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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 12-28-17


Good striped bass fishing was still clocked on the local ocean on jigs and rubber shads, said Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>. Open-boat trips will sail for them daily through Sunday. Afterward, open trips will fish daily for blackfish, ling and cod. Charters are available for either fishing for up to 15 passengers, and Down Deep’s boats feature heated cabins with galleys. Sign up for the Short Notice List on <a href="" target="_blank">Down Deep’s website</a> to be kept informed about special open trips for ling and cod.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

On the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, blackfishing sailed Tuesday in strong wind and Wednesday in the cold but less wind, Capt. Tom said. Tuesday’s trip bagged a few of the fish, but the wind and also strong current made tough conditions. On Wednesday’s trip, some anglers bagged four apiece. Sometimes anglers ducked into the cabin to warm up. Forecasts for wind looked like today’s trip might stay docked. Friday looks better – cold, but lighter wind. Tom will also try to run the trips throughout the weekend, including on New Year’s. That’s the final fishing scheduled aboard this season, and the boat will go on a winter break afterward. Until then, trips are blackfishing daily from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 or 3 p.m.  <b>***Update, Saturday, 12/30:***</b> Fishing is finished for the season aboard, Tom said. He tried motoring out today, but the boat could hardly leave the harbor and hardly return, because of ice. Cold weather is supposed to continue, so the season is done. The vessel was supposed to fish through New Year’s before going on break, mentioned above. Tom thanks both regular and new customers who fished aboard this year, and looks forward to fishing next year. He wishes everybody a Happy New Year and safe winter.


A couple of good-sized blackfish were cranked-in yesterday with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> on the ocean, but not enough blackfish were bagged, Capt. Ralph said. Some of the anglers bagged three apiece, and some landed no keepers. A blackfish trip Friday and an offshore wreck-fishing trip Saturday are cancelled. “I’m still freezing,” Ralph said after yesterday’s trip. An individual-reservation trip will sail for blackfish Sunday, and spaces are available. The boat will be in the water all winter, available for charters for blackfish, cod and ling. If you have a group of three or four, call Ralph, and he’ll put together a trip. <b>***Update, Friday, 12/29:***</b> Four inches of ice in the back of Shark River is preventing the boat from sailing, Ralph wrote in an email. Not all boats were locked in. No ice surrounded party boats nearer to the inlet. This cold won’t last forever, and trips with Last Lady will resume as soon as temperatures rise.


A trip picked away at blackfish, caught a few, yesterday on the ocean on the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b>, Capt. Chris said. Not great, and none of the fish was big, but an alright catch, and some anglers limited out. Most of the tautog were jigged, but a few were taken on bait. Green crabs are provided, and white crabs are available for sale aboard. No trip will fish today because of wind. The fishing will resume Friday, and trips for blackfish are slated for 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, including on New Year’s Day.

<b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> smashed excellent fishing for striped bass Thursday on the ocean, Capt. Pete said. The anglers limited out on unders and slots, and released three times as many. On a trip Friday, striper fishing was great in the morning, until southeast wind came up and shut down the angling. The trips caught on jigs and rubber shads, sometimes on top-water lures. Some trips were canceled afterward aboard because of brutal cold. Parker Pete’s will do no fishing if temperatures are in the teens. Charters are fishing, and individual spaces are available with charters who want more anglers. 

<b>***Update, Sunday, 12/31:***</b> Happy New Year, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. The fishing season had its ups and downs, and although the year’s angling probably won’t got down as one of the better ones, some fishing was exceptional. Other fishing was mediocre. Fluke fishing was fair at best locally. Bluefishing was poor, except for a few good shots of huge blues in spring and fall. Summer was a bust for blues. Fishing for sea bass and porgies was good, “but the regulations kept it from meeting its potential,” he wrote. Winter flounder fishing was good, but regulations, a two-fish bag limit, kept participation down. The limit is “tough to swallow considering the price of bait etc.,” he wrote. Striped bass fishing was good for trophies at times for boaters on the ocean. Surf anglers had a bang-up fall for striper fishing, and still are bailing them, but the fish were small. Surf casters could reel in more than 40 stripers on some days, without one close to the 28-inch keeper size. Abundant small stripers doesn’t seem bad for the striper population, but the size of the fish in the surf could be disappointing for many anglers. Blackfishing was currently a work in progress, or maybe the fishing was improving. Anglers worked hard to hook blackfish, but some huge were boated lately. A 22-pounder (!) was caught and released on a Belmar charter last week. Randy Rosenberger from Telford, Pa., heaved-in a 17-pound 6-ouncer on a Belmar party boat, and several 9- to 12-pounders were hauled aboard the trip. Bob’s fishing season was good. He fishes the surf for stripers. Just being able to fish with old friends and still catch some better-sized is what it’s all about, he said.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Fishing sailed a few days and was docked a few days on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. A few sea bass, not a lot, a few blackfish and ling, and a couple of cod were tugged in. Fishing was a little slow but picked. Enough catches were made to keeper anglers interested. On some days, most anglers bucketed five to 10 fish apiece, a mix of the species. Sometimes anglers bagged as many as 15. Lots of big silver eels and lots of dogfish were around, too. Sometimes trips had to relocate to get away from the dogs. Trips fished in 120 feet of water to 220. That was deeper than previously, and the ocean surface was 48 to 49 degrees on the fishing grounds. The temperature wasn’t dropping quickly, and wasn’t dropping enough to potentially attract mackerel within range of the daily trips. Trips are bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day, including on New Year’s.

A few blackfish were picked Tuesday and Wednesday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. “They are still acting the same where the fish are banging at the baits but are not finishing it,” it said. Green and white crabs caught, and the captain hopes this cold helps the tautog bite better. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Heated handrails will be cranking, and the cabin will be all warmed up.

Excellent striped bass fishing was plowed Sunday on the <b>Gambler</b> on the ocean, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Great day – one of the best for striper fishing this fall and winter aboard. The 15 anglers limited out on unders, and a number of bonus-tag stripers were nailed. A 40-inch striper was biggest, and none was smaller than 25 inches. Krocodile spoons caught best, but Crippled Herring, Ava jigs and rubber shads worked. When the boat’s not striper fishing, the vessel is fishing offshore for sea bass, until sea bass season closes beginning Monday. A sea bass trip sailed last Thursday to Friday, and anglers had to work at catching, but the trip dialed up good fishing. Some anglers limited out on sea bass, and some bagged five or six. Large porgies, some bluefish, a few ling and a 150-pound mako shark were also socked. The mako hit a jig. Sea bass hooked were either jumbo or tiny. See the <a href="" target="_blank">sea bass schedule</a> online.

<b>Toms River</b>

One customer banked seven throwback striped bass from the surf at Ortley Beach on Tuesday on a Jetty Ghost with a teaser, said Dennis from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> on Wednesday morning. The customer saw one other person fishing the surf there. An hour later, another customer reported landing a throwback striper from the surf at Island Beach State Park that day. This was the only fishing reported at the store. The shop will be open 9 a.m. today and Friday. Dennis might open the doors during the weekend, but will decide based on weather. Afterward, the store will be closed for a winter break, but Dennis will be in and out. The doors will be open when he’s there. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Fishing is wrapped up until spring on the <b>Super Chic</b>, Capt. Ted said. The year’s final charter fished on Dec. 19, for blackfish, and the angling was fair. Striped bass were boated from the ocean back then, and Ted heard nothing about stripers locally since. Not much effort might’ve been made. Fishing will kick off again aboard in April, beginning with wreck-fishing for catches like blackfish and cod or whatever’s biting. Open-boat trips might tilefish in May and June, like they usually do on the vessel. Ted thanks all who fished aboard this year, and wishes everybody a Happy New Year.


Blackfish were belted aboard yesterday on the <b>Stray Cat</b> on the ocean, Capt. Mike said. No striped bass popped up, but a few stripers were pasted on Christmas Eve Day on the ocean aboard, and the striper migration is yet to be finished. The water on yesterday’s trip was 45 degrees, a good temperature for all of this fishing. No trip will sail today, because the boat was covered in ice after yesterday’s fishing. Open-boat trips will blackfish daily Friday through Sunday, New Year’s Eve. Sunday’s trip will be shorter than usual, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., for the holiday. Spaces are available for the trips, and blackfish will be targeted, because that’s what customers want. But if stripers show up on the trips, the boat will get after them.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys were launched yesterday aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. The trips fish from Christmas to Easter each year, and yesterday’s trip, with an angler and her two sons, grabbed a variety of mangrove snappers, yellowtail snappers, yellow jacks and Jack Crevalles near Islamorada. Then the trip moved to Florida Bay to sight-fish for sharks, hooking lemon sharks to 40 pounds and bonnethead sharks. More of the trips will fish this week. The angling might include tarpon fishing. Permit fishing’s been good on the trips in recent years, and every year can be different. But Joe saw two permit yesterday. Weather was 74 degrees and calm that day. Today was supposed to be breezier, but winter is breezy. Evidence of last fall’s hurricane could be seen, but businesses seemed completely available to serve visitors. Fishing seemed normal and good. See the <a href="" target="_blank">traveling charters webpage</a> on Jersey Cape’s website. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

<b>Cape May</b>

Weather was cold and windy, and the boat became iced up, but a good catch of striped bass was trolled yesterday on the ocean on the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> on Mojos, Capt. George said. The anglers limited out on unders and bagged a couple of bonus stripers because the anglers had bonus tags. Most of the stripers were 30 to 40 inches. A couple were 40 inches, and those were fat and looked like they could’ve been overs. An over is a striper 43 inches or larger. An under is 28 inches to less than 43. A bonus is 24 to less than 28. There was lots of action, and the ocean was 44 to 45 degrees. Lots of bait, big clouds, were marked high in the water column. The bait wasn’t bunker and maybe was rainfish. George hopes the stripers stick around, and charters aboard will keep after them as long as possible. An inch of ice covered the boat after the trip.

The party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>’s blackfish trips last sailed on Christmas Eve Day, Capt. Paul said. Not so many of the tautog were bagged aboard the last couple of trips, after the angling on the boat had been on a roll of catching pretty good numbers and some big blackfish. On Christmas Eve’s trip, the high hook bagged three or four, Paul thought. Forecasts look like the trips, slated to target blackfish at 8 a.m. daily, will resume Friday and Saturday. Weather will be cold, but wind is supposed to be calmer. Paul can’t know what to expect from the angling when the trips resume. The cold currently will get blackfish moving around. Maybe that will replenish some places with blackfish that were fished out of them. Maybe the last couple of trips, when the fishing was slower than before, should’ve sailed farther from shore. If anglers want blackfish, pick a day based on the forecast, and telephone the boat to confirm a trip will run. If only a couple of anglers say they want to go, no trip will head out. Trips will fish including on New Year’s Day, if weather’s fit that day and anglers want to sail.

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