Fluke started to swim deeper, and were hooked along Ambrose Channel and off the Rockaways, said Joey from Joey’s Bait Shack. Lots were throwbacks, but there were also keepers, often 5-pounders and larger. One customer just found fluke in 60 to 70 feet. Anglers fished Spro jigs with 6-inch Gulp grubs in Nuclear Chicken or Pink Shine for the flatfish. But they also fished usual baits like spearing and killies. Snapper blues swarmed all around Raritan Bay at Keyport, and cocktail blues started showing up. No spots or croakers were around. Small striped bass, nothing to write home about, Joey said, were bunker-chunked along Keyport Pier. Bunker was the way to go this time of year. Crabbing was pretty good, holding its own, he said, at Keyport. All baits are stocked, including sandworms that are scarce. The store has a connection to get them, and baits stocked also include fresh bunker that arrives daily, fresh clams, killies, eels, nightcrawlers and frozen bunker, clams, spearing, finger mullet, smelts and all the different types of squid, like tube squid and 1-pound boxes of squid. The store will be a sponsor for a snapper bluefish tournament for kids 10 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday on the Keyport waterfront, featuring prizes and free hot dogs and beverages. Register ahead at the event.
Fishing will next sail through the weekend for fluke on the Vitamin Sea, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. Charters are fishing, and an open-boat trip for fluke is full on Sunday. Two spaces are available for another on Saturday, and openings are available for one on Monday, Labor Day. Telephone to reserve, and like the Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page for real-time reports and open-trip dates. “Get your dose of Vitamin Sea!”
Nine keeper fluke to 22 inches were plowed, and throwbacks were released, on the ocean Wednesday on an open-boat trip with Rob Chapman and two friends with Papa’s Angels Charters, Capt. Joe said. The anglers were sharp, Joe said, and fished with him before, and they dunked killies they brought and spearing and squid supplied aboard. The boat drifted excellent, and there was no swell where they angled, though some places held a heave, according to other reports. Charters are fishing, and open-boat trips for fluke are available twice daily, in the morning and afternoon, when no charter is booked. Telephone to reserve, and Sunday is booked, Joe believed. But space is available this holiday weekend, including on Saturday.
Boaters shoveled up fluke, good catches, at the Mud Buoy, where they’d been catching them all along this season, said Jimmy from Julian’s Bait & Tackle. A charter captain friend totaled 25 keepers for six anglers on a charter Wednesday at the Mud. Bluefish were around, including at the Mud, where they were chummed. Ling fishing was great on the ocean, and huge winter flounder were mixed in. Another captain friend was loving that angling, even glad to do that instead of fluking, on his charters. Porgies bit at the Tin Can Grounds and Reach Channel, and a few, not many, hit around docks. Snapper bluefishing was good at docks and other back waters. Striped bass were trolled at Romer Shoal in mornings. But one customer wormed them. Worms were difficult to obtain from suppliers, and some were stocked the other day. Otherwise, the full supply of baits is carried. Tuna fishing was good offshore, when trips had the weather to sail. Boats will probably sail for them Friday, when the swell becomes smaller and longer.
Nice weather, good fishing – doesn’t get any better, Capt. Ron from the party boat Fishermen wrote about the fluke trip Tuesday aboard, in a report on the vessel’s website. Action with the fish was good then and on the previous couple of days. Lots of the fluke were throwbacks, but a few customers limited, and some of the fluke were big. Capt. Ron Sr. nailed an 8-pounder, giving it away to another angler, and a 6-pound fluke won the pool, on Tuesday. Bring a heavy rod that can handle 10 ounces of weight and deep water. It’s that time of year, and a “noodle” rod won’t catch with that much weight, unless the fish swallows the hook down to its behind. On Wednesday’s trip, Dean Berardi from Florham Park took over the season-long pool for fluke with a 9-pound 30-incher. The trip’s fluking started slowly, a shock after the previous day’s action. But the boat was moved, and game on. Lots of action was mugged, and several 3- to 6-pound fluke came in. Fran Wurtenberg limited out, including two 7-pounders. The Fishermen is fishing for fluke 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and for croakers, porgies and bottom fish 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. daily except Sundays.
After fluke fishing somewhat improved Sunday aboard, wasn’t great, but improved, the fishing was about the same Monday aboard, said Capt. Tom from the party boat Atlantic Star. Both of the daily trips caught that day, not great, but improved. Fluking was tough on both of Tuesday’s trips, for unknown reasons. Wednesday morning’s trip headed to Sandy Hook Channel, and as many throwbacks bit as anyone could want. Not a lot of keepers did, but lots of fluke were hooked. The afternoon’s trip sailed back to the channel, but seas were rolly, so the boat was moved inshore a little, to off Sandy Hook Point. Fewer throwbacks chomped, but more keepers were bagged, than in the morning. Wasn’t great, and not all customers landed a keeper, but all caught at least throwbacks. All the keepers were taken on bait on the trip, though that didn’t always happen on trips. One angler, a good fisherman, found that fishing with bucktails or any artificials was no good on the outing. On the morning’s trip, the fish hit anything, when they were so numerous. Anglers shouldn’t worry about the ground swell reported elsewhere. Where the boat’s been fishing, the ocean’s been beautiful, and if seas become rough, trips retreat into the bay for protection. The Atlantic Star is fishing for fluke on two trips daily from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. ***Update, Friday, 8/29:*** This morning’s trip fished the ocean, Tom said in a phone call aboard the outing, and seas were like a lake. There was no giant ground swell, no screaming rip current, just the normal current at Sandy Hook Channel that was fished. Anglers might want to bring an extra rod, a heavier one, because of the depths fished now. That way a heavier one can be fished if heavier weight needs to be fished if the boat drifts faster, and a less heavier rod can be used if the drift is slower. There’s room to stow away the rod not being fished. Fluking began tough on Thursday aboard. Wind blew, and the boat drifted too quickly. But once the drift slowed, the channel could be fished, and fluking gave up lots of action. Lots of throwbacks had to be worked through for keepers. But some keepers were mixed in, and there was plenty of action for everybody. ***Update, Saturday, 8/30:*** Fishing for fluke on this morning’s trip was probably one of the better mornings for keepers, a nice morning, Tom said. Friday afternoon’s trip was similar – nice fishing. On this afternoon’s trip, wind came up from the south, and seas became rolly at the channels, in the outgoing tide, and conditions were terrible for drifting the boat, too. The trip fished some spots there, then moved to the bay. A few keepers were picked, and shorts came up, not as good as in the morning, but anglers didn’t get beaten up by seas.
Fishing picked away at fluke on the ocean, caught them well, on the party boat Big Mohawk, Capt. Chris said. Some days were better than others, but the fluking wasn’t bad at all. Weather had to be battled frequently this season. Good-sized fluke were decked, including 7- to 8-pounders every day. Rocky bottom was fished, and mostly Gulps on bucktails caught. But strips of fluke belly also did. The Big Mohawk is fluke fishing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
The daily bluefish trip on Wednesday, fishing along the Mudhole like on previous trips, was excellent on the party boat Miss Belmar Princess, an email from the vessel said. Jumbo blues 10 to 17 pounds were slammed, and the fish bit right away, and the angling just got better as the trip went on. The blues were fought the whole trip, and John Sutor from Whiting won the pool with the 17-pounder. A 15-pound cod and a 12-pound pollock were also clocked. The Miss Belmar Princess is bluefishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. daily. ***Attention! Kids sail free!*** To thank patrons, kids 14 and under will sail free aboard weekday trips through September 5, when a paying adult accompanies the kid. Let the kids have fun before going back to school, the email said.
Super bluefishing was crushed Wednesday on the party boat Golden Eagle, a report on the vessel’s website said. Many customers limited out on the 10- to 15-pounders, and the fish smacked both bait and jigs. Hammered jigs with red tails were the hot jigs. Fishing for the same-sized blues was good aboard Monday, mostly on bait, and Tuesday, on bait and jigs. The Golden Eagle is bluefishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. every Saturday. Fishing trips/sunset cruises are running 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sundays through Fridays. Tuna trips are booking up. Only eight spots are left for September 28, one for October 5 and 15 for October 19, the three dates the 24-hour trips are scheduled. See the Golden Eagle’s tuna trip page online.
The Katie H will fish for tuna offshore at the canyons overnight Friday to Saturday, Capt. Mike said. He was loading bait into the truck for the trip Wednesday evening when he gave this report in a phone call. The schedule of overnight trips to the canyons recently began aboard, traditionally starting around now, when tuna start to feed at night, not just during daytime like they do earlier in the year. The boat fishes inshore, but is also an offshore specialist.
XTC Sportfishing was weathered out from fishing for tuna at the offshore canyons Friday through Sunday, Capt. Scott said. But trips aboard fluked Tuesday and Wednesday on the ocean, scoring alright. Wednesday’s trip slapped a bunch of keeper fluke on deck and released a whole bunch of throwbacks, and Tuesday’s trip was about the same. Trips fished for tuna offshore and inshore last week, catching well. One of the inshore trips landed bluefin tuna at the Chicken Canyon that Monday. An overnighter that Tuesday to Wednesday fished offshore at Hudson Canyon, drilling yellowfin tuna and longfin tuna. Another overnighter that Wednesday to Thursday batted aboard yellowfins at the Chicken. The yellowfins at the Chicken weighed 20 to 70 pounds, and at the Hudson weighed 70 to 90. At the Hudson, the tuna were trolled during daytime and chunked at night. The chunking was slower than trolling, but the fish bit throughout the night. All the tuna at the Chicken were trolled, during daytime, of course. A trip Friday will fish inshore for tuna and sharks, Capt. Jody from the boat said, and another on Saturday to Sunday will fish offshore, if he remembered the schedule.
A few good-sized fluke, including a 7-1/2-pounder on Wednesday, were snatched from the ocean aboard, said Capt. Pete from Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters. But the heave since the weekend’s northeasterly wind, and the current offshore hurricane, made the fishing a grind the last few days. A severe easterly current, like the currents that caused riptides, was also dealt with, and south wind on Wednesday was an issue. Conditions were brutal, but that can happen this time of year. You play the weather, he said. Wednesday’s trip was one of the On the Water Seminars that teach bucktailing for fluke on the boat. Another is full that’s slated for Saturday, and the seminars were going to end already, but more were added, because they’ve been successful, and Pete might add another soon. An email about the seminars said: “Are you tired of reading reports of people catching big (fluke)? Do you usually ‘drag’ bait and hope for the big one? Are you being out-fished when you go out fluking? Are you ready to get hooked on bucktailing in a non-threatening way?” Anglers can email Pete for info about the trips. Also, don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Jump on Parker Pete’s website to subscribe to the emailed newsletter to be kept informed about last-minute, individual spaces available to fill in charters. Look for the place to sign up on the right side of the page.
The surf was up, so this might’ve been a good time to try for striped bass there on clams, Bob from Fisherman’s Den wrote in an email. Rough surf can break up clams into the water, triggering stripers to feed on them. Reports rolled in all week about stripers in the surf. Bill Massey from Wall fly-rodded them, and Mickey Sweeney from Howell hooked the bass on sand crabs, “so clams would be a logical choice,” Bob said. “… Fluke fishing was a little slow the last few days, but the action in the rivers continues to be good,” he said. On the rivers, snapper blues and crabs kept kids happy. Big bluefish bit well in the ocean, and false albacore kept showing up in better numbers in the ocean. Five-inch, bubble-gum Tsunami split tails did a job on the albies. “Keep the faith – fall is in the air,” Bob said.
Point Pleasant Beach
Sea bass, ling, winter flounder, fluke and a few pollock and cod were laid up on the party boat Dauntless, Capt. Butch said. The angling was okay, not a bail, but nice, steady catching, and he liked that. Anglers might’ve averaged 15 to 25 fish apiece, and on some days, some caught a little better. Sea bass and ling made up most of the catch, and trips will target sea bass more than before this Monday through Saturday, when 15 sea bass will be the bag limit. Three is the current limit, and sea bass season will be closed the next day for a time. Customers were able to limit out on three sea bass the past couple of days, and that wasn’t difficult. On some days, anglers could limit out on two flounder apiece. If anglers could add 15 or 20 ling to catches of other fish like that, that was a nice catch. Quite a few fluke were taken on Tuesday, a bonus. Trips fished in 60 to 150 feet, finding sea bass and fluke around 60, and ling and flounder around 150. The water was 70 to 75 degrees. On nighttime trips, bottom-fishing started to slow, but fishing picked up for blues 10 to 15 pounds, good-sized. The night trips will sail through this Labor Day weekend, then end for the year. The Dauntless is bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. Trips will bottom-fish or bluefish 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. this Friday and Saturday. Previously, the night trips sailed on those days and every Wednesday this season, and will now end after this weekend, like every year.
Loads of snapper blues filled the Toms River at Island Heights, said Dennis from Murphy’s Hook House. The fish also gathered around Route 37 Bridge on Barnegat Bay, and anglers hooked the blues on spearing. But some began to swim killies for the fish, because the snappers grew large enough to bite the baitfish. A few spots swam all over. Crabbing was very good on the river at Island Islands and at Good Luck Point on the bay, like all season. Catches slowed around the full moon, the super moon, but that was long past. A few blowfish were hooked, mostly from the northern bay around Mantoloking Bridge. Not much was heard about blowfish locally on the bay, but a few, not many, were picked on the southern bay toward the BI and BB markers. Fluke, lots more throwbacks than keepers, remained near the markers, and the best fluking came from the BI to Barnegat Inlet. Most fluke anglers fished the bay, because the ocean was rough. The surf gave up small blues and fluke. Fishing for the 8- to 18-inch blues, a few bigger, was most consistent from the beach. Some anglers fished mullet for them, but spearing worked best. Spearing were fished on Snapper Popper rigs, like are usually fished in back waters, like the river or bay.
Blowfish, small sea bass, snapper blues and sometimes cocktail blues were tugged in from the dock, said Kevin from The Dock Outfitters. A couple of older anglers totaled 50 blowfish, small ones, 2-inchers, but did catch them, from the dock a couple of days ago. Crew from the shop hooked a few, not many, on clam on high-low rigs. Banded rudderfish hit along pilings in mornings. Crabs were coupled or mating, so crabbing was slow. In the surf, not much happened, but small fluke and sometimes blues were beached. Sand sharks were banked at night from shore. Kevin actually heard about a few false albacore from the surf. “That’s if you’re lucky,” he said, and he wished he ran into them. 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.
On the ocean, fluke fishing was good in about 55 feet, almost anywhere, and some trips fished north, others south, but wrecks and reefs seemed key, said Grizz from Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle. Wrecks seemed to fish a little better, because they weren’t worked over. Some bonito remained at Barnegat Ridge. Farther offshore, tuna fishing was good, when boaters could reach them in seas. In Barnegat Bay, good catches of fluke could still be found, but close to Barnegat Inlet, along Oyster and Double Creek channels. Blowfish started to be caught in the bay here and there in past days, after they were late to arrive. Lots of snapper blues were fought at practically all lagoons. Crabbing was very good along the bay.
Ocean fluke fishing was okay, hanging in there, said Capt. Ted from the Super Chic. The angling on a trip Monday aboard was okay, considering the swell. A swell continued on a trip Wednesday on the boat, and fluking might’ve ended up slow that day in the conditions, but croakers, the first this season, showed up, so the trip switched to fishing for them, taking advantage. More trips for fluke are slated for today through Saturday. A trip Saturday night is supposed to bluefish, and might fish for bonito first.
Catches were slow today on the party boat Miss Barnegat Light, the vessel’s Facebook page said. But the ocean swell, because of the offshore hurricane, already diminished, and seas should be “back to normal” tomorrow. On Wednesday’s trip, six keeper fluke were plastered on the first drift. On the next drift, croakers blitzed the baits. The hardheads to 2 pounds and blues to 2 pounds were swung in. On the next drifts, “we picked away, and by the end of the day, we had quite a variety filling the buckets,” it said. The Miss Barnegat Light is fishing for fluke and sea bass 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.
Barnegat Bay’s fluke fishing was the same as the last few weeks, said Ray from Bobbie’s Boat Rentals. One in 15 was a keeper, but some good-sized were creamed on livelined spots. Fluking in the ocean was about the same, from what Ray heard. But he heard that blackfish were hooked along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks. One customer bought four dozen green crabs at a time for bait for them. He caught, apparently. Reports did come in about blowfish, not a lot, but some, arriving in the bay. Snapper blues popped up at times, at least fun for kids to play. Crabbing was slow, “I’m going to say,” Ray said. Someone returned with four or five keepers on Wednesday. Another clammed, and wasn’t a diehard, harvesting a dozen. But when more experienced clammers head out, clamming is usually good in the area. 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. Baits stocked currently include live spots, green crabs, minnows and grass shrimp. The shrimp should be ordered ahead.
The riptide was strong in the surf, but anglers still beached fluke, working hard for them like before, said Sue from Surf City Bait & Tackle. Sharks and skates swam the surf, and no kingfish were heard about from the surf. Runs of fish like that seemed delayed a month, like blowfish that now appeared strongly in the bay. They were late, but there. Many anglers were pleased with bay fishing, including while they waited for the riptide to calm. The blowfish were hooked on Fishbites and clams. Snapper blues, small sea bass, needlefish and bergals swam the bay. Fluke, some babies, some bigger, skittered around the bay. Blackfish and triggerfish hovered along Barnegat Inlet’s jetty, toward the back, at the condos and along any rocks or structure. The store’s final, annual Free Surf Fishing Seminar of the season, held 6 to 7 p.m. every Sunday in the parking lot in summer, will take place this weekend. Hosted by Bob Massa, the classes are called Sundays with Bob. Bring a lawn chair, and striped bass will be the subject this Sunday, preparing for the 60th annual Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic that will be held October 6 to November 30. Keep up with the news: Like Surf City Bait & Tackle’s Facebook page.
A good batch of croakers was boated on Great Bay today, said Scott from Scott’s Bait & Tackle. Was good to see, because Mullica River seemed to flush them out previously from freshwater from rain. One big blowfish was reported hooked from the area, and a run of blowfish never really developed in the bay this year. High hooks landed like five. But the absence of blowfish didn’t seem because of water conditions, because plenty of baby sea bass swam the bay. Snapper blues swam all over. Some throwback summer flounder remained in the bay, but a month has passed since keepers were heard about from there. Flounder migrated to the ocean, and one customer was able to sail to Little Egg Inlet in the ocean early in the week, or managed to do that despite rough seas this week. The trip caught well, and had to work, fishing pockets of the fish on short drifts, instead of longer drifts for a spread of flounder. The trip likely ran the engine most of the trip, and the anglers almost vertically jigged the fish. But the point was that flounder were there. Back in the bay, shark fishing quieted pretty much, after brown sharks, required to be released, filled the water in a good population earlier this season. They enter and leave the bay each year like that to spawn. Blackfish should hug the sod banks this time of year. But a couple of customers tried for them, seeming to have no success, because they didn’t buy green crabs more than once for the fishing. Fresh, shucked clams, minnows, bloodworms and green crabs are stocked. No live grass shrimp are, because weather is still warm to keep them, so Scott isn’t bothering to net the shrimp.
Fish from the back bay weren’t always large, but plenty of fish swam the bay to catch, said Capt. Dave from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. Flounder still held in the bay, or a bunch of small did, but definitely “a lot of odds and ends” were coming in, he said, or a number of keepers were. Croakers, along with weakfish, accumulated at deeper holes in the bay. Weakfishing was improving in Great Bay and the mouth of Mullica River. Bluefish 1 to 3 pounds started to show there. The population of striped bass was slim in the bay locally. But a few anglers fished the mouth of the river with shedder crabs, catching all the different species, including stripers. Crabbing was picking up, and crabs were shedding, since the weekend’s new moon, and soft-shell crabs are stocked. The store raises them for eating and shedder crabs for bait. An awful lot of blackfish were hooked during the weekend’s DO/AC Beach N Boat Challenge, and none met the 20-inch minimum entry size, but Dave guessed plenty were keepers. The bay’s baitfish population seemed healthy. Dave’s been netting them, and guessed the baitfish attracted all the fish in the bay. Nothing was really heard about the ocean in the seas. Baits stocked include live peanut bunker and mullet and lots of all baits.
Not a lot was reeled from the surf, but kingfishing improved a little in the water, and more snapper blues showed up than before there, said Bill from Riptide Bait & Tackle. Good action with summer flounder was sometimes had from Absecon Inlet, mostly on outgoing tides, for some reason. Some good bites and good catches, he said. No sharks were heard about from the surf since Bill worked at the shop today and yesterday, though anglers tried for them. Sharks seem to come and go sometimes, he agreed, when asked whether that seemed so. Anglers missed spots that were abundant last year but practically a no-show this year. Crabbing was apparently good, though Bill didn’t know first-hand. But all crabbers he spoke with said catches were good.
Kingfish, lots of croakers, summer flounder, snapper blues and blackfish were flung in from Absecon Inlet and the jetties and surf, said Jeremy from One Stop Bait & Tackle. Customers fish all those nearby places on foot, and clams, minnows, bloodworms and green crabs were dunked for bait. Jeremy saw one striped bass that was caught, during the weekend’s DO/AC Beach N Boat Challenge. Green crabs are $4 per dozen or three dozen for $10. Minnows are $8.50 a pint, and bloodworms are two dozen for $20 or $10.75 per dozen. Baits stocked also include fresh bunker, fresh clams, fresh mullet, all the frozen baits, like mackerel, mullet, head-on shrimp and all the different types of squid for flounder fishing, and more, a large supply. A vending machine dispenses bait afterhours. One Stop, at 416 Atlantic Avenue, also owns a shop with the same name at Atlantic City’s Gardner’s Basin that stocks the same baits and also rents rods. Friend One Stop on Facebook.
A bunch of summer flounder, though fewer than before, were still landed from the back bay on the party boat Keeper, Capt. John said. Many were throwbacks, and keepers were bagged on almost every trip. Six were on Wednesday morning’s trip, and 80 throwbacks were. No keepers showed up on the afternoon’s trip, and many kids joined that trip, and not many regular customers did. Dads with kids fished aboard this week a lot, apparently fishing before schools open back up, and regular customers were scarcer than usual during the week. Lots of small sea bass filled the bay. Small bluefish were around. Baitfish swam abundant in the bay. Peanut bunker were growing too large to liveline for flounder on the boat. When the peanuts grow that large, most customers won’t let flounder eat the bait long enough to hook the flatfish. But if John sees smaller peanuts, he’ll throw a castnet on them to keep them in the livewell for customers to fish. The Keeper is fishing for summer flounder twice daily from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 5 p.m. The trips are only $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for kids, because the fishing is near port, and the pontoon boat is economical on fuel.
Lots of summer flounder, including 12 to 15 keepers per trip, were plowed from the ocean the last two days on the Stray Cat, Capt. Mike said. The fishing was great, the best he’s seen in a while, and the trips fished in 75 feet. The ocean held a swell, and the boat didn’t drift much, but the angling whaled the fish. Charters are fishing, and the next open-boat trips will fish for flounder today and Friday. Bonito, false albacore and small blues remained in the ocean that trips bailed previously. Small blues were mixed in on Wednesday’s flounder trip. A trip will fish for tuna at the canyons on Friday. Mike had no opportunity to look for croakers close to shore yet, but the fish should’ve arrived.
Fishing was the same this week as Bill from Fin-Atics reported last week, he said. It was the same in the past few weeks, he added. This week’s ground swell on the ocean was the only difference. Last week he said plenty of summer flounder blanketed the back bay, but not many were keepers. Flounder gathered along the ocean reefs. A few striped bass could be played on the bay at night, usually on lures, but anglers had to know what they were doing. Small bluefish schooled everywhere. Bonito sped along the ocean ridges. Nothing was heard about offshore fishing for tuna and other big game in the seas this week. But an 82-pound wahoo was trolled at Ocean City Reef and weighed-in at the store. The trip couldn’t reach offshore in seas, so trolled the reef.
Sea Isle City
An almost state-record cobia was weighed-in, said Mike from Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. The 86.4-pounder, ounces lighter than the record, was boated at Ocean City Reef on Wednesday on a summer flounder trip. Seas were somewhat rough, but larger boats sometimes flounder fished the ocean reefs, and not a lot was heard about the angling, but flounder seemed to gather at the reefs. Tons of bluefish, 10- to 15-inch cocktails, schooled Townsend’s and Corson’s inlets. Mackerel caught them well, and metal beaned them, and many anglers fished the spearing rig that looks like a tiny mullet rig, with a spinner that’s meant to cast, for the cocktails. Small flounder swam the back bay, but flounder were migrating to the ocean, and weed in the bay made flounder fishing tough. Striped bass were sometimes popper-plugged from the bay. Sometimes stripers, not a large number, were hooked at night from the bay under lights. But all the peanut bunker attracted them. Lots of peanut bunker and spearing schooled the bay. Many small sea bass roamed the bay, and anglers landed like 40 in a trip. Nothing was reported about offshore fishing in the swell, or nobody sailed for them, practically. Crabbing was okay. ***Update, Friday, 8/29:*** The cobia was boated when the anglers, a father and son, flounder fishing at the reef, saw two huge cobia at a lobster pot flag the vessel drifted past, the shop’s blog said. The anglers were prepared with a rod rigged with a hook on a fluorocarbon leader. The son grabbed the largest minnow in the minnow bucket, and cast the baitfish 5 to 10 feet from the cobia. A cobia immediately swam full-speed and attacked the minnow, jumping out of the water as it grabbed the bait. The fish was landed after 30 minutes. Only a hand gaff was aboard, but they wrestled the fish in. The 86.4-pound fish, 62 inches, weighed just less than the 87-pound even record in New Jersey, according to the record online.
Greg Gillespie and wife pumped in a couple of keeper summer flounder to 4 pounds and a bunch of throwbacks, sea bass and blues from the ocean Tuesday afternoon aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service, affiliated with Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. There was a swell that day, and a little heave remained on Wednesday evening. Before that trip, in the morning that day, Richard Nadeau and son aboard reeled in flounder including a 4-pound keeper and a bunch of throwbacks from the ocean. Trips are also popper-plugging and popper-fly-rodding striped bass on the back bay. Fishing for the bass was good when high tides coincided with evenings, always ideal, this past week. The tides will coincide again next week, coming around every other week. That angling’s been good this season, and should only keep improving. Joe’s trips throw Rapala Skitterpops or crease flies to the bass. He ties the flies himself, with an extra-large cup to throw more water. The bass smash the lures and flies along the surface, good sport. Joe poles his flats boats in the shallows, like in a tropical destination, but right here in South Jersey. Trips aboard had been inshore sharking on the ocean, but Jersey Cape wraps up that angling after Labor Day for the season, when the fish begin to migrate away. Jersey Cape is also fishing offshore for tuna and other big game. Joe once again will run trips to the Florida Keys in winter from Christmas to Easter. The annual trips mostly fish on weekends, like a mini vacation. A large variety of fish can be fought, from redfish and speckled sea trout to tarpon and sailfish, from the ocean to the Everglades. Anglers can arrive on a Friday, fish all day Saturday and part of Sunday, return on Sunday, and be back to work on Monday, or can travel and fish on a different schedule. Joe can help arrange flights and accommodations. See Jersey Cape’s traveling charters Web page. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s blog.
Rental boaters from Canal Side Boat Rentals picked at throwback summer flounder, not often keepers, but still caught flounder, on the back bay, Mike said. He bought more supplies to stock for flounder fishing, when normally he wouldn’t anymore in the year. But flounder stuck around in the bay longer than usual this year, apparently because of the cooler summer, and he thinks the flatfish will continue to hold in the bay some time, before migrating to the ocean for the year. Lots of small sea bass were angled from the bay. Snapper blues 8 or 10 inches schooled all over the canal, and kids had a blast with them on spearing on Snapper Popper rigs, sometimes in early mornings, sometimes in evenings. Huge swirls could be seen from the blues. Weakfish kingfish and blues were nabbed together in the bay earlier this year. The weakfishing was excellent in May and June, and none was seen or heard about in a while. A buddy bailed a mess of good-sized kingfish on Delaware Bay at Cape May Point, and Mike just had a good meal of them. Crabbing never took off in the back bay this year. Crabs were currently trapped, but this was a slow year for crabbing in much of the state. Baits stocked include minnows and frozen herring in three per pack, great-looking spearing, mackerel fillets, whole mackerel, mullet fillets, whole bunker, bunker fillets, salted clams in quarts and pints, bags of fresh-frozen clams, all the different types of squid, like tube squid, trolling squid, strips of unscented and scented squid, green strips, pink strips and more. Canal Side rents boats for fishing and crabbing and kayaks. ***Get a $5 discount*** on a rental boat if you mention Fishing Reports Now. Crabs, both live and cooked, are sold for eating, and picnic tables were set out this year to enjoy them. The crabs have been from Maryland, because the blueclaws have been scarce for commercial crabbers in New Jersey this season. Mike wasn’t asked the price of the crabs this week, but last week said the live crabs then were $28 to $38 per dozen, depending on size and market price. The supplier called the crabs No. 1’s, but not all were that large. The cooked crabs were $4 additional per dozen.
Anglers trolled and bottom-fished catches Tuesday on the ocean on the Heavy Hitter, Capt. George said. The anglers, Alex Duncan’s group, trolled a load of bluefish and some bonito, and, during the bottom-fishing, cranked up plenty of triggerfish and some bar jacks. A charity trip for The ARC, for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, loaded up on blues on the troll in an hour, that fast, and returned. A charter is supposed to fish for summer flounder on Friday, and that angling seemed good on the ocean. A buddy fished for them Wednesday at the Old Grounds, and the boat failed to drift. So he moved to another spot George knows, and the flatfish, quite a few keepers, along with throwbacks, were reeled in. The Heavy Hitter is also tuna fishing, and one trip really cleaned up on the fish that was heard about. Little else was heard about tuna in past days. George wasn’t asked the reason, but the ocean held a swell from previous wind and the current hurricane offshore.
On the party boat Porgy IV, summer flounder fishing was good last week, Capt. Paul said. But strong, easterly wind during the weekend that built up an ocean swell “set back the program,” he said. The weather scattered the fluke since, and conditions often prevented the boat from drifting this week. When the boat wouldn’t drift, stumbling into wherever the flounder moved was tough. Action with the flatfish was found on Wednesday’s trip at Cape May Reef, and Rudy Barbolino from Morganville, N.J., limited out on the trip. But Tuesday’s flounder fishing was bad aboard, in no drift. Paul hopes the ocean will settle down by the weekend, after Hurricane Cristobal passes by offshore. The Porgy IV is fishing for summer flounder at 8 a.m. daily.
Fishing the ocean for summer flounder was lit up when boats could sail in seas, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. The catches were mostly heard about from the Old Grounds, but also from Reef 11 and even Cape May Reef. Trips would sometimes tackle five or seven sizeable keepers from Cape May Reef. Decent-sized flounder were sometimes lifted from Cape May Canal or on the other side of the $1.50 Bridge. Lots of flounder remained in Cape May Harbor, but not many were keepers. Nothing was heard about flounder from Delaware Bay, but if anglers try for them there, try deeper water, Nick would say. A few kingfish and croakers were banked near the concrete ship in Delaware Bay’s surf. Croakers probably remained around Bug Light in the bay, like Nick reported last week. Maybe weakfish swam there, too, he said. Snapper blues swarmed around Cape May Point. Croakers were boated along the Intracoastal Waterway. Blackfish bit along Cape May Inlet’s jetties. Back on the ocean, bluefish with bonito mixed in held at places like 5-Fathom Bank. A few mahi mahi might be mixed in. Nothing was heard about offshore fishing for tuna and other big game, probably because of seas. Minnows, bloodworms and clams are stocked. Clam boats were apparently docked because of seas or wind, so clams ran out.