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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 7-31-17

<b>Keyport</b>

Fluke fishing began improving Friday on Raritan Bay, Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> wrote in an email. The fish had been scarce in the bay, but began to show up. Good-sized keepers were decked on every trip since. Throwbacks also gave up good action on each. Sharp anglers landed twice their limits, keeping only their quotas. Livelined peanut bunker or jigs with Gulps caught best. The fluke gorged on grass shrimp. “Feels good to finally start seeing fish in the bay,” Frank wrote. He hopes the fishing lasts through the end of fluke season. The season will only last about another month, so don’t wait to fluke. Charters are fishing, and spaces are available for open-boat trips Saturday and Sunday. Telephone to reserve. Follow <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/vitaminseafishing/" target="_blank">Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page</a> for daily reports and the updated open-boat schedule.

Fishing for fluke, on the ocean, picked up with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. Lots of good-sized were smashed, and the high-hook landed seven legal-sized, keeping no more than a limit. Open-boat trips are fluking at 6 a.m. daily and 2 p.m. every Friday and Saturday on the Down Deep Bull. On the Down Deep, the company’s other boat, bottom-fishing was excellent for big porgies and big sea bass. Open trips are bottom-fishing during the same hours on that vessel, and charters are available for fluke or bottom-fishing. Each boat accommodates up to 15 passengers, and join the Short Notice List on <a href="http://downdeepsportfishing.com" target="_blank">Down Deep’s website</a> to be informed about upcoming, special open trips. Look for the link underneath “Contact.”

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

A 7-pound fluke was tackled on Sunday morning’s trip on the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom said. Saturday’s trips were weathered out, but the rest of the twice-daily trips for fluke fished in past days. They fished Raritan and Sandy Hook bays and Flynn’s Knoll, and the angling was the same as recently aboard. Throwbacks were hooked on every trip, and a handful of keepers came in. Sharks and sea robins also kept anglers busy. Some anglers fished spearing provided aboard, and some fished killies they brought. When anglers fished Gulps they brought, Tom told them to change up sometimes and fish spearing or killies. Fish a spearing or two, and no more, because more seemed to make no difference, he told them. Anglers who fished jigs and were experienced seemed to catch no better than bait anglers. Trips are fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Tuesday, 8/1:***</b> More keeper fluke than in a while and more throwbacks than before were clubbed on this afternoon’s trip, Tom said. Nothing great, but improved fishing, after tough fluking on the morning trip and yesterday. One angler bagged three, a couple bagged two and other keepers were also taken on the trip. He’ll see if the fishing holds up.

Beautiful day on the water Sunday for a change, “and we didn’t roll our Crueler off!” Capt. Ron from the <b>Fishermen</b> wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. He was unsure what to expect about fluking after Saturday’s rough weather. But Sunday’s trip picked the fish right away. Some good-sized were hung around the boat, including a 6.7-pounder. Some anglers limited out on three. Plain spearing fished best, so rental-rodders were hot hands. But a couple of anglers axed some good fluke on jigs. Nothing was reported about fishing Saturday. A report for Friday said big fluke and sea bass were socked three days in a row aboard then. Trips are fishing for fluke 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. However, charters are booked this Friday and Saturday, so no open-boat trips will fish those days.

<b>Neptune</b>

The forecast was blown for Sunday, said Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>. The nor’easter was supposed to continue that day but never did. But no trips fished aboard since Thursday, because of forecasts for the storm. Trips have been smoking triggerfish and porgies, super catches, on the ocean aboard. The triggers were more numerous than Ralph’s seen in a long time, and both fish are great-eating. Space is available for an individual-reservation trips for the fishing Wednesday and for fluke Tuesday. The fluke trips sail every Tuesday, and kids 12 and under sail free for that, limited to one per adult host. Sign up for individual-reservation trips that will fish inshore wrecks Aug. 21 and for cod Aug. 9 and 30. More individual-reservation trips will be slated for September. A few weekend dates and weekdays are still open for charters.

<b>Belmar</b>

With <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b>, fluke fishing on the ocean was decent Thursday and Friday for bucktailers, Capt. Pete said. Those who fished bait caught fewer. Better-sized fluke are now biting for the boat’s trips, depending on conditions. None of the trips fished Saturday and Sunday because of weather. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Contact Parker Pete’s about individual spaces available with charters who want more anglers. Some of those are available Tuesday through Thursday. 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 future spaces.

The weekend’s fishing was blown out with <b>Celtic Stoirm Charters</b>, Capt. Mike said. Trips last Monday and Wednesday on the ocean scored well on sea bass and bagged some fluke aboard. The fluking was beginning to look like it would be good. Take advantage of a discount for ½-day trips on Tuesdays through Thursdays, including for trips with kids. This is a good time of year to take kids.

Excellent sea bass fishing was crushed on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, including on Friday, when the catch included big ones, and all anglers limited out, a report said on the party boat’s website. No reports were posted for Saturday and Sunday, and the trips seemed likely weathered out. Today’s trip searched for bluefish at first, managing a few 2- to 3-pounders. Then the trip switched to sea bass, piling up a good catch. The crew hopes big blues settle in at the reef soon to fish for them. The boat is fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Fishing and sunset cruises are running 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily.

Many anglers limited out on sea bass on Friday afternoon’s trip on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, great fishing, an email from the party boat said. A handful of fluke and ling were also bagged. Trips were weathered out Saturday through Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon’s trip pummeled sea bass, including many limits, and bagged some fluke, blues and bonito. All anglers caught, “were busy at the rail the entire trip!” it said. This morning’s trip locked into non-stop, good-sized sea bass hooked and a few ling. At the end of the outing, the trip jigged for small blues seen ripping through bunker. The blues “did not want to cooperate,” but the crew will look for blues every day. Trips will continue bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, until bluefish show up. Trips are also fishing 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.

<b>Brielle</b>

Yellowfin tuna were boated to the south in 30 fathoms from Lemke Canyon to the Hot Dog, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. The throwbacks to 60-pounders were mostly on trolled ballyhoos, green-machine spreader bars or green-machine daisy chains. Yellowfins were also picked at all usual haunts, but Lemke’s to the Dog fished best. Ling were cranked from Mudhole wrecks in 150 to 200 feet of water. Winter flounder were still in the mix, and sea bass were picked away there, too. Plenty of sea bass schooled in 60 to 80 feet at wrecks. Good fluke fishing was pasted at Axel Carlson Reef and 60 feet of water off the Red Church at hard bottom. Fluke were picked from Manasquan River. So were striped bass, nothing fantastic, at Route 35 Bridge at night. Party boats that bluefished tied into 1- to 3-pounders and lots of chub mackerel on the ocean. Bring a light rod.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

In forecasts that called for rough weather for the weekend, Capt. Alan from <b>Mushin Sportfishing</b> emailed this report Friday, he wrote. “No sense delaying,” he said. Until then, the boat kept fishing for tuna from Cape May, where the vessel’s been docked since the beginning of the month to take advantage of the southern angling. The trips recently chunked for yellowfin tuna from the port, and no longer trolled for them. Plenty of the fish bit, but landing the 50- to 65-pounders wasn’t always easy. That’s because light, fluorocarbon leaders and tiny hooks had to be fished.  Many of the fish broke off or pulled the hooks. The tuna bit best when 30-pound leaders were fished. “This is much more finesse fishing than brute strength,” he wrote, and a fight often lasted more than an hour. Drags were set at 9 pounds. The tuna seemed to continually change locations, “from lump to lump,” he said. So the angling took some looking. But once the fish were located, “it’s like old-fashioned chunking,” he said. Multiple hook-ups at once. The anglers weaving between each other, “doing the tuna shuffle.” Charters and a limited number of open-boat trips are fishing. Mushin will keep fishing from Cape May only a moment longer, before returning the boat to Point Pleasant Beach. The current angling sounded like it was at the inshore lumps. “Lump to lump,” Alan wrote. The fishing from Point Pleasant Beach will be for tuna at the canyons all the way offshore.

The ocean began to settle Sunday, and trips were expected to resume that afternoon and night on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website beforehand. Saturday’s daytime trips, for fluke, were weathered out, but that night’s bluefish trip sailed. It clobbered 1- to 2-pounders, an excellent catch. A 10-pound blue was also nailed, winning the pool. Fluke trips last sailed Friday. A good number of keepers and throwbacks were hooked, and the pools were won by a 7-pounder on the morning’s trip and a 6-pounder on the afternoon’s. Anglers fishing bucktails with Gulps caught well, and those fishing with bait – squid and spearing – caught some fluke, too.  Trips are fishing for fluke 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6:30 p.m. daily, bluefish 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and ling 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sundays.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Rain-gear day for sure, a report said Saturday on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. That might’ve been a day to go over tackle or reorganize it. Shark fishing’s been good in the surf at night at Island Beach State Park. More and more brown sharks, required to be released, were hooked. If you never tried the fishing, you should, it said. Use a heavy surf rod with a spinning or conventional reel, large, strong hooks size 10/0 or larger, a strong wire leader, a well-secured sand spike and a good-sized chunk of bait like bunker or mackerel. Snapper blues swarmed back waters including places along Barnegat Bay. Crabbing was good in the bay and back waters for a fair number of 5-inchers. 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>

Anglers fluked on the ocean on the <b>Super Chic</b> on Friday before the wind, Capt. Ted said. The fishing was pretty good, actually. That was in 45- to 50-foot depths around reefs, mostly with bait, not bucktails. Throwback sea bass sometimes bit, and tons of sea robins hit. Barnegat Bay’s fluke were migrating toward inlets on the way to the ocean. Ted hopes the ocean fishing keeps improving. More fluke trips are slated for Tuesday and Wednesday. In other news, Ted heard about no bonito or fish like that at Barnegat Ridge. 

Rough conditions kept Saturday’s daily trip for fluke and sea bass in port on the <b>Miss Barnegat Light</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. The trips resumed Sunday, and the outing “had some action right way,” it said. That was despite the fact that the fish usually take time to bite again, after strong northeast wind. The angling should keep improving this time of year, and weather looks great this week. Trips are sailing for fluke and sea bass 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily on the ocean. Sunset cruises are running at 5:30 p.m. daily, and moonlight cruises will steam at 8:30 p.m. this coming Sunday through Tuesday. Watch the Atlantic City Air Show on August 23 on the water aboard, lunch included.

<b>Longport</b>

No trips fished Saturday and Sunday in the weather, said Capt. Mike from the <b>Stray Cat</b>. But trips aboard are trolling bluefish – 2- and 3-pounders and a couple of 5’s – on the ocean with all kinds of catches mixed in. The catches include a few bonito, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel. False albacore showed up, and a couple were in the mix the other day.  The trips recently pushed farther from shore to 100-foot depths. The 74- to 75-degree water there was much clearer than closer in, and darker. The trips trolled No Alibi feathers, Clark spoons and cedar plugs. The cedar plugs, in red-and-white, blue-and-white and natural, fished on two flat-lines, produced most of the “surprises,” the non-bluefish or exotic species. The bird, a 5-inch Ilander, was the hot lure, drawing the most bites. But landing the fish on the bird, fished way back, was difficult. Many fish popped off the hook halfway in. Trips mixed in a little bottom-fishing on the ocean, landing a few sizable sea bass. Some wrecks held sea bass, and some didn’t. Sea bassing had to put in effort or time and find the wrecks that produced. When the fish were there, they were. Summer flounder didn’t really bite locally. They bit to the north and south in the ocean. Weather now looked clear for a few days. The ocean was flattening right out.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Back-bay fishing for summer flounder was slow for anglers aboard Sunday, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. He thinks the water was still churned from the storm. But a few of the fish were reeled in. No trip fished in the weather Saturday. A trip Friday aboard fished for sharks, releasing 16 of them to 80 pounds: browns, duskies and spinners. The sharking, inshore, usually within 10 miles from the coast, has been very good. The angling is catch-and-release, and some of the species, including browns and duskies, are required to be let go. The trips are a chance to tug on a big catch without the long trek offshore. The trip fished with bait, but Jersey Cape also fly-rods the sharks. Mahi mahi arrived close to shore, and weather kept Joe from sailing for them. He hopes to fish for them Tuesday, and the fishing was outstanding last year aboard. 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> had been going to fish for summer flounder on Delaware Bay on Saturday, Capt. Jim said. But the northeast wind canceled that. A buddy’s trip boated eight keeper flounder and about 20 throwbacks on the bay at the stakes last Monday or Tuesday. A trip this coming Saturday might fish the inshore ocean for mahi mahi or catch-and-release sharks. That’s what the anglers might be interested in, Jim thought. Guests stayed at Jim’s <a href="http://www.sjlodge.com/" target="_blank">lodge near Salmon River</a> in upstate New York this weekend. A discount is offered on Air Bnb, but only in summer. Guests often drive quadrunners this season locally at snowmobile trails on the property and quad trails running past the place. Guests also bicycle and kayak on different waters like the reservoir. In late summer into fall, they fish the river for salmon. In winter, they fish the river for steelheads and they snowmobile. The salmon fishing usually begins by Labor Day weekend. Jim usually fishes for them toward late September and early October, usually the peak of the catches.

<b>Cape May</b>

Fishing was docked aboard in the weekend’s weather, said Capt. Tom from <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>. But summer flounder fishing was very good just before the blow. Private boaters had limits. Yellowfin tuna 50 and 60 pounds, quality fish, good catches of them, were chunked and trolled inshore. A few private boats were known to troll marlin well in 100 fathoms. Fishing will resume Tuesday with Fishin’ Fever. Charters and open-boat trips are fishing for flounder or tuna.

Because of weather, a tuna trip was rescheduled for Tuesday that was slated for last Saturday on the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>, Capt. George said. Some boats might’ve planned to resume tuna fishing today, but forecasts looked like sporty seas. Forecasts look better beginning tomorrow. George told the trip’s anglers that the fishing might sail on old reports, but they want to go. Weather wasn’t bad Sunday at the dock, but offshore seas might’ve been. One of the Cape May party boats, fishing daily for summer flounder, was tied to the slip that day, apparently because of weather. A half-day boat sailed. Inshore trolling has been good for bluefish with bonito and Spanish mackerel sometimes mixed in on the Heavy Hitter. The blues weighed 2 to 3 pounds, weren’t the smaller that sometimes school. Telephone if interested in tuna fishing or the 4-hour trolling.

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