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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 6-1-17


Raritan Bay’s fishing slowed somewhat, said Rich from <b>Dockside Bait & Tackle</b>. Plenty of bluefish including big schooled the bay, and a customer weighed-in a 16-pounder. 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. 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.


Raritan Bay’s fluke fishing was okay on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. The biggest averaged 6 pounds per trip, and Wednesday’s fishing aboard managed some sizable to that big, and released a bunch of throwbacks. Tuesday’s fishing aboard dealt with a big swell, southeast wind and ripping current, but managed fluke to 6 pounds. Many good dates are available for charter, and the next open-boat trips will fluke next week on Tuesday through Thursday. Telephone to reserve.

Sea bass to 5 pounds, super catches, were plumbed from the ocean with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. Big ling and some winter flounder were mixed in. Charters are available, and open-boat trips are sailing daily for sea bass until the season closes for the fish beginning June 19. Then open trips will fish daily for ling, cod and flounder. That’s all on the Down Deep, one of the company’s two boats. The other boat, the Down Deep Bull, is fishing for fluke on open trips daily. Open trips are also fishing for striped bass and blues every Friday and Saturday afternoons. Charters are also available for all of this fishing. Telephone to reserve all trips and to lock in choice dates.  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>

Fluking was much better on yesterday afternoon’s trip on the <b>Fishermen</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. Action was good with shorts from the start. “… then the keepers,” it said. The high hook landed five legal-sized, keeping no more than a limit, and also won the pool. One angler on the trip who’s a long-time striped bass angler but a fluke newby tied into keepers on his first three of the trips so far. Aboard the next morning, today, fluking began slow. “…heavy fog and just nasty,” the report said. Skies took a while to clear. But when the sun came out, a catch began, on incoming tide. Life was found in several areas, though not enough for the trip to stay in one place. Capt. Ron Sr., the current captain’s dad, was high hook on this morning’s trip with six legal-sized, keeping no more than a limit. A couple of anglers limited out on three, and some bagged two. Bait out-fished jigs like lately, and a beautiful sea bass was also axed.  Trips are fishing for fluke 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 3:30 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Sunday, and for striped bass 3:30 to 9 p.m. every Monday.

On Sandy Hook Bay, fluke fishing was about the same as before on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. Mostly throwbacks and not enough keepers bit, but some keepers did. “I’d like to see more, no doubt,” he said. That was at places including off the Navy Pier and Sandy Hook Point. Anglers aboard yesterday, when he gave this report, hung throwbacks and a few keepers. Bait probably fished better than Spros or bucktails did on trips. Sometimes an angler would fish a Spro and switch to bait. Spearing are supplied for bait, and sometimes that’s all that was needed to fish. Sometimes anglers brought killies, sometimes catching better. Sometimes anglers brought Gulps and combined them with spearing, and sometimes that caught better.  The boat is fluke fishing 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.

Fluke fishing was kind of slow on Raritan Bay, but bluefish were rabid in the bay! said Jay from <b>Julian’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Striped bass “moved off a little more than usual,” he said, and were boated toward Long Branch on the ocean. Sea bass fishing looked good on the ocean. Photos online showed big catches. Killies and all baits are stocked.

Head boats from the marina all ran into decent fluke fishing today on the bay, said Johnny O. from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b>. Some big were bombed on one of the vessels. Bluefish swam the bay, and nothing was reported about striped bass. Fishing for them seemed to slow. Nothing was heard about sea bass from the ocean either. Customers began buying supplies for sharking today like bunker chum and flats of mackerel. Killies are always stocked, and the full supply of baits is on hand. So are all the rigs you need, he said. The store, the sister shop to Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, is located at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina.


Making the trip from <b>Twin Lights Marina</b>, Ed and Tony on the Hammerhead limited out on fluke to 22 inches yesterday on Sandy Hook Bay on killies and Gulp, Marion wrote in an email. On the same day, Greg Hanna on the Annie H boated 20- and 23-inch fluke to 5 ½ pounds on Sandy Hook Bay on the same bait. On Tuesday, Ray Pharao on Frank Rella’s The 2F’s beat an 8-1/2-pound fluke at Flynn’s Knoll, and Joe on the Sara Ann bagged a 22-incher near buoy 7 while fishing with Rich and Jack on the Sara Ann. Tim Lawrence that day pasted a 23-inch 5-pound fluke while fishing from the marina’s dock. 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.


After a few afternoons when striped bass fishing was no good on the ocean, yesterday afternoons’ trip pounded the fish aboard, lots, all big, said Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>. Bunker showed up, and so did the bass, and the trip livelined the bunker to catch. Charters are available this month, and spaces are also available on Magic Hour Trips for stripers that are sailing 3:30 to 9 p.m. every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, limited to six anglers, reservations required. Charters will also sea bass fish this month, and will fluke fish once striper fishing slows. Plenty of dates are available in July for fluking. 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.

Mixed-sized bluefish to 12 pounds were smashed Wednesday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email from the party boat said. Most anglers limited out, and fishing was the opposite today. “The fish didn’t want to cooperate,” it said. But the crew hoped for better tomorrow. The boat is fishing for striped bass and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Trips last weekend began fishing for sea bass 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays through Sundays, and will run daily beginning June 9. That angling was good last weekend, covered in the last report here.

Fishing tried for striped bass 2 hours in the morning yesterday with <b>Celtic Stoirm Charters</b> on the ocean, Capt. Mike said. No stripers were biting, and the trip switched to fishing for sea bass and fluke, putting together a good catch. Fog was thick, and seeing the inlet was difficult. A body of stripers remained in the ocean in South Jersey. Anglers hope they’ll migrate to local waters, maybe around the next full moon. The ocean was 60 degrees, still a good temperature for stripers. Book sea bass trips while sea bass season is open through June 18. Take advantage of them on a combo trip for fluke and sea bass. Many fluke will be throwbacks in the 18-inch size limit, so sea bass are an opportunity to fill in a catch.

Fishing was tough Tuesday in cold, windy weather that made angling difficult on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. But excellent bluefishing was slammed Wednesday aboard, not far from port. The 2- to 10-pounders hit steadily throughout the trip on Run Off hammered jigs and popper lures. “Everyone was in catch and release mode,” it said. The report listed eight anglers who landed 25 or more. Today’s trip looked for those blues, but they were gone. The trip hunted all over, and finally found huge blues. About 15 were swung aboard, and about as many were lost from broken lines and whatever reasons. The boat will be back at it tomorrow, the report said. Trips are fishing for stripers and blues 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

A few more fluke – shorts and occasional keepers – were pitched aboard from the ocean every day on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, and a few sea bass were mixed in, the captain wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. The water seemed to warm slowly, and he hoped fluke will bite better as the days go on.  The vessel is fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily and for bluefish 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.

Looked like weather would finally break today, the party boat <b>Gambler</b>’s Facebook page said yesterday afternoon. Today looked beautiful, and the boat’s fluke trips, slated for 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily, were expected to resume. Trips for striped bass are sailing 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. every Thursday through Saturday.

Fishing’s been good on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, Capt. Butch said. Sea bass fishing’s been super aboard since the season opened for the fish Friday. Fifty-percent of the anglers were limiting out on sea bass on the trips, Butch guessed. Others bagged two, three, four or five, and so on, and a few ling and big winter flounder were mixed in. Trips fished in 60 to 100 feet of water, and the ocean surface there was probably 55 degrees. The fish felt cold to the touch, so the bottom must’ve been cold. The Dauntless is bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. Nighttime trips for bluefish will probably begin late this month. They seemed yet to bite, and Butch saw no blues during daytime past the inlet on trips.   

<b>Point Pleasant</b>

The <b>Tin Knocker</b> sailed to New York Harbor on a trip during the weekend, bunker-chunking a bunch of bluefish and a couple of striped bass, Capt. John said. The trip also trolled a couple of stripers at Shrewsbury Rocks in the ocean and fished for sea bass on the ocean, cranking them in. The boat next week will compete in the South Jersey Shark Tournament from Cape May.

<b>Toms River</b>

Bluefish, cocktails, smaller than blues before, were yanked from the surf, and sometimes striped bass were mixed in, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. Bait anglers fished bunker and clams in the water. Metal hooked some of the fish, and if bucktails were fished, a striper was beached here and there, but fluke also roamed the surf that would pounce a bucktail. The surf seemed warmer than water farther out in the ocean. Cocktail blues also schooled back waters. Chunks of bunker were still fished for them, including because crabbing became slow, maybe because of shedding since the new moon, maybe also because weather was cool. Fluke were landed from Barnegat Bay and rivers. Virginia fished for them at Bay Head on northern Barnegat Bay, and outgoing tides fished great. Incoming brought colder water from the ocean, and anglers were lucky if one fluke bit then. Quite a few keepers were even angled from shore on the bay and Manasquan River, where boaters also reeled up fluke. In these areas, most anglers fished a 1-ounce bucktail or lighter with a teaser with Gulp. On the ocean, trolling for striped bass was fairly good on chartreuse bunker spoons and Mojos. That color sold most. Sea bass fishing was very good on the ocean on party boats at Axel Carlson and Sea Girt reefs. Fluking was a little slow for ocean boaters because of cool water. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Weather might not have been so good this past week, but fishing was steady! a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Striped bass and blues were dragged from the surf. One angler subdued a 19.35-pound 39-inch blue from the beach. Blues including some slammers swam Barnegat Bay. One angler pumped in a 13-pound 40-incher from the dock on cut bait, and that was his 88th blue from the dock in three weeks.  Keeper crabs finally began to be trapped from the dock. 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>Forked River</b>

Fluke were scooped from Barnegat Bay at Double Creek Channel, off Barnegat Lighthouse and near the BI and BB markers, said Kyle from <b>Grizz’s Forked River Bait & Tackle</b>. Bluefish on the bay were trolled on pony tails or popper-plugged. Weakfish could be found off Oyster Creek in the bay. A few reports about blowfish rolled around from the bay. On the ocean, a few striped bass were boated, and seemed difficult to catch, but the bass were big that were mustered up. Baits stocked include killies, fresh clams, frozen local and Canadian spearing, and, for freshwater, several types of worms.

<b>Barnegat Light</b>

Barnegat Bay’s fluking was “very light,” said George from <b>Bobbie’s Boat Rentals</b>. He saw none, he said, but bluefish schooled Barnegat Inlet. Boaters searching for striped bass on the ocean found none. One that was hooked was heard about, but that was beyond 3 miles from shore, where striper fishing is closed. Lots of sea bass littered the ocean, and trips were limiting out on them. Minnows ran out today at the store and are scarce. All frozen baits are carried. 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.


<b>***Update, Saturday, 6/3:***</b> Check out this <a href=" http://fishingreportsnow.com/NJ_Fishing_Photos_View.cfm/PhotoID/20183/desc/A-pound-striped-bass-br-boa.html" target="_blank">photo of a 48-pound striped bass</a> that had just been boated on the <b>Hi Flier</b> when Capt. Dave DeGennaro emailed the shot at 10 a.m. Saturday aboard. The fish was trolled on the ocean off Seaside Park in 63 feet of water on a No. 4, green-and-chartreuse Tony Maja bunker spoon. Space is available for charters or open-boat trips 12 noon to 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday. The mornings are booked.

<b>Mystic Island</b>

Mixed reports rolled in about summer flounder fishing on the bay, but Tuesday and Wednesday fished well for them, and today “didn’t work out,” said Scott from <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b>. The mixed reports were that some anglers tugged in a bunch of throwbacks, and some decked a few keepers. There was lots of catching. Bluefish, 2-pounders, not so many jumbos anymore, schooled the bay toward Little Egg Inlet. Boaters fishing for sea bass had to run at least 7 miles from shore. But if they fished 7 to 10 out, they limited out or nearly limited on beautiful fish. Sea bass were all small inshore of 7. Nobody mentioned fishing for striped bass on the ocean. Seemed that either nobody tried for them or rough weather kept them from sailing. Weather was calmer now but was rough most of the past week. Minnows were out of stock at the moment and are scarce. The store is carrying them here and there. Baits stocked include fresh, shucked clams, fresh bunker, eels, bloodworms and live grass shrimp. “And green Gulp!” Scott said. Apparently that was popular for flounder.


The week’s first “halfway-decent” weather was yesterday for summer flounder fishing, but the flounder are being angled from the back bay pretty steady, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. “I don’t want to overblow it,” he said, but considering the rain and wind, the fishing was pretty good. All usual spots in the bay harbored the fish. The weekend looks great for the fishing. The annual Customer Appreciation Tournament was held on opening day of flounder season last Thursday at the store, and a 6-1/2-pounder was the biggest flounder in the event. One big striper was entered that Capt. Danny Ponzio trolled from the ocean on a Tony Maja bunker spoon. Weakfish were a highlight of the contest. Fishing for them seemed on fire at the jetties that line Absecon Inlet and the mouth of Mullica River. They’ve got to be swimming the waters between those areas, too. Many of the weaks weighed 4 pounds, and they were as heavy as 8 pounds, down to legal-sized. All baits are stocked including minnows and shedder crabs. The season’s first plentiful supply of soft-shell crabs for eating are in, and the shop raises them. Keep up on the supply on <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/SoftshellCrabs/" target="_blank">Absecon Bay Sportsman’s Soft Shell Crabs Facebook Page</a>. Dave is chartering for everything that’s biting, including flounder, striped bass and bluefish. The soft-shells will keep him busy a moment, but he’ll get back out when that’s taken care of. Telephone the shop and ask for him if interested.


Customers still fought bluefish off the end of Absecon Inlet in Brigantine, fishing from the jetty, said Capt. Andy from <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b>. No striped bass were reported in past days. The back bay’s summer flounder fishing was good. Minnows, a bait for flounder, are stocked, but a gallon is coming in at a time, instead of 5 gallons. The bait is scarce and selling quickly on arrival. Fresh bunker and clams will be stocked Friday. 

<b>Atlantic City</b>

On and cracking! said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Hot and heavy! he said. Lot of fish.  Plenty of fish remained in Absecon Inlet and the surf near the inlet, and the species changed somewhat. Bluefish remained, though were smaller than blues previously. More summer flounder and striped bass bit than before. A 9.7-pound flounder was weighed-in, and a 49.2-pound striper was in the lead for the shop’s striper tournament. See more about the tournament at the end of this report. Big weakfish hit. An angler might not catch the species wanted, but would catch something. Plugs including Daiwa SP Minnows and Daddy Mac lures were fished. So were bloodworms and cut bait including bunker and mullet. Minnows were fished for the flounder. Plenty of minnows are stocked, and so are all these baits and more, the full supply. Customers fish the nearby, jetty-lined inlet on foot. Enter your striper in One Stop’s free tournament that lasts until Saturday. Prizes are $250, $150 and $100 for the three heaviest stripers from Atlantic City. First through third also win custom T-shirts. Fourth through sixth win Tsunami rod-and-reel combos.


The party boat <b>Keeper</b> began fishing for summer flounder on the back bay, once flounder season was opened last Thursday, and the angling wasn’t bad, not bad at all, Capt. John said. As many as 13 keepers were totaled on one trip, and 10 were on another, and a couple of 6-pounders were bagged during the weekend. Eighty to 125 throwbacks bit per trip. Mackerel and minnows supplied aboard hooked the fish, and so did Gulps that anglers brought. Suppliers had difficulty catching minnows, but John hopes to carry the baitfish on every trip. Trips are fishing for summer flounder 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 5 p.m. daily. The rate is only $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and $20 for kids, because the fishing is near port, and the pontoon boat is economical on fuel. Plus, rental rods are free.


A trip Monday managed to reach 8 miles from shore and fish 2 hours for sea bass on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, catching some good-sized, Capt. Mike said. But then the trip returned to port because of seas and weather. Another trip would head out today for sea bass in good weather. Open-boat trips will fish for sea bass Saturday and Sunday, and some spaces are available. Mike’s going to begin poking around for summer flounder at rock piles and ledges in the ocean, too. They might begin to turn on this week. “Stay tuned …,” he said. The ocean surface was 62 degrees on Monday’s trip. Mike hopes tuna begin to bite at inshore spots like Massey’s Canyon, now that June is here. He’s seen no sharks yet but heard about some. One boat’s been sharking on every day when weather’s fit, landing a few each time.

<b>Ocean City</b>

Decent summer flounder fishing was boated on the back bay, said John from <b>Fin-Atics</b>. Lots of fish, and decent number of keepers. Some boats limited out, and off Kennedy Park and at Rainbow Channel and the 17th Street lagoon were places for the catches. Bluefish 3 to 5 pounds, sometimes bigger, but not many big like before, roamed the bay and inlets. Corson’s Inlet tossed up good numbers of blues and one or two flounder. Great Egg Harbor Inlet along the bridge was similar. A few small striped bass were hooked among the blues at all these places, but getting a hook past the blues was difficult. A few blues and stripers were beached from the surf. Kingfish were claimed from the surf at the private club pier at 14th Street. If they were there, they should be elsewhere in the surf. Bloodworm sales increased for the kings. Not much was heard about sea bass, maybe because of weather. Reportedly wrecks 20 to 30 miles from shore fished great for sea bass. Nothing was heard about sharks yet this season.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

The four anglers aboard Monday mugged three keeper summer flounder, a bunch of throwbacks, a dozen bluefish and four striped bass to 27 ½ inches on the back bay, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b>, affiliated with <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Was a good, fun trip, and all the catches were hooked on lead jigheads with soft-plastic baits. Flounder fishing’s been pretty good on the bay. Blues are still schooling the water, and stripers are biting there. The stripers could also be fought on popper lures and flies, a specialty aboard, drawing explosive, visual attacks. Trips this weekend will probably do the same sorts of fishing on the boat. Jersey Cape also fished for sea bass during the weekend, piling them up, covered in the last report here. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

All fishing was pretty good, said Mike from <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Most who fished for summer flounder on the back bay seemed happy. No huge flounder were seen, but some 5-pounders were, and so were plenty of 4-pounders. The store’s annual flounder tournament will take place 6 a.m. Saturday to 3 p.m. Sunday. See details below in this report. First, Mike usually doesn’t believe in trends, but customers said time and again that pink held an edge for flounder fishing. Whether that was pink bucktails, pink dressing on rigs or whatever. Many of the flounder were stuffed with crabs like baby blueclaws and others. Whether that was the reason was unknown. The color could change any time. Minnows, a favorite flounder bait, were difficult to obtain. Bluefish continued to swarm the back bay, and some swam the surf. A new batch of 2-, 3- or 4-pounders seemed to arrive. They were good-eating sized, but larger to 7, 8 and 9 pounds were mixed in. Striped bass sometimes came from the surf. Nothing was heard about kingfish from the surf, but maybe no anglers tried for them, fishing for blues and stripers instead. Blues and stripers were also pulled from inlets. A new body of good-sized stripers seemed to arrive in the bay, getting hooked on tackle like plugs or soft-plastic lures at times like dusk and dawn. One angler landed three keepers in a trip, not always common in the bay. On the ocean, sea bass were bailed, but trips had to sail 20 or 25 miles from shore. The local party boat limited out on the fish three trips in a row. Private boaters headed to that range during better weather on one day during the weekend, and limited out. The angling was great, and loads of the fish seemed around. Mike saw that a couple of sharks were weighed-in at Cape May. Crabbing was good, and all who reported said so. For the shop’s flounder tournament, entry is $20, and every angler on a boat must enter.  Registration ends at 6 a.m. sharp on Saturday. Prizes are 70 percent for first place and 20 percent for second. Third place will win prizes from the store and J.K. Construction. Calcuttas for weakfish and blues will be $10, and the winners will take all the cash for the category.


<b>Canal Side Boat Rentals</b> opened last weekend for the season, Mike said. But weather was windy and rough, and he sent none of the rental boats to fish or crab. That made saying how fishing and crabbing was, difficult. Boat traffic was also heavy, because of the holiday. The shops rental-boaters fish and crab on the back bay, and a friend who’s a good angler heaved an 8-pound summer flounder and an 18- or 19-incher from the bay. Another tried for the fish but hooked none. Bluefish were known to be angled in the bay. Big splashes often erupted in the canal. Those are usually striped bass, but a friend thought he saw blues in the water. A few crabs were known to be trapped here and there. Mike was told some were being trapped in the bay, but had no first-hand reports yet.  The supplier of the shop’s crabs for eating, who traps on Delaware Bay, said the crabs should be available for the store this weekend. Weather looks better now, and the rental boats should sail. Canal Side rents boats for fishing, crabbing and pleasure and kayaks. <b>***<i>Get a $5 discount</i>***</b> on a rental boat if you mention Fishing Reports Now. A large supply of bait and tackle is carried. At press time, no minnows were stocked.  Live and cooked-to-order crabs are sold, and so are shrimp and clams. Customers enjoy the food at picnic tables with tents on the water at the store, or enjoy them at their own location.

<b>Cape May</b>

A charter Sunday on the <b>Prime Time II</b> hauled in six black drum from Delaware Bay, keeping two, releasing the rest, and other drum also got off on the trip, Capt. Steve said. On Monday, Memorial Day, weather was rough, and a charter decided not to fish for drum on the bay. But the trip fished the harbor near Cape May Inlet instead, and whacked lots of bluefish and six striped bass to 31 inches, mostly on clams, some on bunker. Trips aboard will shark fish soon. Steve saw no sharks yet, and talked with people from the docks, and they saw none yet either. But surely thresher sharks were around now.

Fishing on the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> will probably sail for black drum on Delaware Bay and maybe sea bass on the ocean this weekend, Capt. George said. Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Cape May’s annual shark tournament is this weekend. George kept hearing second-hand about sharks caught but knew about none first-hand.

The party boat <b>Porgy IV</b> fished for sea bass every day since the season for the fish opened Friday, Capt. Paul said. A couple of trips aboard found not many, but some of the boat’s trips cracked very good catches, including yesterday’s. Some anglers limited out on the fish to 3 pounds yesterday. If a trip took a ride, it scored okay. Some places held few keepers, and some held no sea bass at all. On yesterday’s trip, Chris Boss from Monroeville limited out and won the pool. Rudy Fristachi from New York limited and won the pool on both Saturday’s and Sunday’s trips. Saturday’s fished off Delaware, and the angling was slow. But Sunday’s fished elsewhere, and a good number of anglers limited out. Trips are fishing for sea bass at 8 a.m. daily. The boat switches to summer flounder when flounder begin biting in the ocean. Paul didn’t hear much about flounder caught on the ocean yet, and he’ll wait until the water warms and flounder begin snapping.

Not much was heard about summer flounder yet, but maybe the fishing was good, because anglers would probably complain, said Joe from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. The back bay was fished for the fluke, and few flounder seemed to bite at ocean reefs yet. That should happen in two weeks. The reef fishing began early last year, and few anglers probably tried the reefs for flounder yet. But angler fishing the reefs for sea bass talked about no flounder. Sea bass fishing was good in deeper water, like 100- or 120-foot depths, in the ocean. Lots swam shallower but were small. Customers today were headed back out for sea bass and on the previous trip limited out on beautiful ones in 2 hours with six anglers. Nobody was known about who tried for flounder on Delaware Bay yet. Black drum fishing was good on the bay. The bigger held deeper at sloughs like Tussy’s. Smaller held shallower, and trash fish like skates were more abundant there. A few striped bass were still mixed in, in the shallower. Drum fishing typically keeps changing. Productive catches happen a moment, and the angling tails off. It picks back up, and it slows another moment. Some anglers say the full moon is time for the catches, but Joe’s never had luck on the moon. The fishery’s one of the most unpredictable, but has been good this season. Weakfish, good-sized, seemed to become more abundant at structure from jetties to bulkheads to bridges in the past week, biting bloodworms under floats. A few were caught before, but more were lately.  In the surf, striper fishing was half decent. Clams and bunker hit them, and no particular time of day seemed best. One angler would connect on outgoing tide, and another would on dead high, and another would on incoming, and so on. Bluefish sounded abundant toward Avalon and Sea Isle City, farther north. Baits stocked include minnows, shedder crabs, bloodworms, fresh clams in the shell, fresh, shucked clams, boxed squid, Pro Cut squid, vacuum-packed squid, tube squid, other squid, frozen herring, frozen mackerel and lots more. The bait supply was in good shape.

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