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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 4-16-18

<b>Keyport</b>

Super fishing for striped bass on Raritan Bay, an email said from the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>. Many good-sized to 42 inches were bagged aboard. Fish for them now. “… it’s on, and we’re on ’em!” it said. Open-boat trips are fishing for stripers daily, and charters are available for up to 15 passengers. 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. Look for the link underneath “Contact.”

Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing busted open, was as good at it gets on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank wrote in an email. The bass to 25 pounds were cranked aboard, and each trip limited out and released additional. “These are quality fish,” he said. They’re migrators and hungry, and aren’t the small stripers that bit previously. A trip Saturday morning pummeled a load of the fish. The season is off to a good start. In addition to morning trips, open-boat trips began to fish from 2 to 8 p.m. Capt. T.J. runs those outings, and room is available for those hours this coming Thursday and Sunday. Telephone to reserve, and spaces fill quickly, so book fast. Good dates are still available for charters. New York’s striper season opened Sunday, and the boat carries the permits to fish New York waters, too. Follow <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/vitaminseafishing/" target="_blank">Vitamin Sea’s Facebook page</a> for up-to-the-moment reports and for photos. Get your dose of Vitamin Sea! Once you do, you’ll want to come back for more, he said.

<b>Leonardo</b>

Fishing will be launched Saturday for the year with <b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b>, with trips for striped bass on Raritan Bay, Capt. Joe said. Sunday’s trip will be open-boat, and telephone if interested in jumping aboard. Lots of throwbacks and enough keepers to keep the fishing interesting were reported trolled from the bay’s shallows. Mostly Stretch plugs, maybe Mojos, usually work in the early season. The early season’s smaller stripers usually prefer Stretches. During the weekend, the fish were often spooked. Boaters had to get back on them, and grind away. The shallower the water, the more the fish spook.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

The year’s first fishing, for striped bass, sailed Saturday on the <b>Fishermen</b>, the party boat’s website said. Three keepers to the 31-inch pool-winner were decked, and the anglers picked away at throwbacks. The trip fished shallow water on Raritan Bay at several drops. The water reached 49 degrees, plenty of bait schooled and weather was beautiful. A whale foraged on herring or bunker only a mile off the marina jetty in the middle of the bay in the morning. “Sucker was huge,” the report said! The storm weathered out trips Sunday and today. Daily trips for stripers, sailing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., will resume as soon as weather calms.

On the <b>Atlantic Star</b>, Capt. Tom will try to resume fishing Tuesday, he said. The party boat’s trips, fishing for striped bass, sailed Saturday and were weathered out Sunday and today. The trips began Saturday, launching the year’s fishing aboard, and that angling was covered in updates posted here that day. Trips are slated to fish for stripers 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily. He had been going to fish last weekend and then decide when to begin daily trips. Now he decided to begin as soon as this weather calms enough, and that could be Tuesday.

<b>Highlands</b>

Capt. Pete from <b>Fin-Taz-Tic Sportfishing</b> did no fishing during the weekend because of other commitments, he wrote in an email. But the boat’s mate reported to Pete good striped bass fishing on Raritan Bay in mornings and at night. Anglers will see how this cold front and its change in wind direction will affect the angling. Open-boat trips and charters are available. Give a call if you want a great experience and a boat with room for fishing, Pete said.

<b>Neptune</b>

<b>***Update, Tuesday, 4/17:***</b> A few spaces are available for an individual-reservation trip for cod Friday, Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> wrote in an email. Another will sail Tuesday, May 22. Individual-reservation trips will run for blackfish April 29 and 30, striped bass May 12, 20 and 29 and sea bass May 27 and June 12 and 22. Only one space remains for the striper trip May 12.

<b>Belmar</b>

The <b>Golden Eagle</b> is expected to resume fishing Wednesday, after daily trips for striped bass were weathered out in the storm yesterday and today, the party boat’s website said in a report. Lingering weather was expected to cancel tomorrow’s trip, too. The boat fished for stripers Friday, when the trips began for the season, and Saturday. Some throwbacks were clammed on Friday’s trip. The angling was tough on Saturday’s, but anglers on small boats trolled plenty that day in the area. Anglers on the Golden Eagle tried dunking clams and casting rubber shads and Mojos. The water became as warm as 49 degrees Saturday afternoon, plenty of bait schooled and plenty of birds worked the bait. These were encouraging signs, the report said. Beginning Wednesday, trips will resume fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Make a reservation on the <a href="https://www.goldeneaglefishing.com/" target="_blank">boat’s website</a> and save 10 percent.

With <b>Celtic Storm Charters</b>, fishing is planned to begin at the end of the month, on trips for striped bass on the ocean, Capt. Mike said. The phone is beginning to be active with anglers calling for trips. Dates are still available, and don’t miss out. Get your angler buddies together and set a date while dates remain. In addition to trips that depart in the morning, lots of trips in the afternoon will be available from 3:30 to 9:30. Striped bass catches were heard about from Raritan Bay on Saturday, before the storm began Sunday. Some boats are blackfishing from Belmar, and a couple of good reports were heard about that.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Blackfishing was going to be weathered out last Sunday on the <b>Gambler</b>, the party boat’s Facebook page said the previous day. That was the most recent post at press time. A post on Thursday said Lazy Man Trips were going to begin blackfishing 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Wednesday through Sunday throughout this month. Beginning May 1, trips will sail for striped bass 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Trips blackfished Thursday through Saturday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, Capt. Matt wrote on the party boat’s website. The storm canceled Sunday’s trip and was probably going to cancel today’s. The trips picked the tautog, a few here and there. Some spots gave up keepers and throwbacks, and some were dead. South wind and a swell slowed the angling, he thinks, and the fishing was better earlier in the week. South wind cools the ocean close to shore because of upwelling and can make fish less willing to bite. Northeast wind was coming with the storm, and that could help. Blackfish 4 to 7 pounds won pools, and trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Green crabs and clams are carried aboard.

<b>Toms River</b>

Striped bass, mostly throwbacks, but a few more keepers than before kept biting in the Toms River at night, said Dennis from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b>. A few keepers began to show up a week ago, he guessed. Most of the river’s stripers were bloodwormed. But a few were hooked on lures like Kettle Creek rubber shads and Rapala X-Raps. Anglers mostly fished for them from shore, but boater’s also caught, including on small swimming lures and Rat-L-Traps. The bluefish migration was yet to show up, but is due any moment in the river and Barnegat Bay. Dennis plans to try boating for the blues at mid-week. A buddy trolled for them twice so far this season on the river, including on Saturday, hooking none. He said the water was 52 degrees Saturday. Stripers including keepers were picked in Barnegat Bay behind Island Beach State Park at night. White perch fishing slowed considerably on the Toms, probably because they were spawning, he guessed. A few bluefish were fought from Oyster Creek, the warm-water discharge from Forked River nuclear plant. Whether those were blues that wintered in the creek or were the beginning of the migration was unknown. Blues did winter in the warmth of the creek. Anglers still boated for winter flounder on Barnegat Bay near Mantoloking Bridge and off the creek. Dennis wasn’t asked whether they caught, but seemed to mean that they did. The season’s first blueclaw crabs, a few, hung off Dennis’s killie pot in the river, and a few customers began crabbing during the weekend. Surely crabbing wasn’t great, but the crabbers might’ve trapped a few. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Small striped bass chomped in Barnegat Bay, mostly on bloodworms, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website Friday. No bluefish arrived in the bay yet, it said. Blackfishing drew some attention, because blackfish season is open this month and will close afterward. The report mentioned no locations where anglers blackfished. Bloodworms that were good-sized, fresh clams and finally bunker, the report said, were stocked. Catch the spring sale: Daiwa SP Minnow Lures in sizes 13 and 15 are three for $25. The store is blowing out plenty of rods and reels for discounts to make room for new tackle. 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, and, in season, boat and jet-ski rentals.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Water’s been cold this season, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. So fishing’s been somewhat behind. The bluefish migration is due to slam the surf beside Absecon Inlet any moment. They usually arrive in mid-April, give or take a little time. Striped bass usually hit the area at about the same moment, maybe slightly later. Blackfishing along the jetty-lined inlet, located near the shop, was slim pickings in the low water temperature. The water was up to 50.2 degrees Saturday, and was back down to 45 today. It’s fluctuating, depending on wind direction. Southerly wind cools the water near shore, because of upwelling. Southeast wind was forecast for today. Westerly is predicted for the next two days and should warm the water. An incredible number of bunker schooled from off the T jetty, at the ocean end of the inlet, to Harrah’s, on the back bay. Anglers could catch 30 or 40 in an hour. More of the baitfish schooled than Noel ever saw in his 20 or 25 years of business at the shop. The bait was seen previously along the ocean front. Nobody knew what the bait was then, because anglers were yet to boat there for the season. People on shore saw birds working the water, so they knew the bait was there. But now the baitfish moved into the surf and inlet, and anglers snagged them on snagging hooks or Tsunami rigs, so they knew they were bunker. All bait, the full supply, is stocked. That includes minnows that previously were the only bait not stocked. Join One Stop on May 1 to clean up the shore off 1653 Riverside Drive along the windmills in Atlantic City from 5 to 6 p.m. Anglers fish there and leave trash like bait containers and tackle packages. Let’s unite and do what’s right! One Stop’s Facebook page said. You’ll have a chance to win a Tsunami rod if you attend. One Stop will also award tackle like a plug to each attendee.  

<b>Longport</b>

Wind that roughed up seas kept blackfishing on the ocean docked on the <b>Stray Cat</b> throughout the weekend, Capt. Mike said. He tried fishing the inlet Saturday, because the inlet and back bay were full of bunker. The boat had to be anchored, couldn’t be drifted, because of wind. The inlet was 53 degrees, and the ocean was 47. Open-boat trips are expected to resume Wednesday, when this storm should be gone. The trips are blackfishing daily or on every day when weather’s fit on the ocean.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b> fished the back bay Saturday, he said. The storm kept him from fishing Sunday. He fished for striped bass, casting soft-plastic lures on jigs, and kept a lookout for bluefish. Nothing bit, but the water looked ready to explode with good angling. Lots of herring schooled, and the water temperature needed to bump up just a little. Shore anglers landed a few stripers around inlets. Third-hand reports said bluefish showed up here and there, but Joe saw none. The bluefish migration usually overruns the bay any moment. Tax Day, April 15, is traditionally the date.  Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

<b>Cape May</b>

<a href=" https://www.facebook.com/Handstoo/photos/pb.195457833829380.-2207520000.1523895122./1978000475575098/?type=3&theater" target="_blank">The year’s first striped bass</a> was checked-in at <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b> this weekend, the shop’s Facebook page said. The 28-pound 41-incher was beached from the surf on a bunker chunk.

Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> knew about no boats that fished during the weekend because of wind, except the party boat Porgy IV from Cape May that blackfished Saturday, he said. Small craft advisories were posted throughout the weekend. Drum charters will fish Delaware Bay in May aboard. Blackfish charters are available this month.

Four trips blackfished this past week with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. The angling was kind of tough, and the water was cold. But up to 15 keepers per trip were eased in. They weighed up to 10 pounds, and throwbacks were released. The fishing will improve when the water temp rises a few degrees. Coming up, trips will bluefish on the back bay and ocean when blues begin to bite, and that could be soon. Blues were reportedly fought from back bays sometimes, like from Lakes Bay or behind Margate. They were large, and blues should hit in the ocean soon because tons of baitfish are schooling there. May is traditionally the month for drum fishing on Delaware Bay, and Fishin’ Fever will sail for them immediately, beginning on May 1. The boat will tilefish offshore in May on short notice during windows of weather. Trips will also sail for sea bass, and sea bass season is tentatively going to be open May 15 through June 22. Charters and open-boat trips sail for all of this fishing.

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