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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 12-4-17


Jigging for striped bass was excellent on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. Blackfishing was slow but seemed to be improving. First, the striper fishing. Although the jigging was fantastic, almost all stripers were throwbacks that were jigged. Trips trolled keepers, limiting out. Three or four stripers were often jigged at once aboard. Some anglers who were good at jigging landed more than 25 in a trip. Lots of stripers remained north that should migrate south to local waters. Blackfishing trips will sail, including Friday and Sunday. But trips will keep striper fishing, too, and Frank will announce those trip on <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/vitaminseafishing/" target="_blank">Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page</a> later in the week. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing, and telephone to reserve.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

The daily blackfishing trip Saturday made one drop, and the tautog catches were some of the better aboard this season on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. One of the anglers landed more than a limit, and some reeled in four or five keepers apiece. Two only reeled in throwbacks. Sunday’s trip returned to the same place, but conditions were terrible, and the angling was slow. The anchor lines and fishing lines kept going slack, despite some current. The trip ended up fishing at quite a few drops. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 or 3 p.m. daily. Today’s trip was expected to sail, but strong southerly wind might weather out Tuesday’s fishing. Weather might be rough Wednesday, too.

Capt. Ron wrapped up fishing for the year on the <b>Fishermen</b>, he wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. Trip’s had been striped bass fishing daily. The boat is headed to the shipyard and winter storage before bad weather. Trips will resume around April’s first or second week, sailing for stripers. He thanked those who fished aboard this year. “… it’s much appreciated,” he wrote. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! he said.


Blackfishing should improve because of the coming cold snap, Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> wrote in an email. The angling was slow this weekend for the time of year. An individual-reservation trip for the tautog Saturday “went far,” he wrote, but scored no good fishing. On a trip for the slipperies Sunday, Ralph changed tactics, he said. “Some nice blackfish,” he wrote, and a variety of other catches were swung in, including porgies and sea bass. Strong wind will cancel a blackfish trip tomorrow. An individual-reservation trip will blackfish Friday. Only two spots remain for an individual-reservation trip that will fish wrecks offshore Saturday for cod, pollock, sea bass, porgies and white and red hake.


Fishing for striped bass was good Thursday for <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> on the ocean, Capt. Pete said. The angling was tough Saturday and Sunday, only bagging a few, maybe because of the full moon. The catches will pick back up afterward, he thinks or hopes. We’ll see, he said. The marks on the fish finder looked the same Saturday and Sunday as when better catches were made. They were read top to bottom, and seemed to bite sporadically. Like they bit on the change of tide Sunday. Maybe the fish fed at night in the light from the moon. So they had less reason to feed during daytime. But Parker Pete’s is chasing and following the fish, going wherever necessary to catch. On Friday a blackfish trip was canceled and rescheduled aboard, because that angling’s been tough. Blackfish can begin to bite better when water becomes cooler. 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, Monday, 12/4:***</b> “They are still here ...  chewing the right way today ...,” Parker Pete’s Facebook page said this morning about a striper trip aboard then.

After striped bass were bailed during the week on the ocean, the fishing was difficult Saturday aboard, said Capt. Mike from <b>Celtic Stoirm Charters</b>. One keeper was trolled on a green Tournament Grade Tackle bunker spoon, and two throwbacks were released. That was off Lavallette, but better catches were heard about from farther north. Whether to turn right or left out of the inlet on a trip is one of the toughest decisions. Mike joined a trip that explored for sea bass Sunday on the Katie H, covered in the report below. The fishing was good, and porgies were also reeled in. So he knows where sea bass can be found.

The <b>Katie H</b> fished for sea bass Sunday, Capt. Mike said. The catch was good 18 miles from shore. Half the fish hooked were keepers, and the trip also stopped closer to shore, in 60 feet of water, to scope out the angling. Most keepers seemed to hold in 100 feet or deeper. In 60 feet, there was lots of life, but all throwbacks. A few dogfish bit in 100 feet, but the number wasn’t bad. The ocean was 55 degrees in 100 feet. Weather was beautiful, and seas were calm. Was surprising for December. Striped bass fishing wasn’t great the past couple of days in the full moon. Blackfishing was up and down lately, and blackfishing is scheduled aboard this coming weekend. 

Fish broke the water surface and birds worked bait all over during Sunday’s trip on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, and readings were excellent, a report said on the party boat’s website. Some customers landed two or three throwback stripers, and some caught none. The crew is going to take today and tomorrow off and resume fishing in the middle of the week, if weather allows. Striper fishing was similarly slow on Saturday’s trip. Three Boston mackerel were hooked aboard that day, maybe a good sign that the mackerel migration will produce catches. The boat sails for mackerel when the run is likely to kick in. Holiday specials will probably be announced on the boat’s website today or tomorrow.

Because catches of striped bass and bluefish were scarce most of the past week on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, trips are canceled aboard today through Thursday, an email said from the party boat. Trips will fish Friday through Sunday. But if more stripers show up that can be angled on the boat, the schedule will be changed. One trip did produce good catches aboard the other day. If more of the fish fail to show up, trips will no longer be scheduled until the mackerel migration shows up. If mackerel fail to show up like the past few years, the boat will end fishing until spring.


Excellent sea bass fishing continued on the party boat <b>Jamaica II</b>, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. Porgies were mixed in, and customers filled coolers. Limits were usually common on trips. The sea bass weighed up to 6 pounds, and the porgies weighed up to 4, and cod 10 to 18 pounds often won pools. Anglers and their catches this past week aboard included: Henry Wiggins, Philadelphia, limit of sea bass to 4 pounds, limit of porgies to 3 pounds and a 12-pound cod; Carl Simms, Bristol, Pa., limit of sea bass, nearly a limit of porgies and a 17-pound, pool-winning cod; Ezra Williams, Newark, limit of sea bass to 5 pounds and limit of jumbo porgies; and Wes Shourt, Manahawkin, limit of sea bass to 5 pounds and six fish fewer than a limit of jumbo porgies. Trips are sailing for sea bass for 9 hours at 6 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, 12 hours at 5 a.m. Thursdays and 14 hours at 3 a.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. A new, 12-hour trip for ling, cod and sea bass will sail at 5 a.m. Fridays.

Striped bass fishing remained pretty darn good, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. The fish were boated on the ocean from Long Branch to Seaside, but a new body just arrived farther north off Sandy Hook and the Highlands Bridge in the ocean. The stripers were trolled on Mojos and umbrella rigs and were jigged on rubber shads, Ava’s and 5-ounc Krocodiles at both places. Surf anglers picked away at small stripers from Spring Lake to Point Pleasant Beach. A few could be beached almost 24 hours a day on bucktails, small swim shads and Daiwa SP Minnows. Teasers hooked many. Blackfishing picked up a little for ocean boaters. More and more catches of them began to be reported, and that was good, because the fishing began tough this season. The tautog came from 30- to 50-foot depths, and some days fished better than others. Not a lot of huge were heard about, but plenty of keepers were. Blackfish were still angled from Point Pleasant Canal. Winter flounder were mostly heard about from Shark River. Few were talked about from Manasquan River, probably because few anglers targeted them on the Manasquan. Most effort seems made on the Shark this time of year. Hickory shad swam Manasquan Inlet. Shark River Reef and wrecks in that area still gave up a few sea bass. Fishing for them was much better farther from shore, at wrecks 60 miles from the coast. Plenty were bagged there, and jumbo porgies were cranked up there.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

A group sailed on an annual trip for striped bass Friday with <b>Mushin Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. The fishing was tough for the fleet, but Mushin put in time, looked around and trolled some good-sized stripers. The fishing bounced back the next day on a trip with a group from Reedy Creek Outfitters. The trip limited out on the bass in a tight fleet, after the fishing was slow at the first stop. Anglers on that trip included Alan Corzine from Kent Cartridge, Kelly Haydel from Haydel Game Calls and outdoor writer John Kelly. Lots of good striper fishing seemed still to come, but much of Mushin’s fishing will be for sea bass the rest of the month offshore.

The <b>Gambler</b>’s been catching some striped bass, a report said Friday on the party boat’s website. “There are some big blues cruising around too,” it said. The fish and baitfish seemed to swim higher in the water column that day, because more fish were seen swirling along the water surface on that day’s trip than before. That trip’s fishing was best early in the day. Swim shads and Krocodile spoons caught best on trips around then, and both were carried aboard. Trips are fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

<b>***Update, Tuesday, 12/5:***</b> Great weekend on the water! a report said on the party boat <b>Norma-K III</b>’s website. Blackfishing could’ve been better Saturday and Sunday aboard, it said, but Monday’s fishing was better for the tautog. The weekend’s trips picked a keeper here and there and some shorts. Monday’s trip eased in some good-sized keepers, busted off a few big, and released some shorts. On that trip, mostly green crabs caught, and white crabs only hooked a few. Both are carried aboard, and trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The crew was going to be at the boat this morning in questionable forecasts and see how weather looked.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Ask surf anglers and ocean boaters how striped bass fishing was going this season, and you’ll get two different answers, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Surf casters are likely to say, “not so good,” and that they never seem to be at the right place at the right time when a few good-sized stripers show up.  Boaters, especially the hardcore, are likely to say the season is one of the best. They might say they begin trolling bunker spoons and Mojos at a likely spot, and before they know, “fish on.” Yesterday a surf angler at the store was asked how the fishing was going. “More of the same,” the angler said. Also on that day, when a boater was asked at the shop, he was ecstatic, saying he trolled 15 quality stripers in a short period of time so far. Surf anglers on Friday ran into a little action, beaching a few sizable stripers in the Ortley Beach and Lavallette area, when a school of bait attracted the fish within casting range. Large popper lures hooked the bigger, but Daiwa SP Minnows, metal and swim shads also caught. Herring were seen in the surf at Island Beach State Park that day. If they begin showing up, they could attract large stripers. 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>

The crew from the <b>Miss Barnegat Light</b> is calling it a season, after less than stellar striped bass fishing Saturday and Sunday on the ocean aboard, the party boat’s Facebook page said. The crew thanks all who fished this year on the boat. Enjoy the holidays, and the crew can’t wait to see you all next year. The fishing schedule will be posted in early spring on the boat’s website or Facebook page.


On the <b>Stray Cat</b>, striped bass, a pretty good catch, were belted Saturday on the ocean on bunker snagged and then livelined for bait, Capt. Mike said. Some of the stripers weighed 30 pounds, and lots of 30- and 40-pounders were around lately. Bunker schooled thickly during the trip. The boat is also blackfishing on the ocean, and that angling was slow in past days because of the full moon. A trip is supposed to fish for the tautog today. During the moon, shallower water 5 to 6 miles from shore seemed to give up more bites from the tog. Deeper water, 14 miles off, turned out fewer. The ocean was gin clear, good for blackfishing. The water was 52 to 53 degrees on the striper grounds, close to shore, and 53 and warmer 14 miles out. This weekend is booked, but spaces are available on open trips throughout weekdays this week. Mike would like to snag and liveline bunker for stripers Wednesday through Friday, if the angling’s turned on. This was a great stretch of weather in past days, and seas were beautiful. Weather’s supposed to become colder Friday and Saturday. Stray Cat will fish as late into January as possible, until weather closes in. <b>***Update, Monday, 12/4:***</b> A post on Stray Cat’s Facebook page about today’s trip aboard: “What a nice day -- light wind and 55. The best fishing in a week. Tog is on the menu. The coolers are Full. Mad Bite all day.”

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Striped bass fishing was good on the ocean aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. A trip Saturday with one angler on the boat pasted 15 of the fish to 30 pounds. At first on the outing, two were trolled. The rest were jigged afterward. On Sunday with Mike Roth aboard, 15 of the bass to a 35-pound 43-incher were fly-rodded on Clouser Minnows on a floating line on one-handed, long strips. On both trips, the stripers were a good mix of sizes from under 28 inches to monsters. Most were larger than 28. The stripers foraged on small rain bait on the trips in the 54-degree water. Weather was terrific. Looking ahead, 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>.


Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> might fish for striped bass on the ocean, he said. He’s been guiding hunting, but the striper migration reached South Jersey. He’s supposed to guide hunting for ducks and brant next week. That will be in New Jersey, and he also guides in other states, including for Canada geese, and the goose seasons will open in Pennsylvania beginning Dec. 11 and Maryland beginning Dec. 15. He just returned from his <a href="http://www.sjlodge.com/" target="_blank">lodge</a> in upstate New York, where everybody was deer hunting. A discount is being offered for the lodge on Airbnb through about Dec. 15. The lodge is booked Dec. 21 through Jan. 1. Guests fish for steelheads on nearby Salmon River. Steelheads swim the river from fall until late March, sometimes until April’s second week. Fishing for them was probably good now, including because no snow blanketed the banks. The snow is often waste deep by this time of year. Snowmobiling is popular from the lodge when snow arrives. That’s when the discount ends.

<b>Cape May</b>

A good bunch of striped bass to 43 inches were boated so far on today’s trip on the <b>Prime Time II</b> on the ocean, Capt. Steve said at 10 a.m. in a phone call aboard. The fish were trolled on Stretch plugs and Mojos, and the fishing’s been productive the last few days toward Wildwood. He’ll probably striper fish until the end of the month before calling it a season.

Five striped bass were bagged and seven or eight bit quickly and got off on Greg Bevins’ charter Saturday on the ocean on the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>, Capt. George said. On Sunday, the fishing was tough on Kevin Driscoll’s charter aboard. One was bagged and two got off. Many boaters seemed to struggle with the fishing that day, maybe because of the full moon. George never likes the full for fishing for any catches, even tuna. Fishing’s often been difficult then, for whatever reasons. The trips fished toward Margate. Not much bunker swam there, but the baitfish schooled elsewhere. Lots schooled near Cape May, and tight to shore around Great Egg Harbor Inlet. Stripers were picked on the ocean off Hereford Inlet. George knew about two trips that each landed three or four there. Some trips there hooked none. Many boats fished Saturday. On Sunday, probably a third of the number fished that did on Saturday. Later in the morning on Sunday, almost all were gone. The Heavy Hitter is still running this season. Telephone if interested in fishing.

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