We have officially entered another phase of fishing as summer ended along with the fluke season. There are a variety of fisheries that will be in play over the next couple months from sea bass to striped bass. The bottom half of September through October are prime times to hit canyon tuna and this past week had some nice catches. Areas closer to home have begun to become active with night time feeding striped bass and weakfish. Many of our bridges and lighted docks become excellent locations for fall weakfish and striped bass fishing. Anglers have a few weeks to start prepping for the re-opening of sea bass.
Fishing Report For Southern New Jersey
Lacey Marine in Forked River had some fluke being caught around the inlet to end the season, but the winds and seas had most shut down from the ocean. There are plenty of short tog around the rocks at the inlet and good numbers of blowfish in the bay. The shop got reports of “big” bluefin being landed 3 to 5 miles off the beach with the easterly winds.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported tougher fluke action to end the season as the winds and seas kept most anglers fishing the inlet. Weakfish on shrimp around Myers hole and striped bass along the lagoons and bridges have kept alot of anglers busy. Blowfishing has been the “go-to” since fluke season closed. There has been a very good bite on 2 to 4 pound bluefish around Barnegat Inlet.
Reel Reaction Charters out of Waretown and Barnegat Light worked the last few days of the fluke season to put keepers up to 6 pounds in the boat. The boat ran post-fluke trips targeting a variety of bay species (tautog, blowfish, and weakfish). The skipper heard of false albacore and some bonita being landed in the 10-20 mile range.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light will focus on offshore tuna, mahi, and swordfish until the sea bass season opens in October. The end of the fluke season was lackluster due to the weather which kept most at the docks or in the inlet.
Tony’s Bait and Tackle in Manahawkin said Barnegat Inlet has been producing 1 to 4 pound bluefish with some consistency on the moving tides. Striped bass to 25 inches are also being landed on the incoming and outgoing with small plugs and swimmers. Blowfish in the bays are very abundant and crabbing has been pretty good for keepers. Crabbing continues to be excellent as most of the males are full with meat.
One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City reported triggerfish being landed from the jetty rocks on clam and crabs. Noel said there has been tons of tog on the rocks, but anglers have to work for their one-fish keeper. Night fishing has been fair with some striped bass around.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City reported some tog and sheepshead being landed along the bridges with mud crab, green crab, and fiddlers. There have been some small blues around the inlets during the incoming tides. Anglers fishing the Somers Point to Avalon areas are finding weakfish to 20 inches during the night.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point in Somers Point had slower reports of fluke to end the season as the seas did not cooperate. The past week has been very good for anglers fishing the beach finding small blues, kingfish, spot, and even a few small bass. The bays did have a good number of sheepshead hanging around the bridges and other structure spots.
Sterling Harbor in Wildwood reported striped bass being landed around some of the back bay channels on clam, plugs, and live spot. The beaches have been very good for kingfish and croakers on Fishbites, squid pieces, and clam. Canyon fishing has been excellent for yellowfin and mahi.
Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May had short and some keeper striped bass caught along the beaches, back bays, and Delaware bay. There are also some snapper bluefish caught from the surf and at the local reef sites. Kingfish, croakers, and triggerfish were caught at the reef sites. Sheepshead have been frequenting the Cape May jetties and the concrete ship on shedder and green crab. The reef sites and areas 1 to 3 miles offshore have had schools of bunker and some Cobia around.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for the weekend will be to hit the offshore canyons as this is “primetime” fall fishing and the canyons are very productive during this part of the season. Jigging yellowfin, chunking, or casting small lures to pots for mahi is certainly the way to go. The sea conditions for the latter half of the week look excellent to hit the 60-100 mile range for these pelagics. The ridges are abundant with life and false albacore, skipjacks, and some bonita are in play. Anglers choosing to fish the land or shallower bays will find the best action around bridges, piers, and jetties. Striped bass, small blues, and tog are the main species to target this weekend.
Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!