Southern New Jersey Fishing Report – July 9, 2020

A beautiful South Jersey sheepshead caught and released with Badfish Charters.

We had a nice run of the three tuna species (yellowfin, bluefin, and bigeye) over the past week and in some circles you don’t have to run far.  Although ultra “hush-hush,” savvy anglers found some nice bluefin within the sight of land at some of our northern parts.  Trolling seems to be the name of the game, unless you find them schooled tight.  Our bays and inlets have been above average this season in terms of keeper fluke.  Whether it’s directly due to COVID and related economic slowdown for our commercial fisheries.  It just seems a lot more keepers made it into our bays this year as in years past.  The Atlantic City areas have been having some nice 8 to 10 pound fish being caught on live spot.  As we move through the month in the coming weeks, our reef sites should begin to fire up with keeper flatties so stay tuned…

Here is this week’s rundown:

Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported a decent week on fluke in Barnegat Bay from the BB to the “42”.  Most of the bites have been coming on bucktails tipped with Gulp baits or live minnows.  There were a few decent keepers caught at the Barnegat Light and Garden State reef sites.  Blowfishing is in full swing with boats reporting better bites on the outgoing tide.  The offshore scene slowed a tad with the increased pressure, but there are still plenty of yellowfin and bigeyes in the canyons.

Bobbies Boats in Barnegat Light has been extremely busy as their pontoons and skiffs are being rented out daily.  Owner Vince said the fluke bite has been pretty good close to the shop and most are catching keepers on minnows.  They have live minnows for fluke and bunker for crabbing as most spots in the bay are producing keeper blue claws.

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Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light has been running everyday and most trips are averaging 5 to 7 keeper fluke in 4 hours.  There were a few fish that pushed the 6 pound mark and all of the action is in the bay.  In the next few weeks, the skipper plans on running ocean fluke trips.

The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light was out cashing in on the offshore tuna and tilefish bite.  The boat has been running to the canyons for these trips and will continue as long as the bite stays good.  The skipper is also booking inshore fluke or wreck fishing trips for July and August.

Fisherman’s Headquarters on Long Beach Island had good reports of bluefin from the Atlantic Princess, Bacardi, and Triple wrecks.  Trolling ballyhoo and spreader bars has been the way to go for the offshore scene.  The canyons had another great week of yellowfin and bigeye fishing, with plenty of tuna making it home  The LBI surf has also been pretty good on small bluefish and keeper fluke this past week.  Most of the action has been better closer to the inlets for both species.  Anglers working 4 to 6 foot depths in the backbay are finding plenty of blowfish with heavy chumming and clam baits.

Absecon Bay Sportsman in Absecon received some good reports of fluke biting in Great Bay and Absecon Bay.  There are lots of shorts, but anglers who stay with are able to box a few nice keepers.  Kingfish and small bluefish have been hitting from the beaches on Fishbites and bloodworms.  The jetties and pilings of Atlantic City are offering some sheepshead and triggerfish, along with small weakfish during the evening tides.

Offshore Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City said the fishing remained solid through this past week as the beaches of Atlantic City and Brigantine have plenty of action.  Small bluefish, flounder, and kingfish have been biting artificial and live baits.  Offshore boats have been heading to the Carteret for yellowfin, bluefin, and bigeye.  The shop recently received a fresh shipment of ballyhoo and squid for offshore trolling.

Fin-Atics in Ocean City reported a better bite at the inshore reef sites for flounder and sea bass with most being caught on bucktails tipped with Gulp baits.  The bay also has a decent bite and the short to keeper ratios are running about 10:1.  The beaches have been active for kingfish, flounder, and small bluefish during the day.  The offshore fishing scene was consistent through the early part of this week as yellowfin and bigeye were reported.

Badfish Charters in Ocean City reported decent action with schoolie striped bass picking up flies during the dusk bite.  The skipper has been running trips in the bay targeting flounder, striped bass, weakfish, and some nice sheepshead.  Although limited, Capt. Brian did say he has some openings left in July.

Kingfishing has been good. This king, caught by Deb T and checked in at Sea Isle Bait and Tackle, was just shy of the state record!

Sea Isle Bait & Tackle in Sea Isle had good reports of some keeper flounder and lots of kingfish off the beaches of Ocean and Sea Isle City.  The bays still have plenty of flounder, but you have to work through 10 to 12 shorts before finding a keeper.  The reef sites are starting to produce more in terms of quality.

Avalon Hodge Podge in Avalon reported the bay fishing has been very good for Fluke with lots of bigger sized fish being caught on jumbo minnows or Gulp.  There are also still stripers in the bay, but this is strictly a night bite as they lay low during the day.  The offshore action is finally starting to heat up with more and more boats able to venture out to the canyons in search of tuna, swords and wahoo.  Most of the canyons have been pretty reliable for tuna, but it’s best to have a network of fisherman to cover more ground.

Peace Token Fishing Tackle in Cape May Court House reported decent action on flounder at the Wildwood, Cape May, and some of the Delaware Bay reef sites.  The store’s salt-bug jig has been doing wonders on good sized keepers.  The offshore bite for tuna and tilefish has been good, but much better at some of the northern canyons.  The Wilmington had sporadic reports of yellowfin over the past weekend.

Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Cape May had good reports of yellowfin and bigeye from the Carteret and Lindenkohl canyons.  There are still some bluefin around the nearshore lumps.  Flounder fishing has been much better at the reef sites with Reef Site #11 producing.  Anglers working the Cape May beaches have catching kingfish, small bluefish, and some flounder.  There have been a few weakfish around caught on light jigs tipped with soft plastics or shedder crabs.

Greenhorn Outdoors in Bridgeton reported a brand new shipment of shedder crabs after this past moon cycle.  Anglers have been picking up weakfish along the Delaware Bay and south of the Fortescue area.  Jigheads tipped with shedder crabs are also working on keeper flounder in the same areas.

South Jersey Fishing Forecast

The best bet for the weekend will to the inlet jetties as there are plenty of species to be caught.  Bluefish, fluke, triggerfish, and even sheepshead are being landed off most of our south jersey inlets.  Offshore fishing might be out this weekend as we are supposed to get a weather system which will most likely bring small-craft advisories due to higher seas.  Fluke fishing is another good option as most of the bays and inlets are reporting keeper flatties.  This is the perfect time to hit the areas along the inlet rocks to target doormat fluke on the slack high tides.  Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!

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