Bluefish, striped bass, blackfish and porgies are keeping anglers busy as they await the opening of black sea bass season next Friday, Oct. 8.
The phenomenal inshore bluefin bite has been the real surprise of the fall as the tuna continue to bite off Rockaway and in the Ambrose Channel.
Fishing Report for Northern New Jersey
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said the bluefin continue to draw a crowd off Rockaway. While the fishery for giant bluefin is closed until Oct. 3, plenty of smaller fish are still being caught. The salmon bite is picking up steam on the Pulaski River, he reported, while stripers are being caught in the Hudson and East rivers. The shop will have plenty of clams in stock for the sea bass opener, he added.
Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said big bluefish were chasing bait onto the beach over the weekend at the tip of Sandy Hook and there were bass mixed in with the blues.
Anglers are also picking up stripers on eels over by the Verrazano Bridge and the porgy fishing is very good off Breezy Point. He, too, reported plenty of action on bluefin tuna.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright reported a lot of blues off the beach there with some stripers mixed in. The stripers, he said, have been biting at first light and just before dark with poppers doing the trick. False albacore and Spanish mackerel also showed up off the beach earlier in the week and the Spanish mackerel were back again on Wednesday.
Mike Gleason at Tak Waterman in Long Branch is amazed by the incredible bluefin bite. The good fishing has been going on for months, he said, and there were even bluefin spotted off the beach in Belmar feeding on bunker. He said the local jetties are holding mullet and the striper fishing in the surf is picking up. The Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers, he added, are loaded with adult and peanut bunker and the bass and blues are there as well. There’s been loads of bunker off Asbury Park, Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach for the past week. Bass were hitting poppers over the weekend but the bite seems to have fallen off in the last couple of days.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar reported that the beaches of Monmouth and Ocean counties were alive with bait this past week, including adult and peanut bunker, mullet, spearing and rainfish.
And it has attracted a lot of attention, especially from bluefish. Some of the fish have been up to 10 pounds. The party boats out of the marina have been doing well with the blues while picking up some albies and Spanish mackerel. Boats fishing the bottom are also catching porgies, triggers and blackfish. Matthews said there is still an enormous amount of bait staged in the rivers and once that starts to move, things should get interesting.
Capt. Jay Richardella of Side Job Charters out of Belmar reported a good weekend of offshore fishing, catching a number of tuna, mahi-mahi and one 600-pound blue marlin. He’s still got open dates for fall trips and can be contacted through his website.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Fishing Charters out of Belmar said he’s been doing maintenance in advance of the sea bass opener on Oct. 8. He said there are still spots available for the sea bass extravaganza on opening day and the Columbus Day trip.
Capt. Steve Spinelli aboard the Skylarker out of Belmar said he did pretty well with bluefish, porgies and winter flounder this past week.
Paul Puccini at the Reel Seat in Brielle said the inshore bluefish bite has been excellent and there have been some Spanish mackerel mixed in the with the blues.
There are small bass in the surf, he said, and yellowfin biting in the canyons.
Vinny at Fishermens Supply Co in Point Pleasant Beach also mentioned the crazy bluefin bite off Rockaway with a lot of big fish reported.
The bluefishing has been very good, he said, with peanut and adult bunker fueling the action. There are lots of blackfish being caught at the Manasquan Inlet and in the Point Pleasant Canal. The trick is finding a keeper. The Manasquan River also has bass at night on eels.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the MIMI VI out of Point Pleasant Beach had to cancel his recent tuna trips due to rough seas but will be sailing open boat this Sunday for porgies and blackfish.
Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick said the surf fishing remains pretty good with bluefish on mullet and metals. There are schoolie stripers in the wash as well. He said there are plenty of blowfish in Barnegat Bay at the mouth of the canal and at the BB and BI buoys. The Manasquan Inlet is producing plenty of blackfish and the blues are in and out as well.
Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait & Tackle in Normandy Beach said it’s all about the bait. It’s thick and its everywhere. Blues, bass, sharks and dogfish are all feasting on it.Bluefish make up most of the action, he said, but if you can get through them, the bass are underneath.
The stripers are also at the Mantoloking Bridge and in the Manasquan River hitting soft plastics. Charlie’s Bait and Tackle is currently signing up anglers for its annual Surf Turkey Tournament that takes place over Thanksgiving Weekend.
Scott at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said there are a lot of blues around hitting mullet and metals. False albacore and Spanish mackerel are also making occasional appearances. Bass are being caught in the surf every day as well. He said the blowfishing in Barnegat Bay is incredible and the tog fishing at the Barnegat Inlet jetties has been pretty good, too.
Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey
Blues off the beach are a good bet for this weekend as the fish have been feeding on massive schools of bait that are spread out along the coast. Adult and peanut bunker, mullet and rainfish are all present. Stripers are mixed in with the blues as well and if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, false albacore and Spanish mackerel might make an appearance.