Tue., Nov. 21, 2017
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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 10-26-17

<b>Sewaren</b>

Two striped bass 40 inches and 36 inches were being weighed at <b>Dockside Bait & Tackle</b> when Rich Yanak from the shop gave this report, he said. The fish were boated at the mouth of Hudson River near the Statue of Liberty, and good catches were eeled there. The 36-incher weighed almost 20 pounds, and Rich was yet to weigh the 40-incher when he provided the report. Water was 65 degrees, and cooler water was needed for the season’s best striper fishing. Large bluefish were mixed with stripers there, and cocktail blues departed that previously swam local waters. Porgies were still boated. Sea bass season opened Sunday, and they were reported landed, but no specifics. Fresh clams were finally stocked that are scarce. Baits carried include fresh bunker daily, eels, green crabs, sandworms, bloodworms, trout worms and nightcrawlers. 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>

Some days fished better than others for striped bass on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, and the angling was decent, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. A 41-incher was biggest this week. On each trip, stripers fed during a window, and catching them then was important. The fish were eeled, and for many anglers aboard, this was their first-ever eeling. The fishing requires attention, or when a striper bites, the angler needs to be ready to set the hook. The water was 66 degrees, and the fishing should improve when the temp drops a few degrees. Charters are fishing, and a few spaces are left for an open-boat trip Wednesday. Telephone to reserve. Blackfishing will begin aboard Nov. 16, though striper trips then will also continue on the boat. The blackfish bag limit will be raised to six beginning that date, from the current limit of one.  

Fishing for striped bass improved – the fish began to bite better, Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b> said. The angling was okay yesterday aboard, copping stripers to 20 pounds. Trips are eeling the fish, and open-boat trips are sailing for them daily. On Down Deep’s other boat, sea bass fishing caught excellent, and big porgies and some triggerfish were mixed in. Open trips are running daily for that fishing on that vessel. Charters are available for either fishing for up to 15 passengers. 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>

Striped bass fishing will kick off for the season this weekend with <b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Joe wrote in an email. “Reports are good with fish up to 25 lbs being caught in raritan bay,” he wrote. “These fish are mostly larger fish feeding on bunker for now. The fall migration is here.” Book a trip “while the run is on,” he said.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Bottom-fishing was terrific Monday on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, and no trip fished Tuesday aboard in wind and rain, Capt. Tom said. He planned no trip Wednesday, thinking rough weather would continue. But wind eased at midnight, and a few anglers showed up in the morning, so Wednesday’s trip sailed. And caught! The trip made one drop – that’s all that was needed. Plenty of porgies, some keeper sea bass, lots of short sea bass and a couple of keeper blackfish were bombed. Just a real good day, Tom said, and he was surprised, because he was concerned that the previous weather might’ve affected the angling. The ocean held a ground swell, but seas weren’t rough. All anglers enjoyed the fishing, he said, and Tom hopes the angling holds up. Trips are fishing for sea bass, porgies and blackfish 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 or 3 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Sunday, 10/29:***</b> No trip will sail Monday in the storm, and Tom will see how the weather shapes up for Tuesday, he said. Forecasts currently called for rough weather Tuesday, but that could change.

On the <b>Fishermen</b>, fishing was weathered out the past two days, a report said on the party boat’s website. Wind switched to west now, and that would knock down the ocean swell. The vessel last fished Monday, and too many throwback sea bass bit for the number of keepers caught. Porgies were picked up, but not nearly as many as during past weeks. A couple of blackfish were reeled in. Striped bass fishing was yet to produce enough catches for the boat to sail for them yet. But the hope is that colder weather in the next week will get the bite going. Trips are fishing for sea bass and porgies 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Nobody was fishing the surf in the current weather, said Johnny O. from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>.  Previously, false albacore were fought from the surf at Sea Bright and North Beach at Sandy Hook, like maybe on Friday or late last week before the weather in past days. Johnny was hearing about no stripers from the surf. Water temperature seemed to need to drop. Maybe if daytime air temperatures reached no higher than the 60 degrees for a week, that would help. Striped bass had been eeled in the mouth of Hudson River, and a few were trolled on Raritan Bay. Nothing to write home about, he said, and the fish seemed local, not ones migrating from north yet. Only two Atlantic Highlands party boats sailed in the weather today, and seemed to catch porgies but not really sea bass. Blackfish picked were heard about at times from various anglers. But weather kept all reports scarce, and not a lot is reported about blackfish in the one-fish bag limit for the tautog. The limit becomes six beginning Nov. 16. No fresh clams were stocked, and clammers had little success raking the scarce bait. Plenty of other bait is stocked including eels and green crabs. White leggers will be carried when the blackfish bag limit is lifted. The store, the sister shop to Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, is located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor, down the dock from the party, charter and private boat fleet. 

False albacore were blitzing the surf, said Jay from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. They tore through at Sea Bright the other day. Throwback striped bass were sometimes managed from the surf, but few and far between, apparently because the water was warm or 66 or 67 degrees. Surf anglers wanted clams to fish for them, and fresh clams were scarce. A few chowder clams were bought to stock, because commercial clammers were hardly able to find surf clams to harvest for fishing. All other baits are stocked, including eels and green crabs. A couple of small stripers were managed in Raritan Bay’s surf. Small blues came from the bay’s surf, like at Leonardo, Port Monmouth or Keansburg. Most stripers seemed boated at the mouth of Hudson River, on eels, and the fishing seemed not bad, pretty good. But some were trolled at buoy 12 on Mojos, including today, though rough weather kept most from boating today.  Many small stripers swam Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. Boaters drifted worms and eels on the rivers for stripers but picked up small. Porgy catches were still “rolling.” Sea bass season opened Sunday, and most sea bass hooked were throwbacks. That often seems to happen: good-sized fish seem to bite when out-of-season, and when the season opens, mostly throwbacks do. 

<b>Highlands</b>

Ed and Tony on the Hammerhead trolled a 40-inch 20-pound striped bass at the Candle Sticks on a Mojo on a trip from <b>Twin Lights Marina</b>, Marion wrote in an email. Twelve-year-old Danny Rella on the 2F’s eeled a striper on Hudson River. Karen Kelly and Jack Wall decked two big bluefish under the Verrazano Bridge. 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>

Great day of fishing for sea bass, porgies, bonito and mackerel Monday on a charter aboard, Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> wrote in an email. Spaces are available for an individual-reservation trip for sea bass Tuesday, and another is full on Nov. 4. Room is available for an individual-reservation trip for striped bass and sea bass that was just added for Nov. 10. If stripers fail to bite, the trip will get after sea bass. Spots are on tap for an individual-reservation trip for blackfish Nov. 16. The bag limit will be jacked up to six of the tautog that day, from the current limit of one.

<b>Belmar</b>

Good fishing was cracked on the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b>, Capt. Chris said. Some sizable sea bass and big porgies were slapped aboard from the ocean. No trip sailed Tuesday in wind and rain. But the angling held up on Wednesday, no matter a leftover swell. Trips will depart at 6 a.m. Friday through Sunday. The outings usually sail 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Chris thinks the early departure gives a little advantage.

Jumbo blues! an email said about today on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b> from the party boat. Big bluefish to 22 pounds were held the whole trip, and up to seven were hooked at once. That was in a chum slick with chunks on anchor “out east,” and bait caught best. Trips are sailing for blues and striped bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

All big bluefish to 20 pounds and heavier, lots, were plowed today on the <b>Golden Eagle</b> on the ocean, a report said on the party boat’s website. A mix of Run Off hammered jigs and bait caught, and anglers could’ve connected on nearly anything. Fishing for big blues was super Monday aboard, and big sea bass and a few false albacore were also beaten on the trip. Fishing was weathered out Tuesday and Wednesday aboard. Trips are fishing for striped bass and blues 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays.

<b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> was supposed to fish for striped bass today for the first time this season, Capt. Pete said. Was a big swell on the ocean yesterday after Tuesday’s storm. Stripers were sporadically boated on the ocean locally, and the trip would give the angling heck. If no stripers showed up, the trip would bottom-fish. 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.

Capt. Mike from <b>Celtic Stoirm Charters</b> fished on another boat Sunday on a trip that scooped lots of sea bass from the ocean, he said. Quite a few were small, but porgy fishing was hot, crushing lots, on the trip. Trips Friday and Saturday on the ocean with Celtic will look for striped bass, and if that’s slow, sea bass and blackfish.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Good fishing today! a report said on the party boat <b>Norma-K III</b>’s website. High hooks limited out on sea bass, and a good number of porgies were plundered. “Weather is looking great!” the report said. The boat is fishing for sea bass 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and bluefish 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.

Phenomenal fishing was creamed on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. Porgy catches were outstanding. Fewer keeper sea bass bit than he’d like, and no customers limited out on them, but a fair number were boxed. On opening day of sea bass season Sunday, plenty of sea bass were hooked, but the number of throwbacks was disappointing. Porgy fishing was fair that day, apparently because of all the boats fishing for the opener. Since then, porgy fishing’s been good. Butch has been telling anglers that trips would target porgies, because better numbers of keeper sea bass were iced then, compared with all the shorts caught when sea bass were targeted. Trips fished in 60 to 100 feet of water but fished in 120 to 130 yesterday. Most anglers on the trip bagged 20 to 40 porgies, and some bagged five or six sea bass. A few winter flounder, triggerfish and even blackfish, not big blackfish, were sacked. Those were the first triggers in 1 ½ weeks aboard. Lots of blues were around, and kept biting sea bass reeled in. Butch saw abundant bait close to shore including some bunker and krill or shrimp. Whales, porpoises and many false albacore swam there. Not a lot of bait but some was seen where the boat fished, farther from shore. The ocean was 65 to 66 degrees where the vessel fished. Trips are bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

<b>Toms River</b>

Not much could be reported because of rough weather the past couple of days, said Mario from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. Strong wind blew, the ocean held a swell, and sometimes rain fell. That prevented most surf fishing. Before the weather, small bluefish were about all that was yanked from the surf. Throwback striped bass were played on Barnegat Bay and the Toms River on swimming lures at dusk and nighttime if anglers kept on the move. Very few big bluefish remained in the bay and river that swam there previously. Blackfishing was fine at Point Pleasant Canal and jetties. A few stripers hit in the canal. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River. 

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Tough conditions for surf fishing were improving with each tide, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Northwest wind blew against the surf, and that diminishes seas. No surf-fishing report was available yet, but that should change. Don’t wait for a report. Get out and make your own! Boaters saw plenty of bait schooling near shore before the blow. Sometimes striped bass and small blues chased the bait in the surf before the rough weather. Eels, green crabs, sandworms and frozen baits are stocked, including frozen mackerel that were just added. 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>

When weather’s been fair, <b>Tuna-Tic Sportfishing</b>’s been tuna fishing, Capt. Mike said. The trips jumped on bluefin tuna at scallop boats just inshore of the canyons. That’s been very good, and tuna fishing at the canyons has been slow. The tuna trips will be wrapped up after this weekend, and Tuna-Tic will fish for striped bass from Nov. 9 through 20 on the ocean. That’s a limited time, so take note. Half the dates are already full. Mike will haul out the boat early for the season. 

Striped bass were boated toward Seaside and Lavallette on the ocean, said Mike from <b>Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle</b>. A 40-pounder was weighed-in from off the Seaside Pipe on Sunday. One customer’s trip with several anglers landed six stripers heavier than 35 pounds each. This was all before rough weather prevented boating on the ocean the past couple of days. Sometimes snagging bunker for bait and then livelining the menhaden caught well. False albacore swam all around right off Barnegat Inlet on the ocean last weekend.  For sea bass in the ocean, fish Garden State Reef North, Mike would say. Blackfish swam there, too. Fresh clams, a bait for sea bass, are stocked sometimes, and otherwise salted clams are. Green crabs are carried for blackfish, and eels and killies are on hand. On Barnegat Bay, boaters could clam for stripers. But he’d say eeling for them at night was probably better. Blowfish still hovered in the bay, but would probably depart any moment. Big bluefish remained in Oyster Creek and a little in the bay.  

<b>Barnegat Inlet</b>

Nobody really fished today and the past couple of days in weather, said Vince Sr. from <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b>. One or two boats passed today. Previously, striped bass were hooked at Barnegat Inlet and the ocean. Live spots that are stocked hooked them. Fresh clams are stocked for the moment at least, and can be fished at the inlet for the bass, and for sea bass on the ocean. The clams are scarce. Sea bassing was really good once sea bass season opened Sunday. Baits like frozen squid and mackerel are also stocked that sea bass will pound. Blackfish were grabbed along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks and ocean wrecks, and green crabs are in supply for them. All baits are stocked for current fishing. No bluefish were seen from Barnegat Bay, but few anglers were around in the weather, and whether the blues departed was unknown. 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>Barnegat</b>

Here are two edited emails from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the <b>Hi Flier</b>. This one was from last evening: “Stripers inside and out!” he wrote. “Just got back from a quick, 2-hour trip to Barnegat Inlet with my friend Tim Werder. I wanted to try drifting some live bait there, and it did not disappoint. We went 5 for 8 on 26- to 34-inch striped bass. I was considering this as a Plan B for this upcoming week, but it might be good enough for Plan A! <a href="https://youtu.be/0jyyP5sHDm0" target="_blank">Here’s a video clip from the action</a>. Sailing every day, ocean or bay, charter or open-boat for stripers. <b>Here’s an email he sent previously</b>: “I don't do nearly as much canyon fishing as I used to,” he wrote. But on Saturday morning, when he had too few anglers to fish open-boat on the Hi Flier, Dave realized he had time to make an overnight canyon trip with his friend, Capt. Johnny O’Kinsky on Johnny’s charter boat Inspiration from Toms River. Johnny wasn't expecting him, “but I loaded the truck with all my gear and whatever food was in the house for rations,” Dave wrote. “I figured if he had room, I would jump, and if they were too heavy with crew, I could always drive home. I got lucky, and they were four guys looking for a fifth. We threw the ropes at 9 a.m., and Johnny explained our float plan. Head for the warm-water break in the Toms Canyon, troll till dark and set up for the overnight chunk. (Next), troll to the Hudson Canyon, and drift for tilefish. On the way back, check out the scallop boats for bluefin tuna. Upon arriving at the Toms, we trolled two small mahi. The overnight chunk yielded no tuna, but we still had fun jigging squid and catching 5- to 8-pound mahi on light tackle. When the mahi stopped hitting even live bait, I was able to free gaff three of them. Around 5 a.m., we saw a fish break water behind the boat, and I noticed glow sticks right next to it. Turned out to be a legal sword that ate the deep-rigged squid 200 feet down. The sword had charged to the surface with the rig, without making a sound on the reel's clicker. Soon after boating the sword, we trolled to the Hudson, with no bites. Johnny set everybody up with tilefish rods and rigs. We dropped squid, herring and sardine baits down 500 feet with 2 pounds of lead. We boated a bunch of 5- to 8-pound golden tiles. On the second drift, I set up on a tile that maxed out my 30-class outfit like I had never before seen it torqued. This fish was taking runs and head shaking all the way. I loosened the drag three times in fear that I would break it off. I had him on adequate gear, an Avet LX loaded with 65 braid on a Shimano Trevalla 80- to 200-class rod. After 25 minutes, the fish came belly up on the surface, and Johnny gaffed my new personal-best, 43-pound golden tile.” Watch a <a href="https://youtu.be/ZqLTE3PFUeE" target="_blank"> video of Dave landing the tile</a>. “On the way back,” he continued, “we stopped on the scallop boats and caught five 30- to 40-class bluefins. If we had sailed with the one- or two-dimensional plan of a typical canyon trip, we would not have enjoyed the success we did with Johnny's aggressive, multi-faceted attack. Well done captain! So glad I jumped on for this one.” Dave in the email next talked about ocean fishing that the Hi Flier’s doing: “… there are big stripers on the bunker pods as well as trolling bunker spoons. Albies are still abundant, and we’re casting small metals on light spinning gear for them. (Today) and Friday look good with W/NW winds forecast to allow us to get outside the inlet and chase these fish. Saturday is a wait-and-see with a borderline forecast for my boat. If it's too rough, we have live bait to fish inside the inlet and bay for bass. Open-boat or charter (today) and Friday leaving at 11 a.m. Saturday leaving at 6 a.m. Seven-hour trips. Four people max. All fish are shared.”

<b>Mystic Island</b>

A shot of striped bass to 40 pounds were reported from off Barnegat Light to farther north on the ocean Saturday, said Brandon from <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>. He heard about them as far north as the Seaside Heights Ferris wheel. Stripers were sometimes eeled on Mullica River. Smaller stripers and small blues were plugged on the bay. White perch were tapped from the river. In the surf, blues, small stripers and false albacore skittered around. Opening of sea bass season Sunday drew lots of business. The fishing sounded pretty decent, and catches were heard about closer to shore, but bigger sea bass seemed farther out. Large blowfish and keeper porgies schooled at Little Egg Reef. A trip could fish for sea bass, blowfish, porgies and blackfish on the ocean, and maybe run across stripers. Not bad. Back in the bay, along sod banks or at jetties like at Barnegat Inlet, blackfishing must’ve gone well, because a crazy number of green crabs were sold for bait. Fresh clams were difficult to obtain, and the shop was trying. Four bushels were carried recently. Anglers prefer the clams for sea bass, but frozen squid and mackerel fillets are on hand that sea bass will also bite. Salted clams are also supposed to arrive Friday. Eels, live grass shrimp, bloodworms and minnows are stocked.

<b>Absecon</b>

Back-bay striped bass fishing was great, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. That began in the season’s first cold snap, around Oct. 18, and Dave expects the cool nights to make the angling a little better. The water was a little warm, in the 60 degrees. His charters have been tying into them fantastic. Not a whole lot of keepers hit, but all the trips tugged in a few keepers, and Dave’s got bonus tags to bag smaller stripers 24 to less than 28 inches. A 15-pounder was the biggest striper aboard, and the anglers chose to release the fish. The number of fish the trips hooked was great. The bass bit in shallows along the bay’s banks on Gulp baits. Dave’s trips fish Gulp Nemesis. But the stripers also began to lie in deep sloughs, and livelined spots were the bait to fish there. The spots are stocked. Customers also scored well on the bass, and quite a number of the fish were seen at the store. The fishing was especially good at night, but early morning also produced, because of the relatively warm water. Eels were the bait to fish at night. Some anglers think this isn’t yet time to fish for stripers, but it is, Dave said. Blackfishing was fantastic at jetties, bridges and, “for the specialists,” he said, sod banks. Not a lot of customers sail for sea bass, but all who reported fishing for them Sunday, opening day of sea bass season, on the ocean reported good catches. Dave even hooked a 14-inch, keeper sea bass on a jig while striper fishing in the bay. In addition to spots, bait stocked includes eels, green crabs and fresh bunker. Fresh clams are the only bait difficult to stock, and they look like they’ll be scarce for the season. The full supply of Mojos and bunker spoons are stocked for when stripers migrate the ocean a little later this season.

<b>Brigantine</b>

The season’s first striped bass was weighed-in from Brigantine’s surf yesterday, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. George Wood beached the 15-pound 34-incher on bunker from Riptide. That was a bunker head, Andy thought. Wood won the shop’s $25 gift certificate for the first and became in first place in Riptide’s Fall Derby. See more details about the derby below. First, the surf was probably rough today. “If the wind doesn’t get you,” Andy said. But the water was probably fishable. Snapper blues ran the surf. Blackfish bit along jetties. Stripers were boated from the back bay. Customer Joe Jr. landed six or eight of 25 seen at the shop from the bay. Live eels or spots or 6-inch Gulp Nemesis socked stripers in the bay. Andy was headed to pick up fresh bunker today to stock. Green crabs ran out and will be re-stocked Friday. Frozen, salted clams are carried. The Fall Riptide Striper and Bluefish Derby is 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>

Sizable blackfish were swung from Absecon Inlet, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Probably 1 in 8 of the tautog from the inlet was a keeper. Dunk green crabs for them, and customers fish the nearby, jetty-lined inlet on foot. Plenty of baitfish schooled the water, and birds worked the bait. Noel took a look this morning, seeing unidentified bait in the channel. Kingfish were yanked from the surf beside the inlet. An angler checked-in three large ones 13 to 15 inches that were among 32 he beached in a trip. Fish bloodworms for the kings, and lots of schoolie striped bass swam the bay from Harrah’s to farther back. A few stripers began to be angled from the surf. For stripers, toss clams, fresh bunker or plugs. Clams are scarce but stocked. So is the full supply of other bait. Sometimes weakfish were hooked while anglers tried for stripers. A 70-foot hole off Captain Starn’s was a place for them.

<b>Longport</b>

An open-boat trip is sold out Friday on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. Spaces are available for another Saturday, and if weather holds Sunday, another will fish then, and space will be available. Weather could be too rough that day. Trips are fishing great, covered in previous reports here. A trip also fished Monday, not covered here previously. The trip barreled up lots of fish until wind picked up at 11:30 a.m., slowing catches. The catches on trips, on the ocean, include sea bass, blues, triggerfish, blowfish and chub mackerel. False albacore are also speeding around the area. The seas bassing was best in 70 or 80 feet of water. The boat tried fishing 100 to 120 on Sunday, but the angling was better closer in. When the boat begins targeting blackfish, when the bag limit is increased, a $500 bounty will be awarded to anybody who heaves in one of the fish heavier than 18 pounds aboard. The limit will be hiked to six beginning Nov. 16, from the current limit of one.

<b>Ocean City</b>

Sea bass fishing got off to an incredible start Sunday, opening day of sea bass season, said Justin from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. Some were reeled from Atlantic City and Great Egg reefs. But if trips fished deeper, they whaled large numbers of sea bass, and big. A buddy fished the Deep Water Reef, saying 35 keepers were coolered in 35 minutes, and the fishing was like that the whole trip. Abundant triggerfish bit on the sea bass grounds. So did large, out-of-season summer flounder to 26 to 30 inches. A fair number of keeper sea bass 14 to 16 inches were reported from the back bay, like along 9th Street Bridge and the bridge at Corson’s Inlet, though that’s unheard of or highly unusual. Lots of blackfish, lots of small but some decent-sized, still chewed along structure like that on green crabs. Water was way too warm for them to prefer clams. Sometimes when water’s cold, blackfish prefer the soft bait. Lots more striped bass than before were pushing out of rivers, making them caught better in the bay than before. A couple of keepers were reported eeled at bridges at night. Justin kayaked a keeper on a soft-plastic lure, but the population of keepers was spotty. Tiny bluefish that had filled rivers and other back waters pushed out, too, though some remained. They became thick in the surf, though the surf was too rough for fishing in past days in 4- to 7-foot seas. Before then, kingfish were heard about again from the surf. Anglers questioned whether they remained, and turned out they did. Very few stripers were angled in the surf, and the water was warm for them at 67 degrees. A couple of anglers hooked some, but not many at all.   

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Nothing was heard about surf fishing, but seas were huge in past days, said Bud from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Snapper blues were hooked from inlets and the back bay. Some striped bass were angled from the bay on livelined spots and plugs. The spots are stocked, and so are green crabs for blackfishing. Lots of blackfish bit along structure like bridges. Crabbing was pretty good. “That’s for sure,” he said.

Lots of false albacore sped around the ocean, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. He recently returned from annual traveling charters to Montauk that mugged albies, and this was like that fishing continued. Striped bass fishing picked up in the back bay. Livelined spots, popper lures and jigs hooked them. Sea bass trips on the ocean had to sail far from shore, but catches were good there. Charters are fishing for all of these catches aboard. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

<b>Cape May</b>

A big crowd jumped aboard a sea bass trip Sunday, opening day of sea bass season, said Capt. Paul from the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>. A good-sized crowd also joined Monday’s trip for the fish. But not a lot of sea bass, and not a lot of keepers, were angled. A few were bagged, but not as many as Paul hoped, and no limits. Waters were crowded, especially on Sunday. “Everything that floated was out” that day, fishing for sea bass, he said. The ocean, where the trips fished, was in the upper 60 degrees. Maybe the water needed to cool. Sea bass still swam back bays, because of warm water. Maybe when the ocean cools, sea bass will bunch up somewhere in the ocean. Anglers will see. Anglers on smaller, private boats might’ve thought sea bassing was better. If three anglers bagged 45, a limit for three, on a private boat, they might’ve thought the fishing was great. But 45 wouldn’t be impressive on a party boat with a bunch of anglers. Paul knew that a lot of larger boats struggled. Ones that fished farther from shore seemed to fare no better. The trips on the Porgy had to fish rocks, because boats fished all over wrecks. Light wind also made anchoring difficult on the trips. No trip fished Tuesday on the Porgy in wind and rain, and on Wednesday in a leftover swell and not much interest because of the forecast. Out-of-season summer flounder were released on the Porgy, including several 6-pounders and a 9-pounder. “Heart breakers,” Paul said. Maybe the fishing will improve in cooling water, less crowds after the opening days or better conditions. In any case, trips are sailing for sea bass at 8 a.m. daily, an opportunity to target the fish. 

The <b>Heavy Hitter</b> is supposed to sea bass this weekend on the ocean, Capt. George said. Weather looks rough for Sunday, though. A trip last Sunday, opening day of sea bass season, caught the fish aboard, covered in the last report here.

A few striped bass were banked from the surf, said Joe from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. More might’ve begun to be hooked farther north in the state, but a few did come from the local beach. Bluefish 8 to 14 inches bit in the surf, and both the bass and the blues were found in the surf from the ocean to Delaware Bay. Cape May is at the confluence. Bunker and clams were fished in the surf, and fresh clams were stocked for the moment at least, finally. Clams are scarce this season. Fresh bunker were also carried, and a load of frozen mullet just arrived. The mullet run seemed finished, and surf anglers saw them no longer. Blackfish snapped along jetties. In the back bay, stripers were fought from under bridges. Most anglers fished soft-plastic lures for them like paddle tails or grubs. “Anything on a jighead,” he said. Blues swam the bay that were the same size as in the surf. Sea bass fishing was good on the ocean once sea bass season opened Sunday, though rough seas in wind probably prevented the angling the past couple of days.

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