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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 5-30-17


Raritan Bay’s fishing slowed somewhat, said Rich from <b>Dockside Bait & Tackle</b>. Plenty of bluefish including big still schooled the bay. A customer weighed a 16-pounder at the shop. Striped bass were still boated on the bay, but none was big. They were hooked including near the rock pile buoy off Princes Bay, and near buoys 20 along Reach Channel and 20A nearby. The bay’s fluke fishing was somewhat slow to get started, and none of the fish was usually huge yet. All baits are stocked, including for fluke. 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. The fuel dock is open 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.


On the year’s first fluke trip Sunday, an excellent catch was bombed on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. The six anglers limited out and released additional keepers and shorts. Some of the sharpies landed twice their limits, keeping only their quotas. They totaled more than two dozen fluke apiece, including shorts. Many of the trip’s keepers weighed 4 ½ to 6 pounds, and Gulps were key. Frank recommends bringing your own Gulps and bucktails. If your local tackle shop doesn’t have them, they can be purchased aboard. Fluke season opened on Friday, and this was a great start to the angling, a sign, he said, of a great season to come. Striped bass and bluefish could be found, and striper trips will sail aboard. But fluke are the focus, and Vitamin Sea is a dedicated fluke boat from now throughout summer.  The crew knows where fluke live, and can put you on jumbos, he said. Charters are fishing, and spaces are available on open-boat trips for fluke Wednesday and Thursday. Two spaces are available on Sunday for another one of the trips. Telephone to reserve.

Sea bass to 5 pounds, big ling and winter flounder to 4 pounds got whipped Sunday with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. “Lot of nice, tasty fish,” he said, and trips will sail for sea bass, now that the season for the fish opened Friday, until the season closes beginning June 19. Charters are available, and open-boat trips will run for them daily. Telephone for choice dates for charters. Open trips for striped bass will fish every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday afternoons. Join the Short Notice List on <a href="http://downdeepsportfishing.com" target="_blank">Down Deep’s website</a> to be kept informed about special open trips. Look for the link underneath the Contact link.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

An 8-pound 5-ounce fluke was creamed Monday on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. Tony Cui from Palisades Park nailed the fish, the biggest fluke aboard since fluke season opened Thursday. The fishing on the trips, on Raritan Bay, wasn’t great, and on some trips was tough. But the trips caught. No big bunches of fluke were found at the spots fished, including off the Navy Pier and Bug Light and a little at Flynn’s Knoll. The summer flounder swam everywhere fished, but keepers didn’t show up everywhere. Trips are fluking 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.

The high hook pasted five legal-sized fluke, keeping no more than a limit, and a couple of throwbacks Saturday on the party boat <b>Fishermen</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website.  A couple of anglers picked up two keepers. The water reached 60 degrees, and more bait began to be seen in the area than before. Bait caught better than jigs. On Sunday aboard, way more throwbacks hit than keepers did, but the keepers were sizable. That was on both the morning and afternoon trips. A new afternoon schedule began: trips are fishing for fluke 3:30 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Sunday and for striped bass during those hours every Monday, for the diehard striper anglers who never give up! Trips are also fishing for fluke 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.


Great fluke fishing was shoveled from Shark River, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. Several of the fish to 6 pounds were weighed at the store. Usual baits including Gulp, killies, spearing and squid caught, and Belmar’s party boats that bottom-fished on the ocean stuck with sea bass during the weekend, “an excellent choice,” he said. Bluefishing was spotty on the ocean, and the blues were smaller than the blues before. Surf anglers beached good numbers of schoolie stripers. Northeast wind on Sunday “created good conditions for clams,” he wrote. Chris Pitcner from Levittown clammed five stripers to 10 pounds from Belmar’s surf that day. Striper fishing was difficult for charter boats on the ocean the last few days, but that could change instantly. “All in all things are looking better,” Bob wrote. The store was relocated to the new building at the marina. Check it out, he said.

A charter tried for striped bass Saturday morning on the ocean on the <b>Celtic Stoirm</b>, Capt. Mike said. But the angling was slow, so the trip switched to sea bass fishing on the ocean, putting together a catch. The anglers were happy, he said, and a trip Sunday on the boat piled up a catch of ling, sea bass and one sizable pollock. The sea bass were of no size, but the fishing was drop-and-reel, and the anglers were pleased, he said. Trips will shark fish on the ocean aboard before long this season. A thresher chasing bunker close to shore was the only shark heard about so far this year.

Capt. Mike from the <b>Katie H</b> joined a trip that bottom-fished Sunday with Celtic Stoirm Charters on the ocean, pulling in a bunch of ling and some sea bass, he said. Mike also decked a 10- or 12-pound pollock. Striped bass fishing on the ocean’s been very off and on. The Katie H will compete in Mako Mania on June 24 and 25, and Mike heard about no sharks yet. Once the boat shark fishes, trips usually begin to sail for bluefin tuna inshore. Overnight trips for yellowfin tuna offshore begin later in summer.

<b>XTC Sportfishing</b> was mostly sea bass fishing currently, and that’s been good, Capt. Scott said. The angling fished through lots of small to hook keepers but was as good as it gets, and did grab keepers, up to 4 pounds. Striped bass fishing was slow, so trips steered away from that for the moment. XTC will compete in Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Cape May’s annual shark tournament this weekend. Not much was heard about sharks yet this year, except about a couple of threshers seen, not caught, close to shore. XTC will probably begin sharking locally in June’s second or third week.

Striped bass fishing on the ocean was excellent on some days and terrible on others, said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. The fishing was no good Friday morning but excellent that evening. Stripers to 42 pounds were claimed aboard then. Striper fishing wasn’t any good Saturday, but sea bass fishing was excellent that day aboard. A trip on the boat had just caught bunker for striper bait Sunday evening when Pete gave this report aboard in a phone call. Last week’s new moon seemed to slow striper fishing recently, he thought. It should rebound soon, Pete wrote on the boat’s Facebook page. Fishing aboard includes Magic Hour Trips for stripers 3:30 to 9 p.m. every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, limited to six anglers, reservations required. A couple of spaces are available for today’s trip, Pete said in the same Facebook post. 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.

Weather was windy and cold, and fishing was tough today on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. But weather’s supposed to be better tomorrow through Thursday. On Sunday’s trip, a few good shots of small blues gave up catches in the morning. They were scattered, and the trip took off to look for bigger. Finding them took a while, but a couple of good shots at bigger were located. A keeper striped bass was also mugged.  On Saturday’s trip, bluefishing was good on a couple of drifts and slowed afterward. Runoff hammered jigs and crocs caught on the trips, and the boat is fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Fishing picked at big bluefish Saturday from mid-morning until the action slowed at the end of the trip on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email from the party boat said. Also on Saturday, trips for sea bass began sailing 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays through Sundays, and will run daily beginning June 9. On Saturday’s one of the trips, lots of good-sized sea bass and some ling were booted aboard, plenty of action. A report from Sunday’s afternoon trip was yet to roll in at press time. On Sunday’s earlier trip, a few small blues were clocked in the morning. The boat ran north, and a couple of shots of blues to 12 pounds were angled. Fishing was slow at the end of the trip, once the tide changed. Trips are fishing for striped bass and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.


Excellent sea bass fishing was crushed on the party boat <b>Jamaica II</b> on the ocean on this opening weekend of sea bass season, Capt. Ryan wrote in an email Sunday morning. The boat limited out on the fish on Friday, opening day. The angling was also very good on Saturday aboard, and many of the trip’s anglers limited on the fish to 5 pounds. A few who limited included Charley Scire, Lakewood; Eng Lian, Teaneck; Ray Bryant, South Orange; Mack Dubois, Bristol; Greg Stewart, Manahawkin; Jim Thorn, Trenton; and Dave Williams, Camden. Beginning today, trips will fish for fluke and sea bass 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and sea bass 2 to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday and for fluke and sea bass 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Monday.

The ocean’s fluke fishing was a little slow since the season for the fish opened Thursday, but Manasquan River’s fluking went pretty well, said Alex from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. Five- and 6-pounders were heard about from the river. Boating for striped bass on the ocean was slow this past week, but when stripers were decked, they were beautiful, up to 40 to 50 pounds. The fish were trolled on No. 4 bunker spoons, and no bluefish seemed mixed in. Trips seemed either to land big stripers or get skunked. Anglers hope the striper fishing picks up. Surf anglers banked mostly small bluefish and sometimes a striper. Surf catches seemed slow to get started. A 450-pound bluefin tuna was boated. Alex didn’t know the location. “If I had to guess,” he said, that was 20 to 25 miles from shore. The catch was made Saturday, he thought but was unsure. Sounded like other boaters in the area saw or hooked bluefins that day. Boaters headed for bluefins again this morning.  

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

A few keeper fluke and some shorts were tied into on the season’s first trip for the fish Friday on the <b>Gambler</b>, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Nothing was posted about Thursday, opening day of fluke season, but the day’s trip was likely weathered out. Nighttime trips for striped bass were slated to begin last weekend. The boat is fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily and for stripers 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. every Thursday through Saturday.

A few keeper fluke and shorts were picked Friday to Sunday on the <b>Norma-K III</b> on the ocean, a report said on the party boat’s website. The angling should pick up as the water warms, and the trips also rounded up sea bass at rough bottom in the ocean. Those were the year’s first trips for fluke, and trips also began bluefishing at night this weekend. On Friday night, the trip did pick some blues 8 to 15 pounds, big. Quite a few were seen along the water surface that refused to bite. On Saturday night, bluefishing was a little tougher, but the angling should improve as the water warms. Trips are fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily and for blues 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Memorial Day is past, and fishing is in late spring, early summer mode, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Striped bass and blues were main targets for boaters and surf anglers, but fluke season opened Thursday. Small stripers hovered around bridges in Barnegat Bay. Plenty of mixed-sized blues schooled the bay. Boaters and surf casters both pulled in some fluke. 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>Barnegat Light</b>

The party boat <b>Miss Barnegat Light</b> will switch to fishing for sea bass and fluke beginning this week from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday through Sunday, Karen said. The boat bluefished this weekend, kicking off the year’s angling aboard. But bluefishing was slow. Blues schooled Barnegat Ridge, Oley’s Lump, the Seaside Lump or the Tolten Lump this time of year for decades, until Hurricane Sandy in 2011, the boat’s Facebook page said. The vessel will begin fishing daily around the final weekend of June.

The 12 anglers aboard Friday, opening day of sea bass season, limited out on the fish on the <b>Super Chic</b> on the ocean, Capt. Ted said. The fishing was decent, not as good as he expected, but did limit. A bluefish trip Friday axed a couple of dozen on the ocean near Barnegat Inlet. No blues were found at Barnegat Ridge, and the water was a little cold at 58 ½ to 59 degrees there. Ted likes the low 60s for blues. A couple of blue sharks were seen at the ridge on the trip. A shark trip is slated aboard for late June. Trips next weekend are set to sea bass. Striped bass fishing sounded slow locally on the ocean. Only nine were entered in the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club tournament on Saturday among 40 boats. Ted heard the fishing was even slower Sunday.


Pretty good sea bass catches were plopped aboard the <b>Stray Cat</b> on the ocean in 120 feet of water during this opening weekend of sea bass season, Capt. Mike said. Lots of throwbacks had to be worked through, but sizable to 4 pounds were also bagged. The fish bit non-stop, and catches were all sea bass. No other fish were mixed in, like ling, blues and porgies, except a few out-of-season blackfish were released in 90 feet of water. Sea bass held in all different depths. Seas were a little choppy for the anglers on Saturday’s trip. The trip fished for sea bass an hour and 20 minutes, landing 16 keepers. Then the anglers decided to move to the calmer bay, and looked for summer flounder a moment, letting go a few throwbacks and lots of skates. The bottom must’ve been cold to attract the skates. The ocean’s surface was 60 degrees, and last week’s new moon had little effect on the angling. Current ran a little strongly. The sea bass were full of sand eels during the weekend. They also spit up a few butterfish when 110 feet was fished. An open-boat trip for sea bass is half-full Thursday. Open trips for the fish will probably also run throughout the weekend. 

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

No trips fished Thursday and Friday aboard in rough weather, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. On Saturday Doug Gillespie wreck-fished on the ocean aboard, limiting out but not keeping the entire limit. On Sunday Mike O’Hara and son fished the back bay on the boat, bagging four keeper summer flounder to 23 inches, releasing a bunch of throwbacks and also tackling a 5-pound bluefish. Joe, his son and Joe’s dad later that day boated two keeper flounder to 22 inches and some throwbacks on the bay. The bay’s flounder fishing was good, decent, on the trips, and the fish were found at every place Joe looked. The trips fished a rig with a 1-ounce, white bucktail with a chartreuse Gulp on bottom and a minnow on a red hook on a trailer tied above. The bucktail and minnow caught equally, though one usually fishes better than the other. The bay was 60 degrees, cooler than before. New moon tides were big last week and began to calm. Joe this time of year also fishes for striped bass on the bay with popper lures and flies. In June he begins to fish for sharks inshore, usually within 10 miles from the coast, with bait and flies, catch and release fishing. The trips are a chance to fight a big catch without the long trek offshore. The sharks, some of them required to be released, are smaller than farther from shore, but still big, up to 100 pounds. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.


Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> sat out summer flounder fishing until the holiday weekend’s boat traffic finished on the back bay, he said. He’ll hunt the fish now that the coast is clear. A buddy boated one keeper and 30 throwbacks on the bay on a trip on a top-and-bottom rig with a minnow and a Gulp. Charters with Jim this coming Friday to Sunday might sail for black drum on Delaware Bay. Three more charters are slated for next week. 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. Guests rented the lodge this past weekend.

<b>Cape May</b>

Delaware Bay’s black drum fishing’s been very good with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. Eight to 12 of the fish were landed per trip, and some were especially big, up to 75 pounds, that were mixed in. <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/ryan.wagner.902/posts/1452513161435811" target="_blank">Watch a video of the angling</a>. Sea bass fishing was outstanding on the ocean aboard during this opening weekend of sea bass season. The angling would limit out in an hour, and the anglers kept only the biggest, self-imposing a 15-inch minimum size. Tom began to hear plenty of reports about mako sharks and a few thresher sharks caught on the ocean. Trips will fish for them, including 8-hour trips for threshers inshore.

The <b>Prime Time II</b> was fishing for black drum on Delaware Bay on Sunday evening when Capt. Steve gave this report in a phone call aboard. Two got off so far on the outing, and a few were seen landed on other boats. He expected to drum fish Monday, too. Steve was going to begin shark fishing during the weekend on the ocean if weather was fair. But weather ended up rough, so he didn’t go. But he will soon.

Trips fished for black drum Saturday and Sunday on Delaware Bay on the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>, Capt. George said. Saturday’s trip, with Howard Bly’s charter, caught well, and Heavy Hitter was the hot boat, George said. Sunday’s trip, with Howard Moore’s charter, caught drum, but not as well as on Saturday. Two or three were also lost on the trip. Plenty of drum are swimming the bay. The fish are marked and are heard drumming. A trip was going to fish for sea bass Monday on the ocean, George said before the charter. Some anglers are eager to shark fish. George kept hearing about a few mako sharks boated, nothing confirmed. 

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