The fierce northeast wind that dropped an early curtain on the fluke season hung around through the weekend and made for some tough fishing. Boats were stuck at the docks until Wednesday.
Beach anglers didn’t fare much better but did manage a few bass and bluefish in the roiled surf.
As for the tuna bite, there haven’t been any reports since before the blow began. A number of boats were sailing Wednesday and Thursday, hoping the yellowfin hadn’t scattered with the wind.
Mike at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said the weather made for a rough week but he had good reports on porgies and blackfish on the rockpiles and bluefish in the rivers.
Anglers had random shots at false albacore around Sandy Hook before the wind came up and hopefully, they are still around. Expectations are high as the water remains warm and bait is everywhere.
Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said there are blues and striped bass in Raritan Bay and the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers.
He also reported charter boats are doing well with stripers on eels and worms in the bay and close to the Verrazano Bridge. Capt. John Contello of Just Saying Fishing Charters has been putting his clients on some nice stripers.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said the angry surf still gave up small bass and bluefish on poppers in the wash.
False albacore made a few appearances off Sandy Hook before the storm but Pinto has not received an update now that the wind has backed off.
The better bass bite was in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers on bucktails, he said. The fish weren’t big but there were plenty of them.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch also reported bass and blues in the surf with some keepers among the bass. Shads were working best.
He, too, reported good fishing in the rivers for bass and blues and, based on the amount of life, he said the fishing should just keep improving.
The big unknown is the tuna bite but there should be some answers in a day or so.
The surf has been a mess in Ocean Grove for the last couple of days but it calmed down nicely on Wednesday and there was a ton of bait just off the beach in the evening. There were small blues hitting close to the beach.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said the fluke season went out with a thud with the heavy winds. A few anglers picked up keepers in the Shark River before the bell rang on the season.
Matthews said the boats out of the marina will now be targeting blackfish, porgies, ling and blues while waiting for sea bass season to reopen. A few of the boats are taking the time between fluke and sea bass to tend to minor maintenance.
Last Sunday saw a good run of kingfish and blowfish at the Shark River Inlet, he reported, and there’s been good early season striper fishing along the beaches and in the rivers.
Small blues and snappers are also biting in the Shark and Manasquan rivers and blackfish are eating green crabs at both inlets. The tog are in the Point Pleasant Canal as well.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing has been stuck at the dock since the big wind hit. He’s contemplating some tuna trips as long as the bite comes back after the blow.
In the meantime, he’s getting both boats ready for sea bass and fall stripers. Trips, he said, are booking up quickly.
Capt. Jay Richardella of Side Job Charters has offshore tuna trips and inshore trips for false albacore, mahi-mahi and Spanish mackerel scheduled for the next several days.
He’s currently booking his fall trips and can be contacted through his website.
Max Kristiansen at the Reel Seat in Brielle remains optimistic that the yellowfin will still be around when offshore fishing resumes.
Stripers continue to bite in the Manasquan River, he said, on paddletail and split tail shads. There is still a load of bait in the river, he added, including tons of snappers.
Vinnie at Fisherman’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said there wasn’t much to report with the wind putting a big dent in fishing.
He, too, believes the tuna bite will rebound and said that in its last trip out before the blow, the Voyager out of Point Pleasant Beach put more than 50 yellowfin on the deck.
Capt. Matt Sosnowski on the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach didn’t sail all week and was planning to get back out on Wednesday.
The Friday and Saturday night bluefish trips are still on the schedule and do require reservations so call ahead to reserve your spot.
Gary at Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach said a couple of keeper fluke were caught from the dock there before the season closed last Saturday.
He did say there were bass and blues caught in the surf on top water plugs like Mag Darters. Like everyone else, he’s waiting for word on the tuna bite.
Frank at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick reported blues were being caught in the rough surf on mullet, metals and epoxy jigs along with an occasional schoolie striper.
He said the Point Pleasant Canal is producing blackfish on green crabs and sand fleas during the day and stripers and blues at dusk and dawn on eels and Kettle Creek shads.
The Manasquan Inlet is also producing blackfish off the rocks
He said the folks in boats are doing well with bass under the bridges in the Manasquan River at night on live eels, SP Minnows and Kettle Creeks.
Pete at Charlie’s Bait Tackle in Normandy Beach said those willing to put up with the conditions found blues and small bass in the surf on Avas and Deadly Dicks.
He also discovered there are suddenly a lot of schoolie stripers in Barnegat Bay.
Bob at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said their weekend was pretty much blown out with all the wind but there were some small blues caught at the Barnegat inlet and a few schoolie bass in the surf.
Francine at Betty and Nick’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the surf was starting to clean up on Wednesday. She said anglers were picking up short bass on top water plugs.
The kingfish bite that was hot last week took a hit with the storm, she said, but there were blowfish in the wash. The blowfishing has been very good in Barnegat Bay as well.
Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey
Fall has officially arrived and it’s time to prowl the beaches. The bait is in place and bass and bluefish are biting in the surf. Swimming plugs, poppers, metal and shads are all working. There’s also a chance false albacore will pop up close to shore.
The Shrewsbury, Navesink, Shark and Manasquan rivers are all holding blues and bass as well and blackfish are biting at the inlets on green crabs. Have fun.