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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 12-11-17


The most recent trips sailed for blackfish, before Saturday’s snow, on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. Some anglers managed two to three keepers apiece, and some hooked no keepers. Throwbacks gave up okay action, but Frank hasn’t remembered this few keepers biting this time of year in a long time. This is usually the heart of blackfish season.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

The daily trip for blackfish today was picking at the tautog, probably better on keepers than yesterday, on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said at 11:30 a.m. in a phone call aboard the outing. A couple of anglers bagged three already. Yesterday’s trip picked the tautog, too, and that’s how the fishing’s been lately. Some anglers only landed throwbacks on trips. All caught them, at least. Trips fished every day recently, including in Saturday’s snowstorm. Forecasts are calling for some wind Tuesday, but Tom will try to run a trip that day. Strong wind and bitter cold is forecast for Wednesday, at the beginning of a cold front. But the wind is supposed to be calmer and okay Thursday and Friday. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 or 3 p.m. daily.


An offshore wreck-fishing trip was scrubbed Saturday and a striped bass trip was axed Sunday with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> because of weather, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. Too many anglers were concerned about driving to Sunday’s trip after Saturday’s snow, and Ralph agreed they shouldn’t. The wreck-fishing – that was an individual-reservation trip – is rescheduled for Dec. 23. That’s a final chance to bag sea bass, because sea bass season will close beginning Jan. 1. The trip will sail for cod, pollock, sea bass, porgies and white and red hake. Individual-reservation trips will sail for blackfish Dec. 19, 22 and 24. If you have four anglers or more but too few for a full charter, contact Ralph for a special winter rate. Charters are available daily.


A dusting of snow fell, and air was frigid, and anglers will see whether that affects fishing, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. He’ll also see whether that affects angler interest. A tremendous number of small striped bass, averaging 10 to 22 inches, filled the surf and rivers this past week. Anglers said the fish could be hooked on every cast in the surf. The fishing seemed best in afternoons and evenings, but the bass were hooked all day and at night. Use single hooks, like on small bucktails, Tsunami rubber eels and teasers, to release them in best health. Enjoy the abundance, and release them quickly, because they’re the future of the striper population. Have fun, and keep safe in the cold.

<b>Celtic Stoirm Charters</b> fished in the snow Saturday, cranking up a good catch of sea bass and porgies in 100 feet of water at Shark River Reef, Capt. Mike said. Only a couple of other boats were seen, and seas began beautiful at 2 to 3 feet and became rough at 5 to 8 when wind built to 30 knots. Mike heard that boaters caught striped bass Sunday on the ocean. Forecasts called for rough seas that day, but the ocean turned out calm.

Fishing last sailed Friday, boating striped bass and bluefish on the ocean, with <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Pete said. No trips fished Saturday and Sunday because of weather. Seas were fine Sunday, but Pete didn’t want to make anglers drive to fish just after the snow the previous day. He knew about nobody who striper fished those two days. Some dates are still available for fishing aboard. Fishing this week aboard is supposed to include blackfishing. 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.


Customers boated a fair number of striped bass to the south, mostly from Manasquan Inlet to the Seaside Pier, said Alex from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. The fish, 20 inches to 20 pounds, were trolled on Mojos and umbrella rigs with rubber shads or were hooked on jigs or livelined bunker. Surf-fishing for stripers was pretty good, actually, from Manasquan Inlet to Seaside. Tsunami eels with teasers sometimes landed two at once. Blackfishing on the ocean caught some of the tautog, but not like it should. Blackfish remained in Point Pleasant Canal, but stripers didn’t.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

<b>***Update, Tuesday, 12/12:***</b> Weather felt a little cold on the ocean but was good enough to sail Saturday and Sunday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. Blackfishing was picky on the trips, and strong current probably affected that. This month is a good time for the angling. Some spots gave up life, and some failed to produce at all. The water surface was in the 50 degrees, and the captain thought water on the bottom was much colder, “which is not making them bite right,” the report said. The fishing will become good, he said. Green crabs caught most blackfish, a few, on the trips. But white crabs landed some, and both crabs are carried aboard. Today’s trip was expected to shape up to sail, and the crew would see if weather allows Wednesday’s trip to run. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Gift certificates are available for the holidays.

A few striped bass and bluefish were bagged Saturday on the <b>Gambler</b> on the ocean, a report said on the party boat’s website. The boat also sailed for stripers the previous day, and the angling was slow both days aboard. The trips worked as far north as Shrewsbury Rocks. The fish Saturday were hooked on Krocodile spoons, rubber shads and Ava 47 jigs. Lots of dogfish were around, “happy to bite the tail off your shad if you retrieve to slow,” the report said. On Saturday’s trip, “we saw more life than we caught,” it said. Trips are fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Offshore trips for sea bass were weathered out last week with <b>Mushin Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. A quick trip blackfished for some dinner Saturday, picking away until the snowstorm settled in. He hopes trips for sea bass, porgies and cod will sail later this week. Looking ahead, anglers interested in fishing for tuna and other big game on desirable dates next year should consider reserving now. Weekends are always the first to fill. Like in recent years, the boat will be docked at Cape May in the early season for the big game at offshore canyons. The boat next year will be there from June 1 to July 31. Afterward, the boat is returned to home port in Point Pleasant Beach, and continues the fishing at canyons. Tuna and makos bite to the south at first each year. The Cape May trips provide some incredible fishing. Great tilefishing can go along with that. Telephone Alan to discuss options. 

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

No matter Saturday’s snowstorm, catches of throwback striped bass didn’t miss a beat in the surf, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. A few hardy anglers fished in the storm, reeling in 20-inchers at Island Beach State Park. Tsunami Holographic Eels, a weighted rubber lure, kept selling for the fishing lately. That seemed to mean sand eels were bait the stripers foraged on. Swimming lures like Daiwa SP Minnows and skinny metal like Ava jigs usually also work then. Fly-anglers also hooked up on skinny streamers in Saturday’s storm. Bait sometimes caught lately. But artificials clocked most of the bass. 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>Barnegat Light</b>

Striped bass fishing on the ocean was canceled in Saturday’s snowstorm on the <b>Super Chic</b>, Capt. Ted said. Plenty of the bass are around, and fishing for them’s been good since Wednesday on the troll and on jigs. Another trip is supposed to fish for them Tuesday.


A trip hooked 15- to 20-pound striped bass on cast rubber shads on the ocean Thursday afternoon on the <b>Hi Flier</b>, Capt. Dave wrote in an email. Gannets hit the water hard, and previously, trips aboard were all trolling stripers. “We all knew it had to happen sooner or later,” he said about catching on the cast lures. The stripers on the shads were released, because the trip had already trolled the boat’s limit of 28- to 34-inch stripers and slot stripers. That was a half-mile off Barnegat Inlet on umbrella rigs and Mojos. Was an epic day of striper fishing, and Dave heard from a few other captains who said it was for them, too. Striper fishing was canceled Saturday aboard in the snowstorm. Wind switched to 20 knots from northeast, though was forecast to be westerly. Seas were supposed to be great for the fishing Sunday and today, Dave said when he sent the email Saturday. Open-boat trips or charters will sail 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday through next Monday. Four people max. All fish are shared.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Trips sailed for striped bass every day on the ocean with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. Sunday’s fishing was a little tough, but the angling was stellar on previous days aboard. Sunday’s trip caught nine: the boat’s limit of unders, and a couple of overs, but not until the end of the outing. The previous trips each landed scores of the fish, outstanding. Massive bird plays have been popping up. The trips connected on the troll and on cast bucktails. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing, and the boat will be returned to Cape May, home port, on Friday to begin blackfishing. The vessel was moved to Atlantic City for striper fishing a moment.


On the <b>Stray Cat</b>, no trips fished Saturday because of snow and Sunday because of forecasts for rough seas, Capt. Mike said. Seas ended up calmer Sunday than predicted. Open-boat trips will sail for blackfish Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Plenty of green crabs are carried aboard, and Mike obtained a few white crabs to keep on trips. A trip aboard fished for striped bass the other day on the ocean, but that was no good. Two or three bit livelined bunker but got off. Book space for a special, open trip that will blackfish 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

For Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>, striped bass fishing will be wrapped up after next weekend, he said. That’s because he begins annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys at Christmas. Those trips fish until Easter, and see the <a href=" http://www.captainjoehughes.com/page3.html" target="_blank">traveling charters webpage</a> on Jersey Cape’s website. No trips sailed for stripers this weekend with him because of the snowstorm Saturday and forecasts for Sunday. The fishing probably could’ve sailed Sunday, but he erred on the side of caution. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.


Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> is busy guiding hunts for brants and ducks now along the Intracoastal Waterway and ocean from Cape May to Little Egg Inlet, he said. If striped bass pop up during duck hunting on the ocean, the trips might mix in fishing for them. But he’s got a lot of hunters coming in. Saturday’s snowstorm helped draw the bird migrations in, and he was pleased with the waterfowl he saw during scouting this weekend. He was seeing too few of the birds until then. He saw loads of boats fishing the ocean during his scouting Thursday and Friday, before the storm. The next guests at Jim’s <a href="http://www.sjlodge.com/" target="_blank">lodge</a> in upstate New York are booked around Christmas. Guests target steelheads in nearby Salmon River from fall to early spring. Snowmobiling is also popular at the lodge in winter.

<b>Cape May</b>

The <b>Heavy Hitter</b> headed for striped bass Friday on the ocean, but the fishing, off Ocean City, was slow, Capt. George said. None was caught aboard, and a bunch of boats were there. None seemed to be catching. Stripers were reportedly bailed off Long Beach Island farther north around this time. Boats from a little farther north of Cape May, like Atlantic City, could reach them. Lots of bunker schooled where the Heavy Hitter fished. The boats is supposed to fish for stripers again next weekend.

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