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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 12-8-16


<b>Keyport</b>

Blackfishing was good, okay, cranking in the fish to 10 pounds from the ocean with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. Open-boat trips are fishing for them daily, and striped bass fishing was hit and miss, landing mixed sizes on the ocean. Open trips are also striper fishing daily, and Down Deep runs two 40-foot boats, accommodating up to 15 passengers each. Each features a heated cabin, a full galley and a large cockpit.  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. Trips will sail into January.

Open-boat trips will blackfish Saturday and Sunday on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. Capt. T.J. will run Sunday’s trip. Room was available when he sent the email, and telephone to reserve. White crabs will be carried aboard, and jump on trips while possible, because weather this time of year might be too rough the following weekend. This could be the final weekend of fishing this year aboard, depending on weather. Striped bass trips are booking for spring. Morning and afternoon trips will fish, and so will Working Man Specials, fishing into evenings, on Wednesdays.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Daily blackfishing trips fished every day this week on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. He wouldn’t call the fishing great or good, but anglers who worked, bagged some. Each trip fished quite a few drops, and each drop gave up a few. On Tuesday’s trip, one angler limited out on six, another bagged five, some bagged two or three, and some landed no keepers, only throwbacks. Wednesday’s trip met a giant swell, up to 10 feet, that calmed somewhat as the day went on. The trip made a few drops, catching some at each. Two anglers reeled in four keepers apiece, and others tugged in two or three. A couple bagged one apiece, and three anglers landed no keepers, but caught throwbacks. The Atlantic Star is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Green crabs are provided, and white crabs are for sale aboard, when whites are available. They’ve been available. <b>***Update, Saturday, 12/10:***</b> Fishing for the tog was much better on today’s trip, Tom said. Only two drops were made, and the first gave up good action, but the boat was moved once to see if more keepers would bite. A few more did, and the second spot also gave up good action. Anglers worked through shorts to bag keepers at both. They pulled in one to five keepers apiece, except one who landed only shorts. Green and white crabs caught equally, and weather was a bit cold, and wind blew, but seas weren’t rough. Don’t hesitate to fish on weekends, because trips aren’t crowded.

Boats blackfished when enough anglers showed up for the trips, said Joe from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Was the fishing okay? he was asked. “Oh yeah,” he said. A couple of striped bass were beached from the surf now and then, and plugs and clams seemed what to fish for them. Nothing was heard about bluefish from the surf. All baits are stocked. White crabs can be ordered.

<b>***Update, Friday, 12/9:***</b> Few anglers were around in the week’s weather, said Tom from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. Weather was even windy today, but blackfishing was decent on boats lately, hit and miss or better on some days than others. That’s typical for blackfishing, including because of weather this season. No news rolled in about striped bass, because of scarce anglers. Many striper anglers, both surf-casters and boaters, headed south for the fish toward Seaside lately. Nobody mentioned surf-fishing locally, like at Sandy Hook and nearby. Some stripers should be around in the local surf, because boaters seemed to sometimes still land the bass locally. Sea bass and porgies were boated farther from shore, when weather enabled trips to sail. Baits stocked include white crabs and green crabs for blackfishing. Plenty of blackfish jigs, the latest craze, are carried. Fresh bunker were unavailable from suppliers in weather that kept trips from sailing for them. Fresh clams are on hand, even if they’re also scarce because of weather preventing most trips. The store, new this year, the sister shop to Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, is located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina, next to the port’s fleet of party, charter and private boats.

<b>Neptune</b>

Trips will next fish during the weekend, for blackfish, said Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>. The ocean was rough in weather in past days. An individual-reservation trip for blackfish is full Dec. 28.  More of the trips are set for Monday, Wednesday and Dec. 24. Striped bass trips are available, but only on charters.

<b>Belmar</b>

For anglers on the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b>, blackfishing on the ocean was good, doing a little better, Capt. Chris said. They needed to be patient, including today, when a swell was leftover. Trips are blackfishing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and green crabs are supplied, and white crabs are available for sale on the boat. Fishing jigs for blackfish has been a craze. But jigs are no good for the angling, Chris thinks.

Striped bass fishing was amazing Tuesday on the ocean with <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Pete said. The anglers limited out on bonus-tag stripers and unders and released plenty more. The bonus bass were hooked on cast rubber shads, and that’s been great. When seas became rougher, the trip trolled the unders on Mojos. That was a rough day in an easterly storm, and fishing was weathered out Wednesday aboard. Lots of baitfish including herring schooled, so stripers were still around. Blackfishing sailed Monday aboard in calm weather, and the fishing was decent. Some of the anglers limited out, and the fishing diminished to a pick after morning and in the afternoon. But the trip ended up with a good number of the tautog to 8 pounds. A few dates remain for charters this month. Tuesday and Wednesday are available for striper fishing or blackfishing.  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.

Before trips were weathered out Tuesday and Wednesday, good fishing for striped bass and blues was clobbered the previous four or five days on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email from the party boat said. Striper fishing is great right now, and the boat just received more striper bonus tags for customers to bag a striper 24 inches to less than 28. Weather looks good in the next days through the weekend, and the trips are running 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Fishing for striped bass on the ocean is sailing on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, but a special sea bass trip ran offshore Wednesday, a report said on the party boat’s website. All anglers limited out on sea bass. The sea bass were good-sized, and plenty of porgies were pasted. Lots of 3- to 5-pound bluefish bit until sunrise. Anglers could land as many as they wanted. A striped bass trip fished excellent Tuesday aboard. Many bonus-tag stripers and a good showing of larger were racked up. A 34-incher won the pool, and only a few throwbacks hit. Catches were constant, pretty much, until the tide changed. Then the angling tapered off, but a good catch had already been winged. Crocs and swim shads hooked most, but the stripers chomped nearly anything. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Was a good weekend of bottom-fishing on the ocean on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. A good variety of porgies, sea bass and a few blackfish and winter flounder were claimed. Most anglers bagged 25 to 50 fish apiece, a mix of the species. The variety kept the angling interesting, and bluefish were also hooked in shallow water sometimes. Trips mostly fished in 100- to 120-foot depths. A trip tried fishing deeper one day, but dogfish began to be a nuisance. All in all, can’t complain, he said about the fishing. Pretty good for December, he said. The Dauntless is bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Good striped bass fishing yesterday on the ocean on the <b>Gambler</b>, the party boat’s Facebook page said. All anglers bagged a bonus-tag bass, and some took an under. Trips are striper fishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, and <a href=" http://www.gamblerfishing.net/offshore-sea-bass.php" target="_blank">offshore sea bass trips</a> are slated for Dec. 17-30.

The <b>Norma-K III</b> will next blackfish on Friday, Capt. Matt wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. Weather kept trips docked Wednesday and today. On Tuesday’s trip, a few anglers pitched aboard the fish, and the angling was tough. A few of the slipperies were busted off “that I wish I (would) have seen,” he wrote. Blackfishing is sailing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

<b>Toms River</b>

News was slow today, but a few throwback striped bass were plugged from the surf at Lavallette during the day, said Jeff from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. Weather was rough since the easterly storm Tuesday, and news tapered since. But the surf generally still produced stripers, especially at Lavallette in past days. Previously, locations changed. Good catches were also reported from Seaside Park and Island Beach State Park at times then. Most surf anglers fished popper lures or swimming lures. A few dunked bait. No bluefish were reported from the surf in past days. That didn’t mean none was around. Boating for stripers had been good on the ocean, until weather prevented most of the trips this week. The fish were trolled, or if the boaters saw bunker, they snagged and then livelined the baitfish. Smaller stripers were played in Barnegat Bay near the Forked River power plant on small lures including poppers and swimmers like Bombers. Heard about blackfish? he was asked. Blackfish were still angled at Point Pleasant Canal, he knew. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

The surf was a little rough because of a swell, and fishing for striped bass was a little spotty there, said Ray from <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>. But the fish were still dragged in, mostly on sand eel imitations or bucktails. The keepers were just legal-sized or 28 to 32 inches. Boating for stripers on the ocean was better, when boaters last had the weather to sail. They mostly trolled the fish in deeper water. No bluefish were heard about in a couple of weeks. Many boaters began blackfishing on the ocean. Many friends pretty much limited out on the tautog at Axel Carlson Reef on every trip. Green crabs, eels and fresh bunker and clams are stocked.  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>Barnegat Light</b>

<b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b> is closing for the season today, and will reopen beginning April 1, Vince Sr. said. Striped bass fishing was good on the ocean through the weekend. Nothing was heard since, because of weather. Vince thanks customers and looks forward to seeing them next year. Bobbie’s features a complete bait and tackle shop, a fuel dock and boat and kayak rentals. The shop is known for bait supply, including live baits in season.

<b>Mystic Island</b>

One boater who fished for striped bass Sunday on the ocean called the angling “stupid fishing,” said Scott from <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>. The trip landed 15 of the bass including a double-header. A customer who sailed for the fish Monday said the angling was similar. The fishing was phenomenal near the shop. That was all on the troll, mostly on Mojos, but 9er umbrella rigs reportedly began to catch just as well. Customers sail from Little Egg Inlet, and finding a couple of birds working the water was key. No particular spot was, but bring binoculars to locate birds if possible. The bass weighed at the store were up to 34 or 35 pounds. Weather was rough after Monday, and news was scarce.  Nobody reported blackfishing or sea bass fishing recently. Nobody mentioned white perch fishing on Mullica River or tributaries. But bloodworms are stocked for bait for them. Scott did no netting for grass shrimp, also bait for them, lately. Fresh, shucked clams, eels and green crabs are carried. Scott will decide whether to order fresh bunker to be stocked Friday. The shop will be open until 1 p.m. Dec. 24 and will be closed for a winter break afterward.

<b>Absecon</b>

Many striped bass schooled the ocean Sunday, but many were beyond 3 miles from shore, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. Striper fishing is closed beyond 3 miles, but a charter he ran that day decked a 27-pounder and a 15-pounder in legal waters on livelined spots. On a charter with him Monday, striper fishing was definitely slower on the ocean. Dogfish kept biting the livelined spots, so the trip trolled a couple of 32-inch stripers. Seas and weather were rough Tuesday, and Dave on Wednesday was at a tackle show in Atlantic City, wasn’t at the shop. He heard no news from the day. This morning, when he gave this report in a phone call at the store, he was waiting for reports to roll in. Today looked like weather he should’ve boated. Almost nothing was heard about stripers from the bay and Absecon Inlet lately. Schoolie stripers reportedly foraged on herring in the ocean to the north. When those migrate south to the local area, maybe they’ll show up in the inlet and bay. Not a lot of effort was put into blackfishing. But some of the tautog remained along bridges and jetties. Water was warm enough. Many undersized swam, so anglers needed to figure they’d work through a bunch to land keepers. Not much was heard about white perch from brackish rivers. The supplier of bloodworms, bait for the perch, seemed finished providing them for the year. Dave might try to net grass shrimp for perch bait if there’s demand. Live spots, eels and green crabs are stocked. The store will be open at least until New Year’s. Weather’s been mild, though mid-December is approaching. Mornings hardly dipped into freezing temperatures so far.

<b>Brigantine</b>

Boating for striped bass had nailed the fish near the 3-mile line on the ocean, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. Little was heard in past days because of weather, but the fish should still be there. Up to 26- or 28-pounders were weighed-in Monday. Striper fishing is closed beyond 3 miles from shore.  Surf fishing was slow. A bunch of sales are underway for holiday gifts. Buy a gift certificate for the holidays worth 10 percent extra. <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/CaptAndy911/videos/10153846649886627/
" target="_blank">Stock’s pound cakes</a> from Philadelphia’s Stock’s Bakery are on hand. Brigantine just approved Riptide’s Fall Striper Derby’s permits to be valid for beach-buggying the town’s entire front beach through winter until March 1. The $25 entry for the derby, a surf-fishing tournament for stripers and blues in the town, concluding Dec. 23, includes a permit to drive the entire beach, when accompanied by a Brigantine beach-buggy permit. Without the derby permit, not the entire beach can be driven. Previously, the derby permits were valid for less time. 

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Anglers on foot clutched blackfish from Absecon Inlet on green crabs, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Sometimes they pulled in small striped bass from the nearby, jetty-lined inlet on fresh bunker, fresh clams or eels. But weather wasn’t conducive to much fishing to produce bigger in past days. The striper migration in the ocean was arriving from the north. The <b>One Stop Fishing for Toys Striper Tournament</b> will be held Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17 and 18. To enter, donate a toy at the shop for the Police Athletic League. Prizes will be $250 for first place, $150 for second and $100 for third for the heaviest stripers. A bunch of toys were already donated. Somebody also donated 10 fishing rods to give to kids. All baits mentioned and more, the full supply, are stocked.  Sign a <a href="http://acprimetime.com/atlantic-city-fishing-petition-jetty-access/" target="_blank">petition</a> for anglers to protest the government’s potential closing of fishing the jetties along the inlet. Click the link to read about that. The government 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>

Before weather kept most from boating, striped bass were checked in from the ocean off Brigantine, Atlantic City and Ocean City, said Austin from <b>24-7 Bait & Tackle</b>. A handful of bluefish were mixed in during mid to late November. Nothing was heard about blackfish. Live spots, eels and green crabs and fresh bunker and clams are stocked. <b>The company also owns 24-7 Bait & Tackle in Marmora</b>.

<b>Longport</b>

Sailing for blackfish couldn’t get out of the inlet, said Capt. Mike from the <b>Stray Cat</b>. The bar held 6-foot rollers, but the angling, on the ocean, will resume Friday through Sunday on open-boat trips. Sunday is almost sold out, and open trips, running every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Sunday, will only fish for striped bass if the bass pop up off the boat. Otherwise, the trips are blackfishing.

<b>Ocean City</b>

The back bay’s blackfishing slowed much, but some were still angled, said Justin from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. They were picked up along 9th Street Bridge and the Ocean City to Longport Bridge. Striped bass still bit in the back bay, mostly at night. A ton caught were heard about from nighttime along piers and the Parkway Bridge, mostly on soft-plastic lures. A few boaters eeled the fish. Striper catches during daytime were few and far between on the bay, but some were hooked on bait like eels or bunker chunks. The surf was rough, and nothing was reported from there. Previously, practically no stripers were beached from the surf. There was no bait in the water. A few boaters trolled for stripers on the ocean today, but no catches were reported. Blitzes were heard about from off Island Beach State Park, farther north, today. Previously, a few stripers were boated locally on the ocean, but the fishing was unusual. Boaters would fish at birds working bait, finding no stripers. They’d randomly troll where none of that action was seen, and sometimes hook stripers. Three stripers including a 36-pounder and a bluefish were weighed at the store Monday that were trolled on the ocean off Sea Isle City on umbrella rigs. Lots of stripers reportedly schooled 10 miles from shore, but the fishing is closed beyond 3 miles from the coast.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Fishing will next sail during the weekend aboard, for striped bass on the ocean, said Capt. Joe from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. The migration seemed to be pushing a little farther south, a little closer to home. Trolling for the fish still boated good catches. Annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys will begin at Christmas, fishing through winter. See the <a href=" http://www.captainjoehughes.com/page3.html" target="_blank">traveling charters’ page</a> on Jersey Cape’s website.  Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

<b>***Update, Friday, 12/9:***</b> Weather was calmer yesterday, and good striped bass reports rolled in from ocean boaters, said Mike from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Most of the bass seemed to be trolled on Mojos and bunker spoons, especially a combo of the two, like the one from Tony Maja. Sometimes when the fish were piled up lately, boaters jigged them or hooked the stripers on bunker snagged and then livelined. But the stripers were usually spread out, so trolling caught them, covering more water. Nothing was heard about surf fishing, but not much was heard about anybody doing the fishing. Nothing was heard about the back bay for the same reason. Blackfishing was slowing down for shore anglers at Townsend’s Inlet, but some of the tautog were still there. Boaters tied into fairly good blackfishing inshore or 10 miles or closer to the coast, like at Ocean City Reef. Nobody was known to fish for them farther out. A trip would anchor at one spot and hook none, and anchor at another and whale a few keepers. “Pinpoint accuracy was the name of the game,” he said. Live spots, eels, green crabs and white crabs are stocked. Fresh bunker and clams are carried when available. The shop is filled to the gills in bait.

<b>Cape May</b>

Seas were 8 to 10 feet, but Andy Gallagher’s charter bagged eight striped bass and lost a couple on trolled Mojos on the ocean Wednesday aboard, said Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>. Seas diminished to 5 to 6 feet by the time the trip headed back to port. Brian Hill’s charter Monday bagged six stripers and lost one on the troll on the ocean on the boat. The ocean held a 3-foot swell that day, not bad.

<b>Caveman Sportfishing</b> was supposed to sail for striped bass today on the ocean, Capt. John said before the trip. A charter Monday boxed five of the bass off Ocean City aboard. Another on Sunday landed a few at the same spot. The fishing was a little better Monday in less boat traffic. Most stripers schooled beyond 3 miles from shore, where fishing for them is closed. Not much was doing with boating for stripers off Cape May in legal waters yet. Most catches there were made farther north.

On the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, blackfishing last sailed Sunday and Monday, Capt. Paul said. Either weather was too rough or too few anglers wanted to fish on other days. On Sunday’s trip, some anglers bagged a few, and some didn’t. Kevin Moran from Cinnaminson that day bagged five of the tautog to a 6-pounder, winning the pool with the fish. Some anglers bagged four or five apiece, and Paul knew about none who limited out on the trip. On Monday’s trip, not a lot of the fish bit, but some sizable were hooked, including three that weighed 8 to 9 pounds. Bob Key from Lancaster on the trip limited out on blackfish to an 8-pounder. Another angler won the pool with a larger. So the fishing was spotty lately. Then again, not many trips sailed to find out. Blackfish reportedly no longer bit along jetties. They seemed to depart for deeper, warmer water for the season. Trips are slated to blackfish at 8 a.m. daily.

Boaters trolled striped bass on the ocean, said Joe from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. Nothing was heard about striper fishing on Delaware Bay, and customers would’ve stopped in this morning to buy fresh bunker for bait for the angling, if there was a bite, he figured. But customers were scarce in weather today, and just two customers had stopped in by 9:30 a.m., when he gave this report in a phone call. One bought Mojos, and the other bought green crabs for blackfishing. That customer had been scoring well on the tautog at Cape May Reef, including boating some big to 10 pounds, and was headed back out for the fish, after wind cancelled trips in past days. Nothing was heard about surf fishing. Today was the first day Joe was back at the shop, after deer hunting the rest of the week. So he heard little about fishing. Fresh bunker, fresh clams and green crabs are stocked.

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