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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 12-14-17

<b>Keyport</b>

Fishing was weathered out in past days with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. Trips will resume Friday in forecasts for better weather this weekend, and he’s looking forward, because snow in the past week probably chilled the water, and that could be good for blackfishing. Open-boat trips are slated to blackfish daily. On Down Deep’s other boat, open trips are slated to fish for striped bass daily. Charters are available for either fishing for up to 15 passengers. Both boats feature heated cabins and galleys. 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>Atlantic Highlands</b>

The daily trip for blackfish Monday swung in some of the better catches of the tautog this season on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. Weather kept the fishing from sailing since, including today, when snow that fell the previous night kept anglers from showing up at the marina, though the crew shaped up to fish. The trips will resume Friday, when wind is supposed to calm, and the boat is blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 or 3 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Friday, 12/15:***</b> Blackfishing resumed today aboard, Tom said at 11:15 a.m. in a phone call on the trip. The trip made three drops so far, continually pushing deeper. The deeper the water fished, the fewer the throwbacks that bit. A good number of throwbacks bit at the first drop. Fewer did on the second. A few keepers were bagged at each. The trip had just begun fishing at the third. So he was looking for more keepers, and would move again if necessary. Currently the forecast looked like Saturday’s trip will be canceled because of gusts to 30 knots. Sunday looked like the day to climb aboard this weekend.

Throwback striped bass were sometimes beached from the surf, said Johnny O. from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. None of the party boats sailed from the marina the past couple of days because of weather. They’re blackfishing, but no news was available about the angling, because the boats were docked. Baits stocked include green crabs and white crabs. The store is located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina, near the harbor’s party, charter and private boats.

<b>Neptune</b>

<b>***Update, Friday, 12/15:***</b> <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> will do no fishing this weekend, because Capt. Ralph is attending an event, he wrote in an email. Fishing will resume Monday aboard. Spaces are available for individual-reservation trips for: offshore wreck-fishing Dec. 23 for cod, pollock, giant sea bass, jumbo porgies and white and red hake; and blackfishing this coming Tuesday and Friday and Dec. 24. Charters are available. Ralph, his wife Mary Ann and the crew wish anglers a Merry Christmas and a great New Year.

<b>Belmar</b>

<b>***Update, Saturday, 12/16:***</b> An email from Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b>: “The snow (striped) bass are here and feeding like it’s their last meal, putting on some fat for the winter. The reports we get … point to a coast-wide invasion of small fish. When you hit a pocket of fish, the numbers you can catch are extremely high. One angler … had more than 10 double-headers (and) many singles. The surf and inlet areas have produced big numbers (and) occasional 30+inch fish. These fish can be caught on an assortment of lures, but keep it small with single hooks to avoid damage to the fish and you. A hook in the hand is no fun. Winter flounder are still biting, but (the season for the fish closes beginning Jan. 1), so don’t wait … .” Merry Christmas, he wrote.

Blackfishing’s been good on the ocean on the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b>, Capt. Chris said. The fishing was just a matter of dealing with weather that canceled trips the past two days. The angling will resume Friday, and catches have included good-sized blackfish to just under 10 pounds. Any bait or tackle catch better than another? Jigs worked well, he said. But green crabs are provided, and white crabs are available for sale aboard. Trips are blackfishing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Striped bass were still boated Monday on the ocean, said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. He wasn’t out for them but spoke with someone whose trip scored well on the bass, “fairly local,” Pete said. That was on jigs and top-water lures. “True fall fishing,” he said. No boaters seemed to fish Tuesday and Wednesday in brutal wind. A trip with Parker Pete’s was canceled today because of forecasts, and was supposed to blackfish. Saturday is the next scheduled trip that might get out. This time of season is a matter of playing the weather. Pete on Jan. 15 will begin accepting bookings for spring striped bass fishing aboard. Book early, because the dates fill. 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> wrapped up his fishing season, he said. Fish are still out there to catch, though. He thanks those who fished aboard this year, looks forward to seeing anglers in spring, and wishes everybody Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

<b>Brielle</b>

Fishing was excellent for sea bass, porgies and ling when the party boat <b>Jamaica II</b> had the weather to sail, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. Customers and their catches included: Jerry Winston, Pennsauken, limit of sea bass to 5 pounds, 21 porgies and 14 ling; and Carl Brown, Willingboro, limit of jumbo sea bass, 37 porgies, 11 ling and the pool-winning, 14-pound cod. Nine, 12- and 14-hour trips are fishing for sea bass or sea bass and ling. See the <a href=" http://www.jamaicaii.com/" target="_blank"> Jamaica II schedule</a>’s online.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Bottom-fishing was still okay on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. A couple of days fished slowly, but that bounced back the past two days. Porgies, sea bass, a few blackfish, a couple of cod and still a few blues were rounded up. On the couple of slow days, anglers averaged 10 to 15 fish apiece. During the last two days, they averaged 15 to 30 apiece. How good was the porgy fishing? Two days ago, for those who targeted them, porgy fishing was as good as it gets. Butch even limited out on them that day by noon. The porgies weren’t jumbos like before but were 11 or 12 inches. How was the sea bass fishing? Lots of small but some good-sized were hit. The blues weighed 3 to 5 pounds. Trips fished in 100 to 120 feet of water. The ocean surface there was 52 to 54 degrees, relatively warm. The fish felt warm. If blues were around, the water couldn’t be too cold. Trips are bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

<b>Toms River</b>

A few anglers slid 18- to 22-inch striped bass from the surf the past two afternoons, said Dennis from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. That was mostly on Jetty Ghosts with teasers, and mornings fished slowly in the surf for stripers lately. A few herring swam the surf, and sometimes birds worked the baitfish. Most boaters hauled boats from the water for the season. But a shot of boaters will probably fish for stripers on the ocean this weekend. One customer’s been catching winter flounder well on Shark River. Another was headed to boat Oyster Creek for flounder, because his buddy’s been landing them there. Bloodworms that are stocked will be the final carried until late in winter. The shop last year began carrying them again in late February. The store became open full-time then for the year, because of a warm spell. Bloodworms can be fished for flounder. Garden worms and nightcrawlers will currently continue to be stocked. Not much was heard about blackfishing, and the store stopped carrying crabs for bait for them. A few customers left for blackfishing on party boats. Holiday gift certificates are available with a 20- to 35-percent discount, depending on how much you spend, through Christmas Eve. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

The few brave who fished the surf yesterday locked into hot action with throwback striped bass in the teens to 20 inches, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Birds worked the water like crazy, whales fed nearby and the stripers were on the feed. They have been recently. Rubber sand eels caught best, especially Tsunami holographic ones. The shop is selling them for $4.99 for a package of four, while the supply lasts. But those weren’t the only tackle that worked. Thin metal like Ava jigs, nearly any jig that could imitate sand eels and teasers connected. The store’s holiday sale is underway, featuring 15 percent off all tackle, except tackle already marked down. Buy a gift card and get 20 percent additional value. The cards are good for all products and services at the store, and can be used after the holiday sale. 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>

Boaters still pasted striped bass on the ocean off Barnegat Inlet, according to radio talk, said Mike from <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Most of the fish seemed trolled on Mojos and bunker spoons. Customers bought green crabs for blackfishing, but most weren’t going to sail for the tautog until the weekend. Nobody stopped in who was going to fish Oyster Creek for stripers or bluefish that were reported from the creek previously. Weather was rough, and few anglers were around. After the first of the year, the store will be open on weekends, including for anglers fishing the creek. That’s the warm-water discharge from Forked River power plant and is one of the few places that give up catches in the middle of winter along the coast.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Wind weathered out striped bass fishing Tuesday on the ocean on the <b>Super Chic</b>, Capt. Ted said. A trip is supposed to fish Saturday aboard for stripers or blackfish. The anglers are up for either. Stripers were still boated on the ocean Monday, the last time Ted heard about the fishing. Those he heard about were hooked on jigs and rubber shads.

<b>Barnegat</b>

An edited email from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the <b>Hi Flier</b>: “I know it's hard to think about fishing when we’re experiencing an Arctic Blast right now, but better days are coming … and soon. High temps in the 40s and even a few days in the 50s once we get past Friday for the next week or more in the long-range forecast. Along with that we have west and northwest winds dominating the marine forecast, making this the longest stretch of that desirable direction all season. Calm seas and warmer temps. The stripers are still here, and we’re trolling them as well as casting swim shads under birds or on heavy readings. Everything from shorts to 15-pound fish in the mix. A lot of 28- to 30-inch fish now. Sailing open-boat or charter 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday through Monday. Four people max. All fish are shared. We have tags to keep one slot fish per person, as well. You can call on my cell right up until the time of the trip to grab a spot. You never know. Also, here’s a discount code for our line of apparel at <a href=" https://www.psyquatic.com/" target="_blank"><b>Psyquatic.com</b></a>. Enter code: PSYQ for 15 percent off, and we ship same day to get it in time for Christmas!”

<b>Absecon</b>

On the ocean, striped bass were boated in the snowstorm Saturday, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. Some good fishing for them continued on Sunday, and nothing was heard about the angling since, because of weather. Most stripers still seemed to the north, so they’ve got to migrate south through the local ocean still. Not much was heard about stripers from the bay, but at least small ones are usually there this time of season. Dave saw some kind of small bait all the way up the creek near the shop. Life was still around in back waters. A few customers began fishing for white perch up brackish rivers like the Mullica. They seemed to catch, and that’s a fishing anglers begin when wintry weather keeps them from fishing elsewhere. Bloodworms, a bait for the perch, that are stocked might be the final available this season. Dave hadn’t heard from the supplier about whether more will be available. Dave will probably look to net grass shrimp, another bait for perch, to stock any day now. Live spots, eels and green crabs are stocked. Blackfishing seemed to slow in back waters like along bridges and jetties. Blackfishing was good on the ocean, the last time anglers reported the fishing, and will probably keep improving in cooling water. A big sale is underway at the store, featuring at least 25 percent off nearly all tackle and gear, and 50 percent off a lot of items for clearance. Dave will be at the store daily until Christmas, unless weather is horrendous. Afterward, he’ll keep the shop open for no set hours but will be “on call” until reopening full time beginning March 1. 

<b>Brigantine</b>

Ocean boaters drilled good fishing for striped bass, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. Andy Herman weighed-in a 39-pounder. Surf fishing was slow. Customers were getting ready for Christmas. Plenty of tackle is on sale for 25 percent off, and some is on sale for 50 percent. That includes Mojos for 25 percent and summer flounder tackle for 50 percent. Buy a gift card and get 10 percent additional value. Telephone to order <a href=" http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/food/stock-s-pound-cake/article_1fe54e57-d5ea-5ff6-b063-17e500f2ef0c.html" target="_blank"> Stock’s famous pound cake </a> from Riptide to be shipped to you for the holidays: 609-264-0440. Salted clams and frozen bunker are stocked. The store is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, but telephone to confirm. The shop will be open until New Year’s before closing for a winter break.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Still beating up striped bass, right off Brigantine on the ocean aboard, Capt. Tom from <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b> said about trips this week aboard. Trips on the boat trolled them and sometimes jigged them or hooked them on cast lures, when the fish schooled tightly. Birds worked bait that the stripers foraged on when that happened. The stripers in past days were a variety of all sizes from throwbacks to 35 pounds. A trip today will be the final from Atlantic City aboard this season. The vessel will be moved back to Cape May, home port, this evening. The vessel was moved to Atlantic City for striper fishing this fall. From Cape May, blackfish trips are often booked aboard. But on days when wind blows too hard to reach the blackfish grounds but is a favorable direction, northwest, to fish for stripers close to shore, Tom will put together striper trips. So get in touch with him for that, or for the blackfishing. Charters and open-boat trips sail.

A few striped bass were hung along the T-jetty, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Not killing them, but catching, he said, and a 33-pounder was weighed at the store the other day that swiped a Daiwa SP Minnow along the jetty. Eels, bunker, clams and plugs were fished for stripers from the T. Customers fish the jetty, located on the ocean end of Absecon Inlet, on foot. They also fish the jetty-lined inlet for blackfish on foot. Blackfish were cranked from the inlet here and there, not a lot. Then again, weather was rough and cold, keeping some anglers from fishing. Dunk green crabs or clams for the tautog. All baits, including those mentioned, are stocked.  The shop is holding a Fishing for Toys Holiday Striped Bass Tournament until Sunday. To register, bring a toy to donate, and those will be donated to the Police Athletic League for needy families. No money, only a toy, is required to register. Prizes will be $250 for the biggest striper, $150 for the second-biggest and $100 for the third.  

<b>Longport</b>

The <b>Stray Cat</b> was laid up because of weather in past days, but striped bass fishing was good Sunday and Monday off the Ocean City Ferris wheel on the ocean aboard, Capt. Mike said. The trips hooked the bass on bunker snagged and then livelined for bait and on trolled Mojos. “It ain’t no use unless it’s chartreuse,” he said about the Mojos. The ocean temperature remained good for the fishing at 50 to 51 degrees, bunker schooled and gannets worked the bunker. “We’re just working the weather,” he said. Spaces are available for an open-boat trip for stripers Saturday. Mike’s got a few angler who want to go. The boat is chartered Sunday, and open trips for blackfish are available Monday through Friday. The boat will fish until Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 15, before going on winter break. The vessel will probably run south to off Delaware late in that time period for blackfishing.

<b>Ocean City</b>

A couple of hefty striped bass were weighed from the ocean early in the week at <b>Fin-Atics</b>, Bill said. Stripers, including a few big, like 40 pounds, were trolled just south of the bell buoy near Ocean City around then. Some smaller stripers chomped in the back bay on soft-plastic lures. Nothing was heard about surf-fishing for stripers, and few anglers were out in rough weather in past days. No blackfish really bit in the bay anymore this season, and nothing was heard about boating for blackfish on the ocean in the weather.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Boating for striped bass was as good as it gets Monday on the ocean, said Mike from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Weather was unfishable Tuesday and Wednesday. On Monday, the fish were hooked the whole day, on the troll, on jigs, on bunker snagged and then livelined for bait or whatever ways anglers wanted to catch. Whether stripers bit in the surf lately was unknown, because nobody reported trying for them. The most recent blackfish reports were from the weekend, but the two reports talked about good fishing. One was from an angler who said his trip limited out quickly on blackfish and then released more. The other was from the local party boat that reported a good day of blackfishing during the weekend. Mike forgot which day. Baits stocked include green crabs. Some live spots and eels are still carried. So are all frozen baits. The store is open for no set schedule. It’s open whenever anglers are likely to stop in.

This was a tough week of weather, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. He did no fishing for striped bass then, but is supposed to fish for them this weekend on the ocean. 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>

Boaters seemed to rack up striped bass from the ocean off Ocean City and Sea Isle City on Monday and Tuesday, said Capt. George from <b>Heavy Hitter</b>. The fishing sounded decent, and none probably sailed Wednesday in windy, bitter cold weather. The Heavy Hitter is supposed to sail for stripers this weekend.

A very good catch of striped bass was trolled Monday on the ocean on the <b>Prime Time II</b>, Capt. Steve said. The fish weren’t as big as previously aboard. Still, they were in the 40 inches, up to 44. Lots of bait was marked, and Steve assumed that was bunker. A trip Friday aboard hooked no stripers. But the angling rebounded on Monday. Steve wondered whether stripers and bait pulled offshore Friday. Not much bait was read that day. Snow fell that afternoon. No bluefish were hooked during striper trips yet this season aboard. The boat is supposed to striper fish next on Friday and Sunday.

Blackfishing last sailed Friday on the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, Capt. Paul said. A snowstorm kept Saturday’s trip from fishing, and afterward rough forecasts or too few anglers prevented trips from running. But anglers are coming for the tautog fishing Friday through Sunday, and Paul expects to sail then. On last Friday’s trip, a few anglers limited out. Rudy Barbolino from Wildwood Crest was one, and one of his blackfish weighed 8 ½ pounds. Anglers who limited on the trip also included Bob Key from Lancaster and Jan Blighe from Salem. “And other guys had fish,” Paul said, and some of the blackfish were good-sized. The ocean probably became colder from the week’s cold weather and the snow, and that could be good for blackfishing. Trips are blackfishing at 8 a.m. daily.

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