Hit or miss was the phrase most often used to describe the fishing this past week.
A raging southeast blow at the beginning of the week dropped the water temperature a bunch of degrees and disrupted the bite, especially for fluke. Tuna anglers were also frustrated this week by fish that wouldn’t stay in one place for more than a day. The fishing, however, seemed to be getting back on track as the week went on.
Mark at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said he’s getting good reports on beach fluking from Sandy Hook to Manasquan. Small bucktails and Gulp will do the trick. Freshwater anglers are doing very well on hybrid stripers at Lake Hopatcong and there’s a good night walleye bite at Greenwood Lake on small bombers. Keitech swimbaits and Ned rigs are working for bass from the shore at Merrill Creek Reservoir, he reported.
Patrick Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said anglers are catching a lot of triggerfish from boats and jetties. The Shrewsbury Rocks and the rocks at Parking Lot C on Sandy Hook have been especially productive. Boaters are doing well with fluke and sea bass and he also reported plenty of fluke in the wash on killies. There are still schoolie bass around and cocktail blues are popping up now and then. Snappers also showed up in Raritan Bay around the docks and bulkheads.
Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said fishing slowed down a bit this past week with the best thing the crabbing in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. Pinto did say Spanish mackerel are showing up off the beach early in the morning and there are stripers hitting poppers then as well. There are fluke in the wash but not a lot have been keepers.
Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said there have been keeper fluke in the surf there as one customer came in with a 21-incher caught on squid and Gulp. He said there are plenty of schoolie bass in the surf and the cow nose rays have showed up as well. Fluking on the boats was hit or miss over the past week with the fluctuations in water temperatures affecting the bite. Tuna fishing has been hit or miss as well, he said. Yellowfin appear in a spot one day and then are gone the next. Stripers and fluke were biting in the Ocean Grove surf this week and there was even a throwback blackfish that ate my sand crabs close to a jetty.
Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar reported that fluke fishing in the Shark River has been excellent. Late last week one rental boat landed nine keepers along with a bunch of short fish. Party boats, including the Big Mohawk and Capt. Cal II, are also doing well with fluke with fish up to 8 pounds. Sea bass limits are helping to fill coolers. The bluefish boats are catching fish up to 10 pounds with poppers the lure of choice. The surf continues to give up stripers and kingfish with sand crabs and worms doing the trick. Low light conditions have been good for freshwater anglers, Matthews added, with largemouth and calico bass, catfish, and blue gills making up the catch.
Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar said Wednesday’s open boat trip was a good one with plenty of limits and lot of action. He said they are seeing a lot more quality fish lately and it’s shaping up to be excellent August. Capt. Sykes’ next open boat trip is Sunday and he still has a few openings. Check his website for details.
Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker out of Belmar has been sticking with bottom fishing catching ling, fluke and sea bass. He also reported seeing more chub and Spanish mackerel around.
Jake from The Reel Seat in Brielle said that the ocean fluking has been good for the boats and he’s getting a lot of reports of cobia in the area. Tuna fishing has been up and down, he said. There’s a lot of life at the mid-shore spots but it doesn’t always include tuna. There are yellowfin and a few giant bluefin around but it’s been a tough season compared to the last couple of years. Fluking has been good in the Manasquan River and there have been bluefish popping in and out of the inlet.
Kyle Tanger at Fishermen’s Supply Point Pleasant Beach said the striper bite in the Manasquan River turned on with bass up to 30 inches feasting on all the peanut bunker. Small metal-lipped swimmers tossed at the edges of bait schools were working the best but other small plugs and plastics were getting their share of fish. Fluking has been good in the Manasquan River and the surf with a 26-incher pulled out of the wash earlier this week. The reefs are also giving up a lot of fluke, triggers and porgies. The inshore lumps are holding yellowfin, he said, you just have to look around a bit. His advice is to get away from the fleet and do a little exploring.
Capt. Danny Gregory on the Norma K III reported that the fluking improved once the cold water that arrived with the hard southeast wind at the beginning of the week turned warmer.
Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach took a break from bottom fishing last week for an inshore tuna run and came back to the dock with a boatload of yellowfin. The Mimi VI has just a few spots remaining for tuna trips scheduled for August and October. Check the website for details.
Chris Parlow at Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach reported that the inshore tuna bite remained strong over the weekend with yellowfin up to 80 pounds being reported at places like Little Italy, the Bacardi and the Mudhole. He also got reports of bluefin at Barnegat Ridge. Fluke fishing has been up and down on the local reefs with the fluctuating water temperatures, he said. Live killies are working well for fluke in the Manasquan Inlet.
Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick reported crabbing remains good in the bays and lagoons of Barnegat Bay with some nice size crabs being caught. Blowfish are biting at the BB and BI buoys and there are fluke being caught in the northern part of the bay. Giacalone added that the offshore bite remains tough with the yellowfin pulling a disappearing act from day to day. He’s been getting reports of yellowfin and bluefin at the Atlantic Princess, Little Italy and Bacardi and you just have to hope they’re there when you are.
Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said the fluking on the beach slowed down, most likely due to the cold water brought on by the wicked southeast wind at the start of the week. He did say there are Spanish mackerel, blues and kingfish being caught from the beach along with a few stripers. Kupper added that the bay still has fluke and more crabs and snappers are showing up there every day.
Jenni Ackerman at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said she’s hearing more and more about blowfish at the southern end of the bay. There’s also a lot of bait building up in the bay, she said, and that bodes well for the fall run. Fluke continue to be caught off the sand with Gulp and bucktails doing the trick and the blues are showing up off the beach as well.
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Best Bets for the Weekend
Fluke anglers are seeing more and bigger fish from both the beaches and boats. Barring any sudden dips in water temperatures, that fishing should just get better and better.
Gulp and bucktails will do the trick from the sand and on the reefs and rocks but don’t forget about live killies and squid, especially from the beach. Surfcasters are still getting bass on sand crabs and there are kingfish to be had on worms.