New Jersey anglers are in the grip of tuna fever right now caused by an epic inshore bite of bluefin and yellowfin. Jigs are catching the majority of the fish, but they are also being taken on the troll and poppers. Those willing to travel farther are also finding yellowfin and bigeye in the canyons, especially to the south. There have been king mackerel in the mix for the offshore anglers as well. Those not afflicted by tuna madness are catching fluke, sea bass, ling, blues, stiped bass, triggerfish and kingfish.
Northern New Jersey Fishing Report
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said they’ve been very busy outfitting customers with tuna gear. It’s been a mad bite at Little Italy, the Atlantic Princess and in the southern canyons. Hebert said the fluke fishing in on the upswing and the sharpies are catching keepers. Shorts continue to dominate but he’s been getting good fluke reports from the Shark River Reef and the surf.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said that if you fish for fluke off the beach, you’ll catch them. Gulp and bucktails provide plenty of action if not a lot of keepers.He did weigh in a 6-pounder for Will Trzeszkowski who caught the fish in the surf on 4-inch Gulp. The blues have been running in and out along the beaches as well.There are fluke in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers, Pinto added, and the crabs are getting bigger.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch said the tuna fishing is off the charts on poppers and jigs. The bluefin are in the 30- to 45-pound range with some bigger yellowfin around. The fluke bite in the surf has picked up, he said, and there are still schoolie stripers to be caught in the wash on poppers, spooks and sand crabs.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar reported that the fluke fishing is heating up in Shark River but the keeper ratio leaves a lot to be desired. The party boats, like the Big Mohawk, Capt. Cal II and Ocean Explorer, are doing a little better with keepers and the addition of sea bass to the catch is helping anglers take home dinner. Matthews said the tuna bite on the inshore grounds has been nothing less than spectacular with jigs on spinning tackle the preferred method. He said keeping the heavier reels in stock has been a challenge. Triggerfish and kingfish are giving surf and jetty anglers something else to target, along with stripers and blues. Fluking in the surf with Gulp and bucktails practically anywhere is providing a lot of action, he added, if not a lot of keepers.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters out of Belmar reported good action on both boats on Tuesday in challenging conditions. The 35-foot Parker Pete headed to the tuna grounds and had a good day with the bluefin while the 55-foot Express hit the rough bottom for keeper fluke and sea bass. Capt. Sykes said the Parker Pete is available for tuna charters and it’s open boat fluking and sea bass on the Express every day there isn’t a charter. Check the website’s calendar for availability.
Capt. Jay Richardella of Side Job Charters out of Belmar said it’s been lights out inshore fishing for bluefin. He’s also hitting fluke and sea bass spots on the return trips. Check his website for open dates for open dates.
Max Kristiansen at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the tuna bite is grabbing all the headlines. Bluefin and yellowfin can be found from 15 to 50 miles offshore. He took a quick trip in some lumpy seas before work on Tuesday and found bluefin along with a king mackerel. He also said the fluke bite has been good in the Manasquan River.
Jack at Fishermens Supply Co in Point Pleasant Beach said the tuna fishing is red hot right now with most of the of the inshore lumps holding bluefin and yellowfin. Fluking in the Manasquan River and the back of Barnegat Bay is decent, he added, and he’s heard of blues in the Long Branch surf.
John Miller at Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach said everyone is talking tuna with yellowfin and bluefin 15 to 20 miles out. He’s also hearing of better fluking on the reefs and wrecks and at the Manasquan Inlet.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the MIMI VI out of Point Pleasant Beach has been keeping his fares happy with a steady catch of sea bass, ling and the occasional cod. The Mimi VI is sailing open boat every day.
Capt. Matt Sosnowski on the Norma-K III out of Point Pleasant Beach reported a good day of fishing on Tuesday with lots of action on keeper and short fluke coming over the rail. A few anglers got their limits and the pool winner went around 4 pounds. The Norma K III is sailing for fluke every day and will start night bluefishing this Friday night. Check the website for details.
Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick has also been getting stellar reports on the tuna fishing with the Resor Wreck and Little Italy producing. He’s also hearing about schoolie stripers in the surf along with plenty of fluke in the wash on Gulp and bucktails. Giacalone said the fluke fishing has picked up outside on the wrecks and reefs with the Axel Carlson producing some nice fish. He also reported better crabbing in Barnegat Bay.
Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait & Tackle in Normandy Beach said there are blues and fluke in the surf along with kingfish. He said small baitfish, which may be rainfish and spearing, are starting to appear in the wash. Snappers have yet to show. Crabbing in the bay, he added, is pretty good.
Scott at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the fluking in the surf there is better than on the boats. They weighed in several keepers from the sand in the past few days. Again, it’s Gulp and bucktails. He also said the crabbing is good in the bay along with the blowfish bite.
Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey
If you have a chance to go tuna fishing, take it. The inshore bite for bluefin and yellowfin is hot right now and who knows how long it will last. Warm water moved into the area over the last several days and heated up the fluke bite, especially on the beaches. Tossing bucktails and Gulp into the wash is a good bet for some action and you might even find a keeper or two.