Northern New Jersey Fishing Report – July 23, 2020

One of the 14 bluefin caught last Saturday aboard Side Job Charters out of Belmar.

Summer fishing is in full swing with fluke, blues, sea bass, Spanish mackerel, bonito and porgies all biting.

And in keeping with the season, the best thing going on right now is the crabbing, especially in Barnegat Bay.

Plus, the tuna bite remains red hot.

Kevin at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said most of the reports they’ve been getting have to do with the terrific inshore bluefin tuna bite and the bluefish and Spanish mackerel action off the beaches.

They’ve also been getting much better reports on the fluking in Raritan Bay and out front.

He also said the night bite for walleye at Greenwood Lake and Lake Hopatcong has been excellent.

A quality fluke caught aboard Parker Pete’s Sportfishing Bucktail Extravaganza this past Tuesday.

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazel said fluking is the story as the fishing has gotten a lot better in the bay and ocean. The improvement, he said, is likely due to the appearance of peanut bunker. Flynn’s Knoll has been a hot spot.

He also reported good porgy fishing on all the local rock piles and plenty of small blues and Spanish mackerel in the area.

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said small blues and Spanish mackerel were caught off the beach from Sandy Hook to Long Branch on Wednesday.

The fluking bite really picked up in the surf, he said, but the majority of the fish are short. There are still a few stripers in the suds as well. Shop regular Billy Bertsch is getting them in the early morning on poppers.

A.J. Earley caught this 8.5 pound fluke in the Shark River on Sunday morning and weighed it in at Fisherman’s Den, Belmar.

Pinto also reported excellent crabbing in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers.

Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said tuna anglers continue to do well on bluefin in mid-shore waters. Nomad sand eel jigs of 100 and 170g have been very effective.

The local surf has been giving up more keeper fluke along with the plentiful shorts and folks have been getting Spanish mackerel and blues along the beach. He also reported triggerfish off the jetties, but not a lot of anglers are targeting them.

There have been plenty of small blues and Spanish mackerel off Ocean Grove hitting epoxy lures. The snappers have also showed up in the wash as well.

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said the fishing has been good, with the party boats doing very well with fluke and bluefish.

Amanda D’Apice of the Reel Seat got her first bluefin tuna last weekend.

He added that the Den’s rental boats have been catching a lot of fluke in the Shark River but three-quarters of the fish are undersized. Still, there are keepers to be had, with an 8½ pounder weighed in Sunday morning.

The tuna fishing has been off the charts, he said, and the Spanish mackerel have been at the Shark River Inlet during the week hitting epoxy lures.

Finally, he said, there are small bass in the surf and back in the rivers biting on lures, worms, sand bugs and clams.

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Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar said the fluking remains excellent on his bucktail extravaganzas aboard the Parker Pete Express and sponsored by Palmer Tackle.

He’s been fishing the sticky stuff catching fluke up to 8½ pounds with loads of 3- to 5-pound fish.

The smaller boat is doing well on the fluke grounds, too, and catching sea bass and ling to add to the coolers.

Capt. Jay Richardella on Side Job Charters said the fishing has been very good. His charter on Saturday beat up on the bluefin about 25 miles out, catching 14 and keeping three.

Another trip earlier this week did very well on fluke, bluefish, bonito and Spanish mackerel.

Capt. Jay is currently booking tuna and inshore trips and can be reached through the Side Job Charters website.

John Vafiadis at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the fluking at the Axel Carlson Reef has been very good lately with a number of keepers coming over the rails.

Along with the fluke, boats bottom fishing are finding a lot of sea bass, winter flounder and ling.

Anglers are also having a lot of success, he said, jigging and trolling tuna in the vicinity of the Triple Wrecks. He’s had customers report white marlin and swordfish catches as well. The swords have been biting day and night, he added.

Vafiadis said the Manasquan River is choked with bait.

Dylan at Fisherman’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said bonito and Spanish mackerel have been blasting through the tremendous amount of bait at the Manasquan Inlet this week. Epoxy lures and small metals like Deadly Dicks are catching them.

There’s good fluking at the Axel Carlson and Sea Girt reefs and the bonito and Spanish macks have been hanging around the reefs as well.

Tuna caught aboard the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach on Tuesday’s inshore trip.

He also reported excellent tuna action at the Triple Wrecks, Toms Canyon and 100 Square. Trolling ballyhoo, he said, was working well with a friend’s boat going 35 for 36 on tuna.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach said the fishing has been very good lately.

Anglers on his open boat trips are catching fluke, winter flounder, sea bass and ling. Ling catches have been anywhere from 15 to 40 fish per person and the fluke have been up to 10 pounds.

This week’s inshore tuna trip was also a success with bluefin and yellowfin coming over the rail.

Capt. Matt Sosnowski of the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach said there’s been plenty of fluke action in the last few days with Tuesday’s pool winner tipping the scale at 9 pounds. He’d like to see more keepers, but he has no complaints about the level of activity.

Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park posted this photo of Tyler Payne with the 9.8- pound bluefish he caught in the surf on bunker.

Reservations are a must so call ahead to book your spot. The Norma K III is also running night bluefish trips on Friday and Saturday nights.

Frank at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick said fishing remains good across the board.

Fluke fishing has been good off the wall at the Manasquan Inlet and outside at the Sea Girt and Axel Carlson reefs.

The Manasquan River and Barnegat Bay are still producing fluke and striper fishing in the river at night remains good with live eels and Kettle Creek shads.

He’s also received reports on the hot tuna bite from Little Italy and the Triple Wrecks.

Pete at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said the bluefishing off the sand is producing everything from cocktails up to 10 pounders. There are also kingfish and Spanish mackerel in the surf there.

The fluking has been pretty good off the beach as well, with more keepers among the shorts.

And the crabbing in Barnegat Bay, he said, is absolutely on fire.

Phil at Dock Outfitters in Seaside Heights said the fishing is just so-so but the crabbing is epic. One of their rental boats, he said, came back to the dock with more than 300 crabs.

Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the fluking continues to get better off the beach on bucktails with Gulp.

But the best thing going on right now is the crabbing in the bay. He said it’s the best since the shop opened in 2002. He went out earlier this week and personally caught over 130 keepers on hand lines in about two hours.

Folks are getting cocktail blues and Spanish mackerel off the beach, he said, and there are now snappers in the wash. The blowfish are also biting at the BI and BB buoys.

Dennis at Betty and Nick’s in Seaside Park said there are a lot of small blues and fluke being caught off the beach along with Spanish mackerel.

The fluke bite has also been decent by the Barnegat Inlet and he, too, added how good the crabbing in the bay is right now.

Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey

There is plenty to catch off the beaches right now and, with all the hot weather lately, it’s not a bad place to be.

There are blues, Spanish mackerel and fluke to be caught from the sand. Metal and epoxy lures are working for the blues and macks and bucktails and Gulp for the fluke.

The blue claws are also out in big numbers, especially in Barnegat Bay. Traps, nets and hand lines are all working.

And if you get a chance to go tuna fishing, take it.

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