Fluke, tuna, and sea bass – what more can we ask for as it’s been a July for the record books with the quality fishing and calm winds. We as fisherman, don’t really have too much to complain about for this month. August should bring better quality fluke fishing at the reef sites and ocean wrecks as fish begin to stage and move. But don’t count the bay waters out as there is plenty of spearing and peanut bunker schooling up. Tuna fishing has been very good and it’s been a night chunk bite and day troll bite. Most tuna anglers hit the inshore ridges as keeper bluefin have been hanging around. Let’s just hope for a calm month for August in terms of weather and it will be another 2020 month for the fishing record books.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported a decent bite at the reef sites and along some areas off Island Beach State Park. Most of the action has been on bucktails tipped with Gulp or spearing/squid combinations. The tuna bite remained solid for another week with good numbers of bluefin caught at the Barnegat Ridges. The inlet has lots of snapper bluefish and some decent size triggerfish.
Bobbies Boats in Barnegat Light has been busy getting anglers fuel and minnows as the fluke bite in the bay has been very good on the incoming tide. Boats have been coming in with fluke in the 18- to 25-inch range. Crabbing remained good, but blowfishing has been tough for most of the Barnegat Bay areas.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light reported some quality fishing outside as the skipper ran his first ocean trips banging 7 to 10 keepers at some of his choice snags. The bay action remains, but it’s been strictly a water temperature bite. August is pretty much booked with only a few dates remaining, but September has three weekends left.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light had some quality yellowfin tuna off the canyons over the last few weeks and the skipper has some fluke charters in the nearing weeks. The boat did say there are some dates available in August and September.
Fisherman’s Headquarters on Long Beach Island had some of their staffers fishing the canyons for solid yellowfin action a few days ago. The yellowfin and bigeye bite has been excellent and there has been plenty of bluefin tuna inshore. Inshore fishing remains solid with fish being caught on most wrecks, but anglers have to work for them. The bay still has fish, but the water temperature plays a big role so look for water under 80F to find biting fish.
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Absecon Bay Sportsman in Absecon was busy receiving another shipment of quality spot for fluke and striped bass. The bay still has plenty of keeper fluke around as many anglers have been working the inlet areas to find quality fish. Bucktail tipped with Gulp or live spot has been the best baits to use. Small blues and some weakfish have been around, especially in the mornings with pink soft plastics tipped on a small jigs working the best. The Little Egg and Atlantic City reef sites have been producing good numbers of short fluke with keepers mixed in.
Offshore Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City remarked that the fishing has been as hot as the weather with reports of king mackerel, spanish mackerel, and mahi starting to move in. The pots have been holding mahi and cobia have been caught on bunker schools offshore of the reefs. Flounder are being picked at the inlet, but they are starting to make the move to deeper water. The surf kingfish bite remained good, but reports of better action south of Atlantic City.
Fin-Atics in Ocean City reported quality flounder fishing at the Ocean City and Townsends reef along with some humphead sea bass. A few captains reported Cobia on bunker schools over the past week, so the shop recommends having the gear ready if planning to hit the reefs. The beaches have been reporting solid numbers of rays and kingfish in the surf.
Badfish Charters in Ocean City has been working the backwaters and out front for flounder and one of the skipper’s charters released a healthy 4-pound fluke. There has been good numbers of striped bass, weakfish, and fluke in the back.
Sea Isle Bait & Tackle in Sea Isle reported good numbers of small flounder and keeper kingfish off the beaches of Ocean City and Sea Isle. One of the local charters, Bayhound Charters, scored a solid 15 pound king mackerel offshore. Fluke are being picked in the back with short to keeper ratios running about 12 to 1. The bay has some weakfish around with most being caught during the night tides along the inlets and bridges.
Avalon Hodge Podge in Avalon had some nice reports at the wrecks and reef systems for flounder, triggerfish, and sea bass. The bay has fish, but it’s getting harder with the warmer water. There have been reports of king mackerel from the Avalon Shoals and SI Lumps with most being caught on the troll. The fish have been averaging 8 to 10 pounds.
Peace Token Fishing Tackle in Cape May Court House had solid reports of keeper flatties from the Wildwood, Cape May, and Delaware Bay reef sites. It’s also worth it to try some of the individual wrecks as the flounder fishing has been excellent. Bucktails and rigs are doing most of the catching, so stock up.
Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Cape May reported good fluke fishing at the Cape May reef site with plenty of keepers, kingfish, and even a few weakfish picking up baits. The beaches have been pretty good for kingfish, small flounder, weakfish, and snapper bluefish.
Greenhorn Outdoors in Bridgeton reported a decent week with mixed species being landed in the bay off Fortescue. Flounder, weakfish, bluefish, and croakers have been picking up baits along some of the deeper sloughs. The beaches are producing lots of catch and release action on small striped bass, kingfish, and croakers. The creeks are still producing good catches of white perch on bloodworms.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for the weekend is to hit the local reef sites and wrecks for keeper flounder along with 2-fish limits of quality sea bass. Whether you fish on your own boat, jump on a headboat or charter — it’s time to hit the wrecks. The basic bucktail setup with a dropper loop tied 20 inches above is the perfect rig to vertically jig keeper flatties. Gulp baits in the 6-inch variety or large slices of squid are the way to go for keepers. Anglers looking to hit some of South Jersey’s pelagic species should hit the nearshore lumps with trolled Clark spoons and feathers. There have been numerous reports of mahi, king/spanish mackerel, and bluefin tuna and there has been plenty of sandeels around to hold them. August is the time to hit the pots and hi-fliers as mahi and large triggerfish will take up residence. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!