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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 1-16-17

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/19:***</b> Party boat trips are still blackfishing from the marina, said Tom from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. That was about all the fishing happening, and the trips picked the tautog. Baits stocked include white crabs for blackfishing, and the shop is open 6 to 11 a.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. to about 2 or 3 p.m. on weekends. The store is the sister shop to Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, and the Belmar location is open during those hours, too. Party boat trips are blackfishing from the marina at the Belmar store, too. Fisherman’s Den North is located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina.

<b>Highlands</b>

An open-boat trip scored a pick of keeper blackfish Saturday with <b>Lady M Charters</b>, Capt. Steve wrote in a text message. A fair number of throwbacks also bit, and that was the season’s final fishing aboard. Charters and open-boat trips will resume fishing in spring, and charters are booking for the coming fishing season.

<b>Neptune</b>

Trips blackfished a couple of days per week on the ocean, copping fair to good catches, said Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>. If anglers want to go, just call him, he said.

<b>Belmar</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/19:***</b> The <b>Golden Eagle</b> will sail for mackerel and herring at 7:30 a.m. Friday through Sunday, the party boat’s website said. The trips might also fish for cod, ling and blackfish, and weather looks excellent.

A bunch of customers limited out on blackfish Sunday on the <b>Big Mohawk</b>, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Decent-sized were mixed in, and the angling was better than previously. “More bites,” it said, and the fishing was “a bit sluggish” on Saturday’s trip. This was coming off the full moon, and the captain thought the angling might pick up afterward, and it did. He hoped the catches kept improving like on Sunday. White crabs caught best that day, and green crabs are provided, and whites were going to be available for sale aboard today. “We will have white leggers on board 7 a.m. (today),” it said. When whites are carried, they’re less expensive on the boat than at stores, the captain has said in the past. Trips are blackfishing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

No fishing sailed recently with <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Pete said, and he’s been very selective about weather. Blackfishing seemed picky, typical for January, and a few cod were mixed in. Mackerel had been boated but disappeared lately. Spring striped bass trips are being booked and are filling. Pete is supposed to give a seminar on bucktailing for big fluke at the New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo on Feb. 16-19 in Edison. Catch Parker Pete’s exhibit at the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow on Feb. 23-26 in Oaks, Pa.  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.

The following was posted as an update in the last report here and is being posted again in case anybody missed it: No mackerel trips, scheduled to fish daily, sailed this past week on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email from the party boat said. That was because of weather and because none of the fish was around. “Unfortunately, there are no mackerel to catch right now,” it said. Fishing aboard might be docked until spring, but the crew will give an update if that changes. The boat last fished on Jan. 6, two Fridays ago. That was the season’s first mackerel trip aboard, and customers picked at small to medium, and some large were mixed in. “We had some nice long drifts and some patrons had a couple dozen at the end of the day,” it said. Trips were weathered out afterward, until weather improved late last week. That was when the email from the boat said mackerel were no longer around.

<b>Brielle</b>

A handful of cod and some limits of blackfish were bagged Saturday on the <b>Jamaica II</b>, the party boat’s Facebook page said. A 9.9-pound blackfish won the pool, and a couple of more of the tog weighed almost that much. A small crowd jumped aboard the trip, weather was beautiful and the ocean was flat-calm. That was the only report posted recently, but the page said weather looked great for trips yesterday and today.  Fishing was weathered out previously aboard last week. Twelve- and 14-hour trips are sailing for cod, ling and blackfish.

Boating for blackfish was decent, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. Not many blackfish caught that were especially large were heard about, but the fish were quality-sized, and sometimes anglers limited out, and sometimes some limited and released additional. Mostly wrecks in deeper water 80 to 180 feet or 17 fathoms gave them up. Bait on rigs hooked them, and sometimes jigs scored them okay. Other wreck fishing at mid-range was mostly quiet, picking a few ling, maybe a couple of porgies, not many cod. Herring sometimes appeared in Manasquan Inlet and were jigged on Sabiki rigs. The tops of incoming tides seemed the time. Anglers who wanted a fishing fix this time of year also hit ponds along the coast, like Spring Lake, Lake Como and Sylvan Lake, landing panfish like perch and crappies, often on small, 1/32-ounce jigs with twister tails under bobbers. Anything new at the shop? Eric was asked. The outdoor clothing selection is being expanded, he said. The Reel Seat is open Thursdays through Sundays.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/19:***</b> Bottom-fishing was a little slow on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. Mostly blackfish were swung in. So were a couple of cod and a couple of pollock. Trips fished mostly in 100- to 170-foot depths, and the ocean was 48 to 50 degrees on the fishing grounds. That wasn’t so cold, and bottom-fishing should still be good. He’d thought the angling would bounce back after the full moon in the middle of the month. Conditions were perfect for blackfishing, but the angling was a little slow. Sometimes a few anglers would limit out on four apiece. But on a couple of trips, blackfishing was particularly slow. Butch tried ling fishing on trips sometimes, but not many bit the last two times. But he hopes that changes. The trips fished every day this week except Tuesday, and the boat is slated to bottom-fish 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Anglers who cast around, were patient and waited for the right bite did catch some blackfish Friday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. “Few did struggle,” it said, and there were lots of swings and misses. Anglers who connected reeled in throwbacks and keepers, and an 8-pound blackfish won the pool. The fishing was similar to blackfishing on the previous few trips. “Life was better (on Friday), though,” it said. Sometimes wind and rough seas made feeling bites difficult on the previous trips. Weather was beautiful on the water on Friday’s trip. Both white crabs and green crabs caught that day, and both have been carried aboard. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Thursday, 1/19:***</b> Trips Saturday and Sunday fished deeper water, and did catch some bigger blackfish, “(but) we could have used a lot more (blackfish bagged),” a report said on the boat’s website. Pool-winners weighed 7 to 8 pounds, and seas were calm. Tuesday was the only other report posted on the site. Weather was good that day, “but nobody wanted to (fish),” it said. Forecasts looked good for the trips the rest of the week.

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/19:***</b> Fishing was wrapped up for the season on the <b>Gambler</b>, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Look for Capt. Bob Bogan to give fluke seminars at the New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo on Feb. 16-19 in Edison and the Saltwater Fishing Expo from March 17-19 in Somerset.

<b>Absecon</b>

Whenever weather was calm, anglers telephoned occasionally, asking if green crabs were stocked for blackfishing, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. But the crabs are no longer stocked this season. He doubted that blackfish bit close to shore, after the couple of cold snaps this season. Reports said the water was becoming cold, so trips probably needed to head farther off and fish deeper water. White perch could be found on brackish rivers. Anglers probably fished grass shrimp for them. The store is carrying no bait like that. During some winters when demand picks up, Dave nets the shrimp to stock. The store is open for no set hours, but Dave is usually there. Telephone ahead to confirm.

<b>Longport</b>

Blackfishing slowed considerably but picked away on trips Saturday and Sunday on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. Ten- to 11-pounders won the pools each day, and the angling was a little slower on Sunday than on Saturday. On Sunday’s trip, the fish bit in the morning but not in the afternoon. The trips fished in 90 feet of water, and for today’s trip, Mike expected to fish the same depth but farther from shore. The ocean on the trips was 43.6 degrees or almost 44, still a good temperature for blackfishing. Just the fish this time of year tend to “nest” a little more. The trips went through quite a few crab baits. There were lots of “swings.” Open-boat trips are blackfishing on every day when weather’s fit. After today, forecasts looked like the next of the trips will fish Thursday and Friday. Mike will try to fish through Sunday and then determine how to proceed. <b>***Update, Thursday, 1/19:***</b> An open-boat trip will blackfish today aboard, Mike said, and he hopes to run more of the trips Friday through Sunday. Today’s trip was full and was the first that was going to fish this week on the boat. Mike’s got plenty of green crabs, 2 ½ or 3 bushels, for the fishing. He’s got no white crabs, but knows a tackle shop in Sea Isle City that has a few. When Mike’s crabs run out, his trips will end for the season. He expects to fire the boat back up in March, like around St. Patrick’s Day, and look for cod and pollock on open trips, until blackfishing again when blackfish season reopens on April 1. Blackfishing is closed in March.

<b>Ocean City</b>

Anglers looked for green crabs to fish for blackfish on the ocean, but no local shops carried the crabs this time of year, said Justin from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. No blackfish trips were heard about, and no fishing was. The surf was dead. The bay was frozen early last week. Fin-Atics is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Mike Spaeder and son this weekend fished on traveling charters to the Florida Keys aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. On Saturday they nailed jacks, mangrove snappers and a 17-pound permit. That was Mike’s first permit, and on Sunday the anglers beat jacks, mangroves, mutton snappers and a shark, and jumped a tarpon. The plan was to do more sight-fishing that day for sharks and tarpon, but clouds and wind made that difficult. Still, the trips caught a ton of fish, and fishing for permit and tarpon has been good aboard this season, so far, like it was last year. The trips fish the Keys each winter, mostly on weekends, until Easter, before Joe turns all attention back on fishing from Sea Isle City, after the holiday.  The Florida trips can be a mini vacation, and can target a large variety of catches from jacks to sailfish. That’s from the Everglades to the bay to the ocean side. No matter the weather or wind direction, there’s practically always a place to fish. 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>Cape May</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/19:***</b> On the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, blackfishing was picky Saturday and Sunday, Capt. Paul said. Some customers picked and some didn’t, and no great number of the fish was hooked, but some sizable were. Tim Blacksom from Alloway smashed an 18-pound 11-ouncer on Sunday’s trip. That might be the biggest blackfish reported on this website this season. Two trips will sail for blackfish at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Crabs for bait are becoming scarce, and if crabs run out on Saturday’s trip, that might be the final trip for the season. Paul’s currently got green crabs but no white crabs. The supplier provided crabs that were supposed to be whites, but aren’t. If anglers must have white crabs, they better fish on another boat, Paul admitted.

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