An 11-pound fluke was crushed on the Down Deep, Capt. Mario said. Fluking was super aboard, and the 11-pounder was in the lead for the tournament at Joe’s Bait Shack for a custom rod. On some days, the number of keepers was in the teens aboard. On one trip, three anglers each landed 16 legal-sized fluke, keeping no more than their limits. If anglers want big fluke, this is the time. Ling fishing was also great aboard, and the high hook boated 50 on one trip. The ling weighed up to 4 pounds on trips, and winter flounder and a few cod and blackfish were also taken on the outings. Charters are fishing, and sign up for the Short Notice List on the Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about open-boat trips for either fluke or ling. Also see dates on the site.
With Papa’s Angels Charters, many throwback fluke and a small pick of keepers to a 25-incher were angled Friday, Capt. Joe said. The trip fished “all over,” including at Reach Channel and off Sandy Hook. A bluefish trip was fishing aboard when he gave this report Sunday evening in a phone call, and another fluke trip was supposed to fish today. Open-boat trips are available twice daily, for fluke in the morning or blues in the afternoon, when no charter is booked. Telephone to jump aboard.
Fluking was excellent Thursday and Friday on the Vitamin Sea, and slower on Saturday, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. “Quality of the keepers is still excellent,” he wrote. Plenty of weekdays and some weekends are available for charters. He’s on vacation this week, and will announce the open-boat schedule when he returns. “Get your dose of Vitamin Sea!”
Was another excellent day of fluke fishing Thursday on the party boat Fishermen, Capt. Ron wrote in a report on the vessel’s website. That was after Wednesday’s trip, taking a long ride to fish new ground, nailed good fluking, covered in the last report. On Thursday’s trip, more limits were bagged than on Wednesday’s, and the fluke, good-sized, remained hungry. The pool changed hands several times from 5 pounds to 6, 7.4, 7.9 and finally the 8.1-pounder that won. Action was non-stop, and sometimes gave up double-headers. The boat was chartered when open-boat trips would’ve normally fluked on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday’s trip, wind blew strongly from the south in the morning, and the anglers had to tough-out fishing that day. A few fluke were caught on the first couple of drifts, but conditions became too nasty. So the trip went in search mode. A good line of fluke was found, and the trip stuck with it the whole time. The high hook bucktailed a limit and released 35 to 40 shorts. Brett Leininger from Pennsylvania won the pool with a 7.2-pound fluke, and this was his birthday. “Nice action for those who worked hard in some tough conditions to say the least,” Ron said. The Fisherman is fishing for fluke 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and for croakers, porgies and bottom fish 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. daily except Sundays.
Some mixed results were had on fluke trips on the party boat Atlantic Star, Capt. Tom said. That depended on conditions, and the trips fished on Raritan Bay. Saturday and Sunday morning’s trips scooped up a load of shorts and a handful of keepers. On Saturday afternoon’s trip, conditions were lousy, preventing the boat from drifting, though weather was nice. That caused tough fluking. Conditions were similar on Sunday morning’s and afternoon’s trips, and the boat wouldn’t drift, but more keepers were had in the afternoon than in the morning, though shorts gave up less action in the afternoon. Still, five of Sunday’s fluke weighed more than 5 pounds. They weighed up to 7 ½ pounds, Tom thought, and at times, the fishing’s been good, but the keeping’s been tough. All the boat’s trips have been fishing, and the anglers have been weeding through throwbacks, getting lucky to crack the better-sized fluke. The catching was fun at least, including for kids. Anglers on Sunday said bait caught better than Spros, but that changes. The Atlantic Star is fishing for fluke on two trips daily from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. ***Update, Wednesday, 7/30:*** Tom couldn’t know how long this would last, but fluking improved aboard Tuesday, he said. More keepers were bagged than before on both of the day’s trips. Steve Cooper from Elkton, Maryland, limited out. Some anglers landed no keepers, of course, but all caught at least shorts. Action with the throwbacks remained pretty good.
Trips got back into striped bass on some days, and fishing was holding up on the Hyper Striper, Capt. Pete wrote in an email. Charters also continued fluke fishing. Jack Caltabiano’s party boxed 10 keeper fluke and 10 keeper stripers to 24 pounds on Friday. Paul Rielly’s crew scored a great catch of fluke to 7 pounds on Saturday. Also in past days, Gino and group limited out on stripers to 22 pounds, anglers from Kuiken Brothers Lumber socked stripers to 24 pounds, and Jamie Kennely’s gang on Sunday sacked eight stripers to 31 pounds. The Hyper Striper is also bluefin tuna fishing.
On two bottom-fishing trips Friday with Last Lady Fishing Charters, catches were good, slinging aboard winter flounder, blackfish, sea bass and ling, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. Angling for fluke and sea bass was slow on a charter Saturday, but “jigs were the answer,” Ralph said. One angler limited out and won the pool while fishing a jig on the trip. The pool-winning fluke, a 5- to 6-pounder, was also caught on a jig, with a Gulp, on Tuesday’s individual-reservation trip for fluke. “We are catching a lot more shorts now,” Ralph said about fluking. Individual-reservation trips are fluke fishing every Tuesday, and at press time, three spots remained for this week. Nine spots remained for August 5, and 10 spots did for August 12. Once fluke season is closed on September 28, the trips will sail for another species. Four spots remain for an individual-reservation trip for cod, pollock and hake offshore at 1 a.m. August 7. Another one of the trips is full on August 28.
Shark River harbored a large population of fluke, Bob from Fisherman’s Den wrote in an email. But anglers had to fish hard for keepers. Brian Biedinger from Little Silver bagged a 5-pound 12-ounce fluke, his one keeper, from the river on live bait on one of the shop’s rental boats. He totaled more than 90 throwbacks on the trip. “The idea is to have fun,” Bob said, and anglers could do just that, reeling up 17-inch fluke all day. Bob joined two trips on the river this past week that totaled more than 40 fluke in a couple of hours on ½-ounce jigs with Gulp. Bring kids to catch snapper blues on the river. “They always have fun,” Bob said. On Manasquan River, Art Coakley from Neptune bagged a 4-ound 8-ounce fluke. Belmar’s party boats scored well on large fluke on the ocean, and most pool-winning fluke weighed 8 pounds or more on the trips. Business was fair during the weekend, and weather kept anglers from fishing Sunday.
Anglers picked away at bluefish and bonito on most drifts Sunday on the party boat Golden Eagle, until south wind came up, slowing the angling, a report on the vessel’s website said. The catch was okay overall, and the fishing was slower on Saturday than in previous days. Blues, bonito and a few hefty sea bass were caught, “but not enough,” the report said. The fish were read and seen, “but did not bite right,” it said. Bluefishing was awesome on Wednesday and Thursday, and sometimes bonito were mixed in on the outings. Blues and bonito on trips smacked hammered jigs, Krocodiles and teasers. The Golden Eagle is fishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
***Update, Tuesday, 7/29:*** Fishing was a little slower on Monday than before on the party boat Miss Belmar Princess, but bluefish and bonito were still tackled, an email from the boat said. The crew, late in the day, heard about larger blues north of Shark River Inlet, and planned to look for them today. Fishing aboard was super for blues, with bonito and small false albacore mixed in, on Saturday and Sunday, at hills east of the inlet. On Friday night’s trip, bluefishing started slowly, south of the inlet, but improved as the night went on. Some anglers ended up limiting out, and all customers landed some. This was one of the better nights of the fishing in a while, and the blues were small, so customers caught better who had brought light spinning rods. On Saturday night’s trip, plenty of small blues were found again, south of the inlet, and most anglers limited out, and a fair number of bonito were zapped. Jose Torres from Rockaway, N.J. won the pool with a 3-pound bonito. The Miss Belmar Princess is fishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.
Catches of fluke were becoming lots better on the ocean with Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters, Capt. Pete said. The water reached 69 and 70 degrees and was clear and good-looking, and the fish were considerably warmer to the touch than before. If the conditions continue, Pete thinks flukers are in for some good fishing. A trip on Friday met northeast wind that prevented the boat from fluking in 70 feet, where trips had been finding the summer flounder. So the trip fished tight to shore, hooking tons of throwbacks. Then the anglers started picking away at keepers. A trip Saturday competed in a fluke tournament, so the anglers targeted big ones, and all bucktailed. Each angler pulled in three keepers to a limit apiece, and the fish included some sizeable, including three 5-pounders. Some big ones were also lost. Pete’s been finding that bucktails are catching lots better than bait is. Here’s an opportunity: Parker Pete’s this season is hosting “on the water seminars” on bucktailing for fluke. An email about that said: “Are you tired of reading reports of people catching big (fluke)? Do you usually ‘drag’ bait and hope for the big one? Are you being out-fished when you go out fluking? Are you ready to get hooked on bucktailing in a non-threatening way?” The trips are inexpensive, and the next will sail on Tuesday, and August dates will be announced, and email Pete for more info. If space is available on Tuesday, one spot is. Also, 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. Currently, trips with those spots available include ones on August 7, 8, 10, 23 and 26.
The Katie H was splashed back into the water, after upgrades and maintenance, Capt. Mike said. Water had gotten into the fuel, and that had to be pumped out Sunday. A trip that was supposed to fluke aboard that day fished on a boat next-door instead. The anglers boxed six good-sized keepers, including some large or 3 and 4 pounds, and had plenty of action with throwbacks, about 70, on the ocean, a great day, Mike said. A fair number of canyon tuna trips are booking on the Katie H that will start in late August. Tuna were currently trolled at the canyons, and the angling wasn’t red hot, but the catches were good news. None really bit on the chunk at night yet, and canyon trips on the Katie H usually wait for that to happen, before sailing. If the trips are going to sail that far, they may as well stay the night. The boat will also fish for bluefin tuna closer to shore, on the mid-range ocean, currently. No boats from the docks fished for bluefins in past days, and the last one that sailed for them found none of the tuna, but grabbed mahi mahi. But that didn’t mean bluefin weren’t in, and the trip could’ve fished a location that ended up unproductive, or could’ve trolled the wrong lures, or the day simply could’ve been slow, and so on. The Katie H fishes inshore, but is also a big-game specialist. The 46-foot boat features speed and all the amenities.
Despite the boat drifting quickly, fluke fishing was good Sunday on the party boat Jamaica II, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. Lots of throwbacks bit, but some sizeable fluke, 4- to 6-pounders, were also bagged. Gary Berger from Trenton limited out, and his fluke included a 7-pounder and a 5-pounder. Both Walter Scire from Manchester and Larry Quattrano from Princeton limited out on fluke to 6 pounds. Joe Baczynski from Willingboro’s 9-1/2-pound fluke was last week’s biggest aboard. But he wasn’t in the monthly pool, and Eric Slonaker from Trenton is in the lead with a 7-1/2-pounder in the monthly pool. “Best fishing of the summer right now for quantity and quality,” Capt. Ryan said. The Jamaica II is fishing for fluke and sea bass 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Monday. ***Update, Tuesday, 7/29:*** The trip Monday aboard mostly “stayed in the rough stuff, and it was well worth it,” Ryan wrote in an email. “If you were breathing and jigging,” he said, you limited out on fluke. “If you bounced a sinker … well, pick up some extra taters on the way home.” Most of the fluke weighed 3 to 6 pounds, and many anglers limited out. They included Eric Slonaker, Chris Molinari, Frank Pogue, E. Smith and C. Mantlick. Molinari took over the lead in the monthly pool with a 9.3-pound fluke, one of more than 10 legal-sized he landed, keeping no more than his limit. Each of his fluke weighed more than 3 ½ pounds. The boat drifted perfectly in a gorgeous west wind and flat-calm seas. “Doesn’t get any better than this,” Ryan said. If anglers stayed home because of weather forecasts, they missed a beauty.
Manasquan River’s fluke fishing was fair, said Eric from The Reel Seat. Most were throwbacks, and not a lot were keepers, but anglers picked away at the fish, on jigheads with Gulps. Striped bass bit along the river’s bridges at night. Hickory shad swam Manasquan Inlet. “Something to catch,” he said. A few blackfish were hooked at the inlet. Fluke fishing on the ocean seemed to depend on the day. On one day, the fishing was on. On the next couple, the angling shut down. Then it turned back on, and so on. There was a spread of the fish from the surf to the depths, and no place fished better for them than another, or no place held a concentration. Fluking improved at Axel Carlson and Sea Girt reefs, after the angling had been slow. Plenty of bluefish swam the ocean, but weighed 2 pounds. Bonito were mixed in, and frigate mackerel, a pile, Eric said, also swam the area. Ling fishing was good on the ocean, holding steady. Quite a few winter flounder were hooked among them. Bluefin tuna were trolled on ballyhoos earlier last week in the Chicken Canyon and Atlantic Princess wreck area or in 30 fathoms. The catches dropped out during the weekend, maybe because of boat traffic. Mahi mahi were around in the inshore ocean. Farther from shore, Toms Canyon fished fairly well for yellowfin tuna, some of them good-sized, around 60 pounds, during the weekend. Lots of white marlin roamed the area. A few yellowfins were chunked at night, but were finicky. Squid needed to be livelined to catch them. The crew from the Canyon Runner will give the shop’s next free seminar, on offshore fishing, in mid-August. The date will be announced, but the seminars are usually held at 7 p.m. on Thursdays. The seminars are free, and if attendance becomes full, the first to show up are the people who get to attend.
Point Pleasant Beach
Plenty of yellowfin tuna were boated, and the fishing also went 1 for 3 on white marlin, on a day troll to an offshore canyon Friday with Mushin Sportfishing, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. A photo included in the email showed eight yellowfins back at the dock from the trip. The trip’s tuna weighed 65 to 80 pounds, or they were good-sized. Two yellowfins were decked in the first 15 minutes of fishing. Then Mushin moved away from a fleet that was developing, “to find our own,” Alan said. The trip did find its own patch of biting yellowfins, and multiple hook-ups were nailed on several passes. The tuna were aggressive, and ballyoos skirted with Ilanders and Joe Shutes caught best. “Plenty of tuna fishing to come in August and September,” he said. Offshore and inshore trips are still being booked, and Mushin means a relaxed state of readiness. The crew pride themselves on sharing the concept on outdoor adventures.
Fishing for fluke was tough during the weekend on the party boat Norma-K III, Capt. Matt wrote in a report on the vessel’s website. Some areas gave up good action with throwbacks, but customers managed only a few keepers. Plenty of fluke swam the water, but south wind kept the bigger ones from biting, Matt thinks. That wind direction cools the ocean close to shore, because of upwelling. Wind was supposed to turn westerly today “and (is) supposed to be nice for the rest of the week,” he said. Forecasts called for no southerly wind, he added, so Matt expects the larger fluke to become more aggressive. Pink and white Gulps seemed to catch best, like on previous trips. On nighttime trips, plenty of bluefish were marked, but didn’t bite as well on Saturday and Sunday as before. On Saturday night, anglers in the stern caught 1-pounders well, but anglers on the sides only picked the bluefish. Sunday night’s bluefishing was a slow pick. But big blues that moved within range were heard about now, and Matt planned to sail for them tonight. Forecasts looked great for the nighttime trips this week. The Norma-K III is fluke fishing on two trips daily from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m., and is bluefishing 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
In the surf, fluke were becoming larger, and small to medium-sized blues tumbled in, and now snapper blues also did, John from The Dock Outfitters wrote in a report on the shop’s website. Fluke 3 to 5 pounds were weighed in daily from different places, and Gulp seemed the bait of choice for them. “But many tight-lipped anglers say differently, when you can pry something out of them,” he said. The really large fluke were usually nailed on natural baits, or at least a combination of natural and artificial. Something to keep in mind when searching for fluke from the beach or a boat, and a killie is only one of many natural baits that will work, he said. Crabbing was excellent both from the dock and the shop’s rental boats. From the dock, anglers could play with snapper blues, while waiting to check crab traps. 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.
Lots of bluefish 1 to 3 pounds and bonito 2 to 4 pounds, plenty, were trolled on trips Friday and Sunday on the Super Chic, Capt. Ted said. Fishing wasn’t that good on a trip for bluefin tuna Saturday near the Chicken Canyon. One tuna was fought quite a while but pulled the hook near the boat. A mahi mahi was landed and two mahis were lost. All the fish were trolled, and weather and seas were good, and the color and quality of the water, 73 to 74 degrees, was good. Not a lot of bait schooled, and Ted questioned but couldn’t know whether tuna that swam there previously had moved on. No trips fished for fluke the past few days, but Ted heard that fluking became good on the ocean Friday and Saturday morning. The next trip aboard is supposed to troll for blues and bonito Tuesday.
For anglers on the party boat Miss Barnegat Light, fluke fishing improved dramatically toward the end of the week, a report on the vessel’s website said. Lots of throwbacks and a handful of keepers were nabbed on each trip. On Saturday, the boat’s first drift moved well for the angling, but afterward, the vessel hardly drifted, because of wind against tide, slowing the fishing. Sunday’s fluking was a little better aboard. Rain fell in the morning, but forecasts looked great for the rest of this week. The Miss Barnegat Light is fishing for fluke and sea bass 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.
***Update, Wednesday, 7/30:*** From an edited email from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the Hi Flier: “We are heading out Thursday and Friday from 12 noon to 6 p.m. on open-boat trips for bonita at Barnegat Ridge. I usually don’t run offshore in the afternoon, but the weather looks great. No storm activity and light winds should make for a flat ocean. The bonita are there – I’ve been catching them (and so have) a few other captains I spoke with. We have to fish through the small bluefish that have also taken up residence there. The ridge has beautiful bluish/green water right now, and is loaded with small sand eels. Every fish we catch is gut-loaded with them. With that kind of food available, there’s no telling what species could move in next. Three people max. All fish are shared. We’ll also run open-boat 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. or later Saturday. I’m looking to push offshore a little farther on this one. Tuna and mahi are the quest. Thirty to 40 mile range if the weather is mint. If not, we’ll stick with the ridge. So far, the long-range forecast looks like we can run off on Saturday. We’ll be armed with a trolling arsenal, as well as bait and jigs. I troll 20-class to keep it sporty with the school fish. If the bigger fish are around, we have three 50-class outfits as well. Three people max. All fish are shared.”
Brown and sand tiger sharks swam all around Brigantine, a report on Riptide Bait & Tackle’s website said. Customers beached them from the surf during the weekend, and kingfish were around in the surf, but not heavy, the report said. One angler banked a 25-pound 43-inch striped bass from the surf on Fishbites on a kingfish rig. A family boated the back bay near the town for summer flounder, able to pick through throwbacks and bag four keepers to 4 pounds.
The Stray Cat is trolling blues and bonito 8 to 15 miles from shore, Capt. Mike said. The water is 74 ½ degrees and good-looking. “It’s the right stuff, believe me,” he said. The trips are trolling No. 1 and 2 Clark spoons, and if any larger are fished, “you kind of strike out,” he said. But bluefin tuna are coming up once in a while, so 7-inch cedar plugs in red and white are being dragged for them. “Very exciting on a 4/0 reel,” he said! Small mahi mahi are also swimming all over the lobster-pot buoys. Triggerfish are also holding along the buoys. So bring a spinning rod, and cobia are also in the area, and one angler missed two recently. A tuna trip was cancelled Sunday because of forecasts for wind. Storms kept barreling through on Saturday night, and the trip was supposed to depart at 4 a.m. Sunday. The boat is also fishing for summer flounder, and flounder angling is great at Ocean City Reef, holding lots. Just look for the fleet, Mike said. The next open-boat tuna trips with space available will fish August 16 and 24. Telephone to reserve while openings last. Charters are being booked.
The party boat Captain Robbins was docked a few days and will resume fishing Wednesday, Capt. Victor said. The trips are fishing for summer flounder and sea bass on the ocean 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. The Miss Ocean City, the company’s new party boat, will fish for flounder on the back bay daily as soon as the vessel is ready.
Sea Isle City
Fourteen dusky sharks and a spinner shark were fought and released on the John McGovern family’s charter aboard Friday, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service and Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. They fished with conventional rods and mackerel fillets, and Tom Wilkinson and friend aboard Saturday released four duskies, including one on a fly rod with a chum fly, the rest on conventional rods with mackerel. These were inshore sharking trips that are fishing with Jersey Cape. The trips catch and release sharks like duskies, browns, spinners and blacktips, some of them required to be let go, on conventional and fly rods, usually within 10 miles from shore. The fishing is a chance to fight big fish without the long trek offshore. Jersey Cape is also fishing for summer flounder, and lots of the flatfish, mostly throwbacks, swam the back bay. Flounder fishing started to improve on the ocean, giving up more keepers than before, when conditions were good. Fishing for striped bass with popper lures and flies is good on the bay, a specialty aboard. High tides at dusk, ideal conditions for the angling, happened last week, and come around every two weeks. Jersey Cape is also fishing offshore, where bluefin tuna and a healthy population of mahi mahi are swimming 30 fathoms. Farther off, yellowfin tuna, white marlin and mahi gathered at Lindenkohl Canyon recently. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s blog.
Fishing offshore bailed mahi mahi, lots, three yellowfin tuna about 70 pounds apiece and a white marlin Saturday with Melanie Anne Sport Fishing Charters, Capt. Frank said. The trip sailed 17 hours, a long time, because the boat kept being skirted around weather during the stormy day. The mahi included two big, 30-pound bulls and three 15-pounders. The rest, a bunch, weighed 8 or 10 pounds. The white grabbed a hook near a lobster pot buoy. All the fish were trolled, and the trip first fished Wilmington and Vries canyons and the south tip of Baltimore Canyon. Then the trip trolled the whole area inshore to the tip of the Elephant Trunk, because the boat was being skirted around weather. Another trip is supposed to tuna fish Wednesday or Thursday. The boat is also fishing for summer flounder, and Frank heard the angling was slow recently. Anglers in the Cape May Marlin and Tuna Club’s flounder tournament during the weekend were heard complaining about all the throwback flounder like 15 or 16 inches. But maybe that was just the location or another factor.
A bunch of small bluefish were trolled at 5-Fathom Bank on Luke and Suzie Madaue from Quebec’s charter Friday on the Heavy Hitter, Capt. George said. Then the anglers fished for summer flounder a little at Cape May Reef, pumping in lots of throwbacks and a 24-inch keeper. A cruise sailed aboard Friday, and a charter might sail for tuna Wednesday or Thursday, the next day with calm weather, on the boat. The anglers were weathered-out previously aboard. Summer flounder trips are slated aboard this coming weekend. George sent a friend to where the Heavy Hitter’s been sailing for tuna in 30 fathoms. The trip trolled seven bluefin tuna and two yellowfin tuna and broke off an especially large yellowfin on the troll. Mostly bluefins but a few yellowfins mixed in have been swimming those depths. Bluefins so far were smaller, were unders, this year. They were all larger or overs last year. Trips aboard have also been finding mahi mahi in the area. George heard about wahoos caught inshore for the first time this season, he said in the last report. Canyon tuna fishing farther offshore hasn’t sounded so good. One boat might chance into seven or eight yellowfins. But otherwise trips picked up one or two or a bigeye tuna. Lots of mahi swam those waters.