Last weekend’s lousy weather ruined a couple of days of fishing but it bounced right back once the weather cleared. Sea bass, especially, had worked up an appetite and were ready and waiting on the wrecks and reefs when anglers returned. At the same time, the striper bite in Raritan Bay barely missed a beat with a lot of big fish still being caught. The storm also got the bass bite going on the beach with more and bigger fish caught, mostly on bait. Fluking is slowly gathering momentum, as is normally the case this time of year, with most of the action confined to the bays and rivers.
North Jersey Fishing Report
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park is getting nothing but good reports on the sea bass fishing. Fluking, on the other hand, has been a little slow, with the water still on the cool side and most of the catches on the short side. He said the trout fishing remains good and all the rain over the weekend probably helped spread the fish out.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said bluefish blitzed the beaches in Sea Bright and Sandy Hook on Monday as the storm moved out of the area. He said the fluke bite picked up in the rivers with a couple of fish up to 3½ pounds weighed in. There are bass in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers hitting plugs and soft plastics, mostly at night. Pinto also reported that the weather had little impact on the striper bite in Raritan Bay. There are giant pods of bunker between Keansburg and Staten Island and jumbo bass continue to be caught on the troll, Nichols flutter spoons, plugs and chunks.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said the bluefin tuna bite was very good just before the storm on Madd Mantis poppers. Then the water temperature dropped and put a stop to the action. He expects the tuna will return with warmer water. He, too, mentioned the never-ending striper bite in Raritan Bay and said that he just got a new shipment of Nichols spoons to keep up with demand. Gleason said bunker have been pushing into the beach there and some keeper bass have been caught in the surf on poppers. The party and charter boats out of Belmar Marina have been taking full advantage of the excellent sea bass fishing. Boat limits are the norm and ling and winter flounder are filling out the catches.
Capt. Steve Spinelli of the Skylarker out of Belmar said the sea bass fishing was excellent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week with limits of sea bass around the boat. The majority of the fish, including winter flounder and ling, were caught on bait. Capt. Spinelli said the sea bass spread out following the storm and can now be found over a wider area.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters out of Belmar said the sea bass fishing aboard the Express has been outstanding and Tuesday’s charter raised the bar a little higher. In addition to a boat limit of sea bass, Capt. Sykes said they caught some of the biggest winter flounder he’s ever seen. Capt. Sykes said the smaller boat has been putting clients on jumbo stripers in the ocean, mainly on the troll. Parker Pete’s is currently booking striper and fluke trips.
Greg Hueth of the Big Mohawk out of Belmar said he’s been limiting out on sea bass by 9:30 or 10 in the morning on most trips. He then turns his attention to ocean fluke and is finding a few keepers among the shorts.
Tommy Frida at the Reel Seat in Brielle said there are tons of sea bass around and he and a buddy each got their 10-fish limit in about 20 minutes earlier this week. Frida reported plenty of fluke in the Manasquan River. Stripers are in there as well, with the night bite the best. He added that the colder water put a temporary hold on the tuna action.
Jason Szabo at Fisherman’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said the fluke fishing in the Manasquan River and the top of Barnegat Bay has been very good. Gulp and half-and three-quarter-ounce jig heads have been working for them. Szabo said fish up to 6 pounds have been caught. Bass fishing in the Manasquan River has been good by the bridges at first light and after dark on soft plastics and top water plugs. Stripers are biting in the Point Pleasant Canal as well. Out front, striper fishing in the ocean has been up and down on the troll, he added, but everybody is catching sea bass.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach reported that they have been catching plenty of sea bass along with ling and winter flounder. The fishing is going strong, he said, and they will be posting some additional open boat trips for later in June.
Capt. Matt Sosnowski on the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach said the fishing is super and there isn’t much more he can add to that. Anglers have been getting their limits of sea bass along with plenty of ling. The Norma K III will be running afternoon trips on Saturdays from 4 to 10 p.m. for sea bass and ling and will start fluke fishing on June 23. Reservations are required for all trips.
Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick reported that bigger bass finally showed up in the local surf on Tuesday when John Mayfield landed a jumbo on salted clams. Up until then it had been mostly schoolies. After a quick photo, the fish was released. Giacalone also reported fluke, blues and stripers in the Manasquan River and the Point Pleasant Canal. Gabriel Tackle Co.’s second store is also open for business in Chadwick Beach
Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said that the anglers who gave it a try in the bad weather found bass and blues in the surf on Sunday. Bass were caught on clams while metal and plugs worked for the blues. Kupper said the blues were back in the surf on Monday and Tuesday. He also heard of some nice fluke, up to 21 inches, caught in Barnegat Bay. The storm threw the crabbing off, he added, with the colder water but should rebound quickly.
Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said surf fishing for stripers came back strong after the weather cleared on Monday. Bunker chunks and clams accounted for most of the bass off the beach but a few were caught on Kettle Creek shads. He added that some fluke were taken off the beach on Gulp and bucktails. Kerico said blowfish are now being caught in the bay as are big bluefish on bunker chunks from the docks at night.
North Jersey Forecast
Party and charter boat captains are calling this some of the best sea bass fishing they’ve seen in a while and it won’t last forever. For one thing, the season closes June 22. Time to get your share of these tasty fish. The beach bite is also picking up for bass and blues. Go with bait for the bass and metals for the blues. The weather looks promising for the weekend.