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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 4-13-17


Plenty of small striped bass schooled Raritan Bay off Cliffwood Beach and Keyport, and a few bigger began to be boated, said Rich from <b>Dockside Bait & Tackle</b>. A trip docked a 23-pounder and a 20-pounder today at the shop. Fresh clams and sandworms hooked the bay’s bass, and both are stocked. So are bloodworms and fresh bunker. Not so many bunker schooled the bay. More did last year at this time, and maybe more were yet to show currently. Stretch plugs, Mojos and all other tackle is also stocked for trolling stripers. Dockside, located on Smith Creek, a tributary of the Arthur Kill, north of Outerbridge Crossing, is accessible from the water at the fuel dock and from land.


Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing became better and better, said Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>. Some days fished for them better than others, or all throwbacks bit on some days. Weather’s improving for the season, so anglers hope the fishing will, too. Trips aboard fished with clams and rubber shads, not livelined bunker yet, for the stripers. Open-boat trips are fishing for the bass daily, and charters are available. Down Deep runs two 40-foot boats that each accommodate up to 15 passengers. Check <a href="http://downdeepsportfishing.com/open-boat-availability/" target="_blank">Down Deep’s calendar</a> for available dates.

Striped bass are in, and come and get them! Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> wrote in an email. Fishing for them on Raritan Bay improved every day, and bigger bass were showing up. The year’s first 30-pounder, a 40-incher, was hauled aboard Wednesday. Trips have been limiting out daily. Weather’s improving, warming the water, and the fish are responding. Space is available for charters from 2 to 8 p.m. next week with Capt. T.J. at the helm. Afternoons are fishing as good as trips earlier in the day, and can be convenient for those who need to work in the a.m. Moring charters are available beginning April 24. Space was currently available for an open-boat trip Wednesday, and telephone to reserve. Charters and open trips are filling quickly, so book early. See photos and the latest reports on <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/vitaminseafishing/" target="_blank">Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page</a>.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

The year’s fishing will be kicked off Friday on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. Trips that day will begin striped bass fishing 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.


The boat will be brought to Highlands this weekend and will begin fishing next week for striped bass on Raritan Bay, said Capt. Mike from <b>Tuna-Tic Sportfishing</b>. The fishing’s reportedly beginning to pick up, and might really improve after this week’s full moon. The trips will probably clam the bass at first. But the trips will be geared up to fish for them in any way. The season was probably early to liveline bunker for stripers, but Mike will see. Tuna-Tic begins the fishing every year around this time. Afterward, the boat is moved to Forked River to fish for stripers on the ocean from Barnegat Inlet. That’s when the big breeders depart rivers and bays, after spawning there in early spring, and arrive in the ocean to migrate north for summer. Fishing the ocean for the big fish was phenomenal last year aboard. By June, charters aboard will shark fish. Sometimes the shark trips mix in striper fishing on the way back to port.

Sailing from <b>Twin Lights Marina</b>, Roy Wurst limited out on stripers to 40 inches Wednesday on rubber shads, Marian wrote in an email. Greg Hanna on the Annie H on Tuesday boated a 25-pound striper on Raritan Bay and a 14-inch winter flounder on Navesink River. On April 1, Frank Wagenhoffer and John Cuozzo limited on stripers to 25 pounds on the bay off Keyport. Twin Lights, located on Shrewsbury River near Raritan Bay and the ocean, with no bridges before them, includes a marina with boat slips, dry storage, a fuel dock, and a combined bait and tackle shop and ship’s store. The fuel dock is available 24 hours a day with a credit card. Fresh clams were yet to be stocked but are carried when demand begins. Live bunker are stocked when they become in demand.


<b>***Update, Friday, 4/14:***</b> Most who fished for Shark River’s winter flounder were able to limit out quickly, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. The angling was great, and worms and clams caught best. “Striped bass have shown up in most areas,” he wrote. The bass to 16 pounds, some heavier than 30, were walloped from rivers and bays, he said. A variety of plugs including darters, sliders and swimmers, including Daiwa SP Minnow swimmers, socked them. Anglers needed to bring a variety like that and “match the hatch,” he wrote. “Bunker are moving into shore waters with bass and blues in hot pursuit.” Blackfish were “a viable fishery,” he said.

Capt. Mike is moving the <b>Katie H</b> to Raritan Bay for a day of maintenance today, and he’s going to keep the boat there a couple of weeks or longer for striped bass fishing that’s turning on there, he said. So if anglers want to jump aboard, dates are available. The first of the charters is slated for Monday, and Mike was probably going to fish for the bass with crew today. The bass were reportedly hooked on clams and jigs. Some supposedly were taken on livelined bunker, too.

Blackfishing was okay, catching some fish, this week on the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b> on the ocean, Capt. Chris said. All anglers managed to hook the tautog, so that was good. Not too bad, he said. Mostly clams caught, and crabs began to land some. That meant the water’s warming, and clams and green crabs are provided, and white crabs are available for sale aboard. The Big Mohawk is blackfishing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

During the last couple of trips, fishing was a little slow, a report said Tuesday on the party boat <b>Golden Eagle</b>’s website. That would be a kind way to describe, it said. But “there is always a brighter side,” it said. Water warmed a few degrees, more and more bait showed up, “and we did see some fish splashing the other day,” it said. Striped bass seemed ready to turn on any day. Weather looks great for trips today through Sunday, and the boat is sailing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing seemed “up and down with the moon,” said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. The moon was full this week, and he expects stripers gradually to migrate to the ocean, where trips aboard fish for them. Blackfishing on the ocean was reportedly better on some days than others. Winter flounder were angled from Shark River. Pete and crew have been working on the boat daily, getting ready for the fishing season. Plenty of dates are available in May and June for charters. Book them, because they fill. 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. 

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

The trip aboard Monday fished the best for blackfish so far this season on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, Capt. Matt wrote in a report on the party boat’s website that day. Not great, but the catches turned on by the end of the outing, and all anglers “left with dinner.” A 7-pound blackfish won the pool, and the angling was definitely improving. Tuesday’s trip picked decent-sized and shorts, and all spots had life. The pool-winning blackfish weighed 7 pounds again. White leggers ran low, but more were expected to be carried by the end of the week aboard. Green crabs were on the boat, and all of Tuesday’s trip’s fish were nabbed on the greens. The report about Tuesday was the most recent on the boat’s site at press time, and weather looked great for the rest of the week, it said. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Looks like a good weekend on the water, the party boat <b>Gambler</b>’s Facebook page said. Trips are sailing 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays for cod, ling and blackfish. The crew is keeping a lookout for striped bass, and trips will switch to them as soon as the migration arrives locally. <b>***Update, Saturday, 4/15:***</b> A trip cruised up the beach yesterday, looking for striped bass, the boat’s Facebook page said. The crew saw gannets smash the ocean surface and stopped the boat there, and a keeper striper was decked. More fish were marked on the fish-finder there, but no more bit. “Looks like it could happen any day,” the page said, especially because of good weather and baitfish schooling. Toward the end of the trip, the boat bottom-fished at a couple of stops, “but that didn’t work out too well,” it said. Trips are “splitting our days between bottom fishing and striper fishing,” it said. Accurate Reels will host two trips 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 3 and 23 aboard for anglers to test the company’s gear. Stripers and bluefish will be targeted, and tickets will be able to be bought online, or anglers can just show up. For info, anglers can call 732-295-7569 or email jill@gamblerfishing.net.

<b>Toms River</b>

Throwback striped bass were played on Toms River on bloodworms on white perch rigs, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>.  She knew about three keepers this season, but numerous 27-inchers, an inch undersized, chomped. Sometimes the river’s stripers swiped Mambo Minnows, Baker swimming lures and Storm popper plugs. A few winter flounder still bit in the river. Plenty of stripers and flounder were angled on Oyster Creek. Plenty of flounder were grabbed from Barnegat Bay near Mantoloking Bridge and Point Pleasant Canal. Throwback stripers were hooked a little farther south on the bay at Route 37 Bridge on white rubber shads. Dennis from the shop hooked them yesterday on Kettle Creek shads and Rapalas, and the water was 59 to 60 degrees. Anglers hope the bluefish migration arrives by the weekend in the bay and waters like the Toms. In the surf, stripers were sometimes picked, mostly on bloodworms. Occasionally one was clammed, and fresh bunker are also stocked for bait that could be tried. Virginia knew about maybe two keepers from the surf from online reports. Bottom-fishing began to improve on the ocean on party boats like Jamaica II and Dauntless. Cod fishing improved a little on the trips, and the boats were able to blackfish closer to shore than before, at Shark River Reef. A few anglers limited on blackfish when the wind was right. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Surf fishing seemed mostly slow, but that should change soon, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Barnegat Bay and rivers turned out throwback striped bass. “Small swimmers and rubber tails are driving (them) crazy!” it said. Winter flounder were bagged from the bay and rivers. 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, and, in season, boat and jet-ski rentals. 

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

If half a dozen boats with anglers sailed Barnegat Inlet to the ocean in a day, that was a lot, said Vince Sr. from <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b>. Not a lot of news was heard yet this fishing season, and boating for blackfish on the ocean was all that was reported. That angling was pretty good. Nothing was mentioned about striped bass fishing on Barnegat Bay. Only about three sportfishing boats were in slips locally. But the store is open daily for the fishing season, and baits stocked include green crabs, fresh clams and all frozen. The rental boats will be available beginning in May. 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. 

Barnegat Bay’s boaters started to land striped bass at Oyster Creek Channel and across the bay off Oyster Creek, said Rob from <b>Van’s Boat Rentals</b>. Few were keepers, but sometimes one was. An angler yesterday tugged in 40, all throwbacks. The bay off the creek seemed to attract stripers because of warm water. Oyster Creek is the warm-water discharge for Forked River power plant. Nobody blackfished who was known about, and the season’s first two boats were only in the slips. The shop is only open for customers to launch boats in slips and for gas. The store becomes fully operational, including for rental boats and bait, beginning on Memorial Day weekend. No rental boats and bait is available yet. Van’s rents boats from 9 h.p. to 50 h.p. for fishing, crabbing and pleasure. Kayaks are rented in-season, and facilities include a bait and tackle shop and a marina with slips, gas and full boat servicing.

<b>Mystic Island</b>

The year’s first striped bass was weighed-in from Graveling Point yesterday at <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>, Brandon said. The angler, Vincas Kudirka, won the annual $100 gift certificate to the store for the fish, an 11-1/2-pound 30-incher, and also bagged a 13.4-pound black drum on the trip. Plenty of stripers and drum bit at Graveling, the shore-angling spot at the confluence of Great Bay and Mullica River. Rumors said bluefish were in the area, but the annual $100 certificate to the store remained available for the angler who checks-in the year’s first blue from the Point. For the stripers, bloodworms and clams caught about equally. If anglers want drum, fish clams. Small stripers filled the river. “They’re everywhere,” Brandon said. White perch fishing was fair on the river, and nobody said where, specifically. Blackfishing was fairly good on the ocean. No huge were reported, but keepers were clocked. Nothing was heard about blackfish caught from the bay, like along the sod banks where they can bite. Brandon sent an angler to some of Brandon’s favorite places for blackfishing on the bay, and the angler hooked none. Bloodworms, fresh clams in the shell, live grass shrimp and green crabs are stocked. So are meal worms and red wigglers for freshwater trout. Trout season opened Saturday, and the fish seemed available to catch, if anglers located them. Locals fish for them at places including Tuckerton Lake. Brandon was at Spring Lake, farther north, on opening day, and saw a 5- or 6-pound rainbow trout banked.


Two black drum to 18 pounds were brought from the surf today to <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>, Capt. Andy said. Those were the year’s first fish weighed-in, and the two anglers, stopping at the shop together, clammed the fish off Brigantine Hotel. Throwback stripers were sometimes beached, and reports kept saying bluefish came from the surf, but Andy saw none yet. The bottom and tops of tides, when the water ran slowest, seemed to produce surf catches best. If surf casters catch a blue, they should enter the fish in the Riptide Spring Fishing Derby, because a 1-pound blue won the fall derby. Like the fall event, the spring contest, underway until May 21, awards cash for the heaviest stripers and blues. Entry is $25 and includes a permit to drive Brigantine’s entire front beach, when accompanied by a Brigantine beach-buggy permit. Without the derby permit, not the entire beach can be driven. Riptide’s Yuki Hani 43-Inch Striper Bounty was up to $220.  The bounty is awarded to the entrant who stops in with the year’s first striper 43 inches or larger from Brigantine’s surf. Entry is $5, and the bounty will grow, because all the cash is awarded. More than $1,000 was awarded each year since the bounty began. The new Temple Fork Outfitters or TFO surf-plugging rod, the GIS SP 1102-2, will be stocked Friday. That’s an 11-footer that’s made for light, ½-ounce to 2-ounce lures, unusually. The rod is intended for the Northeast. <a href=" http://www.fox29.com/good-day/100469961-video" target="_blank">Stock’s famous pound cakes</a>, from Philadelphia’s Stock’s Bakery, are selling like wild at Riptide. The Stocks are a known family of New Jersey anglers, and some are customers at Riptide and are Brigantine surf casters.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Lot of fish, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Many blackfish were bagged along nearby, jetty-lined Absecon Inlet. Lots of small striped bass were fought from the T-jetty and the surf near there, and bigger seemed to begin showing up. A keeper striper was weighed-in today. The T is at the ocean end of the inlet. A good number of black drum were heaved from the bay. See photos of catches on <a href=" http://www.parkerpetefishing.com/" target="_blank">One Stop’s Facebook page</a>. Like the page to follow the latest news. All baits are stocked, including bloodworms the stripers ate, green crabs the blackfish chomped, and fresh clams that both the blackfish and drum scarfed up.

<b>Egg Harbor Township</b>

Great Egg Harbor River held throwback striped bass, lots, that were bloodwormed, said Jimmy from <b>24-7 Bait & Tackle</b>. No big were heard about yet. Throwback stripers also began to be plucked from along 9th Street Bridge between Ocean City and Somers Point on bloods and clams. Jimmy heard about no other catches, including blackfish. Bloodworms are stocked, and fresh clams and fresh bunker are supposed to arrive Friday. <b>The company also owns 24-7 Bait & Tackle in Marmora</b>. The company also just opened a store Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point.


Black drum were eased from bays, especially at night at spots including Lakes Bay, behind Atlantic City and behind inlets, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. Striped bass, some of them keepers, were mixed in. Clams were fished for both, and rivers including the Mullica were full of throwback stripers, some of them good-sized, just under legal-length. The population of 2-year-olds was phenomenal. Dave ran his year’s first striper charter, fishing back waters. Shorts were pulled in, and he went looking for bigger, tackling a keeper on a Gulp soft-plastic lure. So the trips are underway. Friday and Monday are already booked, but other dates are open. Blackfishing was great at jetties, and catches included limits. The bridge at Somers Point was a good spot for blackfishing on foot. A few anglers had boats in the water, and they hit blackfish at structure like bridges. All baits are stocked. Grass shrimp became scarce, but some live were on hand. That could be the last of them, unless Dave finds more to net. All lures are stocked, for that matter. The season’s first bluefish!


Blackfish chewed their heads off yesterday and on the last two or three trips on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. The ocean was up to 47.5 degrees, and weather was outstanding, and wind looks light in the next days. An open-boat trip is sold out Friday, and a few spaces remain for Saturday and Sunday. An open trip will blackfish Monday, too, because some anglers take the day off after Easter. Easter’s trip will sail usual hours, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., except won’t stay late. Sometimes trips stay a little late. Open trips will blackfish daily when weather permits, because the tautog are biting, and blackfish season closes beginning in May. Less than 15 days will remain after the weekend. The 15-inch size limit “slows you down some,” he said. Blackfish 14 inches and change had to be chucked back. That’s a 2-1/2-pounder. But some good-sized keepers also hit.

<b>Cape May</b>

With <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, blackfish, pretty good catches, were boated on the ocean, Capt. Tom said. A trip Monday limited out, and the fish included an 11-pounder and a 10-pounder. Probably 30 to 40 throwbacks were reeled in and released. A trip Wednesday was on the slower side, bagging 16 of the tautog and releasing many shorts, and the anglers were new at the fishing. Charters and open-boat trips sail. Trips for striped bass trips will begin May 1, chunking bunker for them on Delaware Bay. Trips for drum on the bay will start May 10.

On the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, blackfishing was spotty, Capt. Paul said. Some places gave up a little action, not many keepers. But a few anglers limited out Sunday and Monday and one limited yesterday aboard. Some anglers landed no keepers on trips, too. On Sunday, Val Shoester from Williamstown, Pat Hoffman from Mays Landing and Don Mark from Philly limited, and John Riccardi won the pool with one of his two keepers. On Monday, Dave Thompson from Green Creek and another angler limited. On yesterday’s trip, Carl Keehfus from Villas limited and tied for the pool with another angler. Six pounds was probably the biggest blackfish on trips this week. Paul hopes a few more keepers begin to be landed, and a few were to be had currently. Not all anglers reeled in a keeper, but the trips are a chance to get a few bites and keepers. The Porgy IV is blackfishing at 8 a.m. daily. One of the trips is slated for Easter, too.

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