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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 12-7-17


The ocean held striped bass, but Tim from <b>Dockside Bait & Tackle</b> heard about none big, he said. He heard about no customers who blackfished. The shop was closed in past days because of weather. Dockside, located on Smith Creek, a tributary of the Arthur Kill, is accessible from land and water at the fuel dock. Green crabs, white crabs, eels, trout worms, nightcrawlers and frozen baits are stocked.


Plenty of striped bass swam the area, said Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>. Lots were throwbacks, and keepers and bonus-sized were mixed in. Anglers aboard hooked them on jigs and livelined bunker, sometimes on trolled Mojos. Open-boat trips are fishing for them daily, and Down Deep’s other boat is blackfishing on open trips daily. Blackfishing improved, apparently because water was cooling. Not great blackfishing, but at least catching now, and lots better than last week. 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.


Capt. Joe from <b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b> blackfished with a friend during the weekend, he wrote in an email. They scooped up a decent pick in deeper water, not limiting out, but close. “Pretty sure 17 fathoms is ready by now,” he said. Joe heard reports about another body of striped bass off Jones Inlet. “So it’s not over yet,” he said. A friend fished Hudson Canyon during the weekend, landing a good-sized sword and losing a monster-sized sword that almost dumped the line on an 80 International. Joe hauled the Sour Kraut from the water for winter, but might still fish with friends.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

None of the daily trips for blackfish sailed Tuesday and Wednesday on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. Weather was rough those days, and Monday’s trip fished, picking the tautog, no great shakes, but better than on the previous day. Today’s trip sailed, picking throwbacks and a few keepers so far, Tom said at 11 a.m. on the outing in a phone call. Wind blew strongly at 25 to 28 knots, but seas weren’t bad. Dogfish were a little annoying on the outing. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 or 3 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Thursday, 12/7:***</b> Today’s fishing began slower, but ended up pretty well, Tom said. Not great, but the trip caught the whole time, and more keepers came in at the end. One angler limited out. Some hooked no keepers, but all picked up throwbacks, at least. <b>***Update, Saturday, 12/9:***</b> The trip slated for today fished, despite the snow, Tom said. The snow made things damp or wet, but wind was calmer than forecast, and anglers picked shorts and some keepers. The fishing was a little better than yesterday, no matter the snow. Tomorrow’s wind is supposed to be west, and not as strong as some days. That should be alright.  <b>***Update, Sunday, 12/10:***</b> Fishing was picking blackfish, the way the angling’s been, when Tom gave this update at 11 a.m. today aboard. The high hook had bagged three so far, and wind blew 20 knots, but seas weren’t rough, really. Tom had told some anglers not to travel to the boat because of the snow that fell yesterday to last night, but maybe shouldn’t have. The trip got out, and the crew will try to sail again tomorrow and every day. 

<b>***Updated, Friday, 12/8:***</b> Throwback stripers were reported caught from boats and the surf, a source said from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b> who wished to remain anonymous. In the surf, the fish were mostly hooked on lures, sometimes on fresh bunker. Clams had been fished for them but became scarce, and suppliers seemed to stop clamming and begin crabbing for blackfish bait instead. Anglers who blackfished sometimes limited out, but usually caught fewer. Baits stocked include fresh bunker, green crabs and worms.

Striped bass catches seemed nonexistent for customers except some schoolies from the surf, said Johnny O. from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. Someone said a surf angler drowned at Sandy Hook. Johnny’s going blackfishing this weekend with friends from Tottenville who used to run Outcast Charters, who used to contribute reports to this website. Blackfishing was a specialty aboard. Maybe he’ll hit the big “breakout” for blackfishing, because weather’s turning cold, and maybe that will cool water and improve the fishing. He knew that a few people were getting on certain pieces and catching the tautog okay.


Weather looks great for the next trips with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>, especially for an offshore wreck-fishing trip Saturday, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. That’s an individual-reservation trip that will fish for cod, pollock, sea bass, porgies and white and red hake, and two spaces remain. Trips available also include an individual-reservation one for blackfish Friday. Two spots remain for an individual-rez trip for striped bass Sunday at a special price: $90 per person, compared with $125 normally. <b>***Update, Friday, 12/8:***</b> The weather forecast changed for the worst, and tomorrow’s offshore trip is rescheduled for Dec. 23. This will be a last chance for sea bass, because sea bass season closes beginning Jan. 1. Ralph will make a decision on Saturday about whether Sunday’s striper trip will sail, because the forecast is changing drastically. Individual-reservation trips will blackfish Dec. 19, 22 and 24. White and green crabs will be carried aboard.


Blackfishing was pretty good, became a little better on the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b>, Capt. Chris said. Sunday’s trip struggle a little. No trips sailed Tuesday and Wednesday in wind, but the boat was supposed to resume the fishing today. Some 7- and 8-pounders were mixed in on trips. “So we’re getting there,” he said. The boat is blackfishing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Green crabs are provided, and white crabs are available for sale aboard. Jigs also caught.

<b>Celtic Stoirm Charters</b> is supposed to bottom-fish Saturday for sea bass, ling or whatever bites, Capt. Mike said. Blackfishing was a little slow, so the trip wasn’t expected to focus on the tautog.

After slow striped bass fishing during the Super Moon last weekend, the angling kicked back in Monday with <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>, Parker Pete’s Facebook page said. “They are still here ...  chewing the right way today ...,” it said. No trip fished Tuesday because of strong wind, Capt. Pete said in a phone call. The boat got back out Wednesday, and the fishing was terrific. The anglers limited out on unders, and released a bunch. From throwbacks to a 25-pounder were caught, a whole mix of sizes. Baitfish moved back in because of west wind that day, and birds worked the bait. The wind that canceled the previous day’s fishing blew from south. The stripers on the trip were jigged and were trolled on Mojos. The trip tried livelining bunker, but the wind, though from west, was strong for that, and dogfish were also a nuisance. Tons of stripers were still around. 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.

The <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b> will be hauled to the boat yard for maintenance and an annual Coast Guard inspection, an email said from the party boat. That will be finished in time for the boat to fish the mackerel migration, if the migration swims within range. If not, the boat will be tied up until spring. The vessel had been sailing for striped bass and blues.

<b>***Update, Friday, 12/8:***</b> The season’s first snow was forecast along the coast, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. “This will send some anglers to the warmth of the den and fireplace,” he said.  Surf fishing was great for schoolie striped bass. Some anglers totaled more than 20 apiece in a tide. Boaters on the ocean, fishing just off the beach, had a little trouble limiting out on stripers, but hooked the fish from slots to 25 pounds, mostly while trolling, sometimes while jigging. Thirteen-year-old Paul Newman, New Milford, weighed a 21-pound 4-ounce striper at the shop that he smashed in the back of Shark River on a Cordell pencil popper. He was fishing for winter flounder with his dad when he saw bait and fish breaking, so he tied on the lure. The river’s flounder fishing was good. Limits were common, and the fish were up to 18 inches. Put on your winter entire and come to the shore, Bob said. Be careful in the low temps. A misstep can be dangerous, he said.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Weather kept blackfishing docked in past days on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, but today’s trip was supposed to sail, a report said on the party boat’s website. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, and green crabs and white crabs are carried aboard. The cabin and handrails are heated.

<b>Toms River</b>

The surf tossed up throwback striped bass, a few keepers, not a lot of keepers, said Dennis from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. That was on slender metal with teasers that both imitated sand eels. Lots of Jetty Ghosts sold for the angling. Other metal for the fishing included those from A.O.K. Tackle. Bait-fishers hooked the bass on bunker chunks. Clams were scarce, so everybody fished bunker. Boating for good-sized stripers was great on the ocean on trolled bunker spoons and Mojos. Winter flounder hit in Manasquan River, Point Pleasant Canal and Barnegat Bay toward Bay Head. Flounder fishing was decent at Shark River, and a customer was headed there this morning. Bloodworms began being stocked for flounder. A few tried for flounder on Toms River, but none was heard about that was caught. Maybe the fishing is beginning later than years past because of warmer water. The angling used to begin on Election Day. Flounder are hooked in the Toms in spring, so they obviously winter in the river and must be there sometime in fall. Blackfish were still hooked along jetties like at Barnegat and Manasquan inlets, by the few who fished for them. Many anglers hauled boats from the water this weekend for the season. The store is still open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. 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>

A few keeper striped bass could still be beached from the surf, for those who didn’t want to stop fishing yet, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Throwbacks also bit, and for surf casters who fished lures, Daiwa SP Minnows hooked more of the bass than any other swimming plug, by far, for whatever reasons. Swim shads and wide-profiled metal caught second and third best, respectively. If you want to fish bait for the stripers, bait is bait, the report said. Bunker and clams are always most popular. Eels, fished live or rigged, “are walking the line between artificial lures and natural baits,” the report said. Eels could be deadly, when the right place was fished at the right time. Boating scored quality stripers on the ocean just to the south early in the week, especially on the troll. Fresh bunker and eels were stocked. The shop’s holiday sale is underway. Gift cards are available that feature 20 percent additional value. Stop in for holiday gifts, and enjoy breakfast or lunch at the café with an outstanding view of Barnegat Bay. 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>***Updated, Friday, 12/8:***</b> Striped bass were boated right outside Barnegat Inlet on the ocean this morning, said Mike from <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>. A couple of big were weighed at the store during the weekend that also came from near the inlet in the ocean. The fish were mostly trolled lately on MagicTail Mojos and bunker spoons. A couple of customers blackfished during the weekend, scoring well on the ocean. Nothing was heard about Barnegat Bay. A few schoolie stripers were fought from Oyster Creek. Some anglers targeted bluefish at the creek, but no results were reported.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Nobody boated today because of wind at <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b>, Vince said. But lots of striped bass were seen from the ocean during the weekend at the shop. Stripers were also hooked at Barnegat Inlet on livelined spots. A few keeper stripers, not a lot, but some were taken from Barnegat Bay on the spots. Bobbie’s will close beginning Monday for a break through winter. But the shop will be open through the weekend, and spots and green crabs are stocked. The fuel dock will be open through the weekend. Bobbie’s features a complete bait and tackle shop, a fuel dock and, in season, boat and kayak rentals. The boats are used for fishing, crabbing, clamming and pleasure.


An edited email from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the <b>Hi Flier</b>: “What an incredible fall run of stripers. Twelve- to 20-pound fish are common. That’s not the norm for this time of year. We do have to troll to catch them. Jigging and casting have not been productive, though that could change any minute. No real bird play lately, but I always have the jigging and casting rods on board for when it's time. For now, you just troll Mojos and bunker spoons over readings and the rods go off. We’re doing great with big, 20-ounce, single MagicTail Mojos and No. 4 Tony Maja’s bunker spoons. White is working best on both lures, to the point where I’m dragging four white lures in a four-rod spread. Wireline on the bunker spoons and braid on the Mojos. We're using our smaller wireline rods that only have 150 feet of wire on them instead of 300. The rod and reel is a lot smaller, so you don't get worn out by the gear, and you enjoy the fight more. That 150 feet of wire is putting the lure right in the hot zone. These short rods with less wire were custom made for a technique we employ this time of year known as jigging or bucktailing. We tie on a 2- or 3-ounce bucktail with a strip of pork rind (yes, we have some), and you hold the rod and sweep it while we slow troll. Very effective on the size-class fish we have right now, and it’s a train wreck of a hit. The next days look great for this fishery. Air temps are dropping, but the predominant wind direction is all W/NW, which makes for a really comfortable ocean to fish in. Sailing open-boat or available for charter 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and Friday and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday through Monday. Four people max. All fish are shared. You can call right up until go time for a spot.”

<b>Mystic Island</b>

Scott from <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b> would say striped bass remained in the local ocean, he said. Wind probably prevented some trips in past days, but fishing for them was as good as could be previously, from the Red Tower to 3 miles north, in 45 to 50 feet of water. The catches were trolled on chartreuse double Mojos and bunker spoons. Plenty of boaters sailed for them during the weekend, and the shop was busy with the anglers. A couple of customers ran for them yesterday. A 62-pounder weighed at Great Bay Marina was the biggest he heard about. Most of the fish weighed 18 to 30 pounds. Nothing was really heard about other fishing, like for blackfish or white perch, because everybody chased stripers.


All who boated for striped bass on the ocean seemed to catch a few, said Curt from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. The fish were trolled, and a few, not many, were hooked on bunker snagged and then livelined for bait. The fish don’t feed well every day this time of year, when weather’s colder. Sometimes the angling shuts down a moment. The stripers seemed to “go down” by 8 a.m. Fishing early made a difference. Capt. Dave, the store’s owner, fished for stripers on his charters on the ocean and bay, a little more on the ocean. The trips scored fairly well, including trolling a couple of 30-pounders one day on Mojos. Another trip with him had stripers weighing in the teens. If Curt was going to fish the bay for stripers, he’d probably fish live spots or eels. Gulp Nemesis might also catch. For the bay fishing, searching and the tide mattered. Incoming tides probably fished best, because incoming is warmer this time of year. Blackfish chomped at ocean wrecks. Quite a number of blackfish remained in back waters, like along inlets and bridges. But the fish were pretty picked over, or many of the keepers were already bagged. Lots more boaters fished for them in the back than Curt ever remembered, at least at the local bridge. Baits stocked include live spots, eels and green crabs.


Ocean striped bass fishing was hit or miss for boaters in past days, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. Kenny Innella and buddies whacked three good-sized off Wreck Inlet on Monday on bunker snagged for bait and livelined at a school of the baitfish. A father and son trolled a 40-pound 46-incher off the Ocean City Ferris wheel. After this weekend, the shop’s hours will be reduced to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. But telephone if you need anything afterhours. Lots of great holiday gift ideas are stocked.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Striped bass fishing was great on the ocean with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. Trips were all limiting out on unders and pulling in a few overs. Yesterday’s trip limited on unders, released a bunch of additional unders and bagged a few overs. It’s good fishing, he said. Most stripers on trips were trolled. But sometimes trips copped opportunities to catch on cast rubber shads and bucktails. A few of the bass were also hooked on bunker snagged for bait and livelined. Fishin’ Fever will keep after stripers until the boat is moved back to Cape May, home port, on Dec. 15 to begin blackfishing. The vessel was moved to Atlantic City for striper fishing.

Customers yanked tautog from Absecon Inlet on green crabs, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Striped bass were nailed at the inlet but also from the bay off Harrah’s and the wind mills. That angling was pretty good, and the fish included keepers. Dunk bunker or clams for them. Customers fish all these places on foot. Boaters trolled stripers on the ocean on Mojos. All baits mentioned and more, the full supply, are stocked. So are Mojos, and some deals are available on them. Casting Mojos are also in supply. The shop will hold a Fishing for Toys Holiday Striped Bass Tournament tomorrow until Dec. 17. To register, bring a toy to donate, and those will be donated to the Police Athletic League for needy families. Prizes will be $250 for the biggest striper, $150 for the second-biggest and $100 for the third.  


Blackfish were crushed Sunday and Monday on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. Drop and reel in 50 feet of water on the ocean. Sometimes double-headers were cranked in on stinger hooks. A trip was going to fish for striped bass today on the ocean aboard. That angling’s been good, too, and trips on Stray Cat have been hooking them on livelined bunker. Fishing for blackfish and stripers is good, and water temperatures are great. The ocean was 52 degrees along the beach and 53 farther out. Open-boat trips and charters are fishing, and Mike’s sailing every day when weather allows. A $500 bounty will be awarded to any angler who nails a blackfish 18 pounds or heavier aboard.

<b>Ocean City</b>

Ocean boaters were reeling in striped bass, said Bill from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. Some big swam the water, and the trips caught on trolled Mojos. Smaller stripers were played on the back bay at bridges and sod banks on soft-plastic lures in white, pink or black on jigheads. A few stripers were banked from the surf. Most came from the ocean and bay, but a few were picked from the surf. Not much was heard about stripers from inlets. Nothing was heard about blackfishing in the bay, but Bill wouldn’t doubt some remained there. Nothing was mentioned about blackfishing on the ocean. Anglers concentrated on stripers.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Boaters tackled striped bass on the ocean off Avalon on Thursday through Sunday, said Bud from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Afterward, weather became rough, including terrible on Tuesday, preventing trips. The fish were mostly trolled on umbrella rigs and Mojos. Some really big stripers were clocked. Sometimes double-headers were trolled. Nothing was heard about surf-fishing for stripers, because few seemed to fish there in the wind. Green crabs were sold like crazy for blackfishing. Nothing was reported about blackfishing on the ocean, but plenty hovered along rocks and bridges in back waters. Bud axed a good-sized keeper and a couple of shorts in the back on a trip.

<b>Cape May</b>

The <b>Heavy Hitter</b> will next fish on Friday, for striped bass, Capt. George said. Because of a last-minute cancellation, three spaces are available for a striper trip Saturday. Three anglers are already signed up. The fishing was pretty good Monday on the ocean, according to anglers George spoke with.

Fishing limited out on striped bass on the ocean Monday on the <b>Prime Time II</b>, Capt. Steve said. The fish were trolled on Stretch plugs and Mojos, and two 49-inch stripers were biggest. The trip’s stripers had bellies full of bunker. Some bunker were seen in the area, and so were whales feeding. The boat is supposed to fish for stripers this weekend.

Some blackfish were picked on some days on the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, Capt. Paul said. Some anglers bagged them, and some didn’t. Alex Levantovsky limited out on both Saturday and Sunday.  On Monday’s trip, Jan Blighe from Salem and Kevin Moran from Cinnaminson limited, and Bud Callahan won the pool with a 7-1/2-pounder. Greg Williams on a trip bagged four of tautog to 8 pounds. John Ricciardi on a trip won the pool with a good-sized blackfish he released. Greg Davis won a pool last week, returned this week and landed another sizable. Weather’s going to become cold, but if the boat gets a few anglers who want to blackfish, the vessel will sail for the catches. Trips are blackfishing at 8 a.m. daily.

<b>***Updated, Friday, 12/8:***</b> Striped bass seemed to keep schooling the ocean from Atlantic City to Cape May, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. They were mostly trolled on Mojos and bunker spoons. Nobody mentioned stripers from the Cape May Rips, but the striper migration surely reached south of Cape May, so stripers were probably at the rips. Boaters at the rips fish eels or trolled Mojos for stripers, and the rips are at the confluence of the ocean and Delaware Bay. Nothing was heard about stripers from Delaware Bay. From the surf, 4-pound bluefish caught began to be heard about. Lures or fresh bunker were fished for them. A few anglers blackfished along surf jetties, still catching. Eventually, water will become too cold for blackfish there. Blackfishing sounded good at ocean wrecks. Green crabs, fresh bunker, eels and salted clams are stocked.

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