Mon., Feb. 18, 2019
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New Jersey Inshore Saltwater Fishing Report 2-4-19

<b>Belmar</b>

One party boat is still fishing, for blackfish on the ocean, from the marina, said Tom from <b>Fisherman’s Den</b>. The boat sailed yesterday and was back out today when Tom gave this report this morning. Yesterday’s trip landed some of the tautog, not many, but some. Blackfish season will be closed throughout March and reopened on April 1. The store is open daily. Fisherman’s Den North in Atlantic Highlands is closed for a winter break. None of the party boats are fishing from that marina. One had been sailing for blackfish until recently. <b>***Update, Friday, 2/8:***</b> Blackfishing was good on the one party boat still sailing from Belmar this winter, Bob wrote in an email. “… some quality blackfish,” he said, “(and fishing) for anything else is on hold,” he added. Catches coming next include winter flounder and striped bass. Flounder season opens beginning March 1, and the store’s rental boats will be available for that fishing on Shark River. Striper season also opens starting on that date in bays and rivers. Striper fishing is open year-round on the ocean. But most stripers are caught in the warmer bays and rivers early in the year.

<b>***Update, Thursday, 2/7:***</b> Catch Capt. Pete from <b>Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters</b> giving a seminar on bucktailing for  trophy fluke at 12 noon Saturday, Feb. 16, at the New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo, Parker Pete’s Facebook page said.  The expo will be at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison.

<b>Brielle</b>

<b>***Update, Tuesday, 2/5:***</b> Weather looks great, and a trip will sail 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday on the <b>Jamaica II</b> for cod, ling and blackfish, the party boat’s Facebook page said. <b>***Update, Thursday, 2/7:***</b> The next trips are set for 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the Facebook page said yesterday.

From <b>The Reel Seat</b>, Alex heard about no boats, including head boats, fishing locally in past days, he said. He knew about anglers who fished for blackfish from Cape May, farther south, on the ocean, recently. But the angling seemed tough last week in the bitter cold. Weather was becoming warmer now. One of the shop’s tackle suppliers sailed for blackfish even farther south, from Chincoteague, Va., on the ocean on three trips. He only totaled five keepers to 8 pounds from all three outings. A customer blackfished from Chincoteague on a head boat Saturday, only landing one throwback. Anglers had ice for ice-fishing on freshwater last week. Ice was fished including at Lake Assunpink, Stone Tavern Lake and Rising Sun Lake in the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area. Lake Hopatcong was also fished from the ice. Dave Arbeitman, the store’s owner, gave a seminar on tilefishing, both with bait and with slow-pitch jigs, at one of the Canyon Runner’s offshore fishing seminars. The turnout sounded pretty good. The shop will host a slow-pitch jigging seminar by slow-pitch jigger Benny Ortiz on Feb. 24. The location will be announced. Ortiz is a pro-staffer from rod manufacturer Temple Reef USA. The Reel Seat stocks the jigs, rods, reels and other tackle for slow-pitch jigging that’s becoming popular. The crew from the store can educate you about the sport.

<b>Point Pleasant Beach</b>

Trips were expected to sail for blackfish Saturday and Sunday on the <b>Norma-K III</b>, a report said beforehand on the party boat’s website. Weather looked good, and no news was posted at press time about whether the trips got out. If news does roll in, it’ll be posted here as an update. The trips are slated for 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. <b>***Update, Tuesday, 2/5:***</b> No trip fished Saturday board, because “no one was around,” a report said on the boat’s website. But Sunday’s trip sailed, and the blackfishing was sluggish. But that was expected, because the water temperature dropped substantially. That was apparently because of last week’s cold weather. A handful of blackfish, a cod and lots of bergals were swung in. Not great, but trips will keep trying their best at blackfishing.  <b>***Update, Thursday, 2/8:***</b> A gale and, until the afternoon, freezing rain are forecast for tomorrow, so sleep in, a report said on the boat’s website. No trip will fish that day aboard, but Sunday’s forecast looks great. The boat will be opened at 6 a.m. that day for anglers to climb aboard for blackfishing. Plenty of green crabs will be aboard, but white crabs are running low. Pick up whites on the way

<b>Toms River</b>

<b>***Update, Thursday, 2/7:***</b> A customer on Sunday bought salted clams from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> and was going to try surf fishing for striped bass, Dennis from the shop said. Dennis didn’t think he’d catch, because the water was cold at 40 or 41 degrees. That was about all the saltwater fishing that was heard about. No anglers mentioned boating for blackfish on the ocean. A couple of customers left to fish freshwater for chain pickerel on the Toms River with killies from the store one day this week. Killies, nightcrawlers, garden worms and frozen baits like the salted clams are stocked. The store is open for no specific hours, but if Dennis’s truck is in the parking lot, the doors are open. He was there from about 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in past days. Often the hours are posted on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/hookhouse/" target="_blank">the shop’s Facebook page</a>. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

<b>Absecon</b>

One customer had just bought a dozen bloodworms from <b>Absecon Bay Sportsman Center</b> when Capt. Dave from the store gave this report this morning, he said. Dave netted a good number of grass shrimp this morning to stock. Both baits are in stock and are good for white perch fishing on brackish rivers like the Mullica. The perch are pretty much “the name of the game” now. The shrimp should be available in the near future, until they disappear sometime in winter like they always do. Someone else bought frozen clams from the store to try for cod on the ocean. No fishing reports were heard in the severe cold in past days. But now weather was warming, and ice was melting. The store is open for no set hours, but Dave is usually there. Call ahead.  Also telephone Dave about <a href=" http://www.abseconbay.com/fishguatemalaparlamasportfishing.html" target="_blank">a Guatemala fishing vacation</a>. Head south to warmer weather and fish for catches including sailfish and dorado this winter.

<b>Ocean City</b>

The bay was frozen, Timothy from <b>Fin-Atics</b> said on Saturday. That prevented fishing, and no local boats seemed to fish for blackfish on the ocean anymore this winter. This all meant that pretty much no fishing was available along the coast. Weather was warming now, though. When striped bass fishing is reopened beginning March 1 in bays and rivers, local anglers will first fish for them on Great Egg Harbor River or other rivers, because the water is warmer in rivers than in bays that time of year. They’ll fish for the bass with bloodworms or lures like swim baits on the rivers. When water becomes warmer, the anglers will target stripers on the bay. Fin-Atics is open Thursdays through Saturdays.

<b>Sea Isle City</b>

A couple joined some of the traveling charters to the Florida Keys on Saturday and Sunday aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from <b>Jersey Cape Guide Service</b> and <b>Sea Isle Bait & Tackle</b>. The fishing was great, and catches included a huge, 40-pound permit, a fish of a lifetime. That was on 10-pound line to boot. The anglers also jumped a tarpon and reeled in a bunch of usual fish including jacks, snappers and blue runners. They had shots at sight-casting to sharks, but never connected. This was all on the bay, and the anglers also fished in the Everglades, pulling up catches including snook and redfish. Conditions made fishing tough last year in the Everglades. But fishing there looked better this year. The waters looked healthy. A lot of small fish milled around the Everglades, suggesting that the fishing was rebounding. Weather was perfect both days. Weather is often windy in winter in the Keys. But there’s almost always someplace to fish, no matter the weather, and that’s one of the advantages. Joe runs the trips from Christmas to Easter each year, and 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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