Northern New Jersey Fishing Report- September 15, 2022

The storm swell shook things up a bit late last week, and in a good way. It ushered in the first wave of fall run action for fishermen in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. While stripers are still running the New England circuit of their fall run, the blues, albies, and bonito are here and hungry.

Mike at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle said things were quiet right after the storm. The good fluke surf bite seemed to peter out, but in its place were albies and big bluefish. Mike was fishing albies, when he saw a surface commotion down the beach. There was medium-size bunker blasting out of the water with 10-pound bluefish hot on their tails. The big blues have been ravenous, striking topwaters and swimmers. The action seemed to cover Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright.


There’s also stripers to be caught for the fishermen willing to hit the beach early with some plugs. The fishing isn’t hot and heavy, but bass to 27 inches are so are being taken.

Though the surf fluke action quieted along New Jersey’s northernmost ocean beaches, it improved some in Bobby Matthew’s neighborhood around Fisherman’s Den. According to Bobby, more fishermen on the beach are catching fluke, but they’re having to pick through a good number of shorts.  It’s the same story in the Manasquan River, where the action is good, but catching a keeper requires picking through a pile of shorts.

Fishermen in Manasquan Inlet had a shot at bonito on epoxy jigs this week, Bobby said, as these green-sided speedsters blitzed baitfish there this week.  Bluefish have been in and out of the inlet and nearshore waters, and the headboats targeting blues have been catching some albies among the bluefish.

All in all, Bobby said, things are looking good for the fall run with mullet, peanut bunker, and spearing in good abundance, and more hungry gamefish moving in by the day.

The canyons are unpredictable reported Kyle at Fisherman’s Supply Company. The swordfish bite is excellent, with some boats getting as many as a half-dozen bites in a night, landing fish to 150 pounds. Tuna have been less reliable. There’s no nighttime chunk bite as of yet, with most of the action coming around first light and early morning. The Voyager party boat has adjusted their schedule accordingly, to take advantage of the good morning bite and skip the slow nighttime bite.

Many fishermen are still taking the tuna gamble in the canyons because they know the mahi have been a sure thing. The pots are loaded, Kyle said, and with big mahi too. So, don’t head offshore without some lighter spinning rods, smaller hooks for chunks, and some soft-plastics or poppers.

Captain Jay with Side Job Charters got in on the good mahi action this week as well.

 

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Midshore tuna is still going strong, with fishermen searching for slicks covered in tuna chicks (storm petrels) and dropping jigs or throwing poppers in those areas. Kyle said more fishermen are heading out with chunks, and once the tuna start getting fed, they’ll be tougher to tempt with the artificials, so fishermen should be ready to scale down their leader and hook size to get bites on chunks.

Gabriel Bait and Tackle reported good nighttime action on schoolie bass and blues in the backwaters, with some larger bass falling to live eels after dark.

Scott at Grumpy’s Tackle reported blues, Spanish mackerel, and albies running the beaches. Metals and epoxy jigs are catching all three species, and poppers are catching the blues. The blues down around Seaside are smaller than the ones up north, with most falling into the 3- to 5-pound range.

Surfcasters are catching a lot of short fluke, Scott reported, and the fluke action is hit or miss at the wrecks, but some decent fish are being caught. Shore fishermen are also catching some keeper tog from the jetties. With a limit of one fish, it might not be worth heading out for tog on the boat, but it’s well worth taking some green crabs out on the jetty.

Fishing Forecast for Northern New Jersey

The Fall Run fishing is off and running. Hit the beaches early with offerings for fluke, bluefish, albies, and stripers. A mix of small bucktails, poppers, epoxy jigs, metals, and swimming plugs should cover your bases. Have some bigger plugs on hand as well, in case those big blues push the bunker back into the beach.

Friday and Saturday are looking prime for an offshore run. The good swordfishing makes it worth spending the night, and the epic mahi action could ease the sting of slow tuna fishing.

 

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