Though offshore fishing is off the table for a bit with the seas, the inshore and backwater fishing in Ocean and Monmouth counties has been excellent lately.
Mike at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle said the peanut bunker and spearing in the rivers fueled some great striper blitzes this week with fish to 32 inches being caught. Crabbing has also been very good, with some big blue claws, up to 7 inches, being taken in recent days. Out front, there have been good numbers of 5- to 6-pound bluefish, and there has been good action with porgies as well.
Mike at Tak Waterman heard of the great bluefishing as well. He said the albies moved out but predicts they’ll return sometime this month. Fluke fishing has been very good, and the rivers have been producing good numbers of stripers. There’s lots of bait around, Mike says, and he’s hopeful for a good fall run.
Paul at The Reel Seat said the headboat fleet has been doing well with fluke, and that the tuna fishing was fair, but the mahi fishing was very good.
Kyle at Fishermen’s Supply Co said the mahi bite was red hot, with boats racking up big numbers of the colorful, hard-fighting fish. Some of the lobstermen checking their pots were seeing big schools around their gear. But with seas kicking up, fishermen will be looking for something closer to shore for the next few days. Fluke fishing has been excellent, finishing strong as Kyle put it. He’d heard of numerous 26-inch-plus fish taken lately, including a 10-pounder caught by a kayaker. There are bass in the river and canal, and there are a few weakfish being taken – anglers putting in a good effort can count on a couple good-sized fish each week Kyle said.
Pete at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle said there’s been some weakfish around, but in the bay, the blowfish bite is excellent. A pot of clam chum and a couple hours is enough to catch enough “sugar toads” for a great dinner. Crabbing’s been a little slow, however.
Captain Jay of Side Job Charters had been running for fluke and tuna before the big seas cranked up. He’s looking forward to getting back after it as soon as he can.
Ray at Grumpys Tackle said there’s been some 1- to 2-pound blues running in the surf, and fishermen are catching them on metals and cut mullet or bunker. There have also been some small weakfish in the surf. Ray qualified the fluke fishing as red hot, and that should stay pretty good through the end of the season in two weeks.
Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey
The end of the fluke season is nigh, and the fishing is the best its been all season. It’d be wise to put in some time chasing our favorite flatfish while we still can. Whether you chase fluke from the surf, a kayak, or a boat, sounds like there’s a great shot at catching a few keepers, and perhaps even a limit.
The resident stripers seem to be perking up as the days get shorter, and the bulk of that activity is limited to the backwaters. Fish early and late in the day, or at night, for the best odds of connecting. Soft plastics, and topwater lures are great choices, especially ones that are a close match to peanut bunker or mullet.