The recent southerly winds have played havoc for most of New Jersey with the benthic ocean temperatures hovering just above 50 degrees making the summer flounder bite very tough. Ocean reef sites have been a slower pick, but sea bass have been cooperative and with the cooler temperatures there have been quite a few ling caught. Anglers working the backwaters are having to time the tide right to find the temperatures when the keepers are biting. The tuna bite continued this past week at the canyons and most of the inshore lumps. Yellowfin and bluefin are being landed at some of the popular tuna spots, but it does pay to search around to find your own pod. I received quite a few reports from Cape May and the jumbo yellowfin bite is on-fire. The surf has been very active on fluke and kingfish for most of the New Jersey beaches and the action has been very close to the wash.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River had excellent crabbing reports from the east and west sides of the bay. Bunker baits in 3 to 5 feet of water has been the best baits. Fluke fishing outside has been tougher than inside, but the beach flatty scene has been pretty good. Anglers working the suds with light jigs and Gulp were the ticket this past week for keeper fluke. The striped bass and bluefish bite was good on the colder incoming this past week at the inlets.
Lacey Marine in Forked River said the offshore bite was excellent at Little Italy and areas close to the Atlantic Princess as several Forked River Tuna club members were in the shop who fished the area. The yellowfin bite was excellent for anglers on the troll. Fluke fishing was tougher that past week as the main channels were quiet on biting flounder. Striped bass and some bluefish were biting on the incoming tides on soft plastic lures.
Jerzey Buoyz Sportfishing reported a slower bite on the offshore tuna grounds as the boat has a bunch of trips booked for sea bass and offshore tuna trips. The skipper said they have some trips booked to look for tuna and wahoo in the 40 to 65 mile ranges.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported excellent hauls of blue crabs and blowfish this past week. The back estuary areas of Barnegat have been great for blue crabs, while the areas from to BB to BI buoys continue to provide decent blowfish action. Fluke in the bay have been a little sluggish due to the ultra-cold incoming water.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown had another busy week with a better amount of keepers being boxed per 4-hr trip. The skipper has been averaging 4 to 5 keepers per charter while releasing close to 40. Some of the bigger fish this week have been in the 23 to 24 inch range. Ocean trips have seen limits of sea bass while a slower pick of fluke to 20 inches. There are some remaining dates for August and a few weekday trips for September.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light had a few trips this past week and Capt. Ted worked the inshore wrecks for a slow pick of fluke, lots of ling, and 2-fish limits of sea bass. The boat will be sailing for fluke in the coming weeks.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin said the local bridge bite has been good for small bluefish, weakfish, and striped bass during the extreme twilight hours. Fluke fishing has been tough in the back waters as the temperature swing has been close to 20 degrees between the high and low. The ocean bite is slow out front as the bottom temperatures have been frigid. The offshore tuna bite remains hot from 40 miles to the canyons. There has been decent mahi action at offshore pot markers and hi-fliers.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor Township reported decent bluewater action during the past week with yellowfin, bluefin, cobia, and mahi being lifted. Flounder fishing is better in the bay, but you have to fish the temperature breaks. The outside bite has been slower as it’s been hampered by the bottom temperatures.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point had some nice weigh-ins this past week with good sized flounder being caught in the deeper channels and holes in the bay. A few of the flounder approached doormat status and were caught in the bay. Sheepshead are very plentiful off the bridges with fiddler crabs or sand fleas. Several were weighed in this week approaching 10 pounds on the shop’s scales.
Badfish Charters in Ocean City has been working the backwaters to find fluke to 6 pounds and there has been some life on the reef sites. The skipper said there has been a good number triggerfish and sheepshead making their way into the bays. The skipper has seen several cobia offshore, but hookups have been on the tougher side.
The Cape May and Wildwood areas had a slower pick of ocean flounder this past week as the temperatures dipped and the bite slowed. The reef sites are holding both flounder and sea bass, along with some small bluefish. The Cape May surf has been alive with kingfish, croakers, small bluefish, and flounder. The inshore chunk bite has been epic on yellowfin with lots of fish in the 60- to 80-pound class. The canyons have both yellowfin and bigeyes being landed on the chunk and troll.
South Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for the weekend would be to jump on a bluewater boat if you have the means and ability as the offshore yellowfin bite has been borderline EPIC. Chunking or trolling the midshore ridges to the canyons have contained a healthy number of fish. If the pelagics are your thing, then working the suds with a light jig or bucktail tipped with Gulp or fish belly would be the 2nd choice to catch some table-fare. Anglers had a very good week from Island Beach State Park south to Ocean City working the beaches. Kingfish and some nice keeper flounder to 22 inches have been landed. Let’s hope for some favorable wind conditions to change things around for the ocean fluke bite and when we get them, it should be “Game On!” Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!