Hopefully you were able to get out this past week to tackle the big blues in our bays and inlets. We had a lot going on this week: blues, great whites, big bass, and our first tropical system off New Jersey. Sixteen-foot, 3500-pound, OCEARCH-tagged white shark Mary Lee made her way past New Jersey, swimming within 700 meters of Chadwick Beach before moving out to the Mud Hole. Blues are still going strong, and I have received word that some of the first big bass being caught. It’s mostly a bunker spoon trolling game right now for the boats, but as the bunker schools and striped bass merge, it will be game on for the snag-and-drop fishing. Regarding bassing, something to think about for this season; When catching those big bass, try getting a couple good pics and releasing them to spawn another day. The fishing experience and pictures will last forever, while that big bass spawns for future generations.
So here’s the week’s details from Point Pleasant to Cape May:
John from Brielle Bait & Tackle said the Sea Girt area was red hot with blues and bass on bunker schools. The blue speedsters had the bunker pinned to the beach, with bass being caught under them. Unfortunately, the blue to bass ratio was 40:1. Offshore wrecks are still providing some cod and ling, but it is a pretty slow bite. Several anglers had weakfish to 8 pounds off the west end of the Manasquan Inlet retrieving 3/4-ounce bucktails tipped with 6-inch grub tails, remarked Jason from Fisherman’s Supply. Bluefish are still wreaking havoc in the Manasquan and northern end of the Point Pleasant canal.
Out front provided quality bass to 28 pounds with anglers trolling #4 white Maja spoons. With the new moon coming, it should spark another major cinderworm spawn which should entice the night-time striper bite. Jay also let me know that Aquatic Nutrition would be running a FREE sharking seminar at Fisherman’s Supply on May 21, 2015 (7pm), with free giveaways. Get a seat early!
Capt. Bob from the Gambler has had blues outside from 6 to 12 pounds, and they continue to search for a consistent striped bass bite. They continue to run 3/4-day trips daily for stripers and blues until the start of fluke season, when they switch to two trips per day. Stripers are being targeted in the Point Pleasant canal on artificials and bluefish continue to pound the Metedeconk River and beaches of Mantaloking, said Ray from Jersey Hooker Outfitters. Anglers have been cashing in with soft plastics and cut baits.
As we move down the parkway towards Exit 82, Brian from Betty and Nick’s says that the bluefish action continues from the sandy beaches of Island Beach State Park. If you want to target stripers, try plugging the beaches at night with dark-colored plugs. Most of the bass have been caught at dusk with fish taping to 34 inches. Phil from Dock Outfitters reports “hot and heavy” bluefish action on metals, poppers, bait with fish up to 18 pounds. The night-bite on bass continues with artificials, and anglers are also scoring by throwing clams. I’m always prying for weakfish intel, and Phil quietly remarked that anglers still scoring weakies in the following areas: Berkley Island, Oyster Creek, and Cedar creeks. Pink Fin-S and white Zooms on a light jig-head have been doing the damage. Most fish were caught when casting at dusk and into the wee-hours of the morning. Lenny from Capt’n Hippo’s remarked that white and yellow perch continue to be caught at Mathis Park and behind the Planet Fitness on nightcrawlers and bloodworms. The bay is still loaded with gator-sized bluefish. Better Bait & Ice reports that some of the lagoons are showing cocktail-sized bluefish and small striped bass. Stripers are being had off the Seaside Bridge with chunked bunker and plugs.
Just beyond shadows of Barnegat Lighthouse, Capt. Ted White of the Super Chic mentioned that they will start targeting blues, bass, and eventually sea bass starting the week of May 16th/17th. They have open dates available from the middle of May through December. Across Barnegat Bay, Creekside Outfitters had striper reports by the lighthouse if you can get past the bluefish and they recently weighed in a 30-pound striped bass caught on clams off the surf of Long Beach Island. If the bay is your thing, blues are still populating Barnegat Bay, and keeper blueclaws are starting to show.
The shoreline and jetties of Brigantine are showing bass and blues says Andy from Riptide Bait and Tackle, with most of the bass being caught at night on fresh surf clam or bunker. Blues are still being muscled in with Daiwa SP Minnow plugs and Tsunami poppers worked fast on the surface. As we move further south, Jay from Absecon Bay Sportsman remarked that the bluefish are everywhere and that some anglers are also picking up drumfish in Great Bay. The fluke are in the bays providing anglers catch-and-release opportunities until the start of the season on May 22. There have been a few weakfish caught out front on soft plastics off the AC T-jetty. Pink or white are the go-to colors.
The Atlantic City area has also had quality fishing with Jeremy from One Stop Bait & Tackle reporting the anglers are scoring striped bass and bluefish on poppers, plugs, and metals. Weakfish are being caught up to 6 pounds on pink Zooms at night. He did say some of the jetties are more “weakie” than others. Quality-sized linesiders are also being landed from the jetties approaching the 20- to 25-pound range–be sure to wear the Korker jetty spikes as the rocks are slick.
Offshore wreck action has been a mixed bag says Capt. Mike from Stray Cat Charters with throwback seabass, few ling, and lots of dogs. He did mix it up with blues along the beachfront with heavy fog and will target fluke until the start of the sea bass season.
In the areas of Somers Point and Ocean City, Fin-Atics report mentions bluefish on the beachfront in the 11-pound range and some keeper bass on the surf with clams and bunker. The bass have been in the 20-pound range. They are getting catch-and-release fluke, and the weakfish should be around Corsen’s inlet any day now, but reports have been hush-hush. The Great Egg and Tuckahoe area are still providing decent action on stripers with artificials, cast to areas until you locate a concentration of fish.
Mike from Sea Isle Bait & Tackle provided a nice report with bluefish in the back on bucktails with a strip of squid and bone-colored SP minnows. Also in the back, drumfish from pup-size to fish in the 40-inch range are being targeting with clam. And it’s hush-hush on the weakfish bite, try working soft plastics (pink or white) in the dark to target the sparklers. In the ocean, blues are also being had on the troll with Mann’s Stretch plugs. Stripers are being caught at night on bunker and clams from the suds with most fish over 30-inches.
And to round out our reports from the our southern most point, Bobby from Jim’s Bait & Tackle, reported on the Delaware Bay offering up striped bass action around the ferry terminal and Poverty beach on artificials. Alexander Avenue had weakfish slamming soft finesse lures up to 7 pounds with white being the color of consumption and slack water being the tide of choice. Cape May Point had drum to 30 inches on clam, and the beachfront is producing striped bass on clams and bunker. Drum fishing has been “better than excellent” with some boats catching high quantities of drum – up to 15 per evening via Bob Cope. The shop did have a nice weigh-in from Delaware bay with a whopper drum at 63 pounds caught on fresh clam.
Best Bet for this weekend
I will call it a black (stripes) and blues weekend for most of our area, but if your at the southern end of the parkway – clamming for drum would be the way to go. I think bass is on everyone’s mind, so boaters drop down those Majas or Reliable spoons to make your best effort at putting big bass on the deck, and landlocked anglers can throw artificials at night from our areas jetties and beaches to score decent sized bass and an occasional tiderunner.