Between sea bass, stripers, blues and fluke, there’s plenty to catch right now. It’s not a slam dunk every day but anglers, especially those targeting sea bass and stripers, are getting their limits and landing trophy fish. The only quiet spot, and hopefully it’s temporary, is the tuna bite. They have become a bit scarce since the Memorial Day blow when cold water moved into the area.
Northern New Jersey Fishing Report
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said he’s had plenty of reports of big stripers in Raritan Bay. Unfortunately, when he headed out on Saturday, they were nowhere to be found. Come Monday, however, the bite was back on. Hebert added that the warm weather has brought trout fishing to a halt as nobody is even trying.
Capt. Phil Sciortino at The Tackle Box in Hazlet said stripers too big to keep are being caught mostly on the troll in the ocean and the bay but some are hitting live bunker and Nichols flutter spoons. This epic bass action has been going on for so long and there’s so much bait around, Sciortino doesn’t envision an end anytime soon. Fluking is picking up in Sandy Hook Bay around the Bug Light, he said, and the bass fishing continues to improve in the surf on clams and small plugs.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said surf fishing is improving with bluefish in the 3-to 5-pound range scattered up and down the beaches. He said more fluke are showing up in the suds as well with shop regular Vinny S. catching a couple of keepers on Gulp and bucktails. He’s sure there would be better numbers but not a lot of folks trying the surf right now. There are still bass in the rivers for folks casting shads and plugs or drifting worms by the Sea Bright Bridge.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said the big stripers to the north are still getting a lot of attention and there are enough smaller fish around that folks have something for dinner. The tuna fishing slowed down after the Memorial Day blow as an influx of cold water scattered the fish. He was heading out on Wednesday to try and locate them. The flounder bite has been hit or miss in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers, he said, but bass and blues continue to bite in both. The sea bass fishing, he said, is still going strong on the offshore reefs and wrecks. Sand crabs in the wash finally drew some interest from striped bass in the Ocean Grove surf. The fish aren’t big, but at least they’re here. The party and charter boats out of the Belmar Marina are all reporting excellent sea bass fishing along with catches of cod, ling and winter flounder.
Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker out of Belmar said the bottom fishing is holding up nicely. It was a week of boat limits of sea bass along with winter flounder, ling and cod. Bait has been working best for anglers aboard the Skylarker.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters has been putting his customers on both big stripers and black sea bass. The striper fishing is on fire for jumbo bass, he said, with fish in the 40- to 50-pound range. Everyone is catching their personal best and every fish has been released as they all exceeded the 38-inch size limit. The 55-foot Express has been limiting out on sea bass most days with winter flounder, fluke, cod and ling adding to the mix. Capt. Sykes said he’s now booking bucktail extravaganzas for fluke that will start in July.
Capt. Jay Richardella of Side Job Charters out of Belmar said the bass fishing has been incredible with plenty of giant bass caught and released. He did get a keeper this week that measured 37.8 inches. He’s heading out for tuna on Thursday fishing in the Tuna Mania Tournament out of the Manasquan Inlet. Reports on tuna catches have been thin since the cold water moved in but he’s been hearing of signs of life on some spots.
Max Kristiansen at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the sea bassing is still going strong on the local reefs. The fluke fishing has been decent in the Manasquan River and few more fish are being picked up on the beach. With the slow tuna action, Kristiansen said a number of anglers have turned to shark fishing, with threshers getting most of the attention. Vinny at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach also reported spotty tuna fishing. The fluking, on the other hand, has been good in the Manasquan River and there are blues and bass in the river as well. More stripers are showing up on the beaches on bait and small plugs. He, too, said that the sea bass fishing has been excellent.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach said the fishing has been super with boat limits of sea bass along with winter flounder, cod and ling. Even though there are lots of boats and anglers around, there’s plenty of fish to catch. Monday’s trip saw an added bonus when a thresher was hooked and brought aboard along with all the sea bass.
Capt. Matt Sosnowski of the Norma K III has been giving the exact same fishing report every day this week. It’s been great fishing for sea bass and ling. He said Tuesday’s trip got the boat limit in a hurry with the sea bass hammering jigs. The sea bass are spitting up sand eels and he’s hoping more fish will move into the area before the fishery closes on June 22. The Norma K III sails every day at 7:30 for sea bass and runs a special sea bass and ling trip on Saturday afternoons from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are required for all trips.
Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick said stripers are hitting salted clams in the surf. He also reported fluke, blues and stripers in the Manasquan River and Barnegat Bay.
Frankie Z at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the big catch there this week was the 51-inch striper Craig Napolitano caught in the surf on salted clams. Frankie said not to let anyone tell you they don’t work. Anglers are also getting bass at night on the beach on plugs and there have been some keeper fluke caught from the sand as well. The fluking has been decent in the bay, he said, but there are a lot of shorts to get through. The sea bass fishing has been good as well, he added, as long as the south wind stays away.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said fluke fishing in the Shark River has been good with the rental boats finding keepers. Bob Wunder of Yardley, Pa., caught an 8-pound, 4-ounce beauty on a bucktail tipped with Gulp earlier this week. Matthews said there are plenty of blues around as well with non-stop action at the Shark River Inlet on Tuesday. Striped bass fishing is good in the surf, he added. William Renner of Belmar brought in a 26-pound bass he caught from the beach in Belmar on a clam.
Bill Martin at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said there are small blues and bass in the surf there along with some short fluke. The fluke are biting much better in Barnegat Bay, he added.
Northern New Jersey Forecast
The sea bass fishing remains the most consistent bite with the tasty fish hitting jigs and bait. Most party boats continue to require reservations so plan ahead if you want to get in on the action. Ling and winter flounder are being caught along with the sea bass.
The surf action is also picking up with stripers and fluke in the suds. Clams, plugs and shads for the stripers, Gulp and bucktails for the fluke.