Shark River harbored a large population of fluke, Bob from Fisherman’s Den wrote in an email. But anglers had to fish hard for keepers. Brian Biedinger from Little Silver bagged a 5-pound 12-ounce fluke, his one keeper, from the river on live bait on one of the shop’s rental boats. He totaled more than 90 throwbacks on the trip. “The idea is to have fun,” Bob said, and anglers could do just that, reeling up 17-inch fluke all day. Bob joined two trips on the river this past week that totaled more than 40 fluke in a couple of hours on ½-ounce jigs with Gulp. Bring kids to catch snapper blues on the river. “They always have fun,” Bob said. On Manasquan River, Art Coakley from Neptune bagged a 4-ound 8-ounce fluke. Belmar’s party boats scored well on large fluke on the ocean, and most pool-winning fluke weighed 8 pounds or more on the trips. Business was fair during the weekend, and weather kept anglers from fishing Sunday.
Anglers picked away at bluefish and bonito on most drifts Sunday on the party boat Golden Eagle, until south wind came up, slowing the angling, a report on the vessel’s website said. The catch was okay overall, and the fishing was slower on Saturday than in previous days. Blues, bonito and a few hefty sea bass were caught, “but not enough,” the report said. The fish were read and seen, “but did not bite right,” it said. Bluefishing was awesome on Wednesday and Thursday, and sometimes bonito were mixed in on the outings. Blues and bonito on trips smacked hammered jigs, Krocodiles and teasers. The Golden Eagle is fishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
***Update, Tuesday, 7/29:*** Fishing was a little slower on Monday than before on the party boat Miss Belmar Princess, but bluefish and bonito were still tackled, an email from the boat said. The crew, late in the day, heard about larger blues north of Shark River Inlet, and planned to look for them today. Fishing aboard was super for blues, with bonito and small false albacore mixed in, on Saturday and Sunday, at hills east of the inlet. On Friday night’s trip, bluefishing started slowly, south of the inlet, but improved as the night went on. Some anglers ended up limiting out, and all customers landed some. This was one of the better nights of the fishing in a while, and the blues were small, so customers caught better who had brought light spinning rods. On Saturday night’s trip, plenty of small blues were found again, south of the inlet, and most anglers limited out, and a fair number of bonito were zapped. Jose Torres from Rockaway, N.J. won the pool with a 3-pound bonito. The Miss Belmar Princess is fishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.
Catches of fluke were becoming lots better on the ocean with Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters, Capt. Pete said. The water reached 69 and 70 degrees and was clear and good-looking, and the fish were considerably warmer to the touch than before. If the conditions continue, Pete thinks flukers are in for some good fishing. A trip on Friday met northeast wind that prevented the boat from fluking in 70 feet, where trips had been finding the summer flounder. So the trip fished tight to shore, hooking tons of throwbacks. Then the anglers started picking away at keepers. A trip Saturday competed in a fluke tournament, so the anglers targeted big ones, and all bucktailed. Each angler pulled in three keepers to a limit apiece, and the fish included some sizeable, including three 5-pounders. Some big ones were also lost. Pete’s been finding that bucktails are catching lots better than bait is. Here’s an opportunity: Parker Pete’s this season is hosting “on the water seminars” on bucktailing for fluke. An email about that 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?” The trips are inexpensive, and the next will sail on Tuesday, and August dates will be announced, and email Pete for more info. If space is available on Tuesday, one spot is. 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. Currently, trips with those spots available include ones on August 7, 8, 10, 23 and 26.
The Katie H was splashed back into the water, after upgrades and maintenance, Capt. Mike said. Water had gotten into the fuel, and that had to be pumped out Sunday. A trip that was supposed to fluke aboard that day fished on a boat next-door instead. The anglers boxed six good-sized keepers, including some large or 3 and 4 pounds, and had plenty of action with throwbacks, about 70, on the ocean, a great day, Mike said. A fair number of canyon tuna trips are booking on the Katie H that will start in late August. Tuna were currently trolled at the canyons, and the angling wasn’t red hot, but the catches were good news. None really bit on the chunk at night yet, and canyon trips on the Katie H usually wait for that to happen, before sailing. If the trips are going to sail that far, they may as well stay the night. The boat will also fish for bluefin tuna closer to shore, on the mid-range ocean, currently. No boats from the docks fished for bluefins in past days, and the last one that sailed for them found none of the tuna, but grabbed mahi mahi. But that didn’t mean bluefin weren’t in, and the trip could’ve fished a location that ended up unproductive, or could’ve trolled the wrong lures, or the day simply could’ve been slow, and so on. The Katie H fishes inshore, but is also a big-game specialist. The 46-foot boat features speed and all the amenities.