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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 5-15-17

<b>Keyport</b>

The nor’easter canceled fishing Saturday on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, and fishing was also scrubbed Sunday aboard, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. Sunday’s forecasts looked fishable, but all the rain from the nor’easter probably dirtied the water. Fishing for big bluefish is excellent on Raritan Bay, and striped bass are mixed in. Big stripers schooled the ocean farther south and are hoped to arrive locally in coming days. Charters are fishing, and the next open-boat trips with space available will sail 2 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Telephone to reserve. Trips will fluke fish when fluke season is opened. <b>***Update, Monday, 5/15:***</b> Despite gusting wind, striper fishing today limited out and released additional keepers, Capt. Frank wrote at 1:30 p.m. in an email “on the water.”

The <b>Down Deep Fleet</b> pasted good fishing for large striped bass on the ocean this past week, Capt. Mario said. Lots of big were showing up, and tons of bluefish also schooled the water. A 14-year-old aboard landed a 44-pound striper and a 31-pounder on a trip. Trips trolled and bunker-chunked stripers on board. The Down Deep Bull, one of the company’s two boats, each accommodating up to 15 passengers, is sailing for stripers on open-boat trips daily. Striper charters are available, and the Down Deep, the other vessel, will run open trips for fluke and sea bass when the seasons are opened for the fish. 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.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Weather kept trips from fishing Saturday through today on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. Saturday was the nor’easter, and rough weather continued Sunday, and hard northwest wind blew today. But weather is supposed to straighten up tomorrow through the rest of the week, and the trips are expected to resume then. The boat is fishing for striped bass and blues 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Tuesday, 5/16:***</b> Fishing resumed aboard this morning, and wind against tide wasn’t great for the angling, but bluefish were being lit into, and the anglers were having fun, Tom said at 11 o’clock on the trip in a phone call. Definitely better fishing than last week, and he hopes it holds up.

<b>Belmar</b>

Trips began striped bass fishing on the ocean Thursday aboard, smoking an excellent catch, said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. Another trip headed out Friday for the fishing, bombing an outstanding catch. All the trip’s anglers limited out on overs and unders, and additional stripers, big, were released. The trip’s fish weighed up to 41 pounds. The storm hit Saturday, and the angling was supposed to resume today on board. Bunker began to school the water, and the stripers were yet to aggressively bite livelined bunker. They loved trolled bunker spoons and Mojos. Plenty of stripers are swimming, and the fishing should only become better. Was good to see them begin to chew. A few dates are left for striper charters this month, and dates are available in June. A few spaces are open for Magic Hour Trips, like some that are available this Thursday. Magic Hour Trips are fishing for stripers 3:30 to 9 p.m. every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, reservations required. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s about individual spaces available with 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.

One of the most insane hours of bluefishing erupted Friday on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. Twenty at a time were hooked, and the 3- to 14-pounders bit as soon as a line hit the water.  The angling really turned on then and in previous days aboard. Weather kept the boat docked since, but looks great tomorrow. Trips are fishing for striped bass and blues 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Excellent bluefishing was crushed the whole trip Friday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b> on the ocean just outside the inlet, an email from the party boat said. The 4- to 14-pound fish blitzed the water surface with birds working, and were marked super-tight. At times, half the boat was hooked up, and most anglers limited out. Ava 27s and 47s, with and without tails, and crocs worked great for catching. Trips are fishing for striped bass and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Large striped bass bit for ocean boaters, and small chomped for surf anglers, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. The fish “put up a good showing,” he said, and boaters who weighed-in stripers included: Ray Soyka, Lincroft, 45-pounder; Harry Sassaman, Bradley Beach, 41-pounder; Danny Constantino, Belmar, 40-pounder; Rany Bone, Freehold, 39-pounder; Craig Kutinik, Wall, 38-pounder; Capt. Pete Sykes, Wall, 38-pounder; and Stephen German, Freehold, 30-pounder. In the surf, stripers were mostly throwbacks, and keepers were just legal-sized. They were clammed and plugged, and bluefish 6 to 20 pounds schooled thick in Shark River and Manasquan inlets. They could be nailed on metal and plugs. Plenty of out-of-season fluke swam Shark River, and the fish up to 8 pounds were landed by mistake and released. Good luck and good fishing, Bob said.

<b>Brielle</b>

The party boat <b>Jamaica II</b> will fish for cod 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email. Sea bass trips will sail 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 26 through 29. Beginning May 30, trips will fish for fluke and sea bass 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and sea bass 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily, until sea bass season is closed starting June 19. <b>***Update, Monday, 5/15:***</b> Fluke regs, including opening day of fluke season, are yet to be finalized, and last year’s regs are in effect until they are. May 21 was opening day last year, and if that’s the date this year, fluke trips will fish twice daily from May 21 through 25.

Until the nor’easter Saturday, ocean striped bass fishing was fantastic, mostly to the north, from Asbury Park to Monmouth Beach, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. The fish weighed up to 40 pounds and were often trolled on bunker spoons, especially from Spoon Fed in white. White Mojos caught well, and sometimes the bass were jigged on heavy rubber shads or crocs, and sometimes were landed on bunker snagged and then livelined. Lots of bluefish bit when anglers tried for the bass. Blues 4 to 6 pounds and occasionally 10 or 12 pounds were fought consistently at Manasquan Inlet. Bucktails with Ottertails hooked them best, and anglers matched the size of the bucktails to the current. Rubber shads lit into the blues and sometime stripers. If anglers were willing to have the shads get bitten up by blues, the shads seemed to take stripers occasionally. Daiwa SP Minnows also tied into the blues well, and sometimes the blues were popper-plugged. Blues also gave up fairly consistent fishing on Manasquan River upstream from Treasure Island. Out-of-season fluke, including big or 5 and 6 pounds, were reported hooked by accident in the river. Seemed that a good population will hold there when the season opens. Blues and some stripers swam Point Pleasant Canal. In the surf, mostly blues, sometimes stripers, were beached. Surf fishing was inconsistent, but anglers who moved around, found fish. SP’s, metal-lipped swimmers and tins caught. 

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Fishing was weathered out Saturday through Sunday morning with <b>Mushin Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Alan wrote in an email. But a trip sailed Sunday afternoon, quickly trolling good-sized striped bass on the ocean to the north on Tony Maja bunker spoons. Trips will fish for stripers until the boat is moved to Cape May in early June to fish for tuna and other big game into July. Some dates are available for charters for that angling, and an open-boat Safari Trip will sail 30 hours for the fishing July 6 to 7. Yellowfin tuna and bigeye tuna will be targeted, and trolling at night for bigeyes should be ideal, just before the full moon. Shots at bluefin tuna and mako sharks are expected, and the trip might also tilefish.

Wasn’t much to report in rough weather, the party boat <b>Norma-K III</b>’s Facebook page said. But weather looks good for the coming week, and more bluefish than before and some striped bass were showing up in the ocean, and trips are slated to fish for them 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Bluefish trips will also sail 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday and Saturday beginning May 26. Trips will fish for fluke and sea bass when those seasons open.

<b>Point Pleasant</b>

The <b>Tin Knocker</b> sailed for striped bass Thursday only in the afternoon, trolling the fish on white spoons and Mojos, Capt. John said. More of the bass are starting to be boated. John had been fishing for bluefish on Manasquan River, fun angling on popper lures. The fishing might’ve slowed some since, but he hadn’t tried the angling in past days. He knew that cocktail blues schooled tight to shore at Bay Head on Thursday evening.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Some better-sized striped bass began to be socked from the surf and from boats on the ocean locally, a report said Friday on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Sizeable were weighed-in Thursday from both the beach and boats. In the surf, cut bait and clams connected, and on boats, the fish were trolled on large bunker spoons. The bite should improve this week, and that was the most recent report at press time. 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>

The boat was moved to Forked River to fish for trophy striped bass on the ocean from Barnegat Inlet, Capt. Mike from <b>Tuna-Tic Sportfishing</b> said. The vessel previously fished Raritan Bay for stripers this season, and the move is made every spring. The boat fishes from Forked River the rest of the year. A trip Friday fished the ocean toward Sandy Hook, clobbering big striped bass, all of them 42 to 48 inches, aboard. Big are also showing up near Barnegat, and were seen in the ocean from Seaside to the inlet when the boat was sailed to Forked River. The trip Friday trolled the bass and also jigged some. Trips this week will probably liveline bunker for the bass, too, on the boat. Striper fishing was phenomenal last year from Barnegat on the vessel. Tuna-Tic shark fishes in June, and sometimes the trips mix in striper fishing on the way home.  

<b>Barnegat</b>

From an edited email from Capt. Dave DeGennaro from the <b>Hi Flier</b>: “Here's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH-Nhmf8_9I&feature=youtu.be " target="_blank"> a few minutes of our 38-pound striper</a> we trolled off Seaside Park on Sunday. We were fishing in 60 feet of water, and he freight-trained the white Mojo we were dragging. Bob Danyluk of Flemington was on the rod for his new personal-best bass. Sailing open-boat or charter 12 noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Weather and seas are perfect all week. Four people max, all fish are shared. Call to reserve a spot.”

<b>Longport</b>

No trips fished in the weather in past days on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. Open-boat trips were going to fish wrecks offshore, a little deep, for ling, cod and bluefish. The trips will be attempted again this weekend. An open trip will sail for sea bass 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 29. Telephone to climb aboard.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Kevin McCarthy and son walloped bluefish, lots, on the back bay Friday evening aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Really good, he said, and they also released a couple of out-of-season summer flounder. All the fish were hooked on lead jigheads with soft-plastic lures. Saturday was a washout in the storm, and no trips fished that day and on Sunday, because of Mothers’ Day. Bluefish remain in the bay, and how much longer will be seen. Fishing for them has been great, and they only swim the bay for a period in spring. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

<b>Avalon</b>

The air was 58 degrees, the water was 56 and wind blew 25 m.p.h., but a trip Friday bailed 15 or 18 bluefish on the back bay with <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b>, Capt. Jim said. As soon as outgoing tide began that morning, the blues began attacking. Amazing, he said. The fish weighed up to 7 or 8 pounds and were hooked on bunker and mackerel on steel leaders on fish-finder rigs with 5 ounces of weight. A couple of buddies banked striped bass in the surf. No stripers bit on the trip with Fins, and if stripers were going to be targeted on the bay, early mornings and evenings were probably best. The trip probably could’ve fished Delaware Bay for black drum. Land probably protected Delaware Bay near shore from becoming too rough in the easterly wind. But Jim took advantage of the blues while that angling was solid. A buddy fished the bay for drum but said the water was churned and dirty. Jim’s <a href="http://www.sjlodge.com/" target="_blank">lodge near Salmon River</a> in upstate New York is offering a discount in summer, but only on Airbnb. Fishing is available, including on Lake Ontario, with local guides. Guests often drive quadrunners that season.

<b>Cape May</b>

Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> fished for black drum on Delaware Bay on Sunday with a friend on the friend’s boat, and a couple of the fish including one bigger, a 55-pounder, were reeled in, George said. Just a few boats fished the area, apparently because that was Mothers’ Day. The fishing seemed a slow pick that day and was decent early last week, until rough weather began later in the week, culminating in the nor’easter Saturday. Forecasts were rough for Sunday, but the bay was flat as a lake until 5:30 p.m., when wind and seas picked up, and dark clouds began to roll in. The trip sailed for the fishing at 11 a.m. Heavy Hitter will charter for drum soon.

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