Fay’s quick visit last Friday interrupted the fishing for a few days but once the weather settled down, things pretty much picked up where it left off.
The only exception being the tuna bite as reports have been scarce as not a lot of boats have travelled offshore.
Fluking has been spotty depending on where you fish with rough bottom the best bet. The Axel Carlson and Sea Girt reefs have been the hot spots.
Small blues, short bass, Spanish mackerel and bonito are at the inlets and on the beaches and snappers are now in the rivers and bays. The crabbing has also improved dramatically.
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said the fluking in Raritan Bay has been a mixed bag with the bite dictated by conditions. Guys fishing the sticky stuff are having better luck.
He also reported freshwater anglers are doing well at night for walleye in the local lakes.
Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet reported good fishing for big porgies by the Coast Guard Station on Sandy Hook, at Flynn’s Knoll and most rock piles around Raritan Bay.
Plugs and metal are picking up blues and stripers off the beach and triggerfish are hanging close to the rocks, he added.
Steve at Julian’s Bait and Tackle in Atlantic Highlands also reported good porgy fishing on the rock piles around the bay and said the fish were the nice “dinner plate”-size fish.
He, too, reported spotty fluking in the bay with too many dogfish around.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said the fluking picked up in the surf over the last few days, especially at Sandy Hook. The shorts still dominate but there’s been plenty of action.
He also reported that small blues and stripers are in the surf with a few keeper bass still around. Billy Bertsch, Little Silver, got one of those earlier in the week on a popper.
He also reported much better crabbing in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers.
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Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said the fluking off the beach has been decent. But, he added, it’s the triggerfish bite that has been really good around the rocks.
He hasn’t heard much on the tuna bite since not a lot of boats have made the trip since Fay. It was very good before the blow and he sees no reason why it shouldn’t rebound.
He also heard of a few cobia being caught offshore.
There have been a lot of cocktail blues in the Ocean Grove surf over the past couple of days hitting metal and epoxy jigs. The ones I caught were spitting up sand eels.
The ocean water is very warm and some tropical visitors, either Spanish mackerel or bonito, were breaking well out casting range on Wednesday night.
Tommy Palmisano at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said the fluking in the Shark River has been decent with lots of fish caught in the last week. Shorts are more prevalent, but there have been some nice keepers caught.
Tommy said the party boats out of the marina have all been reporting good catches on the fluke grounds.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing reported Tuesday’s bucktail extravaganza aboard the Parker Pete Express, sponsored by Palmer Tackle, was another success with multiple limits and plenty of action.
They fished the rough bottom and the trip was just a few fish short of a boat limit. Capt. Sykes said he will be running two of these special bucktail trips a week.
The smaller boat has been doing well bottom fishing for fluke, sea bass and ling.
John Vafiadis at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the fishing has been pretty good as the fluking definitely improved. Both the Axel Carlson and Sea Girt reefs are giving up nice keepers.
He said there are fluke in the Manasquan River along with bass and blues and he’s had reports of Spanish mackerel and bonito at the inlet and out front.
Kyle at Fisherman’s Supply also reported excellent fluking at the reefs, with fish up to 9 pounds. He said there have been lots of 4-, 5- and 6-pound fish. Gulp and bucktails and M3 Spoons have been doing the trick.
He fished the tops of the channels in Raritan Bay earlier in the week and landed nine keepers. Stick to the edges, he said, in 15 to 22 feet of water and you’ll find fish.
Kyle also reported big sheepshead around and a lot of black tip sharks in the bunker pods.
He added that the Voyager did very well on its latest canyon trip with golden tilefish, yellowfin tuna and a swordfish.
Capt. Matt Sosnowski of the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach reported good action fluking all week and Wednesday’s trip was no exception with keeper fluke and sea bass coming over the rail.
There were a number of quality keepers in the 3- to 5-pound range and a 6 pounder took the pool. Gulp and squid/spearing baits were both doing the job. He’s been fishing rough bottom so bring plenty of extra tackle.
The Norma K III is also running night bluefishing trips on Friday and Saturday. Call ahead for reservations for all trips.
Brendan Dryer at Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach said his colleague, Anthony, at the shop was busy catching fluke at the Sea Girt Reef as we spoke. Bucktails, Gulp and killies were working for him.
He heard the tuna fishing was good at the Triple Wrecks. He was part of a crew that jigged a 61-inch bluefin there a week ago. Brendan also reported catches of Spanish mackerel and bonito out front.
Frank at Gabriel Tackle in Brick said he’s received multiple reports of bluefin tuna feeding on bunker at the Axel Carlson Reef. It was a good show, he said, for boats drifting for fluke.
He reported Spanish mackerel have shown up at the Manasquan Inlet and there are cocktail blues and schoolie stripers there as well.
Fluke fishing off the wall at the inlet remains good, he added, with some nice keepers landed. The Manasquan River and Barnegat Bay are still producing fluke with keepers mixed in with the shorts.
Pete at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said the fishing slowed down a bit after Fay came ashore but things are getting back on track. The fluking has been pretty good in the surf and blues and Spanish mackerel are off the beach. Deadly Dicks are catching those.
The lagoons in Barnegat Bay are now holding snappers and the crabbing really took off, he said.
Lenny at Capt’n Hippo Bait and Tackle in South Toms River said snappers and small blues are in the Toms River and fluking in the bay has been decent if a little picky.
John at the Dock Outfitters in Seaside Heights said the crabbing is now on fire in Barnegat Bay. Anglers are also getting snappers and cocktail blues right off their dock.
Frankie Z at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in said last Friday’s blow disrupted things for a few days but there are now plenty of fluke in the wash. Gulp and bucktails are catching them.
Small blues and Spanish mackerel are being caught at the Barnegat Inlet and the crabbing, he said, busted wide open in Barnegat Bay north of the Mathis Bridge. Small snappers have also showed up in the bay.
Dennis at Betty and Nick’s in Seaside Park said folks are catching some keeper fluke along with shorts at the Barnegat Inlet. They’re also getting blues in the 2- to 4-pound range on epoxy jigs.
Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey
It’s going to be a warm one so you might want to head to the beach and fish the surf for fluke, small blues and bass and maybe some Spanish mackerel. There’s a lot of bait in the wash now and a variety of fish are feeding on it.
The rock piles are holding porgies and triggerfish and the fluking on rough bottom has definitely improved, especially on the Axel Carlson and Sea Girt reefs. Have fun and stay safe.