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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 1-7-19

<b>Keyport</b>

Blackfish are still there to be caught, said Capt. Mario from <b>Down Deep Sportfishing</b>, and open-boat trips are slated to sail for them at 6 a.m. daily through Sunday aboard. Spring trips for striped bass and sea bass are booking. Lock in preferred dates while they’re available.

<b>Atlantic Highlands</b>

The party boat <b>Atlantic Star</b> is finished fishing until resuming probably in mid-April, Capt. Tom said. The vessel sailed for blackfish daily until now and was scheduled to go on winter break beginning today. Tom thanks all who fished aboard this past fishing season, hopes everybody has a safe and happy new year, and looks forward to seeing anglers aboard in spring.

<b>Neptune</b>

An individual-reservation trip was supposed to sail for blackfish Sunday with <b>Last Lady Fishing Charters</b>, Capt. Ralph wrote in an email Saturday. One of the trips was canceled Saturday because of forecasts for a storm. Individual-reservation trips will fish for blackfish on weekends until the tog stop biting. If you have a few anglers, contact Ralph, and he’ll get more anglers and put a trip together. <b>***Update, Thursday, 1/10:***</b> Check out the forecast for calm wind Saturday, Ralph wrote in an email. That might be the only opportunity to fish for blackfish in good conditions, and openings are available for an individual-reservation trip for the tautog that day. Bait and tackle are provided.

<b>Belmar</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/10***</b> Blackfishing was okay, all right, on the party boat <b>Big Mohawk</b> on the ocean, Capt. Chris said. Was just a matter of getting the weather that enabled the trips to sail. The boat will next get the weather on Friday and Saturday. He was unsure about Sunday’s weather. Those trips will depart at 7 a.m., and jigs caught best by far. Green crabs are provided, and white crabs are available for sale aboard.

A 21-pound blackfish that was smashed was the big news this past week, Bob from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b> wrote in an email. Dante Soriente from MagicTail Bucktails whacked the fish on a charter boat. Many 10- to 16-pound blackfish were eased from the ocean lately. Blackfishing was “king of the hill,” Bob wrote, and the fishing’s popularity has been amazing the past five years. The popularity of jigging for the tautog has been amazing in recent years, too. Many shop regulars still plucked small striped bass from the surf. 

<b>Brielle</b>

The ocean was forecast to be flat, and blackfishing was expected to sail today and tomorrow, Tuesday, on the <b>Jamaica II</b>, the party boat’s Facebook page said.

When boaters had the weather to sail for blackfish, the angling was fair, said Alex from <b>The Reel Seat</b>. The fishing might’ve been difficult in rough weather in recent days, but some trips are scoring well, and some aren’t. The anglers are pulling in the tautog at Axel Carlson and Sea Girt reefs here and there, scraping up limits. S&S blackfish jigs were a hot ticket. Sea bass fishing was good offshore until sea bass season was closed beginning on the first of the year. The boats that were doing that are pretty much blackfishing now. Surf-fishing for small striped bass seemed fizzling for the season. A few were managed.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

<b>***Update, Friday, 1/11:***</b> The crew of the <b>Gambler</b> is wrapping up the boat’s fishing for winter, and thanks customers for a great past year of the angling, a report said on the party boat’s website. See you in spring, it said, and the crew will now prep the boat for a yearly haul out.

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/10***</b> Weather often kept fishing docked, but when trips ran on the party boat <b>Dauntless</b>, blackfishing was okay or fair, Capt. Butch said. Most anglers swung in one or two keepers, and the better anglers limited out on four. Limiting was easier since four became the bag limit beginning Jan. 1, compared with five previously. No really big blackfish came in, but keepers did, and the trips fished a variety of depths from 60 feet to 100. Butch tried for ling in deeper water a couple of times, and plenty of silver eels and some dogfish, not too many dogs, bit there. He’ll keep trying deeper to see if ling and cod show up. The ocean was 44 to 46 degrees on the fishing grounds, and the temperature was staying the same lately. A mackerel or two showed up now and then. Four were landed the other day, but no substantial number schooled within range. When mackerel do, the boat mixes in fishing for them, along with bottom-fishing. The trips are sailing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Was another great day on the water for January yesterday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, and the trip picked at blackfish again, a report said on the party boat’s website. Some customers limited out on four, some bagged one to three, and some either hooked only throwbacks or no blackfish. A 7-pound blackfish won the pool, and both green crabs and white crabs caught. Both are carried aboard, after the whites had run out a moment last week. The fishing was great on Thursday and picky on Friday aboard. No report was posted for Saturday, and this week looks good for the fishing, the report said. Trips are blackfishing 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. <b>***Update, Wednesday, 1/10:***</b> Blackfishing aboard will resume Friday, after being weathered out Tuesday and Wednesday, a report said on the boat’s website. Monday’s trip on some drops picked a few and on others “had decent life,” it said. Some anglers limited, a few bagged one to three and some only cranked up throwbacks. “Pool fish is around 7lbs right now,” it said. Both green crabs and white crabs caught, and both will be aboard.

<b>Absecon</b>

Weather wasn’t too cold in New Jersey, though was a lot colder than in Guatemala, said Capt. Dave from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b>. He visited Guatemala during the holidays, including the sportfishing charter business there that he’s associated with. See the <a href=" http://www.abseconbay.com/fishguatemalaparlamasportfishing.html" target="_blank">Guatemala vacation page</a> on Absecon Bay’s website. That outfit has a 24-foot boat and a 26-footer that are sailing for dorado and sailfish. The fishing’s wide open right now. Dave’s glad to speak with anybody who’d like to ask about the angling. In New Jersey, white perch fishing seemed great in all the brackish rivers. The phone’s been ringing about that fishing, and all seemed to catch, and weather was reasonable. Dave just stocked a couple of flats of bloodworms for the fishing, and he’ll keep stocking the worms if there’s demand. He was yet to try netting grass shrimp to carry for the angling, but will, if there’s demand. The store is stocking no crabs for blackfishing this time of year, and Dave knows no store that is locally. But anglers definitely have a chance at boating blackfish on the ocean. Lots of anglers said they wanted to blackfish. The store is open for no set hours this time of year. But Dave is usually there, and telephone ahead to confirm.

<b>Longport</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/10***</b> Open-boat blackfishing will probably begin again at mid-week, around Wednesday, on the <b>Stray Cat</b>, Capt. Mike said. He’s not going to fight 20-degree mornings that are now forecast or the boat making ice. But warmer weather is forecast by mid-week.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

Great striped bass fishing was crushed yesterday on the ocean with Darrel Cooper aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. The trip hooked a lot of the bass to 20 pounds. Lots of birds including gannets worked the water, and the water was 47 degrees. That’s not a bad temperature for stripers. This was late in the fishing season for them, but Joe’s been on stripers, including on a previous trip reported recently here. Joe’s next traveling trips to the Florida Keys are set for two weekends from now that he runs each Christmas to Easter. 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>.

<b>Avalon</b>

From <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b>, Capt. Jim will guide hunting for sea ducks and Atlantic brant the next 14 days from Barnegat Light to farther south in New Jersey, he said. He’s finished fishing from Jersey until spring, though steelhead fishing will last all winter in upstate New York’s Salmon River from his nearby <a href="http://www.sjlodge.com/" target="_blank">lodge</a>. A discount is available for the lodge, but only on Airbnb. Many migrating ducks were still north because of lack of snow. The birds were along the Saint Lawrence River. Jim hunted ducks along the Finger Lakes in New York for three days and then canceled the next three because of that. Hunters farther south were pulling off ducks and hunting geese instead. 

<b>Cape May</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 1/10***</b> The party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>’s blackfishing sailed Sunday and was weathered out Saturday, Capt. Paul said. The trips are only aiming to sail on those two days of the week now, and Sunday’s trip picked at the tautog. A couple of anglers limited out, and several landed no keepers. Anthony Venuto from Vineland axed an 8-pounder on the outing. A trip probably could’ve sailed Monday, but the number of green crabs are limited that Paul has for bait. He has no white crabs. Afterward, weather was rough and looks like it will be through Friday. Saturday’s trip looks like it’ll have the weather to sail, and a bunch of anglers apparently plan to join that trip. Sunday’s forecast is questionable. Looks like not much snow will fall that day, but Paul didn’t know whether wind will blow. The trips sail at 8 a.m.

Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> took advantage of mild weather and worked on the boat in the boat yard Sunday, he said. Fishing on the Heavy Hitter is finished for the fishing season, but George is fishing on friends’ boats sometimes. He might sail for blackfish with them. He heard about striped bass to the 30 inches decked from the ocean near Townsend’s Inlet in legal waters within 3 miles from shore. Striper fishing is closed beyond 3. It’s generally known that stripers are still schooling in the closed waters. But finding them in legal waters isn’t always common this late in the fishing season.

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