Tue., March 26, 2019
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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 5-8-17


Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing was picky, partly because of gusty wind every day and torrential rain sometimes that muddied the water, Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> wrote in an email. Bluefish showed up “in full force.” Baitfish that stripers would forage on was seen one day and gone the next. Striper fishing was a grind, had no consistency. Every day was a hunt. Charters are fishing, and spaces are available on open-boat morning trips Wednesday and Sunday, and on open afternoon trips Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Telephone to reserve.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

None of the twice-daily trips fished Friday in the storm on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. But on Saturday morning’s trip, some keeper striped bass and shorts were angled, and bluefish, finally showing up, were bombed. The bluefishing wasn’t quite as good on the afternoon’s trip, but a handful of keeper stripers were bagged again and some shorts were hooked on the outing. Both trips were enjoyable. Sunday morning’s trip didn’t fish as well, but gave up some action. The afternoon’s trip headed to the same area, catching some blues. But wind came up, and the trip moved to the back of the bay to escape. A couple of more blues were reeled in, but weather was crummy, tough for fishing and cold. Wind blew against tide strongly. Wind was supposed to become calmer now, after strong wind in past days. Blues are biting, and some keeper bass are still around. Trips are fishing 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.

Weather felt like autumn for a time Saturday on the <b>Fishermen</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. A bite gave up a handful of throwback and keeper striped bass in the morning on the trip. Bluefish were also picked, and plenty bit off lines. Once outgoing tide poured freshwater runoff into the water, the fish stopped biting. The runoff was from Friday’s rain. The trip made a couple of more drops, but the angling was no good.  The boat is 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.


Bluefish and more bluefish, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. That’s what was “happening in our rivers and most local waters,” he wrote. Large blues to 15 pounds were tackled, and Daiwa SP Minnows were the popular lure to chuck to them. Bob fished bunker chunks at night, nailing mostly the blues and a few striped bass. He mentioned no location, but said he hopes for more stripers to arrive soon. Out-of-season fluke were stacked up in Shark River. Many were released that were larger than 20 inches. Be gentle if you hook one. The shop will be relocated to the new building with the Marina Grille at the marina probably Wednesday. “We hope to see you then,” he said.

A few striped bass were trolled from the ocean this weekend, said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. Some bluefish came from the ocean Sunday, and few anglers boated in past days because of weather. Pete hauled the boat for maintenance during that time and will splash it back Wednesday. He expected the ocean striper fishing to begin picking up leading up to this week’s full moon and to begin to turn on after the moon. Trips are slated to fish this coming Friday through Tuesday aboard. Stripers are the main event on the boat in spring, and the fishing this year will also 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 was pounded Sunday on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. Several shots of the big fish were pasted on the ocean 5 miles to the south on jigs. Real good action for a while: anglers yelling, screaming, having a great time, it said. Catches slowed when the tide slowed, and the fish were picked the rest of the trip. The water’s cleaning up after all the rain, and the fishing should become more active. The crew’s looking forward to the next days.  The boat is fishing for striped bass and bluefish 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Fishing picked away at bluefish, mostly 4- to 6-pounders but some 10- to 12-pounders, in shots Sunday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email from the party boat said. Four or five were hooked at once occasionally until 1 p.m., when the tide slacked. Ava 27 and 47 jigs caught best, and today’s trip also sailed, after Friday’s and Saturday’s were weathered out. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.


Blues, lots, different sizes from 2 to 5 pounds to 10 to 15 pounds, swarmed Manasquan River, said Alex from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. An angler could hook a 2-pounder on one cast and a 15-pounder on the next. “So, pretty cool,” he said. Mostly Daiwa SP Minnows landed them, but popper-plugging could axe them well on slack tides. Many striped bass from 24 inches to keeper-sized bit in the river at night at bridges on SP’s, shad bodies and bucktails. The blues also swam the surf. So did abundant stripers, small, but if anglers wanted fun, they could fish clams and catch and release them. A few stripers were trolled on the ocean this past week. They included 40-pound-class fish, and probably bit in about 60 feet of water. A couple of party boats targeted cod on the ocean and scored fairly well.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Conditions are prime for striped bass fishing to explode on the ocean, Capt. Alan from <b>Mushin Sportfishing</b> wrote in an email. A 30-plus-pounder was trolled aboard Sunday on a Tony Maja Spoon and some blues were jigged with a charter. “They found some bunker pods,” he wrote. Jason from Fisherman’s Supply, a deck hand for Mushin, took a group and popper-plugged big bluefish, a load, on Manasquan River on the Mini Mushin, a 13-foot Whaler, before the weekend’s rain dirtied the water. Tsunami Talking Poppers were the hot lure, and they kept a bunch of the blues for shark bait for Mushin later this season. Limited dates remain for striped bass fishing aboard, and also for sea bass fishing, when sea bass season opens later this month. Mushin will relocate the boat to Cape May in early June to fish for tuna and sharks. Tuna fishing has lit up off Cape May around that time at inshore waters and offshore canyons in recent years. Telephone Mushin to jump aboard. 

<b>Point Pleasant</b>

On the <b>Tin Knocker</b>, bluefish were popper-plugged on Manasquan River on Saturday, and striped bass were trolled on the ocean at Shrewsbury Rocks on Sunday, Capt. John said. The bluefishing was slower than previously, because Friday’s rainstorm dirtied the water. But a decent catch was managed, and the angling was better Sunday, John knew. The trip aboard Sunday trolled three stripers to 40 pounds on spoons and Mojos. Those are the year’s first stripers reported landed on the ocean on a charter boat on this website. Dates remain for striper charters.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Slammer bluefish seemed to swim everywhere in Barnegat Bay, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Most were hooked on cut bunker, and the blues also ran Barnegat Inlet. “There are some nice weak fish and a few keeper bass being taken just north of us in the Manasquan area,” it said. Surf fishing was slow, doling out an occasional throwback striper. 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>***Update, Wednesday, 5/10:***</b> “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 today 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>Mystic Island</b>

Big bluefish ruled Great Bay, and didn’t pop up everywhere, a report said on <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>’s website. Trolling boated most, and few birds worked bait along the water surface “to point the way.” So anglers trolled to find the blues. Sometimes shore anglers tied into the blues at Graveling Point on the bay. Other times they caught few. Boating at Grassy Channel on the bay hooked more striped bass and drum than shore angling did at Graveling, but did hook them. A few anglers eeled for stripers on Mullica River. But they didn’t often buy the eels repeatedly from the store, “indicating that not much is happening,” it said. 


Blues were still in, Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b> wrote in a report today on the shop’s website. The South Jetty, Absecon Inlet’s jetty in Brigantine, was the hot spot, but other places also produced. Off the Brigantine Hotel and along the sea wall fished okay for them. Andy took a rare day off yesterday for an uncle’s birthday, and his phone was blowing up with reports and photos. Landing the blues from atop the jetty can be tough, especially if you’re not wearing Korkers or don’t have a jetty gaff. The store stocks several of the gaffs to 54 inches. If you arrive at a place and the fishing’s not on fire, move or wait and see if it does turn on. The store gives as much info as possible, and doesn’t just report to sell bait, though selling bait is the store’s business. “I do not believe in doing business that way,” he said. “When it’s slow I tell you it’s slow, and when it is hot,” he says so. Anglers need to take the info to make a decision about where to fish. If fishing was on an hour ago, that doesn’t mean it will be when you arrive. Better to make a report than chase a report, he said, and the shop reports the news as the news comes in. Fred from the store boated one blue after another today, saying five blues chased every hooked one. He kept two to eat. No location was mentioned. Wind blew west/northwest 10 to 15 knots today, gusting to 24. That should knock down ocean seas, but the seas were still a little rough at the jetty. This was after strong southeasterly wind in past days that builds ocean seas along the coast.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Lot of fish! said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. It’s banging in AC! he said. Plenty of blues schooled from the surf near Absecon Inlet to the back bay. Fresh bunker, frozen mackerel, mullet and herring and Daiwa SP Minnows grabbed them. Striped bass, including plenty of keepers, came from the same waters at night on fresh clams and bunker and SP’s. All the bait mentioned and more, the full supply, is stocked, no matter rough weather that kept fresh bait scarce.


The <b>Stray Cat</b> will next fish Friday on an open-boat trip to offshore wrecks, a little deeper water, Capt. Mike said. That’ll be for ling, cod and bluefish. He’ll also begin to scope the water for sea bass for when sea bass season is open May 26 to June 18. Weather’s been terrible. “Boy, it’s been blowing,” he said. He spent time working on his new, additional boat, a 50-foot Ocean Yachts, including sanding and painting, when no rain fell.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

New Jersey’s fishing is underrated! said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. If this were Montauk or the Florida Keys … but it’s Jersey! he said. Back-bay bluefishing’s been great aboard. The size was a little smaller than the 15- to 18-pounders last week. But the blues were still sizable, and the numbers were fantastic. They were hooked on every cast on a trip Sunday afternoon aboard. That was with Darrel Cooper and children, and they probably landed 50 blues to 9 pounds. In the morning, Grant Rufkin’s crew socked the blues to 8 pounds and four or five out-of-season summer flounder. On Saturday morning John Rush and friends fought the blues to 6 pounds, lots, and, Joe thought, a flounder. On Friday evening, Paul Hinds smashed a bunch of blues to 5 pounds despite wind blowing 30 m.p.h. All the trips fished with leadhead jigs with soft-plastic lures on spinning rods.  Joe also fly-fishes for them.  Keep up with his fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.


<b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> smoked bluefish from the back bay this weekend, and was supposed to target them again today, Capt. Jim said before the trip. A trip Friday was weathered out. Saturday’s weather was also rough, but the charter wanted to fish. They beat 18 blues, keeping six or seven, releasing the rest, and broke off five or six. One was weighed that was 11 pounds, and the fish ranged from 7 pounds to a few bigger than the 11-pounder. Some broke off swivels, and Jim switched to heavier tackle, including heavy trolling-wire leaders. A charter Sunday landed nine blues to 10 pounds, until weather deteriorated, including rain falling, so the trip returned to port. The trips caught mostly on mackerel but also on bunker, all on fish-finder rigs. Jim had been going to fish Delaware Bay for striped bass or drum, but knew the bay would be too rough in the weather. One of the trips attempted fishing Townsend’s Inlet, but seas were rough, and the anglers were becoming seasick, so the trip left there. The fishing was great on the trips. Considering the weather, it was even greater. Wind blew from southeast, and finally switched to west on Sunday. That’s a direction that knocks down seas on the ocean near the shore. But the surf still held some seas during the west that day.

<b>Cape May</b>

Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> jumped on a friend’s boat that fished for black drum Saturday on Delaware Bay a few hours, George said. Charters on the Heavy Hitter will fish for the drum soon. The friend had a charter cancel, and had already bought fresh clams for bait, so the trip headed out at 1:30 p.m. Only sharks and skates bit, and the trip was back at port at 6:30 p.m. Five or six boats fished the area during the outing in wind and somewhat bumpy seas. Drum are beginning to be picked from the bay, and maybe the fishing will amp up this weekend. Wind’s been blowing strongly about 1 ½ weeks. It blew hard all day Sunday at Cape May. Striped bass had sometimes been boated on the bay, but no news was heard recently in the weather.

Fresh bunker were unavailable, forcing a striped bass charter to be canceled Sunday on Delaware Bay with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. Weather kept bunker boats from sailing, and he wasn’t going to fish with two-day-old bunker. Some stripers are swimming the bay, and more are arriving, after spawning in Delaware River. They swim the bay on the way to the ocean to migrate north for summer. The year’s first black drum charter will fish the bay Thursday aboard. Drum are biting “pretty darn good.”

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