Striped bass catches slowed on the last few trips on the Vitamin Sea, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. The trips were “not that good,” he said, “and from what I can see, I think the bass have finally moved out of (the) area. That’s not to say there aren’t any around. Just not enough to put together a good day’s catch.” So the boat began blackfishing, starting with a trip Sunday. The fishing was okay. “We managed some nice fish along with shorts,” he said, and most of the anglers were new to the tautog fishing. “ … and they quickly learned there’s nothing easy about catching blackfish,” he said. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing. An open trip might sail Sunday, depending on weather.
Blackfishing was tough Friday but seemed to improve, landing a few more keepers, each day afterward on the party boat Atlantic Star, Capt. Tom said. One angler reeled in more than a limit Saturday, keeping no more than his quota. On Sunday’s trip, shorts gave up better action, and a few more keepers were boxed, than on Saturday’s. Some of Sunday’s anglers bagged two or three, and almost all bagged at least one. A few only caught shorts, and weather looked good for today’s trip. The Atlantic Star is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. However, no trips will fish Tuesday and Wednesday, and the trips will resume Wednesday, weather permitting.
***Update, Tuesday, 11/29:*** The year’s final trips might’ve sailed on the Fishermen, a report said on the party boat’s website. But if striped bass appear for the weekend, the boat might keep fishing for them. Fishing on daily trips for stripers wasn’t “up to par” in past days aboard. Schools of bunker that attract the fish migrated south, out of range. Weather looks rough the next couple of days. Check the reports on the boat’s website toward the end of the week for an update on whether the vessel will fish this weekend.
With Lady M Charters, blackfishing began slowly on a charter Sunday, Capt. Steve said. Only a handful of keepers and not many throwbacks bit on a few drops. But the last drop gave up a good pick of the tautog to 6 pounds, bailing out the day. On Saturday on an open-boat trip, blackfishing was a big improvement over a charter Friday aboard. The trip Saturday picked and plucked the whole time, and the high-hook landed 10 keepers. “It helps when you sit tight on the anchors and can build up the life,” Lady M’s Facebook page said. On Friday’s trip, good-sized keepers were cranked up on the first two drops, but too many throwbacks bit. Current changed, and anchoring conditions became no good, “and it was all over,” the page said.
Fishing was good, if you could slip away from Thanksgiving’s family obligations, Bob from Fisherman’s Den wrote in an email. Striped bass, feasting on peanut bunker, “not turkey,” he said, had given up good catches. The angling then became a little slow, because wind shifted, drawing the fish farther from shore. But blackfish were smashed. Jigs with white crabs lit up hot fishing for them. A new load of the jigs were stocked, and anglers bought a bunch. The good thing about jigging is that light spinning rods can be fished with them. Fish a 1-1/2- or 2-ounce jig with a piece of crab on braided line, and you’re in business. “Bass or blackfish – you got your choice,” he said. “Have fun before it gets tooooo cold.”
XTC Sportfishing’s been boating striped bass, blues and blackfish on the ocean, Capt. Scott said. Not a lot of blackfishing took place aboard, just a sprinkling, he said, but all the fishing was pretty good. The stripers weighed up to 42 inches and were hooked on cast rubber shads and on trolled Mojos, spoons and shad umbrella rigs. The blues were big, and the blackfish were “keeper-sized,” he said.
A couple of dozen striped bass were hammered in the first hour of today’s trip on the Miss Belmar Princess on the ocean, an email from the party boat said. Shots of five to eight were beaten at a time. Later in the trip, stripers showed up again, and the boat limited out on bonus-sized. More than three-quarters of the trip’s anglers also limited on unders, and jumbo blues were mixed in. The fishing was excellent. The Miss Belmar Princess is fishing for stripers and blues 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
Anglers picked away at mostly striped bass and some blues Friday on the Golden Eagle, a report said on the party boat’s website. A blast of seven to 10 or more would be caught every so often, and the stripers included 35- to 39-inchers. Saturday’s trip picked at mostly stripers and some blues. Sunday’s picked at mostly blues 6 to 15 pounds and some stripers in the morning, and the angling tapered off toward the end of the outing. The trips mostly caught on swim shads, landing a few of the fish on jigs. Today’s trip was expected to fish to the south. Last year, some of the season’s best striper fishing was in December aboard. The number of stripers around currently suggests to the crew that the trips will have a strong finish. Trips are sailing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
Both boaters and surf-casters found good striped bass fishing along the ocean from Sandy Hook to Barnegat Inlet, said Bob from The Reel Seat. Customers usually only fish as far south as the inlet. The boaters mostly trolled the fish on Mojos and bunker spoons. They didn’t usually liveline bunker, because bunker that schooled were peanuts – young, small ones – since bluefish showed up weeks ago close to shore. Boaters and surf anglers got into big blues yesterday at Long Branch. Blues showed up from Sandy Hook to the inlet off and on, like the stripers did, lately. One trip landed a 100-pound bluefin tuna on a bunker spoon while fishing for stripers Saturday. Bluefins supposedly appeared at wrecks farther out sometimes lately. They appeared and disappeared and appeared again. Surf-fishing for stripers was fantastic until slowing Saturday and Sunday. Blitzes popped up, foraging on peanuts, throughout the stretch, including at Normandy Beach, Lavallette and Island Beach State Park, “you name it,” he said. Sometimes only rubber shads caught at one place, or only popper plugs or swimming lures did. “It’s weird,” he said. But mostly only those three things caught. None landed on metal was heard about. A 27-pound striper was biggest in a tournament among five surf clubs in the area. Blackfishing was good on the ocean except the past couple of days, because of no wind for boaters to anchor. But most anglers got after stripers, and not much was heard about blackfishing or other angling. Fishing for sea bass and porgies seemed okay.
Point Pleasant Beach
Mushin Sportfishing’s been pounding striped bass, solid catches, the past few days from the ocean, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. On Friday, mostly rubber shads, plugs and popper lures caught. On Saturday, most of the fish were trolled. On Sunday, almost all the bass were hooked on bunker snagged then livelined, among bunker schools. The trips limited out and released more by early morning, and big blues were mixed in. Stripers swam in sizable schools, “so plenty of action to come,” he said. Mostly wreck-fishing trips are sailing, but striper trips will run when no wreck-fishing is on the water.
A good variety of different-sized striped bass and some blues were decked Sunday on the Gambler on the ocean, the party boat’s Facebook page said. The stripers were up to 36 inches, and most anglers bagged a slot and an under. Trips are fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Offshore sea bass trips are scheduled for Dec. 17-30 and are filling up.
On the Norma-K III, blackfishing kept improving throughout the weekend, a report said on the party boat’s website. John Faulhaber from Point Pleasant heaved in a 15-pound 8-ounce whopper he released. “Fishing has been picky at points,” it said, but pool-winning blackfish averaged 7 to 9 pounds, and blackfishing can only improve as the ocean cools. Both green crabs and white crabs caught and are carried aboard. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
Friday was another good day of striped bass fishing in the surf, a report said on The Dock Outfitters’ website. That was the most recent report posted at press time, and the fish including keepers were beached from Lavallette to Island Beach State Park. Schools of peanut bunker were on the move that attracted stripers. For anglers fishing artificials, rubber swim baits and hard swimming lures like Daiwa SP Minnows worked best. Popping plugs, metal-lipped swimmers, darters and wide-profiled metal were also good choices. For bait anglers, cut bunker and clams caught. “We have some nice live eels just to switch things up,” it said. The Dock Outfitters, located on Barnegat Bay, blocks from the ocean surf, features a bait and tackle shop, a café, a dock for fishing and crabbing and, in season, boat rentals and jet-ski rentals.
Charters scored good striped bass fishing the past three days on the Super Chic, Capt. Ted said. The fish, unders and slots, no overs 43 inches or larger, were jigged, and bluefish also bit each day. A couple of the blues were big Friday or Saturday, and on Sunday the blues weighed 5 to 10 or 11 pounds. Lately, blues mostly weren’t the huge that were in before. A fairly wide spread of stripers held in the ocean, and two or three fleets were on them. Ted hopes the bass stick around another couple of weeks. Blackfishing seemed yet to be very good locally this season.
Great day of jigging Sunday on the Miss Barnegat Light, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Almost the entire trip picked at bonus stripers, unders and blues. Many anglers limited out on bonus and under stripers. “Lots of fish spread over a large area point towards good fishing over the next few weeks,” it said. Saturday’s trip tackled a few blues and bonus stripers on the first few drifts, then the angling slowed, but a few bigger stripers were nailed later in the morning. Fish were read but didn’t bite, and even boats that trolled weren’t catching. Maybe stripers were full, and one aboard had a large bunker hanging out of its mouth. On Friday’s trip, anglers had to work for stripers, and some boated none, and some picked up multiple fish apiece. Bonus stripers bit early in the day, and better-sized were picked during the second half of the trip. Those included the 38-pound pool-winner, a 33-pounder and a 32-pounder. The boat will next fish at 7 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
Good striped bass fishing was trolled Saturday on the ocean on the June Bug, Capt. Lindsay said. Decent day, he said, and six of the fish 34 to 40 inches were bagged off Peahala Park on Long Beach Island just inshore of 3 miles from the coast. Striper fishing is closed beyond 3. An especially big striper was lost at the boat. Huge pods of bunker had disappeared that schooled the water previously. But the stripers were hooked where nothing was marked on the fish-finder. The number of bunker snagged during trolling was considerably fewer than during the previous week. This trip, with the Moore charter, trolled two 24-ounce Mojos, one in white and one in red and white, and two No. 2 and 3 Tony Maja spoons, one in white and one in green and yellow. No bluefish were seen on the outing. Weather was forecast to be rough Sunday but turned out calm. A mate from Saturday’s trip sailed for stripers Sunday on the ocean. The trip landed seven in an hour and returned to port. Lindsay that day took a look at the ocean from the dunes, seeing birds work the water just beyond the surf. Bluefish at least schooled there, he figured. The water near port was 48 degrees, considerably colder than during the previous week, when June Bug’s trip departed. The ocean was 51 degrees, a degree lower than during the previous week, during the fishing that day.
Action’s getting good, a report said Friday on Riptide Bait & Tackle’s website. That was the most recent report on the site at press time, and boaters pulled in striped bass from the ocean. Surf fishing for stripers was tough, but surf anglers hoped the bass will push into the beach. The surf was very clean, the report said that day. To keep up with the latest, see Riptide’s Facebook page.
The Stray Cat was busy fishing for blackfish and striped bass in past days, Capt. Mike said. Good blackfish or tautog catches were pasted on three of the days. “Tog are here,” he said, and quite a few of the anglers limited out on them. The tog were sizable and included 4- to 8-pounders, and trips fished for them 7 or 8 miles from shore. A couple of striper trips also fished pretty well aboard, off Brigantine. The ocean held a temperature break there toward Absecon Inlet from 52 degrees to 47 or 48. The stripers held in the colder water, not the warmer, and the colder was to the south. Bait only swam there and farther north in the state. None schooled south of Brigantine, except farther from shore. Bird play worked bait over stripers and blues 6 to 8 miles from shore, sporadically, but the fish were abundant. Striper fishing is closed beyond 3 miles from shore. The next trip with space available is on Friday. Rough weather will keep trips from sailing beginning tomorrow for some days. Open-boat trips will now fish daily, whenever weather is fishable. Open trips had been fishing several times a week. But the trips will be slated for every fishable day now, because weather’s closing in for the season.
Sea Isle City
Five striped bass mostly 25 to 31 pounds, except one 27-incher, were trolled Sunday with Mike O’Hara and friends aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service and Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. One 22-pounder was trolled Saturday with Jim Campbell and crew aboard. On Friday, one 22-pounder was also trolled on David White and friends’ trip on the boat. All the fish on the trips were hooked from the ocean on Mojos and umbrella rigs. No large numbers of stripers swam the local ocean yet. But most were big that bit. Most weighed more than 20 pounds that were boated this month aboard. No bluefish were seen. Lots of bunker and whales were seen on Sunday’s trip. Lots of bait schooled during the trips, but no stripers were on the bait. The bass were hooked when no bait was seen. Whenever the trips fished among bait, no stripers showed up. Annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys will fish beginning at Christmas. See the traveling charters’ page on Jersey Cape’s website. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s Blog.
Six striped bass to 33 pounds were bagged from the ocean Sunday on trolled Mojos and Stretch plugs with Fins & Grins Sport Fishing, Capt. Jim said. They were “strays” or not hooked all at once. Not much bait swam the water. Where bait was, no stripers bit. The fish bit where no bait was. No bluefish were seen. Fins fishes every day, and reservations aren’t required but suggested. Telephone for availability. The boat did no blackfishing in past days, but a few blackfish are around, Jim heard. He’d imagine they’re beginning to slide farther from shore to wrecks.
***Update, Tuesday, 11/29:*** “Good reports of stripers on the troll,” Hands Too Bait & Tackle’s Facebook page said Monday. “Red and white mojo’s were the ticket (that day),” it said.
Caveman Sportfishing ran for striped bass Friday on the ocean, but the fishing was no good, Capt. John said. Lots of bait schooled, and whales were seen. He canceled striper fishing aboard this week, because the fish were mostly yet to migrate south to local waters for the season. He didn’t know how the fishing went locally Saturday and Sunday. But as of Friday, a few stripers were boated off Brigantine recently, but very early in the morning. Lots of bird play held 8 to 10 miles from shore, probably with stripers underneath. But striper fishing is closed beyond 3 miles from the coast. Within 3 miles, stripers remained farther north in the state, were yet to migrate down, for the most part. They should come down. Some Cape May boats were sailed 65 miles north to the ocean off Long Beach Island, and the trips caught stripers well. Some of John’s friends’ trips landed many there. Any substantial population of stripers, within 3 miles of the coast, seemed no farther south than off the southern end of Long Beach Island during the beginning of the weekend.
Trips fished for striped bass Thursday through Sunday, catching some, not great fishing, on the ocean on the Heavy Hitter, Capt. George said. Thursday’s and Friday’s trips hooked none. Saturday’s trip, the John Jones charter, trolled five stripers 36 to 38 inches. Sunday’s trip, the Tony Lafferty charter, trolled two: a 40-incher and a 32-incher. Another trip was supposed to sail for stripers today.