunday, and Chuck will fish for them along channels like Ambrose, but any of the channels will hold the flatfish. The boat is drifted along the shallows on one side of a channel, into the deep, then up to the shallows on the other side. Fluke stack up at those changes of depths. Angler Sportfishing is also fishing for stripers on Hudson River from Saugerties, and that angling went fairly well, if the trips were willing to fish baits different than usual. Bloodworms caught, and the fishing is for stripers migrating the river to spawn. That can be the best chance to land large stripers. These are mature, breeding fish.
A load of blues and a 22-pound striped bass were wrenched from Raritan Bay on Saturday with Outcast Charters, Capt. Joe said. Another load of blues and some stripers to 20 pounds were cranked from the bay Sunday aboard. So many blues, he said. Yes, they were big, up to 15 pounds, he said. The trips fished with chunked and livelined bunker. More of the trips are slated for evenings this week. New York’s fluke season was opened Sunday, but Outcast will fish for them later in the year. Outcast will fish for sea bass when New Jersey’s sea bass season is opened May 27. Outcast offers fishing from both Staten Island, N.Y., and Sewaren, N.J.
Bluefish invaded Raritan Bay the past couple of days, so the bay’s striped bass fishing slowed, said Capt. Mario from the Down Deep. Previously, the striper fishing began to pick up, because the bluefish population began to drop off. Trips will keep striper fishing, and Mario’s looking forward to the openings of fluke season on Friday and sea bass season on May 27. Charters and open-boat trips are available for both, and stripers. Join the Short Notice List on Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about upcoming, special open trips. Also see the site’s open-trips page for available dates.
An open-boat trip that Ken Critchloy hosted cranked in bluefish and four keeper striped bass Thursday in the Sandy Hook area on bunker chunks with Papa’s Angels Charters, Capt. Joe said. Bob Visenesky’s charter on Friday, Walter Leika’s on Saturday and Cody Farrel’s on Sunday all fought bluefish in the Sandy Hook area on the chunks. The blues weighed 9 pounds on all the trips. Open-boat trips will be available daily for blues or stripers 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and for blues 3 to 8 p.m., the Working Man’s Special, throughout this week, when no charter is booked. Telephone to climb aboard.
Striped bass fishing “pulled back” during the weekend, and just a handful were caught, Capt. Frank from the Vitamin Sea wrote in an email. But bluefish provided exciting, non-stop rod-bending. Some were large, and blues are the best-fighting fish in the sea, pound for pound. Better striper fishing will continue, once this next round of spawning was finished. One space is available for an open-boat trip Thursday morning, and the vessel is booked through the weekend, otherwise. Fluke season will be opened starting Friday, and the first open trip for fluke will run Saturday, June 6. Telephone to reserve.
For trips on the party boat Atlantic Star, bluefishing was good at times, Capt. Tom said. Customers had good action with that, and lots of fun. The blues weighed 5 to 18 pounds, and this was just good fishing. The Atlantic Star through Thursday is fishing for striped bass and blues on two trips daily from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. Starting Friday, opening day of fluke season, the boat will sail for fluke during the same hours.
Lots of blues were drilled during the weekend on the party boat Fishermen, Capt. Ron wrote in a report on the vessel’s website. Some big striped bass were nailed aboard Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, the blues were pasted on bait, jigs and anything you could imagine. Several moves were made during the weekend to try to find a couple of good-sized stripers, but there wasn’t much luck. Blues would take over, no matter where was fished. A few nice stripers were bagged on the vessel’s nighttime trips during the weekend, all on bunker. Stripers seemed to turn on after 7 p.m., when blues shut down. On Friday’s daytime trip, a few large stripers turned on when the tide changed, like clockwork then and the previous couple of days. On that trip, Greg Groff from Northampton, Pa., won the pool with a 25-pound striper. Rob Rizzo from Boonton smashed a 23-pounder, and Vaughn Burkholder from Manville heaved in an 18-pounder. A few more stripers were lost, and some more big blues bit, before the trip ended. Though fluke season will be opened starting Friday, the boat won’t fluke fish yet. Ron’s not throwing in the towel on stripers, and believes the trips will catch them. The Fishermen is sailing for striped bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Trips are also striper fishing 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 3:30 to 9 p.m. Sundays.
Many bluefish were tackled this weekend with Fin-Taz-Tic Sportfishing, Capt. Pete wrote in an email. Four striped bass were beaten, and the blues, big, should move out within a couple of days. Live bait and trolled Mojos, Stretch lures, Tournament Grade Tackle bunker spoons and M&M shad umbrella rigs were fished. Fluke season will be opened beginning Friday, and two of the boat’s mates scouted the fishing, catching and releasing the summer flounder. The fish, including a few keepers, bit, Pete was happy to say. Combo striper and fluke trips could be an option. Charters are fishing, and space is available on open-boat trips this weekend.
***Update, Tuesday, 5/19:*** Getting ready for fluke season – looks good right now, Bob from Fisherman’s Den wrote in an email. The season will be opened starting Friday, and customers fluke on Shark River, including on the store’s rental boats. Plenty of fluke, some large, blanketed the river, and they’re great eating, he said. “Bluefish are the most abundant fish,” he said, but the number of striped bass caught increased every day. For boaters on the ocean, trolling bunker spoons was the prime way to catch the bass. But Bob got reports about some caught on livelined bunker that were snagged for bait. Some stripers boated weighed in the high 40 pounds. The shop’s ready for business to bust open. Memorial Day weekend and the opening of fluke season are busy times.
Cod and pollock were socked Sunday with XTC Sportfishing, Capt. Scott said. A decent number were keepers, and the cod weighed up to 10 pounds, and the pollock weighed up to 20. A trip Saturday on the boat fought blues 6 to 10 pounds, no striped bass, toward Sandy Hook Point. A trip Friday aboard smoked lots of cod, not big, 10 pounds, and one pollock. The vessel is supposed to steam offshore for tuna on Tuesday. The fish, mostly yellowfins, sometimes bluefins, reportedly bit the last two weeks, so the crew wants to check that out. Charters are booked aboard Wednesday through Friday and Sunday.
On most days, bluefishing was great aboard, said Capt. Pete from Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters. A trip did catch good-sized striped bass to a 36-pounder on Sunday on the boat. The fishing, on the ocean, seems like it’s going to happen for striper catches, and this was a gradual start. Trolled Tony Maja’s bunker spoons scored the bass best. The ocean temperature fluctuated wildly, and was in the mid-60 degrees, when Pete gave this report at 6:45 p.m. aboard in a phone call. Fluke season will be opened starting Friday, and Parker Pete’s will home in on fluke later. The boat flukes on the ocean when the water warms. ***Update, Monday, 5/18:*** Striper fishing was shaping up nicely, Pete wrote in an email. The fishing was slower on some days than others, but things were lining up. The ocean temperature was slowly rising, and the fish were moving in. “We just need some more bunker to show up,” he said. The last few trips trolled sizable stripers or jigged big, gator blues. “Now is the time to get the kids out fishing,” he said. The new moon is tonight, and northeast winds are sometimes blowing, and both will get the bass “fired up.” Check the boat’s website for available dates. Plenty of dates are available in June for charters or individual spaces on charters. Parker Pete’s will focus on stripers most of June, but afterward, look out fluke, he said. Fluke trips will include bucktailing seminars aboard, like last year, an opportunity to learn or sharpen skills to bucktail large doormats.
On the party boat Golden Eagle, bluefishing picked throughout Sunday’s trip, ending up with a decent catch, a report on the vessel’s website said. The fish weighed up to 15 pounds and were jigged. Wind blew against current, tough conditions, on Saturday’s trip, but a decent catch of blues to 15 pounds was managed, after putting in the time, on jigs and Krocodiles. Friday’s trip had to work for blues, but banged away at the fish to 10 pounds most of the time, on jigs and Krocs. The Golden Eagle is fishing at 7:30 a.m. daily.
A few big striped bass were boated on the ocean, said Alex from The Reel Seat. He knew about a 40-pounder, and the catches picked up somewhat, became much better, compared with the previous couple of weeks. The stripers were trolled on bunker spoons, and fewer bluefish schooled the water than anglers might think. Tons of blues swam Manasquan Inlet at dawn and dusk. Blues swam the surf from Sandy Hook to Island Beach State Park. Small striped bass roamed the inlet and the surf around the inlet. Small plugs like Daiwa SP Minnows and Bombers could hook them. An Ava jig couldn’t go wrong. Surf fishing was best at dawn and dusk, but the angling could blow up during daytime. Anglers never knew, and should just find the catches. Many fluke were released in the inlet and Manasquan River, including a 28-incher from the river. Fluke season will be opened starting Friday. On the ocean, cod fishing was fair, at best, and ling began to swim inshore, giving up a slow pick. Warmer water was needed for ling fishing to improve. Nobody was known about who fished offshore for tuna in past days. The tuna catches were heard about, here and there, previously this season. Catch the shop’s big Memorial Day weekend sale from Friday through Monday, Memorial Day. Score discounts on items including clothing and offshore and inshore tackle.
Point Pleasant Beach
Bluefishing was great to the north on the troll and on jigs for anglers aboard a trip with Mushin Sportfishing, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. Some boaters who ran south trolled some good-sized stripers, and striper fishing should break open soon.
Another great weekend on the water, Capt. Matt from the party boat Norma-K III wrote in a report on the vessel’s website. Bottom-fishing was tough, serving up a few ling and small cod. Bergals and eels “kept you busy,” he said, and all different depths were fished, from 80 feet to 240. Some spots gave up a little more life than others. Bottom trips, sailing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for ling and cod, will continue daily through Thursday. “We will give it our best the rest of the week!” he said. The trips will switch to fluke fishing on Friday, opening day of fluke season, sailing 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily. Nighttime bluefishing trips began on Friday and Saturday aboard. The angling was slow, apparently because of cold water, but Matt hopes blues will be ready to bite for the vessel’s night trips this weekend. The water was 55 degrees at night, and in the low 60 degrees during daytime, in the same area. On Saturday night, some blues were read, and a few were even seen along the surface, but refused to bite. Bluefishing trips will sail 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. this Friday through Sunday.
Fishing conditions weren’t great for the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament on Sunday at Island Beach State Park, John from The Dock Outfitters wrote in a report on the shop’s website. The surf was “up,” and holding bottom was difficult. Not many fish were beached, and that was too bad, considering the excellent bluefishing lately from the surf. Good angling was anticipated. More striped bass started to be dragged from the surf than before, on cut bait and clams, and the bite was at night. Boaters on the ocean had a slow pick of stripers or only caught a few small keepers. In Barnegat Bay at the shop, crabs finally began to be trapped from the dock. Several small were nabbed, a good sign for “things to come,” he said. The Dock Outfitters, located on Barnegat Bay, blocks from the ocean surf, features a bait and tackle shop, boat and jet ski rentals, a café and a dock for fishing and crabbing.
Fishing will be kicked off this weekend on the party boat Miss Barnegat Light for the fishing season, the vessel’s website said. Trips will bluefish 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday through Monday, Memorial Day. Afterward, the trips will sail every Friday through Sunday, during the same hours, through June 21. Starting June 22, trips will fish for fluke and sea bass 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.
From an edited email from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the Hi Flier: “Bass fishing is starting to heat up. Twenty-five to 40-pound fish in 55 to 65 feet of water, from the bathing beach to Lavallette. Trolling bunker spoons is the best bet right now, but we always bring the snagging rods, just in case we happen upon some pods of bunker. Running open boat 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Three people max. All fish are shared. Going to run outside, make a left, head for the 60-foot range off Island Beach State Park, and put the spoons out. I’ll also bring the 10-pound spinning rods, in case we feel like ending with an hour of blues on top-water lures in the bay. I like to be inside the inlet while it’s still light out. My next available day for charter or open-boat will be 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, the day after Memorial Day. Also Thursday and Friday afternoons, May 28 and 29. Rates and details the same as above. Here’s a video of one of my customers on Saturday, shot with his cell phone. The fish was a 48-inch 35-pounder.
Mixed reports rolled in on Saturday about bluefishing, and the fish now were more “spread out” than earlier this season, and needed to be hunted, a report on Scott’s Bait & Tackle’s website said. Good bluefishing was talked about from Grassy Channel, on the end closest to Little Egg Inlet, and from the ocean near Holgate that day. Also that day, slower fishing for them was the word from the ocean farther north, toward Barnegat Inlet. Multiple anglers on Friday reported good bluefishing at the same end of Grassy and in the inlet, on jigs. An angler posted a report on the site about a trip that trolled for striped bass on the ocean Friday, north to Brant Beach, in 40 feet of water, with bunker spoons. The trip fished in the morning after sunrise, and huge schools of bunker swam throughout most of the time. Many fish were marked along bottom, but only large bluefish were caught. Tackle was lost to the blues, “and I’m sure Scott’s crew will be pleased to replace that,” the angler wrote!
A couple of striped bass were weighed-in from the surf Friday, but this was an off day for catches, a report on Riptide Bait & Tackle’s website said. The fishing was easy the past three weeks, the shop’s Facebook page said today. “Now we have to go back to the old ways and put (in) your time,” it said. Schools of stripers will move in and out, and anglers just need to be there. Bluefish and drum will also move in and out, the store’s website report said.
Customers from One Stop Bait & Tackle reeled up blues, some smaller than before, like 1 foot, but mixed with large, Jeremy said. They hooked striped bass, starting to land more keepers than before. A 20-pound striper was weighed-in yesterday, and a 17-pounder and a 12-pounder were today. Customers also scored well on weakfish at night. All these catches came from places like the T-jetty, the Melrose Avenue jetty, other jetties and off Harrah’s. Many jetties line Absecon Inlet, near the shop. The blues were taken on bunker or any cut bait. The stripers bit bunker, clams and lures, and the weaks hit lures and bloodworms. All these baits and more, a large supply are stocked.
Out-of-season sea bass, large, 3 pounds, bit at an ocean wreck Sunday on the Stray Cat, Capt. Mike said. No ling or cod did, but the outlook seemed good for sea bass fishing when sea bass season is opened starting next week on Wednesday, May 27. The bottom-fishing is a favorite aboard, and open-boat trips for sea bass will sail that day and the next day, Thursday, May 28. Telephone to reserve, and the following weekend, May 30 and 31, is booked with charters. Open-boat trips will fish for summer flounder 8 a.m. to 12 noon Friday through Tuesday on the back bay, until the sea bass fishing begins. Mike previously said the flounder trips were $25, and rental rods were free, but wasn’t asked, for this report, whether that was still the case. Telephone to confirm, and to jump aboard any of these trips. The ocean was 59 degrees and gin clear on Sunday’s trip. Conditions look like the fishing season should be really good. If anglers want to fish for mako sharks, that angling becomes available now. Yellowfin tuna caught were heard about, and seemed to come from between Baltimore and Poorman’s canyons. Tuna fishing’s also available.
Fishing whaled drum on Delaware Bay aboard, said Capt. Jim from Fins & Grins Sportfishing. Nine were decked Saturday, and six were on Sunday, so far, when he gave this report at 7 p.m. aboard the trip in a phone call. A drum was hooked as he spoke, but got off. The angling, right off North Cape May, was pretty consistent now. Hardly any junk fish bit, except one shark on Saturday. A couple of horseshoe crabs were hooked. If anglers got a bite, that was a drum. The fish all weighed 50 pounds on Sunday’s trip, so far. Some puppies were mixed in on Saturday’s trip, but so was an 85-pound drum. The water was 60 to 62 degrees, and weather was good. Clams for bait were scarce from suppliers during the weekend, but Jim managed to obtain a bunch. Fins & Grins is trying to drum fish every day, and the fish schooled not far away. Fishing is available daily aboard, and reservations aren’t required but suggested. Telephone for availability.
Lots of drum bit, and fishing for them was good on two trips Saturday and Sunday on the Heavy Hitter, on Delaware Bay, Capt. George said. The boat fished on the New Jersey side of the bay, and the catch was good on Saturday’s trip with Jay Guarneti’s party. Most of the trip’s drum weighed 45 to 55 pounds, and one weighed 70. The catch was also good on Sunday’s trip, with Bill Clark and crew, and the size of the fish was about the same: mostly 45 to 55 pounds, and one 70-pounder. Bill himself landed six, and George hopes the fishing holds up.