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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 4-27-17

<b>Keyport</b>

Striped bass to a 45-pounder, 4 feet long, were slammed Monday from Raritan Bay with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. The angling was slow Wednesday for the first time in some time, because of dirty water from heavy rain, but was excellent otherwise. Trips are fishing with clams and bunker-chunks and are trolling Mojos. Anglers are also casting rubber shads. Open-boat trips are fishing daily, and charters are available. Open, afternoon trips are also fishing at 2 o’clock every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. 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. Fluke and sea bass trips are being booked. Down Deep runs two 40-feet boats, each accommodating up to 15 passengers.

The anglers limited out on striped bass and released additional keepers on Raritan Bay on Monday on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. The fishing was okay, he said, and the angling was weathered out Tuesday. On Wednesday morning aboard, effects of the storm made fishing tough. But on a trip in the afternoon, with Capt. T.J. at the helm, favorable conditions were found, and the anglers landed 15 keepers, limiting out and releasing the extra. Good dates are still available for charters in mornings and afternoons, and afternoons have fished well consistently. Plenty of stripers are around, and some are moving to spawning grounds, and some are just arriving in the bay. May should be a great month of fishing. “Come on down (and) catch some of these magnificent fish,” he said. One space is available for an open-boat trip Tuesday morning. Spaces are available on the trips on Wednesday and next Thursday afternoons. Saturday and Sunday, May 7 and 8, are available for charters or open trips in the afternoon.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Felt good to be back at the helm, Capt. Ron from the <b>Fishermen</b> wrote about today aboard, on the party boat’s website. The vessel was tied up in the weather in past days. A few striped bass were picked on the change of the tide. The trip made a couple of moves, and ended up on a little pile of stripers once the tide began to run. A 70-pound black drum was decked toward the end of the trip. Bill Yurkovic was high hook on his first trip of the season on the boat, landing seven stripers, and winning the pool with a 33-incher. The water was muddy but warmed to 55 degrees. Trips have been fishing for stripers on Raritan Bay, mostly with clams, occasionally with rubber shads and jigs. Ron expects bluefish to begin showing up any day, “and we will keep an eye on that also,” he wrote. The boat is fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 3:30 to 9 p.m. Sundays.

 

Fishing for striped bass resumed this morning on Raritan Bay on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said at 10 a.m. on the trip in a phone call. No trips fished in the weather the past couple of days. On this morning’s trip, one keeper was landed and a couple of stripers were missed so far, and he was about to move the boat and look around. The afternoon trip will surely fish. Tom didn’t even try to sail Tuesday in the storm. He and crew shaped up to fish Wednesday, but too few anglers showed up at the port to fish in the lingering weather.  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.

Boaters whipped striped bass at Raritan Bay’s shallows on clams, chunks of bunker, cast rubber shads and trolled Mojos, an employee said from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Shore anglers also banked them from the bay. Large blues just began to show up in the bay. Nothing was heard about blackfish. The full supply of bait is stocked, including fresh clams, fresh bunker and green crabs.

<b>Highlands</b>

Making the trip from <b>Twin Lights Marina</b>, Roy Wurst, Brian and Jeff trolled and chunked more than 20 striped bass, releasing them, on Friday, Marian wrote in an email. Anthony Pennimede’s crew on Saturday limited out on stripers at “the ‘secret spot’ (where everyone else was),” she wrote. 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. Baits stocked include fresh clams and live bunker when in demand.

<b>Neptune</b>

Sea bass charters are booking with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. Weekends are filling, so try to book early. Space is available for individual-reservation trips for sea bass June 6 and 13 and for cod June 21. Sea bass season will be open May 26 through June 18 with a 10-fish bag limit and 12-1/2-inch minimum size. It’ll reopen from July through August, but with a two-fish limit at 12 1/2 inches. It’ll reopen again from October 22 through the end of the year, with a 15-fish limit at 12 1/2. Last Lady will begin fishing in May for the year.

<b>Belmar</b>

No boats fished locally, really, in the storm in past days, said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. But something like that was needed to trigger a change in fishing, and the new moon was also this week. He expects this moon to help cause change, too. His trips jump all over big striped bass when the migration moves to the ocean from bays and rivers this season. Parker Pete’s is known for that. Large bluefish began migrating into bays and rivers from the south. A few stripers were already boated on the ocean this season. He’ll see what’s happening in the ocean now that this blow is passing. The water probably warmed. He hopes for the weather for a charter to sail Saturday, and the group just wants to fish. All the bait and tackle will be aboard for stripers. The anglers can also blackfish on the ocean. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s anyway about individual spaces available on charters. Trips are booking. 

Weather’s clearing, and fishing will kick back off Friday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email from the party boat said. Trips are running for striped bass and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, but none sailed all week because of weather. Last chance: Buy three gift certificates for the trips and get one free, an offer only available through April. The offer cannot be combined with other discounts.

Forecasts look “spring like” for the next few days, so trips for striped bass will resume on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website.  The boat is fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

<b>***Update, Friday, 4/28:***</b> Despite the ocean swell and rough weather in previous days, blackfish bit Thursday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. “Some nice fish came up,” it said, and a 9-pounder won the pool. A few anglers limited out, “and some with less,” it said. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily through Sunday, the final day of blackfish season. Afterward, the trips will fish for striped bass and blues.

Weather will be beautiful this weekend, and the <b>Gambler</b> will fish for striped bass and blues 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Accurate Reels will host two trips 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. this coming Wednesday and on Tuesday, May 23, aboard for anglers to test the company’s gear. Stripers and bluefish will be targeted.

<b>Toms River</b>

Dennis from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> released a few striped bass to 22 inches along Route 37 Bridge on Barnegat Bay at the end of the day yesterday on X-Raps, he said. No other boats fished there at the time, but lots of stripers swam the water. He trolled a sizable bluefish near Good Luck Point on the trip, and probably 14 boats fished for the gators there on the bay. He stayed out of the crowd, fishing the outskirts. But anglers in the fleet scored well. They gave thumbs up, and an angler on one of the boats with five anglers said they must’ve landed 300 of the fish. The mouth of the Toms River near there was 58 degrees. Dennis saw shore anglers fishing Good Luck Point but none catching. But in the morning, anglers from shore lit into the blues farther up the river on popper lures. A kid bought a Gibb’s pencil popper in orange and tied into them. The orange is rare but worked. The blues have been tearing around the whole bay. A few winter flounder remained in the bay, like toward the BB and BI markers, but were migrating to the ocean quickly. A couple of token weakfish were picked up from the bay in this area, like near the 40 marker and off Oyster Creek, by boaters from Forked River. Farther north in the bay, a few winter flounder remained toward Mantoloking Bridge and Point Pleasant Canal. But blues were more abundant there, and most flounder migrated to Manasquan River. That was where to find them. The surf was mostly unfishable in the storm the past couple of days. Previously, gator blues were picked from the beach, mostly at Island Beach State Park to Barnegat Inlet. The water had been 50 degrees, a little chilly for blues. The northeast wind probably made the surf 52 now. Crabbing was very good. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard on the Toms.  

<b>Forked River</b>

Pretty big blues were boated on Barnegat Bay, said Kyle from <b>Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle</b>. Anglers trolled for them between the BB and BI markers with pony tails. They threw popper lures and Fin-S Fish for the gators at the mouth of Oyster Creek. Schoolie stripers swam the bay near the mouth and also still the creek itself. Nobody reported boating for winter flounder on the bay, and rough weather didn’t help. Bloodworms, fresh clams, killies, nightcrawlers and meal worms are stocked.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Barnegat Inlet harbored large bluefish, said Vince Sr. from <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b>. Surf anglers also tackled them, and striped bass were hooked from the inlet and Barnegat Bay. Boaters also landed stripers sometimes when fishing the ocean near the surf. Blackfishing was good along the inlets rocks and at ocean wrecks, and the season for the fish will close Monday. The rental boats will be available beginning this weekend. Fresh clams and green crabs are stocked. 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. 

No boats sailed in past days from <b>Van’s Boat Rentals</b> because of weather including fog, Rob said. But big bluefish have been “out of control” in Barnegat Inlet. Good fishing for them. Schoolie striped bass swam Barnegat Bay off Oyster Creek. A weakfish was yanked from the bay here and there. Boat rentals will become available on Memorial Day weekend, and bait and tackle will start to be sold during the week leading up to then. Currently, slips were available for customers to launch boats for the season. Temporary slips are also available for rent. The fuel dock is open. Van’s rents boats from 9 h.p. to 50 h.p. for fishing, crabbing and pleasure, in-season. 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>

Plenty of big blues were banked at Graveling Point, said Brandon from <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>. They popped up sporadically. Striped bass, sometimes a keeper, were slid in there sometimes. The keepers were 30 inches. Drum to 20 or 30 pounds were cranked in from Graveling at times. To target the blues, fish bunker. Clams were the “universal” bait, able to hook the blues, stripers and drum. Clams were good bait for the stripers, and bloodworms could also be fished, if anglers wanted to target stripers. Drum are usually caught on clams. Bigger stripers should begin migrating up the coast, including to local waters, in a week or two, after spawning in rivers and bays. They’ll be heading north for summer in the ocean, some of them making the trek through bays. Blackfishing was fairly good on the ocean. He blackfished on foot along Barnegat Inlet’s rocks, landing a couple of small. Blackfish were there, and getting through the small for a keeper was the thing. Fresh clams in the shell, fresh, shucked clams, fresh bunker and bloodworms are stocked.

<b>Absecon</b>

Fishing for good-sized bluefish gave up fairly consistent catches, said Curt from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. They weren’t everywhere, but were around. Those who knew where to find them got into them pretty well. A couple of main spots were in the back bay toward Bader Field and in back of the wind mills in Atlantic City. A few were heard about from Great Bay off Graveling Point. If they were there, they should swim Grassy Channel in the bay. Capt. Dave, the shop’s owner, was running a charter today and would probably stop at Grassy on high tide for blues, Curt thought. A few striped bass were around in bays and rivers. An odd 40-pound, spawning female was heard about now and then. The Great Egg Harbor area turned on pretty well for stripers, Curt heard. That was closer to Beesley’s Point and the bridges. Curt hadn’t heard much about 30-inch males that might be expected. A few came from Mullica River. Lots of throwback stripers were around. White perch were kind of scattered in the Mullica. They swam usual haunts but were also upstream, spawning. If anglers get into small perch, they might move and find bigger. Twenty male perch the same size might compete to fertilize eggs at a spot. No big weakfish were reported that enter bays to spawn in spring. One report talked about weaks at Corson’s Inlet at a dock at night. Blackfishing produced decent catches. Keepers came from jetties, bridges and structure like that. Blackfish season closes Monday. All baits are stocked including fresh clams, fresh bunker and green crabs. Boat slips are available for vessels up to 20 feet.   

<b>Brigantine</b>

Big bluefish raced all around the surf, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. Not a lot of anglers fished the beach, but those who did were into them, on fresh bunker. The lead kept changing in the bluefish division in the Riptide Spring Fishing Derby, underway until May 21. A 12-1/2-pound 37-incher took over first place this afternoon. Karl Stock was in second and third with two 11-pounders. A 28-pound 42-1/2-inch striped bass was weighed-in Tuesday during the storm. Andy knew the location of the catch but wasn’t saying. Another customer landed a good-sized striper on the bay today. Fresh bunker and fresh clams are stocked. The fishing derby 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 $270. That’s 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.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

“It’s bangin’!” Noel said from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. “It’s triple bangin’, though!” he said. Lots of large bluefish schooled from the surf alongside Absecon Inlet to the back bay, including at Erie and Riverside avenues and in back of the Borgata. Fish fresh bunker for them. Plenty of striped bass, mostly schoolies, swam the surf near the inlet, swiping bloodworms but also lures. Blackfish kept chewing along the jetty-lined inlet’s rocks on green crabs and clams. Practically all waters in Atlantic City gave up fish. “It’s the new spot,” he said. “It’s called the Fish Trap now.” All baits mentioned and more, the full supply, are stocked.

<b>Egg Harbor Township</b>

The mouth of Great Egg Harbor River to the bay to the surf tossed up 10-pound bluefish, said Jim from <b>24-7 Bait & Tackle</b>. He heard about no striped bass since the blues arrived, except about throwbacks from the river. Many anglers fished for white perch on the river, and plenty can usually be reeled up. Blackfish chomped at bridges and rock piles. Nothing was heard about crabbing yet this season. Patcong Creek, running past the shop, is one of the best places for crabbing. The shop’s rental boats are docked on the creek and can be used for fishing and crabbing from the creek to the Great Egg to the bay. Patcong meets the Great Egg near the river’s confluence with the bay. Baits stocked include bloodworms. Fresh bunker are carried when available, and no fresh clams were on hand in past days. <b>The company also owns 24-7 Bait & Tackle in Marmora</b>. The company also just opened Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point.

<b>Longport</b>

The <b>Stray Cat</b> will resume blackfishing today on the ocean, after being weathered out in the storm since the weekend, Capt. Mike said. Open-boat trips will blackfish daily through Sunday, the final day of blackfish season, but Saturday’s trip is sold out. The angling’s been good aboard. A 10-pounder was ransacked on the most recent trip, on Sunday, and most of the anglers limited out on the outing. Seas were big that day, too. After Sunday, the trips will wreck-fish on the ocean.

<b>Ocean City</b>

The surf gave up a few catches, finally, said Ed from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. A few small striped bass and some healthy-sized blues were dragged in. A couple of black drum were hauled from the surf last week, but none was known about this week. Clams, bloodworms or chunks of bunker were dunked for the stripers, and the bunker was soaked for the blues. The drum bit clams. Second- or third-hand reports mentioned kingfish from the surf, but that was unconfirmed. The blues swam more abundantly in inlets and the bay. Small stripers hit in the bay along bridges and sod banks. That was mostly on soft-plastic lures or swimming plugs. Blackfish season will be closed beginning Monday, but decent fishing for them was copped along structure like bridges, jetties, docks and piers. Bloodworms, fresh clams in the shell and fresh, shucked clams are stocked. Fresh bunker might be carried for the weekend. Fog kept bunker boats from sailing.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Paul Hines and friend Dave smashed bluefish to 16 pounds, lots, on the back bay yesterday aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. The fishing’s been incredible, epic, he said. No trips fished Monday and Tuesday in the weather. On Sunday afternoon Jay VonCzoernig and son Luc whacked the blues to 16 pounds, again, all big, on fly and spinning rods on the bay aboard. Paul Hines and friend Dave were also aboard that morning for more of the same angling. The trips are fishing leadhead jigheads with soft-plastic lures and 1/0 and 2/0 Clouser Minnow flies bounced slowly along bottom in cool water that can slow blues.  Joe likes to fish knot-able wire tippets for blues. Sometimes he had to fish wire, because the fish just bit through. They even busted through wire at times. Jump on the fishing quickly, because it won’t last forever. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

Fishing was still going off, said Mike from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Big bluefish swam everywhere surrounding the island, and were especially pounded in the back bay. What caught them was difficult to say, because when the bite was on, anglers hooked up on nearly anything. Many used soft-plastic lures like Bass Assassins and Fin-S Fish. Some striped bass were mixed in, including occasional keepers. Getting past the blues was the biggest difficulty. So the blues and stripers were also angled from the inlets and the surf. For the blues at those places, mullet was most popular bait, for some reason. Bunker and mackerel also sold for them, but customers mostly bought mullet. For the stripers, clams were fished. Many customers bought frozen, salted clams for that, but plenty of fresh clams are stocked, and some bought those. Blackfishing from land was maybe somewhat slower than two weeks ago, but still produced, and boating for blackfish picked up on the ocean. Crabbing was great, and Mike tried to convince people so. Some were skeptical, thinking the season was early.

<b>Cape May</b>

“Kind of a grind today,” <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>’s Facebook page said about blackfishing aboard. But the trip worked several pieces and managed a good catch of 22 keepers to a 13-1/2-pounder. Blackfish season will be closed beginning Monday, and then trips will begin bunker-chunking for striped bass on Delaware Bay, immediately. Drum fishing will start on the bay on May 10 aboard. Charters and open-boat trips sail.

None of the fleet probably fished in the past days’ weather, said Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>  last night in a phone call. The boat will blackfish this weekend on the ocean. Charters will run in May for black drum on Delaware Bay and sea bass on the ocean.

Daily trips for blackfish on the ocean last fished Sunday and were weathered out since on the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, Capt. Paul said. The trips were expected to resume today, and had some action through Sunday. Several anglers limited out on Saturday and Sunday, and the fishing was alright. G. Mak from Philly on Sunday limited out on the tautog to a 12-1/2-pounder. Paul expected not great blackfishing on today’s trip, after wind roughed up seas, but hoped he was wrong and that the trip locked into a bunch. The boat is blackfishing at 8 a.m. daily through Sunday, the final day of blackfish season. Afterward, trips will take a break until resuming the following Saturday, May 6. Then trips will fish for black drum on Delaware Bay from 2 to 10 p.m. Telephone to reserve the drum trips.  

Sounded like fishing was starting, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. Some good-sized striped bass were boated on Delaware Bay on bunker chunks. Thirty-inch bluefish swam everywhere. No one spot seemed best, and the blues kept moving, chasing bait. But they schooled at times at places including Delaware Bay, the ocean and off Cape May Point, at the confluence of the bay and ocean. They pushed into the water along jetties at times. Jetties are located along both the bay and ocean in Cape May, where, again, the bay meets the ocean. The blues were also heard about from the back bay farther north. If they roamed there, they probably roamed the local back bay, Nick figured. A few puppy drum were eased from the surf and boated from Delaware Bay. Nick would try for them in the shallows off Coxhall Creek. A few were boated there earlier this season, and drum gathered there in recent years. Good blackfishing was boated at ocean wrecks like at Cape May Reef and was also scored along jetties by anglers on foot. Fresh bunker and clams are stocked. Green crabs, jumbo bloodworms and regular-sized bloods are carried. Bloods were scarce recently, so Nick was glad to see the jumbos.

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