I hope most of the readership was able to get out on the water for the opening of sea bass last week because the fishing was off the hook. Most boats reported excellent action with good quantities of shorts and large numbers of keepers. Triggerfish and buffet-plate sized porgies also showed at the same wrecks. Storm “Delta” gave us some serious wind, waves, and rain which put a damper on the earlier part of this week. Bay fishing is beginning to change with more short bass and blues being caught and baitfish beginning to stage at the inlets. If we get some good, stable weather it should provide perfect fishing opportunities.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported a slower bite on blowfish this past week, but crabbers are still doing well in the creeks along Barnegat. Striper action is not lights out yet, but anglers are catching some shorts along the jetty rocks. Sea Bass and tog reports were excellent for the boats that made it out this past weekend.
Bobbies Boats in Barnegat Light received positive reports of keeper tog caught along the gas docks and condos in Barnegat Light on green crab. There have been some weakfish around the no-wake zone and small striped bass on spot near the lighthouse. The shop has a full line-up of fall fishing baits, so stop by via boat.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light reported a solid weekend with good sea bass, tog, bluefish, and weakfish action for his charters. The marine forecast was a bust for Sunday as the seas were relatively flat, so the skipper took advantage with his son Luke, aka mate-in-training for a box full of sea bass, tog, and triggerfish.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light took a break from the steady tuna action due to the heavy seas over the past week. The boat has had a few sea bass charters along with playing with some bluefish and weakfish near the inlet. The skipper will be looking to head back offshore with next week’s calm seas forecast.
Fisherman’s Headquarters on Long Beach Island reported a decent bay bridge bite over the past week with the night and early mornings being best. Anglers looking to catch small sea bass, stripers, and bluefish have good shots with soft plastics and Gulp baits around the mid-island spots. The inlet and beyond has been good for tog and sea bass fishing, but the ocean swells have plagued boaters with not being able to get out. The shop did hear of some false albacore being caught in the 5 to 10 mile ranges from the inlet. Striped bass action continues to improve at the inlet on soft plastics, bucktails, and live spot.
Absecon Bay Sportsman in Absecon reported good backwater action for most of Great Bay, Tuckahoe, and the Mullica River over the weekend. Small jigs or bucktails tipped with Gulp Nemesis baits or grub tails has been the ticket around the tidal creek points. Anglers working the early morning shift have been finding some bass on topwater poppers up to 26 inches. The sea bass bite was excellent for boats that made it out to the local wrecks and reefs. Tog fishing remained outstanding for most of the Atlantic City jetties, but don’t be afraid to venture to the inshore wrecks if you have a boat.
Offshore Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City had excellent reports of keeper tog from the jetties with green crab tipped on jigs or traditional sinker-rig setups. Despite the heavy winds, the fish were very cooperative over the past few days. Striped bass and bluefish continue to be sporadic around the inlet and some of the bridges. The shop has plenty of clams, bloodworms, and green crabs for this week’s fishing trips, so stop in.
Fin-Atics in Ocean City had very good reports of sea bass from the inshore wrecks and anglers working metal jigs had some nice sized keepers. There has been some big schools of snapper bluefish and weakfish out front. Stripers are picking up plugs, plastics, and poppers during the evening and early morning tides.
Badfish Charters in Ocean City picked up some schoolie bass in the backwaters and the skipper has a few dates available during the upcoming week. There has been a few bluefish and weakfish in the mix.
Sea Isle Bait & Tackle in Sea Isle City reported a good striped bass bite behind Avalon with the fish being landed on live spot. Most of the bass were in the short range, but there have been a few up to 31 inches. The key has been to working some of the channel edges hard with repeated drifts. Sea bassing was outstanding when anglers could make it out, and with calmer seas predicted for the second half of the weekend into next week — it should be “game on”.
Avalon Hodge Podge in Avalon had some nice reports of quality sea bass and triggerfish from the inshore wrecks. Anglers working clam baits and Ava jigs scored on some big sea bass. Striped bass fishing has been pretty steady for the backwater bite with anglers working live sport and paddle tails along some of the marshy channels.
Peace Token Fishing Tackle in Cape May Court House reported some schoolie bass action Wildwood south towards Cape May. Most of the bass have been in the 18 to 26 inch size class with a few bigger ones mixed in. Drifting live spot has been the best tactic for these fish. Crabbing is so going on strong in the backwaters as a lot of the blueclaws are packed with meat.
Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Cape May had good reports of quality sea bass from the area wrecks and some nice triggerfish weighing close to 5 pounds being landed. Surf fishing was slower this past week with the heavy winds and seas, but anglers are still catching croakers, small bluefish, and spot. Offshore anglers will have an excellent shot this week for a solid tuna run.
Greenhorn Outdoors in Bridgeton reported some mixed results for weakfish, kings, and croakers as fish have been moving out. There are some small striped bass and good white perch action occurring in some of the major creeks from Bridgeton to Fortescue. Blue crabbing continues to be very good with the warmer than normal waters.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for this weekend through the early part of next week would be to hit the inlet jetties for blackfish/tog by land or head to some of the wrecks for action on sea bass and triggerfish. The wrecks had a few days on less pressure due to the storm, so get out early and hit them up. I would recommend bringing green crabs and jigs to box up some keeper tog and try to keep the males as compared to the population-sustaining females. Anglers looking to mix it up with stripers would be best served to work some of the marsh drop-offs, points, and inlets with bucktails or soft plastics. Offshore anglers will have an opportunity to play “hooky” this week and work the deep canyon edges for the October tuna bite. They should still be in the 70 to 90 mile range as they haven’t moved over the last month due to the presence of sand-eels. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!