Tuna anglers rejoiced at the arrival of yellowfin in mid-shore waters this past week. The fish are on sand eels and being taken on jigs and on the troll with a few hitting poppers. There are some bluefin in the mix. Spanish mackerel also appeared on the scene, mainly off Ocean County. Folks throwing Epoxy jigs and metal lures were the ones rewarded. Better fluking from the boats and on the beach was also reported all along the coast.
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park knew that the tuna showed up by what his customers were buying. He got reports of yellowfin from 20 to 40 miles out. He also got better fluke reports from the boats this week. Freshwater fishing is good early and late in the day. Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake are giving up some nice large and smallmouth bass.
Capt. Phil Sciortino Jr. at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said the fluking has been good in the surf on killies and small blues are popping up off the beaches as well. The Rattlesnake, Shrewsbury Rocks and other rough bottom sports are producing some nice fluke for boaters. On a sad note, Phil Sciortino Sr., a beloved member of the New Jersey fishing community, passed away earlier this week. Our condolences to the Sciortino Family.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said fluke fishing is picking up in the surf with more and bigger fish. Bill Bertsch landed a 23 incher on Gulp. Sand crabs are also working for the fluke right in the wash. Pinto said the bluefishing in the Shrewsbury River slowed up a bit but there are still fish around. Both the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers, he added, boast very good crabbing.
Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch was very happy to see tuna appear in mid-shore waters. It’s been a good bite on jigs with a few fish hitting poppers, he said. Fluking remains very good off the beach, he added, on Gulp and bucktails. There’s lots of peanut bunker in the rivers and blues and bass are in there feeding on them. Stripers continue to eat sand crabs in the Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach surf and more fluke are showing up as well. If you’re going to fish bugs for bass off the beach, hang on to your rod. I met an angler over the weekend who watched helplessly as his new outfit was pulled from the sand spike and disappeared beneath the waves.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar reported good fishing off Monmouth and Ocean counties. Fluking is good in the surf, rivers and bays and offshore on the reefs and wrecks. Surfcasters are getting kingfish, small blues and stripers as well. Worms, clams and sand crabs are all working for those species. He also reported triggerfish and blues at the inlets along with some Spanish mackerel. Matthews said there are a lot of peanut bunker and sand eels around, attracting our favorite predators. The party boats sailing for fluke out of the Belmar Marina are all reporting good fluking as long conditions cooperate.
Joining boats like the Big Mohawk and Ocean Explorer out of the marina this week was the new Capt. Cal II with Capt. Ron Kish at the helm.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar said it’s all about conditions. One day last week saw the water temperature drop 12 degrees after a long bout of southerly winds. He did say the big fluke are starting to show on the rough stuff and he has several open boat fluke extravaganzas scheduled over the next several weeks. Check the website for details.
Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker out of Belmar reported tougher fishing on Wednesday due to colder water but they still managed to put fluke, ling and sea bass in the coolers.
Capt. Jay Richardella on Side Job Charters got into the mid-shore tuna landing three over the weekend. He was into them again on Monday, getting five bites and landing one. There was a gaffer mahi in the mix as well. There’s no telling how long this bite will last. Capt. Jay has openings so if you want to get in on the action, contact him through his website.
John Vafiadis at The Reel Seat in Brielle said the fluking has been good as long as water temperatures remain steady. There are fluke and blues in the Manasquan River and the bluefish are in the Point Pleasant Canal as well. The shop’s customers were happy to see the yellowfin push in closer and they’ve been catching them jigging, on the troll and on poppers. Sand fleas seem to be the way to go for beach stripers, he added.
Kyle Tanger at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said the mid-shore yellowfin bite really picked up over the weekend 35 to 40 miles out. Almost all of the action has been on jigs between 90 and 150 grams. Tanger mentioned the Atlantic Princess, Barnegat Ridge and Little Italy as popular spots but he added that most boats are just going out and hunting for them. Fluking out front, he said, is getting better and there are bass in the wash hitting sand crabs and soft plastics.
Chris Parlow at Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach said the inshore tuna bite turned on last Friday and lasted through Monday with a number of yellowfin and a few bluefin caught jigging and trolling. Offshore fluking remained good over the weekend with a number of limits reported. Parlow indicated that the Axel Carlson Reef had the better fishing. Fluke fishing continues to be solid at the Manasquan Inlet and in the river, he added, with a lot of keepers among the many fish caught. Blues are also moving in and out of the inlet.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach reported many limits on last Friday’s open boat fluke trip. Check the website for a schedule of upcoming trips.
Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick said crabbing at the Mantoloking Bridge has really picked up. He also reported that surf fishing is going strong with fluke in the wash and stripers hitting sand bugs, clams and plugs. Surfcasters are getting blues on mullet and bunker.
Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said the fluke fishing is very good in the surf with the fish hanging right at the drop. Gulp and bucktails along with squid strips are doing the trick. He also reported Spanish mackerel coming close to the beach with epoxy jigs and small metals catching them. Strangely, though, blues have become scarce. There are bunker off the beach, he said, describing them as “cupcake” bunker, not peanuts, but not quite adults either. Crabbing is very good in Barnegat Bay and the fluking is good in the north end of the bay and the Manasquan River.
Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said the fluking remains very good in the surf with a lot of keepers being caught. The shop has weighed in fish up to 5.4 pounds this week. Again, its’s Gulp and bucktails. Spanish mackerel showed up off the beaches and there are cocktail blues in the mix. He, too, mentioned good crabbing in Barnegat Bay.
Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain in New Jersey!
Best Bets for the Weekend
The tuna fishing picked up dramatically over the weekend with yellowfin and some bluefin caught 30 to 40 miles out. Jigging, trolling and plugging are producing fish.
Offshore fluking has become more consistent and the beaches are giving up a variety of fish. Stripers, fluke, bluefish, kingfish and Spanish mackerel are all being landed.
And the crabbing in rivers and bays has become very good.