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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 2-5-18

<b>Belmar</b>

No fishing sailed from the marina in past days, said Tom from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b>. The party boat Ocean Explorer is trying to blackfish, but too few anglers wanted to go on those days. Strong wind screamed today that would’ve prevented sailing. The Captain Cal’s fishing season was wrapped up, and Tom was unsure whether the Big Mohawk will still try to fish. The shop is open in mornings daily, and its sister shop, Fisherman’s Den North in Atlantic Highlands, is closed and will reopen beginning March 15.

<b>***Update, Thursday, 2/8:***</b> The <b>Big Mohawk</b> is in a “holding pattern,” a post said on the party boat’s Facebook page. The vessel had been blackfishing, but the ocean, in the high 30 degrees, became cold for that. Charters are being booked for spring and summer, and some are already scheduled. Don’t wait to book, or the date might become filled. Routine maintenance is being done on the boat until fishing resumes aboard. 

<b>***Update, Thursday, 2/8:***</b> <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> is mostly upgrading the boat, and fished last, for striped bass, just before the cold snap around Christmas and New Year’s, an email said from Parker Pete’s. Parker Pete’s ran into some of the biggest striped bass, and the largest numbers of them, in a long time last fall and spring. Before Christmas, trips jigged smaller bass, some great catches, that show up at the end of the migration. Trips for stripers are booking quickly for this coming spring and fall. If you plan to fish for them aboard, the crew recommends reserving as soon as possible. The <a href=" http://www.parkerpetefishing.com/belmar-fishing-trips/trip-calendar" target="_blank">calendar on Parker Pete’s website</a> has been updated to show available dates and times. Openings include charters and individual spaces with charters who want more anglers. Charters and the individual spaces can also be booked at Parker Pete’s booth at the Salter Fishing Expo from March 16 through 18 at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison.

<b>Brielle</b>

One of the local party boats was supposed to fish for cod near Block Island on Friday, but the trip was canceled, said Vinnie from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. He wasn’t asked the reason, like maybe because of weather. But the boat is supposed to sail for the fishing again this coming Friday. That was about all that was heard about fishing, because not much fishing happened along the coast. Maybe a couple of boats are blackfishing from Belmar or toward Atlantic City. The store will have booths at the 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 shop’s owner, will give a presentation about tilefishing at the Saltwater Sportsman Seminar Feb. 24 in Linwood near Atlantic City.

<b>***Update, Thursday, 2/8:***</b> Wow, look at the forecast! a post said Tuesday on the party boat <b>Jamaica II</b>’s Facebook page. The next trips are set to fish for cod 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and to fish at the Mudhole 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Forecasts on Tuesday called for seas 2 feet or less in light, southerly winds Saturday and Sunday.  “How have you guys being doing out there?” someone commented on the post. Haven’t been out much, the boat answered, but action’s been okay when the boat has fished, it said.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

The crew was going to shape up to sail for bottom-fishing Saturday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said on the party boat’s website the previous day. They were unsure whether a trip was going to fish Sunday, it said, apparently because of weather forecasts. Whether trips fished either day was yet to be reported on the site at press time. The boat is slated to bottom-fish 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Crabs and clams were going to be carried aboard for bait this past weekend. <b>***Update, Thursday, 2/8:***</b> Trips will shape up to sail for blackfish and cod Saturday and Sunday, the boat’s website said. Crabs and clams will be carried aboard, and weather looks decent.

The <b>Dauntless</b> was in dry dock for maintenance including some painting this past week, and will resume bottom-fishing Tuesday, the party boat’s Facebook page said. Trips sail for the angling 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, when weather’s fair and enough anglers want to fish. The boat is one of the few, if not the only, that’s scheduled to fish daily throughout winter from New Jersey each year. <b>***Update, Thursday, 2/8:***</b> The boat was ready to fish beginning Tuesday, and no trips sailed that day and Wednesday because of weather, Capt. Butch said. Forecasts caused only a few anglers to want to fish, but the vessel is ready to resume fishing daily. Butch hopes to find a few mackerel mixed in with bottom-fishing aboard. When the boat last fished, before being in dry dock, trips landed some. The bottom-fishing will try for ling, cod and blackfish, before blackfish season is closed throughout March. Any ling and cod will bite in deeper water, but if blackfish bite, that should be shallower. The tautog usually snap no deeper than in in 150 of water this time of year. Trips are bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. When the mackerel migration swims within range, the trips mix in targeting them, too. The Dauntless is probably the only boat in the state that’s scheduled to fish daily this time of season, Butch thought. He knew about three nearby boats that are slated to fish on weekends and apparently no longer during weekdays unless on special trips.

<b>Absecon</b>

<b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b> began stocking bloodworms last week and sold out, so another box was now stocked, Capt. Dave said. Customers nabbed a bunch of white perch from Mullica River on the worms. A couple of more of the trips headed for the perch yesterday, and the store is also stocking live grass shrimp for white perch fishing. So if you want to fish for the perch on brackish rivers like the Mullica, the shop’s ready with supplies. Mid-February is almost here, Dave noted, and the store will be ready for the opening of striped bass season beginning March 1 in rivers and bays. Currently, the shop is open for no set hours. But Dave is usually there from mornings until noon. Call ahead to confirm.

<b>Longport</b>

Open-boat trips will bottom-fish offshore Feb. 17, 18, 24 and 25 on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike wrote in an email. Deposits are required this time of year. Rates have been raised for open trips, and visit <a href=" http://www.captmikesstraycat.com/trips-rates
" target="_blank">Stray Cat’s website</a> for rates for those trips and charters. Deposits are also being accepted for charters for this year, and mid-week charters are discounted. “As always please give us a call for the info,” he wrote. Stray Cat will begin blackfishing on April 1.

<b>Avalon</b>

Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> is exhibiting at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pa., that began Saturday and lasts through Sunday, he said. The event is billed as the largest outdoor show in the world. When the show wraps up, he’ll guide snow goose hunts in New Jersey through March 10. Afterward, he’ll guide the hunts in New York, following the migration. In Jersey, the trips hunt in Salem County near Delaware Bay, the heart of the flyway. The birds were currently migrating like crazy there. He’ll resume guiding fishing in Jersey in spring, beginning with charters for striped bass or, on Delaware Bay, black drum. A few scattered openings are available this month for Jim’s <a href="http://www.sjlodge.com/" target="_blank">lodge</a> in upstate New York. More are available in March, and guests fish for steelheads on nearby Salmon River this season. Many guests in winter snowmobile and cross-country ski.

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