Sun., Dec. 9, 2018
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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 11-10-16


Striped bass schooled throughout Raritan Bay, including at the Triangle and off Perth Amboy, said Rich from <b>Dockside Bait & Tackle</b>. They were boated but were also caught by anglers on foot from the pier at Woodbridge at the boat ramp. A 32-pounder was checked-in from there today. Many customers eeled the bass, but they also trolled them on Mojos and Stretch lures and hooked them on livelined bunker. They also took the fish on chunks of fresh bunker. The fishing was phenomenal from Woodbridge and Sewaren to across the bay toward Sandy Hook. The bass were also socked on the Arthur Kill at Carteret. Bluefish swam the bay, but more stripers did. This was it: the fall run was on. Eels, fresh bunker and green crabs are stocked. So is all the striper tackle including Mojos, Stretches and umbrella rigs. Dockside, located on Smith Creek, a tributary of the Arthur Kill, north of Outerbridge Crossing, is accessible from land and from the water at the fuel dock.


Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing was up and down, said Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>. Sometimes the fish bit, and sometimes they didn’t, or they bit when they wanted, and boat traffic put them off. The better-sized bass moved into the bay, and trips previously fished both the bay and ocean. Trips hit the fish on livelined bunker, rubber shads and jigs. Bluefish, big, mostly swam the ocean, and fishing for them was on and off or spotty. Open-boat trips are fishing for stripers daily, and charters are available. The crew looks forward to sailing for blackfish beginning Wednesday, when the bag limit will be increased to six, from the current limit of one. Open trips will run for the tautog daily beginning then, and charters are available. Down Deep’s two boats, 40 feet, accommodate up to 15 passengers apiece, and each includes a heated cabin, a full galley and a large cockpit for comfort and room. Charters are available, and join the <a href="" target="_blank">Short Notice List</a> on Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about special open trips.

On the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, striped bass to 40 inches, none under 32, were clocked, and the fishing was good during the first half of the week, Capt. Frank wrote in an email Wednesday. Cast rubber shads, trolled Mojos and spoons, and livelined bunker hooked them. Trips aboard avoided boat traffic that built around birds working baitfish along the water surface with stripers working the bait underneath. The trips found stripers at other places with success, and the pressure on the fish at the boat traffic made the angling difficult. The fall striper run is shaping up well on the boat, and should continue into December. Charters are fishing, and space is available on open-boat trips Monday, Tuesday and the following Monday, Nov. 21. Check out photos on <a href="" target="_blank">Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page</a>.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Boats were seen this morning on Raritan Bay toward Outerbridge Crossing, apparently at Reach Channel, Jay from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b> said. Fishing for striped bass has been good toward the area. The bigger stripers gathered there or near Staten Island and Outerbridge Crossing, and most boaters trolled for them. Stripers were also eeled from the bay at night. In the surf a couple of 30-pound stripers had been banked at Monmouth Beach. Then suddenly the water gave up rats, small stripers. Good blackfishing was bonked under Highlands Bridge. Porgies also held there, and so did schoolie stripers. A friend’s trip played the rats while drifting the boat at the bridge and fishing rubber shads and worms. All baits are stocked, including green crabs for blackfish. A few white crabs will probably be carried when the blackfish bag limit is lifted to six beginning Wednesday, from the current limit of one.

The morning began with a steady breeze during outgoing tide today on the <b>Fishermen</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. That was just what was needed to catch striped bass! Several drifts picked away at keepers and slots, until current slowed. The hot hand tugged in three good-sized and won the pool with a 15-pounder. While the trip waited for the change of tide, it looked around at a couple of areas. The hope was that the bite would turn back on after slack like on yesterday’s trip, but it never did. On yesterday’s trip, striper fishing was 100 percent better than on the previous day’s trip, the report said. Keepers were boated right away, and stripers and blues blew up on bunker all over. The fishing improved after the tide changed. Few customers were around that day, apparently because of weather forecasts. Was a shame to miss the good striper fishing. The Fishermen is sailing for striped bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. However, a charter is booked Saturday morning, so no open-boat trip will fish then.

Mostly porgies, good catches, were pitched aboard the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. A few blackfish and sea bass were bagged, and all anglers left with fish. That was the main thing, he said. Monday’s trip fished an area that gave up porgies, and some blackfish and sea bass, a few more sea bass than usual.  Only two drops were made, if he remembered, and a ground swell kept Tuesday’s trip from returning there. So the trip sailed down the beach, and not much was caught at the first spot. The trip moved to another, picked and picked fish, and the angling became better and better. Porgies catches ended up pretty good, and a few blackfish and sea bass were belted. Wednesday’s trip returned to where Monday’s fished, and water was dirty. The life wasn’t there that was on Monday, and the trip moved to another place. Fishing was no good, and the trip moved again. Then a pick developed, and porgy fishing became good, and a few blackfish and sea bass were beaned. The trip “kind of did it the hard way,” he said, but tried to find a few blackfish and sea bass. Weather looked okay for today’s trip but iffy for Friday’s. Trips are fishing for porgies, sea bass and blackfish 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

A good population of striped bass swam Raritan Bay, said Chris from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. They were boated on the back of the bay, and off Staten Island and Great Kills fished well for them. But blitzes popped up throughout the bay, including near the shop to Keyport. Boat traffic kept the bass from biting sometimes. Casting rubber shads, trolling Mojos and bunker spoons, and snagging bunker and livelining them all caught well. Boaters also eeled for stripers, catching off Sandy Hook Point.  Sometimes bluefish chased the bunker schools that boaters fished for stripers. When that happened, if anglers could get hooks below or a little away from the blues, sometimes they caught the bass, instead of blues. Surf anglers on the bay also banked good catches of mostly stripers, including from near the shop to Keyport and on Staten Island including at Great Kills. They also caught toward the Arthur Kill. In the ocean surf, good catches were made at the Sandy Hook Rips. Surf anglers also tied into stripers from the ocean at Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright. Blues schooled the surf at Sea Bright the other day. Stripers also hit in Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. Rubber shads and eels grabbed them.  Bottom-fishing boaters pumped in porgies and sea bass. Deeper waters like 100 feet harbored bigger sea bass. Sea bass bit in shallower water, like 50-foot depths, but most were throwbacks there. Blackfishing was good for bottom-fishers. Customers geared up for Wednesday, when the blackfish bag limit will become six, from the current limit of one. White leggers will begin to be carried this week for blackfishing. Green crabs are already stocked for the angling. Baits stocked also include eels and fresh clams and bunker. The store, new this year, is the sister shop to Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, and is located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina, down the dock from party, charter and private boats.


Blackfishing will be available from New Jersey beginning Wednesday with <b>Lady M Charters</b>, Capt. Steve said. The boat is already blackfishing from Brooklyn, and a trip sailed from there Monday, in stiff northeast wind and rough seas at first. So the trip decided to fish closer to shore. The angling began slowly, copping just a few keepers and some shorts. Time was getting late. “… oh boy (I) thought it was going to be one of those days,” he wrote on Lady M’s Facebook page. But wind and seas calmed, and the trip decided to go for it, steaming farther from shore. Keeper and short blackfish gave up steady life as soon as the boat settled on anchor. A few of the fish were hooked at a time, and several anglers limited out, in a short period. New Jersey’s bag limit will be raised to six beginning Wednesday, from the current limit of one. So the fishing will become available from Highlands then. Four is currently the New York limit. Charters and open-boat trips are sailing.


Ocean striped bass fishing’s been good, said Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>. Trips will jump on them this weekend, and Last Lady is also sea bass fishing. Blackfishing will be launched aboard Wednesday, when the bag limit is ratcheted up to six, from the current limit of one. Space is available for individual-reservation blackfish trips Nov. 22, 28 and 30. A half-day individual-reservation trip will blackfish on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24. Individual-reservation blackfish trips will also fish Dec. 1, 11, 12 and 17. Charters are available.


With <b>XTC Sportfishing</b>, trips mostly targeted striped bass on the ocean with livelined bunker, cast rubber shads and trolled spoons in mornings, while the fish chewed,  Capt. Scott said. Then trips bluefished, mostly with jigs, for the biggest kind: 15- to 20-pounders. Some dates are available this month for striper fishing. The blackfish bag limit will be pulled up to six beginning Wednesday, from the current limit of one. Blackfishing will begin later in the month aboard.

Striped bass fishing on the ocean attempted to sail Monday aboard, but hard north wind and an easterly swell canceled the trip, said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. The fishing was slow Tuesday aboard, maybe because the water was dirty because of the seas and wind. A couple of stripers were boated among the fleet. Wednesday’s trip with Parker Pete’s limited out on under stripers and released a bunch more, catching on livelined bunker and on the troll. All the fish were sizable or 35 to 41 inches. Bluefish, big, have also been around, and they inundated Wednesday’s trip. Blues would come and go on days. Sometimes they’d school certain areas, and sometimes would disappear. Good bodies of stripers seemed to school north and south, and Pete hopes fishing for them holds up. Blackfish trips will be possible beginning Wednesday, when the bag limit is increased to six, from the current limit of one. Trips tend to blackfish later in the year, and plenty of dates, including a couple of weekends, are available in December. Pete hopes striper fishing continues into December. Stripers can be smaller that month, and bonus tags are available aboard to bag stripers in the smaller size. Those fish can often be jigged or hooked on rubber shads. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s anyway about individual spaces available on charters. Sign up for the email blast on <a href="" target="_blank">Parker Pete’s website</a> to be kept informed about the spaces.

Hope all is well after the political circus, and let’s hope we can get together about the important things, like fishing, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email! Good striped bass fishing was boated on the ocean off Highlands in past days, and John Reilly and Jeff trolled several stripers to 30 pounds on umbrella rigs. Ed McSherry from Freehold trolled a 28-pounder on a bunker spoon. Blackfish bit, and Bob and crew look forward to good fishing for them beginning Wednesday, when the bag limit is increased to six, from the current limit of one. The shop is taking orders for white leggers, if anglers want a bushel or half-bushel. Good fishing ahead, Bob said.

After slow, terrible fishing Tuesday, fishing for jumbo bluefish was excellent Wednesday on the ocean, just to the north, on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email from the party boat said. A few stripers were also picked, among the bunker that schooled.  Trips are sailing for stripers and blues 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Good striped bass fishing was mauled Tuesday on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. That was the most recent report at press time, and the bass weighed 10 to 30 pounds. Monster bluefish 15 pounds and heavier were tackled a little farther north on the trip. On Monday’s trip, a few stripers 20 to 25 pounds and a few blues were slapped aboard, and plenty swam the water, but wouldn’t bite. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Fishing for porgies and sea bass has been great on the ocean on the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b>, Capt. Chris said. But trips will do some striped bass fishing now on the ocean, including at 6 a.m. Friday through Monday. The trips will snag bunker and liveline them for bait, and the number of passengers will be limited. Wind might cancel Friday’s trip, but the trip will fish if possible, and Saturday’s trip is a booked charter.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Porgies, sea bass, including lots of throwback sea bass, blackfish and winter flounder were swung aboard the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. The fishing, mostly for porgies, was good, and quite a few bluefish, mixed sizes from 5 to 20 pounds, were also toggled up in past days. Sometimes they were a nuisance, biting other fish in half that were reeled up. Anglers averaged 20 to 50 fish apiece, a mixed bag. Trips fished a little deeper now, in 120 feet. The ocean surface there was probably 58 to 60 degrees. The fish felt warm to the touch. Not a lot of bait was seen on the fishing grounds. Lots of bunker were seen on the ride out to the grounds. Striped bass schooled 5 or 6 miles from the coast. Fishing for them is closed beyond 3 miles. The Dauntless is bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Fishing was slow on the last couple of trips for striped bass and blues on the <b>Gambler</b>, though lots of baitfish schooled, Jillian wrote in an email. The striper fishing will be good soon, she believes, and the trips are running 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily when no tuna trip is fishing. Tuna fishing was good on a trip to the offshore canyons Tuesday to Wednesday aboard. Big longfin tuna and a few yellowfin tuna began to be hooked at daybreak, mostly on sardines, a few on jigs. A large swordfish was subdued at night, and room is available on a tuna trip this coming Tuesday to Wednesday, and telephone to reserve, or book online.  <a href="" target="_blank">Offshore sea bass trips</a> are slated for Dec. 17-30. <b>***Update, Friday, 11/11:***</b> “Decent fishing (yesterday) on big blues and some nice sized bass!” the boat’s Facebook page said that day. Photos of stripers bagged were included with the post.

Anglers racked up good sea bass fishing again today on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. The first drop fished a little slow, but the next fished well. Throwbacks needed to be picked through to get keepers, “but all in all, plenty of action,” it said. A few anglers limited out. The fishing was also good Tuesday, the only other day reported since the weekend on the site. A few porgies were mixed in Tuesday. The weekend’s fishing aboard was covered in the last report here. The Norma-K III is sailing for sea bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Trips are slated to bluefish 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, because bluefishing was good on nighttime trips last weekend, also covered in the last report here.

<b>Toms River</b>

Surf-fishing for striped bass was a slow pick, said Mario from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. Nighttime and the crack of dawn were best times to try for them. Swimming lures caught, and popper lures worked when bunker pushed into the water. Jetty Ghost Rainfish with a teaser were popular metal. A customer landed a 32-inch striper from Manasquan Inlet yesterday on a bone-colored Daiwa SP Minnow swimmer. Boating for striped bass was okay on the ocean, if the anglers found a pod of bunker the bass worked. Fishing for throwback stripers was good in Barnegat Bay on swimmers and poppers at night and dawn. Mario reeled in a couple this morning. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Surf fishing for striped bass was slow, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. First light and last light seemed best times to beach them, and most were hooked on bait. But surf casters shouldn’t stop fishing lures. “You know how things turn on a dime this time of year,” it said. Plenty of bait filled the ocean. Just don’t know where the fish are, it said. 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, in season, boat rentals and jet-ski rentals.

<b>Forked River</b>

Two striped bass 30 and 28 ½ pounds were weighed Tuesday at <b>Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle</b> that were eeled along Barnegat Bay’s sod banks at night, Bryan said. The fishing’s been good, and a few stripers were hooked on the ocean along the north side of Barnegat Inlet’s north jetty during daytime. One angler said the first hour of incoming tides produced. The ocean’s boating for stripers kind of slowed, but a few were trolled and hooked on bunker snagged and then livelined. A customer’s trips boated blackfish well at Garden State Reef North fairly well, keeping 5-pounders. Baits stocked include eels, green crabs and fresh clams. Gulps are 50 percent off.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Rough seas kept boats from reaching the ocean, but a trip with six anglers boated four keeper striped bass at Barnegat Inlet today on live spots, said Vince Jr. from <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b>. When boaters fished the ocean and found bunker schooling, they reportedly clobbered good striper catches on the menhaden snagged and then livelined. No bluefish were heard about from anywhere. Nothing was reported about sea bass fishing on the ocean. Lots of blackfish hovered along the inlet’s rocks, and six will become the blackfish bag limit beginning Wednesday, from the current limit of one. Green crabs are carried for blackfish bait. Baits stocked also include live spots and fresh bunker. Bobbie’s features a complete bait and tackle shop, a fuel dock and, in season, boat and kayak rentals. The shop is known for bait supply, including live baits.

<b>Mystic Island</b>

Wind blew, and customers bought gear for trolling for striped bass on the ocean, and Sunday looks like the day with less wind that can be boated, said Scott from <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Stripers were boated off southern Long Beach Island on Friday, and one was boated here and there Saturday and Sunday. Scott didn’t think that was because of boat traffic, he said when asked. “It’s a big ocean,” he said. The water was 56 degrees currently, a good temperature for striper fishing. Stripers were yet to gather at Little Egg and Wreck inlets this season. One customer concentrates on them there. He fished the inlets and only hooked one shark, and is good at the fishing. Smaller stripers were around in the bay. Sometimes some were angled from Mullica River, and the fishing there slowed since better catches earlier this season. Nobody mentioned white perch fishing on the river, but surely the perch were there. Anglers were more interested in stripers now. Perch school farther up the river, upstream from the Parkway Bridge, as weather cools. They should swim Nacote Creek and Bass River currently, too.  Blackfish were rustled from along the sod banks of the bay two weeks ago, and nothing was heard about them since, because weather kept anglers from getting after them. Maybe more blackfishing will be reported beginning Wednesday, when the bag limit is increased to six, from the current limit of one. Eels, fresh, shucked clams, fresh clams in the shell, green crabs, bloodworms, nightcrawlers and minnows are stocked.


The bay’s striped bass fishing was picking up pretty well, said Jay from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. Live bait including spots and eels whipped the fish. Charters with Capt. Dave, the store’s owner, often latched into the bass on cast Gulp Nemesis, sometimes on live bait. But live bait was common for anglers. Live spots, mullet, peanut bunker and eels are stocked. A few sizable stripers were checked-in from Brigantine’s surf elsewhere or at another tackle shop. No stripers except stragglers were boated on the ocean locally, and the fall, southern migration of them remained farther north in the state. Anglers waited for them to arrive locally. Blackfishing was good at structure like bridges and along sod banks, and six will become the blackfish bag limit beginning Wednesday, from the current limit of one.  Baits stocked also include green crabs and fresh bunker and clams.


A 42-pound 14-ounce 48-inch striped bass was weighed from the surf from Brigantine’s north end today at <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>, Capt. Andy said. Looks like bass might be moving into the water, Andy wrote on the shop’s Facebook page. Going to be a fun weekend, he wrote,  and the catch put the angler, Paul Lavigna, in first place in Riptide’s Fall Striper and Bluefish Derby. Paul also lost a bigger before that catch on the trip. He caught on a Sebile Magic Swimmer Lure, and Linda Davoli beached a 32-inch striper, maybe 12 or 13 pounds, on the same model of lure from the island’s surf this week. She landed a 24-1/2-pounder from the town’s shore last weekend, covered in the previous report here. She was in second and third place in the derby with those fish. Another angler dragged a 29-incher from Brigantine’s surf today. Stripers also bit in the back bay. A charter captain eeled a 37- or 38-incher there on a short, one-hour trip, fishing with plugs and Riptide eels. Joe Jr.’s been boating the bay’s bass on livelined spots, and Andrew Smith’s also been catching them. The fish were sizable or 34 or 35 inches, not throwbacks. The Brigantine Elks Fall Classic Tournament will take place Friday to Sunday, and all profits will reportedly benefit veterans. The store’s striper and bluefish derby, an annual surf-fishing tournament, is underway until Dec. 23. Prizes are $500, $300 and $150 for the first, second and third heaviest stripers, respectively, and $300, $200 and $100 for the first through third heaviest blues, from Brigantine’s surf. The $25 entry includes a permit to beach-buggy Brigantine’s entire front beach, when accompanied by a Brigantine permit. Without the tournament permit, not the entire beach can be driven.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Blackfish made up most catches, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Good-sized were nailed from Absecon Inlet, and green crabs caught best. Striped bass – not whoppers, but some better-sized that began to be seen – were occasionally angled from the inlet, mostly on eels, some on fresh bunker. Customers fish the nearby, jetty-lined inlet on foot. Noel watched <a href="" target="_blank">birds working the water</a> off Caspian Avenue in the inlet, past the Flagship, this morning. One angler saw birds working bait in the inlet near the bay, schooling 50 yards long, and caught weakfish, good-sized, among them recently. Bunker pods were seen in the ocean surf between Atlantic City and Longport. Anglers snagged the menhaden for bait. A few good-sized stripers were reported caught from the surf at Brigantine’s north end. Back in the inlet, herring and big spearing schooled. Peanut bunker still schooled in the bay near the inlet, though the season was late for that. The water was 60 degrees or warm. Fishing was definitely on, Noel said. Anglers might not catch the fish they want, but will catch something. Even in rough weather, they’ll find a place to fish in the area. If anglers don’t catch now, hang it up, Noel said!  ***Big Heads Up:*** Noel began a <a href="" target="_blank"><b>petition</b></a> for anglers <b>to protest the government’s planned closing of fishing the jetties along the inlet</b>. Click the link to read and sign it. The government recently said access will be granted, after Noel began to spearhead the protest. But until the government makes that official, the protest needs to continue.

<b>Egg Harbor Township</b>

<b>***Update, Friday, 11/11:***</b> Anglers waited for fall’s southern striped bass migration to arrive in the ocean locally, said Dave from <b>24-7 Bait & Tackle</b>. None was known to be boated, and photos of striper catches from the ocean at the store had been posted on the shop’s Facebook page in past weeks. Those fish came from farther north, like toward Island Beach State Park and beyond. None was brought in recently, for unknown reasons, maybe because wind prevented trips. Small, resident stripers 18 to 25 inches, young fish yet to migrate, were occasionally reported caught from the bay along the 9th Street Bridge between Ocean City and the mainland. Soft-plastic lures like Fin-S Fish were often fished for them. Sometimes cut bait and livelined eels and spots were used for them. Blackfishing was very good along bridges, and that angling was the most heard about. Live spots and eels and fresh bunker and clams are stocked.  <b>The company also owns 24-7 Bait & Tackle in Marmora</b>.


Sea bass fishing will sail Friday through Sunday on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. Space is available on the open-boat trips, and Friday might be windy, but a trip will run that day if possible. Blackfishing will begin aboard on an open trip Wednesday, when the bag limit is hauled up to six, from the current limit of one. Space is also available for a trip 8 a.m. to 12 noon on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, for blackfish and striped bass. Contact the boat to jump aboard any of these trips. “Crabs are in the hotel,” he said about the blackfish bait, and he can’t wait for the fishing. No stripers were known about from the ocean yet this season. But fishing for the migration kicked in locally Nov. 16 last year, and that’s this coming Wednesday. The ocean currently was 58 degrees and held whales and baitfish, and these northwest winds should pull in the bass, Mike thinks. The whales arrived two weeks ago.

<b>Ocean City</b>

Boaters trolled an occasional striped bass, one here, one there, on the ocean, say from Sea Isle City to Atlantic City, said Ed from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. They didn’t find many, but the fishing seemed a start. They just trolled up and down the beach with tackle like Mojos, bunker spoons and Stretch plugs. Many boaters had seemed to look for them farther north, where some of the fish had bitten, but that action seemed to dry up. Not many stripers were heard about from the surf, only a couple, on bait. Surf fishing was mostly slow, except for a few small blues that continued to pop up there and at inlets, like before, mostly in evenings and in early mornings. But a good number of small stripers, occasionally decent-sized, not large, bit in the back bay. Plenty of small blackfish gave up great fishing at structure including jetties, piers, bridges and pilings. Not much was heard about blackfish from reefs. Sea bass fishing was good at reefs and wrecks, when boaters had the weather to reach the waters. Many days brought a breeze and bumpy seas.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

The back bay tossed up throwback striped bass 22 to 25 or 26 inches, lots, and just a few keepers, said Cameron from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Baits like paddle-tails and soft-plastics caught, and so did plugs. A couple of stripers were slid from the surf. A couple were trolled on the ocean, usually on bunker spoons with Mojos, or on the spoons or Mojos alone, not combined. Not many stripers swam the surf and ocean yet this season. Customers headed out for blackfish along structure like jetties, docks and bridges. No results were heard, but the tautog were definitely reeled in. Baits stocked include live spots and eels and fresh clams and bunker.

A 45-inch striped bass was released on the ocean last weekend aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. That was covered in the last report here, and that was the only striper on the trip, and he heard about no others caught then. But Joe wouldn’t be surprised if the migration kicks in on the ocean locally any day. It’ll definitely pick up by mid-month, he thinks, and that’s next week. Smaller stripers should be biting in the back bay. They’re younger, juvenile fish, living in the bay year-round, yet to migrate. His trips fish for them with light tackle. Joe will fish from Puerto Rico this weekend with friend Capt. Chris Goldmark from Culebra Fly Fishing and Light Tackle. Catches there can include bonefish, tarpon and jacks, and Goldmark also charters from Cape May. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.


<b>Fins & Grins Sport Fishing</b> trolled for striped bass on the ocean this week on a trip, and none of the bass turned up on the outing and this season aboard yet, Capt. Jim said. But the migration is impending. The trip stopped on marks and hooked a bunch of weakfish off Wildwood, keeping none. The fish were landed on clams that were carried aboard in case the trip fished for sea bass. Migrating stripers gave up great fishing last year from Thanksgiving into December on the ocean locally. Jim will see whether a trip booked for Saturday wants to fish for resident stripers that are swimming the back bay. Jim saw a 40-some-pound striper weighed at a tackle shop. Whether the fish was caught from a boat or the surf was unknown. Sea bass fishing is available aboard, and trips need to head farther from shore for good sea bassing. But the fish are there. Big bluefish were heard about that schooled the ocean off Wildwood Sunday. Fins is fishing every day, when there’s demand, and reservations aren’t required but suggested. Telephone for availability.

<b>Cape May</b>

Some of the Cape May charter fleet, including the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>, will begin striped bass fishing this weekend, Capt. George said. Trips aboard will also continue sea bass fishing this season, and those catches have been good 30 miles from shore on the boat, weeding through lots of shorts, but bagging keepers, covered in previous reports here. Blackfishing will be available beginning Wednesday, when the bag limit is hiked to six, from the current limit of one.

A few of the sea bass trips met rough seas in wind on the ocean on the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, Capt. Paul said. The fish gave up good action on most trips, and the number of keepers was low compared with throwbacks. Nobody limited out on trips, and some anglers landed 10 or 12 keepers on Saturday’s outing. Fewer keepers bit on Sunday’s trip. Tuesday’s trip met a big, 8- or 10-foot swell. The fishing gave up some action, and some of the anglers decked keepers, and some became seasick. Bluefish 1 or 2 pounds were mixed in on trips. The Porgy IV is fishing for sea bass daily. Wind and seas could be rough on some of the next few days, and whether the trips will sail will depend on conditions. The boat needs to sail farther from shore, because not many sea bass are holding close in. The trips will blackfish daily beginning Wednesday, when the bag limit is raised to six, from the current limit of one.

Ocean striped bass fishing seemed to begin to turn on a little, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. A few were trolled from off Stone Harbor to the south, and Mojos caught well. Little was heard about surf catches, but a few red drum and speckled sea trout, southern species, were reported seen from the surf. The water must’ve been warm. Blackfish bit along Cape May Inlet’s jetties. A couple of customers tried bunker-chunking stripers on Delaware Bay but got covered up with dogfish. Blackfishing was good in the bay at wrecks on the Delaware side. Six blackfish will become the bag limit beginning Wednesday, from the current limit of one. The back bay served up good fishing for small stripers, lots of action, on clams or squid. Sea bass fishing was good when weather enabled boaters to sail farther from shore for them. Eels, fresh bunker, fresh clams and green crabs are stocked.

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