There has been some big news this past week with jumbo bluefin being caught on live bluefish, bunker, and squid just a few miles from shore. A few of these jumbos have approached the 450lb mark and the yellowfin bite has been epic at the canyons. The other news for the week has been the arrival of the opening on the sea bass season which occurs on Friday, October 8th. The reef sites should be excellent for the start of sea bass season as the end of fluke season had lots of keeper throwback bass. Wrecks in the 55 to 75-foot range should be the prime areas to target. The weekend looks tough, but boats should be able to eek out a trip Friday for the sea bass opener.
South Jersey Fishing Report
Lacey Marine in Forked River had solid reports of blowfish in numbers over the weekend, but there were lots of little ones in the mix. The inlet has been good for striped bass on the incoming and outgoing tides at the north jetty. The beaches have been good for kingfish, bluefish, and even a redfish was landed off the LBI surf this past week.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported surfcasters working IBSP with plugs for decent-sized bluefish to 25 inches. There are also some striped bass around during the incoming tides on chunked bunker and mullet. The bay has been good for blowfish during moving tides with heavy clam chum.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown/Barnegat Light spent the past weekday evenings targeting schoolie striped bass to 26 inches. Most fish have been caught on soft plastics and custom plugs. Sea Bass charters start the following week and the schedule is maxed out for October.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light was out targeting the epic yellowfin and longfin tuna bite occurring at the offshore canyons. A wide area has been good for fish from the Hudson to the Spencer on chunked baits and trolled ballyhoo. There are also a ton of Mahi on many of the offshore pots and debris.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin had good reports of weakfish being landed on soft plastics and the fly from around the old Morrison’s area. Blowfish have been good towards the northern part of Barnegat bay and striped bass along the lagoons. Tog fishing has been good along the rocks of Barnegat Inlet on green crabs, although there have been tons of shorts.
One-Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City reported excellent tog fishing from the rocks of the Atlantic City jetties on green crabs tipped on jigs. The beaches still have some kingfish around as well as bluefish and striped bass chasing mullet. Anglers also reported some weakfish around during the night.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City had good reports of striped bass and weakfish around the back sods of Great Bay and up into the Mullica River. Boats working poppers and plugs during the times of dusk are finding good numbers of cooperating striped bass. The offshore scene has been stellar for yellowfin, longfin, and Mahi at the Spencer canyon.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point had excellent reports of tautog off the jetties from Atlantic City south to Ocean City. Green crabs and sand crabs tipped on traditional rigs or tautog jigs have been the hot baits of the week. Striped bass have began to really start feeding in the backwaters with fish to 17 pounds coming on drifted spot during the day and eels at night. Anglers probing the inshore wrecks are still finding some quantities of triggerfish around.
Sterling Harbor in Wildwood reported another phenomenal week for tog off the jetties and tuna from the canyons. The offshore canyon bite has been great with limits of yellowfin being landed along with good numbers of Mahi. The surf has been very active with lots of kingfish, small bluefish, and some croakers. This weekend’s weather doesn’t look promising but should put striped bass in play on clam off the surf for next week.
Cape May Bait & Tackle in Cape May had good reports of baitfish along the beaches with pods of peanut bunker being harassed by snapper blues. There have been some stripers to 30 inches mixed in and most have been landed on metals being worked along the bait. Kingfish are still plentiful off the beaches on bloodworms, clams, and cut pieces of squid. Striped bass and bluefish have been also productive in the Cape May harbor area. Offshore action continued to be hot over the past week with good numbers of Mahi and yellowfin tuna being landed.
South Jersey Forecast
The weekend looks like a complete challenge as strong East winds to 30 knots will have most, if not all, boats tied to the docks. Friday will be the day to hit the opener sea bass and the fish should be very active prior to the upcoming weekend blow. But don’t let the weather have your fishing completely handcuffed as there are still plenty of opportunities for inlet and bay action. The inlets are prime spots to bring a bucket of green crabs, jigs, and a strong stringer. Anglers can cull their catch, but blackfish or tautog are so strong be sure to have the stringer completely secured or tied off. Current, regulations are 1 fish at 15inches and sometimes this can be achieved on the first drop. Soft plastics, plugs, and live bait are the way to go for back bay weakfish and stripers, especially during the early morning or evening tides. With the strong easterly winds, I would look for an influx of stripers or increased feeding around backwater sods and bridges. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!