Thu., Feb. 22, 2018
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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 1-29-18

<b>Keyport</b>

Blackfishing was slow, so angling is wrapped up for the season with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. Fishing will resume in late March aboard, beginning with charters and open-boat trips for striped bass. Reserve preferred dates now.

Capt. Frank from the <b>Vitamin Sea</b> hopes to splash the boat during March’s third week or so, he wrote in an email. Many customers already booked spring striped bass trips, getting the dates they wanted. Frank always cautions anglers to book as early as possible. “(And boy) would I love to see some winter flounder back in the bay,” he said. Ice melted that had locked up the harbor, and he hope’s winter’s worst weather is finished, including for winter maintenance on the boat. He began maintenance on the engine and on the windshields that leaked in heavy spray, and plenty of other maintenance remains. Hang in there, he said: “Your dose of Vitamin Sea will be here before you know it.”

<b>Belmar</b>

Just one of Belmar’s party boats is fishing, said Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b>. The vessel fished yesterday and two or three times in the past week. Not much is biting, and anglers guess that’s because of the cold ocean. A stray blackfish or pollock and some bergals and silver eels are being pulled in, but the fishing is poor. Anglers are going anyway, like 20 on one trip, 12 on another. When weather’s fair, they’re showing up.

<b>Brielle</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 2/1:***</b> The <b>Jamaica II</b> was going to fish yesterday, because forecasts looked good, the party boat’s Facebook page said. But too few anglers showed up to sail. Too bad, because the ocean was flat, the page said. That was a 12-hour trip scheduled to bottom-fish every Wednesday at the Mudhole. Those trips are also slated for every Sunday, and 14-hour trips are scheduled to fish for cod every Saturday.

Nothing was reported about fishing, including blackfishing, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. Weather was often rough, and fishing participation was about as scarce as it gets along the coast. The crew was getting ready for the shop’s booths at Berkeley Striper Club’s fishing flea market March 4 in Toms River, Asbury Park Fishing Club’s fishing flea market March 11 at Convention Hall and the Saltwater Fishing Expo March 16 to 18 in Edison. Dave Arbeitman, the store’s owner, will give a presentation about tilefishing at the Saltwater Sportsman Seminar Feb. 24 in Linwood near Atlantic City.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 2/1:***</b> The party boat <b>Dauntless</b> was in dry dock for scheduled maintenance in past days and might resume daily bottom-fishing Saturday, Capt. Butch said. If not, the trips will kick back off on Monday. The vessel fished during the weekend, and Saturday’s trip bagged a few ling, a blackfish, a cod and a few mackerel. Mackerel were hooked at the first stop for 20 minutes, until seas and weather became nasty. Some anglers might’ve boxed 12 or 15 mackerel apiece. On Sunday’s trip, mackerel fishing was good. The boat fished for mackerel in 160 feet of water and for ling in 180 to 190 on the trips. Mackerel probably moved since, because of snow and wind. When trips resume aboard, they sail 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

No trips sailed the past few days aboard, a report said Friday on the party boat <b>Norma-K III</b>’s website. The crew shaped up to fish each of those mornings, but few anglers showed up at the docks to fish. The crew expected to fish, for blackfish, Saturday and Sunday, and no results were posted on the site at press time. The vessel had been blackfishing daily, and now will sail for the tautog 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Green crabs and clams were going to be provided on this past weekend’s trips, and few white crabs were available. Anglers were encouraged to bring whites if they wanted to fish with them.

<b>Forked River</b>

A people fished Oyster Creek, said Mike from <b>Grizz’s Bait & Tackle</b>. That’s the warm-water discharge from Forked River power plant, and the anglers tugged in a few bluefish. A pick of striped bass also hit. Release the stripers, because fishing for them is closed, except in the ocean, until reopening March 1. Striper fishing is open in the ocean year-round. When the back-water fishing opens beginning that day, the creek is one of the first to produce stripers in New Jersey, because of the warm water. Customers who lately fished the creek bought a variety of frozen clams, finger mullet and bunker for the angling. The store is open 8 a.m. to 12 noon Saturdays and Sundays. Mike, the new owner, is mostly preparing the shop for the new fishing season, including stocking new items including clothing. “We’re making it our store now,” he said.

<b>Absecon</b>

Cold weather broke, and the phone began ringing a little, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. A couple of customers stopped in Saturday morning, when he gave this report. Some anglers wanted to fish for white perch “or whatever,” he said, so he stocked bloodworms for the perch fishing at brackish waters like Mullica River. If they sell, he’ll stock more, and he’s been netting a few grass shrimp to stock for the angling, too. A local’s trip sailed 25 miles from shore Friday to fish for blackfish. One keeper, a few throwbacks and junk fish were boated on the outing, not really worth the long trip from shore. But they tried, Dave said. The store is carrying no green crabs for blackfishing this time of year. The shop is open for no set hours, but Dave is usually there in mornings until noon or so, doing work like inventory and organizing. Call ahead to confirm he’ll be there. The store will be open daily beginning March 1, when striped bass fishing opens in rivers and bays.  

<b>Brigantine</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 2/1:***</b> <b>Riptide Bait & Tackle</b> has been selling memberships to the Brigantine Beach 4x4 Assist Program, according to the shop’s Facebook page and website. If your beach buggy breaks down or becomes stuck on the beach at Brigantine, the program sends a truck to assist you or tow the vehicle, 24 hours a day, “at a moment’s notice,” Riptide says. Membership is $75 for a year, compared with $250 to $600 per incident that such assistance would normally cost, the shop says.  

<b>Longport</b>

The harbor is free of ice, and the <b>Stray Cat</b> is ready to fish farther from shore for blackfish, cod and maybe pollock, an email said from the boat. The ocean’s warmer farther from the coast, and trips will include open-boats Feb. 17 and 24. Spaces will be limited, and a deposit is required. Clams and squid will be provided, and a few crabs might be, if available. Bring a stiff rod for 8 to 12 ounces of lead. No microwave is available, but the cabin is heated. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Traveling charters to the Florida Keys will next fish in mid-February aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. The trips run each Christmas to Easter, and the most recent ones, a couple of weeks ago, reeled in jacks, snappers and groupers, sight-fished for lemon and bonnethead sharks that were caught, and had three or four shots at tarpon, landing one. Sometimes weather was windy, but the trips connected no matter. In the Keys, there’s always someplace to fish to duck out of a wind direction. Trips can fish the bay, the ocean side or in the Everglades.  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>.

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