Southern New Jersey Fishing Report – October 17, 2019

Offshore has been mahi madness as most boats have seen multiple coolers filled with these tasty fish.

mahi
A gorgeous mahi mahi caught about the MIMI VI.

Good fishing between the blows has been the mantra for the past week as limits of sea bass on the wrecks and striped bass to 50 pounds on the jig for some northern New Jersey towns (Asbury Park area). It looks to be the first wave of striped bass migrating through our area and let’s hope this continues through the rest of the 2019 season. Wreck fishing this past week has been very good with lots of good-sized sea bass being caught and many charter / head / recreational boats reported limits. The inshore tog bite has been a little slow due to the stirred-up water. Anglers fishing the surf continue to pick through schoolie stripers and 2 to 5-pound bluefish, but there have been a small number of nice keepers ranging from 31 to 44-inches. Offshore has been mahi madness as most boats have seen multiple coolers filled with these tasty fish.

Here is this week’s rundown:

Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach reported a decent offshore bite on mahi, swordfish, and some yellowfin at the canyons. The pots continued to be loaded with big mahi and anglers have been boxing a lot of them. The fishing inshore has been very good on sea bass with anglers fishing the 55 to 80-foot wrecks. Surf fishing has seen an uptick on the striped bass action with some nicer sized fish falling for mullet and cut bunker.

Norma K III in Point Pleasant Beach had sea bass and slow action on night bluefish. The vessel was back to running daily trips after last week’s Nor’easter and the fishing did not disappoint. There was a pick of keepers from every stop and most went home with full bags of meat. Bluefishing was a little slow, but there were times when it was about to break open. The crew said the wind, waves, and night-time currents had it hard to keep them under the boat. The boat is sailing every day for sea bass and weekend nights for bluefish.

The Gambler out of Point Pleasant Beach reported a phenomenal offshore action with anglers boating yellowfin, swordfish, and mahi. Some of the tuna were in the 100-pound class and the mahi were up to 20 pounds. The offshore pots were holding most of the bigger, bull mahi.

The MIMI VI out of Point Pleasant was also fishing the deep this past week and the skipper put his fisherman on mahi, swordfish, tuna, and tilefish. Some of the mahi were gorgeous and weighed over 20 pounds. The boat does have some Open Boat trips midweek for bottom species and will target sea bass, porgies, blackfish, winter flounder, and ling.

Jersey Hooker Outfitter in Brick received a phone call from one of the local high school fishing clubs and students caught over 25 blackfish from the Point Pleasant Canal wall with a keeper to 16 inches. Tog have also been caught from the wrecks and rockpiles 20 to 30 foot off the beaches. There was word of some big striped bass caught in the Asbury Park area over the past week up to 50 pounds, but most of action has been on schoolie stripers around the bridges. Sea bass have been pretty thick on the reef sites and surrounding wrecks with clam or squid as the “go-to” baits.

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Charlie’s Bait & Tackle in Normandy Beach reported some better striped bass action along with the 1 to 4-pound bluefish that have been gobbling mullets and soft plastic imitations. There have been a few keepers landed and the shop received word of a few days of good striped bass action north. Some of the bass being reported have been in the 30 to 50-pound range caught on jigs aboard some of the local headboats.

Grumpy’s Bait & Tackle in Seaside Park had big news this past week with a solid 48” striped bass being weighed in during the week. The bass was caught by angler Tony Ciasca and was caught on a mullet off the Island Beach State Park surf. The shop also heard of some shorts being caught on soft plastics and plugs. Bluefish are still picking up artificials, mullet, and cut bunker in the Seaside and IBSP surf. Some of the headboats north of Manasquan reported some nice stripers in the 30 to 50-pound range.

Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported some striped bass being caught along the beaches of Island Beach State Park and Long Beach Island on plugs and mullet. 1 to 4-pound bluefish are still biting baits and artificials along the inlet and in the back channels. Sea bass fishing has been pretty good for anglers setting the hook-on snags in the 50 to 60-foot depth.

Reel Reaction Charters out of Waretown and Barnegat Light was busy over the long weekend running sea bass trips in the ocean and striped bass trips in the bay. The skipper reported limits of sea bass, some triggerfish, and throwback tog. The bay striped bass trips had clients catching close to 20 stripers bringing 5 home for the table. There are a few remaining weekday dates for the month of November when school is on break.

Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom reported a large number of schoolie striped bass picking up plugs, poppers, and soft plastics in the backwaters of Long Beach Island. Some of the western sod banks have been teeming with 16 to 20-inch fish. Tog fishing remains good on both sides of Barnegat Inlet with boaters and IBSP anglers fishing the Northside with greenies. The tip of the South jetty back through the condominiums are holding good numbers, but you have to work a bit for keepers. The word offshore has been swordfish, tuna, and mahi for anglers chunking and trolling.

Brigantine to Sea Isle City reported a good mix of species in the backwaters from flounder (out of season), bluefish to striped bass and weakfish. Areas around the bay bridges near Corson’s and Townsends Inlet are producing striped bass and bluefish on artificials and live bait. The reef sites from Atlantic City to Cape May have been producing sea bass with better success from some of the deeper structures. Anglers working the deep have reported mahi, yellowfin, and swordfish from the canyons and some of the mahi have been solid 20-pound bulls. Striped bass to keeper size are starting to be caught off the beaches on cut bunker and soft plastics.

Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Cape May reported a good week for sea bass prior to the midweek blow as many boats reported limits fishing wrecks in the 10 to 20-mile range. There has been steady tog action closer in on green crabs, especially in some of the shallower snags. The offshore bite was pretty good for swordfish and mahi at the Wilmington and Baltimore canyons over the week. Surf fishing has lots of bluefish in the 1 to 5-pound range along with an occasional schoolie striped bass, but the shop said the back is where there are plenty of schoolie bass 18 to 24 inches.

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South Jersey Fishing Forecast

This weekend weather looks to be cooperating with us and should give anglers great opportunities to fish the wrecks for sea bass. As the season goes, anglers may have to venture to those “off the beaten path” wrecks to find keepers as the common wrecks will usually get picked through. If the water is clear, togging in the 20 to 30-foot depths and along the rocks (inlet or jetties) should be an absolute “go” for keeper blackfish. It looks like there may be some big btripers around if you live further north, so jigging may be an option for these fish if you can find them. Backbay stripers are a much better play if you’re looking for consistent action as they are definitely there, and anglers have been catching good numbers of these from Point Pleasant to Cape May. Good luck, be safe, and tight lines!

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