Northern New Jersey Fishing Report – September 28, 2017

Tuna caught aboard the Big Jamaica on last weekend’s canyon trip

Huge waves and pounding surf courtesy of Hurricane Maria kept the surf unfishable this past week.  From what I gathered, more people than fish were pulled out of the ocean.

Not that the beach is giving up many fish as yet. The summer-like weather seems to have delayed the fall run a bit with the rivers and bays still choked with bait.

Porgies, blues, bonito and blackfish are picking up the slack but anglers are getting anxious to see some stripers in the mix.

Until they show, however, there’s still plenty to catch.

In addition to the epic porgy bite, Capt. Phil Sciortino said there are cocktail blues all over Raritan Bay with some bigger bluefish among them.

Guys are still catching weakfish at the Reach, Sciortino said, on worms, live peanuts and jigs. A few of the fish have been up to 12 pounds.

He also said a couple of nice stripers were trolled up in the bay on Mojo rigs. There are smaller bass in the Shrewsbury River and the bite at night has been good under the Highlands Bridge on jigs and worms.

A spiny puffer fish caught aboard the Ocean Explorer out of Belmar earlier this week.

Capt. George Bachert on the Angler out of Atlantic Highlands said Sunday’s sun made it seem like summer and he had good fishing to go with the weather.

Anglers got all of the porgies they wanted and the blackfish bite was good on crabs. Ray Watson from Livingston won the pool with a 6-pound tog. Capt. Bachert said the fishing was good on Saturday as well with porgies over 4 pounds.

Capt. Stan Zagleski on the Elaine B II out of Highlands said conditions were perfect on Sunday with everyone getting their keeper tog then playing catch-and-release with the blackfish. Porgies and triggerfish added to the action.

Mel Martens at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said the bass bite in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers has been good for a while now. Drifting worms has been working and the night bite is good on shads.

He also reported a lot of small blackfish in the rivers. Pieces of clam and worms have been catching them near the bridges and bulkheads.

Small weakfish have shown up in the rivers as well. The warm water has also kept the crabs around.

The surf, he said, looked to be calming down on Tuesday, but it was boiling again on Wednesday. The roiled waters have kept the albies off the beach, but hopefully they’ll be back when things calm down.

While you wait to catch your own, check out the excellent Albie Season video on the On The Water website.

Art Garrett, Red Bank, took the pool on Sunday’s trip aboard the Elaine B II with a 7-pound, 7-ounce tog.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar reported that the party boats out of the marina have had some good porgy and tog fishing when the weather allows. The Ocean Explorer has been returning to the dock with some big blackfish and jumbo porgies.

He said the bluefish boats have been doing good as well, with some medium blues, bonito and false albacore.

The big snappers are also giving folks something to fish for in the Shark River and plenty of them are ending up in the coolers.  Matthews added that small bass are showing up in better numbers in the backwaters and there are some keepers in the mix.

Capt. Rich Falcone of The Golden Eagle has been targeting the blues, bonito and albies but has also been fishing for tuna. He reported a very good trip at the beginning of the week with around 20 yellowfin up to 100 pounds caught.

The bite was on for about three hours and a couple of longfin and a swordfish were landed along with the tuna.

He’ll be sailing for tuna again on Oct. 1 and there are still some spots open. In the meantime, he’ll be back out for blues, bonito and false albacore.

Capt. Pete Sykes on Parker Petes Sportfishing out of Belmar said the weather and shortage of stripers has kept him at the dock but he’s currently booking fall bass trips now.

Greg Bogan at Brielle Bait and Tackle reported small bluefish are in and out of the Manasquan Inlet and guys fishing for tog at the inlet are doing pretty well. There are also loads of tog being caught at the Point Pleasant Canal. You just may have to weed through a lot of shorts before you get to a keeper.

Bogan said the bass bite in the Manasquan River remains good with chunks of bunker and mackerel catching stripers at night. Most of the fish are shorts, but there are a few keepers to be had.

He said the Big Jamaica found some big bluefish over the weekend and will be sailing for them along with bonito, mackerel and false albacore. The Paramount out of Bogan’s Basin is targeting them as well.

The Jamaica II has been going for tog and porgies.

Bob Caracozzo at the Reel Seat in Brielle also reported tons of blackfish at the Point Pleasant Canal and big bluefish at the Mantoloking Bridge. The rainfish are thick in the Manasquan River, he said, and bass and spike weakfish are feeding on them.

The heavy seas, however, are making for some murky water in the river.

The warm weather has kept the freshwater fishing much like it was all summer. Reports indicate not much has changed from last week.

Chris at Tackle and Field in Wanaque said the bass fishing remains good in Greenwood Lake and Monksville Reservoir with swim baits. The fish are still in the weeds, he said, so guys have also been flipping for them.

Larry at Newark Sinker Company in Pine Brook said a few more pike have been caught in the Passaic River.

He did mention that a co-worker from the shop caught blues and false albacore off Breezy Point but he had to fight through the porgies that kept hitting his small Ava.

Steve at Garden State Bow And Reel in Stockholm said the bass continue to bite in the local reservoirs and the walleye action is good on lures at Canistear. Deep divers are the ticket.

The crappie fishing has also been good with minnows in the private lakes and ponds.

Martin and Fins and Furs in Newfoundland said he knows a lot of guys have been fishing but reports have been few. He did hear the smallmouth bite was good at the Clinton and Canistear reservoirs and guys were using live crayfish with good results.

Laurie Murphy at Dow’s Boat Rental at Lake Hopatcong said there are lots of crappie and white perch being caught on small herring and jigs.

Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey

With the remnants of Hurricane Maria moving off the east, there’s a chance the ocean will calm down enough to permit some surf fishing.  Cooler weather in the forecast might get the bait moving and the fall run underway.  It may be a lot to ask for by this weekend, but in fishing, it pays to be optimistic

The porgy bite just keeps going and going and the blackfish are chewing so that’s another option. Party boats out of Atlantic Highlands, Highlands, Belmar and the Manasquan Inlet are targeting them. Boats out of those marinas are also chasing blues, mackerel, bonito and false albacore.

Reminder: The Kids Wish’n to Go Fish’n event for special needs children will be held at Lake Juliana in Millstone Township this Saturday. Call 732-747-7846 for more information.

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