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Offshore Report

Report from Friday, August 22.

| Shark River Inlet | Manasquan Inlet | Barnegat Inlet | Little Egg Inlet | Great Egg Harbor Inlet | Townsend's Inlet | Cape May Inlet | Last Week's Report |
Shark River Inlet
An overnight tuna trip is supposed to fish Saturday to Sunday on the Katie H from Belmar, but is likely to be weathered out, Capt. Mike said The plan was to fish inshore first, then sail offshore to Hudson Canyon. Nothing was heard about canyon fishing, because inshore tuna fishing produced, so trips sailed there. There bluefin tuna fishing was okay, and even yellowfin tuna showed up. How far from shore? Mike was asked. Can’t tell you, he said. The location was no secret, he said, but boats would flood the area, if too much word got out. A boat from the dock ran for the inshore tuna Wednesday, making a catch.

It’s time to book tuna trips on the party boat Golden Eagle from Belmar, a report on the vessel’s website said. Twenty-four-hour trips are scheduled for September 28 and October 5 and 19, and space remains, but is filling up. See the Golden Eagle’s tuna trip page online.

Manasquan Inlet
A canyon day troll steamed Monday with Mushin Sportfishing from Point Pleasant Beach, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. The fishing “continued to find,” he said, yellowfin tuna to 75 pounds, longfin tuna to 40 pounds and mahi mahi. Green-plastic lures out-fished ballyhoos that day. One of Mushin’s other captains on another boat during the weekend went 4 for 9 on bigeye tuna, and watched multiple bigeyes cover up trolling spreads for other boats. Nighttime fishing for tuna has “some starts and stops,” Alan said, at the canyons, but daytime trolling is fairly consistent. “It looks like it’s shaping up to be a fall chunking bite,” he said. Charters are fishing, and a few spaces are available on individual-reservation trips for tuna in September, and the calendar for October is being worked on. Check out Mushin’s redesigned website.

The Point Pleasant Beach party boat Gambler’s tuna trips will be launched on September 24. Click the link for the schedule, and the trips do fill up.

Bonito fishing was good at Manasquan and Barnegat ridges, and quite a few chicken mahi mahi swam the water, Eric from The Reel Seat in Brielle said on Sunday. The bonito were trolled on Nos. 1 and 2 Clark spoons, feathers and jets, and were chunked on spearing, or spearing was tossed into the water, and hooked spearing were flat-lined in the slick. Tons of small bluefin tuna 15 or 20 pounds, good catches, were trolled at Little Italy and the Monster Ledge, on the same lures that the bonito were. Farther out, plenty of bluefins swam, and yellowfin tuna were mixed in, toward 30 fathoms or in the Atlantic Princess wreck vicinity. Mahi were “that much bigger” there, he said. In those areas, most of the tuna were trolled, but some were jigged or popper-plugged. Farther still, Hudson Canyon’s fishing broke wide open, on the troll again, instead of chunking during daytime like before, he said that day. Quite a few bigeye tuna, and some yellowfin tuna, were trolled. Not much was heard about marlin, but that didn’t mean marlin weren’t around. A few tuna, not many, were chunked overnight. Many of the trolled tuna were taken on ballyhoos on Joe Shute skirts or spreader bars.

Barnegat Inlet
Fishing for bonito was good on the Super Chic from Barnegat Light on Sunday, like it was on the previous weekend, Capt. Ted said that day. On the trip, small blues and a couple of skipjacks were mixed in, and Clark spoons were trolled. The year’s first canyon tuna trip aboard is currently booked for September 12 or 13. Boats from the docks didn’t catch many tuna at the canyons last Friday and Saturday. Weather was windy much of last week, and none of the boats sailed for tuna that week from Tuesday to Thursday that Ted knew about. Not much was heard from the docks about bluefin tuna caught closer to shore in past days, he said that day. A handful of the fish were found, spotty fishing, not like before.

Barnegat Ridge was all lit up with bonito and mahi mahi! Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the Hi Flier from Barnegat wrote in an email. Besides usual small, chicken dolphin that swam the ridge, 10- to 20-pound, bull mahi were mixed in this year. Sand eels and squid filled the bellies of the bonito and mahi. Flat-lined cedar plugs were the hottest lure for his trips right now. “They’re crushing everything in tight to the boat,” he said. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing.

Little Egg Inlet
Tuna fishing was best at Lindenkohl Canyon, for mostly yellowfins on the chunk, said Brian from Scott’s Bait & Tackle in Mystic Island. But bigeye tuna were trolled. Tuna fishing was slow at Wilmington Canyon, and trips needed to head north.

Great Egg Harbor Inlet
Blue, clear water “rolled out,” affecting some fishing, but rolled back in during the weekend, said Capt. Mike from the Stray Cat from Longport. Bonito during the dirtier water became scattered that gave up great angling aboard before, and tuna fishing struck out on a trip last Friday inshore, during the worse conditions. Trolling for the fish was dead. Customers this week wanted to fish for summer flounder, so the boat sailed for the flatfish, so Mike couldn’t say whether bonito fishing held up now. Not a word was heard about tuna caught in a week. Mike saw nobody at the dock who landed them. Water chilled at places like the Lobster Claw, dipping to 71 degrees, from 74 previously. So fishing was slow at areas like that and the Cigar and 28-Mile Wreck. White marlin, fought in 50 fathoms a couple of days ago, were the most recent big-game heard about that were caught.

Bonito sped around Atlantic City Reef , Atlantic City and Sea Isle ridges, and other places like that in 85 to 100 feet, said Bill from Fin-Atics in Ocean City. Small mahi mahi also held there. Nothing was heard about tuna in a few days. Tuna previously were chunked at Lindenkohl Canyon, during daytime at first, then at night. A few were caught at Wilmington Canyon at the time.

Townsend's Inlet
Tuna and mahi mahi were found close to shore, in 30 fathoms, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service in Sea Isle City, affiliated with Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. The tuna were bluefins but even some yellowfins.

Bonito schooled the ocean 10 to 15 miles from shore, and small blues and other fish, like skipjacks, were mixed in, said Mike from Sea Isle Bait & Tackle in Sea Isle City. Spanish mackerel were yet to be heard about among them. Farther offshore at the canyons, the different species of tuna were both trolled and chunked, and marlin were trolled.

Cape May Inlet
Tuna now seemed to turn on at the canyons on the chunk a few days, turn off a couple of days, and turn back on, said Capt. George from the Heavy Hitter from Cape May. The fish were there, and fed at different times of day, and that kept changing. A friend got into the tuna late in the day, and was headed back Thursday, saying the fish were on a morning bite now, for instance. A few tuna could be caught closer to shore in 30 to 40 fathoms, but George wouldn’t recommend that. Chunking all the way out at the canyons was the way to go. Mahi mahi swam the inshore lumps 20 or 25 miles from shore. Someone said false albacore roamed 20 miles out.

Fishing for tuna sounded best at Lindenkohl Canyon on the chunk during daytime, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle in Cape May. Some were caught, for sure. Bonito and blues zipped around places like 4-Fathom Bank. Mahi mahi and Spanish mackerel might’ve swum there.

Last Week's Report
Sandy Hook

A group from Twin Lights Marina in Highlands totaled 11 mahi mahi to 12 pounds on a trip to the Glory Hole and Chicken Canyon, Marion from the marina wrote in an email. Gary Topche fly-rodded a 17-1/2-pound mahi 5 miles off Monmouth Beach. Twin Lights, located conveniently 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. The full supply of bait is stocked for offshore and inshore, and the fuel dock is available 24 hours a day with a credit card.

Shark River Inlet

Eight or nine bluefin tuna, a limit bagged, the rest released, and one mahi mahi were eased from the inshore ocean last Friday on the Katie H from Belmar, Capt. Mike said. Two more of the trips were slated for this week on Thursday and today. Overnight trips to the offshore canyons will be launched for the season in the next week aboard. Mike prefers to begin the trips when tuna begin to bite in the dark, in addition to the daytime, in late summer. But if overnight trips can cash in on catches mostly during daytime, that can be good, too.

XTC Sportfishing from Belmar fished overnight at Hudson Canyon from Sunday to Monday, Capt. Jody said. The charter liked tilefishing, so the trip tilefished most of the morning, cranking up 40 of the fish 15 to 25 pounds. Then the trip trolled for tuna a while, and the angling wasn’t that great, but sometimes tuna were caught among the fleet. In the evening, XTC went 6 for 9 on yellowfin tuna 60 to 90 pounds. The trip was originally going to fish at Lindenkohl Canyon, where tuna fishing was reportedly great. But reports were heard about lots of life at the Hudson, so the trip took a shot. The Hudson ended up the place to be. Lots of life including bait and whales filled the 78-degree, beautiful, clear water. Green-stick boats caught especially well. A few bigeye tuna were taken those days at the Hudson, including one that a friend’s trip landed that night. More overnight trips will fish the canyons today to Saturday and Tuesday to Wednesday. A trip Sunday will fish for bluefin tuna on the inshore ocean.

The party boats Golden Eagle and Miss Belmar Princess from Belmar had been catching bonito and chub mackerel mixed with small bluefish on bluefish trips, covered in previous reports. But they began tackling large blues elsewhere this past week. Obviously, chasing the large blues at other grounds was more important than fishing where bonito swam, on the bluefish trips. But the bonito apparently were still around. Also, it’s time to book tuna trips on the Golden Eagle. Twenty-four-hour trips are slated for September 28 and October 5 and 19, and space remains, but is filling up. See the Golden Eagle’s tuna trip page online.

Manasquan Inlet

Day trips fished the canyons back-to-back Saturday and Sunday with Mushin Sportfishing from Point Pleasant Beach, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. Incredible fishing was found for longfin and yellowfin tuna Saturday morning at southern canyons, but on bait, instead of on the troll. But the bait needed to be fished on very light, fluorocarbon leaders. Several white marlin were caught and released, “away from the fleet,” he said. The email included a photo of a white aboard, the angler’s first-ever. Last Friday, a trip with Mushin whaled a banner catch of bonito, with some blues mixed in, at inshore lumps on the troll. The anglers fought all they wanted by 9 a.m., then switched to bottom-fishing at reefs, adding sea bass to the catch.

Bluefin tuna were landed closer to shore than before, Dave from The Reel Seat in Brielle said on Sunday. Lots of bluefins to 30 pounds were clutched within 25 miles from the coast, and mahi mahi, good-sized, and skipjacks bit among them. All the fish were trolled, and the bluefins had sometimes been jigged, in addition to being trolled, 50 miles out, previously. The angling was good until late last week in that range. Anglers probably just needed to find them again. Canyon tuna fishing was slow for most trips around the weekend, and most fished at Lindenkohl Canyon. But Hudson Canyon turned out a bigeye tuna bite on Saturday at the 100 Square. Not many boats seemed to fish offshore during weekdays last week, and weather was rough in the storm this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Barnegat Inlet

Loads of bonito roamed Barnegat Ridge, said Dennis from Murphy’s Hook House and Go Fish Bait & Tackle in Toms River. Nos. 2 and 3 Clark spoons and feathers were trolled for them, and Spanish mackerel and mahi mahi were mixed in.

Bonito and bluefish, good catches, kept being trolled on the Super Chic from Barnegat Light, Capt. Ted said. More bonito than blues were reeled up.

Trips are crushing bonito at Barnegat Ridge North aboard, said Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the Hi Flier from Barnegat. Open-boat trips will sail to the ridge 5:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday through Monday and 12 noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, limited to three anglers. All those trips are also “capable of being charters instead,” he said, and the times and species targeted are also flexible. Weather looks especially good for Saturday, “and can easily be turned into an offshore tuna and mahi safari,” he said. To reach him, telephoning is best.

Little Egg Inlet

Yellowfin tuna went nuts at Lindenkohl Canyon, said Brian from Scott’s Bait & Tackle in Mystic Island. Chris from the shop joined a trip that boated nine there during the weekend. A customer said a buddy’s trip fought 32. Yellowfins swam from the Lindy to Wilmington Canyon, and were chunked during daytime. A few bigeye tuna were trolled in the area.

Great Egg Harbor Inlet

Bonito and mahi mahi were trolled at the Triple Lumps and just inshore of Atlantic City Ridge on Wednesday on the Stray Cat from Longport, Capt. Mike said. The fishing for bonito’s been great, and other fish are mixed in, including mahi, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and more. The mahi and some of the other fish, like jacks, were trolled along lobster-pot buoys. Natural-colored cedar plugs caught the bonito best, and Clark spoons and feathers were next best. The feathers were black-and-white or red-and-white. Bonito were larger farther from shore than closer. A tremendous school of tuna, probably the size of 2 ½ acres, was seen 4 miles off Atlantic City Ridge, 22 miles from shore. Cobia were seen on the trips, and the mate boated a good-sized one on a cast white bucktail with a lime-green paddletail recently aboard. The water, like all season, now continued to look clear and gorgeous, and flying fish jumped everywhere. The water was 76 degrees, from 5 miles from shore, all the way to the continental edge. Water 79 degrees could be found at the canyons along the edge. All the bonito and other fish spit up 6-inch squid. A tuna trip will sail Saturday, and yellowfin tuna fishing blew up at Spencer and Lindenkohl canyons. The fish were chunked during daytime on 30-pound fluorocarbon. The yellowfins were leader-shy, so light leaders and tackle had to be fished. A few dates for tuna charters are available.

Townsend’s Inlet

Good fishing for yellowfin tuna turned on at the canyons, actually on the chunk during daytime, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service from Sea Isle City, affiliated with Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. That was instead of trolling that’s often more effective in the daylight. Nothing was heard about inshore fishing for bluefin tuna recently. Mahi mahi swam inshore, and that fishing’s been good, kind of fun. Some were small or 2 pounds, but up to 10-pounders were boated aboard, and a trip will run for them Saturday. Bonito were around inshore, and a few will probably be hooked on Saturday’s trip.

Bonito were trolled Sunday with Fins and Feathers Outfitters from Avalon, Capt. Jim said. No mahi mahi showed up, though the trip targeted them. Lots of bonito schooled around, breaking the water. The trip trolled at the Cigar, 30 miles from shore, then at the East Lump, closer in. The bonito swiped cedar plugs, and wouldn’t touch feathers that were also trolled. The bonito only attacked when the boat trolled at 9 m.p.h., though the trip trolled from 6 ½ to 9 m.p.h. The water was gorgeous, and the trip wreck-fished afterward, just catching throwback cod, 18 inches and shorter, under the 21-inch legal size, and one sea bass.

Tuna fishing was excellent, and the fish seemed spread around the southern canyons, said Mike from Sea Isle Bait & Tackle in Sea Isle City. On one day the fishing was better at the Lindenkohl, on another the Wilmington, and so on. Yellowfin tuna, longfin tuna and bigeye tuna were heard about. A few white marlin and a couple of bluefin tuna were. Lots of mahi mahi flooded the ocean, everywhere from 5 or 6 miles out to the canyons. They were usually trolled, and some anglers pitched bucktails to them, and a few swam live bait like minnows. A few cobia swam among the dolphin. Bonito were trolled inshore on Clark spoons, anywhere from sizes 1 to 4. A skipjack trolled among them was reported, and no Spanish mackerel were, but the macks were expected any time.

Cape May

Tuna fishing was lit up at the canyons, said Capt. George from the Heavy Hitter from Cape May. Yellowfin tuna 50 to 70 pounds, sizeable, lots, were chunked during daytime. Some trips dropped down to 40-pound leaders, but others used 80-pound. George hopes the fishing hangs in, but if anglers want tuna, they should go now, while the fish are biting. A tuna charter cancelled aboard for this weekend, and that date was available. Individual anglers and small groups should also call for make-up trips for tuna.

Melanie Anne Sport Fishing Charters steamed to Spencer Canyon on Sunday, Capt. Frank said. Tuna were drilled at Lindenkohl Canyon the day before, and Frank figured they were headed south. Two white marlin and some mahi mahi were trolled at the Spencer with Melanie Anne. Then a report was heard about fish at Wilmington Canyon, so the trip was sailed there. The far side of the Wilmington was loaded with yellowfin tuna, good-sized, 60 to 80 pounds, and the fish were decked aboard. Fishing was looking up, Frank said.