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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 4-6-17


Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing broke open yesterday on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. The three anglers on the trip reeled in quite a number, releasing many keepers. The fish weighed up to 16 pounds, and more stripers will keep piling into the bay. The spring run is here! Gannets are diving on baitfish that the stripers are foraging on. Plenty of seals are eating the bait, too. Good dates for charters are still available. The next open-boat trips will run Monday through Wednesday. Don’t wait, or you’ll miss out! he said. Reserve charters and open trips, because the dates do fill. “Get your dose of Vitamin Sea!” See <a href="" target="_blank">photos of the trip</a> on Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

<b>***Update, Friday, 4/7:***</b> The Coast Guard inspected the <b>Fishermen</b>, and the party boat will begin striped bass fishing daily Monday, a report said on the vessel’s website. Kicking off the tenth spring the boat sailed for stripers, the trips run 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Bring rubber shads, Tsunamis, jigs and, in case, top-water lures. On the top-waters, use single hooks, not trebles. Also bring rigs to fish fresh bunker. Trips beginning Thursday will also fish for stripers 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. every Monday through Saturday and 3:30 to 9 p.m. every Sunday. The night trips will fish with fresh bunker and, later in the season, eels. Plenty of bait schooled the bay and “gannets have been wild the past week,” it said. The water is only 45 degrees but should warm in great weather forecast for next week. “Don’t wait for the reports … be the report!” it said.


Ocean striped bass fishing kicks off the year’s charters with <b>XTC Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Scott said. The trips are booking, and Scott hopes the migration arrives in the beginning of May. The fish, arriving from south, shoot up bays and rivers to spawn at first in the year. After spawning, they plow into the ocean, heading north for summer. These are the biggest kind of stripers: mature breeders. Trips like to liveline bunker for them aboard. But the outings jig for the fish, also fun, and if necessary, troll. Scott doesn’t like to return without fish. Trips will sea bass when sea bass season opens. The season is yet to be announced but opened beginning May 23 last year. Next, XTC will fluke fish, and then will tuna fish. Tuna fishing usually kicks off in July at the offshore canyons. But sometimes bluefin tuna give up a fishery closer to shore in the early season. Scott hopes for that this year.

The <b>Golden Eagle</b> on Saturday will begin striped bass fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, the party boat’s website said.

On the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b> on the ocean, blackfishing wasn’t great, was a little sluggish, Capt. Chris said. But it should be better by the weekend, he thinks. Trips are blackfishing 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Green crabs and clams are supplied, and white crabs are available for sale aboard. Chris noted that the annual <a href="" target="_blank">Shark River Surf Anglers Kids Trout Tournament</a> will take place Saturday, opening day of trout season, at Spring Lake. Free for kids, the event is well-known for good catches including big trout. More than 600 trout are stocked before the contest. All kids will receive a prize, and prizes will also be awarded for the largest trout. Free hot chocolate, soda, donuts, bagels, hot dogs, chips and ice cream are offered.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

A few ling, blackfish and cod and a pollock here and there were swung aboard the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. A few of everything and not a lot of anything bit. Some of the catches were good-sized. The fishing was a little slow like before, not good. Anglers just waited for water to warm to change things, they hoped. The ocean was dirty from rain, and more rain was expected today. Trips fished in shallow water 90 to 150 feet deep. The number of pesky dogfish was fewer than before. Freshwater runoff from the rain seemed to push them deeper. They weren’t too bad of a nuisance in the deeper water the trips fished. Previously, if the boat fished too deep, the dogs were horrendous. No mackerel were around, except far offshore. A couple of commercial boats reported catching some. One said that was 78 miles from the coast. The Dauntless mixes in mackerel fishing, along with bottom fishing, when the spring mackerel migration swims within range. Plenty of bunker schooled 4 or 6 miles from shore. The Dauntless is bottom fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Another gorgeous day on the water, Capt. Matt from the <b>Norma-K III</b> wrote about blackfishing Monday on the ocean aboard, in a report on the party boat’s website. “Actually, it was too nice,” he said. Wind blew lightly but against the current. That and somewhat of a swell made anchoring tough. The boat wouldn’t stay still, and not many blackfish bit. The boat was then moved farther from shore, and a few more blackfish, keepers and shorts, bit, but the angling was tough that day. That was the most recent report at press time, except that the report said that the next day’s trip, on Tuesday, would be weathered out. Trips are slated to blackfish 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Green crabs and clams have been carried aboard. Matt hoped white crabs would be this week, too.  

The <b>Gambler</b> was expected to fish yesterday in beautiful weather, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Clams and crabs were going to be carried aboard for bottom-fishing for cod, pollock, ling and blackfish, but looking for striped bass or even mackerel wasn’t ruled out. At press time, nothing was posted about whether the trip sailed. But the vessel is running for cod, pollock, ling and blackfish 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on certain days.

<b>Toms River</b>

The Toms River was 50 degrees, the temperature not budging much, and anglers still caught the mess out of striped bass from the water, said Dennis from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. From 6:30 to 9 p.m. was prime time, and most of the bass were bloodwormed. But some were plugged, including on Rapala X-Raps. One customer plugged them on the smaller of the two sizes of Baker swimming lures. Waters were high everywhere from rain, wind direction or whatever reason. Mostly shore anglers fished the river, and a few winter flounder remained there. A customer had just stopped by who bagged one. But flounder also began to migrate to Barnegat Bay. Boaters during the weekend nailed them on the bay near the BB marker, off Oyster Creek. Plenty of striped bass and a few flounder bit in the creek. Dennis wasn’t asked the size of the stripers in the Toms and Oyster. But previously mostly throwbacks and an occasional keeper were hooked. A customer on Monday said he must’ve played a hundred throwbacks while boating the bay at the Route 37 Bridge on white rubber shads in the middle of the day. Farther north on the bay, flounder bit toward Mantoloking Bridge and Point Pleasant Canal. Check this photo of a group who limited out on flounder there on the store’s Facebook page. A couple of customers bought green crabs from the shop and headed for blackfishing at the canal, and no results were heard. In the surf, the few who fished picked up a few small stripers, mostly on bloodworms.  The worms and fresh bunker and clams were sold for the angling. Anglers waited for the bluefish migration to slam Barnegat Bay and waters like the Toms. Blues will probably arrive in a week or two.

<b>Mystic Island</b>

Graveling Point’s striped bass fishing was picking up pretty well, said Brandon from <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Plenty of throwbacks hit, and five keepers banked were heard about, but none was weighed-in. The annual $100 gift certificate to the store remained available for the angler who checks-in the year’s first keeper from Graveling. Reportedly, three of the keepers were released, one was brought back to Pennsylvania, and one was brought home to somewhere locally, but not the shop. If anglers want to play small stripers like 12 or 18 inches, a good number were on tap. Larger ones in the 20 inches, up to 27, an inch undersized, bit toward dusk. Bloodworms caught best during daytime, and clams seemed to work best in the actual dark. The bluefish migration was yet to arrive, but laughing gulls showed up three days ago, and blues usually show up a week to two weeks afterward. An annual $100 gift certificate to the store is also awarded for the first bluefish from Graveling. Graveling is a shore-angling spot at the confluence of Great Bay and Mullica River, and the stripers also bit throughout the river. White perch could also be angled from the river upstream. Locating them could be difficult, but once they were located, anglers could clean up. Someone had just reported good lagoon fishing for the perch at Beach Haven. A friend said he scored good blackfishing on the ocean on a party boat from Barnegat Light on a trip. Nobody mentioned blackfishing along the sod banks of the bay or at places like the Brick Pile in the bay. A customer who’s a sharpie at that would probably report soon. Baits stocked include bloodworms, fresh clams in the shell and green crabs. Live grass shrimp ran out, but more would probably be stocked sometime. Plenty of trout baits are carried for Saturday’s opening of trout season, including meal worms, red wigglers, nightcrawlers and small minnows.


Good reports began to slide in, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. In the past couple of days, striped bass gave up good angling on Lakes Bay and back waters like that around Atlantic City, Pleasantville and Great Egg Harbor Inlet. Once this shot of rough weather passes, the next week looks like it could be the main run kicking in, including because of the full moon and better weather forecasts for next week. Most reports were from shore anglers, and few boaters fished yet. At places like Lakes Bay, clams were the bait. But anglers who are quiet caught on plugs tossed along the edges. Reports were similar in the Great Bay area. Striper fishing was picking up at Graveling Point from shore. That’s at the confluence of Great Bay and Mullica River. Bloodworms and clams are favorites there. Rivers like the Mullica fished well, too. White perch seemed to move far upstream there, probably from Green Bank, up. But they were also still spread throughout the river. Stripers were also spread throughout the river. Anglers don’t often give detailed reports, but more and more keepers seemed to come from the river. Spring fishing was beginning to look good. Bunker were around. The fresh baitfish were stocked at the shop from a netter on Great Bay. Bunker were reported schooling the ocean front, and were swimming into inlets. Blackfishing was reportedly good, too. No first-hand reports came in, but green crabs sold steadily for bait for them. A bite definitely seemed happening. Jetties and bridges could be fished for blackfish. The ocean’s supposed to be calm next week for boaters to get on blackfish there. Baits stocked also include fresh clams, bloodworms and live grass shrimp, though the shrimp were becoming harder to net. Dave’s still running early-season striper charters at a discount. The fishing might start peaking next week, and the discount could end then.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Loads of small striped bass were bloodwormed from the T-jetty and the surf nearby, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. He heard about one keeper yesterday, and shot a video for Facebook that day on the T, and about eight were reeled in during the time. Some anglers fished lures and grabbed the stripers, but the worms worked better, 10 to 1. Plus, blackfish kept going crazy along jetty-lined Absecon Inlet. The T is at the ocean end of the inlet. A good number of the tautog including keepers were green-crabbed and clammed. One couple of anglers ran out of bloodworms at the T because of all the stripers, switched to green crabs and began catching blackfish. It’s on, Noel said. If you don’t catch now, you might as well hang it up, he said! All the baits mentioned and more, the full supply, are stocked.


No news about striped bass from the surf yet, said Fred from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. The water was 46 degrees, according to the news, and anglers prefer at least 50 for the angling. Still, stripers stirred around rivers and bays, so some probably swam the surf. A few throwback stripers and throwback blackfish chomped along Absecon Inlet’s south jetty. Fresh clams and green crabs are stocked. The Riptide Spring Fishing Derby is underway until May 21. Cash will be awarded for the heaviest stripers and bluefish. 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 $250, at least.  Fred was unsure about the exact number. 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.


Pretty good blackfishing, alright, was bombed yesterday on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said.  “All caught something,” he said, and a couple limited out. One sharpie landed more than a limit. The fish bit from set up until the final hour, when they shut off. The seven anglers went through three-quarters of a bushel of crabs. The ocean was 47 degrees and held a ground swell but spread out. There was fog in the morning. Blackfish were there but bit lightly, and anglers had to pull them out of the structure without getting frustrated. The tautog lay on the other side of the structure, ducking out of current, and had to be reeled across and out. Mike will try to run the next open-boat trip on Saturday for the fish, if conditions allow after the storm. He expects to run more of the trips Sunday through Wednesday, because forecasts look promising. Open trips are blackfishing on every day weather permits.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b> fished a little on the back bay after Sunday, but not like the effort he made on Sunday, he said. That was only because of time constraints. He hooked no fish after Sunday, but three stripers including a 28-inch keeper and an out-of-season summer flounder were pumped aboard Sunday from the bay, covered in the last report here. Those were his first stripers and his first fluke of the year on the boat, and that was his year’s first fishing from Sea Isle. He’s been running annual traveling charters to the Florida Keys that last from Christmas to Easter. As the bay at Sea Isle warms, fishing will become good quickly there. The striper fishing will continue, and bluefish should arrive in the bay in the next week or two. Joe hopes weakfish also show up, and he heard of none yet. Big weaks, so-called tiderunners, can run the bay in spring. The bay’s fishing will soon be some of the best fishing of the year. The waters teem with these fish, once the blues arrive. Some anglers don’t realize fishing’s happening that early in the year. But they should take advantage.

<b>Cape May</b>

The party boat <b>Porgy IV</b> began blackfishing Sunday, and was weathered out Saturday, Capt. Paul said. Saturday was opening day of blackfish season. The angling was slow, and the water was cold. A bunch of anglers jumped aboard the trip Sunday, landing a dozen keepers. Throwbacks bit in one area, giving up a little action. A few were bagged on yesterday’s trip. Ken Minett from Mays Landing bagged three that day and, if Paul remembered, was skunked on Sunday’s trip. Paul hopes more keepers will be mixed in as water warms. If anglers are looking for a chance for a few blackfish, the boat can accommodate that. If anglers are looking for limits, the fishing probably isn’t ready. Trips are blackfishing at 8 a.m. daily. One trip next week won’t blackfish, and the day is unknown, so if anglers plan to fish next week on the boat, telephone the day before to confirm the trip.

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