Northern New Jersey Fishing Report- September 22, 2022

Fluking is good as the season's end nears, while hardtails become more active along ocean beaches in the early morning.

Autumn is here and so are the hopes of countless anglers for a good fall run. The bait is certainly in place and now all we need is some cooler weather and cooperative fish. 

You can count fluke among the above but you only have until Tuesday to catch them as the season closes on Sept. 27.

Weather will be a factor as offshore storms promise heavy surf and rough seas for the next few days. But there is a cool front on the way and that can only help get things started. 

Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said stripers are being caught in the Hudson River and blues, albies and Spanish mackerel are at the tip of Sandy Hook. He’s been getting spotty reports on ocean fluking and his own trip over the weekend was cut short by bad weather. It all worked out though as he ended up in Barnegat Bay catching all the blowfish he wanted.  

Rick Hebert of Tackle World in Rochelle Park loaded the boat with blowfish like this last weekend in Barnegat Bay.

Billy Phillips at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said surf anglers are still catching fluke on Sandy Hook and the folks on the boats continue to catch big ones on rough bottom.  Jimmy Rosa from Butler did just that at the Shrewsbury Rocks last Saturday landing an 11½-pounder on a white bucktail with a pink shine Gulp swimming mullet as a teaser. Philips also reported good porgy fishing in Raritan Bay. 

Jimmy Rosa caught this 11.5-pound fluke at the Shrewsbury Rocks last Saturday and weighed it in at the Tackle Box in Hazlet.

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said big blues, up to 10 pounds, blitzed the beach there several times this week. The albies also appeared a couple of times, but their visits were brief. Pinto said the fluking is still good at North Beach on Sandy Hook, while bluefish are in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. Crabbing is holding up nicely in both rivers as well. There’s a load of bait in the bay and rivers and in the wash, he said,  but there hasn’t been any sign of mullet on the move in the ocean as yet. 

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said there’s been a lot of life off the local beaches. Spanish mackerel, false albacore and bluefish have been popping in and out and were thick off the sand on Tuesday morning. Early morning seems to be the best time for them all along the coast. He hasn’t heard much in the way of bass in the surf but there have been a few caught on plugs. There’s plenty of schoolies up in the bay and in the rivers.  Things might get interesting, he said, when the cool front hits ahead of the weekend. Gleason said his last mid-shore tuna trip was a success, catching bluefin and yellowfin on Hogy paddle tails and Nomad jigs. There’s been plenty of fluke in the Ocean Grove surf and the bunker have been thick from Asbury Park to Bradley Beach all week. Spearing and rainfish are right on the beach.  

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said the fluke fishing in Shark River remains very good with anglers reporting plenty of keepers and limits. The river, he said, is absolutely loaded with bait. The party boats out of the marina, including the Capt. Cal II and Ocean Explorer, are still reporting solid fluke catches with pool fish up to 7 pounds. Blackfishing in the Point Pleasant Canal has been excellent lately with plenty of action if not a lot of keepers. They are in there, he said, you just have to get through a lot of shorts. Worms, sand or blood, have been the hot bait.

Capt. Pete Sykes on Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar reported an excellent day of fluking on Wednesday with limits all around the boat. 

Limits all around the boat were the norm aboard Parker Pete’s Sportfishing fluke trip this past Tuesday.

Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker out of Belmar said he had a good week with plenty of fluke coming over the rail up to 5 pounds, plus good action chumming bluefish.   

Capt. Jay Richardella of Side Job Charters out of Belmar said the tuna fishing has been hit or miss, but he’s been finding plenty of action with bonito, false albacore and Spanish mackerel.  He’s got a few open dates for offshore and inshore trips and can be contacted through his website. 

Lloyd Bailey at The Reel Seat in Brielle said poor conditions over the weekend hurt the fishing but he had good reports on yellowfin and bigeye tuna from the Hudson Canyon in the days prior to the bad weather. He also reported loads of false albacore offshore. Fluking in the Manasquan River has been outstanding with plenty of keepers reported.  

Kyle Tanger at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said the striper fishing is very good right now in the Manasquan River with eels working at night and plugs during the day. He said anglers are catching some pretty solid fish right now, up to 37 inches. He also reported some bass in the Point Pleasant Canal, mainly at first light. The canal is also loaded with blackfish. There’s a lot of shorts but keepers can be found. There’s triggerfish in there as well. Tanger said the Voyager scored big on its tuna trip last weekend with a boat limit of yellowfin all caught on bait. A swordfish also came over the rail. 

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach reported that his last offshore trip was a success with tuna, mahi, a wahoo and a swordfish ending up on board.  The Mimi VI has bottom fishing trips scheduled for next week and will start fishing for sea bass on Oct. 19. 

Big mahi, tuna, wahoo and a swordfish all came aboard the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach on its most recent offshore trip.

Chris Parlow at Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach said the fluke fishing continues to be impressive with many fish in the 5- to 7-pound range caught on the local reefs and offshore spots as they start their offshore migration. The larger fish have been hanging very tight to rough spots and wrecks. The Manasquan River is also producing some nice fluke off the sea wall on spearing and squid. Parlow also reported that the offshore tuna and mahi bite has also been good over the last week with many yellowfin and bigeye caught on jigs and bait. 

Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle Co. in Brick said not much has changed since last week with bluefish and fluke in the wash.  The blues are hitting mullet and its Gulp and bucktails for the fluke. There are tons of blowfish at the BI and BB buoys, he reported, and striper fishing at the Route 35 and train bridge over the Manasquan River remains good on eels, plugs and soft plastics.  

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said the fishing there is pretty good with fluke in the wash and blues, albies and Spanish mackerel off the beach.  The false albacore made a good showing in Lavallette earlier this week. Kupper said Barnegat Bay is packed with bait and the blowfish are thick by the BI and BB buoys. The Point Pleasant Canal is giving up bass, blackfish and blues. Registration is now open at the shop for the Annual Surf Turkey Tournament that takes place on Thanksgiving Weekend. And there’s still time to sign up for Nick Honachefsky’s Barrier Island Beach Brawl taking place Oct. 7 and 8. There’s $25,000 in prizes to be awarded. Check the website for details. 

Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said fluke in the surf are keeping anglers happy there. There are also bluefish, Spanish mackerel and albies off the beach. Kerico said the mullet started pushing hard out of Barnegat Bay on Monday. He, too, reported loads of blowfish back in the bay. 

Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park shared this photo of Jerry Fabiano and the 4.5-pound fluke he caught in the surf this past week.

Best Bets for the Weekend

If fluke are on your target list, time is short.  The season closes on Tuesday and there are still some nice fish around.  If the weather cooperates, you’ll get a shot at them from the beach or a boat. Gulp and bucktails have been working all year. 

Cooler temperatures are on the way so the bait may be on the move. Bluefish, false albacore and Spanish mackerel are already off the beaches. Hopefully, stripers will join the party.  

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