Shark River Inlet
A mako shark was bagged and another was released Monday on the Katie H from Belmar, Capt. Mike said. He knew the water was warm for mako fishing, before the trip, and the anglers wanted to catch just any shark. They ended up with makos. Still, the water was warm for big makos. Small makos seemed still around. The trip fished at the Mudhole in 74-degree, clear, good-looking water. The season’s first tuna trip is slated for August 8, Mike thought. That will be a day-trolling trip, not an overnighter, at the canyons. If bluefin tuna are around, the trip will fish for them mid-range, on the way to or from offshore. Offshore tuna fishing sounded fair. Mike didn’t want to speculate about details, and would wait until he reached the waters himself. On the shark trip, anglers were heard on the radio who fished for bluefins from the Bacardi wreck to Chicken Canyon’s northern end. They didn’t see much life, and one reported catching a mahi mahi and a white marlin. None talked about finding bluefins. Bluefin fishing didn’t seem great yet.
Bluefin tuna fishing was kind of up and down, or scattered pods swam, said Eric from The Reel Seat in Brielle. But if a trip could find the fish and stay on them, good angling could be scored, up to eight or nine of the tuna landed. Some were good-sized, up 70 inches, or well over 100 pounds. From just north of Chicken Canyon to the Texas Tower seemed a hot spot. The tuna were a little farther offshore than sometimes. Lots of mahi mahi hugged lobster pot buoys in the area. Bigeye tuna seemed to hold everywhere from Toms Canyon to Washington Canyon, down the line. But Lindenkohl Canyon seemed the epicenter. Late evening produced. Some pods of yellowfin tuna roamed the canyons. They weren’t everywhere or were scattered, like the bluefins. Trips caught the yellowfins if they ran across the fish. A fair number of longfin tuna began to be found. Wahoos caught just began to be reported. Cod fishing went well from the Oil Wreck to the Triple Wrecks. Tuna anglers might want to bring clams to fish for cod, if tuna fishing ends up slow.
An overnight trip sailed to the canyons with Mushin Sportfishing from Point Pleasant Beach, Capt. Alan wrote in an email Sunday. On the way to the Continental Shelf, bluefin tuna were found busting on bait at two places offshore of the Chicken Canyon, where the ocean was clean. The trip quickly trolled among the fish, connecting with four of the bluefins about 46 inches apiece. Two that size, a limit of unders, were bagged. The trip continued to the offshore canyons, and great signs for bigeye tuna were seen: 78- to 80-degree water and lots of pilot whales and bait. A 200-pound bigeye was bagged. At night, a swordfish was lost, and a half-dozen mahi mahi were iced. Up on the troll in the morning, a 35-pound mahi and a 25-pound wahoo were landed, and a mystery bite got off, an interesting combo, he wrote. After more trolling, a bigeye tuna, large, was hooked on a daisy chain and lost. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing the canyons, including an overnighter Saturday to Sunday, and space was available on the outing.
From an edited email from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the Hi Flier from Barnegat: “I haven’t had much to offer lately in the way of reports. The boat has been laid up for repairs since Monday, but I just got the phone call … she’s ready! And so am I. I haven’t been to Barnegat Ridge yet this season, and now we’re going. The forecast is light and variable from the east. That’s perfection for offshore. Pushes the clean water in, gives a little surface ripple to make the lures skip better, and then we have it on our tail for the ride home. Targeting bonita, but always hopeful for more. The ridge is full of surprises this time of year. Could be bluefin tuna, mahi, albacore, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and sometimes none of the above. We’re going to give it hell and make a report. I’ve got a good feeling about this one. Running open-boat to Barnegat Ridge 5:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Three people max. All fish are shared. Monday’s weather is looking good, too. I’ll see how we do Saturday.”
A few mahi mahi actually swam inshore, said Kevin from Bobbie’s Boat Rentals in Barnegat Light, and he saw one, small, when fluking the ocean. Bobbie’s features a complete bait and tackle shop, a fuel dock and boat and kayak rentals. The store is known for bait supply, including live baits in season.
Great Egg Harbor Inlet
The Stray Cat from Longport fished Wilmington Canyon on a day-trolling trip Sunday, Capt. Mike said. Was a fantastic day, he said, and a white marlin was fought a while and got off. Mahi mahi, skipjacks and small yellowfin tuna were reeled in. The boat chased a blue marlin that porpoised ahead, but could never get in front of the fish. At first on the trip, 87-degree water was located. The trip got away from that hot water, and fished 82- to 83-degree water at the bight. All kinds of temperature breaks were around, in the low 80 degrees. A big weed line formed just outside the west wall. The trip left the fishing grounds before bigeye tuna could be targeted in the evening. Mike looks forward to another one of the trips next week, and if anyone’s interested in making a trip like this, come on, he said. The boat is also fishing closer to shore, on half-day, 5-hour trips, loading up on blues, a few bonito and sometimes a mahi mahi. Four mahi heavier than 10 pounds apiece were bagged so far. A mahi isn’t landed on every trip, but at least one strong pull is happening on each. The ocean was 84 to 86 degrees on those grounds, and looked gorgeous. Flying fish were seen all over, and needlefish held in the water. No cobia were seen in a week, but surely cobia were there. The bluefish were dragged from bottom, over hills, on lures like feathers and Clark spoons on heavy trolling weights 6 and 8 ounces. The bonito hit on the turn. “They like the zigzag,” he said. Little tunny swam the water, and the boat would need to be trolled a little faster for them.
The two anglers aboard Tuesday wanted to try something different, and the trip inshore-trolled, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service from Sea Isle City. Bluefish, false albacore and a 12-pound mahi mahi were tackled. Then the trip bottom-fished, cranking up a 6-pound triggerfish, a monster. Throwback fluke were let go. Farther from shore, small yellowfin tuna were drilled in 20 to 30 fathoms, at places like 19-Fathom Lump, Joe knew. That was a chunk bite, and Jersey Cape fishes for them. A family aboard Monday whaled 12 to 15 sharks – browns, spinners and duskies – including at least five that weighed 100 pounds. That was one of the inshore shark trips that release the fish, an opportunity to fight a big catch without a long trek offshore. Some of the sharks are required to be let go.
An angler from Capt. Jim from Fins and Feathers Outfitters from Avalon’s campground was interested in fishing for bluefin tuna aboard, saying he heard about the tuna caught, Jim said Sunday in a phone call. Any bluefins then seemed to be located at places like the Hot Dog, but not closer, like at the East Lump, where Fins and Feathers sails for pelagics like that or mahi mahi and wahoos. An angler sent a photo to Jim of a 30- or 40-pound mahi, one of two mahi the angler’s trip landed at the Hot Dog. The trip also broke off a big fish that seemed a bluefin. That was sometime before Sunday, when Jim gave this report.
Cape May Inlet
Seventeen yellowfin tuna were bagged, and at least 25 throwbacks were released, between 20 and 30 fathoms Monday on the Heavy Hitter from Cape May, Capt. George said. Skipjacks were also landed, and the anglers kept a few. George told them skipjacks were good-eating, and most canned tuna is skipjack. The yellowfins were on a chunk bite, and George knows an angler who caught them well the next two days, Tuesday and Wednesday. If anglers are interested, they better sail now for them. They could be here today and gone tomorrow. The Heavy Hitter was supposed to sail for them yesterday.
Yellowfin tuna fishing was good inside of 40 miles from shore, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle in Cape May. Chunking sardines caught them best, and some were trolled. Tinker mackerel schooled the water. The population and size of mahi mahi was good this year, and mahi swam as close to shore as 5-Fathom Bank Light.