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Saltwater Fishing Report

Report from Monday, August 3.

| Staten Island | Keyport | Atlantic Highlands | Neptune | Belmar | Brielle | Point Pleasant Beach | Barnegat Light | Longport | Sea Isle City | Avalon | Wildwood | Cape May | Last Thursday's Report |
Staten Island
Anglers had to work for fluke, but if they did, they bagged them, said Capt. Chuck from Angler Sportfishing Charters. A trip Sunday with five anglers scored well aboard. In 15 or 20 minutes, eight to 10 fluke would be hooked, and all would be throwbacks. But keepers were decked when the anglers worked for them, and all left with fluke. Trips aboard are drifting across Ambrose Channel, from shallow to deep and back to shallow. Fluke balls, bucktails and bait, all the different tackle, were fished on Sunday’s trip. Strips of bunker seemed to hook the bigger fluke on the trip. Striped bass fishing at night slowed that Angler did previously. This was the summer doldrums for that.

Fishing for fluke was up and down in the past week, because of the full moon, Capt. Mario from the Down Deep Fleet guessed, he said. The angling was okay Sunday aboard, and some big, including a 9-pounder, a 7-1/2-pounder and some 3- to 5-pounders were crushed on the trip. The fluking was definitely improved that day, and the big fluke bailed out the trip. The moon also affected ling and cod trips aboard that week, because of strong currents in the deep. But Mario hopes all this fishing will pick back up as the moon wanes now. Charters are sailing, and join the Short Notice List on Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about special open-boat trips. Also see the site’s open-trips page for available dates. Open trips include 12-hour marathons for fluke or ling and cod. Up to 15 passengers can be accommodated.

On the Vitamin Sea, last week was a great one for fluke fishing, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. He took the weekend off, because of a family function. But the fluking last week gave up good action and enough keepers, including plenty of jumbos “to get your heart pumping.” One weighed 10 pounds, two weighed more than 9, four weighed more than 8, and three were larger than 6. Big fluke are in, and August is always a month for big ones. Trips fished anywhere from 5 to 15 miles from the dock. Sometimes trips had to travel to look for the best possible conditions, and conditions are the most important factor in fluking. Bring a rod that can handle deep water and strong current. Twelve ounces sometimes needed to be fished. Both bait and bucktails caught well. The Vitamin Sea’s natural drift, he said, because of the big keel, gives trips an advantage. “One thing you can count on is that I will give you the best possible day I can, each and every time I sail,” he said. The Vitamin Sea is a dedicated fluke boat all summer. “We know how to find them and how to fish for them,” he said. “We will teach you.” Weather looks great this week. Charters or open-boat trips are available Tuesday and Wednesday. Only one spot is left for an open trip Thursday. Three spaces are available for an open trip Friday, and the weekend if full. No trips will fish August 9 to 16. Check out photos of the week’s catches on Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page.

Atlantic Highlands
A few fluke were winged on Saturday morning’s trip, and the afternoon trip’s fluking was tough, and the weekend was no bargain, said Capt. Tom from the party boat Atlantic Star. The boat drifted too fast on Saturday afternoon’s trip, and anglers couldn’t hold bottom. The fishing improved a little on Sunday’s trips aboard, wasn’t good, but was better than Saturday’s. Wind blew against tide on this morning’s trip, when Tom gave this report at 9:30 a.m. in a phone call on the outing, but some fluke were caught. The angling could’ve been better, and could’ve been worse. In general, quite a few fluke were hooked on trips, and a few were keepers. When conditions were good, the fishing was better. The boat fished Sandy Hook and Raritan bays, and some spots gave up lots of throwbacks, not many keepers. Farther out in Raritan Bay, fewer fluke bit, but bigger ones were more common. 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.

“Big fish Friday!” Capt. Ron wrote about the day’s fluke trip on the party boat Fishermen, on the vessel’s website. Mike Bartholomeo heaved in a 9-pounder, his personal best. Tom the Vet cracked an 8-pounder, his biggest this season. He boated that fish on the final drift, and had landed a keeper at the dock, before the trip had departed. Several 4- to 6-pounders were bagged, and the high hook caught four keepers. The trip’s fishing, on the ocean, began with a slow pick of throwback fluke and some sea bass, while the boat was power-drifted. Conditions failed to drift the boat otherwise. The boat was moved “to find the tide line … (and) had the drift of the day,” Ron said. Sea bass season was closed beginning Saturday. The weekend’s fluking was tough aboard in difficult conditions. Ron has talked before about wind against tide, no current, no drift, he said. The boat met lousy conditions like that during the weekend, and when that happens, fluking’s usually not good. The fishing began where the good fishing was the day before, but that didn’t matter. Holes and channels were then worked, picking away, and life was found in new areas that should prove fruitful when conditions are right. Ron works every day to get it done, and when fishing’s tough, he works twice as hard for customers, he said. The Fishermen is sailing for fluke 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Trips are fishing for fluke, porgies, croakers or whatever bites 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 3:30 to 9 p.m. Sundays.

Toward the end of a trip, good-sized fluke were boated Saturday with
Last Lady Fishing Charters, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. Many throwbacks, too many an inch undersized, bit previously on the outing. But the better-sized fluke at the end seemed good news, and Ralph thinks good fluking has begun. Before that day, fluking wasn’t that good, fair on some days. Weather looks iffy for the weekly, individual-reservation trip for fluke Tuesday, and contact Ralph after 4 p.m. today for an update, and he’ll have the latest weather forecast then. The trips are fishing every Tuesday, and kids under 12 sail free on the outings, limited to two per adult host. Fishing inshore for ling, cod, pollock and winter flounder is the best Ralph’s seen in a long time. Two spaces are available for the inshore wreck-fishing Sunday on an individual-reservation trip, and spaces are available for another on August 30. Fishing for cod to 40 pounds is great offshore, and space is available for an individual-reservation trip for that on September 2. Sea bass fishing was excellent until sea bass season was closed starting Saturday. Sea bass season will be reopened October 22 through the end of the year, and book those trips now. They’re filling up, and Last Lady will chase sea bass then until they migrate far offshore. Saturday, August 15, and Sunday, August 23, are weekend dates still available for charters this month. Some evenings are also available for weekend charters this month.

For fluke anglers this year, one week fished well, and another fished poor, Bob from Fisherman’s Den wrote in an email. The angling was a roller coaster ride, he said, and Sunday fished well for the flatfish. Some good-sized were taken, including Josh Early’s 7-pound 9-ouncer and Ashley Bookholdt’s 6-pound 10-ouncer. Earlier last week, Al Hilton bagged an 8-pound 8-ouncer. On Saturday, a good mix of fluke 3 pounds to heavier than 7 pounds were weighed-in for the Jersey Coats Anglers Association’s fluke tournament. Bluefishing was unpredictable. On Saturday night, small blues were caught in better numbers. On Friday during daytime, only a few blues were hooked, but large were caught, including Thomas Melito’s 19-pound 14-ouncer on the Miss Belmar Princess. Anglers didn’t understand the swings in bluefishing this season, but hoped they changed. On Shark River, fishing for fluke and snapper blues was a good choice for families with kids. The fish were plentiful and mostly small. Seventy-five percent of the fluke were throwbacks in the river.

For Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters, fluking picked up somewhat, Capt. Pete said. Some different areas on the ocean were fished than before, and the angling wasn’t a ball of fire, but some better-sized fluke were iced. Not a ton of keepers are biting, but the keepers are good-sized. Trips dealt with currents because of the full moon, and Pete hoped that when the currents slowed, that would help. Parker Pete’s won first place for the Shark River port in Saturday’s Jersey Coast Angler Association’s fluke tournament with a 27-inch fluke that weighed just under 8 pounds. Three other fluke heavier than 6 pounds were boxed on the trip. Fluke trips aboard include On the Water Seminars that teach bucktailing for big fluke in a non-threatening environment. A few spaces are available Wednesday for one of those trips. Space is available on more of the seminars August 17 and 25 that were just added. Novices learn bucktailing, and the somewhat experienced hone the skill, on the outings. Anglers should contact Parker Pete’s, even if they don’t have enough anglers for a charter. That’s because individual spaces are available on charters. Jump on Parker Pete’s website to subscribe to the email blast to be kept informed about the spaces. Look for the place to sign up on the right side of the page, where it says Join Our Newsletter.

XTC Sportfishing fluke fished Saturday on the ocean, rounding up a handful of keepers and a bunch of throwbacks, nothing great, Capt. Scott said. A trip sailed for tuna Sunday, trolling one small yellowfin tuna inshore of the Bacardi wreck on a green machine. Only a couple of other tuna were caught on other boats in the area during the trip. Bait was read, but no birds working water, whales or mahi mahi showed up. The water color and clarity looked okay when the trip arrived on the grounds and great when the trip left, improving throughout the day. Trips were supposed to fish inshore today and tomorrow. Tuna trips to the offshore canyons are supposed to begin this weekend.

Good fishing, a report said about Sunday on the Golden Eagle, on the party boat’s website. Blues, false albacore and mackerel were cranked in. Some anglers tied into the blues, and some lit into the macks. Some fought aboard the albies. All the fish were jigged, “(and) it was lots of fun fishing,” it said. On Saturday’s trip, lots of mackerel and some blues were nailed, also good angling. The Golden Eagle is fishing at 7:30 a.m. daily. Fishing and sunset cruises are sailing at 4:30 p.m. daily, and reservations are required for those outings.

Mixed results, Capt. Ryan from the party boat Jamaica II wrote about fishing for fluke and sea bass aboard this past week. Some trips fished great, and some were slow, because conditions failed to drift the boat well. Sea bass season was closed starting Saturday. Friday’s trip fished especially well, when a breeze came up, and a number of anglers limited out on fluke. Anglers who limited on fluke to 7 ½ pounds and bagged numerous sea bass included Bob Plasket, Ernie Grimes, Dave Nelson, Sal Munson and Brian Topps. Barbara Berger from Trenton and Ray Bryant from South Orange tied for the monthly pool in July with an 8-pound fluke apiece. They split the cash and one year of free fishing aboard. Half-day trips are fishing 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and an all-day marathon is fishing 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Monday.

Fluke fishing was up and down on the ocean, and the latest reports said Axel Carlson Reef fished best for them, especially the southern end, along the scattered bottom said Eric from The Reel Seat. Jigs with Gulps like 6-inch grubs caught well, and plenty of 5- and 6-pound fluke were around. To the north, the ocean at the Rattle Snake and Mud Buoy gave up fluke. Manasquan River’s fluking held up, picked away, and a fair number of keepers roamed the river. Tinker mackerel could be found in the river, and the river’s snapper blues were becoming big enough to use for bait. Livelining either was good for fluking. Lots of spearing flooded the river. Blowfish swam the river at the Route 70 Bridge, Eric heard. The river’s anglers picked away at resident striped bass on small lures like Bomber 15A’s and Fin-S Fish. Ling fishing was pretty good on the ocean, and one customer boated 40 per trip. Definitely a good option, Eric said. Bluefishing was picky on the ocean, and sometimes 6-, 8- or 10-pounders bit, both during daytime on jigs, and at night on the chunk. Hudson Canyon produced bigeye tuna, a handful of yellowfin tuna and some longfin tuna. The bigeyes were trolled early and late in the day, and also at night in the dark. Tuna were also chunked and jigged at night at the Hudson. A fair number of white marlin came from the Hudson, and nothing was heard about blue marlin. Fishing for whites was better from Spencer Canyon to farther south. Closer to shore, bluefin tuna fishing was picky, and the Bacardi wreck seemed to hold them best. A handful came from Atlantic Princess wreck. At the Bacardi, sometimes the bluefins could be popper-plugged and jigged, not just trolled, when balled-up bait attracted the fish. Quite a few mahi mahi held in the midshore ocean and could be trolled at lobster pot buoys.

Point Pleasant Beach
Trolling the canyons in the dark went 2 for 3 on bigeye tuna, landing two that weighed 190 and 160 pounds, on an overnight trip Friday to Saturday with Mushin Sportfishing, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. The trip, with four anglers, trolled 10 hours from evening to morning. Trolling a variety of tackle gave the best chances to hook different species of tuna. Ballyhoos on Ilander and Joe Schute skirts, lures and spreader bars were dragged. A day-troll, not an overnighter, fished the canyons Sunday aboard with a crew from Gallin Contracting. They trolled more than two dozen yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna “that were right around the legal size, but only retained an 80-pound yellowfin,” Alan wrote. The anglers put in time, looking for fish, and also fished for mahi mahi with bait, boxing several dozen good-sized. A canyon trip Thursday to Friday was weathered out, and Mushin’s been frequenting the canyons, fishing for tuna, marlin and mahi. The season’s looking great for the fishing, and the 80- to 81-degree, blue water is holding bait and mammals. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing.

The full-moon current made fluke fishing hit and miss this past week, Capt. Matt from the party boat Norma-K III wrote in an email. On some days, holding bottom with 16 ounces was tough. But the angling improved on afternoon trips the past few days. Decent-sized keepers to 6 pounds were sometimes claimed, and some anglers boated three or four keepers. Some caught only throwbacks. Trips are beginning to fish rocks and rubble more often than before, so bring extra tackle, because of losing tackle snagged in the structure. Plenty of hooks and sinkers are available aboard. August is usually a great month for fishing here. Joe Pantina won July’s monthly pool with an 8-pound fluke. On night trips, bluefishing was slow this past week, but improved Friday through Sunday. Blues 1 to 3 pounds and a bunch of mackerel were reeled in. Bait caught the blues, and jigs with teasers caught the macks. Bigger blues showed up starting August 6 last year. The Norma-K III is fishing for fluke 8 am. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily and for blues 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily.

Barnegat Light
Trips on the Super Chic fluked on the ocean all weekend, Capt. Ted said. The fishing was fair at best, and conditions weren’t great, failing to drift the boat. When the boat won’t drift, fluking isn’t good. But fluke seemed around, and Ted is a little optimistic that some will be around to catch, barring bad weather. The fish gathered in small pockets, and most seemed to hold east or north of Barnegat Inlet. A trip looked for them south of the inlet, and not many were there. More fluke trips are slated for this week aboard. A bluefish trip is supposed to sail Sunday night. A day-troll trip is supposed to tuna fish in two weeks. The year’s first overnight tuna trips are booked for late September, currently. Charters could book the fishing before then.

The Stray Cat was in the yard last week for a Coast Guard hull inspection, Capt. Mike said. Fishing resumed Sunday on the boat, and lots of throwback summer flounder, about 30, and one keeper, he thought, were landed at rock piles 12 or 14 miles from shore. The throwbacks were sizable but 17 or 17 ¾ inches, just under the 18-inch legal size. Sounded like fish like blues and mahi mahi were trolled when Mike was on land for the inspection. He was just waiting to get dialed back into fishing for catches like these flounder, blues and mahi, and two trips were supposed to fish today aboard. They’d run for blues, mahi or whatever could be caught. The ocean looked great on Sunday’s trip. Visibility was super, and lots of dark, blue water was seen, and flying fish flew around. When the trip departed, the water was 76 degrees, and when the fishing was finished, the water was 79. Charters are fishing, and open-boat trips will fish for flounder this week on Wednesday and next week on Thursday, August 13. Open tuna trips, the only open trips for tuna this year, are set for Saturday, September 5 and Sunday, September 13, from 2 a.m. to 6 p.m., targeting yellowfin tuna, wahoos, marlin and whatever will bite, limited to six passengers.

Sea Isle City
On the ocean, summer flounder fishing was good when conditions were, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service. Flounder still held in the back bay, plenty of throwbacks, sometimes a keeper, good action. A family aboard wanted to troll the inshore ocean, latching into blues and false albacore. Another angler and friend fished the inshore ocean, trolling, live-baiting and fly-rodding blues aboard. They also live-baited a 10-pound mahi mahi. Sharks bit inshore like crazy. Those trips mostly recently fought and released spinners and duskies to 100 pounds. The trips, usually within 10 miles from shore, fishing with either bait or flies, are an opportunity to pull on big fish without the trek offshore. Some of the species, including duskies, are required to be let go. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s blog.

A trip was supposed to fish the ocean reefs today with Fins and Feathers Outfitters, Capt. Jim said. That could be for summer flounder, but Jim’s been seeing bluefish schooling that could be trolled in the water, and other catches, like mahi mahi or Spanish mackerel, could be around to be trolled in the area. Only weeks remain before the first salmon begin to migrate into upstate New York’s Salmon River, and trips fish for them from Jim’s lodge. Anglers can book the lodge and fish on their own, or the lodge’s crew can guide the fishing. Jim can even show patrons how to fish for them, and then the anglers can fish on their own, if they’d like. He usually begins fishing for the salmon in October, with flies, but salmon usually arrive by Labor Day in the river’s mouth. They usually arrive farther upstream, at Douglaston, in the second and third weeks of September. Fins and Feathers offers a variety of outdoor adventures, including saltwater fishing from the back bay at Avalon to the ocean off the port and Delaware Bay. Guided duck and goose hunting is offered on Delaware Bay and nearby states during the waterfowl seasons. Anglers can even enjoy a combo of striped bass fishing and waterfowl hunting on Delaware Bay over a series of days in fall. Fly-fishing for trout is offered on Pennsylvania’s streams like the Yellow Breeches. Snowmobiling is also popular at the lodge in upstate New York.

Bluefish, kingfish and occasional summer flounder were tugged from off Cape May Point on trips with Fins & Grins Sportfishing, Capt. Jim said. One trip took a look near the 2 buoy on Delaware Bay, finding acres and acres of small weakfish. So the trip moved back to fish off Cape May Point. A handful of keeper flounder hugged ocean reefs, and Jim expects that angling to just get better, until flounder season is closed starting September 27. September could be the month for that angling. One of the inshore shark trips sailed aboard, tying into a couple of big sharks. One couldn’t even be budged, and that happened on two of the shark trips in a row. Jim might return with heavy tackle to reel one in. The sharks are mostly sand tigers, required to be released. Fins is tagging them for NOAA and letting them go, finding the sharks lately on the ocean off Wildwood and at Cape May Channel. But any structure will hold them, and the trips are a chance to fight big fish without the long sail offshore. The sand tigers averaged 250 pounds, and one weighed almost 400 recently. Maybe exotics like mahi mahi and Spanish mackerel will be reeled in soon on the boat. Trips aboard fished for bluefish at 5-Fathom Bank in past weeks, and the exotics can be mixed in with them. When the boat last fished for the blues, that was during the especially hot weather, when the water became exceptionally hot. The water now cooled 10 or 15 degrees, so maybe the exotics will show up in catches. Plenty of blues schooled shoals like that. Trips currently were mostly opportunistic, fishing for whatever could be landed on a day. Fins fishes for all species available. Trips fish every day, and reservations aren’t required but suggested. Telephone for availability. Fins even crabs on the back bay, and crabbing’s been phenomenal. A group can crab aboard, letting Fins find the blueclaws. All supplies are provided for crabbing.

Cape May
Bluefishing sailed this weekend aboard, said Capt. George from the Heavy Hitter. Plenty of 1- to 3-pound blues schooled 5-Fathom Bank and the different shoals in the area, and a few Spanish mackerel held among them. A couple of the Spanish were mixed in on a trip on the boat the other day. The ocean was 75 degrees at 5-Fathom Bank and 72 degrees near the shore on Saturday aboard. Bluefish also schooled off Cape May Point, but not as reliably as at the shoals. The blues at the point popped up in evenings, for instance. Triggerfish hugged ocean wrecks. Bigeye tuna could be trolled at canyons like the Wilmington late in the day and at night in the dark. Bigeyes are large tuna that take some experience for anglers to land. Telephone if interested in fishing for blues, triggers or bigeyes. Small yellowfin tuna that swam abundant closer to shore, in 20 to 30 fathoms, disappeared, at least for the moment. One trip on the Heavy Hitter bagged 17 and released numerous throwbacks weeks ago, covered in a previous report here. Plenty of throwback summer flounder, not many keepers, gathered at ocean reefs, George has been hearing. Many of the flounder seemed 16, 17 or 17 ¾ inches, just under the 18-inch legal size.

Last Thursday's Report

Fluke bagged included one heavier than 10 pounds, two heavier than 9 and three heavier than 8 on an open-boat trip Tuesday on the Vitamin Sea, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. Fluking was on the upswing aboard, and more than 20 keepers were pasted on the trip. On a trip Wednesday, at the same grounds, 14 keepers to 6 ½ pounds were clutched. The keepers now were all quality-sized. Anglers who knew how to bucktail, and didn’t get lazy, he said, limited out. Looks like summer fluking is shaping up, he said. Though most anglers want to fish on weekends, those who fish on weekdays usually catch best, because of less boat traffic. Jump aboard on a weekday. Charters are fishing, and two spots are available for an open trip Friday, and weather looks great. Open trips next week will fluke Monday through Wednesday and Friday and Saturday. Check out photos of the catches on Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page.

Fishing for fluke began with a bang at the beginning of the week, said Capt. Mario from the Down Deep Fleet. Lots of big fluke to 8 pounds, including many 5- and 6-pounders, were creamed, and many anglers limited out aboard. “No measuring,” he said. Ling, cod and winter flounder fishing was excellent on trips this week. The ling weighed up to 3 ½ pounds, and the cod weighed up to 10. The flounder were huge on trips, and lots of flounder to 4 or 4 ½ pounds were smashed on the last trip. Charters are sailing, and join the Short Notice List on Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about special open-boat trips. Also see the site’s open-trips page for available dates. Open trips include 12-hour marathons for fluke or ling and cod. Up to 15 passengers can be accommodated.

Customers boated fluke here and there, mostly toward Verrazano Bridge on Raritan Bay, but the angling was slow, said Joey from Joey’s Bait & Shack. They caught one day, and not the next. Many cownosed rays swam the bay. Crabbing began to improve, and snapper blues started to show up. Killies, fresh bunker and a large supply of frozen baits is stocked.

Atlantic Highlands

The party boat Fishermen’s trip Tuesday went in search mode, after the angling was slow on the bay, Capt. Ron wrote in an email. Tom the Vet won the pool with a 7-1/2-pound fluke, and landed a bunch of 16- to 17-inch throwbacks, putting on a clinic, Ron said, in the bow. A couple of the trip’s fluke weighed 5 to 6 pounds. One crew hit some good-sized fluke, and so did another angler, all on bucktails. Not a great bite on the trip, and the fishing took work, but was much better than where the trip left. On Wednesday’s trip, another sizable fluke, a 7-pound 6-ouncer, was hammered. Two anglers copped a fluke heavier than 6 pounds apiece, and Never Quit Eddie smoked a 5-pounder. Two anglers fishing in the bow slapped three good-sized keepers apiece on deck. Weather’s been hot, but a breeze on the ocean kept the fishing cooler. Bob Bott provided two beautiful, custom-made fluke jigging rods that will be awarded to the first- and second-place winners in the season-long fluke pool. The Fishermen is sailing for fluke 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Trips are fishing for fluke, porgies, croakers or whatever bites 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 3:30 to 9 p.m. Sundays.

A 7-pound fluke won one of the trips’ pools Tuesday on the party boat Atlantic Star, Capt. Tom said. On Wednesday’s trips, no big fluke were angled, but more keepers were socked than lately. Lots of throwbacks and some keepers bit on trips, like usual, and the boat fished on the bay, including at the Navy Pier and Reach Channel. Not a lot of people joined trips, because of heat advisories, and that was unnecessary. All trips sailed, and weather was good on the water, especially in afternoons, when a southerly breeze picked up. Mornings could be a little stuffy, until the breeze, but people felt the heat more on land, surely. 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.

Bigger fluke came from the ocean in 60 to 100 feet, but fluke were still boated on Raritan Bay, said Jimmy from Julian’s Bait & Tackle. Fluking was fair, rounding up some keepers and lots of throwbacks. Fluke were still hooked in the rivers, and keepers were known about from Shrewsbury River early in the week. Nothing was heard about Navesink River, but fluke must’ve swam the Navesink, if they swam the Shrewsbury. A mess of snapper blues schooled back waters, and were growing to good-sized. Spearing were around for the snappers to forage on for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. Bluefish, some large, some smaller, schooled near the Mud Buoy. Boaters could chum them up. Nothing was reported about striped bass, but some were probably trolled at Shrewsbury Rocks during evenings. Ling fishing was great. “All you want,” he said, and a few cod were mixed in. A few porgies had been reported from Sandy Hook Reef, and Jimmy guessed some could be searched out. The porgies that had been caught were large, and photos were seen. Bottom fish like that and others didn’t show up this year like some years.


Motoring from Twin Lights Marina, Paul and Maddy Hess on the Boudicca boated seven fluke between the channels today, Marion O’Neil wrote in an email. On Friday, John Cuozzo on the Elsea Nora bucktailed fluke to 23 inches at Reach Channel. Also on Friday, customers and their catches included: Greg Hanna on the Annie H, limit of fluke to 24 inches at Sandy Hook Channel; Paul and Maddy Hess on another trip on the Boudicca, four keeper fluke to 22 inches at Ambrose Channel; and Paul and Becky on the Second Home, two keeper fluke at the Range Towers. Killies, Gulps and squid tackled all these fish that day. Wayne O’Neil from the marina and crew on the Old Gray Mare on Friday caught five longfin tuna, three skipjacks and five mahi mahi at the 100 Square at Hudson Canyon. Four of the longfins were trolled during daytime on cedar plugs, and other longfins were lost on the troll, and dusk fished best during the trolling. The other longfin bagged was chunked just before dawn. More would’ve been hooked at night, Wayne thought, but the other anglers slept. Wayne saw three bigeye tuna chunked at night on the boat nearest them, the reason he thought that. The other anglers on his trip were Bobby, Robert and Daniel Whitehead and Rich Mikutsky. 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. Baits stocked include the full offshore selection. The fuel dock is available 24 hours a day with a credit card.


On the weekly individual-reservation trip for fluke Tuesday, fluking was horrible, said Capt. Ralph from Last Lady Fishing Charters. Quite a few sea bass were sacked, but sea bass season will be closed starting Friday. Two keeper fluke were totaled, and anglers filled the boat. Lot of throwback fluke? Ralph was asked. Not enough, he said. The boat drifted well, and there was no apparent reason fluking was slow. Space is available on an individual-reservation trip for cod September 2. Another one of the trips is full August 5, and the last one of the trips nailed cod to 40 pounds, covered in a previous report here. Three spaces are left, Ralph thought, for an individual-reservation trip August 9 that will fish inshore wrecks. Plenty of spaces are available for another that was recently added for August 30. Individual-reservation trips are fishing for fluke every Tuesday, and kids under 12 sail free on those outings, limited to two per adult host.


On the party boat Big Mohawk, fluke fishing was good Wednesday and not Tuesday on the ocean, Capt. Chris said. But the fishing’s been consistent, not as good as a couple of weeks ago, not great, but decent. Some bigger fluke 6 or 7 pounds were bagged Wednesday, and seven or eight anglers limited out that day. Some boats might consider that good, but Chris doesn’t. Almost all fluke were bagged on Gulps. The Big Mohawk is fluke fishing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Bluefish 15 to 22 pounds gave up action on most drifts Tuesday on the Miss Belmar Princess, at hills north of Shark River Inlet, an email from the party boat said. The fishing was better than previously, and there was no lack of readings. The trip caught best at readings stacked on bottom. Readings looked like that at times, and sometimes blues were seen along the surface chasing bunker. On Wednesday’s trip, blues weren’t seen like on Tuesday, north of the inlet, so the trip caught fluke and sea bass. On today’s trip, blues were read inshore of the rocks north of the inlet, but refused to bite. Chumming and jigging were tried, and the day was tough. The crew hoped storms tonight would get the blues biting. The Miss Belmar Princess is fishing for blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. every Saturday. Family Fun Days are sailing 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Friday and Sunday for fluke, sea bass, blues or whatever bites. The trips enjoy a sunset cruise on the way home.

A few huge bluefish 18 to 20 pounds were canned Tuesday on the Golden Eagle, a report on the party boat’s website said. Blues 3 to 5 pounds were picked in the afternoon. On Wednesday’s trip, blues 18 to 20 pounds were sometimes beaten, and many big blues were lost. The fish broke the water surface, but were difficult to catch, and 3- to 5-pound blues were also mustered up. Bluefishing was slow on today’s trip, and a few were managed. So were sea bass and fluke. The Golden Eagle is fishing at 7:30 a.m. daily. Fishing and sunset cruises are sailing at 4:30 p.m. daily, and reservations are required for those outings. Family Fun Days are sailing 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Friday and Sunday for fluke, sea bass, blues or whatever bites. The trips enjoy a sunset cruise on the way home.

From XTC Sportfishing, Capt. Scott had been away, and he guessed the boat sailed for fluke and sea bass while he had been, he said. But he’s back now, and trips are supposed to fish for fluke Saturday on the ocean and bluefin tuna Sunday at the middle grounds or the Texas Tower and the Bacardi wreck.

Fluke fishing was up and down on the ocean, said Capt. Pete from Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters. Throwbacks inundated the water on some days, including double-headers. The throwbacks measured 16 and 17 inches, just under the 18-inch size limit. But better life was starting to be seen while fluking, and that was good. The keepers were good-sized, averaging 5 pounds, and 6- to 8-pounders won pools. The fish were there, and anglers had to work for them. Trips searched for better water clarity. Fluke trips include On the Water Seminars that teach bucktailing for big fluke, and room remains for one of the trips August 5. August 17 and 25 were just added for the trips. Charters can also book the seminars on other dates. Anglers should contact Parker Pete’s, even if they don’t have enough anglers for a charter. That’s because individual spaces are available on charters. Jump on Parker Pete’s website to subscribe to the email blast to be kept informed about the spaces. Look for the place to sign up on the right side of the page, where it says Join Our Newsletter.

Point Pleasant Beach

Bottom-fishing went fairly well on the party boat Dauntless, Capt. Butch said. Pretty decent, he said. Good catches of sea bass were made, though sea bass season will be closed starting Friday. Trips were able to make a couple of stops, limiting out on two sea bass apiece per angler. Ling fishing was steady – Butch wouldn’t say good, but steady. Anglers averaged 10 to 25 ling apiece. Ling fishing was a little tough Tuesday, when anglers averaged 10 to 15 apiece, and good Wednesday, when some caught 25 or more apiece. Throw in a couple of sea bass or winter flounder per angler on trips, and … Butch said. Lots of flounder were around. All anglers limited out on two flounder apiece Tuesday and Wednesday, Butch thought. Quite a few cod were clocked Tuesday, and only a few were on Wednesday. Every day was different, but there were fish to catch. A few fluke were in the mix when the boat sea bass fished. Trips sea bassed shallow in 80 feet, and ling fished in 120 to 170 feet. Fishing was dead, deeper. The ocean temperature fluctuated. It was 62 degrees Tuesday in south wind. The ocean was as warm as 75 degrees Wednesday. Those are surface temperatures, and the bottom was chilly. Divers said the bottom was 50 degrees close to shore and 44 to 45 in 70 and 80 feet. The boat is trying to fish for bluefish at night on Fridays and Saturdays. That angling was slow, and the few blues caught were small or ½ pound to 3 pounds, and not many weighed 3 pounds. On some nights, mackerel were landed during bluefishing. Sometimes the night trips also fished for ling, but ling fishing wasn’t so great at night this year. The Dauntless is bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. Trips are bluefishing 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.

Fluke seemed spread out, not schooled up, so fishing for them needed ½ knot or a knot drift to cover ground, said Capt. Bob from the party boat Gambler. The fish could be hooked from near the beach to 3 miles off, and some good-sized sea bass were in the mix on yesterday morning’s trip, but sea bass season will be closed starting Friday. On the most recent nighttime bluefish trip, on Saturday, angling was great for small, 1-pound blues and 1-pound mackerel, lots of action. On the last nighttime ling trip, on Thursday, fishing was good, not as good as the previous week, but some good ling catches were barreled up. A few cod and a few big winter flounder were decked. The Gambler is fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily. Trips are fishing for ling 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 .m. every Thursday and for blues every Friday and Saturday during those hours. Tuna trips will begin on September 21, and weekends are filling, and a good number of spaces remain on weekdays. See the tuna schedule online.

Toms River

Barnegat Bay gave up fluke between the BB and BI markers, said Mario from Murphy’s Hook House. A couple of other spots in the bay did, too, and if anglers knew a couple of spots, they boated decent fluke fishing. Blowfish hovered the bay nearer to Barnegat Inlet than farther north. Boaters fishing the ocean scored okay on fluke last week, the last news that was heard about them. Off Island Beach State Park in 45 feet was a good spot. The Tires was another. Three anglers at the Tires totaled nine keepers 6 to 8 pounds on a trip that week. Fluke were sometimes banked from the surf at Island Beach, and anglers took advantage of the park’s bag limit of two fluke 16 inches or larger. Five fluke 18 inches or larger is the limit in the rest of the state. A 17-incher and a 19-incher were known bagged yesterday at the park. A very scattered number of bluefish ran the surf. Cownosed rays haunted the surf. Surf-fishing for brown sharks, required to be released, slowed a little. The fish were fought at night on bunker and mackerel. Crabs and snapper blues were nabbed from the Toms River, on both the Island Heights and Ocean Gate sides. Many of the crabs were small recently, for some reason. But keepers were trapped, if crabbers weeded through throwbacks. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Seaside Heights

Crabbing from the dock was good at night and okay during daytime, said Anthony from The Dock Outfitters. Crabbing during daytime was good for rental-boaters. Snapper blues began to be hooked from the dock, growing large enough. Blowfish were landed from the dock, and one angler flung in 15 or 20 yesterday. In the surf, small fluke were sometimes dragged in during daytime. Brown sharks that must be released by law were beached at night. Nothing was heard about blackfish. 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. Baits stocked include killies and fresh bunker and clams.

Forked River

Fluke were reeled from Double Creek Channel on Barnegat Bay, said Mike from Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle. They also came from the bay at the BI and BB markers, but mostly south of the BI. A few blowfish, very small, gathered toward the BB. On the ocean, fluke were toggled in from the Tires and north of the pipe at Seaside Heights in 30 feet. Crabbing was great. Baits stocked include killies, fresh spearing and all the frozen selection, including spearing, sand eels and the different types of squid. Offshore baits including ballyhoos are carried.

Barnegat Light

Trips on the Super Chic began fluking for the season, Capt. Ted said. The catch on a trip Sunday was “pretty good, considering,” he said. Some keepers and quite a few shorts were reeled up. Not as many keepers were taken on a trip Wednesday. Trips Friday evening and Saturday sea bassed first, and bluefished afterward, and the angling was good for both. The blues were small, but quite a few hit. No bonito showed up during the boat’s bluefishing yet this season.

Good action with fluke was axed today on the Miss Barnegat Light, a report on the party boat’s website said. More throwbacks than keepers were lit into, but the keepers were good-sized. The fishing in previous days was up and down, because conditions drifted the boat well on some days, not on others. “Normal fluking scenario,” the report said. The Miss Barnegat Light is fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. The trips also fished for sea bass through today, but sea bass season will be closed starting tomorrow.

Deeper water, maybe 20 or 30 feet, attracted fluke in Barnegat Bay, said Jack from Bobbie’s Boat Rentals. So the big channels, really. But the bay’s fluking was a little slow. Still, some good-sized could be found, like two 8-pounders from the bay this week. Fluke began to be boated off Island Beach State Park in the ocean. A few blackfish were pulled in from along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks. An angler stopped by with a 16-incher yesterday. Few anglers fished for the tautog yet. Bluefish, mostly 3 to 6 pounds, could always pop up in the inlet. No large numbers did, like earlier this season. A few throwback striped bass were plucked from the submerged rocks off the inlet’s north jetty. Baitfish school there, attracting the bass, and anglers toss lures like Bombers, maybe sometimes diamond jigs, to the stripers. Live grass shrimp can be fished for them, though few anglers do that. Crabbing was tough, but reportedly better on the mainland side of the bay. The water can be chilly for crabbing locally until late in summer, because of Barnegat Inlet. Clamming was good, and a clammer could rake more than a 100 at Clam Island. 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 baits in season. Baits stocked currently include killies and green crabs. Contact the store to order live grass shrimp ahead of time. Live spots are yet to be available.


An open-boat trip will fish Barnegat Inlet’s jetty Friday afternoon, Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the Hi Flier wrote in an email. Pick up will be at Barnegat Light, not the usual Barnegat, and the trip will target schoolie striped bass, blackfish and blues. Live grass shrimp will be chummed for the bass and blackfish. No sinkers. Just a baited hook, drifted back to the jetty, on 10-pound spinning gear. If anglers never tried this, “it is something to see,” he said. Most of the stripers are 20 to 26 inches, but a keeper is caught once in a while. The blackfish weigh 1 to 4 pounds. Lures can be thrown for blues at the inlet, while the trip waits for the tide to shape up for shrimping. Three people max. All fish are shared.

Beach Haven

Bluefin tuna fishing is booked for Monday on the June Bug, Capt. Lindsay said. That will be mid-shore, and offshore tuna fishing sounded fairly good. Bigeye tuna swam the water, and fishing for yellowfin tuna was hit or miss offshore. Yellowfins 30 to 70 pounds were boated, but no quantities. Closer to shore, a trip Monday caught and released throwback fluke and sea bass at Little Egg Reef, Garden State Reef South, and wrecks between. The water was 72 to 74 degrees, like it was for weeks.

Mystic Island

The high hook during summer flounder fishing on the bay landed four throwbacks, said Scott from Scott’s Bait & Tackle. The fishing was slow when he gave a report last week, too, and the reason was unknown. Flounder bit like crazy last year in the bay. Cownosed rays and skates chomped in the bay. Baby sea bass schooled the bay. Other small fish, including kingfish, blowfish and croakers, were yet to show up that make up a fishery in the bay during some summers. During some summers, boaters chum to reel in sea bass, kings, blowfish, croakers and snapper blues from the bay. Scott wasn’t asked whether snappers were around. Few anglers fished in the heat, actually. White perch were the one fish that gave up good news. The perching seemed good on Mullica River, and anglers seemed to begin fishing for them, while other angling was slow. Not a lot of the perch were big, and anglers weeded through small to catch big, but caught. Shedder crabs pasted the perch best, and bloodworms also caught. Neither bait was stocked, but shedders were available at another local shop that Scott mentioned. On the ocean, trips boated three keeper flounder in 5 hours, if the anglers were fortunate. One trip landed 55 blackfish to 7 pounds, keeping a limit of three for the three anglers, releasing the rest, on the ocean. Crabbing trapped lots of small, struggling to nab keepers. The moon was full currently, and crabs often shed to grow on full and new moons, so maybe crabbing will give up keepers in the next week. Scott sent a father and son crabbing at a couple of creeks that produce, and they telephoned to say thanks, saying they picked up tons of throwbacks and a few keepers to make dinner. Minnows and green crabs are stocked. Scott quit netting grass shrimp to stock live, because the heat would kill them. No fresh, shucked clams are on hand this week. None was ordered for Tuesday, when they’d usually arrive, because low demand was expected, including because of the heat. Sure enough, there was no demand.


Wind blew now, but the back bay’s summer flounder fishing had been picking up, definitely, said Capt. Dave from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. The wind was southerly, never a good direction for fishing locally. Ocean reefs to the north and south seemed to fish better than Little Egg and Atlantic City reefs for flounder. But the angling was improving at the reefs north and south. Weakfish were scarce locally in the bay. Though blackfish season opened July 17, with a one-fish bag limit, nothing was heard about the tautog. Not many boaters seemed to try for them, but blackfishing was okay at jetties, he heard. Green crabs are stocked for bait for the slipperies, and not many were sold. Live spots from Maryland are finally stocked, in mixed sizes. Some of the spots were small enough for flounder bait, and most were larger, good for tuna fishing. Jay from the shop and another angler boated five bigeye tuna and two yellowfin tuna Tuesday. Good tuna fishing seemed available, though wind should prevent fishing for them this weekend. Mullet began appearing in the bay and back waters. Dave netted some, stocking them live, and they sold out, and wind blew too strongly to net more the past couple of days. Minnows weren’t easy to catch, but plenty were stocked. Shedder crabs started to become available at the store for bait, and should be on hand for the weekend. A few soft-shell crabs for eating are in supply, and Dave expects more to be available in the next week or so. The shop raises the crabs.

Egg Harbor Township

Summer flounder mostly departed the local bay, said Collin from 24-7 Bait & Tackle. A few throwbacks remained, and good flounder fishing could be boated at ocean wrecks. Weakfish were tugged from the bay. White perch fishing was awesome in brackish rivers. From the surf, brown sharks were fought. So were sand tiger sharks from the Ventnor pier, and both those sharks are required to be released. Collin joined a tuna trip that fished 19-Fathom Lump and the Cigar on Tuesday, but the fishing was dead, though the water looked beautiful, and everything seemed “correct.” Yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna had been bagged at places like the 19 Lump previously. Farther from shore, bigeye tuna were trolled at the canyons in evenings. Mahi mahi schooled the ocean thick. Blues did, too, and if trips trolled 15 miles from shore, they’d catch blues or mahi. Crabbing somewhat improved, and wasn’t so good. The shop’s rental boats are available to fish and crab from Patcong Creek to Great Egg Harbor River and the bay. Patcong, running past the store, is a tributary that meets the Great Egg near the bay. Baits stocked include minnows, bloodworms and green crabs. The crabs are blackfish bait, and water was warm for blackfishing. All offshore baits are carried, like ballyhoos and butterfish. The company also own 24-7 Bait & Tackle in Marmora.


Brown sharks and kingfish swam the surf, said Capt. Andy from Riptide Bait & Tackle. The browns were released when caught, by law, and the kings began to move into the surf a little, though not many landed were reported. Summer flounder fishing, in back waters, was spotty, and shorts were picked through for an occasional keeper. Andy would fish for them more toward Absecon Inlet.

Atlantic City

Anglers fishing on foot banked good-sized summer flounder, said Noel from One Stop Bait & Tackle. They began to latch into kingfish pretty well yesterday and today at the T-jetty. Customers fishing on foot worked the T, the Vermont Avenue jetty and off Massachusetts Avenue. In addition to flounder, they banked blackfish, lots of throwbacks, but some keepers, triggerfish and croakers, more triggers than croakers, occasional porgies, and some snapper blues and herring. They picked up a big variety of fish, and the Vermont Avenue jetty is along the ocean, the next jetty south of the T. The T is at the ocean end of Absecon Inlet, lined with jetties. Massachusetts Avenue is adjacent to the inlet. Lots of life swam along the inlet rocks, including abundant spearing and finger mullet 1 ½ inches. The anglers fished minnows, bloodworms and green crabs. Fluke Candy, a floating jighead that suspends bait, available at the shop, fished best. Flounder weighed-in included a 26-inch 6.1-pounder, a 25-inch 5.3-pounder, three 24-inchers that weighed 5.5, 5.2 and 4.9 pounds, a 21-1/2-inch 3-1/2-pounder and a 21-inch 3.3-pounder. Crabbing was great along Routes 30 and 40. “So everything’s in,” Noel said. Bloodworms are two dozen for $20 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Minnows are only $8 a pint or $15 a quart. Catch the special on bucktails at $1.79 for 1/8 ounce, $1.85 for ¼ ounce, $1.89 for 3/8 ounce, $2 for either ½ or 5/8 ounce, $2.20 for 1 ounce, $2.29 for 1 ½ ounce, $2.99 for 2 ounce and $3.49 for 3 ounce. The bucktails come in white, pink-and-white, yellow-and-white, chartreuse-and-white and red-and-white. One Stop also has a shop at Gardner’s Basin.


Lots of small summer flounder were released, and keepers were tougher to come by, on the back-bay trips on the party boat Keeper, Capt. John said. Not many keepers were seen, but the keepers were fairly sizable or 3 and 4 pounds. The bay was dirty on incoming tides, so outgoing tides fished somewhat better. Baby sea bass bit. Sea robins and dog sharks chewed. No bluefish, not even small, were seen. Maybe they’ll show up once the water cleans up, and blues appeared some weeks ago. A few small peanut bunker began to be spotted. Silversides rained the bay everywhere. All bait was small in the bay, and will grow this summer. Minnows and mackerel provided aboard caught the flounder. Gulps that anglers brought did, too. The Keeper is fishing for summer flounder 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 5 p.m. daily. The trips are only $28, because the fishing is near port, and the pontoon boat is economical on fuel. Rental rods are free, too.

Ocean City

Plenty of small summer flounder gathered at inlets, said Nick from Fin-Atics. Boaters needed to find deeper water to locate the fish, and a few keepers were mixed in, like 1 in 20 or 25 flounder. Flounder fishing wasn’t great at ocean reefs. It was off and on, or sometimes decent reports rolled in, and other times, anglers said not many bit at all. Snapper blues and baby sea bass schooled inlets. High tides in evenings were currently perfect to fish for schoolie striped bass along sod banks with top-water lures. The tides in mornings could also fish well for them, and conditions like this draw baifish against the banks that attract the bass. The stripers were 15- to 20-inch throwbacks, maybe 23 inches. Triggerfish were sometimes hooked along piers. In the surf, a few kingfish and croakers roamed, but not many, because of brown sharks. Browns, required to be released, bit anywhere from the island’s north to south ends. Nothing was heard about offshore fishing. Customers just didn’t report about that.

Sea Isle City

***Update, Saturday, 8/1:*** A couple of summer flounder trips fished the bay in past days aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service. One, with a father and son, banged out a keeper and some throwbacks, and the other, with a family, rustled up more than 40 throwbacks. Flounder fishing on the ocean currently was off and on or good when conditions were right. Another family aboard wanted to inshore-troll the ocean during the week, snatching up blues and false albacore. Peter Rotelli and friend during the week trolled, live-baited and fly-rodded blues and a 10-pound mahi on the inshore ocean. The mahi bit a live bait, and the blues in the ocean have been 1 to 3 pounds. Two trips fished for sharks inshore with Joe this week. One landed four spinner and dusky sharks to 100 pounds, and the other waffled a dozen spinners and duskies to 100 pounds. The inshore shark trips, usually within 10 miles from shore, fishing with either bait or flies, release the sharks, and some of the species are required to be let go. The angling is a chance to pull on big fish without the sail offshore, and usually lasts until Labor Day. High tides at dusk were ideal for popper fishing for striped bass on the bay this week, and Scott Williams took one of those trips, releasing six stripers to 27 inches and a blue. The stripers were hooked on Skitter Popper lures, and the blue was hooked on a Crease fly, a popper, a version that Joe ties with a bigger cup to throw more water. The ocean near shore turned over and became cold in past days. The water was warmer or 75 to 76 degrees several miles off. Joe this fall will run annual traveling trips to Montauk to fish the migration of stripers, blues and false albacore in September and October. In winter, he’ll run annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys, and see Jersey Cape’s traveling charters Web page. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s blog.


Fins & Grins Sport Fishing kept shark fishing on Delaware Bay, like before, Capt. Jim said. The fish, like sand tigers 200 to 300 pounds, remained in the bay, and the angling was good. Sand tigers are required to be released, and Fins tagged them for NOAA and let them go. The fishing was a chance to fight a big catch without the long haul offshore. The shark trips tried to bluefish first, when possible. Plenty of blues 2 to 3 pounds, good-eating sized, schooled off Cape May Inlet and Cape May Point, fun on light trolling tackle. So the trips tried to fight them first, then shoot up the bay for sharks, when time was available. Trips could focus on blues at 5-Fathom Bank, farther from shore. Sometimes other catches including bonito and mahi mahi could be mixed in. Fins also fished for sea bass and summer flounder on the ocean. The sea bass fishing was good, and the flounder fishing was okay. Anglers with skill could catch the flounder better than others. The ocean seemed to come alive lately. The ocean was crystal clear, and bottom could be seen in deep water, like an aquarium. Fins fishes every day, and reservations aren’t required but suggested. Telephone for availability.

Many summer flounder were throwbacks from the bay, but a few were keepers, and the flounder fishing was alright, pretty good, said Ian from Canal Side Boat Rentals. Croakers began to appear in the bay’s catches. Snapper blues jumped everywhere. Lots of baby sea bass were hooked and released, rental-boaters said. Many crabs were throwbacks, but many crabbers trapped keepers, and crabbing was good lately. 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. Baits stocked include minnows, scented and unscented squid strips, trolling squid, tube squid, spearing, sand eels, herring, mullet, whole and filleted mackerel, clams in quarts, pints, a pound or nine ounces, whole or cut bunker, and Gulps. Tackle and supplies carried include bucktails, rigs, hooks, minnow boxes, minnow buckets, minnow traps, nets, different crab baskets and more. Crabs, both live and cooked, are sold for eating, and picnic tables are set out to enjoy them, with umbrellas. The crabs are currently No. 2’s for $20 per dozen live and $25 per dozen cooked. The crabs are cooked in advance in the morning. The shop will clean and cook crabs that people catch. That’s $5 per dozen to clean. The cooking is $10 for up to two dozen and $5 for every additional dozen.

Cape May

Capt. Paul from the party boat Porgy IV has been telling anglers that summer flounder fishing’s inconsistent aboard, he said. The angling had some good days, and bounced back with not a good day, and so on. Saturday’s trip put up a good catch, lots of sizable flounder. On Sunday’s trip, not many flounder were bagged. No trip sailed in Monday’s rainstorm. Tuesday’s trip sailed to the Old Grounds, fishing in heat and wind against tide that failed to drift the boat. Only a handful of keepers came in. When conditions fail to drift the boat, flounder fishing’s off. Wednesday’s trip fished Cape May Reef, and the boat did drift, but only 17 or 18 keepers were caught, among 50 anglers. Some boats might consider that okay, but not many keepers were spread around the vessel. Paul knew that if that trip had fished farther south at the Old Grounds, the boat would’ve failed to drift. Catches included Anthony Bianco from Lansdale, Pa.’s, four keepers to a 6-pounder that won the pool Saturday. On Friday, Dave Brehm from Parkesburg, Pa., won the pool with an 8-1/2-pound flounder. On Tuesday, Fred Nelson landed only one keeper but won the pool with the 6-pounder. On Wednesday, Matt LaMelza from Ocean City only caught one keeper but the right one, Paul said: the 5-pound pool-winner. The Porgy IV is fishing for summer flounder at 8 a.m. daily.

Ocean reefs held good numbers of summer flounder, said Joe from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. Flounder also gathered around inlets and in main channels in the back bay. Little was heard about flounder fishing on Delaware Bay, except one angler on Tuesday reported fishing the bay for flounder, finding none. But whether the angler was experienced was unknown. Large croakers swam Cape May Canal, and Nick, the shop’s owner, and a friend returned with a 15-incher from the canal. That’s big, and surf anglers fished for croakers. Fewer anglers fished for brown sharks in the surf than before, or the craze passed. But surely the sharks swam the surf. Be sure to release browns by law. Kingfish were nipped from the surf at Cape May, Sea Isle City and Ocean City sometimes. No triggerfish were reported caught along jetties, though Joe would normally expect triggers to come from there this time of year. Triggers were boated at reefs. Blackfish should hug jetties, but nobody was known to try for them. Not a lot of green crabs were sold for blackfishing. Occasional striped bass were bagged, though that was unusual in summer. Two anglers beached a keeper apiece along jetties. A girl took a keeper down the street from the shop. Another angler winged a keeper in the canal. Bluefish 4 to 6 pounds schooled 20 miles from shore. Lots of mahi mahi filled water like that. Crabbing was good, though might’ve been slower around the recent full moon. Full and new moons can trigger crabs to shed. They won’t feed while shedding, but the shed only lasts days. When the blueclaws shed, crabbers can use a dip net to scoop crabs from along pilings. In addition to green crabs, baits stocked include minnows and jumbo bloodworms, the largest Joe ever saw.