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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 1-15-18

<b>Keyport</b>

Ice in port finally thawed Saturday, said Capt. Mario from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>. So open-boat trips will now sail for blackfish, and a couple of special open trips will run for ling and cod. Charters are available, and sign up for 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. <b>***Update, Thursday, 1/18:***</b> No fishing sailed since the ice thawed, but open trips will blackfish Friday through Sunday aboard, Mario said. One of the special, open trips for ling and cod will probably head out next week. The crew will watch the weather, he said.

<b>Neptune</b>

A special-priced, mid-range wreck-fishing trip has been scheduled for Friday with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email. Spaces are available, and the trip will target blackfish, cod, pollock and ling. Green crabs, white crabs and clams will be carried aboard. Charters are available, and if you have too few anglers for a charter, contact Ralph, and he’ll put together a trip. <b>***Update, Friday, 1/19:***</b> The special-priced, mid-range wreck-fishing trip is rescheduled to sail Sunday instead of today, and one space is available, Ralph wrote in an email. Blackfish, cod and ling will be targeted, and bait and tackle will be provided.

<b>Belmar</b>

Two of Belmar’s party boats fished Sunday, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> said that morning in a phone call, when the boats were still out. One was blackfishing, and the other was making a season’s first trip for mackerel. Bob was yet to hear results when he gave the report. Blackfishing and now maybe mackerel fishing were about the only fishing happening currently along the coast. Anglers would see whether the mackerel fishing was successful. Those were the first trips that the port’s party boats made since some sailed a couple of days last week. Weather kept them at the dock otherwise. Nobody fished Shark River. Much of the river was frozen recently, and the ice began to thaw briefly this past week. The store is open daily in mornings, maybe later on weekends.  <b>***Update, Thursday, 1/18:***</b> This has been one tough winter for fishing, Bob wrote in an email. Boats fished a couple of times a week during breaks in weather, if enough anglers were interested on those days. The cold’s been good for ice-fishing, at least. Yellow perch, chain pickerel and crappies hit well for that angling. The shop is open 5:30 a.m. to 12 noon on weekdays and later on weekends. While fishing’s not an option, anglers are browsing favorite tackle store’s like Fisherman’s Den, and are attending the winter outdoor shows. Bob’s doing maintenance on his tackle and cleaning it for spring striped bass fishing. Looking forward to spring, big-time this year, he said, and hoping for regulations to become more liberal for fluke and sea bass. 

A trip sailed for mackerel and herring, “looked all over,” Sunday on the <b>Golden Eagle</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website. But none was found. “We will schedule trips as soon as we hear that the mackerel are back,” it said. That will be announced on the boat’s website and Facebook page. The crew on Thursday heard about mackerel, including good catches, scattered around, the Facebook page said.

No trip fished Sunday on the <b>Big Mohawk</b>, the party boat’s Facebook page said. “… I do believe that this was the right decision, based on what I have heard,” the post said. That was apparently the captain writing. Trips are slated to blackfish 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and the most recent of those trips ran on Thursday aboard, according to photos of the tautog caught that were posted on the page. Weather looks good for the boat to fish Tuesday. Snow flurries might fall in the morning, but no big deal, the page said. <b>***Update, Thursday, 1/18:***</b> A trip fished Tuesday on the Big Mohawk, but the blackfishing was no good, Capt. Chris said. Some of the fish were angled aboard last week. “That was last week,” he said. The trips will sail Friday through Sunday, and Chris has green crabs and white crabs. The greens are provided and the whites are available for sale on trips.

<b>Brielle</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/18:***</b> Weather looks good, so the <b>Jamaica II</b> will fish the next three days, the party boat’s Facebook page said. The trips will sail for blackfish and cod 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday and for cod and pollock 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Sunday’s trip will fish the Mudhole 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Alex from <b>The Reel Seat</b> sailed for blackfish Thursday on the party boat Norma-K III from Point Pleasant Beach, he said. The 30 anglers cranked in maybe 20 keepers. Green crabs caught best, though blackfish anglers often prefer white crabs over green. The whites failed to be so effective that day. Fishing on that boat was the only angling that Alex heard about from the local area. A few other boats are sailing, but trips were often weathered out. Dave Arbeitman, the store’s owner, will give a presentation on tilefishing at the Saltwater Sportsman Seminar in Linwood, near Atlantic City, on Feb. 24.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Blackfishing was a little slow Thursday but much better than Wednesday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, Capt. Matt wrote in a report on the party boat’s website. On Thursday’s trip, a few anglers limited out, and some bagged one or two apiece. Eels were somewhat of a nuisance, but the fishing picked through them. Weather kept trips from fishing afterward through Saturday, and nothing was mentioned about Sunday in the report. Trips are scheduled to blackfish 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. A fresh supply of green crabs and white crabs arrived to carry aboard. <b>***Update, Thursday, 1/18:***</b> Blackfishing was tough Sunday aboard, Capt. Matt wrote Monday in a report on the boat’s site. Only a few keepers and shorts were reeled in. “Not much life at all,” he said, and he thought the blow, he said, on Friday “had them stirred up a bit.” The trip tried a few different areas. Little chilly that day, he said. On Monday, the day he wrote the report, rough seas in the morning kept the boat from fishing.

<b>Forked River</b>

Bluefish were jigged at Oyster Creek, said Mike from <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>. That’s the warm-water discharge from Forked River power plant, and most blues depart New Jersey for warmer waters to the south this season. But some usually remain in the creek’s warm water in winter. No blackfishing on the ocean was heard about, but the store was only open Sunday, when he gave this report, for the first time in a while, because of weather. The doors will be open 8 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturdays and Sundays whenever weather is likely to make enough customers stop by.

<b>Longport</b>

Charters will fish offshore on the <b>Stray Cat</b> on days when weather’s fair, Capt. Mike wrote in an email. He mentioned no species the trips will sail for, but previously said trips will fish for catches including ling and cod. The boat had been blackfishing inshore. But the ocean there became 33 degrees, “too cold to be productive,” he wrote. Trips need to fish much deeper this time of year, so the charters will sail for 10 hours. Open-boat trips will also fish offshore for 10 hours on Feb. 17, 18 and 24, and a deposit is required. The boat will resume blackfishing in April.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Some of the traveling charters to the Florida Keys fished during the weekend through today with Mike Spaeder and son aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. Joe runs the trips every year from Christmas to Easter. Saturday’s trip first fought and released five lemon sharks and a bonnethead shark while sight-casting. Afterward the trip tugged in a bunch of snappers and jacks and even a bluefish. A couple of blues were landed this winter so far on the trips. On Saturday’s trip, wind blew, but three tarpon were hooked, and one was landed and released. Tarpon fishing’s been good on the outings in recent years. The trip also played all the snappers and jacks an angler could want, action all day. Wind was cranking on todays’ trip, when Joe gave this report at 8 a.m. on the outing. But plenty of snappers were biting already. One of the advantages of the Keys is that if you know what you’re doing, there’s always somewhere to fish, no matter the weather. Trips can fish 2 minutes from the dock on the bay, farther away on the bay or on the ocean side of the islands. Fishing in the Everglades, on the mainland across from the bay, is also an option. If you’re not “species specific” and have the right mind-frame, Joe said, you’ll have a great time.  See the <a href=" http://www.captainjoehughes.com/page3.html" target="_blank">traveling charters webpage</a> on Jersey Cape’s website. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.  

<b>Cape May</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/18:***</b> <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b> fished Tuesday, for blackfish, for the first time in a couple of weeks, a post on the boat’s Facebook page said. The trip fished deep water, farther from shore, “and found some life,” it said. Ripping current made the angling tough, and 16 keepers were managed. But five of those weighed heavier than 10 pounds apiece. Click the link to see a photo of the fish.

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