Wed., May 23, 2018
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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 5-7-18

<b>Keyport</b>

Fishing for striped bass was a little picky Friday and Saturday but excellent Sunday on Raritan Bay with the <b>Down Deep Fleet</b>, Capt. Mario said. Big numbers of all sizable stripers 20 and 25 pounds were smoked on the outing. Open-boat trips are fishing for stripers daily, departing in mornings. Open trips are also fishing for them at 1 p.m. every Wednesday and every Friday through Sunday. Open trips for sea bass will begin daily on May 15, opening day of sea bass season, in addition to the striper trips that will continue. Charters are available for all fishing. 

After tough fishing for striped bass on Raritan Bay on Friday and Saturday, the angling kicked back in on Sunday’s trip on the <b>Vitamin Sea</b>, Capt. Frank said. The trip limited out, and during the tough days, there was no lack of stripers. They just wouldn’t bite. Situations like this happen every year when some of the bass begin to spawn. Charters are fishing, and the next spaces available for open-boat trips are: one space for 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, three spaces for the same hours Sunday and a few spaces for 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 15. Also, an open trip is available for 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 17, and a charter is available for 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, May 18. Telephone to reserve.

<b>Leonardo</b>

Raritan Bay’s striped bass fishing was slower, and the bass were smaller, on a trip Saturday aboard, but the trip limited out, said Capt. Joe from <b>Sour Kraut Sportfishing</b>. That was on trolled Mojos and Stretch plugs. But a new body of 15- to 20-pound stripers had arrived in the bay Sunday during fishing aboard. In the morning, the fishing limited out on Mojos. In the afternoon, the bass smashed livelined bunker. That was the season’s first successful fishing with the bunker. That was good to see, and the anglers had a blast.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

On the party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b>, striped bass fishing was tough during the weekend on Raritan Bay, Capt. Tom said. A couple of keepers were reeled in if a trip got lucky. A few throwbacks were let go. He hopes this will change, and the angling was improving previously, covered in previous reports here. The main thing is that trips are sailing for stripers 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m. daily. Bring two rods, one to fish clams that are provided and another for jigging, in case stripers pop up that can be jigged.

Anglers picked away at throwback striped bass and a keeper once in a while Sunday on the <b>Fishermen</b> close to port, a report said on the party boat’s website. A couple bit rubber shads, and the rest were taken on bait. Loads of the fish swam the water, and action was much better than on the previous couple of days. Thursday’s trip was a bust, copping no bites, and the captain couldn’t remember that ever happening before. Bluefish should have invaded the bay by now, but nobody was heard about who boated a blue yet. Trips are fishing for stripers 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. However, the vessel is chartered this Wednesday, so no open-boat trip will fish that day.

<b>Highlands</b>

Every trip limited out on striped bass so far this season on the <b>Tuna-Tic</b>, Capt. Mike said. The fishing, on Raritan Bay, was phenomenal. A new body of the bass moved into the bay Sunday, and the stripers were bigger. The season’s first overs, up to 39 ½ pounds, were crushed aboard. The trip threw back 40- and 42-inchers, because the anglers already limited. If you want stripers, go now. Who knows how long the fishing will last. Charters are available this week. An open-boat trip might sail Thursday.

<b>Neptune</b>

May 15 was finalized for the opening day of sea bass season, Capt. Ralph from <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b> wrote in an email. Individual-reservation trips will sail for them May 26 and June 12, 17 and 27. An individual-reservation trip for sea bass is full May 27. Individual-reservation trips will fish for cod, pollock, red and white hake and winter flounder inshore on May 22, and offshore for cod June 27 and July 11. The number of passengers is limited on the offshore trips, and June and July fished best for cod aboard last year. Winter was cold, so Ralph’s hoping for a good cod season. Signs looked good on some of Last Lady’s inshore trips. Annual, individual-rez trips that fish every Tuesday will begin on June 19. The early trips will target all species available. Kids under 12 sail free on the Tuesday trips, limited to one per adult host. Charters and individual-reservation spaces are filling quickly. Contact Ralph to reserve.

<b>Belmar</b>

Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> canceled a trip Sunday that was going to be the year’s first fishing aboard, he said. The trip was going to fish for stripers, but at the time, no stripers were biting in the ocean, and fishing for stripers had been slow on Raritan Bay. So he canceled, but the bay’s fishing broke back open Sunday. More trips are slated to fish for stripers this week aboard. Don’t have enough anglers for a charter? Book an individual spot with a charter who wants more anglers. Sign up for the email blast on <a href=" http://www.parkerpetefishing.com/" target="_blank">Parker Pete’s website</a> to be kept informed about the spaces.

Surf-fishing for striped bass was fair locally and in “back waters,” Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email.  “Most fish still remain sub par in size but some decent fish are being caught,” he wrote. Gene Amato from the Asbury Park Fishing Club’s 17-pound striper from the surf was the biggest in the Spring Lake Liveliners’ Spring Invitational this past week. The Asbury Park club won with 64 points, and the Spring Lake club came in second with 24 points. No other clubs scored. Large bluefish slammed into Manasquan River to Route 70 Bridge last weekend, chasing bunker. Rivers are loaded with out-of-season fluke 4 pounds and heavier. Release them carefully, he said. Sleep less and fish more, he said.

Fish were around but just wouldn’t cooperate the past few days, a report said Saturday on the party boat <b>Golden Eagle</b>’s website. That was the most recent report posted at press time, and the boat is fishing for striped bass and bluefish 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Some keeper striped bass to 30 pounds and throwbacks managed to be decked Sunday on the <b>Miss Belmar Princess</b>, an email said from the party boat. Stripers were seen along the water surface, and sometimes they were marked paved along bottom, and the fishing was a big improvement over the previous several trips. The fish refused to bite Friday, though plenty of bunker were seen, and Saturday’s fishing was also tough. Saturday’s trip fished far south, heading to different areas than Friday’s trip fished. Trips are fishing for stripers and bluefish 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

<b>Brielle</b>

The <b>Jamaica II</b> resumed fishing Sunday, after being in the yard for maintenance, the party boat’s Facebook page said. About a dozen keeper cod, a bunch of throwbacks and a handful of pollock and ling were pumped in. A 21-pounder was the biggest cod. Trips will fish Mudhole wrecks 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Sunday. A trip will fish for cod 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

A little was heard about striped bass marked in the ocean off Sandy Hook, said Eric from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. None of the fish bit, but seems the fishing might pick up when the water warms a couple of degrees. Striper fishing was nothing consistent in the local ocean. A handful were reportedly trolled off Lavallette near the 3-mile line, but the fishing was slow. Striper fishing is closed beyond 3 miles from shore. Raritan Bay’s striper fishing was best. The angling became slower at the end of the week, and maybe those fish headed to rivers to spawn. Locally, the best striper fishing was for small ones on Manasquan River. Around Route 70 Bridge seemed best, but the stripers held in the water all the way to Manasquan Inlet. Small, white Kettle Creek or other rubber baits and hard lures hit them. A few were popper-plugged in evenings. Boaters and shore anglers, where the shore could be accessed, played them. Winter flounder fishing was pretty good on the river, actually. The river near Treasure Island fished best for them, and small stripers also grabbed worm baits during the flounder fishing. Flounder might linger in the river another week or two, then migrate to the ocean. If the bluefish migration arrives in the river, the flounder will depart. Blues were yet to pile into Manasquan Inlet. Blues were boated in Barnegat Inlet and banked from the surf at Island Beach State Park and Seaside Park. That’s all farther south, and where blues gathered could change at any moment. Surf-fishing was fairly consistent for stripers, mostly 18- to 20-inchers. No huge catches were made, and some anglers beached one or two in a trip. Some ran into a pod and landed a dozen. That was the most that Eric heard about. Jigs caught better than bait, because anglers covered water with jigs. Ling and cod were picked at ocean wrecks. A customer’s half-day trip boated a dozen cod at Shark River Reef on slow-pitched jigs. Slow-pitching should also work for sea bass when sea bass season opens May 15.   

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Too few anglers showed up for the <b>Norma-K III</b> to fish last weekend, a report said on the party boat’s website. Weather was good, and the last trip, on Thursday, picked a few ling. Trips are scheduled to sail for ling and cod 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Sea bass trips will fish twice daily beginning May 15, opening day of sea bass season.

<b>Point Pleasant</b>

A trip for striped bass sailed all the way to inshore of Sandy Hook on Saturday on the <b>Tin Knocker</b>, Capt. John said. The fishing was slow but put together a catch. Charters are now up and running on the boat for the year, and fishing for all species is being booked for the fishing season.

<b>Seaside Heights</b>

Surf anglers tied into striped bass and bluefish, not a ton, but enough to keep them interested, a report said on <b>The Dock Outfitters</b>’ website. Bait and lures both caught. Barnegat Bay locally held plenty of bait but no fish to speak of.  Crabs were yet to be trapped from the dock this season but should be soon in warming water. Fresh bunker, fresh clams and bloodworms were stocked. 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. Some of the boats should be available beginning this weekend, including for crabbing.

<b>Atlantic City</b>

Bluefish, just a couple here and there, began to be tugged from the surf, said Noel from <b>One Stop Bait & Tackle</b>. Customers fish the surf beside Absecon Inlet, including from the T-jetty, at the ocean end of the inlet, and the Vermont Avenue jetty, the next jetty farther south. Maybe more blues, the main run, will show up. The blues looked sizable in photos on <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/OneStopBaitAC/" target="_blank">One Stop’s Facebook page</a>. The water was 54 degrees, and lots of schoolie stripers were played from the surf at night. Occasionally one was a keeper 28 or 29 inches. Fresh clams, fresh bunker, bloodworms and plugs clocked the surf’s stripers. Kingfish and blowfish were nabbed from the surf on bloods. All baits, the full supply, are stocked.

<b>Longport</b>

A few spots are available for an open-boat trip for sea bass May 15, opening day of sea bass season, on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. Open trips will sail for them every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday beginning then. Spaces are available for the trip that Thursday, May 17. The trips are sold out on the Sundays of May 20 and 27. The trips will fish for a combo of sea bass and summer flounder once flounder season opens May 25.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Bluefish showed up for trips this weekend aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. They were weeks late, apparently because of cold water, and usually arrive on about Tax Day, April 15. Plus, the weekend’s trips nailed grand slams, the four species that anglers target in the bay: blues, stripers, weakfish and summer flounder. This time of year is a chance for that, and it happened. Darrel Cooper and kids fished on Sunday’s trip, pounding a grand slam for the boat. The trip’s blues weighed up to 14 pounds, and some were smaller. The blues have been ranging from 2 to 14 pounds. The trip’s weakfish weighed 3 pounds. Bob Wilson and friends fished on Saturday’s trip, and Bob tackled a grand slam himself. Both trips fished with soft-plastic lures on lead jigheads. Joe usually fishes Bass Assassin paddle-tails in Nuclear Chicken color. The bay was 60 degrees, and the flounder were out-of-season and were released. The bay’s stripers are mostly throwbacks and are good sport. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on <a href="http://captainjoehughes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Jersey Cape’s Blog</a>.

<b>Avalon</b>

Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b> has customers who will jump on trips for bluefish, if the bluefish migration arrives, he said. Maybe enough blues are currently coming in. They’re late, but some are being reported. Trips fish for them on the back bay, and last year mugged big ones, slammers, during April’s last week and May’s first. Otherwise, fishing for black drum on Delaware Bay this month will probably be the next angling aboard. A cousin showed him a photo of a 38-inch striped bass the cousin landed on Chesapeake Bay during the weekend, reporting good fishing for big there. Jim heard nothing about steelhead fishing on upstate New York’s Salmon River near his <a href="http://www.sjlodge.com/" target="_blank">lodge</a>. But the steelheading could still be happening. Guests were busy with other outdoor sports lately, and do use the lodge for steelheading in winter and spring and salmon fishing in late summer to fall on the river. A discount is available for the lodge on Airbnb. 

<b>Cape May</b>

A few black drum were eased from Delaware Bay last week, said Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>. He knew about three trips that tried for them Saturday night and were skunked. The season is early, and the drum fishing will probably pick up in another week. The Heavy Hitter will get after them. A sea bass charter is booked for May 15, opening day of sea bass season.

A trip for tilefish offshore, the year’s first, sailed yesterday with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. Overcast skies and rain seemed to affect golden tiles, and only nine of them to 26 pounds were boated. But the trip made a move to fish for blueline tiles, and 26 of them to 14 pounds came in. The fishing for the goldens would’ve been good in sunny skies, Tom thinks. A handful of big bluefish were also hooked. More tilefishing will sail this season aboard on open-boat trips or charters. Trips will fish for black drum on Delaware Bay soon. A few drum, nothing great, caught Saturday night were heard about. Sea bass fishing will be launched May 15, opening day of sea bass season. Shark trips and tuna trips will sail aboard before long. Fishing for bluefish is usually something to do currently from the back bay to the ocean close to shore. But not many blues showed up locally so far. “I know where the blues are,” Tom joked. They’re in 400 feet of water at the offshore canyons!

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