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Great Kills Harbor
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7:14
7:41
Atlantic Highlands
A.M.
P.M.
7:05
7:28
Sandy Hook,
Fort Hancock
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P.M.
7:15
7:38
Belmar,
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6:40
7:03
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7:26
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6:54
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7:28
7:50
East Point,
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8:49
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New Jersey
Saltwater Fishing Report

Report from Monday, March 20.

| Keyport | Atlantic Highlands | Belmar | Brielle | Point Pleasant Beach | Toms River | Forked River | Barnegat Light | Mystic Island | Absecon | Atlantic City | Egg Harbor Township | Longport | Ocean City | Sea Isle City | Cape May | Last Week's Report |
IN WINTER THROUGH MARCH,
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED
EVERY MONDAY, AND A FEW
UPDATES ARE POSTED
EVERY THURSDAY,
SOMETIMES ON OTHER DAYS

THE REPORT IS FULLY UPDATED
EVERY MONDAY AND THURSDAY
FROM APRIL THROUGH FALL
Keyport
Fishing will begin with open-boat striped bass trips Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and 2, on the Vitamin Sea, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. Some space remains, and anglers should also bring a winter flounder rod to mix in fishing for them. Last year on April 1 and 2 aboard, “we had good bass fishing and we never got the chance to flounder pound,” he wrote. Flounder should still be in the bay this year, because of snow that fell late this winter, keeping water cool. Good dates are still available for charters for stripers, blackfish and fluke. Two charters will be available daily during the heart of striper season. Open-boat striper trips will fish when no charter is booked and will be announced in emails and on Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page during the previous week. Like the page, including to see photos during the fishing season. Shots will also be posted on this website, Frank noted. He thanks those who stopped and saw him at the Penn booth at the Saltwater Fishing Expo on Friday. He was supposed to be there Saturday, too, but became scheduled to shoot a TV show on the Vitamin Sea that day, though that ended up weathered out. He looks forward to the fishing season and seeing anglers. “Get your dose of Vitamin Sea!”

Atlantic Highlands
A couple of anglers had beached small, rat striped bass, not many, from the bay at Keyport before the recent cold, said Jay from Julian’s Bait & Tackle. That made fishing look like it would begin to produce, until the cold and snow arrived, though weather was somewhat warmer now. Nobody reported fishing for winter flounder. Sandworms and bloodworms will be stocked Friday. The shop had begun to carry the worms because of warmer weather, then cold began. Fresh clams will be carried next when the supplier makes them available.

Fisherman’s Den North will open for the season on April 1, Tom said. The shop wasn’t open currently, because nothing really happened with fishing locally. No striped bass were even banked from shore on Raritan Bay, really. That’s some of the year’s first angling that will take off. Nobody mentioned winter flounder fishing in the area. Flounder were pulled from Shark River, mentioned in the report below from the store’s sister shop, Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, farther south. Fishing from Atlantic Highlands beginning April 1 will include blackfishing from the port’s party boats. Blackfish season will open throughout that month and be closed afterward.

Belmar
Not a lot was doing, said Tom from Fisherman’s Den. Winter flounder were eased from Shark River. All bait and supplies are stocked, and the store’s rental boats are in the water for the fishing. A few throwback striped bass were slid from the surf. Customers anticipated the opening of blackfish season beginning on April 1, two Saturdays away. Party boats from Belmar will sail for the tautog on the ocean.

Brielle
***Update, Thursday, 3/23:*** Gusts to 40 knots were expected to weather out yesterday’s trip on the Jamaica II, the party boat’s Facebook page said. But weather looks good for the weekend, and trips are expected to sail for cod and ling 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The trips are slated for Wednesdays and both days of weekends.

Winter flounder had been scooped from Barnegat Bay, said Alex from
The Reel Seat. But little was mentioned about the fishing since the cold last week, though weather became somewhat warmer in past days. Sometimes weather this week is supposed to reach the 50 degrees, and the 60s on Saturday. Maybe more anglers will fish. Surely flounder swam the bay. Customers fish the northern bay toward Mantoloking Bridge and Point Pleasant Canal for flounder. Small striped bass had been hooked from the surf when weather was warmer. Alex landed 15 in a trip in late February. The Reel Seat is open Thursdays through Sundays and will probably be open daily beginning in the first or second week of April.

Point Pleasant Beach
***Update, Thursday, 3/23:*** The Norma-K III is back at the dock and will fish this weekend, a report said on the party boat’s website. The trips will run for cod, pollock and ling 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and fresh clams will be supplied. The vessel had been in dry dock for painting. Trips will blackfish daily beginning April 1.

***Update, Thursday, 3/23:*** Fishing sailed Saturday and Tuesday on the party boat Dauntless, Capt. Butch said. A handful of cod, pollock and ling, not many, were bagged. A couple of throwback blackfish were released, and lots of dogfish bit. The angling was slow, but the boat might’ve been the only that fished from New Jersey during the stretch of days. Dauntless is always slated to fish daily year-round, maybe the only boat that is in the state. Christmas is the only day no trip is scheduled. The trips this past week only sailed on days when weather was perfect, because that’s when enough anglers showed up. The boat was readied to run yesterday, a windy day, for instance, but only three anglers showed up. More anglers might’ve showed if other boats were slated to fish. But the Dauntless was the only being lighted up in the mornings. More are supposed to begin fishing this weekend, though. The trips fished in 130 feet of water to 140. Saturday’s trip tried deeper, but getting bait past dogfish was impossible there. The boat’s water-temperature gauge was out of service, but Butch knew that the ocean along shore was 42 degrees, and had been 39. The temperature was yet to rise for the season and was the same for some time. No mackerel were heard about, but the boat mixes in mackerel fishing, along with bottom-fishing, when the spring mackerel migration swims within range. The Dauntless is bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Fishing will kick off on April 1 with trips for cod, ling and blackfish on the Gambler, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Trips will switch to striped bass fishing as soon as the bass migrate the ocean. Capt. Bob and crew thank everyone who visited the boat’s booth at the Saltwater Fishing Expo this weekend.

Toms River
***Update, Thursday, 3/23:*** Small striped bass, sometimes a keeper, a few white perch and a couple of winter flounder were lifted from the Toms River at Island Heights, said Jeff from Murphy’s Hook House. Anglers fished for them from land, mostly with bloodworms. But the stripers seemed to begin hitting small plugs at moments. Jeff wasn’t asked about the time of day the stripers were caught, but the store previously reported that nighttime was the time. Stripers, some of them decent-sized, and winter flounder were flung from Oyster Creek, the warm-water discharge from Forked River power plant. Anglers fished for stripers there with paddletails, sometimes rubber shads. Occasionally they dunked bloods for the fish. A few flounder were reported from Barnegat Bay near Mantoloking Bridge and Manasquan River near Point Pleasant Canal. A few small stripers, no keepers, were heard about from the surf. Bloodworms were also cast for them. Some surf anglers fished clams, and a couple worked plugs. Only 1 ½ dozen bloodworms were stocked yesterday, but the worms are supposed to be restocked Friday. Sandworms and fresh clams were stocked. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns
Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Forked River
Small striped bass were reeled from Oyster Creek on tackle like a ¾-ounce Spro or other jighead with a soft-plastic lure like a Bass Assassin or a rubber shad, said Dane from Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle. Someone said a few bigger – 28- to 30-inchers – were caught early Saturday morning. Winter flounder might’ve bitten in the creek, but this weekend was Dane’s first back at the shop for the season, and he heard about no flounder yet. The creek is the warm-water discharge from the Forked River power plant. Bloodworms, nightcrawlers and chum is stocked. The store is trying to keep killies stocked.

Barnegat Light
Capt. Ted from the Super Chic hopes to begin fishing by May 1, he said. He’ll certainly be ready before sea bass season is opened. The season is yet to be announced and last year began on May 23. He’d like to fish for ling and cod before then, a little far from shore. Open-boat tilefish trips might also fish in May and June. The boat is in the water – usually is, year-round – and is undergoing maintenance like new windows and painting. Ted knew about no boaters fishing recently. Boaters from Barnegat Light saw mackerel three or four weeks ago. Gillnetters caught the Bostons. That was when weather was warmer, and whether the mackerel departed since was unknown. When weather becomes a little warmer, a few boaters will surely poke out again. Small striped bass landed at Oyster Creek were the only catches known about. That’s the warm-water discharge from Forked River power plant. Ted heard nothing about winter flounder from the creek. Cold weather might’ve kept anglers scarcer than before. He visited the Saltwater Fishing Expo at 11 a.m. Saturday, and the event was mobbed.

Mystic Island
***Update, Thursday, 3/23:*** Some white perch and small striped bass were hung upstream on Mullica River, said Brandon from Scott’s Bait & Tackle. But striper fishing slowed everywhere because water cooled in chillier weather. The angling at Graveling Point went from anglers nailing a mess of stripers to maybe an angler would land one currently. The water there was 40 degrees on Monday, and could be colder now. Fifty-degrees is good for striper fishing there. So the temp’s got a ways to go. Forecasts look warmer for the weekend. “Hopefully, that’s spring trying to break through,” he said. “But we’ll see.” Graveling is a shore-angling spot at the confluence of the Mullica and Great Bay, known for early-season striper catches. The river pouring onto relatively warm flats there seems to attract them. Rivers are warmer than bays and the ocean in spring. Plus, Graveling is just a place that’s accessible, part of the reason for the spot’s popularity. The annual $100 gift certificate to the store remains up for grabs for the angler who checks-in the year’s first keeper striper from Graveling. Many throwback stripers were played there when striper season opened March 1 in bays and rivers, covered in previous reports here. Weather was warm in February, then became colder. So the water became colder. Customers who currently caught stripers and perch upstream on the Mullica were tight-lipped about locations. There isn’t a huge stretch of the river that can be fished for them, so the anglers didn’t reveal that. A few customers headed north and fished for stripers at Oyster Creek, the warm-water discharge from Forked River power plant. That fishing seemed slower than before because of the weather, too, according to them.

Absecon
Wasn’t a lot of interest in fishing during the weekend, said Capt. Dave from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. Today’s weather was the first that was better since the cold. An angler this morning already tugged in a striped bass who previously won the weekly prize of a T-shirt for the fish photo that gets the most Likes on the store’s Facebook page. Stripers and white perch likely remained in the same areas in rivers like the Mullica where they were angled before the cold. That’s because weather was cold, but nothing worse. Water temperature might’ve needed to rise a couple of degrees to make stripers as active as before. Interest seemed to be just building back up. Conditions should be in order for the catches to resume. Dave’s ready to begin his striper charters on the Mullica this week, if anglers want to go. Rumors circulated that stripers might’ve begun to arrive in waters near Cape May that migrated from south, but Dave considered them only rumors. Bloodworms, live grass shrimp, minnows and fresh clams are stocked.

Atlantic City
Weather was rough and cold, dropping water to 40 degrees, said Noel from One Stop Bait & Tackle. But today was better, and was the first day of spring. Last week’s severe cold was the last of the fishing season, he hopes. Ling and a few striped bass bit in Absecon Inlet before the water was rough. That should kick back in, and cast cut bait like mullet and clams for the ling, and bloodworms for the stripers. All of that bait, including extra-large bloods, and more, a full supply, is stocked. Customers fish the jetty-lined inlet on foot near the shop. Lots of stripers were angled from rivers before the cold. The migration of stripers and bluefish will invade the inlet and adjacent surf this spring. That’s all one of the best places for the fishing in New Jersey that season. Noel was supposed to be on the radio with Atlantic City’s mayor last weekend on the Shep on Fishing show, but that’s been postponed to this coming weekend. The mayor is supposed to talk about fishing access to the inlet since the boardwalk is being rebuilt along those waters. Anglers are concerned whether plenty of access will remain and would like reassurance. In addition to fishing, crabbing becomes available in the Atlantic City area when weather becomes warmer. Noel recently posted a video of a good crabbing spot on the shop’s Facebook page.

Egg Harbor Township
As many striped bass could be played as anglers wanted on Great Egg Harbor and Mullica rivers, said John from 24-7 Bait & Tackle. Most of the fish were throwbacks, and good-sized white perch 12 and 13 inches came from the rivers. Both catches were bloodwormed, and the worms are stocked. The company also owns 24-7 Bait & Tackle in Marmora. The company is also opening a store named Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point.

Longport
No trips fished in 9-foot seas this weekend on the Stray Cat, Capt. Mike said. Open-boat trips will sail this weekend for cod, ling, mackerel or whatever will bite, if weather is fishable, in 20 fathoms. Those trips were going to begin this past weekend, and trips will blackfish on the ocean beginning the following weekend, the first weekend of April. Blackfish season will be opened throughout that month and closed afterward.

Ocean City
Water became cold, because of cold weather, slowing striped bass fishing on rivers, said Ed from Fin-Atics. A few hardy anglers plucked a few white perch from Great Egg and Mullica rivers. Stripers were active there before the water chilled. That angling looked ahead of schedule during a warm spell previously. The bay then was 52 degrees, and on Friday was 38. Even the ocean cooled to 41 degrees from 45 or 46 previously. Bloodworms for the striper and perch fishing were out of stock this weekend and weren’t restocked because of the weather. But they’ll be restocked this week. The shop is open daily.

Sea Isle City
Surely anglers nabbed a few striped bass from the back bay, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service and Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. But weather’s been tough, even for painting the boat’s bottom. He can’t paint on 40-degree days. His season’s first trips from Sea Isle will jump on the bass. By mid-April, the bay’s fishing will explode. The migration of bluefish will arrive, the stripers will still bite, and weakfish and out-of-season summer flounder will be mixed in. That’s all in the bay and some of the best fishing of the year. Anglers should take advantage. In the meantime, Joe’s running annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys. That fishing was fantastic this weekend, with Darrel Cooper and two buddies aboard. On Friday they boated three permit, jumped three tarpon and hung a variety of other fish, including lemon sharks, bonnethead sharks, snappers and jacks, catching all day. On Saturday, Darrel beat a bonefish that was his first-ever, and the trip whipped a variety of other catches, including lemons, bonnetheads, mangrove snappers, mutton snappers and groupers. On Sunday they whaled catches including barracudas, yellow jacks, other jacks, muttons, mangroves and more. At least 20 different species were landed on the trips, phenomenal fishing, pretty much non-stop catches. The trips fished the bay near Islamorada. Earlier in winter, fishing wasn’t as good in the Everglades. Whether that changed was unknown, and Joe had no reason to leave the water near Islamorada currently, because that angling caught. Weather was a little breezy at times, and more of the trips will fish next weekend. The trips, fishing mostly on weekends, sail every Christmas to Easter. See the traveling charters’ page on Jersey Cape’s website. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s Blog.

Cape May
***Update, Thursday, 3/23:*** Weather looks good, so the party boat
Porgy IV will sail for mackerel this weekend, Capt. Paul said in a voicemail. Some were caught off Ocean City, Md., a couple of weeks ago. The Porgy IV’s been on break from fishing since blackfish season closed this month. Trips will blackfish again in April. The season for the tautog will be open that month and closed afterward. The boat departs at 8 a.m.

Last Week's Report
Report from Monday, 3/13:

Keyport

Three open-boat trips for striped bass will kick off the year’s fishing Friday through Sunday on Raritan Bay with the Down Deep Fleet, Capt. Mario said. A few spaces were left, and the trips were slated when weather was warmer. Temperatures were lower since, and a big snowstorm is forecast for tomorrow, after a smaller one of the storms last week. Plenty of bunker schooled the bay until a few days ago, because weather was beautiful and unseasonably warm in February. The baitfish schooled including from the New Jersey side to Staten Island, in the back of the bay. Whether they remained was unknown, and the last snow probably made them move deeper. But they’ll come back, if so, when weather improves. Telephone to climb aboard, and open trips will sail daily for stripers beginning with those trips, and charters are available. Down Deep runs two 40-foot boats, each accommodating up to 15 passengers. Bring the whole crew, and the boats feature large cockpits, heated cabins, full galleys and more. Open trips daily and charters will sail for sea bass, cod, ling and winter flounder in spring, and for jumbo fluke in spring and summer. Join the Short Notice List on Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about special open trips.

Neptune

***Update, Thursday, 3/16:*** Individual-reservation trips have been scheduled to fish for sea bass May 31 and cod June 21, Capt. Ralph from Last Lady Fishing Charters wrote in an email. Contact him to reserve, and in a report here a week ago from today he said the boat would be splashed in a couple of weeks. A new engine and a new generator were installed, and blackfishing in April will kick off the year’s fishing aboard.

Belmar

Surf anglers “had high expectations for an early bass run,” Bob from Fisherman’s Den wrote in an email. That was because small, resident striped bass had been biting in the surf during mild weather this winter. But weather turned colder, a snowstorm hit last week, and a big one is forecast for tomorrow. The snow will probably chill the water and might not encourage the migration of larger stripers to arrive early. Winter flounder gave up fair fishing in Shark River. None of the party boats fished because of rough weather including wind. “We hope to see that change soon,” he wrote.

Bunker had pushed into Raritan Bay, and boats in southern states had run into the mackerel migration, said Capt. Pete from Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters. Those were signs of the changing seasons, and the bunker will attract striped bass. But whether the cold weather recently pulled the bunker out of the bay was unknown. Pete’s shooting to begin fishing in April. Trips then will sail for blackfish, ling and cod. Striped bass trips, fishing the ocean, will begin sometime in May. Then the striper migration pours into the ocean from rivers and bays. Anglers aboard usually liveline bunker for the stripers by mid-May. See Parker Pete’s calendar on the boat’s website for available dates. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s anyway for individual spaces with charters who want more anglers. Sign up for the email blast on the website to be kept informed about the spaces. Catch Parker Pete’s booth Friday through Sunday at the Saltwater Fishing Expo at the Garden State Exhibition Center in Somerset. Get $75 off a charter if you book at the event with a coupon from the show’s website.

Brielle

News was scarce in the cold, said John from The Reel Seat. Winter flounder were plucked from Barnegat Bay near Mantoloking Bridge and from Toms River. None was known about from Manasquan River yet. Flounder eventually migrate to the Manasquan, swimming through Point Pleasant Canal from the bay. They’ll migrate to the ocean in spring. Striped bass were angled from Oyster Creek, he guessed. He lives nearby and kept seeing 15 or 20 vehicles parked there. The creek is the warm-water discharge from Forked River power plant. John knew about no party boats that fished in the weather this past week. The Reel Seat is open Thursdays through Sundays. Stop by the shop’s booth, exhibiting only tilefishing gear, Friday through Sunday at the Saltwater Fishing Expo at the Garden State Exhibition Center in Somerset. Tackle including rods, reels, rigs and jigs will be for sale. The store carries custom tilefish rods, and the owner is a tilefishing expert.

Point Pleasant Beach

***Update, Friday, 3/17:*** The Norma-K III’s been getting painted and will be out of the yard today, a report said on the party boat’s website. Stop by and check it out, it said, and fishing will resume April 1 aboard. Then blackfish trips will sail 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The season for the tautog, closed this month, will be open in April and closed again beginning in May.

***Update, Thursday, 3/16:*** Bottom-fishing sailed twice recently, on Sunday and last Thursday, between weather on the party boat Dauntless, Capt. Butch said. A few cod and pollock and a couple of out-of-season blackfish were wrenched in. Dogfish and bergals gave up plenty of action. The fishing was slow, but the Dauntless seemed the only head boat that fished from New Jersey this past week. The vessel might be the only from Jersey that’s annually slated to fish daily year-round. Christmas is the only day a trip’s not scheduled. The trips fished in 120-foot depths to 140, no deeper because an unbelievable number of dogfish bit deeper. The season was early for the dogs, and gillnetters found the sharks 4 miles from shore, and the season was very early for that. The ocean on the fishing grounds was probably 39 to 42 degrees. Butch heard about no mackerel since mackerel were party-boated off Virginia Beach a couple of weeks ago. Commercial boaters talked about finding mackerel 80 miles off Jersey recently, but those mackerel were very small. Butch hopes the migration of larger will arrive within range this coming season. During springs when the fish do, trips aboard mix in mackerel fishing with bottom-fishing. About 2 inches of snow fell before sunrise Tuesday in the storm that slammed the Northeast. Rain fell the rest of the day. Wind gusted to 40 to 60 m.p.h. that day and to 30 or 40 Wednesday. But the wind was from west Wednesday, helping to calm seas near the coast that built during the storm. The Dauntless is bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Tuna charters to the southern canyons are being booked for June and July with Mushin Sportfishing, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. The boat will sail from Cape May Marina those months, taking advantage of yellowfin tuna fishing and some of the best bigeye tuna fishing that erupts then from Wilmington to Norfolk canyons. Plus, the trips mix in fishing for mako sharks and tilefish when possible. What’s more, they mix in fishing for bluefin tuna and yellowfins at inshore spots like Massey’s Canyon and the Hot Dog when possible. The 24- and 30-hour trips are set up to maximize opportunities. Trolling and chunking for tuna, drifting for the sharks and deep-dropping for tiles might be done all in one trip. The charters are discounted $200 when booked in advance. Of course, June and July are T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops weather. Mushin means a relaxed state of readiness. The crew pride themselves on sharing the concept on outdoor adventures.

Toms River

***Update, Thursday, 3/16:*** Nobody seemed to fish in the cold in past days, said Mario from Murphy’s Hook House. Previously, a good number of striped bass, mostly throwbacks, were bloodwormed from the Toms River. Night was the time for that, and winter flounder were sporadically angled from the river. White perch fishing was about the same on the river: sporadic. But the perch fishing began to heat up, until news dried up because of the cold. Oyster Creek’s striper and flounder fishing was about the same as on the Toms. Oyster is the warm-water discharge from the Forked River power plant. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Barnegat

***Update, Friday, 3/17:*** From an edited email from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the Hi Flier: “The Hi Flier will begin fishing on Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, and Monday, May 1. Really hoping those gator bluefish invade Barnegat Bay again as they did in 2015 and 2016. It’s hard to beat that action with 12- to 20-pound blues in 4 feet of water on surface lures. Last year we had them by the end of April and caught them all the way to June 1. Last year was also the first season in a long time that I had successful clamming for stripers in the bay. It also started in late April, and produced through all of May. The big surprise was the size of the fish: 12- to 15-pounders with some over 20. In years past our average fish was 8 to 10 pounds. If you take away the cold blast we just had, it really was a mild winter. With January and February very timid, it has all the signs of an early or at least ‘on time’ start. The new Hi Flier is a 25-foot World Cat with twin Honda 130 four strokes. I’m setting my sights on the blue water a little more this year. In particular the boat will be in Ocean City, Md., from June 30 to July 10, sailing every day for yellowfin and bluefin tuna. Last year Massey’s Canyon was on fire for the entire month of July with 30- to 60-pound yellowfin and 75- to 150-pound bluefin, all mixed together … on the chunk! Any way you can catch a tuna is exciting, but day chunking is as good as it gets. I got down there twice last year on a friend’s boat and connected both times. We sailed 40 miles from Cape May, and I thought that was close. When I plugged the coordinates in on a chart, we fished 25 miles off Ocean City, Md. So I rented a house with a boat slip and we’re going to hit it hard those first 10 days of July. If for some reason the tuna don’t show up at Massey’s again (they will), it’s only 55 to 60 miles to the nearest canyons for tuna, billfish, wahoo, mahi … c’mon! Finally, as some of you may or may not now, I launched a brand of fishing apparel last winter: Psyquatic. We’ll have our full line of apparel on display at the Salt Water Fishing Expo in Somerset, N.J., today through Sunday. T-Shirts, long sleeve, performance (quick dry) and hooded sweatshirts in four designs: Psyquatic Logo, Striper on Darter, Yellowfin Tuna on Squid, Mako on Mahi. You could also see them at Psyquatic.com. We’re in corner booth 312 and will have both Psyquatic and the Hi Flier on display. Stop by and say ‘Hey.’ Looking forward to seeing everyone on board.”

Absecon

Not much was reported in the cold during the weekend, said Capt. Dave from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. Previously, loads of striped bass including a few keepers bit in rivers including the Mullica. The cold might’ve slowed the fishing, but the bass will stay in the rivers currently. When weather improves a little, the fishing should be back on. Not so much snow is forecast locally in tomorrow’s storm, and the storm should depart quickly. Dave will launch his striper charters probably in a week for the season. The abundant stripers seemed to slow white perch fishing in the rivers, and if the cold slowed the stripers, maybe the perch angling picked up. The year’s first through third stripers were already checked-in at the store, and the store’s annual prizes for the fish were awarded, covered in previous reports here. Prizes remained for the first heavier than 20 and 30 pounds and the first that a woman, a boy and a girl bring in. All baits are stocked for current fishing, including bloodworms, live grass shrimp and fresh clams.

Mystic Island

***Update, Thursday, 3/16:*** An occasional angler mustered up striped bass at the power plant, said Brandon from Scott’s Bait & Tackle. He meant Oyster Creek, the warm-water discharge from the Forked River nuclear plant, a distance north from the shop. Not much else was doing in the cold. White perch could be taken from Mullica River that’s near the store. They even bite when ice-fishing is possible during some winters. But the low temperature shut striper fishing down at Graveling Point, the shore-angling spot at the confluence of the Mullica and Great Bay that’s known for early-season stripers. Stripers bit there already this season during warmer weather, including on opening day of striper season, March 1, on rivers and bays, covered in the previous report here. The store’s annual $100 gift certificate remained available for the angler who checks-in the year’s first keeper striper from Graveling. The cold shut off striper fishing farther up the river, too. One or two could probably be managed if anglers were persistent. Plenty of stripers, mostly throwbacks, an occasional keeper, hit in the river there during higher temps this season. Bloodworms, fresh clams in the shell, live grass shrimp and minnows are stocked.

Atlantic City

Weather becoming cold kept participation down, but ling are being swung from Absecon Inlet when anglers get out, said Noel from One Stop Bait & Tackle. So are a few striped bass, and stripers are also being eased from the bay. So are white perch and winter flounder. At the inlet, located near the shop, fish cut bait including mullet and clams for the ling, and bloodworms for the stripers. All those baits and more, including live grass shrimp, are stocked. Less snow is forecast for tomorrow locally than farther north in New Jersey, but one never knows. This storm might be the last major winter weather, Noel thinks. The migrations of bluefish and large stripers are impending. Stripers locally and practically everywhere in New Jersey currently are smaller, younger ones, yet to migrate. The tackle supplier said blues began to arrive in Delaware, and stores there were ordering bluefish tackle. Noel is supposed to be on Shep on Fishing’s radio show Saturday with Atlantic City’s mayor, talking about angler access to the inlet from the boardwalk that’s being reconstructed. The jetties along the inlet are also being reconstructed, and everything looks beautiful, Noel said. The construction has included probably five blocks of new jetties along the inlet, and the jetty-lined inlet was already known for attracting fish. The addition of more jetties might make the area blackfishing central, Noel thinks. The inlet was already known for blackfish, and jetties attract crustaceans and other forage that attract the tautog and nearly every other fish. The inlet is one of the best places in New Jersey for bluefishing and striper fishing in spring for anglers on foot. Anglers are concerned about access to the inlet since the new construction, and need to fight to ensure the town accommodates them. Currently, anglers can duck under the boardwalk railing to easily step onto a completely flat jetty that runs parallel to the boardwalk. That gives access to abundant jetties that line the inlet perpendicular to that jetty and the boardwalk.

Longport

Capt. Mike from the Stray Cat will try to run open-boat trips the next two Saturdays and Sundays for cod, ling, mackerel or whatever will bite, if weather is fishable, he said. That will be along the 20-fathom line, and the boat usually begins fishing around St. Patrick’s Day. Trips will jump on blackfish in April, when blackfish season is open. The season is closed this month and again beginning in May. The boat is in the water and ready to fish. New gear includes rods and trolling gear.

Ocean City

A few striped bass and white perch were heard about from Great Egg, Middle and Tuckahoe rivers, said Bill from Fin-Atics. Not a lot was reported about the angling, so the fact that only a few of the fish were heard about didn’t mean only a few swam the rivers. It meant that anybody fishing the rivers was only heard about a few times. Not more than one or two of the stripers were keepers that were mentioned. Stripers should also bite along bridges on the bay, like the 9th Street Bridge, he thinks, but heard little about that. More anglers fished when weather became warmer a couple of weeks ago. Herring usually migrate up the rivers in late March. The migration of big stripers, heading north after winter, follows the baitfish into the waters. Both the bait and the bass head up rivers to spawn. Customers usually pick at fish in March. Then suddenly the migrations belt in. The bay was 45 degrees, the last Bill saw. The water was probably somewhat colder now in colder weather. Fin-Atics is now open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, after being open on Fridays through Sundays for winter until now. Bloodworms are now stocked, and frozen baits are on hand.

Cape May

Capt. George will try to splash the Heavy Hitter in early April, he said. Trips will blackfish that month aboard the ocean. Striped bass might swim Delaware Bay that month, but usually far up the bay toward Delaware River, too far for trips from Cape May. George heard about no boats fishing. They could’ve fished in mild weather in February. But weather became cold and rough now. He checked on the boat in dry dock yesterday, and weather felt freezing and windy. Drum charters will fish in May on the bay aboard. Drum usually arrive in April sometime. They usually arrive then take some time to bite, and small ones usually do first. Then suddenly big bite, and that will probably happen in May.