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.
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.
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.
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.
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.