Northern New Jersey Fishing Report – July 2, 2020

Mike Gleason (left) of Tak Waterman and his pal, Gerard Faccone, got this beauty of a bluefin on a Madd Mantis popper.

There’s plenty of fish to choose from this holiday weekend.

Those bottom fishing can target fluke in the rivers, bays and ocean. Sea bass are back on the menu with a two-fish limit and there are loads of ling around.

Surfcasters can get stripers on bait, plugs and shads, blues on metal and fluke on bucktails, Gulp and squid.

Then, offshore, there are bluefin tuna. That bite has been red hot for the last week with jigs, poppers and on the troll.

Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said he’s been getting good reports on the bluefin bite mostly from the southern spots.

He heard the fluking has been good at the Sea Girt and Axel Carlson reefs and in the channels. The bigger fish, he said, are heading for deeper, cooler water.

Hebert also had reports of Thresher sharks around.

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said the fluking in Raritan Bay and the ocean has definitely improved. He reported Mike Nolan Sr. landed a 12-pounder in the ocean off Sandy Hook on Plug Bait.

He also reported stripers continue to be caught on bunker chunks, but you have to wade through dozens of dogfish to catch a bass.

Folks on the beach are getting schoolie bass on sand bugs and there are blues at the tip of the Hook.

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Wendy at Julian’s Bait and Tackle in Atlantic Highlands said they’ve been selling crab traps like crazy so the blue claws are definitely out.

She also reported decent fluking in the bay and porgies are on the rockpiles.

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said it’s still a slow pick for fluke in the surf. He said he’s not seeing a lot of bait in the ocean right now.

There are some bluefish around on poppers and a few bass as well. The fluking is decent in the rivers and he said the crabs are showing in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers.

Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said the bluefin bite was on when he and his buddy, Gerard Faccone, got into them earlier in the week on Madd Mantis poppers.

Gleason also reported better fluking in the surf on Gulp and bucktails.  One fluke angler, he said, got lucky when a 30-inch bass grabbed his Gulp grub.

The Tackle Box posted this photo of Mike Nolan Sr. with the 12-pound fluke he caught off Sandy Hook.

Triggerfish are starting to show, he said, and added that the freshwater action in local ponds and lakes has been very good for largemouth bass.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar also reported triggerfish have arrived. He said the fluking in the Shark River picked up with a 9.6-pound caught this week along with a solid number of keepers.

The party boats out of the marina have been doing well with fluke and now that sea bass are back in the mix with a two-fish limit, most folks are going home with something for the table.

Small bass continue to hit clams and sand crabs in the surf, he said, and he’s been getting nothing but good reports on the bluefin tuna fishing.

Sand crabs have been working well for me in the Ocean Grove surf for stripers. The bass are getting close to keeper size, but still a bit short. A couple of split shot 18 inches above a 6/0 circle hook holding a couple of bigger bugs will do the trick.

After months of hard work, Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar launched his second boat, Parker Pete’s Express, this week.

Now with both boats sailing, Capt. Sykes will have more space for more anglers to fish for fluke, ling and sea bass.

The fluking, he said, has been steadily getting better and there are loads of ling around.

Tommy Freda at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the bluefin fishing has been amazing. A mate on Mushin, Freda said they’ve been fishing jigs in the Triple Wrecks area and getting fish up to 60 inches.

Poppers are working for the tuna as well.

Tommy Freda of the Reel Seat in Brielle with the bluefin he caught on a jig earlier this week.

The fluking, he reported, has been good at the Axel Carlson Reef and decent in the Manasquan River.

Stripers are also hitting poppers very early in the morning off the fronts of jetties.

Brian Stensland at Fisherman’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach was very busy at the shop and didn’t have much time to talk other than to say go fishing.

Between the bluefin tuna, fluke, ling, sea bass, stripers and blues, there is plenty to catch.  Just go, he said.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach said the bottom fishing has been very good, especially on ling with all you can reel in.

His passengers are also catching fluke, winter flounder and sea bass. The Mimi VI continues to take reservations and you can make yours by calling 732-370-8019.

Capt. Matt Sosnowski on the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach reported decent fluke fishing last weekend with a few anglers getting their limits.

Bucktailers using Gulp did the best, he said, but there were some nice fish caught on bait. Sunday’s pool winner went about 5 pounds.

Capt. Matt said they are fishing sticky bottom so bring plenty of extra tackle.  Reservations are still required so call  732-496-5383.

Gary at Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach said the Axel Carlson Reef is giving up some quality fluke in the 5-pound range.

He’s also received good reports on the bluefin bite at Little Italy and in the Spencer and Toms canyons.

The fluking has also been fairly decent in the Manasquan River, he said, but shorts rule the day.

Frank at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick reported there some good-sized fluke at both the Axel Carlson and Sea Girts reefs.

The Manasquan Inlet, he said, also has fluke along with some bluefish. The blues are on metal and the fluke on killies and squid.

Both the crabbing and fishing picked up at the Mantoloking Bridge, he added with reports of fluke during the day and stripers at night.

This bass went after sand crabs in the Ocean Grove surf.

Pete at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach reported pretty good fishing in the surf with blues on diamond jigs and stripers on clams and bunker chunks. The fluking is still a little spotty off the beach but bucktailers are getting a few keepers.

The fluke fishing is better in the bay, he said, specifically north of the Mantoloking Bridge. There are blowfish in the bay as well by the BI Buoy.

He said snappers have started to show in the lagoons in Barnegat Bay and the crabbing is definitely picking up.

Steve Perna caught this 5.25-pound fluke from the sand and weighed it in at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park.

George at Dock Outfitters in Seaside Heights said the ocean fishing has been pretty good with bass, blues and black drum. The fluking is getting better in the surf as well.

He said the crabbing, which was pretty good last week, slowed down a bit, but the fluking in the bay is holding its own.

Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the fishing is pretty good with bass in the surf hitting clams, bunker chunks and poppers. The blues are roving around as well, hitting metal and SP Minnows.

The surf fluking is getting better with bucktails and 5-inch Gulp grubs or 4-inch swimming mullet.  The big rays are in the surf as well, so keep an eye on rods in sand spikes.

A couple of nice fluke caught aboard the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach last weekend.

Francine at Betty and Nick’s in Seaside Park said there are a lot of fluke at the Barnegat Inlet with keepers in the mix.

On the beach, blues are going for top water plugs while the bass are hitting Kettle Creek shads and plugs.

Best Bets for the Weekend

Pick your fish and go.

Bottom fishing is very good with fluke, sea bass, ling and some porgies. The surf has bass on bunker chunks, sand crabs, clams, poppers and plugs. Plugs and poppers are working best in low light. The blues are in the surf as well hitting metal.

Tuna fishing is very good right now. Bluefin are at mid-shore spots and yellowfin and bigeye are in the canyons.

Plus, it’s summer, time to go crabbing. Have a safe Fourth of July.

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