Sat., Nov. 17, 2018
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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing report 1-5-17


A trip blackfished on New Year’s Day with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b> with a big crowd, “and everyone (got) what they came for,” an email from Down Deep said. Weather was calm that day, and trips aboard afterward were canceled because of forecasts. Those who Down Deep knew about who sailed in the forecasts found slow blackfishing in a big swell. But the angling’s been strong with Down Deep. The crew expects to keep fishing through the month. Springtime striped bass trips will begin in April, if not sooner. Crew trips will test the angling first. Open-boat trips run daily for all this fishing, and charters are available. Striper fishing this past year aboard nailed two that weighed more than 50 pounds apiece, “with plenty 40-49 lbs.,” the email said. Trips next year will also include fluking and mixed-bag bottom-fishing. The crew thanks anglers who sailed aboard this past year, and wishes everybody a Happy, Healthy New Year.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Some are still blackfishing, but most boats have been pulled from the water for winter, said Joe from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. A few party boats are sailing for the tautog, and green crabs are stocked for the angling. A customer yesterday said he whaled striped bass on trolled spoons and Mojos, saying the fish would bite nearly anything. He brought in a rod he said a bluefish busted.


Mackerel fishing will kick off Friday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b> on trips 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, an email from the party boat said. “There are reports of mackerel in the area and we are excited to get the 2017 season started!” it said. <b>***Update, Saturday, 1/7:***</b> Anglers picked at small to medium mackerel, some large mixed in, on Friday on the first trip for the fish aboard, an email from the boat said. “We had some nice long drifts and some patrons had a couple dozen at the end of the day,” it said.

Trips for mackerel and herring will sail at 7:30 a.m. Friday through Sunday on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, weather permitting, a report said on the party boat’s website. Those will be the season’s first trips for the fish aboard.

The <b>Big Mohawk</b> was blackfishing today, “and the bite is on!” the party boat’s Facebook page said during the trip. Good fishing, it said, and Friday’s trip is a go. There might be a little snow in the morning, but don’t let that discourage you, it said. Previously, Monday’s trip was the most recent, and the daily trips for blackfish were weathered out afterward until today. Wind blew toward the end of Monday’s trip, and the fishing was slow. Some of the tautog were hung at every place fished, but the angling never became good, though the captain expected good catches. Trips are blackfishing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Fishing is probably finished for the season on the <b>Katie H</b>, Capt. Mike said. Weather was closing in, and the boat usually begins fishing again in mid-April to May. Bottom-fishing could sail first, but striped bass trips are the main fishing that begins the boat’s charters each year. That starts when the striper migration arrives in the local ocean, usually in May. The boat usually undergoes maintenance and enhancements until spring.

Most customers boated for blackfish on the ocean, said Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b>. But quite a few small striped bass were beached from the surf. The fish came from Mantoloking and Bay Head, but a friend fly-rodded them today at Sea Girt. So the bass seemed spread up and down the coast, not just at particular towns. Small plugs hooked them, like small Mambo Minnows, Bombers and Daiwa SP Minnows. The small Yo-Zuri Mag Darters caught well, and so did flies. The stripers were around, and the fishing was just a matter of whether anglers wanted to fish in the weather. Many anglers took advantage of sundials and herring that bit in Shark River. Winter flounder season closed beginning Sunday, and the flatfish were bagged from the river previously. Some of Belmar’s party boats were going to begin mackerel fishing today, but canceled because of weather. Anglers hope for a good mackerel migration. The shop is open 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends, weather permitting.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Trips targeted blackfish the past few days, and the fishing was good on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. The angling had been slow. But now some of the anglers limited out, and some of the fish were sizable, including an 11-pounder on Tuesday. An 8- or 9-pounder won the pool Wednesday. Some anglers limited both when the bag limit became four beginning Sunday and was six previously. Trips fished in 60 to 90 feet of water, and the ocean surface was probably 48 degrees there. When the boat fished deeper, not much bit. A few mackerel began to show up, and if the migration picks up, trips will probably fish for mackerel part of the day, in the beginning of the outing, and bottom-fish the rest of the trip. A couple of trips were weathered out, but quite a few trips fished. The Dauntless is bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

The <b>Gambler</b> will fish for striped bass on the ocean 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Trips aboard fished overnight for sea bass offshore, until sea bass season was closed beginning Sunday. That angling was great. <b>***Update, Saturday, 1/7:***</b> No striped bass bit on Friday’s trip, but some mackerel were swung in, the boat’s Facebook page said. Today’s trip was expected to search new places for stripers, and if none was found by noontime, the trip was expected to fish for mackerel.

Blackfish catches, lots, were spread around the boat Wednesday on the party boat <b>Norma-K III</b> on the ocean, very good fishing, a report said on the vessel’s website. The pool-winner weighed 8 pounds, and “(it was) nice to see the bites around the boat instead of just (in) one area of the boat,” it said. The fish bit both green crabs and white crabs that day, and both are carried aboard. Weather looked great today through the weekend for the daily trips, sailing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Tuesday’s trip was weathered out. On Monday’s trip weather began calm but deteriorated. “We did see a little more life (that day) than previous days,” it said. A few anglers limited out, and anglers needed to work for the fish, casting around and “feeling for the right spot.” A 6-pound blackfish won the pool. No trip fished on Sunday, New Year’s Day, apparently, because no report was posted for the day.  Trips fished Friday and Saturday, despite strong wind, and the blackfishing wasn’t up to par, picking some of the catches.  


Anglers got through the holidays, and not much happened with fishing afterward yet, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. White perch could surely be fished for on brackish rivers like the Mullica. That’s a fishery that anglers take advantage of in winter, and weather is supposed to become colder this weekend, but ice-fishing for the perch seemed a long ways off this season. Anglers ice-fish for the perch at places like Collins Cove on the Mullica during winters when the water freezes thick enough. Otherwise, they boat for the fish or cast from shore for them. Collins is a cove just upstream from Garden State Parkway where perch gather, escaping the river’s main flow. No perch bait like grass shrimp is carried yet. If the shrimp become in demand, Dave will try to net them to stock.  The store is open for no set hours, but Dave is usually there. Call ahead and confirm. A <a href="
" target="_blank">meeting</a> will be held at 6:30 p.m. today at the Galloway library where anglers are invited to voice opinions about the proposed drastic cut in the summer flounder bag limit this coming year. Click the link for info, and attend the meeting.


Open-boat blackfishing was weathered out on the <b>Stray Cat</b> in past days, and bitter cold looks like none of trips will fish this weekend, Capt. Mike said. But the trips will resume as soon as the weather breaks, maybe beginning Monday or Tuesday. The trips are fishing on every day when weather’s fit. The fishing aboard last pushed farther from shore than before to 90-foot depths on the ocean. The catch included a couple of hefty blackfish 9 ½ pounds, and the water was 43 to 44 degrees. Mike would like to continue the trips through mid-January at least. Crabs for bait can be scarce this time of year, but plenty were in Mike’s pots, currently enough for three or four trips.  

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Father and son Rich and Shane Duffy fished last Thursday on one of the 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>. Shane released a 50-pound lemon shark on the flats. Catches on the trip also included cero mackerel, mangrove snappers, jacks, lookdowns and a bunch of species. A big barracuda was also jumped. They also fished aboard the previous day, and Shane smashed a grand slam: a tarpon, a permit and a bonefish, covered in the last report here. Fishing was off to a good start on the traveling charters, fishing each winter with Joe. Fishing for tarpon and permit was exceptional this year so far, and Joe hopes all this angling continues. He fished with his wife in the Keys on Friday evening, and they slammed tarpon. They released four, jumped three and broke off two. That’s about as good as tarpon fishing gets. Joe fishes for tarpon a variety of ways, but these trips targeted them with live shrimp on jigs swung across channels. Most of the hook-ups came while blind-casting and bouncing the jigs along bottom. Sometimes tarpon are seen rolling along flats. They “betray their presence,” Joe said. Tarpon can also be found in the Everglades, and the trips fish from the Everglades to the bay to the ocean side.  See the <a href="" target="_blank">traveling charters’ page</a> on Jersey Cape’s website.  Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.


<b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> is waterfowling, and four hunters from Pittsburg will jump aboard Friday and Saturday, Capt. Jim said. Fishing aboard was wrapped up for the season, and the hunters on those days will probably hunt along the Intracoastal Waterway and Delaware Bay in New Jersey. Forecasts for wind to 30 knots will prevent hunting on the ocean for sea ducks then from Jersey. On the Intracoastal and Delaware Bay, they’ll target brant, black ducks, mergansers and buffleheads. One hunter joined Jim for a Canadian geese hunt in Pennsylvania on Tuesday in the rain, limiting out. Was a good hunt. Next week Jim is supposed to host four hunters from South Carolina for waterfowling three days. Waterfowling with Fins hunts in New Jersey and nearby states, wherever the migration’s best. Duck season’s winding down, and trips will hunt snow geese in February and March, including in New Jersey. Lock in dates now. Fins offers a variety of outdoor adventures, including saltwater fishing and waterfowling. Visit the company’s booth at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pa., known as the Harrisburg show, from Feb. 4-12. This will be Jim’s fifth year of exhibiting there.

<b>Cape May</b>

Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> was supposed to sail for sea bass on a friend’s boat Saturday, the final day of sea bass season, he said. But strong wind weathered out the trip. The Heavy Hitter is dry-docked for winter, but George has been fishing on friends’ boats, and might still run for blackfish with them. Weather looks rough for that this weekend, but he’d see. A friend’s been blackfishing, scoring well, including on Saturday. His trips fished not far from shore, at a reef. The friend was supposed to go again yesterday morning, and George was yet to hear results. Another angler was known about who sailed for blackfish at a reef Saturday, and seas were brutal in the wind. The angler went again Monday, and only dogfish bit.

Blackfishing sailed Saturday and Sunday on the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, Capt. Paul said. Strong wind blew and seas were rough on Saturday’s trip, but some of the tautog were bagged. Paul’s brother Dave limited out on six of the fish, and a few anglers boxed five apiece. On Sunday’s trip, weather was calm, and the limit dropped to four blackfish per angler. Some of the of the anglers limited out, including Leaming Ewing from Cape May Court House, who also won the trip’s pool with an 8-pounder. Bud Callahan and Don Mark, both from Philly, and Ken Minett from Mays Landing also limited on the outing. Trips are blackfishing at 8 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Weather’s forecast to be cold this weekend, but four anglers already said they wanted to fish aboard.

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