Wed., Nov. 22, 2017
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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 12-5-16


<b>Keyport</b>

Blackfishing was improving with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. The high hook landed nine legal-sized this past week, keeping no more than a limit. A 13-1/2-pounder was biggest yesterday aboard and was released, and open-boat trips are blackfishing daily. Open trips are also fishing for stripers daily, in the middle of Raritan Bay and on the ocean, and the angling was tough on the most recent trips. But plenty of bait still schooled the water, and striper fishing’s not finished yet for the season, Mario thinks. Charters are available, and join the <a href=" http://downdeepsportfishing.com/short-notice-list/" target="_blank">Short Notice List</a> on Down Deep’s website to be kept informed about special open trips. The company runs two boats, each 40 feet, accommodating up to 15 passengers and including a heated cabin, a full galley and a large cockpit.

Wind had to be battled in the morning on a blackfishing trip Sunday on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. “(That made) it hard for the guys to really swing on the right bites opposed to just any bite,” he wrote. “Veteran black fishermen know what I mean.” Blackfishing takes a knack that can only be gained from experience. A dozen keepers were landed, and throwbacks gave up good action. Still, the day was fun. Wind kept trips docked in previous days. Weather also looks windy this week, so no open-boat trip will probably fish in the next days. An open trip is slated for Saturday. Spring striped bass charters are beginning to book. “No need to say weekend dates are taken fast,” he said. Don’t wait to book, if you can only fish weekends.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

The daily blackfish trip today on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b> met somewhat of a roll that was unexpected, Capt. Tom said. But some of the fish were picked on the first drop, and another drop had just begun at 10:30 a.m., when he gave this report in a phone call aboard. Already, one angler bagged four, and another bagged three. The fishing was off to a fair start. The Atlantic Star is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. 

<b>Highlands</b>

An open-boat trip for blackfish made two drops yesterday with <b>Lady M Charters</b> on the ocean, Capt. Steve said. The first spot gave up a few keepers. The rest of the trip fished at the second, and the anglers limited out. The tautog were good-sized, up to 7 pounds, and the high hook landed 15 legal-sized, keeping no more than a limit.

<b>Neptune</b>

Was a beautiful day on the ocean, and blackfishing was pretty good on a trip Sunday, said Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>. Individual-reservation trips for blackfish have been added for Dec. 12, 14, 24 and 28. Striped bass trips are available, but only on charters. The bass were still around.

<b>Belmar</b>

Striped bass fishing was excellent, for the most part, said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. Lots of slot stripers and a few bigger bit in the ocean. If anglers wanted to troll, some bigger were hooked, with bluefish mixed in. Saturday fished best in past days, by far. Practically all boaters limited out on stripers that day. Blackfishing was picky at best. Angling for the tautog was tough Sunday aboard, in hard north current. “But it’s your typical blackfishing,” he said. 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=" http://www.parkerpetefishing.com/" target="_blank">Parker Pete’s website</a> to be kept informed about the spaces.

Miles of fish – striped bass and a surprising number of 6- to 8-pound blues – schooled the ocean during Sunday’s trip on the <b>Katie H</b>, Capt. Mike said. The anglers limited out on bonus-tag stripers and bagged one in the “under” size, and many throwback stripers also swam. Lots of action, and the fishing was fun, on light spinning tackle. Weather was great, and the anglers had a good time, he said. Mike had also wanted to push farther from shore to mix in sea bass fishing on the trip, but northwest wind roughed up seas farther from shore. So the trip stayed close to the coast, doing no sea bass fishing. A friend headed farther off for sea bass, saying seas were crummy. But Mike hopes to mix in sea bassing on the next trip.

Surf anglers and ocean boaters tackled great fishing for striped bass, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. In the surf, the bass averaging 30 inches showed up at most areas in Monmouth and Ocean counties the past few days, smacking popper lures, rubber shads and metal-lipped swimmers. Jerry Taylor from Belmar’s 26-pounder was the biggest from the surf at the shop this past week. The boaters scored a great week of the fishing mostly from Manasquan Inlet to the south. They caught on rubber shads, sometimes on plugs. Sometimes they nailed the bigger stripers on bunker snagged and then livelined. Blackfishing was good on the boats sailing for them. “The new (blackfish) jigs are the hottest item in our inventory,” he wrote. Don’t wait to fish, because weather will close in.

The <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b> limited out on slot striped bass Saturday and Sunday, excellent fishing, an email from the party boat said. Sunday’s trip also released a bunch after limiting. Bluefish were mixed in during the weekend aboard. Today’s trip was also off to a good start. Thirty stripers were boated by 11 a.m., soon before the email was sent.  The Miss Belmar Princess is fishing for stripers and blues at 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The trips will continue through the month, as long as the fish stick around.

Fishing racked up great striped bass fishing again Sunday on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. The catch included lots of slot stripers but some bigger to 34 inches, and jumbo bluefish. Up to 10 fish were landed on some drifts.  On Saturday’s trip, plenty of stripers and blues came in. On Friday’s, almost all anglers limited out on stripers. The report didn’t say whether that meant in one of the legal size classes, two of them or all of them.  Some blues were also taken on the outing. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

<b>Brielle</b>

Excellent boating for striped bass was pounded on the ocean this weekend from Sandy Hook to Island Beach State Park, but mostly south of Manasquan Inlet, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. The mostly 24- to 35-inchers were trolled on Mojos and umbrella rigs. They were also jigged on Ava’s, rubber shads and soft-plastic sand eel imitations. Sometimes they were popper-plugged. A large mix of bait schooled: peanut bunker, adult bunker, sand eels, bay anchovies and herring. Surf fishing for the same-sized stripers was superb Saturday from Long Branch to Island Beach, especially in the afternoon. Needlefish lures, metal-lipped swimmers, popper plugs and rubber shads hooked them, and stripers in the surf were mostly banked during daytime recently. But a scattering of the catches were made into night that were hard about, and Eric would expect the catches to increase in the dark this week. Bluefish 5 to 12 pounds were mixed in for both boaters and surf anglers. On some days, stripers seemed to outnumber blues, and on others, vice versa. Good blackfishing was boated during the weekend, and Sandy Hook Reef, Shrewsbury Rocks and off the Red Church were the places to be. The tautog weren’t huge and weighed up to 6 and 7 pounds, and jigs hooked them well, but so did bait. If anglers wanted to try jigging, now was a time. Keeper sea bass were still picked inshore in 60 to 80 feet of water. If a trip limited out on blackfish, it could sail deeper and catch sea bass. Porgies were mostly angled from 180- to 220-foot depths, farther from shore. 

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Decent blackfishing was grabbed Saturday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. A few anglers limited out, a few bagged fewer “and a couple could not get it going all day,” it said. John Faulhaber from Point Pleasant won the pool with a 12-pound 4-ouncer, and on a previous trip heaved in a 15-pound 8-ouncer aboard, covered in a previous report here. White crabs seemed to catch best on Saturday’s trip. Sunday’s trip was a different story, though, the report said. Blackfish were sluggish during the outing. A few but no amount were bagged, and the trip moved quite a few times. A 6-pounder won the pool. The Norma-K III is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, and green crabs and white crabs are carried aboard.

<b>Toms River</b>

In the surf, a few striped bass bit early in morning, at dusk and after dark on artificials locally yesterday, <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> from Toms River’s Facebook page said. A good number of stripers held farther north, “so hopefully they find their way here in the next couple of days,” it said. Barnegat Bay turned out stripers at certain places, “and Oyster Creek has been one of them with small shads, Fin S, small swimmers and poppers,” it said. The page didn’t say whether that was off Oyster Creek itself or at Oyster Creek Channel. Oyster Creek is the discharge from the Forked River power plant on the mainland. Oyster Creek Channel is near Barnegat Inlet. If the surf fails to produce, try the bay, the page said. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Throwback striped bass were beached from the surf through Friday, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. That was the most recent report at press time, and popping plugs, swimming lures, swim shads and metal caught. Cut bunker and clams worked, “for those who just want to sit and wait things out,” 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>

<b>Tuna-Tic Sportfishing</b> wrapped up fishing for the year with good striped bass catches on the ocean two weekends ago, Capt. Mike said. Fishing aboard will kick back off in April, with striper trips on Raritan Bay. Mike thanks all who fished aboard this year, and wishes everybody Happy Holidays and a good New Year.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Fishing wasn’t great on Friday’s trip but picked a blue or a striped bass here and there on the <b>Miss Barnegat Light</b> on the ocean, a report said on the party boat’s website. Saturday’s trip fished great, “the classic striper-run day,” it said. Birds worked baitfish along the water surface, and stripers chased the bait. All anglers who wanted a bonus-tag striper bagged one, and a good number of larger stripers, over 28 inches, were boxed. Throwback stripers also bit, and so did bluefish. On Sunday’s trip, a good showing of bonus stripers, a handful larger than 28 inches and some blues were picked up. Wasn’t the fishing like the previous day, and plenty of fish were read, but they didn’t bite like would be expected. The Miss Barnegat Light will fish at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The schedule for afterward will be decided.

<b>Beach Haven</b>

Five striped bass were landed and two got off in 1 ½ hours on the ocean off Little Egg Inlet on a charter Saturday on the <b>June Bug</b>, Capt. Lindsay wrote in an email. Three of the fish were caught on a triple-header and were 40 inches. Seven or eight boats fished the area, and the June Bug trolled Mojos with rubber shads and Tony Maja bunker spoons on fluorocarbon leaders along edges of bunker pods. Many gannets dove on the baitfish, and whales swam. Forecasts had called for a gale in the morning, but wind blew lightly then. On the trip, wind began to gust to 30 knots, and seas started to deteriorate, and the boat began to be headed back to port, when the final striper was landed. The fishing was great, and strong wind was also forecast for Sunday. But wind ended up calm. Lesson: you won’t catch any fish if you cancel a trip early. That was the season’s final charter from Beach Haven on the June Bug. Lindsay didn’t say whether he’ll bring the boat to North Carolina for winter like he usually does. He usually brings the boat back to Beach Haven to fish beginning in – when else? – June! Lindsay wishes everybody Happy Holidays and a happy, successful and safe New Year.

<b>Brigantine</b>

No striped bass were seen from the surf, but boaters found the fish north and south Friday on the ocean, a report said on <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>’s website Saturday. Boaters had a blast with the fish today, too, and reports kept rolling in. Three anglers from a trip today stopped in with three stripers to 26 pounds they boated just north of Brigantine on the ocean, and they also released others, in a couple of hours on the trip. That was after they bought Riptide Mojos this morning to troll. The ocean was 49.3 degrees.

<b>Longport</b>

Capt. Mike from the <b>Stray Cat</b> expects to stick with blackfishing, no longer targeting striped bass this season, he said. Striper fishing was hit and miss, spotty, on the ocean, and blackfishing was pretty good. Fishing for the tautog was better in 70-foot depths than 50-foot on the ocean, and the fish were good-sized, alright. He expects to try a couple of spots 12 miles from shore this week that he last fished a couple of years ago. The ocean was 50 degrees, and open-boat trips are blackfishing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Sunday. No trips will fish Tuesdays and Thursdays unless a bunch of anglers telephone, wanting to go, and weather is ideal.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Five striped bass were landed from the ocean on a trip Sunday with Mike Roth aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Two were hooked on a Clouser Minnow fly on a sinking line, and three were jigged. Roth wanted to fly-fish, and the trip put on many miles, running and gunning, to do that. The right situations needed to be found. Other boaters trolled a good number of stripers in the morning. Bait schooled and whales swam. One whale jumped probably 30 times. Most stripers were trolled on the ocean recently, most of the fish were sizable and most were found fairly close to the beach. One or two bluefish boated were heard about on the radio that day, but Joe saw no blues yet this season. The water was 49 degrees, and keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>. Annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys will fish this winter, and see the <a href=" http://www.captainjoehughes.com/page3.html" target="_blank">traveling charters’ page</a> on Jersey Cape’s website. 

<b>Avalon</b>

Hunting for sea ducks and brant is supposed to sail Tuesday through Thursday with <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b>, Capt. Jim said. Anglers can also do a combo of striper fishing and the waterfowling over at least a couple of days. The fishing can take place on the ocean or Delaware Bay, wherever’s best. Reservations are being accepted for the hunting, and telephone Fins for availability. Jim’s looking to book a few more of the trips in December, and January is pretty full. Fins offers a variety of outdoor adventures, including saltwater fishing and hunting for ducks and geese. The waterfowling is in New Jersey and nearby states, following the migrations.

<b>Wildwood</b>

Striped bass were occasionally boated off Brigantine on the ocean, said Capt. Jim from <b>Fins & Grins Sport Fishing</b>. Anglers needed to “look for them,” and more of the fish should migrate south to local waters soon. Currently, lots of baitfish schooled, looking like stripers should be foraging on them. Some boaters sailed 35 miles north to catch. Jim pushed 20 miles north to the ocean off Corson’s Inlet on a trip. Anglers decked just a handful of stripers there, though they landed lots there two weekends ago. Space is available on trips this weekend aboard. Fins fishes every day, and reservations aren’t required but suggested. Telephone for availability.

<b>Cape May</b>

Trips went 1 for 3 Saturday on striped bass and 2 for 3 Sunday on the fish on the ocean on the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> 25 miles to the north on the troll, Capt. George said. Some anglers get lucky and boat a few, and if a trip lands four or five, that’s good. Bait and whales have swum the water a month, but not a lot of stripers are on them. Boaters to the north off the state are bailing the fish still. A friend showed videos of the fishing from Belmar. None of the migration arrived off Cape May yet, really.

A few striped bass, just a few, were trolled aboard Sunday from the ocean near Atlantic City with <b>Caveman Sportfishing</b>, Capt. John said. That was 35 miles north of Cape May, and none of the migration had arrived off Cape May yet. “Maybe another week?” John said, meaning maybe the migration will push to local waters then. The most stripers schooled beyond 3 miles from shore, where fishing for them is closed. Boats during the trip could be seen fishing 6 miles from the coast. But the Coast Guard was out there, chasing striper anglers away from illegal waters. Friends crushed stripers to the north off Beach Haven and Lavallette on Saturday in legal waters.

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