Bluefish, lots, and a few striped bass were drilled Tuesday evening with Outcast Charters, Capt. Joe said. A 20-pound striper was largest, and the blues were big, up to 15 pounds. Outcast’s been fishing from the back of Raritan Bay to the ocean. “All over,” he said, and the fish swam all the waters. Outcast offers fishing from both Staten Island, N.Y., and Sewaren, N.J., and will begin sea bass fishing when New Jersey’s seas bass season is opened starting Wednesday. ***Update, Friday, 5/22:*** Striper fishing exploded on the bay Thursday aboard, a banner night, Capt. Rob from Outcast said. He’s Joe’s brother, and the angling took off from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., and the trip limited out, on all good-sized stripers, 15 to 25 pounds. A few blues, not many, bit, and the fish were all hooked on bunker chunks.
Striped bass fishing was picky on Raritan Bay, Capt. Frank from the Vitamin Sea wrote in an email. That was because tons of blues swarmed the bay, including on grounds that usually hold stripers. When an angler got a bite from a striper, capitalizing was critical. When the bites were missed, the catch wasn’t good. Plenty of stripers swam the bay, but the fishing needed the blues to back off a little. Trips will target stripers through the end of the month. Charters are fishing, and the next open-boat trips for stripers will sail next week from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Open trips fill fast, so reserve as soon as possible. Fluke fishing aboard will begin with an open trip on Saturday, June 6, and one space is available. Bring bucktails and Gulps on fluke trips on the boat. Or bucktails and Gulps will be available for sale aboard at a very reasonable price, he said. Bait will be provided, for those who want to fish bait. Open fluke trips will sail daily when no charter is booked.
Bluefish dominated, and a handful of striped bass bit, said Capt. Mario from the Down Deep. “Lot of blues,” he said, and the crew’s looking forward to the openings of fluke season Friday and sea bass season Wednesday. Charters are fishing, 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.
Room is available for open-boat trips or charters Friday and Saturday, said Capt. Joe from Papa’s Angels Charters. A trip is booked for Sunday, he believes, that’s supposed to fish for a combo of bluefish and fluke. Fluke season will be opened starting Friday, and several people said fluke were around. Trips with Papa’s most recently tackled lots of blues and some striped bass in the Sandy Hook area, covered in recent reports here. Telephone to climb aboard.
Shore anglers cranked blues to 15 and 20 pounds from nearby Raritan Bay, said Joey from Joey’s Bait Shack. The bay’s boaters also wrestled the fish, and both the shore anglers and boaters fished bunker. Pretty much bunker now, he said. No striped bass caught were heard about. Customers all waited for fluke season to be opened starting Friday, and the flatfish were already hooked from the bay. Crabs were yet to be trapped. Killies, a preferred fluke bait, are stocked, but the supply was tight, and Joey didn’t know whether they’d last. Customers were already buying them. The whole selection of frozen baits for fluke is stocked, like spearing and squid. Fresh bunker and fresh clams are on hand.
Weather became rough Monday on the party boat Fishermen, Capt. Ron wrote in a report on the vessel’s website. Three keeper striped bass, three shorts and a good catch of bluefish were totaled on the trip. Blues bit right away during the outing and were big, on a quick drop close to port. The trip took a ride before weather became too nasty, fishing shallow water, and blues bit right away again. The day looked like the weather would be good. But by 7 a.m., the harbor’s flags began to blow northeast and then east, and fog developed. Ron felt bad because many of the anglers wore shorts and T-shirts. On Tuesday’s trip, Rich Appert from Pennsylvania won the pool with a 16-pound striper hooked on a Crippled Herring. Blues and a couple of keeper stripers were taken on the outing, a great day on the water, Ron said. On Wednesday’s trip, the bite wasn’t hot, for whatever reason. A 22-pound striper was the pool-winner, and Rich Appert connected with a big striper again, boating a 23-pounder. Many of the blues caught were smaller than the previous couple of days. Lou, Ron said, has been bleeding the smaller blues and putting them on ice for customers. “Burlap bags are a thing of the past,” Ron said. When filleted, the bluefish meat was perfect. A couple of customers said what a difference in the meat when taken care of like that, how well it cooked and how good it tasted. If taken care of correctly, the blues were excellent, blackened, quick-fried or grilled. Capt. Dan, who runs the boat’s nighttime trips, makes a salad with lemon juice, garlic and fresh dill that’s out of this world, Ron said. The Fishermen is sailing for striped bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Trips are also striper fishing 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 3:30 to 9 p.m. Sundays.
Some trips fished for bluefish better than others on the party boat Atlantic Star on Raritan Bay, Capt. Tom said, but the trips will switch to fluke fishing Friday. That’s opening day of fluke season, and the bluefishing was weathered out on Monday. On Tuesday, bluefishing was no good on the morning’s trip, but very good on the afternoon’s. On both of Wednesday’s trips, bluefishing was slow, and the weather turned rough. Wind probably blew 20 knots, from northwest, seas were lumpy, and the day was cold. Was amazing how quickly the weather could turn. Starting Friday, the Atlantic Star will switch to fluke fishing, after bluefishing through today, on two trips daily from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. ***Update, Friday, 5/22:*** The year’s first fluke trip this morning was kind of pleasant, met good weather, decent conditions, Tom said. Throwbacks gave up decent action, and some keepers were bagged. The start was pretty good, considering the water was 59 degrees. The fishing was somewhat tougher on this afternoon’s trip, and wind blew much stronger. A few throwbacks bit on each drift, and one keeper was bagged, so far, when Tom gave this update in a phone call aboard, a couple of hours after the trip began.
The rivers gave up striped bass, said Jimmy from Julian’s Bait & Tackle. Striper fishing was a little tough on Raritan Bay, because many bluefish schooled. A few stripers were boated there and on the ocean. But lots of blues were boated. From the ocean surf, stripers were hooked, if anglers fished worms. If the surf casters fished bunker or clam, they beached blues, an odd striper. The bay’s shore anglers fought lots of blues. But they landed plenty of stripers at night, even if news about that is always scarce. Fluke season will be opened starting Friday, and the summer flounder were hooked and released on the bay already. Back on the ocean, ling were decked at Scotland and south of there. Looks like a good weekend for fishing, and anglers should catch, he said. All baits are stocked.
Fin-Taz-Tic Sportfishing located striped bass on the ocean, at Shrewsbury Rocks, on Tuesday, Capt. Pete said. The trip caught well, and boats have usually been fishing Raritan Bay. Tons of bluefish schooled, and should begin to depart soon, but whether that was desirable was tough to say. On one hand, blues gave up lots of action for anglers aboard. Now was an especially good time to fish, because three species will be able to be targeted – stripers, blues and fluke – now that fluke season will be opened starting Friday. That’s not typical, and if anglers wanted to catch, this was the moment. An angler who fished with a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old aboard this week telephoned, saying how much they enjoyed. Pete couldn’t say how fluking would be, until fluke season was opened. But trips could fight blues and then switch to fluke. Or could switch to fluke if striper fishing turned out challenging, because of blues. Or trips could strictly target stripers. Whatever anglers wanted. Trolled Mojos and livelined bunker caught most stripers aboard. Blues attacked trolled Stretch lures and shad umbrella rigs. Space became available for this Saturday, because of a cancellation. A couple of other spots are available this holiday weekend, and charters and open-boat trips are fishing.
Sailing from Twin Lights Marina, Ed and Tony on the Hammerhead trolled striped bass and blues at Reach Channel on Raritan Bay last Thursday, Marion wrote in an email. Rich Blarr and crew on the Sara Ann on the same day trolled blues on Navesink River and Sandy Hook Bay. On Friday, John Cuozzo and Bob Luzzi on the Elsea Nora limited out on stripers to 37 inches and caught 14 blues while trolling at Flynn’s Knoll and the West Bank. During the weekend, J.R. and Dan Shield and T.R. Dempsey trolled blues to 12 pounds off Sandy Hook Point on Stretch 25 lures. On Wednesday, Rich Sherer trolled a 40-inch striper at Flynn’s. Tony and Rob today trolled stripers and blues at the West Bank. Twin Lights, located on Shrewsbury River near Raritan Bay and the ocean, with no bridges before them, includes a marina with boat slips and dry storage, a fuel dock, and a combined bait and tackle shop and ship’s store. Bait stocked includes live bunker when available and in demand. The fuel dock is available 24 hours a day with a credit card.
Slow fishing for striped bass today, but bluefish and one good-sized striper were decked aboard, Capt. Ralph from Last Lady Fishing Charters wrote in an email. Space is available on an individual-reservation trip for sea bass next Thursday. Another is full on Wednesday, opening day of sea bass season. Individual-reservation trips will sail for sea bass and fluke every Tuesday in June. Fifteen sea bass will be the bag limit from opening day through June. Two will be the limit in July, and the season will be closed afterward, reopening from October 21 through the end of the year, with a 15-fish limit. Charters are available daily.
***Update, Saturday, 5/23:*** Fluke fishing was great on Shark River on Friday, Bob from Fisherman’s Den wrote in an email. That was opening day of fluke season, and on some of the store’s rental boats on the river, scores of the flatfish, including a half-dozen keepers to 4 pounds, were landed. Striped bass fishing was good that day for boaters on the ocean. The bass, many 30- to 40-pounders, were on bunker, and Ed Andrejack from Allentown’s 43-pound striper, bagged on the party boat Golden Eagle, was the “big bass” that day, Bob said. A 42-pounder was cracked on the Miss Belmar Princess, and stripers to 36 pounds were weighed from the Big Mohawk. Those are all Belmar party boats. Good reports rolled in from private boats and charter boats about the angling. Tom Cook from Shark River Surf Anglers banked a 15-pound 15-ounce striper from the surf. ***Update, Sunday, 5/24:*** Two anglers on the river Saturday totaled scores of fluke including an 8-pounder and two 4-pounders on a trip, Bob wrote in an email. Big fluke, good action, he said. ***Update, Monday, 5/25:*** Gene Amato entered the largest striper, a 29-pounder, in the Asbury Park Fishing Club’s tournament, Bob wrote in an email. The club won the event with 104 pounds, and Shark River Surf Anglers came in second with 94 pounds. The Spring Lake Live Liner Fishing Club won third with 15 pounds, and other clubs in the event failed to score.
Four sizable striped bass to 35 pounds and a bluefish were trolled on the ocean to the south Wednesday with XTC Sportfishing, Capt. Scott said. A trip Tuesday steamed to Wilmington Canyon, trolling a yellowfin tuna. Then the trip caught tilefish, a great catch, and stopped at a wreck on the trip home, pumping in some cod. The canyon’s best water, he said, was 67.25 degrees, somewhat cooler than the 70 to 71 degrees offshore boaters found Friday. Only a gradual temperature break was found on the trip, and the water was blue, but not Caribbean blue, he said. One whale and a handful of working birds were seen, and no weeds were. More trips aboard were fishing today and Friday, and XTC is pretty much striper fishing now.
Some larger striped bass moved into the area, in the ocean, said Capt. Pete from Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters. Not a lot were nailed aboard yet, but the ones caught were large, in the 30 pounds. He’s looking forward to the season’s bunker showing up strongly. Then the striper fishing will be game on. Trips on the boat trolled the bass on bunker spoons. When bunker could be found, they were livelined, hooking stripers immediately, aboard. The bass bit finicky, and more were lost than landed, only because of that. Big bluefish also swam the water in large numbers. Fluke season will be opened beginning Friday, and Parker Pete’s will probably begin fluking sometime in June. That depends on factors like water temperature and when striper fishing slows. But Pete’s looking forward to “drifting and dreaming,” he said, and anglers should start booking fluke trips for July, for sure. Fluke trips aboard will include bucktailing seminars that sailed last year. That’s a chance to learn or refine bucktailing for large fluke in a non-threatening environment. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s anyway, about individual spaces 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.
“Stripers to 35 (pounds) today,” a report on the party boat Golden Eagle’s website said. Anglers aboard picked at stripers and a few blues on the trip, spending most of the day livelining bunker. Stripers and bunker looked like they began to move in. Weather looks good for Friday and the weekend, and the Golden Eagle is fishing at 7:30 a.m. daily.
The party boat Miss Belmar Princess resumed fishing today, after a Coast Guard inspection Monday, and rough weather in the next days, an email from the vessel said. A big area of bunker schooled off Shark River Inlet all day. “A couple to a handful” of bluefish were jigged on each drift on Ava 27s and 47s, it said. A couple of keeper stripers were even boated. A 37-1/2-pound striper was the pool winner, and was the angler’s first-ever striper. The Miss Belmar Princess is fishing for striped bass and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. ***Update, Saturday, 5/23:*** A good catch of 8- to 14-pound blues was made in the morning, on the ocean off southern Belmar, on Friday’s trip, an email from the boat said. But striped bass 25 to 35 pounds bit in the afternoon, mostly on Krocodiles and Ava 47s. The stripers showed up among bunker that also schooled when the blues were caught. Stripers began to move in, “so if you have been thinking about coming fishing, now is the time!” it said.
A charter is booked Friday on the party boat Big Mohawk, the vessel’s Facebook page said. But the boat will fish for fluke this weekend through Wednesday, Capt. Chris said in a phone call. Fluke season will be opened beginning Friday, and those fluke trips will continue daily through Tuesday. The trips will sail for sea bass daily starting Wednesday, opening day of sea bass season, and for fluke again the following weekend. A special striped bass trip will fish 3:30 p.m. until dark on Saturday, the Facebook page said. Daytime trips sail 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the boat. Sometimes they sail at different times on certain days like season openers and days afterward, so check the boat’s website or Facebook page or telephone it to confirm. Striper trips, like the one scheduled for Saturday, sometimes fish in afternoons to evenings this time of year.
Point Pleasant Beach
Fluke fishing will be kicked off Friday, opening day of fluke season, on the Norma-K III, Capt. Matt wrote in a report on the vessel’s website. The crew is ready to start the season with a bang, and weather looks great for this Memorial Day weekend. The fluke trips will fish 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily starting that day. That’s the annual half-day schedule, and the crew thanks everybody who fished on the annual ¾-day trips this fall until now. That schedule will resume this coming fall. Bluefish trips will sail 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday through Sunday, and will run every night, during those hours, beginning May 29.
The surf tossed up bluefish, different sizes, said Mario from Murphy’s Hook House. Sometimes they were big gators, and sometimes a 3-pounder might be hooked. Anglers ran into them before dark, often. Bunker, metal, swimming lures and popping plugs caught the fish, and a few striped bass were mixed in. A 25-pound striper was weighed-in that was reportedly bunker-chunked in the surf in Monmouth County a few days ago. A 38-pound striper was trolled on the ocean on a bunker spoon. Boaters sometimes bagged stripers on the ocean. They sometimes fought blues. In Barnegat Bay, blues gathered more toward Barnegat Inlet. Some straggler blues 3 to 5 pounds remained in the Toms River at Island Heights and Ocean Gate, and were popper-plugged before dark and during dark. All the baits are stocked for the opening of fluke season Friday, including killies and the entire frozen assortment. Murphy’s also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.
Five- to 8-pound blues were knocked around from the dock, said George from The Dock Outfitters. Crabs began to be nabbed from the dock, and surf anglers mostly dragged in blues, a couple of striped bass between. The blues weighed up to 16 pounds all week, and were walloped on bunker chunks. Blues probably schooled Manasquan Inlet, and fluke probably swam the inlet. George mentioned them previously, saw them caught, but hadn’t been back to the inlet recently. The blues then ran the inlet at dusk and dawn. Fluke season will be opened beginning Friday, and besides being hooked at the inlet, many were landed in Barnegat Bay behind Island Beach State Park, while anglers waded for blues and stripers, fishing plugs. The shop is stocking the Double-O Fluke Rig, and anglers might be unaware about the rig. Killies will be stocked for fluke bait on Saturday. Baits stocked include fresh bunker, fresh clams and bloodworms. Check-in catches to enter the free tournament awarding a $50 gift card to the shop each month for the biggest entered that month. 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.
Boaters on the radio talked about catching striped bass on the ocean throughout this morning, despite rough weather, said Kyle from Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle. The fishing’s been pretty good, toward Barnegat Inlet, and the bass have been decent-sized. A 29-pounder and a 17-pounder were weighed-in earlier this week. Bluefish schooled Barnegat Bay, closer to the inlet than earlier this season. The blues were smaller than previously, but still 8 pounds, and fishing for them was good. Fluke season will be opened beginning Friday, and a couple of reports came in about the flatfish hooked and released, between the BB and BI markers in the bay, on spearing. Not much was heard about weakfish, but one kid said he’d been landing them at the mouth of Oyster Creek from shore. Offshore boaters began to fight sharks. Crabs began to be trapped a little. All the fluke baits like killies, spearing and squid are stocked. Fresh bunker will arrive today or Friday. Shiners are carried.
Fishing will be launched this weekend for the season with bluefish trips on the Super Chic, Capt. Ted said. Good-sized blues 6 to 10 pounds were heard about from Barnegat Bay and Barnegat Inlet, and nobody was known about who fished for blues on the ocean at places like the Mudhole. The boat usually fishes on the ocean, and a striped bass trip is booked aboard for Sunday. Stripers were trolled on the local ocean or not far from port. Stripers didn’t seem to be caught in the inlet, like on clams that are common to fish for them there this season. That was because of too many blues. Sea bass trips will begin aboard after sea bass season is opened starting May 27. Sea bass trips are booked aboard that Friday to Sunday, he thought.
Lots of blues were already docked today, said Vince Sr. from Bobbie’s Boat Rentals at 9:30 a.m. in a phone call. Where’d the blues come from lately? he was asked. One customer this morning boated them at Barnegat Inlet, for instance, Vince said. Or rental-boaters ran into the blues lately while drifting off the tip of the Dike on Barnegat Bay or anchored at places like that, when the blues swam past. Was nice for the rental-boaters to be able to catch something like that. A fair share of striped bass were docked during the week. Boaters bagged the fish on the ocean off the bathing beach at Island Beach State Park or the ocean near Barnegat Inlet. They mostly trolled the catches on bunker spoons or Stretch lures. Some landed the bass on bunker snagged and livelined for bait. Anglers waited to see how fluke fishing went in Barnegat Bay, when fluke season would be opened starting Friday. Nobody who clammed was heard about. The season was early for crabbing in the area, because of cold water from the inlet. Minnows will probably be stocked Friday. Spots to stock were reportedly scarce down south. The shop is waiting for the call saying the baitfish are available to stock live. 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.
This was posted in the last report but is being posted again in case anybody missed it: Fishing will be kicked off this weekend on the party boat Miss Barnegat Light for the fishing season, the vessel’s website said. Trips will bluefish 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday through Monday, Memorial Day. Afterward, the trips will sail every Friday through Sunday, during the same hours, through June 21. Starting June 22, trips will fish for fluke and sea bass 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.
Mostly blues were lit into from Barnegat Inlet and the surf, said Sue from Surf City Bait & Tackle. Not the quantity like before, but catching. More striped bass were hit from the surf than before, and four were weighed-in, including two entered in the Simply Bassin tournament. Skates appeared in the surf, and crabs stole bait from beach casters. Most customers fish bait, and mostly dunk bunker for the blues. But the supply of Avas, Kastmasters and Krocodiles had to keep being replenished. For the stripers, the anglers are soaking bunker or clams or casting plugs. Fresh bunker and fresh clams are stocked. Minnows are carried for the opening of fluke season starting Friday.
Lot of anticipation for the opening of summer flounder season, said Scott from Scott’s Bait & Tackle. The season will be opened beginning Friday, and he thinks the angling won’t set the world on fire. But some will probably be caught, and 1-1/2-pound bluefish schooled Great Bay. Big blues, 10 pounds and heavier, plenty, schooled the local ocean. Somebody said big stripers gathered toward Wreck Inlet, but the accuracy was unknown, and nothing else was heard about that. Scott thinks some drum are around, though people aren’t saying. Grassy Channel in evening is probably the best chance at them. Not a lot of effort was put into fishing Mullica River. Scott would think stripers could be landed from the river or that anglers could eel for them. Eeling had been almost fruitless, because a blue would grab the bait first. Crabbing was okay, not really started. Crabbing wouldn’t feed a picnic, but could nab a snack, was worthwhile. All baits are stocked except spearing. That’s a flounder bait, and so are minnows. Minnows are on hand, but the supply looks like it’ll be tight. Three suppliers are providing the shop with the baitfish, but whether that will be enough is questionable. The supply had begun plentiful this year, and whether minnows were spawning now or some other reason was responsible for a shortage was unknown. Baits carried include fresh, shucked clams, no longer clams in the shell, and live grass shrimp.
Striped bass, many, were slammed Wednesday on boats on the ocean off the Brigantine Hotel and from the surf along Atlantic City’s jetties, said Jay from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. A 32-pounder was the biggest weighed at the shop, he thought, and he knew about five that were larger than 40 inches. On the boats, the fish were trolled on bunker spoons and Mojos. From the surf, clams and Fin-S Fish caught. The back bay was full of bluefish and summer flounder. Flounder season will be opened starting Friday. The blues could be hooked as fast as popper lures could be cast near the 139 marker in Great Bay. The blues weighed 8 to 15 pounds, averaging 10 to 12. Blues and bunker also swam Mullica River. Capt. Dave, the shop’s owner, castnet the bunker to keep carrying the freshest at the shop. Fresh clams are on hand, and so are minnows, a favorite flounder bait. All the bait, like mackerel and squid, and supplies are stocked for the flounder opener. Live spots might be carried starting next week, Jay would think. The store’s annual Grand Slam Customer Appreciation Sale started Friday and runs through today, and its Grand Slam Customer Appreciation Tournament takes place this weekend.
Some big striped bass were slid from the surf, and a 30-pounder was the largest known about, said Joe from Riptide Bait & Tackle. But fishing for big stripers hit the wall at Brigantine Shoal, a half-mile from shore, for boaters. That was the best fishing for them, and the fish up to a 52-pounder that was reported were smashed there the last three days. Bunker schooled the water, and boaters snagged and then livelined the baitfish to the stripers. All the fish swam less thickly today, but five of the bass were brought in, that Joe was aware about. Bluefish were beached from the surf, but the bluefish population thinned out, compared with before. That seemed a reason the stripers showed up heavily. A few drum were beaten from the surf here and there, but were last reported during the weekend, not during weekdays this week. Fresh clams and fresh bunker are stocked. Minnows arrived today for the opening of summer flounder season Friday.
Big striped bass began to be weighed-in more than before, said Jeremy from One Stop Bait & Tackle. Anglers on foot took the fish from nearby jetties like off the Flagship and from the T-jetty. Places like that, he said, and bluefish were zapped from the same spots. Some of the blues were smaller than before, but big were mixed in. Four stripers were weighed-in by this afternoon alone, and someone had just posted photos of six on the shop’s Facebook page. Photos of large stripers kept being posted this week, and friend One Stop on Facebook to keep up. Some of the stripers caught were crazy big, he said, and a 43-inch 25-pounder was weighed-in. The anglers fished with clams, bunker and lures like pink Fin-S Fish. The lures, not just bait, could catch the big stripers, he said when asked. Customers were readying for the opening of summer flounder season starting Friday, and the shore anglers already hooked flounder at Harrah’s, off Melrose Avenue and places like that, also nearby. Minnows, mackerel, squid, stuff like that, could be fished for the fluke. Weakfish were heard about that were caught at night along the jetties. Most of these spots are along Absecon Inlet, lined with jetties, blocks from the store. Minnows, fresh bunker, fresh clams and all baits, a large supply, are stocked.
Egg Harbor Township
Like before, bluefish swam almost everywhere, pretty strong, said Chris from 24-7 Bait & Tackle. They plowed through the surf, back bay and Great Egg Harbor River. Just a few striped bass were seen, all from the surf. Not many stripers were talked about from boats on the ocean. Summer flounder were hooked and released in the bay, and flounder season will be opened starting Friday. Crabs began to be trapped from Patcong Creek, running past the shop. Patcong is one of the best crabbing spots, and customers crab and fish from the shop’s rental boats, docked on the creek. Patcong is a tributary of the Great Egg, and the catches fished for on the boats include flounder on the bay. The blues are rental-boated on the river to the bay. Baits stocked include minnows, especially for flounder, fresh bunker, fresh clams, live grass shrimp and all the offshore baits. The company also own 24-7 Bait & Tackle in Marmora.
Summer flounder trips will be kicked off Friday, opening day of flounder season, on the party boat Keeper, Capt. John said. The boat specializes in flounder fishing on the back bay the whole season every year, but sailed for bluefish on the bay last weekend. A few blues were caught, but so were flounder, including sizable, that were released. Photos were posted on the boat’s Facebook page. “Time to catch some flounder,” John said about the trips that will begin now. Starting Friday, the Keeper will fish for summer flounder 8 a.m.-12 noon and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. daily. The trips are only $28, and rental rods are free.
On the back bay, open-boat trips will fish for summer flounder 8 a.m. to 12 noon Friday through Monday on the Stray Cat, Capt. Mike said. Flounder season will be opened starting Friday, and open trips will fish for sea bass on the ocean Wednesday and Thursday. Sea bass season will be opened beginning Wednesday. Telephone to climb aboard, and charters are booked the following weekend. Mike’s got minnows, instead of crabs, in the crab hotel, for flounder fishing. He was busy tying the Stray Cat’s killer flounder rigs. The boat will fish for tuna next week, probably at Wilmington Canyon. The vessel will do some sharking now, and everybody began talking about sharking, since the 820-pound mako was weighed at Cape May’s South Jersey Marina last weekend.
Trips will fish for summer flounder this holiday weekend starting Friday on the party boat Miss Ocean City, said Capt. Victor, who’s also from the party boat Captain Robbins. The trips will sail three times daily from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., and flounder season will be opened beginning Friday. Miss Ocean City will fish for sea bass on the ocean 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Wednesday, opening day of sea bass season.
Fewer bluefish swam locally than before, but blues were still in, said Bill from Fin-Atics. They were angled from the back bay to the surf and remained big. Blues to 16 pounds were weighed-in. Some bigger striped bass were beached from the surf than before. They were hooked during mornings and evenings more than in the middle of the day, and small stripers, more than previously, were played on the back bay, now that blues became somewhat less abundant. Summer flounder skittered around the bay, and the flounder season will be opened starting Friday. Few weakfish were heard about. One was reported here and there, and some big were weighed-in last year during this time. Tuna fishing was actually good offshore for 25- to 30-pound yellowfins. Mahi mahi were sometimes reported from the waters, though the season was early for them. A large warm-water eddy, reaching 76 degrees, with a 15- or 20-degree temperature break, attracted the fish. Bill was unsure about the location now, but suspected the eddy moved between Lindenkohl and Spencer canyons. No sharks caught were reported, except the 820-pound mako that was weighed at Cape May’s South Jersey Marina that made the news. Shark reports will probably pick up this Memorial Day weekend, because boaters will begin to fish. A whole new crowd, i.e. boaters, always shows up, starting with the holiday weekend. Until now, most customers were shore anglers. Minnows, a favorite flounder bait, and a huge supply of baits is stocked for the weekend. Probably too much, Bill guessed. The baits include fresh clams, both in the shell and shucked, fresh bunker, bloodworms and eels.
Sea Isle City
Rich Duffy aboard popper-plugged two striped bass on the back bay Sunday morning, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service. A bunch were also missed, and these weren’t the first stripers on poppers this season with Jersey Cape, but the top-water fishing is starting, so that’s nice, Joe said. Trips aboard toss Rapala Skitter Pops and Crease flies, a version Joe ties with a larger cup to throw more water, for the angling. One bluefish was jigged on the trip, Joe thought, and the bay’s bluefishing aboard slowed somewhat, sometimes running into a mess, other times none. This was about the time for the blues to become less abundant in the bay, though they’re found in the bay throughout the fishing season. Joe’s about to transition for summer flounder fishing on the bay anyway, because flounder season will be opened starting Friday. The early season fishes best for flounder in South Jersey’s shallow, warm back bays, and plenty of the flatfish have been swimming the water. Joe will see how fishing for them goes this weekend, and book those trips without delay. On Sunday evening, fishing for the bay’s blues was tougher aboard, and the angler fly-rodded two small ones and caught another on a spinning rod. The angling slowed on that tide. On Saturday evening, Rich Duffy was aboard, this time with his son and nephews, and blues, lots, 7 to 16 pounds, were nailed on jigs on spinning rods. A 16-pound 37-incher was largest. Those are big blues anywhere, but exceptional-sized in the bay. Mike Spaeder and son that morning fought blues to 14 pounds on jigs aboard. They released a couple of flounder, too, Joe thought. Inshore shark trips are coming up, starting in late June. Sharks like duskies and browns are released close to shore, usually within 10 miles. The annual angling aboard is a chance to fight big fish without the long trek offshore. Offshore fishing gave up great catches of yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna at the canyons, and Joe would like to get out there, between a busy schedule of other trips, like for flounder. A buddy popper-plugged bluefins from the water, really good fishing. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s blog.
We’re crushing drum, said Capt. Jim from Fins & Grins Sportfishing. Drum fishing was very good on Delaware Bay aboard, all at the same place, not a long run, 45 minutes from port. The angling was the best in years, and should last, including because of cooler weather recently. The fish were somewhat smaller when Jim worked on another boat Monday. But the drum that night aboard with Fins & Grins weighed 45 and 50 pounds, and a couple were larger. These are good-sized drum, not pups. The drum lately had crabs in their bellies, interestingly. Another trip aboard would drum tonight, and Fins & Grins is trying to fish for them twice daily. Trips are available every day, and reservations aren’t required but suggested. Telephone for availability. Sea bass fishing will become available aboard the ocean starting Wednesday, opening day of sea bass season. Fishing regs, like the current closed season for sea bass, are becoming tougher. Write to your congress members online to make a change while on the computer during the day.
A strong population of summer flounder filled the back bay, said Mike from Canal Side Boat Rentals. He released eight or nine on a trip last week, and a friend stopped counting after letting go 10 or 12 that were 20 or 22 inches on a trip. The opening of flounder season, starting Friday, should fish well. Small bluefish 2 or 3 pounds swam the bay, but how many was difficult to say, because nobody targeted them from the shop. That’s because the shop’s been closed since fall, but will be opened for the season starting with the flounder opener. It’ll be open full-time through Memorial Day, and telephone about hours during weekdays for now. Mike didn’t know how crabbing was, because customers were yet to crab this year. Canal Side rents boats for fishing and crabbing and kayaks. ***Get a $5 discount*** on a rental boat if you mention Fishing Reports Now. A full supply of bait is sold at the shop during the season. Minnows were ordered for flounder bait, and Mike would see whether the suppliers arrived with the orders. Crabs, both live and cooked, are sold for eating, in season, and picnic tables are set out to enjoy them. The season was too early to carry the blueclaws currently.
Space is available for a drum charter Saturday, because a charter rescheduled to Friday, on the Heavy Hitter, Capt. George said. The fishing’s been good, and he hopes it holds up a couple of weeks. Trips aboard smoked them during the weekend, covered in the last report here. Telephone if interested.
On the party boat Porgy IV, drum were heaved from Delaware Bay on every trip aboard, Capt. Paul said. The bay looked like chocolate milk in 20 m.p.h. wind on Wednesday, when he gave this report in a phone call at 6 p.m. aboard. Only one drum was landed, so far, on the trip. But 14 or 15 were, during the other night, and 26 were, on Tuesday night. The fish were good-sized, mostly 35 to 60 pounds, and few were small. The boat had some good drum trips, and the fish were nice. He’ll try to run drum trips 2 to 10 p.m. daily through Tuesday. Telephone for availability that can depend on demand and weather. Clams for bait weren’t easy to obtain recently. Trips will sail for sea bass at 8 a.m. daily starting Wednesday, opening day of sea bass season.
Delaware Bay’s drum went crazy, insane, said Joe from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. If anglers want drum, they better go this weekend. They better go for striped bass, too. The drum were boated just a couple of miles off the Cape May ferry. The stripers were banked from the surf, at places like Higbee’s Beach and at that vicinity, but were also boated on the bay, at some of the shallows like 7 to 10 feet in the area. Many of the stripers met the 28-inch minimum size, and few were small. A couple were 40 inches. Fishing couldn’t get better than now. Mostly clams and bunker were fished from the shore, and if anglers used clams along the bay’s surf, they had a chance at drum. Bluefish were like “peek-a-boo” in the surf and bay. They showed for a day, disappeared on another or three days, then reappeared. Summer flounder season will be opened beginning Friday, and flounder bit well in the back bay. Many were throwbacks, but many were sizable.