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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 4-24-17

<b>Keyport</b>

Super-good striped bass fishing on Raritan Bay aboard, Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> wrote in an email. On Saturday on the boat, three of the stripers bagged weighed 38, 35 and 32 pounds. “This is pretty good bass fishing,” he wrote. “I’ll leave it at that.” Slowly trolled, large, rubber shads was the way to catch. Chunking bunker began to produce, and trips fish however necessary for the best chance to grab your personal-best striper. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing in mornings and afternoons, and Tuesday’s trips are canceled because of rough forecasts. One space is available on a trip 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Spaces are available during those hours Wednesday, May 3, and Thursday, May 4. Book early if you want a spot, or it’ll be gone. Telephone to reserve. The fishing’s been just as good in afternoons as mornings, and better on many days. Catch reports daily, photos and schedules on <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/vitaminseafishing/" target="_blank">Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page</a>.

Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing broke wide open, said Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>. The fish to 35 pounds were clammed, bunker-chunked and trolled on Mojos aboard. Slammer bluefish will probably arrive in the bay full-force by the end of the week. They currently swam warmer water in the surf.  Open-boat trips are fishing daily and charters are available on Down Deep’s two boats, each 40 feet and accommodating up to 15 passengers. See <a href="http://downdeepsportfishing.com/open-boat-availability/" target="_blank">Down Deep’s calendar</a> online for available dates. Join the Short Notice List on the site – look for the link underneath the Contact link – to be kept informed about special open trips. Trips for fluke and sea bass are now being reserved for later this season.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

On the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b> by 10 a.m. today on Raritan Bay, a keeper striped bass was bagged, a few throwbacks were released and some stripers were missed, Capt. Tom said when he gave this report at that time in a phone call aboard. Some of the fish seemed difficult to hook. Both of Saturday’s trips showed improvement in the angling for the first time this season. On the morning’s trip, a few keepers and a better number of throwbacks than before were hooked. The afternoon’s trip scored a healthy number of keepers and about the same number of throwbacks as in the morning, more throwbacks than before. A good number of anglers jumped aboard Sunday, but unfortunately the fishing was slower. It began okay in the morning, and dropped off. All the bass on trips were clammed, except one was landed on a rubber shad last Monday. A customer was casting a shad on this morning’s trip when Tom gave this report, but the trip’s fish were all clammed so far. Trips are fishing for stripers on two trips daily from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday looks like a washout in rain and wind, and no trips are expected to sail that day. Tom will see what happens with Wednesday’s weather, and Thursday is supposed to be warm.

Fishing for striped bass on Raritan Bay was much better Saturday on the party boat <b>Fishermen</b> than before, Capt. Ron wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. That was the first decent bite of the season, and the bass in the shallows wanted bait that the trips are currently fishing. On Sunday’s trip, the angling still wasn’t what it should be. A handful of keepers and a bunch of shorts were reeled in. The fish weren’t hitting aggressively and getting instantly hooked. Patience will pay off, as Ron’s said many times before, he said. The boat is fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

<b>Highlands</b>

Boat traffic slowed Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing on Sunday morning’s trip, but 18 of the fish to 39 inches were still landed, Capt. Mike from <b>Tuna-Tic Sportfishing</b> wrote on Tuna-Tic’s Facebook page. Anglers on the afternoon’s trip started catching them right away, cranking in eleven in the first hour, still hooking the fish at 3 p.m., when Mike posted that. They clammed 20-some by later that day, and had just gone on the troll to try for bigger, Mike said in a phone call aboard at the time. The fishing’s been very good, he said. Tuna-Tic fishes the bay for stripers until the fish depart. Then the boat each year is moved to Forked River to sail for stripers on the ocean from Barnegat Inlet. Those are big, mature bass that have left bays and rivers after spawning and are beginning to migrate north in the ocean to spend summer. Tuna-Tic starts shark fishing in June, and sometimes mixes in striper fishing on the way back.

<b>Belmar</b>

<b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> fished Saturday for the first time this year, blackfishing on the ocean, Capt. Pete said. The angling was decent, considering strong current. It picked throwbacks and keepers, including sizable to 6 pounds, most of the trip. Lots of bait was marked, and birds sometimes worked the bait. No striped bass were on the bait, but the ocean’s striper run will happen soon, he thinks. Striper trips, springtime’s main fishing aboard, are booking up. Charters sail, but individual spaces are available with charters who want more anglers. So don’t hesitate to call if you have too few anglers for a charter.

The <b>Katie H</b> is currently docked along Raritan Bay to the north of Belmar for a little seasonal maintenance, and is fishing for the bay’s striped bass with charters in between, Capt. Mike said. A half-day trip with a family trolled the fish on Mojos this past week, and another charter is headed for the bay’s stripers in the next days aboard. The ocean’s striper fishing from Belmar mostly sounded slow, so the boat will be kept near the bay for now. But Mike imagines the fishing from Belmar will kick in soon. The 46-foot Katie H features speed and all the amenities.

No fishing will sail Tuesday and Wednesday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b> because of weather, an email from the party boat said. The crew will keep an eye on Thursday. The boat is running for striped bass and blues, and a trip fished Saturday aboard, doing lots of looking. The whole fleet had tough fishing that day, it said, and the trip read plenty of bait but only a few fish among the bait. Sometimes gannets dove on the bait, and sometimes whales and porpoises were seen. Trips are slated to fish for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Buy three gift certificates for the trips and get one free. The offer is only available through April and cannot be combined with other discounts.

Striped bass fishing was tough Saturday on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. Plenty of bait and stripers were read, but catching them was difficult “to say the least,” it said. The anglers fished hard on a rainy, raw day. Tomorrow’s another day, it said. No trips were expected to fish today and Tuesday because of forecasts for 30-knot wind from northeast. The Golden Eagle is scheduled to fish for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

<b>Brielle</b>

Wreck-fishing turned up a decent catch of cod Saturday on the party boat <b>Jamaica II</b> on the ocean, especially early in the day, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. Some better-sized were hung, and the Diaz brothers bagged four cod. One of the fish weighed 29.7 pounds, and the rest weighed 15 to 18. Bob Bohrer sacked two cod 8 and 12 pounds. Chris Molinaro whacked five that totaled 41 pounds. Ray Bryant pasted three to 14 pounds. Brian Borgunn decked three cod to 12 pounds and an 8-pound pollock. A scattering of other fish were boxed around the boat, and not many ling were. See photos on the <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/J2fishing/" target="_blank">Jamaica II’s Facebook page</a>. Trips are slated to fish every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday.

Anglers picked away at schoolie striped bass to 20 inches, maybe sometimes 24 inches, in Manasquan Inlet on rubber shads and small, white bucktails, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. The fish were also hooked in the surf up and down the beaches on the same sort of tackle. Bluefish 6 to 8 pounds arrived in the inlet. They didn’t show up super consistently, but were fought nearly all day Saturday. Three-inch crocs and the same tackle fished for the stripers hooked them. Winter flounder gave up fantastic fishing, including for big, from Barnegat Bay near Bay Avenue and Point Pleasant Canal to Manasquan River near the hospital and Treasure Island. The fish began to migrate toward the ocean. On the ocean, boating for stripers tapered off in southeast wind. Customers who reported about the fishing knew about nobody who caught them Saturday. Blackfishing on the ocean was fair, good on some days, slower on others. But they were there and seemed to push a little shallower to 40 and 50 feet of water. Clams or soft baits seemed to hook them best, and a few cod were picked on the trips.  Farther north, Raritan Bay’s striper fishing was great in 15- and 20-foot shallows from the New Jersey side to the New York side. Trolled, lightweight Mojos in chartreuse and Stretch 25 lures nailed the fish to the mid-30 pounds. The Reel Seat is now open daily for the fishing season.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

<b>Mushin Sportfishing</b> ran an exploratory trip for tuna Saturday and found good signs that bluefin tuna should swim the water soon or already, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. He didn’t specify the signs, but seemed to mean conditions like water temperature. Blue, 72-degree water likely to hold yellowfin tuna and mako sharks is moving into offshore canyons farther south. Mushin moves the boat to Cape May to fish for tuna and makos to the south beginning in June for a while. That angling has lit up in recent years, and if anglers are looking for early-season tuna, the trips should be booked now. Trips aboard will soon target striped bass on the ocean and keep tilefishing offshore. A recent trip boated golden tiles, covered in a recent report here. An apparent tuna bit off one of the tiles. 

Blackfishing improved Saturday and Sunday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. Some good-sized were plastered, and pool-winning blackfish weighed 6 to 8 pounds. The high hook limited out, some anglers bagged one to three and some only landed throwbacks. Anglers who cast around and worked, scored. Most blackfish were hooked on green crabs, and the greens and clams were carried aboard. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. through Sunday, the final day of blackfish season. Beginning Tuesday, the trips will target striped bass and blues.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Small striped bass nibbled in the surf, and mixed sizes of bluefish bit in Barnegat Bay, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. A few of the store’s rental boats are now available, if anglers want to get after the blues on them. Crabbing was a pick from the dock, but some keepers were trapped. 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 <b>Super Chic</b> will probably begin fishing in mid to late May, Capt. Ted said. Then the boat will sail for bluefish and sea bass on the ocean. He’d like to run a couple of open-boat trips for tilefish offshore around then, like he often does this time of year. The first charter is currently booked for sea bass for May 26, opening day of sea bass season. Big bluefish were fought from the surf on Long Beach Island, Barnegat Inlet and Barnegat Bay. The number landed from the bay seemed lower than last year, but the season could be a little early. Maybe the water needed to warm for them to bite better, and weather’s supposed to become warmer late this week. If the angling’s going to pick up, that ought to do it. Boaters picked away at small striped bass in the bay shallows behind the inlet on cast lures. 

<b>Brigantine</b>

Ten to 15-pound bluefish shoved into  Brigantine’s surf the past couple of days, a report said on <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>’s website. Almost anything hooked the fish, including plugs, jigs and even clams. But bunker caught best. Use a wire leader, because the slammers will bite through fishing line. 

<b>Atlantic City</b>

It’s on like Donkey Kong! said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Big bluefish and small striped bass swarmed thick from the surf to the back bay. That was the surf next to Absecon Inlet. Off Erie Avenue was a place tossing up the fish in the bay recently. Plenty of blackfish chomped along the jetty-lined inlet, and he was weighing-in two when he gave this report this afternoon. Sometimes kingfish were nabbed in the same surf, and a customer grabbed a dozen or so in a trip. Four or five blowfish were known about from the surf there. Something about this whole area holds fish this time of year. Customers fish all these waters on foot. For the blues, they cast fresh bunker or frozen mackerel or herring. For the stripers, they soaked bloodworms. The worms also hooked the kings and blowfish. The blackfish smacked green crabs and clams. All these baits and more, the full supply, are stocked.

<b>Longport</b>

The <b>Stray Cat</b> blackfished Saturday on the ocean, “and it was rough,” Capt. Mike said. “Big seas.” Current ripped, difficult for anchoring. But the tautog chewed their heads off beginning at 10 a.m., when a wreck was fished that began to produce. Most of the anglers limited out, and a 10-pounder was the biggest of the tog. Some quality came in. No trip fished Sunday, because of rougher forecasts, but weather and seas ended up better that day. Open-boat trips are blackfishing daily when weather’s fit, until blackfish season is closed beginning next Monday. The next are expected to sail Wednesday to Friday and on Sunday. Saturday’s trip is full. Beginning in May, trips will fish wrecks for whatever bites. The ocean was 52 degrees on the fishing grounds Saturday. Bunker schooled beginning at 4 ½ or 5 miles from shore. A few striped bass seemed to swim beyond 3 miles from shore, where striper fishing is closed.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Fishing for big bluefish was ridiculous on the back bay aboard, very good, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. On Thursday Joe, his wife and Joe’s friend Capt. Chris Goldmark beat the blues to 16 pounds on flies and lead jigheads with soft-plastic lures. On Friday Doug Gillespie aboard smashed the blues to 18 pounds on the jigs. On Saturday morning Sean Mackin’s family jigged the blues to 14 pounds and, if Joe remembered, an out-of-season summer flounder or two that were released. In the afternoon Paul Hines and friend Dave tackled the blues to 18 pounds on flies and the jigs. Hines and buddy returned Sunday morning and jigged the blues to 16 pounds the whole trip. “Fishing’s good, man,” Joe said! When the jigs were fished in shallower water, they were retrieved just fast enough to keep off bottom. In deeper water, the presentation was slowed and was more of a jigging motion. Tackle is fished relatively slowly in cool water this time of year for the blues. The bay was 58 to 64 degrees, and the fish begin to bite top-water popper lures and flies when the water’s a little warmer, usually a little into May.  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 year’s first fishing sailed Sunday, for blackfish, on the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>, Capt. George said. The anglers, Kevin Driscoll’s party, caught pretty well, lots of throwbacks a half-inch or an inch undersized, but worked through them for keepers. The trip, fishing not far from shore on the ocean in foggy weather, bounced around to a couple of pieces. Next, another piece gave up the tautog well. Blackfish season will be closed beginning next Monday. Black drum trips will fish Delaware Bay probably beginning after Mothers’ Day, May 14. Sea bass trips will fish the ocean when sea bass season is opened beginning May 26. Telephone if interested in any of this fishing.

Several trips blackfished this past week with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b> on the ocean, limiting out on the tautog to 11 pounds, Capt. Tom said. Charters and open-boat trips fish, and trips for striped bass will bunker-chunk Delaware Bay in May. Trips will also fish for black drum on the bay in May.

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