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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 5-11-17


Lots of bluefish. “My goodness,” Rich from <b>Dockside Bait & Tackle</b> said. “Bluefish galore.” Blues, good-sized to 12 and 15 pounds, schooled Raritan Bay and practically everywhere. Bunker chunks hooked them, but so did nearly anything. The blues smashed Mojos that boaters trolled for striped bass on the bay. The bay’s striper fishing became slower, and still produced, but no particularly large bit that did before.  Fresh bunker and clams and a full variety of Mojos are stocked. 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.


After fishing Raritan Bay for striped bass this season, trips the last few days fished a different area, and lots more stripers and fewer bluefish were tackled aboard, said Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>. That was on bunker chunks, and open-boat trips are fishing daily, and a.m. and p.m. charters are available. Down Deep’s two 40-foot Downeasters are big and comfortable, with full galleys and large cockpits, he said.   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 booking for later this season.

Striped bass fishing was up and down, catching every day, better on some days than others, Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> wrote in an email. Big bluefish bit and will wear you out. If you like a fight, get on them. Charters are fishing, and space is available on an open-boat trip Friday afternoon. Weather will be questionable this weekend, so an open trip Saturday afternoon is scrubbed. Spaces are available on open trips next week from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Telephone to reserve. In other news, the striper bonus program will take place again this year, the state announced. It’ll begin Sept. 1 and allow an extra striper to be bagged with a bonus tag. Charter boats like the Vitamin Sea can apply for the tags, providing them to customers. Individual anglers can also apply for a tag. Also, book fluke charters now for later this season, while good dates are available. 

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Boaters scored striped bass to 50 pounds, good catches, yesterday on the ocean, said Johnny O. at <b>Fisherman’s Den North</b>. Most of the bass were trolled, and anglers bought lots of Mojos for that. Bluefish swam Raritan Bay and many waters, including lots in Navesink River at Red Bank. Johnny heard nothing about local surf fishing, and hadn’t been at the shop much. But he thought Bob from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said striped bass catches were improving in the surf in that area. Fisherman’s Den North is the sister shop to that store and is located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina. Rental boats and kayaks are available.

Bass and blues, bass and blues, said Ron from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Bluefish, good-sized, mostly bit during daytime and late afternoon -- everywhere, you name it, he said, from Cliffwood Beach and the back of Raritan Bay for shore anglers, to throughout the bay for boaters, to the ocean surf at Sandy Hook’s first beach. Pencil poppers seemed the go-to for them this year from the surf. The Northbar Flying Squid worked awesome. He and friends used that. But Polaris poppers and swimming lures sometimes caught from the beach. Big blues also invaded Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. Small stripers bit in the surf, mostly on clams. Bunker didn’t really catch yet this year, maybe because the fish were small. Just, the bass were finicky or there one day and not the next, and anglers needed to keep moving to find them. Boaters sometimes trolled 25- and 30-pound stripers near the Statue of Liberty on Mojos, but not so consistently. They also hooked plenty of blues, and nobody was heard about who striper fished anywhere who didn’t catch blues. No stripers were heard to be boated from the ocean locally. A friend released two out-of-season fluke that swiped a Daiwa SP Minnow at Cliffwood Beach from shore last week. All baits are stocked, including fresh clams and bunker.    

Fishing was tough on today’s trip and in previous days aboard, Capt. Ron from the <b>Fishermen</b> wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. A few blues would be angled and then move off, each time the boat was anchored. A 17-pound striped bass was managed on today’s trip that won the pool. The water was only as warm as 56 degrees on the trip, and conditions were lousy in southeast wind once the tide changed. Bunker started to migrate up the ocean, so the captain hopes that will get striper fishing going. Hang in there – better reports are coming, he said. Monday’s trip fished better. Fish, mostly blues, bit right away when outgoing tide began. A 15-pound striper was managed that won the pool. But eventually, brown, freshwater runoff reached the boat, and the bite stopped, like a flip of a switch. Still, the trip ended with a bunch of tired, happy customers. Weather looks tough for the weekend, like last weekend. East wind and gusts to 30 are forecast. No good, he said. Trips are 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.

Boats supposedly picked up striped bass on the ocean at the clam beds yesterday, so a couple of vessels including the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b> headed there this morning, Capt. Tom said on the trip at 10 a.m. in a phone call. The outing fished there more than an hour, and the angling was no good. He had just moved the trip to Flynn’s Knoll to try to get anglers a few bluefish. Trips in past days wrestled blues aboard, better on some days than others. Friday might be the last fair weather for the boat’s fishing, before the nor’easter during the weekend. Trips are fishing 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.


Mostly bluefish bit and a couple of striped bass mixed in on Raritan Bay with <b>Tuna-Tic Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Mike said. The bigger stripers seemed to begin migrating the ocean, so he was probably going to move the boat to Forked River this week. He makes the move every year to target the big bass in the ocean from Barnegat Inlet. The angling was phenomenal last year aboard. Trips will fish Raritan Bay today and Friday, and Mike was hoping to get in that angling before the nor’easter is supposed to arrive this weekend. That’s after the nor’easter last weekend that was mostly on Friday. Once the boat is moved to Forked River, trips aboard fish there the rest of the year. Sharking will sail in June on the boat. Sometimes the shark trips striper fish on the way home. Tuna trips sail every summer and fall.

Motoring out from <b>Twin Lights Marina</b>, Rich Sherer trolled giant blues to 15 pounds at Reach Channel today, Marion wrote in an email. He and Greg Hannah boated a good-sized striped bass at Old Orchard last week. Greg Schnell trolled two large blues on Raritan Bay the other day.  Paul and Becky on the Second Home trolled five hefty blues at buoy 19 at the Reach last week. 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 and fresh bunker when in demand.


<b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> will begin fishing in about two weeks, Capt. Ralph said. The angling will begin with sea bass trips that will sail the ocean when sea bass season is open May 26 through June 18. Charters are available, and a couple of spots are available for an individual-reservation trip for sea bass June 6.


Half a dozen striped bass 40 to 45 inches, probably 32 to 45 pounds, good-sized, were plowed on the ocean yesterday with <b>XTC Sportfishing</b> on trolled spoons and Mojos, Capt. Scott said. That was a shakedown cruise on the boat, and now fishing is underway for the season aboard. Striper charters are sailing.

After maintenance, the boat will be splashed at 9 a.m. today, and Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> expects to shoot right to the ocean for striped bass fishing that broke open there the past two days, he said. The fish included big or 40 pounds and heavier and were mostly trolled. But a few were hooked on livelined bunker. He knew that XTC Sportfishing trolled a good catch of big yesterday. Like Pete suspected, he said, the fishing picked up around this week’s full moon. It’ll just get better, he hopes. Some dates are still available for striper charters. Fishing for stripers aboard this year will include Magic Hour Trips 3:30 to 9 p.m. every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday beginning in mid-May. That’s by reservation, and contact Pete for info. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s about individual spaces available on charters who want more anglers. 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.

Good bluefishing for 2- to 10-pounders was lit into today on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email from the party boat said. That was on a 2-1/2-hour drift to the south, and Ava 27 jigs without tails and 47’s with tails worked great on the catches. Numerous anglers limited out, and the trip at first fished at schooling bunker closer to port. But no fish were on the baitfish. Yesterday’s trip picked blues to 10 pounds on a handful of drifts, after the outing at first fished at bunker to the north. Fish sometimes chased the bunker, but none was hooked. Plenty of bunker are showing up, so fishing should keep improving. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Super bluefishing was crushed today on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. All the blues anglers could want, and most customers were releasing the 3- to 12-pounders by 11 a.m., after bagging all they wanted. The fish were hooked on jigs and crocs, and a good catch of blues and a couple of stripers were hung on yesterday’s trip. Swim baits clocked the stripers, and the boat is sailing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.


Ocean boaters began to crack sizable striped bass to the low to mid 40 pounds the last few days, said Dave from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. They trolled the fish, but a few connected on livelined bunker. Bluefish that swam Manasquan inlet and river included lots that were smaller than blues there previously, along with some good-sized. Two- and three-pounders showed up, and bigger to 15 pounds were more common before. The blues now hit metal, including GT Ice Cream Jigs. Mostly plugs took the fish until a few days ago. Surf anglers picked away at blues and a few 15- to 22- or 23-inch striped bass, all on plugs.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

A steady pick of 4- to 10-pound blues was laid up on the ocean today on the <b>Gambler</b>, the party boat’s Facebook page said. A good population of bunker schooled, “(a) very good sign for stripers to start chewing,” it said. Wind and rain will probably keep the boat docked Saturday, but the crew expects to fish Friday and Sunday. Trips are sailing for stripers and blues 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.

Anglers picked away at bluefish 2 to 10 pounds Sunday on the <b>Norma-K III</b> on Ava 47 jigs, both with red tails and no tails, a report said on the party boat’s website. The trip took a look for striped bass, but only lots of baitfish were seen. With all the bait around, stripers were expected to show soon. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

<b>Toms River</b>

Blues swam all over, said Dennis from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. They remained in the Toms River because the river was cool or 60 degrees, after being warmer previously. They swam Barnegat Bay near Route 37 Bridge and Seaside Heights. Shore anglers hooked them and boaters trolled them or caught them casting. Shore anglers caught including on the river. The blues hit popper plugs, swimming lures and bunker chunks. Some of the blues were smaller than blues previously. Friends tangled with 2- and 3-pounder farther south on the bay, toward the BB or BI markers. Dennis tied into 5-, 8- and 10-pounders along the bridge. Bunker schooled everywhere, even in lagoons. Kids showed photos of bluefish they angled in a lagoon behind a house on bunker snagged for bait there. Scattered reports tumbled around about weakfish reeled in, including from the bay near Forked River and along the 37 and Mantoloking bridges, and from Point Pleasant Canal. Surf fishing was good, not great. Most reports came from Island Beach State Park, because more customers fished the beach there than elsewhere. Blues 5- to 10-pounds were dragged from the surf on bait and plugs. Clamming for striped bass in the surf was becoming better. Some that weighed in the teens and sometimes a 20- or 30-pounder were beached. Boaters began to troll a few stripers on the ocean, mostly on umbrella rigs with rubber shads, also on Stretch lures. A few photos began to be seen. Crabbing was okay and was probably better last month because the water cooled. Lots of bunker were sold for crabbing. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

The surf is “finally showing signs of life,” a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. When the water warms, so does fishing. The number of blues and stripers increased from the surf. Most were beached on bait, and cut bunker and clams seemed favorite. Lures that worked were poppers, swimming plugs and bucktails. Barnegat Bay was loaded with all different sizes of blues, and crabbing was “coming along,” especially in overnight pots. 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>Forked River</b>

Not much changed with fishing, said Kyle from <b>Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle</b>. Bluefish, good-sized, were boated on Barnegat Bay on trolled pony tails and cast popper lures and metal. Ones checked-in weighed up to 17 pounds at the store this season so far. Blues were bunker-chunked from Oyster Creek at the Route 9 Bridge. Nothing was heard about weakfish from the bay recently. A few striped bass began to be reported trolled on the ocean. No particular location was heard about that was a place to be, and Mojos and bunker spoons were sold for the fishing. Crabs were trapped, nothing crazy, but definitely some. Fresh bunker, killies, nightcrawlers, trout worms and meal worms are stocked.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Fishing socked bluefish at Barnegat Inlet and in the surf, one of the crew said from <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b>. A couple of striped bass came from the surf, but mostly blues did. He heard no reports from Barnegat Bay. A few stripers were boated on the ocean, and that seemed to be near the 3-mile line. Striper fishing is closed beyond 3 miles from shore. Bait stocked included fresh bunker. Bobbie’s features a complete bait and tackle shop, a fuel dock and boat and kayak rentals. The boats are used for fishing, crabbing, clamming and pleasure. 


The following report was posted Wednesday as an update and is being re-posted in case anybody missed it: “Got ‘em!” Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the <b>Hi Flier</b> wrote in an email. “After weeks and weeks of relentless wind, the NW finally let us sneak out the inlet to go troll some spoons (on Monday). Had friends Johnny O'Kinsky and Brian Ewan on board for a spontaneous (thanks to Johnny) ‘let's shoot out for a couple of hours’ trip. We started off the Bathing Beach (where else?) and had no luck. So I ran north of Lavallette, where I had heard of a ‘guy who knew a guy’ sort of report that he caught the day before. Nothing. On the way back, we let them out in 60 feet of water off Seaside Piers, and while I was preparing the deck for the ride home, Brian screams: ‘There he is! That's a bass!’ referring to the rod that was dumping line. He was right. Thirty-four pounds on the Boga Grip. One hit, one fish, and after another short troll, we headed for the dock. Didn't get that hit until 4 p.m. He went for a No. 4, white Tony Maja bunker spoon. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzckMkpjzRE" target="_blank">Here’s the YouTube clip</a>. Open-boat or charter trips (yesterday) through Friday. Leave at noon, return around 6 p.m. (probably later). All three days have 5- to 10-knot winds, making for a nice ocean, giving us the option to go troll spoons for the big stripers and/or cast light tackle at the blues in the bay. There is a mix of size with the blues now. There are still some gators mixed in, but there are lots of 3- to 5-pound fish now, too. We can do whatever you guys want. Don't be afraid to check availability right up until go-time. A lot of times we’ll sail with less than a full boat just to go fishing. Best way to communicate with me is on the cell. I'm available from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. Four people max, all fish are shared. Also available every Saturday through Monday for morning and afternoon charters or open-boat trips.” <b>***Update, Thursday, 5/11:***</b> “Appointment With Big Stripers,” Dave wrote in an email today. “If you want to get into some big stripers, you have to read the weather windows. After the messy rain and wind blows this weekend, the switch to NW wind is already in the forecast by Sunday/Monday. Followed by low velocity and variable winds on Tuesday to Friday. It looks like from Monday on, it’s going to be a nice ocean. This season, that's half the battle … more like three quarters! Sure, it’d be nice to fish the weekend with some bluebird weather, but that's not happening. So you have to ‘make an appointment’ to be in the weather window, if you're going to get your big bass. Twenty-five to 40-pound-plus fish are being taken every day from Seaside to Long Branch a few miles off the beach. There’s no snag and drop bite yet, so we need to troll with the heavy artillery. Wireline outfits with bunker spoons and braid rods with Mojos. It's a very effective ‘means to an end.’  It puts fish on the line, in the boat, and on the table. Pretty soon, the bite will transition into snagging bunker early in the morning and then trolling after that, but right now it's all on the troll. The forecast is not so critical when we’re staying in the bay to target the bluefish that are here in good size and numbers. We could target either or both in the same day. Catching them every day on lures and bait. Three- to 15-pound fish. I still have Monday afternoon available, 1 to 7 o’clock. I’m considering using a vacation day on Tuesday at my day job to exploit the glaringly beautiful weather that’s forecast. Leave at 6 a.m. and return at noon or later. Sailing again on Tuesday afternoon. If I am to book Tuesday, though, I need to know today or Friday morning at the latest. Keep in mind, if you’re on the Tuesday morning trip and I don't have the afternoon booked, we are going on SAFARI! As far and late as we have to go to put fish in the boat. Thursday and Friday, May 18 and 19, sailing at noon to around 6 p.m. That's all of my availability, and the next day that’s open is not until Thursday afternoon, May 25. These dates are available for charter, or sign on as an individual, and we’ll make an open-boat trip. Four people max, all fish are shared.”


The year’s first striped bass 20 pounds or heavier was weighed-in at <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>, Capt. Dave said. The angler beached the 23-pounder from the surf Tuesday and won the annual $100 gift certificate to the store for the first. Another $100 certificate is up for grabs for the first 30-pounder. Bigger stripers seemed to begin migrating. Bunker schooled the ocean near the coast. Bunker and whales swam off Ocean City yesterday. Plenty of bluefish remained in bays, Absecon Inlet and in the surf. A charter Dave ran yesterday mostly concentrated on blues, hooking a mix of sizes while trolling and casting lures. Most anglers caught blues on bait, though, because the water was chilly. One blitz erupted on Dave’s charter, for a half-hour, with birds working baitfish that the blues also chased. The trip also angled smaller stripers along the banks. The blues probably won’t depart too quickly. They’re lots of fun, don’t pass them up, Dave tells anglers. Weather forecasts aren’t the best for the weekend. But fish are around to be caught.

<b>Mystic Island</b>

Great Bay shoveled up blues 5 to 15 pounds, said Scott from <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>. The variety of sizes was neat. Boaters and, in the Graveling Point area, shore anglers were into them. From boats, the bay near the 126 marker fished well for them Wednesday. Mid-bay to the 139 gave them up on Bomber lures Tuesday and Wednesday for some boaters who reported the fishing at the shop. From shore, bluefish were fought, but not always. They might turn on for 4 hours so that an angler couldn’t fish a second rod. But the fish would disappear for another period of time. Morning, evening or any time of day made no difference. Fresh bunker and frozen mackerel caught them. Scott didn’t know the water temperature at Graveling, but thought the water was cool, because water was cool to the touch when he was catching grass shrimp. West wind like recently cools water, and the nor’easter this weekend will warm it. Not least notable: Striped bass 32 to 36 inches – keepers – were boated at Grassy Channel in Great Bay and Marshelder Channel in Tuckerton Bay on clams. Eeling for stripers on Mullica River seemed not happening, because sales of eels stalled, and nobody repeatedly bought them. When the fishing’s good, eels sell. Who knows whether stripers migrated the local ocean? Weather was usually too rough to reach the water, though stripers were boated on the ocean to the north. Crabbing trapped no big numbers and not big blueclaws, but did begin to catch. Fresh bunker and fresh clams in the shell are stocked. Fresh, shucked clams will arrive Friday. Baits stocked also include eels, bloodworms, live grass shrimp, minnows and green crabs.


Bluefish tore all around the surf, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. Nothing changed, he said, and a 13-1/2-pound blue took over the lead today in the Riptide Spring Fishing Derby for striped bass and blues. Entry is $25, and cash is awarded for the season’s three biggest bass and three biggest blues. Plus, entry includes a permit to drive Brigantine’s entire front beach, when accompanied by a Brigantine beach-buggy permit. Not all the beach can be driven otherwise. No stripers were weighed-in lately, and blues seemed to dominate the water. Fresh bunker caught the blues well, but almost anything hooked them, including fresh or frozen bait. Riptide’s Yuki Hani 43-Inch Striper Bounty was up to $375, and is awarded to the entrant who brings in 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 a full-body smash!” said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. “Bangin’, six times (over),” he said. Customers bailed bluefish, more from Absecon Inlet and the surf near the inlet than from the back bay now. But the bite was on, and the inlet at Melrose Avenue and the Flagship were the hot spots. But the fish also chewed in the surf at the T-jetty and Vermont and Massachusetts avenues. The T is at the ocean end of the inlet, and Vermont and Massachusetts are in the next blocks. Striped bass were hooked from the area during nighttime and daytime. A 45-1/2-inch striper was checked in today that a no-name, scented jerk shad that the store sells caught. Out-of-season summer flounder began to bite throughout the area. Kingfish nibbled in the surf there on bloodworms. For the blues and stripers, fresh bunker and lures were fished. Daiwa SP Minnows were especially the lures, were on fire. All the baits mentioned and more, the full supply, are stocked. So is the entire selection of SP’s.    

<b>Egg Harbor Township</b>

Bluefish, really, Austin from <b>24-7 Bait & Tackle</b> said. Blues were battled almost everywhere, from Jeffrey’s Landing on Great Egg Harbor River to the bay along 9th Street Bridge to the surf at Longport and Brigantine. Chunks of bunker and mackerel were fished for them. Not much was heard about striped bass, and he only knew about five keeper stripers since striper season opened March 1 in bays and rivers. Striper fishing is open year-round on the ocean, but the catches begin to be reported from bays and rivers first in the year, because the water’s warmer. A couple of customers headed for white perch on Mullica River today, but no results were known. That was all that was reported about perch. A few crabs began to be trapped. Patcong Creek, running past the shop, is one of the best crabbing spots, when crabbing picks up. The store’s rental boats become available sometime before Memorial Day, can be used for crabbing and are docked on Patcong. The boats are also used for fishing on Patcong, the Great Egg and the bay. Patcong is a tributary that meets the river near its mouth at the bay.  <b>The company also owns 24-7 Bait & Tackle in Marmora</b> and just opened Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point.


Open-boat trips will fish ocean wrecks, a little deeper, on Friday and Saturday for ling, cod and bluefish on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. Sea bass trips will sail during sea bass season May 26 to June 18. A few dates are beginning to book for inshore tuna fishing that takes off later this month into June and July at spots like Massey’s Canyon, the Lobster Claw and the Elephant Trunk. Mike and crew have been working on his new, additional boat, a 50-foot Ocean Yachts.

<b>Ocean City</b>

The water everywhere held bluefish surrounding the island, including at Corson’s Inlet, Great Egg Harbor Inlet and the bay along 9th Street Bridge, said Pat from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. Sizes ranged 5 to 15 or 17 pounds, and bait anglers clocked them on bunker, mullet and mackerel. Lure anglers threw plugs including Daiwa SP Minnows and Bombers, spoons and paddle-tails. “A free for all,” he said. A few stripers were mixed in, seeming to bite in early mornings and at night, when blues became inactive. The stripers were often sacked on bunker or other bait. Stripers definitely hit sometimes in the back bay at night along sod banks and bridges on soft-plastic lures. A few black drum, a by-catch, were hauled from the surf: one at mid-island and a couple at the south end.  A couple of anglers fished for white perch, catching well on Great Egg Harbor River. Fresh bunker and fresh clams are stocked when bunker and clam boats have the weather to sail. Bloodworms are carried.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>, chased bluefish on the back bay a short while last evening with his son, he said. Blues were bombed on every cast, and that’s how the fishing’s been. Also on the bay, striped bass could be hooked, and out-of-season summer flounder could be released. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” he said about the bay’s fishing! The blues on the trip weighed 4 to 8 pounds and were pasted on lead jigheads with soft-plastic lures. The stripers and flounder would grab the jigs, too. A few blues and stripers began to hit popper lures along the water surface. That’s great sport, drawing explosive, visual attacks, and will keep improving in warming water. The blues only stick around a moment longer in the bay, so don’t delay fishing for them.  Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

Sometimes reports suggested bluefishing was slowing in back bays, but that was untrue at Sea Isle City, said Mike from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. He knew because he fished for them yesterday. On the trip, with two adults and three kids, he never got a chance to cast a line, because he was unhooking blues the whole time. And a 41-incher was biggest. The blues were back there and big. The trip, with a tackle rep, cast a variety of lures like Bass Assassins in different colors, shapes and sizes, and the blues pounded them all, had no preference. No striped bass, weakfish or out-of-season summer flounder were hooked, but they probably had no chance before a bluefish bit. Sizes of striped bass seemed to uptick from the bay and surf. Anglers fishing the bay at night under lights, like at bridges and docks, said they began to catch bigger, definitely. From the surf, Mike saw a couple of 40-inchers that were taken. Surf casters fished for them at night and needed to fish clams to avoid blues, and had to wade through non-stop skates and sharks that hit. That’s what they dealt with, but some bigger bass swam the water. Crabbing was pretty good. Not a lot of people crabbed this early in the season, but those who did looked pleased.


<b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> bluefished on the back bay Monday, and the fishing’s been great, Capt. Jim said. Trips also sailed for them Friday and Saturday, covered in the previous report here, and the three outings landed 55 to 60 of the fish, keeping nine, releasing the rest. Monday’s trip released all caught. Jim wasn’t asked about the size of the blues Monday, but the fish Friday and Saturday weighed 7 pounds to more than 11, he said for the previous report. An 11-pounder was weighed, and a few were bigger that weren’t. The trips have been fishing mackerel and bunker on fish-finder rigs, and the next trip is Friday for the blues.

<b>Cape May</b>

Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> knew about trips that boated black drum Monday and Wednesday on Delaware Bay, he said. Drum bit, so that was good, he said, and George figured the bite would especially amp up a couple of days after yesterday’s full moon. That’s what’s happened on his boat during May. When drum fishing was especially good some years ago, his trips would catch some during the moon. A couple of days later, trips could sink the boat with them. Currently, he talked with a couple of friends whose trips decked two or three drum, and the anglers said all trips in the area seemed to pick the fish, when the friends were fishing. A few striped bass were bunker-chunked on the bay. Another friend, a private boater from the dock, tried for the stripers and hooked none, switched to drum fishing and caught three by 5 p.m., when George spoke with the angler on the phone. Charters on the Heavy Hitter will fish for drum.

The party boat <b>Porgy IV</b> began fishing for black drum on Delaware Bay on Saturday, Capt. Paul said. Weather and seas were very rough, and only three drum were landed. But the fish bit well the last three nights, he knew. That was the only trip that sailed for drum so far this season aboard, and the next was going to sail today. Paul was sure he’d get anglers who want to go in coming days, and check with the boat for dates of trips. They’re running 2 to 10 p.m., and telephone to reserve, because bait, fresh clams, needs to be ordered, and the clams weren’t easy to get. On the trip, Ed Kassar from Mantua landed two of the drum: a 70-pounder and a 20-pounder.

Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b> plugged a 43-inch 26-pound striped bass from the surf last evening on a swimming lure, he said. Occasional stripers were mixed with bluefish in the surf. Most of the stripers came from Delaware Bay’s shore, but sometimes one came from the ocean’s. Fish fresh bunker, fresh clams or swimmers for them. Blues schooled practically everywhere. Most were concentrated along Delaware Bay’s jetties the past few days, but they also ran the ocean surf and the back bay. For them, fish bunker, bucktails or swimmers. Black drum swam Delaware Bay, and the bay off Coxhall Creek was loaded with boats fishing for them. Most boats decked three to nine, and the fish weighed 30 to 70 pounds. Nothing was heard about stripers boated on the bay, but most boats fished for drum. Few anglers tried for the bass. No weakfish were checked-in, but a few were heard about from along jetties in North Wildwood and locally on bloodworms under a float or on bucktails.

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