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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 11-9-17

<b>Sewaren</b>

Great striped bass fishing was clutched from Raritan Bay and just outside the bay, said Rich from <b>Dockside Bait & Tackle</b>. An angler had just said his trip loaded up outside Sandy Hook on trolled white Mojos, when Rich gave this report. Bunker spoons were also trolled on the trip, but the fish attacked the Mojos. Stripers were hooked in nearly all locations where local boaters target them, including in the mouth of Hudson River, at Princes Bay and on the ocean off Highlands. They were often trolled or eeled. Stripers 30 inches were sometimes reported angled from Carteret and Sewaren piers. That's good-sized from piers, and nothing was heard about Perth Amboy Pier. But if the fish bit at the other piers, they probably did there. Bottom-fishing pumped in porgies and sea bass, and not a lot was reported about that because of rough weather. Some anglers said the porgy fishing was slower than before. Bait stocked includes fresh bunker daily, salted clams in pints and quarts, eels, sandworms, bloodworms, green crabs 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>

Limits and more limits of 28- to 40-inch striped bass were pounded on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. Each and every trip fished great. No lack of stripers swam the boat’s waters this fall. This year, 16- to 22-inchers were abundant, “which is a great sign for future seasons,” he said. He expects the stripers to stick around some time, because baitfish are abundant. Blackfishing will begin aboard next Thursday, when the bag limit will be pulled up to six, from the current limit of one. A bunch of charters are booked for that angling. But open-boat trips will keep striper fishing between them. Nothing more exciting than birds diving and stripers hammering jigs, trolling tackle and eels. Too good to pass up, he said. Open trips are filling as fast as Frank posts them. “Enough said,” he wrote. The next open trips with room are Nov. 19, 22 and 23. Only two spots remain for Nov. 19. Telephone to reserve. No trip will fish on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24. That’s a day with family for Frank and crew.

Excellent striped bass fishing every day with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. Trips sailed for them daily this week, no matter wind and rough seas, catching on Raritan Bay and the border of the bay and ocean on jigs and rubber shads. Open-boat trips are fishing for them daily. On Down Deep’s other boat, open trips will begin blackfishing this coming Thursday, when the bag limit will be tugged up to six, from the current limit of one. Charters are available for either fishing for up to 15 passengers. Both boats feature heated cabins and galleys for convenience. 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 and for weekly reports about fishing on open trips.

<b>Leonardo</b>

A trip was weathered out yesterday with <b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Joe said. Charters are fishing for striped bass and are bottom-fishing for sea bass, porgies and blackfish aboard. The striper fishing, on Raritan Bay, is limiting out on 28- to 31- or 32-inchers with no problem. Some boats might report large stripers, but Joe’s not seeing that, and not seeing his friends catch like that. After bagging those legal-sized bass, Sour Kraut’s trips are playing catch-and-release with lots of small stripers that are swimming everywhere and chasing peanut bunker in the bay. They’re casting to them, having fun. The keepers are being trolled best, especially on bunker spoons, Mojos or umbrella rigs with rubber shads, or tackle like that. The bigger seem to prefer the spoons and Mojos. The bottom-fishing’s been fairly good.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

On the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, bottom-fishing sailed twice early in the week on Monday and Tuesday, and today, Capt. Tom said. Weather canceled Sunday and Wednesday. Monday fished the best among that day and Tuesday. The angling still caught Tuesday, but not as well as the very good fishing lately. All the trip’s anglers left with dinner. Dogfish were dealt with sometimes on the trip.  Monday’s trip belted good-sized porgies, a few more keeper blackfish than before, and a few more keeper sea bass than previously, among throwbacks. Was still pretty good fishing on the trips. Today’s trip, sailing after rough weather yesterday kept the boat docked, picked at fish at first, not good angling, Tom said at 12 noon aboard in a phone call. Lots of small sea bass kept biting, among a few porgies, sea bass and blackfish bagged. The trip at that point had moved farther from shore, after fishing closer in, where trips caught previously. The angling had improved an hour and a half later, when he telephoned and gave an update. Quite a few double-headers of porgies were copped, and a few good-sized sea bass and blackfish were hung. Still wasn’t the great fishing like previously, but better than earlier that day, and all anglers would leave with dinner. Anglers who blackfished brought their own crabs for bait, and no crabs are provided yet. They will be soon. Trips are fishing for sea bass, porgies and blackfish 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 or 3 p.m. daily. No trip is expected to fish Friday in forecasts for freezing temperatures and strong wind to 35 or 40 knots from northwest. But the weekend’s weather looks good, and the northwest wind should knock down seas. Seas on today’s trip were a little roll with a little wind chop, but not bad, and weather was nice.  <b>***Update, Saturday, 11/11:***</b> Weather was cold but calm, the ocean was calm and fishing was good on today’s trip, Tom said. Anglers landed full buckets of porgies, some blackfish and a few keeper sea bass. Catches were much better than expected, after yesterday’s rough weather. Weather looks good for tomorrow.

Another awesome day of striped bass fishing yesterday on the <b>Fishermen</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. The angling’s been super on every trip. The fish lately bit on outgoing tides, happening later on trips recently. But once the fish turned on, they turned on. A 32-pounder won yesterday's  pool, and nearly all the stripers were keepers that were hooked on the trip. Anglers were tossing back 29- and 30-inchers by the end. Jigs were the hot ticket lately. Anglers needed to let the jigs hit bottom and then reel, like the crew instructed. Some anglers bounced the jigs like in fluke fishing. But to catch, anglers needed to fish like the crew said. The fishing would be back at it today. Don’t let forecasts scare you. This is fall fishing at its finest, the report said. “We are the original ‘fishing in the snot’ Party Boat!!!” it said. Trips are fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. However, the vessel is chartered Saturday, so no open-boat trip will fish that day.

Reach Channel’s striped bass fishing quieted some in Raritan Bay, Johnny O. from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b> thought. They seemed to be boated better off Sandy Hook or the mouth of Raritan Bay in past days, he said. Trolling for stripers was good on Mojos and spoons. Lots of eels were sold for striper fishing. Party boats caught stripers well yesterday. Some throwback stripers were banked from the surf. Gold Ava 47 jigs, gold Krocodile spoons and white or bunker-colored shads were often sold for the surf fishing. Gold seemed the color for the metal lately. Sea bass fishing seemed spotty. Not much was heard about porgy fishing, and Johnny was away from the shop and just returned today. But porgies were surely still in. Blackfishing was strong. Friday will be a bust for boating in cold, windy weather. Atlantic Highlands’ party boats already canceled fishing that day.

Striped bass began to shove into New Jersey waters, said Ron from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Previously they were boated in New York Harbor. But now, for instance, a buddy was on stripers at Ambrose Channel for 2 hours that swam all the way to the Navy Pier in Sandy Hook Bay on Tuesday, then just disappeared. They were big bass 25 and 30 pounds slamming bunker. Boaters trolled them, plugged them and hooked them every way. Ron and friend boated and released 10 stripers, smaller, 20 pounds, off Perth Amboy on Raritan Bay on trolled and jigged shads. Small stripers bit in the surf. “Spotty,” Ron said. He’s a surf angler. Sea bass and porgies were boated. Porgies, actually bigger than before, were caught along the Navy Pier, too.

<b>Highlands</b>

Taking a trip from <b>Twin Lights Marina</b>, Greg and Ann Hanna on the Annie H boated three striped bass Saturday at “the Flats,” Marion wrote in an email. Also that day, Paul and Becky on the Second Home decked their final striper of the season, a 28-incher, off the Ammo Pier on a trolled Mojo. Marion didn’t say why that was the final, but apparently Paul and Becky were wrapping up their boating season. Today Rich Scherer limited out on stripers at Flynn’s Knoll while trolling Mojos. 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>

Want striped bass? Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> asked in an email. Now’s the time – stripers are in! he said. Charters aboard locked into them Friday and Monday. The bass “exploded” for the Monday charter. One space was available at press time for an individual-reservation trip for stripers tomorrow, because of a cancellation. Room is available for one of the trips Tuesday. Sea bass and porgies are also on the bite. The last three sea bass trips limited out aboard. Individual-reservation trips will sail for blackfish Nov. 16 and Dec. 2 and for blackfish and stripers Nov. 21 and 29. The blackfish bag limit will be opened up to six beginning Nov. 16, from the current limit of one. <b>***Update, Friday, 11/10:***</b> “Stripers now,” Ralph wrote in an email this afternoon. “I do not know how long this will last – stripers are here now.” Book a charter or individual-reservation trip. “They won’t be here long. All on bait today.”

<b>Belmar</b>

Some big striped bass were checked-in from Belmar’s party boats, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. A 40-pounder each was weighed-in from the Golden Eagle and Miss Belmar Princess that were jigged from the ocean off Monmouth County just off the surf. Catches of stripers from the surf were reported from most local beaches on rubber eels, rubber shads and Daiwa SP Minnows. James Weir from Belmar beached four stripers to 12 pounds from that town’s surf on Tsunami shads. Shark River gave up great winter flounder fishing. Marty Westerfield limited out on them every day, sometimes including 17- and 18-inchers. Come on down – it’s happening! Bob said.

Striped bass to 40 pounds were picked away in a few shots Tuesday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b> on the ocean north of Shark River Inlet close to shore, an email from the party boat said. A couple of the shots were early in the morning, when the trip fished at bunker that were read well. Later in the day, more bass were hooked when stripers were seen along the water surface. Wednesday’s trip was weathered out, and the boat was expected to resume fishing today. Previously, the boat whaled big bluefish consistently on trips on the ocean. Trips are sailing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Anglers picked striped bass to 39 pounds Tuesday on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. Lots of the fish busted the water surface, and they were a little difficult to catch, but some were reeled in. All were keepers. Wednesday’s trip was weathered out, and the boat was supposed to resume fishing today. Previously, every trip smashed super fishing for large bluefish. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Fishing for striped bass was weathered out in past days with <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Pete said. A trip today was supposed to kick the angling back off. A couple of spaces are available Tuesday with a striper charter who wants more anglers. 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. <b>***Update, Thursday, 11/9:***</b> “Captain Tom reports great striped bass action …,” Parker Pete’s Facebook page said during today’s trip. Click the link for photos.

Northeast wind 15 to 20 knots, gusting to 30 forced a trip to be canceled yesterday for striped bass with <b>Celtic Stoirm Charters</b>, Capt. Mike said. He looks forward to the fishing aboard this weekend in better weather. Don’t be afraid to call for striped bass charters. Some dates are available.

The <b>Katie H</b> will next fish Sunday, probably for striped bass and some bottom-fishing for porgies and sea bass, Capt. Mike said. Weather looks good for fishing aboard this weekend.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Bottom-fishing remained pretty good on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b> on the ocean, Capt. Butch said. No trip fished yesterday because of weather, and the angling was a little tough the previous day, Tuesday, because of nasty seas and weather. The trip that day fished shallower than the 100- to 130-foot depths that trips usually fished, because of conditions. Many fish were small that chomped on the outing. But the angling’s been holding up for sea bass and porgies. More of the porgies were keepers, but both species gave up lots of action. Anglers probably bagged 20 to 50 porgies and five to 15 sea bass apiece. A few winter flounder, blackfish, cod and blues were also cranked up. The fishing’s good, so grab a rod and come on down, Butch said. Trips are sailing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Angling was docked the past couple of days on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. “The weather has not been in our favor,” it said. Trips are 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.

A striped bass heavier than 40 pounds was eased aboard the <b>Gambler</b> on Sunday that was jigged on the ocean, a report said on the party boat’s website. But the numbers just weren’t around yet. Bluefish and false albacore are alternatives when no stripers show. The crew hopes the cold weather that’s coming will kick in the striper migration. Acres of forage fish are schooling up and down the beaches. So when the migration is ready to move, the fishing will be game on, the crew thinks.  The boat was stuck in port the past few days because of strong northeast wind. Wind looks right for the fishing Friday through Sunday, and trips are sailing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The boat will have one more go at tuna fishing on an overnight trip 10 p.m. Tuesday, and spots are available. The last trip fished the best of the year, covered in a previous report here. Telephone the boat to sign up.

<b>Toms River</b>

Scattered striped bass were beached from the surf the past couple of days, said Mario from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. A 33-1/2-pounder was checked-in that was socked from Lavallette’s surf Wednesday just before dark on a Tsunami swim shad. The angler had been snagging bunker and livelining them for bait, but nothing bit. Then he tied on the shad. Stripers in the surf were taken during daytime on bunker or clam. Lures like Daiwa SP Minnows with teasers hooked them at dusk and especially after dark. When lure fishing, anglers who moved increased the odds of catching. Plenty of throwback stripers could be played on Barnegat Bay, say from Ocean Gate to Berkeley Island Park, and the Toms River at night on swimming lures or shads if anglers moved and found them. A few of the bass began to swipe popper lures like a Smack-It Jr. Blackfishing was pretty good along Barnegat Inlet’s north jetty and Point Pleasant Canal during the weekend. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Ten percent of the anglers catch 90 percent of the fish, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. That couldn’t be truer about surf fishing for striped bass currently. While most surf anglers sit and read reports or wait for the phone to ring, the dedicated few pound the beach, catching nice, keeper stripers 28 to 34 inches. Stripers in the surf were picked off on bait during daylight. But plugs seemed to hold an edge at first light and dusk and on night tides. Rubber shads could now be added to your surf bag. They’re great swimming lures that began to knock off stripers from the beach. Add a layer of clothing to handle the chillier weather. With colder weather forecast and the full moon gone, will the striper fishing heat up? the report asked earlier in the week, on Tuesday. Not a ton of the fish were around, but enough to hold your interest, the report said then. Black Friday is here early at The Dock Outfitters. Tica and D-Blue rods are 15 percent off that are stocked. The rods are 7- to 11-foot conventional, spinning, one-piece or two-piece. Tsunami’s Trophy trolling rods for wire line are also 15 percent off that 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, boat rentals and, in season, jet-ski rentals.

<b>Forked River</b>

<b>Tuna-Tic Sportfishing</b> had been going to begin striped bass fishing this week but was weathered out, Capt. Mike said. He hopes to start the fishing, on the ocean, this weekend.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Barnegat Inlet’s striped bass fishing picked up, said George from <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b>. The fish were boated on livelined spots or clams. The ocean was too rough to boat for stripers. Were blackfish hooked along the inlet’s rocks? Yes, he said, they were. Anglers fish for them on foot. Live spots, green crabs and salted clams are stocked. 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.

Maybe this cold snap will trigger the striped bass migration to begin pushing south to the local ocean, said Capt. Ted from the <b>Super Chic</b>. The fish seemed to be hooked on Raritan Bay. He ventured north on the ocean to Seaside searching for stripers, but found none. Weather was a little difficult on a trip Sunday aboard, but 10 keeper stripers and two shorts where whacked at Barnegat Inlet on livelined spots. Weather was sloppy Saturday, and only one striper was landed on the boat. A trip Friday wreck-fished, cleaning up on sea bass, porgies, blues and bonito, a pretty good catch. A trip Thursday was the season’s first to fish for stripers on the vessel, and none was caught. Beginning Friday, the boat is supposed to fish practically every day, except when weather prevents.

Strong northwest wind is forecast for Friday, and that’s usually what’s needed to kick fishing in for striped bass in the ocean, <b>Miss Barnegat Light</b>’s Facebook page said. Trips are jigging for stripers and blues 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday through Sunday. Bring the arsenal: jigs, rubber shads, poppers and snagging hooks to catch bunker to liveline. One of the trips will also run 6 a.m. to 12 noon on Thanksgiving.

<b>Barnegat</b>

<b>***Update, Friday, 11/10:***</b> An email from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the <b>Hi Flier</b>: “I hate putting out reports or soliciting trips on reports of fish that we didn't personally catch, but I'm running a charter business here, and I talk to a lot of captains every day.  So once in a while I have to report second-hand – but reliable second-hand. We caught slot and keeper stripers in the inlet yesterday on live bait. Apparently, while we were doing that, boats from Island Beach to Asbury Park were trolling 25- to 35-pound bass on spoons and Mojos. The surf guys caught some fish, and there was even some bird play and migration-style fishing on the northern end of this bite. It's time to throw the ropes and have everything on board: trolling gear, snaggers, jigs, swim shads, squid jigs, live bait … we're going to pack it all. The water temperature dipped into the high 50s, and the fish are on the move. This is what we’ve all been waiting for! Open-boat or charter 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Four people max. All fish are shared. This is the trip that we are going to make the pics and video happen.”

<b>Absecon</b>

Strong northerly wind caused tides to flood back waters this week, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. That made striped bass fishing tougher on the back bay, but his charters for the fish all caught, and fished locally, like behind Brigantine. The flood tides should calm for the weekend, he thinks. Friday is supposed to be windy. How good the fishing was, or how many of the bass swam the bay, was difficult to tell in the conditions. But the angling was pretty good for Dave’s trips. Almost half of the bass were slot-sized to 30 or 31 inches. There were decent fish around. Livelined spots caught well during the flood tides. Dave’s trips also angle the fish on Gulp Nemesis along the banks in shallows, especially at creeks on outgoing tides. But there weren’t much of outgoing tides in all the water that the north wind was pushing in. He’s sure that angling will turn back on. Wind kept news quieter than before about blackfishing along jetties. Dave tried to remember the last calm day. But the blackfishing’s been good. The limit will be raised to six of the tautog beginning next Thursday, from the current limit of one.

<b>Brigantine</b>

A 33-pound 3-ounce, monster striped bass was weighed from Brigantine’s surf today at <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>, Capt. Andy said. Chuck Flinn from West Chester, Pa., heaved-in the 45-incher on Riptide bunker, moving into first place in Riptide’s Fall Fishing Derby. He also won $150 for the Riptide Gregmar Charters 43-Inch Striper Bounty for the catch. See more about the derby below. For the bounty, entry is $5, and all the cash is awarded each time someone who’s entered checks-in a striper 43 inches or larger from Brigantine’s beach. Entry is required before fishing. That was the only striper brought in from the surf in past days. “We will have to wait and see if the school has moved in or it was just a lost fish,” Riptide’s Facebook page said. “Stay tuned.” The surf had been rough and weedy, but was clearing up. Friday will be windy, but the surf’s conditions should be good by the weekend, Andy thinks. 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 Friday to Sunday 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. Riptide will be a weigh station for the No Football Weekend Benefit Striped Bass Tournament on Friday to Sunday that will benefit victims of Puerto Rico’s hurricane. <b>***Update, Friday, 11/10:***</b> Despite blustery, cold weather, a 20-pound 39-inch striper was weighed from the town’s surf at the shop today, Riptide’s Facebook page said. The fish came from the island’s north end. Also, another angler sent the store a photo of a 28-incher from the north end today. Click the link to see photos of the fish. Both stripers inhaled bunker from Riptide. Starting to bite, the Facebook page said. 

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Atlantic City is blackfish central! said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Lots of blackfish. Some serious fishing. Customers, fishing on foot, yanked in the tautog along nearby, jetty-lined Absecon Inlet. The tog bag limit will be raised to six beginning next Thursday, from the current limit of one. Anglers should be able to limit out then, Noel thinks, and that doesn’t happen every year. During some years, anglers can’t buy a tog along jetties when the limit increases. Cold water stops them from biting. But currently the fish hit aggressively, apparently because of warm water. Dunk green crabs for them. The shop will hold a free Tog Master Tournament from Nov. 16 to 30. Prizes for the heaviest will be $100 for first place, and $50 each for second and third. The fish must come from along Atlantic City’s jetties. Schoolie striped bass were landed that chased 18-inch herring along sod banks and jetties. A few cocktail bluefish showed up in the inlet on occasion. The full supply of baits is stocked, including green crabs, fresh bunker, pints and quarts of clams, eels and bloodworms.   

<b>Longport</b>

The <b>Stray Cat</b> fished Monday, still scooping sea bass, triggerfish and blues from the ocean like before, Capt. Mike said. Pretty good, and nothing changed, he said. The fish remained inshore, and the water temperature was the same. No trips could fish in the weather since. Friday and Saturday are chartered, and space is available for open-boat trips Sunday and Wednesday. Room is available for blackfishing next Thursday and Friday, the first two days when the bag limit will begin to be six. That’s compared with the current limit of one. Spaces are available for a half-day trip on Thanksgiving and a full-day trip on Black Friday.

<b>Ocean City</b>

Whenever wind failed to blow 300 m.p.h., lots of striped bass could be caught on the back bay, said Ed from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. The fishing was improving, on chunked bunker, eels and live spots. Lots of small grabbed soft-plastic or swimming lures. Stripers began to be hooked at Great Egg and Corson’s inlets, and that hadn’t happened in some years. Most were on live spots or eels, more than on chunks. Fewer anglers blackfished than before along bridges and similar structure in the weather. But lots of the tautog swam the waters, and some were decent-sized. Sometimes that was some of the only possible angling, when weather prevented fishing at the inlets and on the ocean. No reports came from the ocean in a long time because of weather. Anglers were fortunate to get a good day of weather in a week for ocean fishing.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Resident striped bass to maybe 28 to 30 inches schooled the back bay, said Mike R. from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. They were hooked around Whale Creek and Strathmere on livelined spots or eels. No migrating stripers reached the ocean this far south yet. Lots of very small bluefish swam the bay. Sand sharks roamed the water.

Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>, ran no fishing trips since the weekend, he said. He’ll next fish Saturday and Sunday. False albacore should still race around the ocean. His fishing nailed them last weekend, covered in the previous report here. Striped bass fishing was great on the back bay, bailing lots. His trips pummeled them during the weekend, too. Joe hopes the southern migration of stripers arrives in the local ocean soon. Maybe the cold weather will get them moving from farther north in the state. Those are big, mature fish. Looking ahead, Joe’s annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys will fish from Christmas to Easter. See the <a href=" http://www.captainjoehughes.com/page3.html" target="_blank">traveling charters webpage</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>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>’s been sea bass fishing on the ocean whenever possible between stiff weather, catching very well, Capt. Tom said. Spaces are available for a couple of days of the angling next week on open-boat trips. Charters and open-boat trips fish aboard. A couple of blackfish trips are slated once the bag limit is jacked up to six of the tog beginning next Thursday, from the current limit of one. Soon afterward, the boat will begin striped bass fishing on the ocean. The boat will be moved to Atlantic City tomorrow for striper season. It’s time! Only a couple of dates remain for striper charters. Act fast to book them.

None of the fleet probably fished in past days because of weather, Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> thought. Trips are supposed to fish for sea bass this weekend aboard the ocean. Saturday looks rough, but Sunday looks fine.

Weather was often tough, but a few of the trips for sea bass got out on the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b> on the ocean, Capt. Paul said. They caught, too. Not as many keepers bit on a couple of the days, but there was action. Most of the keepers are holding farther from shore, and Paul didn’t want to sail that far in strong wind. Fewer anglers sailed aboard when weather was rough, too, and the economics of that – the cost of fuel compared with how many fares are aboard – is a factor. But the weather will straighten out sometime, and there were sea bass. On Thursday, in better weather, one angler limited out on sea bass and won the pool with a 27-inch weakfish. Five weakfish were hooked aboard that day that swam around the wreck fished. Saturday’s weather was rough, but the day’s trip sailed, and one angler bagged 13 sea bass, two less than a limit, and some other anglers bagged double-digits. The ocean was warm or 60 to 62 degrees this week. The season’s first cold snap was about to drop in tomorrow for a moment. That won’t cool the ocean immediately. Trips are sailing for sea bass at 8 a.m. daily. The trips will begin blackfishing starting next Thursday, when the bag limit will be lifted to six, from the current limit of one. Then trips won’t need to sail 20 or 30 miles from shore. If some sea bass are angled on the blackfish trips, so be it. But the trips will target blackfish then.

Anglers waited for the migration of striped bass to arrive along the local coast, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. But a few keeper stripers began to be reported from the surf from the ocean to Delaware Bay in town. Blackfish snapped along jetties in the ocean and bay surf. Resident stripers, including a couple of keepers, gave up catches in the back bay on bunker or clams during chumming. Or they were hooked on lures during early mornings or other low-light hours. The lures often included top-waters, swim shads or sand-eel types. For ocean boaters, sea bass fishing was best. Baits stocked include fresh bunker when available, salted clams, eels and green crabs.

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