Southern New Jersey Fishing Report – September 16, 2020

Sheepshead are still being caught and offshore action has been good with lots of yellowfin and Mahi.

West Marine

Unfortunately, fluke season ends this weekend, so this is the last chance in 2021 to catch some for dinner.  The past week started off slow as the swell had them on lock-jaw, but as the week went on it got better.  Fluke bay action has been slowing down with most of the biomass leaving to hit the deeper water for the spawn.  Offshore action has been good with lots of yellowfin and Mahi, but the issue has been the swell.  There was some nice sheepshead still being caught along the bridges around Ocean City.  With fluke ending, offshore pelagics and bay species will take center stage.

South Jersey Fishing Report

Lacey Marine in Forked River said there was slower action from the reef sites this week as the big swell had the fish on slower bites.  The deeper water reefs have been showing some of the best action.  Barnegat Bay is still loaded with blowfish in back and small striped bass have been hitting plugs during incoming tides.

Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported good blowfishing from the BB to 42, but anglers are having to put in the time as there are a good number of small puffers.  Crabbing has been good in the shallows along the west side of the bay.  The beaches have been good for fluke and bluefish action and there are some nice kingfish in the surf.  Long Beach Island and Island Beach State Park were both good areas this past week.  Fluke fishing on the wrecks has been slow but rebounded later in the week.

Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown / Barnegat Light was out on a few afternoon trips this past week and clients caught a variety of fish being: fluke, tautog, triggerfish, and puffers.  The boat did run for ocean fluke and had over 25 shorts with 3 keepers on both 4hr trips.  The bite was slower because of the large groundswell.  There are limited spots available for fall striped bass, sea bass, and tautog.

Reel Reaction Sportfishing
Photo Credit: Reel Reaction Sportfishing

The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light had a tough loss this past week with Capt. George Eastburn losing his battle to cancer and passing on to calmer seas.  The boat has been hitting fluke, but with the season-closing will target offshore yellowfin through the sea bass season in October.

Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin reported excellent surf fishing on Long Beach Island, especially along the northern part near Barnegat Light.  Fishbites or small pieces of bloodworms have been the best baits.  Fluke fishing has been tougher all around, but the ocean is the place to try as most fish have begun moving out.  There are some weakfish around which can be targeted during the early morning or late evening hours.

One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City reported fluke fishing continued to be solid throughout the past week for anglers working bucktails and rigs along the jetty rocks.  There are some nice ones exiting and can be intercepted along the jetties.  Tog fishing has been on fire over the past two weeks for good amounts of fish as there is plenty of action on shorts and a few keepers.

Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City reported small striped bass action along some of the backwater creeks during the start of the outgoing around dusk.  Small plugs, poppers, and plastics are working for these fish.  Sheepshead and tog are still being caught along the bridges,  but you have to work several areas to find the bigger ones.  The canyons have been good on tilefish, yellowfin, and Mahi when bluewater vessels to get out.

Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point had good numbers of weakfish to 20 inches being caught on live peanut bunker and soft plastics.  Fluke fisherman had a slower week with the swells, but the backwaters have been alive with a variety of fish.  Offshore action has been very good for September tuna and Mahi.  Anglers have reported offshore pots have been loaded with Mahi.

Sterling Harbor in Wildwood reported a fair number of tog and sheepshead coming from the rocks and bridges along Wildwood and Cape May.  Green crabs or sand fleas tipped on jigs have been the best baits to use to target these.  Fluke fishing has been a little slow, but there are still plenty of keepers at the area reef sites.  The beaches have been hot on kingfish, croakers, small bluefish, and even some small striped bass at night.  Nighttime has been better for small striped bass and weakfish around the bridges.

Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May had good numbers of weakfish being landed in the back and along the Delaware Bay.  The larger ones have been hitting live-lined peanut bunker, but 4 to 5-inch pink soft plastics will work.  The beaches have been alive with croakers, kingfish, and small flounder to keep anglers busy.  Flounder fishing was fair over the past week, but hopefully will regain the bite for the closing weekend.

South Jersey Forecast

The best bet for the weekend will be to try to get out in the ocean on a recreational, charter, or headboat as the fluke season officially closes after September 19th.  The deepwater wrecks, snags, and reef sites will be the best areas to target for keeper fluke.  Some may notice the presence of milt spewing from some of the smaller fish.  Fluke have started their spawn so be cognizant as the bigger ones are loaded with eggs.  The second choice would be to target fluke off the surf along with kingfish as there has been plenty around.  Kingfish are delicious and can be targeted with a double float rig tipped with bloodworm or Fishbites.  There may be a leftover swell on Saturday morning, but the rest of the weekend looks great at the time of this report.

West Marine store finder

1 thought on “Southern New Jersey Fishing Report – September 16, 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.