We finally had some relief from the south winds and fluke fishing at some of the wrecks and reef sites began seeing a better bite. The inshore bottom temperatures have been very cold which has hampered the fluke bite for most of South Jersey. Meanwhile, the offshore bite remained solid for another week with good numbers of yellowfin from the football size to 70 pounds being landed. The bays, especially southern Jersey, held nice sheepshead to 10 pounds from bridges and pilings. There have been more weakfish around and some of the deeper holes in the channels are holding them. The best times to target them are during the early morning or late evening when boat traffic is at a minimum. Anglers working the bay have seen good numbers of peanut bunker and spearing which should bode well for our upcoming September fishery.
Here is this week’s rundown:
Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River said some decent sized fluke have been caught for anglers working the suds of Island Beach State Park. Bluefish and some striped bass to 26 inches were being landed from rocks along the jetty of Barnegat Inlet. The incoming tide has been better for these fish. Crabbing continued to be excellent along the western parts of Barnegat Bay.
Lacey Marine in Forked River said the fluke bite picked up a tad at the reef sites, but it’s still slow overall. The bite has been better in the bay with fish being caught closer to the inlets. The action out at the canyons has picked up with good numbers of yellowfin being landed and some of the nearshore spots 40 to 60 miles have tuna and some mahi. Crabbing and clamming have been exceptional for most parts of the bay.
Jerzey Buoyz Sportfishing reported some yellowfin hitting baits at the nearshore ledges and the skipper had them on the troll and on the jig.
Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported the bluefish bite was on with anglers able to box lots of snappers at the inlet. Small epoxy jigs and metals were the best lures. Tog season opened and the shop weighed in its first blackfish just over 3 pounds.
Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown been out almost everyday doing double and a few triples, bay fishing has been better than the ocean. Ocean trips have scored limits of sea bass, some ling and only a few keeper fluke. The bite has been much slower in the ocean as compared to the bay. Bay trips have been averaging 30- to 50-fish per four hours, and most trips are averaging 4- to 6-keepers to 22 inches.
The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light has been doing either bottom charters for ocean fluke or running to the canyons for yellowfin. The canyon trips have been producing good numbers of yellowfin and some mahi. The bottom trips are producing sea bass, some ling, and fluke.
Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin received good reports of yellowfin from Little Italy and some of the surrounding areas. Anglers have been getting them on the troll, jigging, and chunking. Anglers making the ride out are also finding some nice mahi. The reef sites and wrecks have been a slower bite for fluke fisherman, but sea bass at the deeper spots have been cooperative. The bridges are holding small striped bass, blues, and a few small sheepshead.
Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City reported good flounder fishing from the backbays and the reef sites are just starting to fire up. The water has been cold, but it’s starting to warm up with the favorable winds this week. Striped bass, weakfish, and small bluefish were hitting around some of the bridges. Surf fisherman have been picking some keeper flounder and kingfish from the beaches with Gulp and FishBites. Canyon fisherman picked up some nice yellowfin and mahi on the troll.
Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point had a few nice fish weighed in this past week. Sheepshead to 8 pounds being landed on small crab, while some nice bluefin to 53 inches were caught offshore. Bluefin have been on the nearshore lumps, while the canyons are holding yellowfin and mahi. Flounder are being caught along some of the deeper channels and inlets on Gulp and the reef sites are starting to show better bites.
Badfish Charters in Ocean City has been targeting flounder in the bay and had a nice keeper to 6 pounds. The skipper said the reefs are starting to produce some better action. There have been some cobia at the local reefs which can be targeted. The skipper has begun to fill the fall fishing dates, so give them a ring.
The Cape May and Wildwood areas have been showing good numbers of kingfish, croakers, weakfish, and flounder off the beaches. Shedder crabs have been the hot bait for weakfish in the bay and along the beaches. The reef sites are holding some numbers of flounder, triggerfish, and small sea bass. Anglers wanting the larger keepers have to go out further to find ones for the cooler. Offshore canyons continued to hold good numbers of yellowfin, bigeye, and mahi for anglers capable of hitting the deepwater. There have been some cobia at the midshore lumps.
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Southern New Jersey Fishing Forecast
The best bet for the weekend will depend on the forecast as anglers will have shots as the ocean in the morning. The afternoon forecast looks like a lot of wind from the south. Local reefs and wrecks may be the place to start looking for keeper flounder. Big gulp and jigs are the best ticket to work the wrecks for large flatties. Since the forecast looks especially windy and sporty for the weekend, I would think canyons may be out of the question for most vessels. Another good option with tog season open is to drop down some green crabs at any of the jetties or rock-lined inlets. These areas are prime spots and just remember you can only keep tog until mid November. Good luck, be safe, and tight lines!