A week of hot weather, storms, and decent fishing for most locations in southern New Jersey, and we are finally hearing of some offshore life in the canyons. Yellowfin have been some of the southern canyons and the fishing should improve as the season progresses. Anglers hitting the mid-shore humps and lumps reported decent action on sharks. Sea bassing remained excellent for most of the deeper wrecks in the 10 to 30-mile range. Small striped bass, bluefish, and fluke are being landed around the jetties and inlet beaches. The shops in Cape May said the drum bite is starting to slow down as the fish begin to move off. There are a ton of fishing options for anglers and it should only get better in the coming weeks.
South Jersey Fishing Report
Lacey Marine in Forked River had some sporadic reports of bluefish from the BB to the BI buoys and fluke fishing has been hit or miss along the same areas. Fluke fishing has been hampered by the algal slime, but anglers working the minnow have been able to combat it. Schoolie striped bass are being caught from the north jetty in Barnegat Light.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown had some quality crabbing reports from the lagoons and docks in Barnegat. Fluke fishing has been a pick in most of the usual bay spots: 42, BI, BB, Oyster Creek and Double Creek channels. There were some reports of bluefish and weakfish caught off the beaches in Barnegat Light.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light worked hard again this week to put clients on fluke and most 4 hour charters are seeing 20 to 60 fluke. Keepers have ranged from 2 to 7 per trip with the biggest ones in the 23 to 25-inch range.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light continued the sea bass and striped bass trips with hot weather this week. Sea bassing has been exceptional this season and the boat will begin running trips for fluke when the water warms.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin reported a decent week on fluke with anglers catching keepers around the smaller bridges off Long Beach Island. Anglers working bucktails tipped with minnows and Gulp have been working. Bluefish have been feeding off some of the sandbars both north and south of LBI during the early morning hours.
One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City had a solid week with flounder, weakfish, and striped bass being landed from the jetties. The shop reported the first sheepshead of the season caught along the backside of Atlantic City/Brigantine. Fluke fishing has been solid for anglers working bucktails and gulp with the biggest up to 4 pounds. Noel said there were more kingfish caught in the surf the past week on bloodworms.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City reported a pick of short and keeper flounder from Great Bay and shallow cuts off the Intercoastal waterway. Anglers working combination jig, minnow, and Gulp combinations have been working well. Striped bass are still hitting soft plastics along the sedges up to the Mullica. The best bite has been during the morning high tides and 4 to 5-inch soft plastics.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point received a fresh shipment of fluke-sized spot and anglers have been doing well with them on bigger fish. The shop had a few fluke in the 28-inch range weighed in at the store. Anglers working the bridges have been doing the best on flounder while the inlets have produced small bluefish. Inshore action on sea bass remains steady with the deeper wrecks and snags producing full boat limits.
Sterling Harbor in Wildwood reported good kayak fishing only some of the backchannels with anglers reporting some nice sized fluke to 25 inches. Small bucktails tipped with 4 or 5-inch Gulp have been producing the best results. The inlets and bridges have some small striped bass being caught during the night tides. Small bass assassins or finesse are working for these fish. The Wildwood and Cape May reef sites have had some keeper sea bass, but the bite has been up and down.
Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May reported a good drum bite for anglers punching the Delaware Bay clock, but it is definitely waning. Fish are beginning to move offshore and with it goes the bite. Sea bassing remained on the hot side during the past week and boats making the trek to deeper water have been rewarded with boat limits. Fluke fishing has been slow in the ocean, but much better along the ICW.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The weekend weather looks like we should have another influx of clean ocean water with the East and Northeast winds. Flounder or fluke fishing is an excellent option for the weekend and it seems either tide is working. The only issue in our northern bay areas has been the slime, but Sea Isle to Cape May has been on the clean side. Bucktails or jigs with Gulp in the 5 to 20-foot range are good areas to target and if you can drift some live spot your ringing the doormat dinner bell. Sea bassing is still a viable option, but similar to last week anglers are having to go deeper and to the off-the-track wrecks. New Jersey anglers have less than 2 weeks remaining in the Spring season. Striped bass fishing has been mostly catch and release, but the beaches may be a good shot with clam or bunker. The Northeast winds and waves will have things churned up and may have bass on the feed. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!