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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 6-26-17

<b>Keyport</b>

For the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, fluke fishing was good at the beginning of last week and slow toward the end, Capt. Mario said. The high hook landed five-legal-sized, keeping no more than a limit, and open-boat trips are fluking daily on the ocean on the Down Deep Bull, one of the company’s two boats. The trips will also fish for sea bass beginning Saturday, because two will become the bag limit starting that day. Sea bass season’s closed until then. On the Down Deep, the other vessel, good catches of ling and winter flounder were scooped from the ocean. The flounder weighed up to 4 pounds, and that boat is sailing on open trips for ling, flounder and cod daily. Charters are available for either the fluke or the bottom-fishing, and up to 15 passengers can be accommodated on each boat. 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.

Rain, freshwater runoff, wind against tide or an ocean swell seemed the norm this season, Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> wrote in an email. Fluke fishing’s being affected and is nothing like last year. Some trips for the fish aboard are winners, but some are not so good. “I have to tell it like it is,” and won’t make a handful of keepers sound like a great day, he said. Frank respects fellow anglers and his customers too much for that, he said. That said, the crew gives each trip their best effort, and the fuel bill proves that, he added. The keepers aboard have been 19 to 27 inches, and the crew’s been fortunate about that. “A couple fish of that size make some nice fillets for the dinner table,” he wrote. The conditions seemed to keep bait scarce in Raritan Bay. The fluke population seemed abundant, but fewer baitfish seemed to attract fewer fluke to the bay. This is fishing, and things change day to day. Each trip is a new adventure and opportunity for success. Frank’s looking ahead to the coming week and Fourth of July weekend. Charters are fishing, and space is available on open-boat trips Wednesday through the following Tuesday. Sometimes only one or two spots are available, and sometimes more are. Some of the fishing departs in the morning, and some in the afternoon. Telephone to reserve.

<b>Leonardo</b>

Capt. Joe from <b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b> was cleaning the boat Sunday when fluke trips were returning to the marina, he said. The angling sounded slow, managing a few keepers and lots of shorts. Catches sounded better on the bay than on the ocean, and the ocean didn’t seem to give up many. Joe marked striped bass while returning from shark fishing Thursday, and he might still run striper trips in evenings. The shark trip was covered in the last report here. He expects to fish for bluefin tuna inshore soon. Catches have been reported on the troll and on cast popper lures. Porgy season will open Saturday, and Joe in a recent report said he looked forward to fishing for them, and heard about the catches from New York waters. Open-boat spaces are available to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

Bait was yet to school the channels, though the water was 71 degrees, so bait should be there, Capt. Ron from the <b>Fishermen</b> wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. Freshwater runoff that never seemed to go away could be the reason. A few trips aboard scored okay on fluke, but nothing like last year. The angling was no good lately. Ron pulls no punches in reports, he said. He gives 110 percent, and the crew is the best, the boat is a good, clean one, and the atmosphere is friendly, he said. Fishing is the only thing he can’t control.  He always says “patience,” he said, but man! Back at it today, with a positive attitude, working hard, he said. The boat is 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.

Catching a few fluke, better on some trips than others, pretty much the same as before, said Capt. Tom from the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>. Trips fished Sandy Hook Bay and at Flynn’s Knoll, and no great numbers bit. Neither morning nor afternoon trips consistently fished better. No pattern of any bait or tackle catching best could be seen. Sometimes rental-rodders caught. Sometimes anglers who worked hard did. Trips are trying hard, catching a few fluke. Some of the fish were bright-colored, apparently because they arrived from the ocean. Some were dark, apparently because they’d swum the bay a while. Trips are fluke fishing 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily.

<b>Neptune</b>

A trip pounded ling, the best catch in some time, mostly good-sized, too, from the ocean yesterday with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Ralph said. Boats crowded the water, so Ralph found a place for the charter to fish by itself, and that worked out.  Another one of the wreck-fishing trips plowed ling, winter flounder to 20 inches and cod Friday. He suggests anglers sign up for individual-reservation trips for the fishing July 10 and 17 or book a charter for the angling. An individual-reservation trip for cod will sail at 2 a.m. July 12. Individual-reservation trips for fluke and sea bass every Tuesday begin July 11. Kids under 12 sail free on the Tuesday trips, limited to one per adult host.

<b>Belmar</b>

The <b>Katie H</b> competed in Mako Mania on Saturday and Sunday, Capt. Mike said. Saturday’s trip met 10- to 12-foot seas and some 15 in strong wind, and turned back after a couple of hours. Sunday’s trip fished in beautiful weather, and only landed blue sharks. The water was clean but green and 69 degrees, and was about the same Saturday. Anglers who fished for bluefin tuna inshore Sunday picked a couple here and there, spotty fishing. The angling seemed different day to day. Plenty of life including whales and turtles were seen during the sharking aboard, and lots of sand eels were marked. That all looked good for tuna fishing, and the Katie H will begin sailing for tuna.

Fishing competed in Mako Mania on Saturday on the <b>Celtic Storm</b> but ran into a heavy squall and turned around, Capt. Mike said. A fluke trip reeled aboard a few keepers and 25 throwbacks Friday on the ocean. Another on Sunday pulled up a few keepers and throwbacks. The anglers on the trips worked hard, and culled throwbacks to land keepers. The fishing could bail sea bass, if sea bass season weren’t closed, and Mike looks forward to two sea bass being able to be bagged per angler beginning Saturday, spicing up catches. More trips were slated for today and tomorrow. Schools are out for summer, and telephone for a special on half-day, 4-hour trips Mondays through Thursdays. Take advantage, take the kids.

<b>XTC Sportfishing</b> ran for tuna 40 to 50 miles from shore Sunday, trolling only one bluefin tuna, Capt. Scott said. The water was clear but green, and was clearer the farthest from shore, around the Chicken Canyon. The water was 70 degrees and was 73 at the warmest, and held plenty of life including birds, porpoises and bait. A couple of fluke trips also fished the ocean in past days. One scored well, bagging 10 or 12 of the fish to 8 pounds. The next day, the other trip only hung a few keepers and a bunch of throwbacks. A trip aboard Thursday evening trolled striped bass 20 to 30 pounds between the channels on spoons and Mojos.

Trips were often canceled because of weather this past week with <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Pete said. A trip got out Thursday evening for striped bass aboard the ocean, the first trip for that in a week, because of weather. The fishing was no ball of fire, but caught a sizable. Big stripers seemed still around. Parker Pete’s will keep searching for stripers if the fish remain. Fluke trips will begin shortly on the ocean, bucktailing rough bottom to try for big. Two sea bass per angler will be able to be kept beginning Saturday, adding to the catch. Fluking sounded up and down on the ocean. 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.

A few bluefish 2 to 4 pounds were pitched aboard at a few stops today on the ocean far to the north on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email from the party boat said. Sunday’s trip began fishing at the Mudhole at an inside edge. A few chub mackerel were pasted and a few blues were seen along the water surface at each stop. The trip worked east of the Mudhole and fished the deep, looking for blues, and a few more mackerel were pasted. The trip sailed back and fished tight to shore, but fishing was tough on the outing. The boat is fishing for striped bass and blues 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and for fluke and other bottom-fish 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily. The afternoon trips also watch whales and porpoises and catch the sunset on the ride home.

Bluefishing had been good aboard for 2- to 4-pounders on the ocean, but 40-knot wind blew and torrential rain fell early Saturday morning, a report said on the party boat <b>Golden Eagle</b>’s website.  The rain cleared by 9:30 a.m., but a big swell remained, and the water was dirty from runoff. Fishing was tough, and usually picks back up in a day. But angling was also tough on Sunday aboard. Plenty of baitfish remained for forage for blues. Good shots at sea bass showed up on the trip, but sea bass season is closed until Saturday, when two per angler can be bagged. Weather looks good this week, so come on down! the report said. Trips are fishing for striped bass and blues 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Fishing and sunset cruises are sailing 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily.

<b>Brielle</b>

<b>***Updated, Wednesday, 6/28:***</b> “Good fishing for fluke on the all-day trip Monday and some nice fish being caught on the half-day trips,” Capt. Ryan from the party boat <b>Jamaica II</b> wrote in an email. The boat is fishing for fluke on the ocean on full-day trips every Monday and on two half-day trips every other day of the week. Ralph Molinaro from North Haledon on Monday’s trip limited out and won the pool with a 5-3/4-pounder. Anglers who limited on the trip also included Sean Duffy from Bristol, Dave Tootchen from Philadelphia, Carl Wiggems from Trenton, Donnitto Patrick from Trenton, Ed Nolan from Manasquan and Brian Cranford from Lincroft. Each trip scooped up a mix of 3- to 5-pound fluke, throwbacks and out-of-season sea bass. The sea bass were tossed back, and two sea bass per angler will become the bag limit beginning Saturday. The trips are sailing 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Monday and 8 a.m.to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday through Sunday.

Ocean fluke fishing was improving, and more anglers seemed to fish for them than before, since sea bass season closed, said Alex from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. More was probably heard about fluke catches because more anglers fished for them. But the fishing seemed somewhat improved, too. The angling didn’t seem “bang up” yet, and anglers seemed to work for the fish. But when they did, they caught. Manasquan River’s fluking was spotty, but some quality fluke swam the water. He heard about three fluke heavier than 6 pounds apiece from the river this past week. Quality over quantity. Striped bass 24 to 34 inches were plugged and bucktailed at Point Pleasant Canal at night. White bucktails and plugs like Daiwa SP Minnows were popular. Bluefish also bit in the canal. Ocean striper fishing was slow. If boaters wanted to troll bunker spoons for hours and maybe hook a striper, that was the fishing for them. Bluefin tuna fishing was good inshore last week like at the Glory Hole and Triple Wrecks on trolled small tackle like daisy chains, Reel Seat spreader bars, Joe Shutes, Ilanders and cedar plugs. Twenty- to 40-pounders bit, and a bluefin heavier than 100 pounds might be hooked on occasion. Not a lot of sharks caught were known about recently, and not a lot of trips seemed to shark. But the Mako Mania and Mako Fever tournaments were held this weekend, causing more anglers to shark, so more should be heard about the fishing from that. Farther from shore, tuna fishing was good last week for bluefins, yellowfins and bigeyes at Poorman’s and Spencer canyons on similar tackle as the inshore bluefins bit, not on the chunk yet. 

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Tuna fishing for yellowfins and bigeyes was good at southern canyons throughout the past week, until boat traffic stopped the fish from biting Sunday, Capt. Alan from <b>Mushin Sportfishing</b> wrote in an email. Beautiful weather attracted the boats, and before the traffic that day, Mushin nailed yellowfins and mahi mahi until the sun rose. The season’s first two white marlin were seen in the trolling spread that day aboard. Conditions look great for good fishing to continue at the southern canyons for big game, and Mushin is docked at Cape May this month and in July to take advantage. Charters and a limited number of open-boat trips are fishing.

Fishing picked at fluke on the ocean when conditions were right on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. South wind, cooling the water, didn’t help this past week. The water was back up to the mid-60 degrees Sunday. Squid and spearing hooked the fish, but bucktails landed a few, too. Weather looks great for the coming week, so the water should warm, and the hope is that will improve fluking. On nighttime trips Friday and Saturday, bluefishing was tough. A trip Sunday night was supposed to fish for ling, the report said before the outing. The boat is 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>

Large cownosed rays, sand sharks in different sizes, fluke, blues and elusive striped bass could be hooked from the surf, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. A pick of fluke was angled on Barnegat Bay toward the BB and BI markers. Small blues were popper-plugged on the bay. Four-hour trips on the shop’s rental boats sometimes trapped 30 to 50 keeper crabs off Good Luck Point. 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>

On the <b>Miss Barnegat Light</b>, fluke fishing was slow Saturday and a little better Sunday on the ocean, a report said on the party boat’s website. Conditions failed to drift the boat Sunday, but some keepers and throwbacks came in. Good-sized, out-of-season sea bass kept biting and were released aboard, and two sea bass per angler will become the bag limit beginning Saturday. Trips are fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.

<b>Beach Haven</b>

Anglers with two young boys fished on the <b>June Bug</b> on Sunday, Capt. Lindsay said. They reeled in small fluke and sea bass they released near Little Egg Reef, not good fishing, but the boys seemed to have a blast. The water was chilly and about the same temperature, 62 degrees, from the bay to near the reef.  Fishing was sort of in an in-between period, but that’s about to change. Fluking could pick up as the ocean warms, and a couple of sea bass will be able to be bagged per angler beginning Saturday. Sea bass season is currently closed. And June Bug will begin fishing offshore for tuna and billfish soon. Yellowfin, bluefin and bigeye tuna were supposedly boated lately from Baltimore to Poorman canyons and at Lindenkohl and Hudson canyons. No bluefin tuna that can swim closer to shore were heard about locally yet.

<b>Longport</b>

Trips fished for summer flounder on the ocean Thursday, Friday and Sunday aboard, and the fish are biting, said Capt. Mike from the <b>Stray Cat</b>. The angling was improving, turning up a few keepers and lots of throwbacks, and the fish definitely hugged rock piles. A 23-incher was biggest on the trips, and wind 30 knots and big seas kept the boat from fishing Saturday. Seas calmed on Sunday. Water became colder in past days, and the back bay was 60 degrees. Sixty-seven was the highest water temp on the flounder grounds fished on the ocean. Charters are fishing, and open-boat trips will sail for flounder Tuesday and Thursday. Spots are available Thursday, and Tuesday’s “filled in pretty good.” Trips will tuna fish this coming weekend. Tuna fishing was good last week and fell apart Sunday after the blow. Tuna were decked at Poorman’s and Baltimore canyons, the last Mike heard.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Two anglers Saturday jumped on one of the inshore shark trips aboard, releasing four browns, pulling the hooks on a couple of duskies, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. That was on mackerel fillets, and Jersey Cape also fly-rods for the sharks. The catch-and-release trips, usually within 10 miles from shore, are a chance to fight a big catch without the long sail offshore. Some of the species that bite, including browns and duskies, are required to be let go. Joe with family on Saturday evening popper-plugged striped bass to 26 inches and 2-pound bluefish on the back bay. Fishing poppers for the bass, both lures and flies, is a specialty aboard this season, drawing explosive, visual attacks. The fishing’s best on high tides in evenings, and that was the tide on the trip. The tides are about to end, and they happen every two weeks. He and family earlier that day played throwback summer flounder on the bay. Joe heard nothing about offshore fishing for tuna in past days, but many anglers headed for the fishing today. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

<b>Avalon</b>

A trip Saturday would’ve fished Delaware Bay for summer flounder aboard, but forecasts for wind and rain nixed that, said Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b>. No rain fell, but wind sure blew. He plans to fish the bay for flounder on trips this coming Sunday and Monday. A short, 4-hour trip Sunday fished the back bay aboard for flounder, reeling up a keeper and shorts. Just a relaxing, good day, he said. Most of the flounder bit minnows on the top hook of the top-and-bottom rigs fished. Five-inch Gulp swimming mullets were fished on a hook on the bottom. The bay was 66 degrees or chilly, and was colder than before. Jim this week is headed to his <a href="http://www.sjlodge.com/" target="_blank">lodge near Salmon River</a> in upstate New York to prepare the place for guests booked for this Fourth of July weekend.  The lodge offers a discount in summer, but only on Airbnb. Fishing is available, including on Lake Ontario, with local guides. Guests often drive quadrunners this season locally. In late summer into fall, they fish the river for salmon. In winter, they fish the river for steelheads and they snowmobile.

<b>Cape May</b>

Fishing for summer flounder picked up on the ocean, said Capt. Steve from the <b>Prime Time II</b>. Trips fished for them Thursday and Sunday between Cape May Reef and the inlet aboard. A 24-inch flounder was biggest on the trips, and all anglers landed at least one keeper. The water was colder than before: 64 degrees in the morning near the inlet and 68 there on the way in. The anglers fished with bucktails or rigs with bait, depending on their preference. Minnows with squid seemed to catch best. Gulps also worked okay. Steve spoke with nobody who tuna fished since before rough weather Saturday. Boats got back out for the fish Sunday. He heard from nobody who shark fished in past days.

Two yellowfin tuna 40 or 45 pounds and a mahi mahi were trolled at an offshore canyon Sunday on a trip that Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> joined on somebody else’s boat, he said. The angling was slow, and many boats caught no tuna that fished for them in the area. This was after George joined another trip that smoked a couple of bigeye tuna and some bluefin and yellowfin tuna previously at a canyon, covered in a previous report here. George told his charters for now to hold off on tuna fishing until a better bite develops. That could happen any time. The water on this most recent trip was green and not good-looking. The boat’s machine read 72-degree water, but George didn’t know if that was accurate. He couldn’t know whether the strong wind Saturday caused the discolored water Sunday. No tuna seemed to bite inshore during the trip. Anglers on the radio who fished inshore spots like the Hot Dog and Hambone were heard saying the fishing was dead, no baitfish were even marked and they were headed offshore to Baltimore Canyon to fish instead.

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