North Jersey Fishing Report- June 23, 2022

Bass, blues and fluke are biting well in the surf; meanwhile, tuna fishing continues to steadily improve offshore.

Sand bug fever is running rampant along the beaches of Monmouth and Ocean counties. Whatever you want to call them, bugs, sand fleas, sand crabs or mole crabs, the little gray crustaceans have become the go-to bait for bass in the surf. 

Fluke are hitting the bugs as well in the wash, but Gulp and bucktails are the better bet, both from the beach and boats. Beach and offshore fluking showed a marked improvement in the past week, as did the bite in rivers and bays; and so has the crabbing, especially in Barnegat Bay. 

Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said more bluefish are being caught in Raritan Bay, at the tip of Sandy Hook and off the beaches. Trout fishing in the local streams and rivers remains good, but there aren’t a lot of anglers taking advantage of it, he added. 

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said the fluke fishing really took off this past week in Raritan Bay, the ocean and the rivers. In addition to Gulp, he said the NLBN 3-inch shads soaked in Fin-Essence were working well for the flatties. 

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said there’s plenty of bluefish in the Shrewsbury River between three and 10 pounds hitting topwater plugs and Avas. Schools of smaller blues are also showing up off the beaches. Pinto said anglers are getting bass on bugs in the surf and the fluking is picking up in Raritan Bay and the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers. 

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said anglers are catching bass on bugs in the surf there. He, too, reported bluefish in the rivers and an improving fluke bite in the bay. He was fishing there on Tuesday catching fish up to 21 inches. Boats trolling are still picking big bass but the action has slowed down some. The tuna bite remains offshore, he added, but there’s plenty of bait around and hopefully the tuna will move closer. The sand bug bite has been good in Ocean Grove with bass and fluke chowing down on the little crabs. Clear water conditions this week made it possible to spot the stripers as they cruised the drop off looking for their next meal. 

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said beach anglers are catching kingfish, fluke, blues and bass. The bass and fluke are feeding heavily on sand crabs, he said, with Gulp and bucktails getting fluke as well. The kingfish are hitting worms or a small piece of clam while the blues are grabbing almost any lure that comes their way. The fluke fishing in the Shark River has been hot most days as long as the weather cooperates. Last weekend’s high winds made for a too-fast drift and but boats that anchored had the better luck. Matthews suggests keeping it simple this weekend, put on your bathing suit, head to the beach and give the sand bugs a shot. The party boats out of the Belmar Marina are reporting better ocean fluking.  

The Big Mohawk out of Belmar began its fluke season on Monday and Greg Hueth said it was great fishing with a boat limit and fish up to 6 pounds. The Big Mohawk is sailing daily for fluke.

Reagan and Jimmy Lee had a good day aboard the Big Mohawk out of Belmar last Monday.

Capt. Pete Sykes on Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar reported good fluking last Sunday and added that Parker Pete’s first open boat bucktail extravaganza will be this Sunday. Check his website for details.  

Capt. Jay Richardella on Side Job Charters out of Belmar continues to score bluefin on his offshore trips. He had the crew from Forrest Electric out last Saturday and landed one about 100 pounds along with a bunch of false albacore. He still has some open tuna dates and can be contacted through his website. 

Side Job Charters out of Belmar got this 100-pound bluefin on an offshore trip last weekend.

John Vafiadis at the Reel Seat in Brielle also reported good ocean fluking. He was out on the Fish Monger on Monday and got seven keepers over the course of the day’s fishing. The fluking is good in the Manasquan River as well with killies and Gulp and bucktails doing most of the catching. Blues from 2- to 5-pounds are popping up off the beaches and folks are picking bass in the surf on sand crabs.  

Chris Parlow at Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach said the winds over the weekend kept most boaters close with good fluking and bluefishing reported in the Manasquan River at the Railroad Bridge and off the Dog Beach. Parlow also reported better fluke fishing on the local reefs as the water temperatures have climbed into the upper 60s. The catch of the week was a 210-pound thresher brought in by Captain Alex on the On Point. 

The crew of the On Point weighed in this 210-pound thresher at Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach.

Capt. Danny Gregory on the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach reported excellent fluking Monday and Tuesday with loads of keepers and a lot of short life. A few anglers had double and triple their limits and there were plenty of fish to take home. The Norma K III is sailing a three-quarter day schedule Monday through Friday and two half-day trips on the weekend. 

A smiling angler got this fluke fishing aboard the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach this past Tuesday.

Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick reported stripers are still being caught on the troll with spoons and Mojos while the surf is giving up bass on sand bugs, clams and plugs. Fluke are in the wash as well. The north end of Barnegat Bay is also producing fluke from the Mantoloking Bridge to the mouth of the Point Pleasant Canal.  

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said it’s the season of the sand fleas with beach anglers catching lots of bass with the hot bait.  Folks are getting blues from the sand as well on metal, mullet, bunker and plugs. There are still bass in the back bay hitting small plugs and soft plastics at night, he added, and the crabbing in the bay is picking up nicely. 

Scott Thomas at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the bass bite on sand crabs is going off big time. Earlier this week, one customer got four keepers up to 39 inches.  Grumpy’s has posted a video on its Facebook page on how to rig the crabs. There was also a 5-pound fluke caught on Gulp in the surf weighed in at the shop. In the back bay, Thomas said there are crabs and blowfish to be caught. 

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Best Bets for the Weekend

Take Bob Matthews suggestion and head to the beach to fish sand crabs. It’s easy with the bait right at your feet and the bass close to the shore. Use a 4/0 or 5/0 inline circle hook on a 30-pound leader with a split shot and several sand crabs. Toss it 10 to 15 feet from shore and be ready. Fluke are in the wash as well, also hitting sand crabs, Gulp and bucktails.  

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