Offshore action on yellowfin and bluefin was pretty hot this past week with more vessels getting in on the action. Even with the pump prices having anglers digging deep into the wallets, boats did make it to the tuna grounds to find good action on yellowfin. The inshore fluke bite has slowly gained some steam along some of the shallow wrecks and reef sites. The bay still has excellent action on fish, but shops reported the outgoing tide faring better in terms of keepers. There are still plenty of small striped bass around on the incoming tides along with some smaller bluefish. Our southern areas reported some sheepshead around and the action has picked up around the bridges. The quiet word has the been the consistent weakfish bite for the areas of Sea Isle to Cape May.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River received good reports on action from Island Beach State Park as bluefish, striped bass, and some keeper fluke have been caught from the beaches. The south part of IBSP has been producing better bluefish action on metals and artificials. Crabbing has been good along any of the sods or sedges off Barnegat bay.
Lacey Marine in Forked River reported more offshore yellowfin action on trolled ballyhoo at the canyons and some decent shark action at the mid-range ridges. The inshore wrecks and reefs have slowly started on fluke with some keeper action occurring this past week. The shop said it should only get better in the coming weeks as the water is still chilly. Bayside action has been steady for flounder coming out of the usual spots from the BB to the 42 and most of the main channels.
Jerzey Buoyz Sportfishing finished out the sea bass season and took a mini-family vacation over the past week. The skipper will be back out on the seas to tackle near-shore pelagics in the coming weeks. Capt. Jason said he has some openings, so give him a call.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown had great reports of crabs being caught in the Forked River and areas off Barnegat. Some catches reported by patrons said a full bushel in little over an hour. Fluke fishing has been solid for most of the bay, but you have to work a variety of spots to put together catches. The S&S bigeye and Jigging World jigs are working well for summer flatties. The shop did hear of some good tuna action from the Chicken Canyon and areas further to the East.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown was busy running after school trips and catches have been ranging from 28 to 35 keeper fluke per week. The skipper finished his school duties and is running 7 days a week until August 31st. Most of the trips have been on the skiff, but with the ocean bite starting the other boat will begin running ocean trips.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light reported a good end to the sea bass season and the skipper will be targeting offshore tuna or inshore fluke for the majority of the summer. Capt. Ted said he has some more dates available for July and August, so give them a ring.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin had a big report when I spoke to store-owner Andy. There are plenty of one to three pound bluefish in Barnegat Inlet and along the south bar out of Barnegat Inlet. Anglers working the surf are doing well on fluke along Barnegat Light. Boats have been doing the best between the Coast Guard station and the lighthouse and some areas of Double Creek channel. Offshore action has seen makos around “The Fingers” and off the north edge of the Barnegat Ridge. Spinner and black-tips have been just north of Barnegat Inlet to the 5 mile range. Crabbing has dramatically improved following the most recent moon phase.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City reported that anglers working the jetties of Atlantic City and Brigantine have been finding some 1 to 4 pound bluefish along with keeper fluke. There have been some monster bluefish in Great Bay, but you have to go search them out as they have been moving frequently. Offshore action has begun for yellowfin at the canyons and there has been good shark action along the mid-shore lumps. White perch fishing has been very hot up the Mullica River and surrounding areas.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point weighed in a few striped bass to 32 inches which have been caught during the early morning and evening tides. Bloodworms and artificials have been working along the bridges. Flounder are still being landed along some of the ICW channels, but some action has began from the reef sites. The shop had good reports of sheepshead’s starting to show on the local bridges. The shop just got a shipment of shedder crabs for weakfish, flounder, and sheepshead.
Badfish Charters in Ocean City worked some local wrecks before the sea bass season ended to put a nice catch together. The skipper has also been working the bay for flounder, striped bass, and bluefish. Capt. Brian said his schedule was tight, but he can fit in a few more trips – so call him if interested.
The Cape May and Wildwood areas are showing better signs of flounder action at the reef sites from Cape May to Delaware bay. Flounder, kingfish, and some spots are showing in the bay and fisherman are still picking at keeper weakfish from the jetties. Bloodworms or shedder crabs are producing equally on the weakies and the night tides have been optimal.
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South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for the weekend will be to start targeting some of the inshore reef sites and wrecks if you have your own vessel or jump on someone else’s vessel. 3 to 4oz bucktails tipped with squid or mackerel strips along with Gulp should produced good numbers of fluke. If your not getting a bite, be sure to jump around to the next wreck as it can be spotty this early in the season. The bays may be loaded with boats and anglers, but action should be steady. The 6 to 10 foot channel stretches are great places to start. Beach anglers are still doing well and working the suds with a weight and 4 to 5 inch Gulp above it is perfect to catch summer flounder. You don’t have to cast far as most of the beach fluke are in the cuts and holes along the wash. A 7 foot rod and 1oz sinker is plenty for this activity. Offshore boats may want to give the 25 to 40 mile lumps a shot as good numbers of sharks have been reported. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!