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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 10-12-17

<b>Sewaren</b>

New York Harbor held some good catches of sizable striped bass, said Tim from <b>Dockside Bait & Tackle</b>. A customer eeled a 33-pounder Saturday, and the biggest seemed to be eeled. Some were bunker-chunked, and trolling, like with Mojos, seemed to hook none. Stripers were eeled on East River at Hell’s Gate. Throwback stripers, cocktail blues and porgies nibbled in the Arthur Kill. Blues and small stripers were cranked from the Perth Amboy Pier. Bunker chunks were often fished there. Bait stocked includes eels, fresh bunker daily, sandworms, bloodworms, green crabs, nightcrawlers and trout worms. Dockside, located on Smith Creek, a tributary of the Arthur Kill, is accessible from land and water at the fuel dock. The fuel dock is open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

<b>Keyport</b>

Boom. Striped bass are in, Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> wrote in an email. “The fall run for striped bass has started off in a big way,” he wrote. An excellent catch of stripers to a 35-pounder was slugged yesterday aboard. The boat limited out on large, and released plenty of additional. Great fishing, and now’s the time to jump aboard. Game on! Big bluefish were also mixed in. Charters are fishing, and the next open-boat trips will sail next week on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. A charter is available that Saturday, Oct. 19, and that Sunday is available for charter or open-boat. Telephone to reserve.

Open-boat trips for striped bass and blues will fish daily beginning this weekend aboard, said Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>. Plenty of blues and not many stripers had been around. Mario had the feeling striper fishing would break open now. On Down Deep’s other boat, porgy fishing was fantastic. Lots of fish. All big. And open trips are fishing for them daily. Charters are available for up to 15 passengers. Book sea bass or blackfish charters for later this season. Sign up for the Short Notice List on <a href="http://downdeepsportfishing.com" target="_blank">Down Deep’s website</a> to be kept informed about special open trips.

<b>Leonardo</b>

Capt. Joe from <b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b> knew about nobody who sailed for fish in the rough weather, he said. But he’ll resume fishing this weekend, expecting to catch blackfish and porgies. They should bite, like before aboard, unless the weather stirred up bottom too much. He likes to target the blackfish first, and limit out on one per angler. Some anglers prefer to keep fishing for them afterward, playing catch and release. But he also likes to fish for porgies afterward to put up fillets of the tasty fish. That depends on angler preference, and some anglers specifically want porgies. Some specifically want blackfish, for that matter.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

The twice-daily porgy trips were weathered out Monday and Wednesday on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. But Tuesday’s trips fished, and when trips are getting out, the angling’s good, really holding up. This has been a better year for the fishing, and the porgies are still close to shore. Tom didn’t know if weather or something else was the reason, but they usually pull farther out by now. Today’s trips would be canceled because of forecasts for wind gusting to 30 knots. Wind is supposed to diminish Friday, and anglers can telephone this evening to confirm whether Friday’s trips will have the weather to sail. Trips are fishing for porgies 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.

Big porgies! a report said about Tuesday aboard on the party <b>Fishermen</b>’s website. Excellent fishing for the biggest of the season that day on the vessel, and one drop was all it took.  The biggest porgies, up to 4 ½ pounds (!), were hooked on Ava 17 jigs, and all anglers left with large bags of fillets. Blowfish, winter flounder, blues and out-of-season fluke and sea bass were mixed in. The boat is fishing for porgies 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

A few more striped bass were bonked than before, and more were keepers than previously, said Tom from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. Some 20- or 24-pounders came from near the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Cocktail bluefish schooled Raritan Bay. Stripers, lots of shorts, but a few keepers were tabbed at Highlands Bridge on Shrewsbury River and Oceanic Bridge on Navesink River. A few stripers, mostly throwbacks, began to be banked from the surf. Good catches of porgies and blackfish were boated. One is the blackfish bag limit, but the tautog are getting caught.

Wind kept anglers from fishing, said Jay from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. But striped bass were eeled and wormed from the river. A couple of boaters fly-rodded rat stripers from Sandy Hook Bay the other day. But boaters weren’t getting out in the wind. Surf casters hooked tiny stripers, like the size of mullet. They beached cocktail blues and, the other day, false albacore. So false albacore were still around. Lots of porgies and plenty of blackfish hit for boaters. But again, boaters weren’t getting out much. No customers really crabbed anymore. Kids were back to school, and people were on to other things for the season.

<b>Highlands</b>

Making the run from <b>Twin Lights Marina</b>, Greg Hanna on the Annie H boated loads of porgies, blues and false albacore -- all three -- between the channels off Sandy Hook Point on Friday, Marion wrote in an email. T.R. Dempsey wrestled a mess of albies at Shrewsbury Rocks on Saturday.  Twin Lights, located on Shrewsbury River near Raritan Bay and the ocean, with no bridges before them, includes a marina with boat slips, dry storage, a fuel dock, and a combined bait-and-tackle shop and ship’s store. The fuel dock is available 24 hours a day with a credit card.

<b>Neptune</b>

An individual-reservation trip for cod steamed Tuesday with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. Weather was great, the best all week, and a couple of big cod were boxed. But giant porgies, lots, made up most of the catch. Some ling and a white hake were iced, and many out-of-season sea bass were released. Lots of fish were angled. Spaces are available for individual-reservation trips for sea bass Oct. 24 and Nov. 4 and blackfish Nov. 16, when the bag limit will be increased to six of the tautog, from the current limit of one.

<b>Belmar</b>

Capt. Mike from <b>Celtic Stoirm Charters</b> heard about striped bass from New York Harbor or the back of Raritan Bay, but none locally yet. “They’re coming,” he said, and charters for stripers, sea bass and blackfish are booking for later this season. Any striper reports locally were like a 20-incher he heard about from the surf at Point Pleasant Beach. Weather’s mostly been rough, and few anglers were around at Belmar. Fish that could be targeted included porgies on the ocean. So could false albacore and bonito at the Mudhole.

A mate from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> smashed a 12-pound blackfish on a crew trip for the tautog on the ocean, Capt. Pete said. Blackfish charters don’t really sail aboard until Nov. 16, when the bag limit is hiked to six, from the current limit of one. He’s waiting for striped bass charters that fish aboard once the migration schools south to the local ocean. That’ll be the next fishing aboard, and soon. Currently, stripers bit farther north, “deep” in Raritan Bay or around Hudson River, and also farther north off Long Island or Montauk. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s about individual spaces with charters who want more anglers. Sign up for the email list on <a href=" http://www.parkerpetefishing.com/" target="_blank">Parker Pete’s website</a> to be kept informed about the spaces.

Six yellowfin tuna 70 to 90 pounds were bagged and a half-dozen were lost on a trip Sunday to Monday on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. Weather wasn’t so bad, despite a dire forecast. The year’s final tuna trip aboard will sail this coming Sunday to Monday, and space is available. Reservations are required. The vessel resumed inshore trips Tuesday, banging away at 2- to 10-poound blues and some false albacore and bonito, decent fishing on the trip. Some anglers limited out on blues, and all anglers caught fish. On Wednesday, a good catch of blues 2 to 8 pounds and some bonito, albies, a Spanish mackerel and some porgies were picked up. No trips would fish today and Friday because of wind, but weather looks good for Saturday and Sunday. Trips are fishing for bluefish, bonito and false albacore 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, except if the tuna trip gets the weather to sail. Then the inshore trip won’t sail this Monday. Also, a private group booked the boat this Saturday, so no open-boat trip will fish that day.

On the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, Sunday’s trip whipped bluefish to 10 pounds on a couple of drifts, until wind blew up, and the boat had to be anchored, an email from the party boat said. The second half of the trip fished slowly. Monday’s trip was weathered out. Just a few anglers joined Tuesday’s trip, and fishing began slowly but ended up great for 3- to 4-pound blues. On Wednesday’s trip, numerous anglers limited out on blues, mostly 2- to 4-pounders but some bigger, up to 14 pounds, and all customers had a great time! the email said. The fishing began slowly but kept improving, becoming good. Today’s trip was canceled because of wind. Weather looked good for Friday and the weekend, and trips are sailing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

A small crowd showed up, but a trip motored out for porgies Tuesday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. The fish bit well, and trips are sailing for porgies and blackfish 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and for bluefish 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.

Lots and lots of porgies were shoveled aboard the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. Very good fishing, and more blackfish began to be mixed in than before. Not good blackfishing yet, but 12 to 20 keepers a day, and quite a few throwbacks. One customer yesterday landed eight legal-sized blackfish and seven throwbacks, keeping no more than a limit of one. Six will become the limit beginning Nov. 16. A few bluefish, bonito and false albacore were also angled on trips. Lots of out-of-season sea bass were released, and Butch hopes no severe weather chases sea bass offshore soon, because sea bass season opens Oct. 22. Trips fished in 40 to 60 feet of water, and the ocean on the fishing grounds was 68 degrees, still warm. Fish caught felt warm. The porgies should stick around to Thanksgiving, he thinks. A good, old-fashioned porgy season, he said. Trips are fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

<b>Toms River</b>

Surf fishing was quiet, said Mario from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. Sometimes blues or throwback striped bass were beached, “but nothing to talk about,” he said. Larger blues were fought from Barnegat Bay on chunks of bunker or mullet. A 13-pounder and a 7-pounder were checked-in. Throwback stripers were played on the bay at night on small lures “if you’re moving,” he said. Anglers needed to move spot to spot. A couple of customers reported good blackfishing at Point Pleasant Canal on green crabs on a trip. One crabber landed 40 good-sized on the Toms River at Island Heights. Crabbing was yet to finish for the year. Murphy’s, located on Rouge 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

A 30-pound striped bass was hauled from the surf at Island Beach State Park on Saturday, John from <b>The Dock Outfitters</b> wrote in a report on the shop’s website. The fish grabbed a bunker chunk, and raised eyebrows! But this seemed a one-fish wonder so far. Guessing when the migration will pick up is not easy, he said. But he made a guess: Oct. 28. He’s guessing surf anglers and boaters will be into stripers then, “(and) let’s see how close I come,” he said. For now, slow was the word.  But a customer saw bait getting blown up off Seaside Park at 14th Street, out of casting range from the surf. That is what anglers want to see, more and more. On Barnegat Bay, a couple of large blues were fought from the dock on cut bunker in the morning. Small stripers were winged off the dock on pieces of clams and sandworms. During a gale like today, fishing wasn’t high on anglers’ minds. This was a time to prepare for the fall run. Sharpen or change out hooks on lures, fill reels with new line, service them, and check rod guides carefully for cracks or nicks that could break line at the worst possible time. 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, boat rentals and, in season, jet-ski rentals.

<b>Forked River</b>

Huge bluefish remained in Oyster Creek and Barnegat Bay, said Kyle from <b>Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle</b>. Bait anglers fished chunks of bunker for them, and lure anglers tossed metal and popper plugs. Snapper blues still schooled lagoons, and they were growing large. Customers were buying spearing to fish for them. Blowfish still hovered in the bay, Kyle thought. Nobody reported the fishing first-hand recently, but he was told two days ago that the fish remained. They held in the Waretown and Barnegat area in 3 to 4 feet of water, the last that Kyle heard. A few weakfish were around, like at the mouth of Oyster Creek. Not many, though. Good blackfishing was cracked along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks. Once in a while a striped bass catch, a schoolie – “not the ones we’re looking for,” he said -- was heard about, like from Oyster Creek or a couple from the surf. There weren’t nearly enough to send customers to fish for. Customers waited for the striper migration to tumble in. Baits stocked include green crabs and killies. 

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Rough weather, but a customer had just bought a dozen green crabs for blackfishing today, when George from <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b> gave this report, George said. Few were likely to fish today, and the shop wasn’t even open yesterday because of weather. But when anglers fished, blackfishing was good along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks. Customers fish the inlet on foot. Good-sized bluefish swam Barnegat Bay. Weakfish were eased from the bay. Throwback striped bass were nabbed “out back,” George said. “Believe it or not.” Water is warm, but a few stripers seemed to start getting active. Green crabs are stocked, and live spots will be carried when the striper migration hits. Bobbie’s features a complete bait and tackle shop, a fuel dock and boat and kayak rentals. The boats are used for fishing, crabbing, clamming and pleasure.

<b>Absecon</b>

Lot of wind, not a lot to report at this minute, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b> today. The current stormy weather might kick fall fishing into gear, though. Fishing for schoolie striped bass has been good in Mullica and Great Egg Harbor rivers. Charter anglers pasted them with him, though the water was warm for October. On a trip Friday the water was 72 degrees at 6 a.m. and 73 at noon, when the tide came in. Incoming tide might be expected to drop the temperature, because of ocean water. Nevertheless, the trip fought lots, small stripers up to one 26-inch slot that could be bagged with a bonus tag. A tag allows an angler to bag a striper 24 inches to less than 28. A couple of dates are still available for discounted charters for the bass in the next week aboard. If anybody wants the discount, this is the chance, before the full rate is charged, once bigger, migrating stripers begin to show. That might happen after next week. The shop’s Facebook page said a few boat slips were available for striper season at the store’s marina. Boaters who rented one of the slips took a couple of shark trips on the ocean while they waited for stripers, and were catching makos. Sharks migrate south in fall for warmer water, just like stripers and other fish do. That’s something that anglers can intercept off the coast currently, whenever autumn’s seas are calm enough. White perch fishing was reportedly good in brackish waters like the Mullica. Plenty of bloodworms were sold for that.  Lots of small stripers bit along inlets and the nearby surf, almost all at night because of warm water. This next week might be the turning point when weather begins to drop water temperature. Plenty of blackfish bit, mostly along jetties. There was plenty of action, and a few were keepers. Like with stripers, the population of keeper blackfish should grow as water cools. Or a better number of bigger should pull in.

<b>Brigantine</b>

A 30-inch striped bass was plugged from the back bay at Brigantine along a sod bank at dusk yesterday, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. In the surf, 8- to 12-inch blues swarmed all over. Nobody mentioned kingfish from the surf in five days or so. Blackfish were toggled in along Brigantine Bridge, pilings and jetties. Green crabs, fresh mullet, fresh bunker, fresh clams and eels are stocked. A 1-ounce 7.6-ounce blue took the lead in the Fall Riptide Striper and Bluefish Derby that’s underway until Christmas Eve for surf fishing in the town. The $25 entry fee includes a permit to drive Brigantine’s entire front beach, when accompanied by a Brigantine beach-buggy permit. Without the tournament permit, not all the beach can be driven. Anglers must have the Brigantine permit to be able to drive on the beach with the tournament permit. Cash prizes will be awarded. The annual Elks Tournament will be held Nov. 10 to 12 in Brigantine for surf and boating anglers for the heaviest stripers. Cash will be awarded for first through third places in each of the two categories. Half the entry fees will reportedly benefit the Elks veterans’ committee, and the other half will reportedly be awarded.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Customers locked into lots of fish at Absecon Inlet and the nearby bay, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. That included many blackfish, probably 1 in 15 a keeper, on green crabs. Fishing for them was good. Triggerfish were still angled along the inlet. The water was warm enough. Tons of snapper blues came from the inlet. From the nearby bay, abundant schoolie stripers were played on plugs, clams, bunker or bloodworms, and occasional weakfish hit. Fishing was hot and heavy, and Noel could practically guarantee a catch, he said. Customers fish the inlet and bay on foot. The shop held a fishing tournament last weekend that reportedly benefited Puerto Rico’s hurricane victims. Entry was a $20 donation. Forty-two signed up, and 15 other monetary donations were made, and this all totaled $2,740, and the event was phenomenal, Noel said. A 7-pound 2-ounce fish won the blackfish division.

<b>Longport</b>

Just waiting for the weekend, Capt. Mike from the <b>Stray Cat</b> said. Open-boat trips will sail 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, targeting a similar mix of fish clocked aboard the ocean last weekend. Those catches, covered in the last report here, included false albacore, bluefish, blowfish and kingfish. Pretty decent fishing, catching non-stop, once the right depth was found. Out-of-season sea bass were also released, and charters and open-boat trips will jump on them beginning Oct. 22, opening day of sea bass season. An open trip is sold out that day, but more will run that week. Catch open trips that will fish a half-day on Thanksgiving and a full-day on New Year’s Eve for striped bass or blackfish, whatever’s best. Reserve them.

<b>Ocean City</b>

A few kingfish and spots were lifted from the surf when seas were fishable, said John from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. Five or six ounces of weight probably needed to be fished in the surf today and yesterday, and that was tough. Small bluefish ran Great Egg Harbor and Corson’s inlets and sometimes along the ocean surf. Some decent blackfish were angled among throwbacks along 9th Street and Longport Bridges. A few small, out-of-season sea bass lingered at places like that. Good white perch fishing was tapped from Great Egg Harbor River. A few small stripers swam the river. Good-sized stripers won’t migrate the local ocean and surf until the water cools considerably. The ocean was 70 to 72 degrees.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

A couple of small blackfish, occasionally a keeper, were plucked from Townsend’s Inlet, said Mike from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Very few sheepshead were reeled in, but the ones that were, were large. A couple of striped bass were dinged from the back bay. Most were small, but a couple of keepers were seen. Mostly nighttime gave up the bay’s bass on soft-plastic lures like Bass Assassins. But Mike had customers who eeled some. The surf was barely fishable yesterday and today in rough weather. A couple of customers headed for the surf for bluefish Tuesday in good weather, but no results were heard. Nothing was heard about offshore fishing for tuna. Crabs were still mugged, and Mike remembered no larger amount of frozen bunker that customers ever bought for crabbing in October.

<b>Wildwood</b>

A friend popper plugged a good-sized redfish, the southern species, and three throwback striped bass while fishing for stripers on the back bay off the banks, drifting the boat, said Mike from <b>Canal Side Boat Rentals</b>. The redfish was surprising, and lots of snapper blues schooled the bay. Someone rented a boat slip from the shop to fish for stripers on the bay this season, and Mike looks forward to seeing how that fishing goes. Mike himself targets the bass soon this season. A couple of weakfish were angled from the bay. Wind’s been blowing a couple of days. A couple of telephone calls came in from people who wanted to rental-boat for crabs on the bay. Weather prevented that for the moment, but crabbing should still be good. Canal Side rents boats for fishing, crabbing and pleasure and kayaks. <b>***<i>Get a $5 discount</i>***</b> on a rental boat if you mention Fishing Reports Now. The shop is open for no set hours currently, but is open whenever Mike is there, usually daily. He’s preparing the shop for an annual winter break and so is there for that work. The shop was open daily, like usual, throughout summer and part of spring and fall. A large supply of bait is stocked in-season. So is fishing and crabbing tackle and gear. Much of that is stocked currently. Spearing ran out. The shop in-season, not currently, sells live and cooked crabs and other seafood that customers enjoy at tented tables along the water at the store, or enjoy them at home. They also enjoy wine from Natali Vineyards in Cape May Court House that the state recently approved the shop to sell. Or they bring their own adult beverages if they want.

<b>Cape May</b>

The party boat <b>Porgy</b> fished Saturday with a light crowd on the ocean, Capt. Paul said. A few triggerfish and blues were bagged. Even a spadefish was, and Paul figured the water was warm, if triggers and spadefish were still in. One keeper blackfish and some throwbacks came in. Out-of-season sea bass, a bunch, were released. He’ll try to run trips again at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Daily trips will resume Oct. 22, fishing for sea bass. That’s opening day of sea bass season.

Seas weren’t terrible in the surf, but not a lot of anglers fished the beach, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. Still, before the week’s seas, bluefish 10 to 12 inches and sometimes a striped bass was eased from the water. The stripers included an occasional 30-inch keeper. Lures or mullet were fished in the surf. Blackfish chomped along jetties. Sometimes sheepshead and triggerfish did, because water was warm. Fall’s migration of large stripers will arrive later this season off South Jersey. Some anglers say the warm water might delay the run. But migrations like this seem usually to arrive on schedule, no matter water temperature. The time of year or angle of the sun seems more important than the water’s coolness. Stripers being caught currently in the area are resident, non-migrating fish. Stripers including sometimes a keeper gave up good top-water plugging in the back bay. Zara Spook types of lures worked. Anglers look forward to the opening of sea bass season on Oct. 22, two Sundays from now. The only report about tuna that Nick knew about recently said a trip departed from locally and boated some. Where was unknown, but Nick assumed the trip fished somewhere south, like at Poorman’s Canyon. 

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