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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 4-10-17


Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing definitely improved, said Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>. Keepers became more abundant, and throwbacks gave up good action. Anglers fished with rubber shads and clams aboard, and the fishing should keep becoming better, during better weather forecast for the week and as the current full moon wanes. Plenty of the fish were read, and boat traffic was crazy Sunday, during the best weather in days. Open-boat trips are fishing for stripers daily, and charters are available. Down Deep runs two 40-foot boats.  Check <a href="http://downdeepsportfishing.com/open-boat-availability/" target="_blank">Down Deep’s calendar</a> for available dates.

Rain on Thursday dirtied Raritan Bay, making the bay’s striped bass fishing somewhat difficult on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> on Friday and Saturday, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. The water became cleaner on Sunday, and striper fishing was outstanding that day aboard. Sometimes four were hooked at once. Mayhem! Frank said. “The guys managed to cull five good-sized keepers.” On Friday’s and Saturday’s trips, throwbacks were reeled in, except on Saturday, one keeper was. Plenty of stripers were marked, and the water was clear on the New York side of the bay then. But fishing for the bass there is closed until opening this coming Saturday. Good dates are still available for charters, and open-boat trips are sailing. The phone is ringing every day with new customers who want to jump aboard on short notice. But spaces are often already booked. Try to book as far in advance as possible. If enough anglers are interested in fishing 2 to 8 p.m., Frank will add trips for then. The fish are near port, so there’s plenty of fishing time. To keep informed about the schedule, get added to Frank’s email list, or Like <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/vitaminseafishing/" target="_blank">Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page</a>. See photos of trips on the page. “Get your dose of Vitamin Sea!”

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

<b>***Update, Wednesday, 4/12:***</b> The party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b> will begin fishing on Friday for the year, Capt. Tom said. Trips beginning that day will sail for striped bass 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.

Boaters on Raritan Bay picked up lots of throwback striped bass and occasionally keepers on clams and sandworms, said Tom from <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. They trolled a few, not many, on Mojos, and shore anglers on the bay scored mostly throwback stripers but sometimes a keeper. They all usually hooked stripers. Two of the party boats from the marina sailed today, for stripers. All of the fleet is expected to begin fishing Friday for the fishing season. The shop’s rental boats will be available beginning next week. The store, located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina, the sister shop to Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, is now open daily.

Anglers whipped striped bass from the Keansburg Pier, said Jay from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Most of the fish were 27-inch throwbacks, but sometimes one was a keeper. Bloodworms, not clams, whacked the bass. Boaters trolled throwbacks on Mojos on the bay. From shore anglers, more was heard about striper catches from the ocean than the bay. On the ocean they connected at Sandy Hook and Long Branch. Gannets worked bait at the Hook that seemed to be rainfish, not bunker. Maybe that meant a shot of warm water moved in. Some good reports about winter flounder catches were seen from the bay, not the rivers. A couple of boats sailed for blackfish, returning with the fish. All baits are stocked including green crabs, sandworms and bloodworms.  


Anglers picked away at winter flounder in Shark River off the tennis courts and the pier, said Tom from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b>. The store’s rental boats are available for the fishing. Blackfish were hooked along the inlet’s jetties. A few striped bass were managed from the surf. Most were small, but sometimes a keeper was beached. Two keepers 29 inches and 31 inches were seen at the store.

Sounded like Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing began to pick up, said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. But he did hear about a few trolled on the ocean, and he’ll begin searching the ocean for the fish soon. He hopes to poke around the ocean this week, and is finishing annual maintenance on the boat. Maybe the ocean’s striper fishing will take off early this year. His striper charters, fishing the ocean, begin in May, and dates are still available. Lock them in, because they fill. Anglers who blackfished on the ocean picked away at decent catches Sunday morning. Getting the weather to sail’s been difficult. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s anyway about individual spaces on charters. Sign up for the email blast on <a href=" http://www.parkerpetefishing.com/" target="_blank">Parker Pete’s website</a> to be kept informed about the spaces. 

Strong wind blew on a striped bass trip Saturday on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, drifting the party boat fast, a report said on the vessel’s website. The wind prevented the trip from fishing where the crew wanted. “Not much to say about (the trip),” the report said. On the bright side, it said, lots of birds worked the water, lots of baitfish schooled and good fish readings were marked. That was the most recent report on the site at press time. Weather was supposed to be better the next day, Sunday, for the angling, it said. Trips are fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Trips will fish for striped bass Friday and Saturday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email said from the party boat. No trip will fish on Easter, and the trips will also fish the following Friday through Sunday, April 21-23.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Throwback striped bass were angled from Barnegat Bay, the Toms River and Oyster Creek, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Winter flounder were bagged from all those waters, and worms and clams took both the stripers and flounder. But small swimming lures and rubber lures also smashed the bass. In the bay, behind Seaside Park was a place for the stripers. Surf fishing for stripers was slow but improving. Occasional throwbacks and a keeper or two were banked. Clams, bloodworms, sandworms, white rubber shads and swimming lures are early-season favorites in the surf. The ocean should warm in the warmer weather, improving the beach fishing. 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>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Blackfishing began well Sunday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, Capt. Matt wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. “We had some keepers up to 4lbs along with some shorts coming over the rail,” he wrote. “After that, we picked one here (and there) but it was better life than what we have been seeing.” This week’s warm weather should get the tautog biting, he thinks. On Saturday’s trip, the angling was tough, like previously aboard. Sometimes shorts and a keeper were pulled up. But an 11-pounder was hauled in and released. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, and green crabs, white crabs and clams are carried.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

The <b>Miss Barnegat Light</b>’s <a href=" http://www.missbarnegatlight.com/SailinSchedule.html" target="_blank">schedule</a> has been posted on the party boat’s website. Bluefishing will kick off the year’s angling aboard, sailing May 26 through June 18 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and also on Memorial Day. Fluke and sea bass trips will run in late June to early September. Tuna trips will sail in September and October, and click the link to see details and more of the schedule.

<b>Forked River</b>

Lots of throwback striped bass were played on Oyster Creek, said Kyle from <b>Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle</b>. Rubber shads and bloodworms hooked them well, and some anglers tried for winter flounder at the mouth of the creek from land. But getting a hook past the stripers was difficult. Flounder might’ve been migrating to the bay, but not much was heard about the bay. No bluefish were reported, but blues could arrive any time. Baits stocked include bloodworms, killies, salted clams and trout baits for freshwater including trout worms, meal worms and nightcrawlers. 

<b>Mystic Island</b>

<b>***Update, Tuesday, 4/11:***</b> A 26-inch striped bass was about the biggest banked at Graveling Point yesterday from shore, a report said on <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>’s website. The annual $100 gift certificate to the store remained up for grabs for the year’s first angler to check-in a keeper from Graveling. A keeper, 31 inches, was boated off the Point yesterday. Twenty-eight inches is the legal minimum size, and bloodworms were out of stock that anglers fish for stripers at Graveling. None was delivered to South Jersey because of rain and poor tides in Maine, where the worms are harvested, the report said. Graveling, known for early-season striper catches, is a shore-angling spot at the confluence of Great Bay and Mullica River.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

“Tog central!” Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b> said. The number of blackfish was crazy that came from Absecon Inlet, he said. “You’ll catch your keepers,” he said, and the inlet’s jetties at Caspian, Melrose and Madison avenues were the hot spots currently. Green crabs and clams pasted the fish, and customers fish the nearby, jetty-lined inlet on foot. Striped bass 12 to 26 inches were bloodwormed and clammed, mostly bloodwormed, from the T-jetty and nearby surf. The T is at the ocean end of the inlet. Plus, Noel saw three black drum from the area, weighing in one that was 17.9 pounds and 33 inches. The other two were probably 30 to 40 inches, and these are the first drum reported on this website this year. All the baits mentioned and more, the full supply, are stocked.  See photos of catches on <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/OneStopBaitAC/" target="_blank">One Stop’s Facebook page</a>. “Seeing is believing!” he said.


A good catch of blackfish was plowed Sunday on the ocean on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. The tautog gave up a slow pick in the morning in flat-calm seas and no wind, tough anchoring conditions. But southerly wind picked up in the afternoon, blowing maybe 20 knots, and the fishing turned on. “They were starting to come,” he said, and two and three were hooked at a time. The bites are there – time to get after them. The next open-boat trips will blackfish Friday and Saturday. Mike will try to run one on Easter, too, if enough anglers are interested. The water on the trip was 45 degrees, down from 48 a couple of days ago. The fish were ice-cold and a gray, smoky color.

<b>Ocean City</b>

Great Egg Harbor Inlet and Corson’s Inlet lit up with catches of small striped bass yesterday, said Justin from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. The 14- to 26-inchers were mostly hooked on soft-plastic lures. Lots of dogfish were a nuisance when bait was fished. Many of the catches were heard about from incoming tide during daytime. Nothing was heard about surf fishing, and few anglers seemed to fish the surf. But if the bass filled the inlets, they must’ve swum the surf. Small stripers hit along bridges at night. The angling was heating up at 9th Street Bridge, on soft-plastics and bait. Great Egg Harbor River was hot and heavy with stripers and white perch. The stripers were most often landed, and that seemed because of the sheer number of stripers. The sizes of the stripers seemed to keep changing in the river. On one day they’d be 24 to 30 inches, and on another they’d be 12 to 14. Both boaters and shore anglers caught them, on bloodworms and plastics. Quite a few blackfish, including decent-sized, were claimed along bridges. Tide seemed to matter, and outgoing in the afternoon seemed to fish much better than other tides. Not a lot was heard about boating for blackfish on the ocean. But one report talked about the angling yesterday morning at Ocean City Reef. Calm wind made anchoring difficult then, and mostly throwbacks, a ton, hit. But a few better-sized were cranked up. Bloodworms are stocked, and green crabs were difficult to obtain but were supposed to be stocked this morning. Fresh clams are hoped to be carried during the weekend. That also depends on weather. 

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

A few party boats and private boats sailed Sunday, probably for blackfish on the ocean, said employee Mike, not owner Mike, from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. He waited to hear results, and windy weather kept boaters from sailing in previous days. But when reports last rolled in last week, good blackfishing was reported. Nothing was heard about back-bay fishing for striped bass. Few anglers began to fish on boats yet this season. No news was reported from the surf yet this season. Check out this catch of crabs that a customer made. Fresh clams, bloodworms and green crabs were stocked. Fresh bunker are hoped to be carried this weekend.

The back bay’s striped bass began to bite, nothing crazy, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. None of the bluefish migration arrived, but the run is impending in the bay. Joe ran some of his traveling trips to the Florida Keys this weekend. Peter Rotelli and Jim Campbell fished on the outings, knocking around a mixed-bag of catches on Saturday, including snappers, jacks, lemon sharks to 40 pounds and bonnethead sharks. The sharking was sight-fishing on the flats, and the anglers that day also fly-rodded a 30-pound tarpon, jumped another tarpon and had two other tarpon bites. On Sunday, the anglers strictly fished the flats, fighting lemon sharks to 70 pounds and bonnethead sharks. They cast to a bunch of tarpon but scored no bites from them. Many tarpon swam the water that day, and the trip also landed jacks. Joe will return to the Keys next weekend and trailer the boat back to Sea Isle to concentrate on fishing from New Jersey the rest of the fishing season. He runs the Florida trips annually from Christmas to Easter. Joe has more than one boat and keeps one in Florida during that time. See the <a href=" http://www.captainjoehughes.com/page3.html" target="_blank">traveling charters’ page</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>

The anglers limited out on blackfish Sunday with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. The fish weighed up to a 9-pounder, and lots of throwbacks were released. Blackfishing began to improve. That was apparently because the water temperature, 46 to 47 degrees on the trip, began to creep up. The previous trip last week walloped a 13-pounder and nearly limited, after the two previous trips fished slowly for blackfish that week, opening week of blackfish season. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing. Striped bass trips will begin on May 1, chunking bunker for them on Delaware Bay. Those are big, mature fish headed to the ocean after spawning in Delaware River. Drum trips begin on May 10, fishing the bay.

Capt. George will try to splash the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> on Friday, he said. Then trips will blackfish on the ocean, and that angling seemed to begin picking up. He knew about a sizable or two caught. The striped bass migration supposedly began to reach Delaware River at the Commodore Barry Bridge. Second-hand reports said some even began to arrive at the Turnpike Bridge, farther upstream. Drum charters fish Delaware Bay in May aboard. Those trips are booking, and so are sea bass trips that will fish the ocean. Sea bass season is yet to be announced, but began on May 23 last year.

Striped bass, mostly throwbacks, a couple of keepers, were bloodwormed along surf jetties, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. Boaters on Delaware Bay mostly hooked throwback stripers, maybe a couple of 30-inch keepers, no stripers of size yet. Lots of bunker schooled the bay. No bluefish were heard about yet. A few boats headed for blackfish on the ocean Sunday, and Nick waited for results. Windy weather kept boaters from sailing in previous days. Nothing was heard about blackfishing along surf jetties, but some anglers probably tried for them Sunday, so reports would probably tumble in. Fresh clams and green crabs were stocked.

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