Blackfishing began Monday and went well on the Vitamin Sea, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. Twenty-five keepers to 7 pounds were canned, and strong, northeast wind kept the boat from fishing Tuesday. On Wednesday, seas remained lumpy on the ocean, and feeling blackfish bite was difficult on a trip. A dozen were bagged, and the anglers decided to switch to striped bass fishing. “Boy was it good,” Frank said. The boat limited out on stripers to 35 pounds and bonus-tag bass in 2 hours. Blackfishing is just beginning, and stripers are still here, Frank said. Charters are fishing, and telephone for the open-boat schedule. Check out photos on Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page.
Striped bass fishing was super, excellent the last four days on Raritan Bay and the ocean aboard, said Capt. Mario from the Down Deep Fleet. Blackfishing was good Wednesday aboard, bagging the fish to 8 pounds. The Down Deep Bull, one of the company’s two boats, both 40 feet, is fishing for stripers on open-boat trips daily, and the Down Deep, the other vessel, is blackfishing daily on open trips. Charters are available for either. Join the Short Notice List on Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about open trips. Also see the site’s open-trips page about the outings.
With Last Lady Fishing Charters, blackfishing was slow Monday, but good on some boats that day, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. “Our day in the dog house,” he said. Striped bass fishing was good on a trip Tuesday in rough seas. “Home early,” he wrote. An individual-reservation, mid-range wreck-fishing trip, fishing 30 miles or more from the coast, was weathered out Wednesday and rescheduled for November 30, and a few spaces are available. Individual-reservation blackfish trips will sail Wednesday and November 27 and 28 and all Sundays in December. All bait and tackle is included.
Daily blackfish trips sailed Tuesday and Wednesday on the ocean on the party boat Atlantic Star, though seas weren’t so good, Capt. Tom said. Monday’s trip also fished for the tautog in beautiful weather. On Monday’s trip, one angler limited out, some anglers bagged one, two or three, and some landed no keepers. The angling definitely wasn’t as good as Tom would like. The trip would make a stop, and catch, but couldn’t keep the catches going. So the trip had to jump around to different places somewhat. On Tuesday’s trip, weather was pretty crummy, and one angler bagged four blackfish, Tom thought. Some bagged two or three, and some landed no keepers. Some of the tautog were a half-inch or inch undersized, and some were small. On Wednesday, conditions were a little less nasty, but blackfishing wasn’t quite as good as on Tuesday, and wasn’t good. A cod that just made the legal, 21-inch size was bagged, and trips sometimes ran into cod recently. Green crabs are provided, and white leggers are sold aboard when available, and the whites have been available. Both crabs seemed to catch blackfish equally, or Tom saw no definite advantage. Sometimes the type of crab isn’t so much the reason for catches as the angler is. No trip would fish today, because of weather. Tom was unsure whether Friday’s trip will sail. Wind is supposed to blow westerly then, and that will knock down seas from today’s southeasterly. But how soon the seas would be flattened was the question. The forecast looked good for the weekend’s trips at the moment. The Atlantic Star is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
For blackfishers, catches were good, said Jimmy from Julian’s Bait & Tackle. Six became the blackfish bag limit beginning Monday, from the previous limit of one. Were the tautog smaller this time of year? Jimmy was asked. “They catch some nice size,” he said. Sometimes bigger blackfish are landed as weather becomes colder. Boaters were into lots of striped bass off Breezy Point and down the local ocean beach. They caught on livelined bunker, jigs and the troll, or all the different ways. Stripers were hooked from the river on peanut bunker and lures. Ling and cod were pumped from the ocean. Fishing for sea bass and porgies tapers off this time of season locally. Crabbing was great, nabbing big blueclaws, on Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. November is a good month for the crabbing. All baits are stocked.
Jigging crushed excellent fishing for striped bass and blues Monday on the Fishermen, Capt. Ron wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. Goes to prove a lack of boat traffic can make a difference. Plenty of 26-inch stripers bit to provide action, but many good-sized keepers to 20 pounds and 40 inches were lit into. Huge blues were in the mix. The high hook landed 19 stripers. On Tuesday’s trip, Ron had expected conditions to be a little snotty, but not an all-out butt kicking! A hard easterly in current running up the beach wasn’t a good combo. The trip sailed to where Monday’s trip caught, in hope that the rough ocean would turn on stripers. Stripers and bait were read, but the bass were almost impossible to catch. So much for fishing in the snot! he said. Ron expected today’s conditions to be a little better, if the forecast southeast wind developed, because of incoming tide most of the morning. “Now, if I could just stop rocking!” he said. The Fishermen is fishing for striped bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. every Monday through Saturday.
Blackfishing was good, great on the party boat Big Mohawk, Capt. Chris said. No problems, he said. Any size to the fish? he was asked. Not this time of year, he said, and 8 pounds was biggest. But that was an alright size, and many patrons limited out, and the fish gave up lots of action, and that’s what was important this time of season. Bigger blackfish sometimes bite later in the year. Green crabs are provided for bait, and white crabs are available for sale aboard. The Big Mohawk is blackfishing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. But a special trip, limited to 14 anglers, reservations required, will sail at 6 a.m. Tuesday, for $100 per person. Wednesday’s open-boat trip will fish 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. No trip will fish on Thanksgiving, and trips will depart at 6 a.m. on the Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, November 27 and 28.
Anglers bailed eight to 10 striped bass apiece, keeping no more than a limit, crazy fishing, Monday on the Golden Eagle, a report on the party boat’s website said. Many of the customers limited out, and bonus-tag bass were also bagged. “Everything was caught on jigs, crocs and shads,” it said. “Crocs were better than the regular jigs.” On Tuesday’s trip, only three bluefish were boated by 1 p.m. in nasty seas. But wind backed off, and striper fishing became good, and the trip fished overtime to catch. Up to 30-pound stripers were taken, and a pick of blues was mixed in with the bass. On Wednesday’s trip, plenty of stripers and bait, including bunker, were read, but stripers failed to bite. The Golden Eagle is fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 or 3 p.m. every Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday. Striperthons are sailing 6 a.m. to 3 or 3:30 p.m. every Monday and Friday.
Full-on striped bass beat down! an email from the party boat Miss Belmar Princess said about Monday aboard. All big stripers, up to 45 pounds, many 25 pounds or larger, only a couple of throwbacks, were smashed the whole trip, on the ocean to the south. Some anglers landed more than 10 apiece, keeping no more than a limit. Krocodiles, rubber shads and gold Ava 47 jigs caught the fish. On Tuesday’s trip, wind blew up to 25 knots from northeast, roughing up the ocean. All boats had tough striper fishing in the morning. The fish were read, but wouldn’t bite. But wind diminished, and stripers began to be boated aboard. At 2 p.m., 10 to 15 were hooked on some drifts, on jigs. The trip fished later than scheduled to catch. On Wednesday’s trip, fishing was a hack. Only one striper was landed, and stripers were read at times, but failed to bite. A little bait was marked. Today’s trip was weathered out, and trips will resume Friday. The Miss Belmar Princess is fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. One of the trips will fish 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Sailing for striped bass was great Monday with XTC Sportfishing on the ocean, Capt. Scott said. The trip limited out on unders, threw back more after limiting, and bagged one over. Most of the fish weighed 10 to 18 pounds, and the trip caught on livelined bunker and on the troll. Trips Tuesday and Wednesday were weathered out aboard. The season’s first blackfish trip is set for Sunday.
Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters blackfished Monday, picking away, Capt. Pete said. Conditions weren’t great, and no huge blackfish were winged, but healthy-sized, 3- to 5-pounders, were. The angling wasn’t fast and furious, but the keeper ratio was good. A striped bass trip was weathered out Tuesday because of wind. Party boats jigged stripers later that day. A striper trip fished Wednesday with Parker Pete’s. But seas remained pretty sloppy, and bait failed to school together, and stripers weren’t stacked. The trip tried trolling for them. Fishing would be weathered out today. Plenty of dates are available for trips in December for blackfish and/or stripers. Pete expects good striper fishing in December. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s anyway, about individual spaces available on charters. Visit 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. ***Update, Saturday, 11/21:*** From an email from Pete: “We’re having one of the best fall striped bass seasons in years. The weather’s been mild for this time of year, and we’ve been catching great numbers of stripers, anywhere from 15 to 40 pounds, with a few slots mixed in. There’s been plenty of adult and peanut bunker around to keep the fish on the feed. The water’s been around 58 degrees. In my opinion, we could have stripers till Christmas, if everything stays the same. Our friends in Long Island are still catching plenty of fish, as are the boys in Hudson Bay. We still have plenty of dates available in December. Take advantage of this great weather, and let’s go get those stripers. Our blackfish season is now open, and they’re on the chew. If you’ve not done that, it’s a blast, and they fight hard. Nothing better than sending a crab down to the bottom and waiting for that tog to try and rip the rod out of your hands. Don’t forget, if you can’t get a group of six people together, give us a call, and we can fill it for you. If you’re not on the shared charter email list, you can go on the Parker Pete’s website, click on Join Newsletter, and join the list. We look forward to fishing with you.”
A 12-hour sea bass trip was incredible Wednesday on the party boat Jamaica II, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. Fishing for giant sea bass to 6 ½ pounds was effortless. Whopper porgies to 4 pounds and a healthy batch of cod 8 to 15 pounds were pummeled. Most anglers limited out on sea bass and porgies. A few of the anglers and their catches included: Ray Bryant, South Orange, limit of giant sea bass and big porgies and three cod; Bob Amee, Philly, limit of giant sea bass and porgies and the pool-winning, 18-pound cod; and Corell and John Castina, Camden, limit of giant sea bass and porgies and four cod. Trips are fishing for sea bass, porgies and cod. Trips are also blackfishing, and see the schedule online.
Point Pleasant Beach
On the party boat Gambler, striped bass fishing was off and on, erratic, on the ocean, Capt. Bob said. The angling was slow on Sunday’s trip, but excellent on Monday’s. The anglers limited out and began releasing more of the fish by 11 a.m. Stripers are there, and whether they bite is the thing. On Monday night to Tuesday, the boat fished offshore at Spencer Canyon, and a good mess of yellowfin tuna was nailed. The mostly 40- to 60-pounders bit 15 minutes after the trip arrived Monday night until almost when the outing left the canyon at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The fishing was a steady one, two pick, with not many lulls. That will probably be the final tuna trip aboard this year, depending on whether enough anglers are interested in sailing on another next Monday to Tuesday. The fish are there, but drawing interest might be difficult this time of year. The Gambler is fishing for striped bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, unless a tuna trip sails Tuesday. Then a striper trip wouldn’t sail that day. Offshore jumbo sea bass trips are slated for December.
The blackfish trip today was docked in the weather on the Norma-K III, but Friday’s trip is a go, Capt. Matt wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. On Tuesday’s trip, the ocean was a little more bouncy than Monday’s, but blackfish chewed. The angling was super, and a good number of anglers limited out. Others bagged fewer, but all left with dinner. Most of the fish weighed 4 to 6 pounds, and a few were lighter. On Wednesday’s trip, the ocean was calmer, but still somewhat bouncy. Blackfish were boated, but the fishing wasn’t as good as on Tuesday. Throwbacks gave up plenty of action, and some anglers swung in healthy-sized keepers, along with shorts. A few limited out, some bagged two to four, a few bagged one, “and some could not get the right bite,” he said. An 8-pound blackfish won the pool. A quality number of blackfish seemed to swim the boat’s area, so Matt hoped they’d turn back on Friday, after today’s blow. The Norma-K III is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Bluefish trips will sail 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, probably the year’s final bluefish outings aboard.
Striped bass fishing, on ocean boats and in the surf, was good, though was spotty in southerly wind Wednesday morning, said Jeff from Murphy’s Hook House that afternoon in a phone call. Boaters, and also kayakers who fished near the surf, weighed-in big stripers, including those that weighed 45, 31, 30 and 20 pounds. Boaters hooked the fish on livelined bunker, when bunker were found. Otherwise, they often trolled the fish on bunker spoons. In the surf, the bass were often beached on outgoing tides or in mornings. Fresh clams, fresh bunker, Daiwa SP Minnows and rubber shads caught. Bunker were all the bait in the surf. Bluefish in the teens were beaten from the surf Tuesday. A buddy kept limiting out on blackfish at Point Pleasant Canal, including in the six-blackfish bag limit that began Monday. Nothing was heard about winter flounder. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.
The fishing was pretty slow today, but striper catches were pretty good otherwise all week from boats on the ocean and from the surf, said George from The Dock Outfitters. South wind ripped today, roughing up seas, and the surf was a little dirty. On the boats, the fishing was good Sunday to Tuesday. The bass were boated all day Monday, steadily, mostly on bunker snagged and then livelined for bait. The fish were also caught other ways, including trolling bunker spoons and on big popper plugs. George joined a trip Monday that boated the stripers 20 to 33 pounds right off Barnegat Inlet, leaving the fish biting. One of the three anglers was hooked up every 10 minutes. The bass lately were found from Ortley Beach to Barnegat Light. In the surf, stripers were dragged in from Bay Head to Island Beach State Park, mostly in early mornings. The angling was pretty good the last couple of days, though slower today. White rubber shads, big Ava jigs and popper lures connected. Anglers on foot also picked blackfish along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks. A buddy was catching them. The tautog seemed bigger before the bag limit became six beginning Monday, from the previous limit of one. Baits stocked include fresh clams, fresh bunker, eels and green crabs. The Dock Outfitters, located on Barnegat Bay, blocks from the ocean surf, features a bait and tackle shop, boat and jet ski rentals, a café and a dock for fishing and crabbing.
Fishing for striped bass was very good on the ocean and Barnegat Bay, and blackfish were yanked from along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks, said Grizz from Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle. He was busy, couldn’t give a longer report, but those fish were biting.
***Update, Friday, 11/20:*** Weather was difficult the past couple of days, but striped bass fishing hammered catches on the ocean early in the week, said Alex from Bobbie’s Boat Rentals. Barnegat Bay’s striper fishing was spotty, but stripers were angled along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks. Not much was talked about blackfishing along the rocks, but the tautog were hooked there, nothing crazy. Live pinfish and eels are stocked. Fresh bunker are carried, and fresh clams ran out, but the clams are stocked when available. Bobbie’s features a complete bait and tackle shop, a fuel dock and, in season, 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.
The following report was posted as an update Wednesday and is being re-posted today, in case anybody missed it. From an edited email from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the Hi Flier: “Wow! Some of the best striper fishing I’ve ever seen has been going on since Saturday afternoon. I had a group out Saturday morning and we struck out completely. Trolled through blackout readings along the beach, and fished live bait in the bay, both in some trying conditions: a northwest gale and rough water. Not a touch. It was awful. I dropped off those folks, and picked up others for a steady bite on 10- to 15-pound bass along Barnegat Inlet’s north jetty. That night, I get some info that Manasquan Inlet boats had a good bite, so I had my Sunday morning group meet me early, so we could start a trek north. We got as far as Lavallette, and saw two center consoles, and a humpback whale breaching over and over, in tight to the beach. As we approached, we saw stripers swirling everywhere. We threw poppers and soft-plastics at 15- to 25-pound fish for 2 hours. When that slowed, we switched to snagging bunker, and that kept us busy for the rest of the morning. All boxed up, we headed in, so I could pick up my afternoon charter. We ran back to Lavallette, but the surface action had slowed. We put out the Tony Maja bunker spoons, and trolled three nice fish to 25 pounds. On Monday morning, I kept my two sons, Nick and Max, home from school, and along with their Uncle Hubie and cousin Jackie Cunningham of Brick, we got an early start, and made it to Lavallette by 6:30 a.m. As soon as we arrived, the gannets were diving, and in minutes, all five of us were hooked up with 10- to 25-pound stripers on 10-pound spinning tackle! It stayed like that for an hour. Back on the snag and drop with the bunker pods, we had non-stop action with fish to 30 pounds until 11:30. Watch the video and another. Exhausted, we headed to the barn. Two epic days of bass fishing. On Tuesday, I got to sleep in, because I had a noon to 5 p.m. trip with anglers. Knowing that the hard northeast wind had the ocean and inlet all turned up, I gave them a realistic expectation: some action in the bay with slot-size fish and maybe a few over 28 inches, if we work at it. I started at the inlet, and there were bunker everywhere. We went on the snag and drop, boxing three nice fish, 12 to 14 pounds. When we couldn’t find more bunker to snag, we switched to the light tackle and threw lures. For the next three hours, the two anglers connected with 24- to 32-inch bass on every cast or every other cast on slow drifts. Birds everywhere, fish breaking water. This was now day three of insane bass fishing, and this time we didn’t even have to leave the inlet! The striper run is on. Full on! Going back for more today (Wednesday, 11/18) through Friday. Same tide. Open-boat or charter. 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Three people max. All fish are shared. Looks like northwest winds are forecast through the weekend and beyond, so call for those trips, too. We have trophy tags, so each person can keep a 24- to less than 28-inch fish and a 28 or over. On the days we fish outside in the ocean, you can also take an over 43-inch fish.”
The June Bug is next slated to fish for striped bass Saturday, Capt. Lindsay said. The fish were rustled from the ocean to the north toward Ortley Beach early in the week.
For customers from Scott’s Bait & Tackle, striped bass fishing was similar to before, Chris said. The bass were trolled on the ocean, mostly from Long Beach Island’s red tower to the north. A few were found a little farther south. The angling was good to the north, livelining the stripers on bunker snagged for bait or trolling the bass on Tony Maja bunker spoons, Mojos and 9er umbrella rigs. Brian from the shop told Chris the fishing was great toward Barnegat Light early in the week. Bluefish caught were last heard about a couple of days ago from Loveladies to the north. The blackfish bag limit was raised to six starting Monday, and Stanley Gola from S&S Bucktails’ trip with another angler that day limited out on the fish to 8 pounds in a short time, and threw back more afterward. The angling went well that day for anglers. A customer weighed-in a 12-pound blackfish he creamed along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks that day. Sea bass fishing was good in 70 feet and deeper in the ocean, preferably in 110 feet, where the fish were bigger and more abundant. Plenty of white perch were plucked from Mullica River and different spots like Bass River. Fresh, shucked clams, fresh clams in the shell, fresh bunker, eels, bloodworms and a few live grass shrimp are stocked. Scott from the shop tried to net more shrimp, only landing minnows, so was going to wait a moment before trying for shrimp again. A sale is underway through December 23, and lots of tackle is discounted 20 percent, and more is being added daily. For every $25 spent on the sale items in the store only, not online, the customer will be entered in a raffle for a free, 2016 Penn Carnage Jigging Rod.
Wind wasn’t a friend in past days, said Capt. Dave from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. Today would be a blowout, too, in forecasts for wind and rain, though wind was calm, and the sun poked out, when he gave this report at 7 a.m. in a phone call. He wished he would’ve fished for striped bass on the back bay this morning, in the window of better weather. His charters have been scoring well on stripers in the back bay, not fantastic, no blitzes, but about a keeper and several other stripers landed per trip, and there was action. The trips fished with livelined spots and the Gulp Nemesis. The shop’s customers found the bass on the bay, and a few especially large stripers seemed to be migrating south along the Intracoastal Waterway. Two different anglers eeled a 38-pounder Monday and a 28-pounder Sunday from the bay, and Dave heard about several other good-sized claimed. The bay’s fishing’s been improving, and was already productive previously for stripers. Wind is supposed to blow from west, after today’s strong southeasterly. That should knock down seas on the ocean. Striper fishing on the ocean locally ran into a big body of the fish, migrating south, last week. Quite a few were bagged. Otherwise, all reports said most of the migration remained north. Trips on the ocean that sailed north caught the fish well lately. A photo on Absecon Bay’s Facebook page showed a good catch of the bass from a trip that Jay from the shop joined this week. Seas were rough, but the trip ran north on a 37-footer, trolling the fish. The trip had to return through Barnegat Inlet, because Little Egg Inlet would’ve been too rough. For info about the right tackle for the trolling, see Jay, the page said. No good reports were heard about blackfishing locally, since six became the blackfish bag limit beginning Monday. Boating for the tautog didn’t seem so good yet, but plenty of green crabs are stocked for the fishing. Blackfish catches were heard about from along jetties before the bag limit increased. Baits stocked also include eels and fresh clams. Fresh bunker arrives two or three times a week. Though Dave’s charters fished with live spots, that was his personal supply. Spots that were for sale at the store ran out weeks ago, like in most of the state.
Carlos “Homer” Rudoi checked-in a 39-pound 49-inch striped bass from the surf Saturday, said Capt. Andy from Riptide Bait & Tackle. Rick Guthridge stopped in Sunday with a 43-pound 47-incher from the surf. Those were the only two large stripers heard about from the island’s beach this past week, and a couple of stripers were banked from the shore occasionally, but the angling was mostly slow. Homer won the shop’s bounty, $875, for the season’s first striper 43 inches or larger weighed from the town’s surf. A couple that were large enough to win were brought to the store previously, but the anglers weren’t entered in the contest. A new bounty, the Expert Fireplace Riptide Striper Bounty, has been started for the next 43-incher or larger weighed from Brigantine’s surf this season. Entry is $5, and all the cash is awarded, so the bounty grows. Homer also won the surf division in the Elks Fall Classic this weekend at Brigantine with the fish. The Sea Hunt won the boat division with a 25-pound 13-ounce striper that Adriane Rodgers eeled from the back bay. Wieslaw Czajka caught his first-ever striper, a 23-pound 40-incher, from the bay yesterday on an eel on a 14-foot boat. The bay’s striper fishing’s been great, mostly for lots of throwbacks, but once in a while a 20-, 30- or 40-pounder. Eels, jerk shads and the Gulp Nemesis worked in the bay. Seas were rough to boat the ocean for stripers in past days. The shop is loaded with Mojos, the rig to troll for the fish, not available everywhere. The store is like Mojo central, and people were telephoning for them.
Good-sized blackfish were latched into, said Noel from One Stop Bait & Tackle. Ling, bluefish and occasional striped bass were laid up, and sometimes a striper was a keeper. The water was yet to be cold enough to draw in the migration of large stripers from the north. But resident stripers bit. Those are younger, smaller fish, yet to migrate, living in local waters year-round. Customers nabbed all these fish on foot from along the Massachusetts and Vermont avenues jetties to the T-jetty in the surf, and along jetty-lined Absecon Inlet from the T to Caspian Avenue. The T is on the ocean end, and Caspian is on the bay end, of the inlet. The blackfish bit green crabs. The ling inhaled fresh bunker or frozen cut bait like mullet. The blues jumped on fresh bunker or the mullet. The stripers engulfed fresh bunker, fresh clams or bloodworms. Seas in that area were a little rough today, but not terribly. West wind Friday will probably flatten that out. No rain fell locally, though rain fell at other places in the state. All the baits mentioned and more, a large supply, are stocked.
Egg Harbor Township
Ocean boaters began to see striped bass, said John from 24-7 Bait & Tackle. The migration wasn’t quite here yet, he thought, and was generally farther north in the state. But the boaters weighed-in stripers 20 and 30 pounds. The fish were trolled on Mojos, Stretch lures and umbrella rigs 1 ½ miles from shore. More of the migration will probably arrive in a week or so, he thinks. Blackfishing was decent but hit and miss. Some trips caught great, and some didn’t. White perch fishing was terrific off Beesley’s Point and the power plant. Bloodworms are stocked for the angling. Not many reports came in about sea bass. In addition to the bloodworms, the shop is stocking fresh bunker, fresh clams, green crabs and pretty much all baits. The store’s rental boat, used to fish including on Patcong Creek, Great Egg Harbor River and the bay, will probably be available in the next week or so, until they’re no longer available for the season. Patcong is where they’re docked, and runs past the shop. The boats are also used for crabbing from spring to early fall, when crabs are running. Patcong is one of the best places for crabbing. The company also owns 24-7 Bait & Tackle in Marmora.
The Stray Cat blackfished Monday and Wednesday, and the catches have been pretty good aboard, Capt. Mike said. Seas were a little rough Wednesday, and the ocean has been 57 degrees. No striped bass, and no baitfish that stripers forage on, were seen on the two day’s trips. Stripers were jigged near the bell buoy this weekend on the boat, and Mike hopes the stripers show back up locally in the next couple of days. Space is available on an open-boat blackfish trip Friday. Another one of the open trips might sail Saturday, because forecasts look like seas might be too rough for a sea bass trip scheduled to fish farther from shore. Spots are available on an open trip that will fish 8 a.m. to 12 noon on Thanksgiving, for only $40. The trip will blackfish, and if stripers are around, mix in striper fishing.
Small striped bass were angled from the surf on soft-plastic lures and small plugs like small Daiwa SP Minnows, and a few were hit on bait, said Justin from Fin-Atics. If lures were larger than 6 inches, the fishing seemed tough. Hardly any keepers came from the surf, and from the back bay. Stripers averaging 15 to 22 inches were zapped from the bay on plastics and bait. The migration of large stripers remained north, yet to arrive locally. Two sizable stripers were weighed-in Monday that were boated among a pod of bunker in the ocean that seemed part of the migration passing through. But those were the only two of the bass caught known about then. A striper was weighed from the inlet yesterday that was bunker-chunked. Not a lot that was good was heard about blackfishing. Blackfish that had bitten in the bay seemed to turn off, except a bite was heard about from behind Longport yesterday. The reason the blackfishing slowed couldn’t be known, but maybe the fluctuating bay temperature was a cause. The bay one day was 56 degrees, and yesterday was 51, for example. The fish should be biting otherwise, it seemed. Nobody reported fishing for sea bass on the ocean. During the couple of days boaters had the weather to sail the ocean recently, they trolled for stripers there, didn’t sail for sea bass. Fresh clams, fresh bunker and green crabs are stocked. Catch the sale at the shop throughout Thanksgiving weekend. The biggest part of the sale will be on Black Friday, when gear is all discounted 25 percent.
Sea Isle City
***Update, Friday, 11/20:*** Ocean striped bass fishing was going off, crazy, this morning, Mike from Sea Isle Bait & Tackle said in a phone call then. Telephone calls came in the whole morning, talking about big stripers boated on the ocean on jigs and the troll. Mike’s brother, who mated on a charter boat 10 years, never saw the fishing like this, the brother said. One trip, on the way back from the angling, said none of the stripers the trip caught was under 43 inches, and 52 or 53 inches was biggest. Weather kept boaters from fishing the ocean the previous couple of days. The trips met the full-out blitz today, when they returned to the water. Not much was heard about surf-fishing for stripers in past days. Seemed anglers kept telephoning to ask whether the fish bit, instead of fishing, preventing reports. Stripers were angled from the back bay, including a few sizable, in the mid-30-inches, like along bridges. For blackfishing on boats, wind against tide was difficult. But anglers who knew how to deal with the conditions could catch well. Conditions just weren’t favorable. Baits stocked include fresh bunker, fresh clams, eels and green crabs. Live spots finally ran out for the season last weekend. The shop carried them longer than most stores.
Weather was too windy for trips to fish the ocean Tuesday and Wednesday, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service and Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. But a buddy trolled a 48-pound striped bass Monday on the ocean. Some real quality stripers, not a ton, swam the ocean, and if a trip trolled, there was a great chance to boat a sizable one. Joe hopes more of the fish migrate south to local waters, and then the stripers could be jigged. Fly-fishing is slated to fish for the bass this weekend aboard, so Joe will see how that goes. Trips for blackfish and sea bass are also available aboard. Trips can also fish for smaller stripers that are swimming the back bay. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s Blog. Annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys will fish from Christmas to Easter, mostly on weekends. The trips can be like a min-vacation, and see Jersey Cape’s traveling charters Web page.
Fins & Grins Sport Fishing is supposed to fish for blackfish Saturday, and Capt. Jim hopes to look for striped bass on the way to the blackfish grounds, he said. A trip last Saturday tried for stripers on the ocean, and the angling was no good. A trip last Thursday played smaller stripers on the back bay. Some of the bay’s stripers currently are keepers, and Jim was surprised. Most of the migration of large stripers remains north, toward Barnegat. They seemed to be migrating south, because angling for them was better farther north in the state not long ago. Thanksgiving Day and that Saturday are booked. Space is available that Friday and Sunday. Fins & Grins is slated to fish every day, and reservations aren’t required but suggested. Telephone for availability.
Sea bass were shoveled aboard Sunday on the party boat Porgy IV, and the boat began blackfishing Monday, Capt. Paul said. The bag limit was raised to six blackfish beginning that day, and the tautog fishing was a slow bite on Monday’s trip, though action picked up late on the outing. A couple of anglers limited out, but many hooked no keepers. Some only landed throwbacks. Alex Levantovsky from Philly and Kevin Moran from Pennsauken limited out. Ken Minett from Mays Landing decked two keepers, winning the pool with a 5-pounder. Capt. Paul was a little disappointed in the trip’s catch, though somewhat expected the results, because the water was warm. Many private boats blackfished in the area, because not a lot of striped bass migrated to the local coast yet. Not a lot of space was left on the reef for the Porgy IV to fish. Private boaters often depart earlier than the party boat, and often stay on one spot the whole trip. The Porgy IV was weathered out Tuesday and Wednesday, and would be weathered out today. Trips might not resume until Saturday, because of weather. But the boat will probably fish more often in the future, and maybe more blackfish will snap. Maybe the trip just fished the wrong area. Or, again, maybe the water was somewhat warm. The Porgy IV is blackfishing at 8 a.m. daily.
The Heavy Hitter will fish this weekend, probably for sea bass, Capt. George said. The angling’s been good, loading up, 30 miles from shore on the boat, including last weekend, covered in previous reports here. George knew anglers who fished for them Monday, catching well. Strong wind blew Tuesday and Wednesday, preventing trips, and was supposed to blow again today. During the better weather Monday, a friend fished for blackfish, saying the angling was kind of a struggle, but tugged in the fish, not big, up to 4 or 5 pounds, but also a 9-pounder. The friend said small pieces needed to be fished to catch. A few striped bass were boated locally, here and there. Most of the southern migration reportedly remained to the north. George knew somebody who fished for the stripers to the north on the ocean off the Governor’s mansion at Island Beach State Park. Charters limited out early there. The Heavy Hitter will sail for stripers when the migration reaches local waters. Telephone if interested in any of this fishing.
A few striped bass, not many, were eeled from Cape May Rips, bunker-chunked from Delaware Bay and trolled from the ocean from Ocean City to Wildwood on Stretch lures and Mojos, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. From the surf, one would be beached from the ocean, another at Cape May Point or a couple from Delaware Bay, but from no spot particularly. Ling bit in the surf. Blackfishing sounded good along the jetties, and not much was reported about boating for the tautog. Nick would assume the tog could be boated from the reefs. Nobody mentioned sea bass fishing. Fresh clams in the shell, fresh, shucked clams, fresh bunker, eels and green crabs are stocked. White leggers would probably be stocked today.