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Saltwater Fishing Report

Report from Thursday, May 24.

| Sewaren | Keyport | Leonardo | Atlantic Highlands | Highlands | Neptune | Belmar | Brielle | Point Pleasant Beach | Point Pleasant | Toms River | Seaside Heights | Forked River | Barnegat Light | Barnegat | Absecon | Brigantine | Atlantic City | Margate | Longport | Ocean City | Sea Isle City | Wildwood | Cape May | Last Monday's Report |
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED
EVERY MONDAY AND THURSDAY
Last Monday's Report
Keyport

Rain, rain go away, Capt. Frank from the Vitamin Sea wrote in an email. A couple of trips were canceled because of rain and wind in past days. But Raritan Bay’s striped bass bit well in the tough weather, even. The bass to 44 pounds were slugged on a trip Thursday in the rain. The next couple of trips were scrubbed because of weather, and the boat next fished on Saturday afternoon. The stripers took a little searching to find on the outing, but the anglers landed more than twice a limit of the bass to 41 inches, keeping no more than their quota, releasing the rest. Great fishing. The fishing was tougher Sunday, and stripers were there, but the anglers had difficulty hooking them. One was landed among many opportunities. Fluke season will open Friday, and both striper and fluke trips will run once that happens, because stripers are still in. More and more fluke seemed to be arriving. Some big were let go on chunks of bunker meant for stripers. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing. Telephone to reserve.

Striped bass began to bite bunker chunks in Raritan Bay for trips with the Down Deep Fleet, Capt. Mario said. The fishing was good, and the bass were sizable. Previously, colder water seemed to keep them from biting the bait. More were hooked on rubber shads and on the troll then. Open-boat trips are fishing for stripers at 6 a.m. daily and 1 p.m. every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday on the Down Deep Bull. The Down Deep, the company’s other boat, is slated to fish for sea bass at 6 a.m. daily on open trips. None of those trips fished in past days because of a rough ocean in the storm. Weather was barely good enough for striper fishing on the bay. Plus, both boats sailed for the stripers in past days. Quite a demand for stripers. Fluke trips will be added Friday, opening day of fluke season. Sign up for the Short Notice List on Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about special open trips and spaces available on open trips. Look for the link underneath “Contact.” Both boats are big, comfortable, Downeast-style vessels with full galleys and roomy cockpits, he said.

Leonardo

A limit of three over striped bass and three unders were smoked on Raritan Bay in 2 ½ hours Sunday with Sour Kraut Sportfishing, Capt. Joe said. The fish were up to a 43-inch 35-pounder, and Sour Kraut’s been limiting on stripers on every trip. Best fishing for them in seven years, he said. Book before that’s finished. Bluefish arrived in the bay, and Sour Kraut hooked none. Joe trolled bunker spoons to avoid them. He heard anglers complain about hooking the blues on Mojos.

Atlantic Highlands

A 36-pound striped bass won the pool yesterday on the Fishermen, a report said on the party boat’s website. That was the first trip to fish in days because of weather. Weather finally began to improve yesterday, and the fishing also improved. The trip slugged and picked away throughout the morning on keepers, good-sized at that, and throwbacks. Bait caught, but a shot of stripers showed up along the water surface at the end of the tide that could be jigged. Trips are fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily through Thursday. The trips will sail for fluke beginning Friday, opening day of fluke season. A couple of fluke were released on yesterday’s trip.

Anglers on the party boat Atlantic Star picked throwback and keeper striped bass on Raritan Bay on Thursday morning’s trip, Capt. Tom said. The vessel was the only head boat at the marina that fished that morning, because of weather. No trips sailed on the boat that afternoon through Saturday in weather. Sunday morning’s trip picked a few keepers and shorts, and the fishing was no good on the afternoon’s trip. This morning’s trip’s first keeper was just reeled in when Tom gave this report aboard. Trips are fishing for stripers 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily. The trips will fish for fluke starting Friday, opening day of fluke season. A dozen fluke, including keepers, were released during striper fishing on Sunday’s trips.

Highlands

Fishing for Raritan Bay’s striped bass was pretty good, and fishing began to light up for big ones on the ocean, Capt. Pete from Fin-Taz-Tic Sportfishing wrote in an email. Once large, mature stripers spawn in rivers and back waters, they migrate to the ocean, and that was happening. Pete and Capt. Bruce aboard came in second place in the Staten Island Striper Tournament with a 37-pounder. They trolled all their stripers for the contest on M3Tackle spoons and KTS Customs Mojos. Trips are also available for sea bass and fluke. Sea bass season opened on Tuesday, and fluke season will open Friday.

Neptune

Five striped bass including four larger than 43 inches were belted yesterday with Last Lady Fishing Charters, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. He included a photo of one that was a 35-pound 43-incher. The one striper that was smaller than 43 inches still weighed 15 to 20 pounds. Spaces are available for an individual-reservation trip for inshore cod Tuesday. Individual-reservation trips will fish for cod offshore on June 27 and July 11. Individual-reservation trips will fish for stripers on May 29 and sea bass May 26 and June 12, 17, 19 and 22. ***Update, Monday, 5/21:*** A trip today limited out on stripers by 10:30 a.m., Ralph wrote in an email. An individual-reservation trip for stripers has been added for Friday. A couple of dates are available for charters. ***Update, Tuesday, 5/22:*** Fishing limited out on sea bass again today aboard, Ralph wrote in an email. All trips that fished for them aboard limited. Individual-reservation trips will fish for sea bass Friday and Saturday.

Belmar

Big striped bass are getting pounded on the ocean, said Capt. Mike from Celtic Stoirm Charters. They were boated off Asbury Park yesterday, and a friend decked two larger than 43 inches that day. That was probably on trolled Mojos, and he returned and marked stripers later, but they wouldn’t bite. Seemed the stripers could only eat so many bunker. Anglers caught on livelined bunker in evenings.

The ocean’s striped bass fishing was great on most days with Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters, Capt. Pete said. The trips were weathered out Friday and Saturday. The boat got back out for the bass Sunday morning, pummeling big stripers. Pete knew that anglers picked away at them that afternoon, too. Sunday morning’s trip trolled them aboard, because that was easiest in sloppy seas in a 5-foot swell. He knew about party boats that jigged them then. Memorial Day is available for a trip, if anglers are on vacation. Dates are available in June. Fluke fishing will begin in July aboard. Parker Pete’s will put anglers on these big, trophy stripers for now. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Book an individual spot with a charter who wants more anglers. Sign up for the email blast on Parker Pete’s website to be kept informed about the spaces.

Two striped bass 43 and 44 pounds, heavy fish, were trolled yesterday on the ocean in 60 feet of water on Mojos on the Katie H, Capt. Mike said. The trip only fished in the morning, and seas held a swell and were choppy in the morning and calmed in the afternoon. Mike was glad to see stripers biting in the ocean, and the fishing should only become better. The next few trips will probably fish for both stripers and sea bass, and anglers enjoy that. They can fish for stripers in the morning, fish for sea bass in the middle of the day when stripers are less likely to bite, and fish for stripers again later in the day, when they bite again. Sea bass are probably holding deep, in 100 feet or so, in the cold ocean.

A few blues were angled Sunday on the Miss Belmar Princess on the ocean to the south “until we lost the tide,” an email said from the party boat. Afterward, the boat fished to the north on the trip. Three good-sized striped bass were bagged among plenty of bunker that stripers and blues chased. Fishing seems to be “starting to take hold.” No trip sailed Saturday in lousy weather. The boat is fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

After fishing was weathered out on previous days aboard, Sunday’s trip tackled 3- to 5-pound bluefish, a good catch, on jigs on the Golden Eagle, a report said on the party boat’s website. Lots of striped bass were seen rolling and splashing along the water surface, and a good-sized was bagged aboard. Blues and stripers are out there, the report said. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Brielle

Sea bass fishing was fair on opening day of sea bass season Tuesday aboard, and was terrific on trips since on the party boat Jamaica II, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. Two of the last three trips limited out. The sea bass averaged 2 to 4 pounds, and a few throwbacks bit. Big ling and a few cod were mixed in. Trips are fishing for sea bass 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily through June 1. Afterward, two half-day trips will fish daily for fluke 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and sea bass 2 to 6:30 p.m. Customers and their caches this past week included: Roy Williams, Philadelphia, limit of sea bass to 4 ½ pounds and five ling; Wes Shourt, limit of sea bass to 4 pounds, four ling and a cod; Dave Tootchen, Philly, limit of sea bass to 4 pounds; Carter James, limit of sea bass to 3 ½ pounds, five ling and two cod; and Mac Dubois, Bristol, limit of sea bass to 3 ½ pounds.

Boaters on the ocean seemed to round up striped bass on the ocean from off Deal to Shrewsbury Rocks on the troll and on livelined bunker before the storm, when they had the weather to sail, said Eric from The Reel Seat. The angling wasn’t super-consistent, but when the bass bit, the fishing was good, and some of the fish weighed in the 40 pounds. Striper fishing remained good on Raritan Bay. Bluefish finally showed up in Manasquan Inlet, including yesterday morning. Now they schooled from the inlet to Manasquan River at Route 70 Bridge. Plenty of schoolie stripers were played in the river in early mornings and in evenings or during low light. Fishing for them was productive Saturday in the rain. Surf-fishing was pretty good for stripers from Sandy Hook to Seaside Heights or Seaside Park. Bait – clams and bunker chunks – hooked the bigger, including a couple of 20-pounders. Lures like Daiwa SP Minnows and jigs hooked schoolies and some that weighed in the teens. Sometimes blues were mixed in, and that seemed best to the south like at Seaside Heights or Park. But maybe that was only because the store heard from more anglers who fished to the south. Sea bass fishing was fair on the ocean, and Sea Girt Reef seemed to fish better for them than Axel Carlson Reef. Eighty- to 90-foot depths seemed best. The shop is fully stocked for slow-pitch jigging that’s becoming popular for sea bass and catches like cod. Slow-pitch jigs can be fished horizontally, not just in a vertical flutter. The tackle for the fishing had been only available in Japan, but The Reel Seat is carrying it all now. The store is kind of like the one-stop shop for the fishing. Slow-pitch jigging works when the whole system is used together: the right rods, reels, jigs and line. The store is carrying a number of rods for the fishing including from Centaur, MajorCraft and Tsunami and reels for the angling. High-speed conventional reels, like 6:1, and light line is used. Twenty-pound braid is about the heaviest, and the lines for the fishing are stocked. The jigs are center-balanced, have a keel, come in many styles and are stocked. The rod needs to match the weight of the jig. The technique is simple, but the whole system needs to be fished together.

Point Pleasant Beach

On the Norma-K III, sea bass were plowed, a good catch, yesterday on the ocean, a report said on the party boat’s website. The fishing was slower on Tuesday, when sea season opened, covered in the previous report here. But on yesterday’s trip, most of the small crowd of anglers limited out. Clams caught, and anglers who jigged Ava 27s also scored well. Trips are fishing for sea bass 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily. The trips will switch to fluke beginning Friday, opening day of fluke season. Bluefish trips will be launched this weekend, sailing 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday through Sunday.

Fluke trips will sail 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily beginning Friday on the party boat Gambler, Jill wrote in an email. That’s opening day of fluke season. Until then, the boat is fishing for striped bass 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Beginning Thursday, striper trips will sail 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. every Thursday through Sunday.

Seaside Heights

Those who braved weather “were rewarded with some nice fish” in the surf Thursday, a report said on The Dock Outfitters’ website. That was the most recent report at press time. No species was mentioned, but the shop previously reported stripers and blues from the beach. Ten ounces of weight had to be fished with bait Thursday. Anglers who fished lures threw any that could pierce wind. 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 boat and jet-ski rentals.

Forked River

Striped bass catches are beginning on the ocean locally, so Tuna-Tic Sportfishing will begin fishing again today, sailing for them, Capt. Mike said. The boat had been fishing for stripers on Raritan Bay, like it does every spring. The vessel was returned to home port in Forked River last week to get after the bass on the local ocean, like it is every year at this time. These are big, mature stripers that spawned in back waters and are migrating to the ocean. Tuesday and Wednesday are available for trips.

Atlantic City

Lots of bluefish and striped bass were hitting “as we speak,” said Noel from One Stop Bait & Tackle this afternoon. It’s crazy, he said, and he was in the middle of snapping four or five photos of the catches to post on the shop’s Facebook page. Customers beat the fish in the surf beside Absecon Inlet in town. The fish could also be angled in the inlet itself and in local back bays. Fresh bunker, fresh clams, Daiwa SP Minnows and bloodworms were fished for them. Summer flounder seemed also around, and flounder season will be opened Friday. All baits, the full supply, are stocked.

Longport

None of the Stray Cat’s trips, fishing for sea bass on the ocean, sailed in past days because of the storm, Capt. Mike said. Brutal, he said, but he expected to resume the angling on open-boat trips today through Thursday that have spaces available. The fishing’s been excellent aboard. Summer flounder season will open beginning Friday, but Stray Cat will target sea bass for now. A few flounder are mixed in, but trips are usually anchoring for sea bass. Boats are drifted for flounder. Plus, ocean flounder fishing usually picks up later in the season, when the water warms. Wind was still blowing 25 knots when Mike gave this report last evening.

Sea Isle City

Mike Spaeder and son jigged a good pick of bluefish to 6 or 7 pounds, a variety of sizes, on the back bay aboard yesterday, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service and Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. That was the only trip in past days because of the storm, and Joe was concerned whether the blues would bite because of rain and wind. But they did. He looks forward to summer flounder fishing on the bay beginning Friday, opening day of flounder season. Trips aboard have already been hooking and releasing the flatfish, plenty, on the bay, and the early season fishes best for them there. South Jersey’s shallow, warm back bays attract flounder in the early season. As water warms, flounder will depart the bays for cooler water in the ocean. Then Joe’s trips will fish for them there. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s Blog.

Avalon

A couple of buddies tied into good fishing for black drum on Delaware Bay on the New Jersey side, said Capt. Jim from Fins and Feathers Outfitters. Jim will try to sail for the fish this weekend. Summer flounder season will open Friday, and trips at first will get after them on the back bay aboard. Flounder trips will push to the ocean later in the year, when that water warms. A couple of inshore shark trips are slated for July.

Cape May

The evening’s first black drum was just cranked from Delaware Bay on Sunday on the Heavy Hitter when Capt. George gave this report in a phone call on the outing, he said. That was on George Parker’s charter, and Bill Brennan’s charter on Saturday also pulled in drum on the bay aboard. More drum trips are slated for Wednesday and Thursday on board. The boat is also fishing for sea bass on the ocean. That angling was good on a trip Tuesday aboard, covered in a previous report here. The trip limited out, and the fish were surprisingly good-sized.

Eight black drum to 80 pounds were on the rope so far on Delaware Bay aboard, when Capt. Tom from Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing gave this report last evening in a phone call on the trip, he said. Eight were totaled on the previous day’s trip, and the boat fished for the drum every day, even in rough weather in past days. Remembering how many were caught on each trip was difficult, but a couple of the trips subdued 14 or 15 apiece. The year’s first sea bass trip on the ocean was supposed to fish today. Open-boat trips for tilefish are fishing offshore on short notice during windows of weather when no charter is booked. Charters have been booked every day recently. Charters and open trips sail for all of this fishing.