Sat., Dec. 15, 2018
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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 1-22-18

<b>Keyport</b>

A few blackfish and ling were hung during the weekend with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, but the fishing wasn’t good, Capt. Mario said. Seas were rough, and Down Deep will give fishing another shot on open-boat trips this coming Saturday and Sunday. If the angling fails to change, Mario will wrap up fishing aboard until springtime striped bass trips. Book preferred dates for that before they fill.

<b>Neptune</b>

<b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> fished Sunday, but the angling was no good, Capt. Ralph said in a phone call. So Last Lady is finished fishing until spring, unless fish begin to bite, if something changes. Ralph wasn’t asked what the trip fished for, and he was wrapping up the trip and couldn’t speak long. But the trip was supposed to fish for blackfish, cod, pollock and ling at mid-range wrecks, according to his last report here. <b>***Update, Monday, 1/22:***</b> A full boat of people sailed on Sunday’s trip, and reeled up only two throwback blackfish and one throwback cod, no pollock or ling, Ralph wrote in an email. “Very little life on all these wrecks I usually catch fish,” he wrote. The trip made many drops on wrecks up to 35 miles from shore. Weather and the people still enjoying the day was the only good thing, he said. The boat will be in the water all winter, and if he thinks fishing becomes worthwhile, he’ll announce that.

<b>Belmar</b>

Blackfishing was terrible Sunday on the <b>Big Mohawk</b>, and the ocean was 38 degrees, the party boat’s Facebook page said. So the boat will be kept docked in the next days. “It is hard to justify fishing at this point,” it said. “When the water gets this cold, everything goes dormant … There is quite a bit of money in the pools, so we will give it one more shot … .” The boat will blackfish this coming weekend, and details will be announced on the Facebook page at mid-week. No trip fished Saturday because of wind. On a trip Friday, “(there) were a few bites,” the page said, but blackfishing was a struggle.

<b>Brielle</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/25***</b> Forecasts look good for the <b>Jamaica II</b> to fish beginning Friday, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Trips will fish for blackfish and cod 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, cod and pollock 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and at the Mudhole for ling and cod 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

A slow pick of blackfish was almost the only fishing, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. That was in 80- to 120-foot depths, when boats had the weather to sail, not often. A few ling were copped in 180 to 200 feet at the Mudhole. The shop is open Thursdays through Sundays. 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</bc>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/25:***</b> This was winter fishing, a little slow, said Capt. Butch from the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>. Trips landed a few cod, blackfish and ling, and on a couple of days, a sprinkling of mackerel. Trips mix in mackerel fishing with the usual bottom-fishing aboard, when the mackerel migration shows up within range. Some of the mackerel, not a lot, did, and Butch hopes they remain where they were found previously, near the bottom grounds, when the boat resumes fishing. No trips sailed the past two days in rough weather. Butch jigged a 5-gallon bucket of mackerel, small to medium-sized, on one of the days when mackerel showed up. Herring and even whiting bit, and the whiting were small. Some anglers never realized they hooked whiting until seeing the fish. Trips bottom-fished in 120 feet of water to 180, and fished for mackerel in 120 to 150. The ocean was 41 degrees on the bottom grounds and 34 near shore. Trips are sailing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, except the boat will be in dry dock next week on Monday through Friday. 

<b>***Update, Tuesday, 1/23:***</b> Was a beautiful weekend on the water during blackfishing on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website today. But the fishing wasn’t good. “We fished a lot of different bottom…,” it said. No trips fished Monday and today, and weather looks too rough to sail Wednesday. The crew will keep an eye on Thursday, the report said. Trips are scheduled to blackfish daily through this weekend. Afterward, the trips will only be slated for weekends, through February. <b>***Update, Thursday, 1/25:***</b> Weather looked good for the boat to resume fishing today, a report said on the vessel’s website. The crew was going to shape up for an outing today, and weather looked like trips could fish the next few days, too.  The blackfishing aboard was apparently weathered out in past days. Green crabs are provided, and the supply of white crabs is running low. Bring the whites if you’d like to fish with them.

<b>Toms River</b>

Ice opened up on the Toms River at Island Heights last week, said Dennis from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b>. The river farther upstream was still iced over on Saturday, when Dennis gave this report. Not a lot was heard about fishing, because he wasn’t at the shop often. A customer had just called that morning who wanted salted clams, apparently because the angler was going bottom-fishing. Six anglers were known about who ice-fished last week at Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area. They hooked nothing. Dennis spoke with an outdoor writer who’d been ice-fishing at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area. The fishing was slow, the writer said, mostly landing sunnies. Sometimes the writer reeled in a largemouth bass or a chain pickerel. Dennis held a couple of sales featuring 25 percent off all tackle in stock, including last Saturday morning. He might hold another this week, and if so, the sales are announced on the store’s Facebook page. The shop is open for no set hours, but is open when Dennis is there. He’s in and out, popping in almost every day, checking messages, helping customers who want something. The store is doing rod and reel repairs. Also catch deals at the shop’s booth at the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association’s fishing flea market this coming Saturday at Toms River South High School from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

<b>Absecon</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/25***</b> The deep freeze ended, live grass shrimp are stocked and bloodworms are on the way, <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>’s Facebook page said yesterday. Time to fish for white perch, it said. Customers fish for the perch in brackish rivers like the Mullica and Great Egg Harbor rivers in winter. The store is open for no set hours, but the owner is usually there. Telephone ahead to make sure.

<b>Longport</b>

The next open-boat trips will fish Feb. 17, 18 and 24 on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike wrote in an email. The trips will fish offshore for catches like cod and blackfish, and telephone him to reserve. Cod might migrate to wrecks off South Jersey by then, and the boat is finished fishing inshore for winter, because of cold water there. The ocean is warmer farter off. The trips, departing at 6 a.m., will be extended ones, sailing a longer time than usual, to reach those waters.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

<b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b> was open Sunday morning for anglers who were going to blackfish on the local party boat that day, Cameron said. He was unsure if the boat sailed for the tog Saturday, but knew the vessel did on Tuesday, in rough seas. He knew about no results, and heard little about fishing, because the store’s been open infrequently. He saw a few photos of blackfish hooked on social media. The store’s been open for occasions like when the boat’s been fishing.

<b>Avalon</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/25:***</b> Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> guides waterfowl hunting this time of year, will wrap up the trips for brant and ducks this weekend, and will guide snow goose hunting afterward, he said. He guided three or four days of very good hunting for brant and ducks most recently, toward Tuckerton to Egg Harbor. Limits of brants were bagged each day, and the trips also shot buffleheads, black ducks and mergansers. This was after two or three weeks of brutal cold, when four or five hunts had to be canceled because of the weather. Jim canceled those hunts with local customers, like from Pennsylvania. But some of the hunters were coming from farther away, like from Montana, so those trips still took place. Ice in the water dinged up the fiberglass boats. Northwest wind during the cold jammed ice against shore on Delaware Bay, and ice covering the bay looked like the arctic. Jim saw people walk on the ice to the concrete ship near shore off Cape May in the bay. That didn’t seem a good idea, because current rips there, and the water can be 30 or 40 feet deep. Jim saw a seal in the Intracoastal Waterway at Avalon, and has rarely seen them that far south in New Jersey, and he’s on the water much during waterfowling in the cold months. He saw a seal in Cape May Canal once. Watch a slide show of duck hunting with Fins this season. A discount is available for Jim’s lodge in upstate New York this season, but only on Airbnb. In winter, guests fish for steelheads on nearby Salmon River and they snowmobile and cross-country ski. A thaw was underway along the Salmon currently, and rain raised the river and melted much snow. The river looked angry, and Jim recommends hiring a guide to fish from a drift boat on the river when that happens. Drift-boating will still catch well, and guides are economical in this area. The snow base was down to a couple of inches on the snowmobiling and skiing trails, and Jim waited for the next round of lake-effect snow. Stop and meet Jim at Fins and Feathers’ booth at the Great American Outdoor Show on Feb. 3 through 11 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa. Fins will resume saltwater fishing in spring, maybe first for striped bass, if enough stripers migrate through, and, in May, for black drum on Delaware Bay. Fins offers a variety of outdoor adventures from saltwater fishing to waterfowling, deer and turkey hunting, fly-fishing for trout on Pennsylvania’s streams like the Yellow Breeches, and more.

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