We are already into the second week of August and most lagoons are showing more peanut bunker and mullet. Summer flounder will not resist these baits if worked in the bays, inlets, and backwaters. The ocean bite has been hot and cold, dictated by the presence of south winds, and water temperatures have fluctuated from the low 60’s to 70’s. There have been some nice tuna reports this past week from our mid-shore to canyons on yellowfin, mahi, and even some wahoo. Some of the southern canyons have been showing better numbers of bigeye. Meanwhile surf fisherman had a decent week with kingfish, fluke, blues, croakers, and even some spot caught off the beaches.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River reported the Island Beach surf bite has been very good on fluke, bluefish, and some kingfish. Anglers kayaking bunker and bluefish baits are finding sharks up to 200 pounds off the surf. The shop reminds anglers that certain shark species are prohibited to be targeted and if “accidentally” caught should be released immediately. Crabbing has been excellent along the sedges, sods, and marshes of Bayville, Berkley and Ocean Gate. Frozen or fresh bunker has been doing the trick on hand-lines and traps.
Lacey Marine in Forked River had great reports of blowfish, kingfish, and spot picking up clam baits from the “BB” to the “BI” buoys. Clam chum and double hook rigs have been the trick to catching a bunch. Fluke fishing has been very slow in Barnegat Bay as there has been lots of shorts with few keepers. Ocean fishing picked up over the weekend with most boats running north to the Axle to find keepers. The local wrecks have been on the slower side.
Jerzey Buoyz Sportfishing took the weekend off due to poor ocean conditions, but the crew has been going after yellowfin tuna at the deeper offshore areas. The captain said sea bass and fluke have been decent outside when they can get out.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported good tuna action at the Bacardi, Little Italy, and the Atlantic Princess areas on yellowfin mixed with a few bluefin. Fluke fishing has been slower on the bay side with few keepers reported over the weekend. The south winds have put a damper on both the ocean and bay bites.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown has been pounding Barnegat Bay and finding pockets of keepers as the boat boxed 43 keepers over the past week. Most 4hr trips are seeing 35 to 55 shorts with 4 to 7 keepers. The skipper has released some of the dates for September and October night time striped bass and weakfish, so give them a call.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light has been mixing it up between bottom wreck fishing for flounder and sea bass during the week. On the weekends, the boat was offshore boxing a few yellowfin at the midshore to canyon areas.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin received excellent reports of blue claws along the back marshes of Barnegat and Stafford. Bunker baits hand-lined and collapsible crab traps have been the hot ticket. Fluke fishing was fair around the Barnegat Inlet area, but better south towards the old fish factory and Holgate inlet. Yellowfin, bigeye, and mahi were caught at the Wilmington, Spencer, and Lindenkohl canyons based on the reports from anglers.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City had decent reports of fluke in the bays on the incoming tide. Anglers reported the Wildwood area has been excellent for backwater fluke over the past week. Inshore reef sites also provided some nice action on fish to 23 inches along with several sea bass. Anglers working green crab and tog jigs have been able to find a few keepers off the jetties of Atlantic City and Brigantine.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point said it was an excellent week with nice sheepshead and tog coming from the local bridges and pilings. Bluefin tuna have been hitting on spreader bars and jigs at some of the inshore areas. The yellowfin bite was off the hook over the past week for anglers hitting the canyons. Flounder fishing remained solid for the deeper channels behind Wildwood and Ocean City. Live bait and jigs tipped with Gulp have been producing the best action on keepers.
Badfish Charters in Ocean City reported good fluking in the backbays and out front as Capt. Brian has been running both inside and outside to find fish. The skipper told me they will resume targeting striped bass in the bays once the water cools towards September.
The Cape May and Wildwood areas have been good for flounder off the beaches along with good amounts of kingfish and croakers. The reef sites of Cape May and Wildwood are producing some nice fluke to 5 pounds on 6-inch Gulp. A few of shops said the night weakfish and striped bass bite is happening along some of the deeper channels. Striped bass have been busting on mullet during the night tides. Crabbing continued to provide good action for families looking to put a few blueclaws on the table.
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Southern Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for the weekend will be to hit the ocean reef sites— if doable with the forecast— as we will have a week of favorable North to Northeast winds. The winds should get the water temperatures moving upward and the flounder on the feed. Offshore action this past week should continue and I would look for better mahi action at the midshore sites with the week of NE winds. Anglers able to make it out should look to throw small jigs around floating pot markers. Good luck, be safe, and tight lines!