Wed., Nov. 22, 2017
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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 5-22-17

<b>Keyport</b>

Tons of blues, Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b> said, and striped bass fishing was up and down. More stripers began to bite toward the end of the week. Charters are available, and open-boat trips are fishing for stripers daily. Open trips will also fish for fluke and sea bass daily once fluke season opens Thursday and sea bass season opens Friday. Down Deep runs two 40-foot boats, each 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.

Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing was kind of hit and miss, Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> wrote in an email. On one day, anglers could limit out the boat, and on the next, they could struggle to bag one, two or none. This wasn’t typical for the bay’s stripers in spring, “(and) I honestly don’t think our bass season is over yet,” he said. Bluefish had been plentiful, and currently disappeared on some days. Black drum held in the bay. The good news is that fluke season opens Thursday. Many good dates are available for fluke charters. Open-boat trips with space available include one for stripers and blues 2 p.m. Wednesday and two for fluke 2 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday.  Space is also available for open trips for fluke on Memorial Day and other days that week. If striper fishing picks up, the open trips for fluke could fish for a combo of stripers and the summer flounder. Telephone to reserve.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Large bluefish gave up catches throughout Sunday’s trip on the <b>Fishermen</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. That was on fresh bunker, and the anglers picked away on outgoing tide through slack. But they caught much better once incoming got running hard. The boat’s been slated to fish for striped bass every day and night. That will continue through Wednesday, and beginning Thursday, opening day of fluke season, trips will fish for fluke 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Also beginning Thursday, trips will fish for fluke, blues and anything that bites 3:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, and for stripers every Monday during those hours, “for diehard striper fishermen who never give up!” When porgies show up in July, afternoon trips will fish for a combo of fluke and porgies.

Fishing was much better Sunday aboard, Capt. Tom from the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b> said. Saturday’s angling was slower on the boat, and was no good on the morning trip. One striped bass was about the only catch. On Saturday’s afternoon trip, bluefish were picked. But on Sunday, the morning trip bagged one striper and picked at blues, not great, but somewhat consistent. The afternoon trip picked at blues, and everything was better that day: the fishing and the weather. The trips during the weekend found fish at Flynn’s Knoll and Sandy Hook Bay. The boat is fishing for stripers and blues 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily through Wednesday. Starting Thursday, opening day of fluke season, the trips will fish for fluke.

<b>Belmar</b>

Some days fished great for striped bass on the ocean, and others fished picky, said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. Lots of bluefish swam the area. A trip aboard Saturday trolled a terrific catch of the bass to 36 or 38 pounds. Fishing previously on the boat clocked stripers in the 40 pounds. Bunker just began to be seen locally in the ocean. Trips liveline the menhaden for stripers when stripers respond to that. Pete hopes striper fishing just keeps improving, and thinks another push of the migrators will show up around this week’s new moon. Fishing aboard includes Magic Hour Trips 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. <b>***Update, Monday, 5/22:***</b> Epic striped bass fishing exploded Sunday on one of the Magic Hour Trips on the ocean! Pete said. The fish to 48 pounds were smashed, all on livelined bunker, and all the anglers caught. He gave the above report about previous days at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday’s trip in a phone call. A few stripers were lost at that time. Then mayhem broke out afterward on the outing. See photos of the trip. Plenty of dates are available for the Magic Hour Trips in June, and Pete thinks the week’s new moon will cause more of the bass to migrate the water, turning on the bite. A few charters are available in June. Fishing was canceled today aboard because of the rainstorm.

The <b>Katie H</b> had been docked near Raritan Bay for maintenance and was returned to Belmar Saturday, Capt. Mike said. Once the trip rounded Sandy Hook, an ocean swell was met in east wind. But big blues 12 to 15 pounds were landed, until the anglers tired of the beating, and the trip sailed to port at Belmar by noon. The boat had also been fishing Raritan Bay between the maintenance this season. Lately, blues dominated angling there. Striper fishing on the ocean’s seemed on an off currently. Mike knew that Parker Pete’s scored a catch of stripers on the ocean Saturday evening, covered in the report above. The next fishing on the Katie H is slated for stripers Friday. That’s opening day of sea bass season, and the trip might also fish for sea bass. The boat will compete in the Mako Mania tournament two days in June. Mike will keep an eye out for tuna then, definitely. Inshore tuna fishing usually begins in late June or early July aboard. Offshore, overnight trips will fish for tuna later in the year aboard. The 46-foot Katie H features all the amenities and speed. 

A 46-pound striped bass was nailed Friday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email from the party boat said. Mixed-sized blues were picked on the trip, northeast of Shark River Inlet. Weather hampered Saturday’s trip. Blues 4 to 14 pounds were picked in shots, with long lulls between. Ava 47 jigs and crocs caught best, and the boat is fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

On the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a 40-pound striped bass was tackled Thursday, a report said on the party boat’s website. Blues were picked in the morning at lots of different spots. “It wasn’t enough,” it said, but the blues weighed up to 14 pounds. “We also had some big blues in the bunkers,” it said. Friday’s trip picked blues to 12 pounds. Seven or eight were hooked at once at one point, “but we did not catch enough,” it said. On Saturday’s trip, blues gave up a bite very early on the outing. Then the trip had to chase blues “all over.” At each spot, either 10 to 15 were hooked at once, or one or two were. The trip’s blues weighed 3 to 12 pounds, and the outing put in overtime, but all customers seemed to enjoy the day. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

<b>Brielle</b>

Ling, a very good catch, and big winter flounder were bucketed this weekend on the party boat <b>Jamaica II</b>, Capt. Joe said. On Saturday’s trip, anglers averaged 20 ling apiece, and Julius Cranston from Tenafly totaled 42 of the fish and two flounder. Mack DuBois from Bristol picked up 33 ling and two flounder on the trip. Wednesday will be the last one of the trips this season, fishing the Mudhole aboard. The boat will fish for fluke Thursday, opening day of fluke season, on two half-day trips. The vessel will sail for sea bass Friday, opening day of sea bass season, through Monday, Memorial Day. Beginning the next day, Tuesday, May 30, trips will fish for fluke in mornings and sea bass in afternoons daily.

Boating for striped bass on the ocean was up and down, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. The angling, mostly heard about from near Manasquan Inlet to farther north, seemed day-to-day, or some days fished well, and others fished slower. But the bass that were caught were 35 to 55 pounds. They were trolled on bunker spoons and Mojos, and also Stretch plugs that worked well. Eric knew about a 50-some-pounder landed on a Stretch 25. Sometimes the fish were hooked on bunker snagged for bait and livelined. Surf anglers picked away at stripers. Clams seemed to catch best, but an 18-pounder was weighed-in that smacked a pencil popper. Lures worked sometimes, but clams hooked up best. Eric wasn’t asked whether bluefish were banked from the surf. But blues swarmed all over, he said. They schooled Manasquan Inlet at different times, not all day. Tide didn’t seem to matter so much. The blues hit rubber shads, bucktails and Daiwa SP Minnows. When the fish seemed fussy, the shads mostly connected.  

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Two striped bass 47 pounds and 41 pounds were clobbered Sunday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. The trip also picked away at 3- to 12-pound bluefish. “All in all, it was a good day …,” it said. Today’s trip was expected to be weathered out. Trips will fish for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. The boat will sail for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily beginning Thursday, opening day of fluke season. Beginning this weekend, bluefish trips will run 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.

Another fun day with bluefish, a report said about Sunday on the <b>Gambler</b> on the party boat’s website. Bluefishing began slowly on the trip but turned on late in the morning. Then a slow but steady pick lasted most of the outing, and all anglers left with fish. On Saturday’s trip, small blues bit at first, but big were found afterward. All anglers had a great time, it said, and left with fish. Trips are sailing for striped bass and blues 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily through Wednesday. Accurate Reels will host the trip Tuesday for anglers to test the company’s top-of-the-line equipment. Contact the boat to reserve, or just show up. One of Accurate’s trips fished earlier this month, drilling a great catch of blues, covered in a previous report here. Beginning Thursday, opening day of fluke season, trips will fish for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily. Trips beginning this week will also fish for stripers 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. every Thursday through Saturday.

<b>Point Pleasant</b>

Two striped bass about 30 pounds apiece were decked from the ocean Tuesday on the <b>Tin Knocker</b>, Capt. John said. Three stripers to a 47-1/4-pounder were whacked Friday evening from the ocean aboard. Also on the ocean on the boat, two stripers were taken Saturday afternoon in strong wind and sloppy seas, and three were clocked Sunday morning. All the fish were trolled south of Manasquan Inlet on trolled bunker spoons. The fleet north of the inlet ran into bluefish Sunday, but no blues showed up where the Tin Knocker fished that day and none was hooked on any of these trips aboard.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Surf-fishing seemed to improve each day, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. More and more stripers were weighed from the water, and bluefish, from cocktails to slammers, swam the surf everywhere. The stripers bit everything from bucktails to cut bunker. Boaters on the ocean scored some banner days on stripers, trolling the fish on large bunker spoons. Crabbing was slow, but that will change.  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 jet-ski rentals. 

<b>Brigantine</b>

The surf still harbored bluefish, <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>’s Facebook page said Sunday. One angler and kids fought them well off the Brigantine Hotel that day. Another stopped at the shop with an 8-pound 34-incher he beached at the island’s north end that day on a fresh bunker head. On Saturday, an angler brought in a 6-pound blue plugged at the South Jetty, saying the fishing was picking up then, after he hooked nothing the rest of the day. Striped bass, kingfish, sharks and skates were reported from the surf recently, too, the page said Friday.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

A 50-pound striped bass was weighed today at <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>, Noel said. A 30-some-pounder was weighed yesterday at the shop, and customers whaled catches including stripers, blues and even weakfish. Fishing on foot, they caught along Absecon Inlet off Madison, Melrose and Caspian avenues, but also in the surf near the inlet. For the stripers, they fished lures, fresh bunker and fresh clams. The lures were Daiwa SP Minnows or Slug-Go types of rubber baits. The shop carries a 9-inch red-shad one that drilled the fish. Three large stripers were checked-in since Friday, and the shop’s tournament was causing anglers to stop by with the fish. The free tournament lasts until June 3 and began May 13. Prizes are $250, $150 and $100 for the three heaviest stripers from Atlantic City. Fourth through sixth win Tsunami rod-and-reel combos. First through third also win custom T-shirts. Bluefish blitzed the water this morning. “(You) couldn’t do (anything) wrong,” he said. Fresh bunker was popular for the blues. The weaks were big – so-called tiderunners – and bit in numbers at night on pink Zooms or bloodworms under a bobber. Today’s rain was good weather for fishing in these areas. All baits, a large supply, and SP’s in all colors are stocked.

<b>Longport</b>

Capt. Mike on the <b>Stray Cat</b>’s been scoping out sea bass fishing for Friday’s opening of sea bass season, and headed to the ocean Saturday, and wind blew, and seas were rough, he said. The trip returned early, but a previous outing found gobs of sea bass at every piece fished, covered in a previous report here. Looks like spaces will be available for an open-boat trip on opening day. The boat is full or chartered Saturday and Sunday, but five spaces remain for an open trip Monday, Memorial Day, for sea bass. Mike will try to run open for sea bass the following Thursday and Friday, too. He’s been working on his new, additional boat, a 50-foot Ocean Yachts, getting ready for a Coast Guard inspection.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

The five anglers aboard Saturday clocked bluefish from the back bay on jigheads with soft-plastic lures, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. They also released really good-sized, out-of-season summer flounder that jumped on the jigs, and Joe hopes that’s a good sign for the opening of flounder season Thursday. His trips will get after them. The blues in the bay are smaller than earlier this season, but large are mixed in. Joe did no striped bass fishing in past days, but stripers are swimming the bay. They’re beginning to hit popper lures and flies. The popper fishing, a specialty aboard, draws explosive, visual attacks, and begins when water’s warm enough. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

<b>Avalon</b>

<b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> will fish for black drum on Delaware Bay this weekend, Capt. Jim said. A buddy was fishing for them Sunday when Jim gave this report, and the angling sounded slow in strong, east wind. Fins on trips until now fished for sizable bluefish on the back bay this season, Mohawking them. That was covered in past reports here. 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 in the local area.

<b>Cape May</b>

Two black drum probably 65 and 70 pounds were heaved from Delaware Bay on Thursday night on the <b>Prime Time II</b>, Capt. Steve said. None was hooked on a trip Saturday night, and the fish might’ve been spawning. Tides also weren’t right, and weather was rough, and the angling will probably pick back up around the new moon this week, he hopes. Sometimes drum bite well during May’s full moon and stop biting the week afterward because of spawning and the tides. The fish can chew into early June. Wind and seas were rough on Saturday’s trip and were calm on Thursday’s. The Prime Time II will probably begin shark fishing this weekend. Sharks close to shore like threshers usually show up by then.

Black drum fishing on Delaware Bay began to go pretty well again with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. The fish had bitten a moment this season, and the angling had slowed afterward for a time. The fish to 60 pounds were hauled aboard with Fishin’ Fever recently. The bay’s boating for striped bass became terrible, dead. “Done with that,” he said. The crew looks forward to Friday’s opening of sea bass season. Summer flounder fishing aboard usually begins during June’s first week. Trips for mako sharks and thresher sharks are on tap for June. Tom heard about mako sharks to 250 pounds fought along the 100-fathom line in warm water. Anglers waited for water to warm closer to shore for sharking.

Jim Whitman’s charter fished hard for black drum Saturday on Delaware Bay on the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>, but the angling was no good, Capt. George said. None of the fish was hooked, and George knew about only two drum reeled in that day on other boats.  Dave Layton’s charter on Sunday boxed five drum, mostly 35 to 50 pounds, aboard. George spoke with anglers who fished for drum Friday, and most of the fleet seemed skunked, but when a boat got into the fish that day, they seemed to catch well. Lots of drum are swimming the bay and are being marked and heard drumming. On Saturday, wind blew fiercely at the dock, but conditions close to shore weren’t bad on the water, once the tide changed and didn’t flow against the wind. Nobody probably ventured farther from shore that day to places like Tussy’s Slough. On Sunday, the fishing aboard struggled at first, and made some moves. George got a call from another boat that was catching, inviting him in. George moved the boat there, and catching took a while to get going, but then began on board. This coming Sunday is available for a drum charter because of a cancellation. Drum trips are booked for Saturday and Monday, Memorial Day. A charter will fish for sea bass Friday, opening day of sea bass season.

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