Northern New Jersey Fishing Report- June 8, 2023

Fluke fishing is great from the rivers and back bays to the beaches, trophy stripers hit plugs and eels out front, and sea bass fishing is stellar.

Excellent fishing continues with anglers finding a variety of species to target from the beach and boats in the ocean, rivers and bays. Freshwater fans are also finding plenty to catch in local ponds, lakes and streams. 

But before we get to the reports, it must be noted that the local fishing scene lost one of the good guys this week with the passing of Mel Martens. A lifelong resident of Monmouth County, Martens was known to all as an expert angler. But more importantly, Mel was one of nicest, kindest people you could ever meet and he will be sorely missed by all those who knew him. 

On the water, the incredible sea bass fishing continues, jumbo ocean stripers keep coming over the rails and blues and bass are in the surf.  Topping it off, the fluke bite gets better every day on the beach and in the rivers and bays.  

Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park said this week saw a big increase in the amount of bunker around as monster bass were being landed by boats offshore. Hebert said a big body of fish moved over by Coney Island. Fluking keeps getting better in the rivers, he said, and the striper fishing has been good in the suds. Lake Hopatcong, he added, has been the spot for walleye and hybrid striped bass. Trout fishing remains solid in area streams, but not a lot of people are fishing for them.  

Danny Stolba at Fish Tail Bait and Tackle in Carteret reported a good weekend of fishing from the pier with stripers and blues caught on bunker chunks. One of the bluefish was 36 inches and the stripers were up to 33 inches.  

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said it simply — the fishing is great. Eels, live bunker and metal-lipped swimmers are catching stripers up to 50 pounds in the ocean. Blues and stripers are at the tip of Sandy Hook and the fluking keeps getting better in Raritan Bay, in the local rivers and on the beaches.  Sciortino reported a 10-pounder was caught aboard the Sea Tiger II out of Atlantic Highlands on Monday. 

The Tackle Box in Hazlet posted this photo of Tim Foley and the 10-pound fluke he caught aboard the Sea Tiger II out of Atlantic Highlands on a Gulp and killie combo at the beginning of the week.

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said it was a good week fishing the surf with bass and blues hitting plugs. The only problem he mentioned was that not enough people are out there. He made his first outing for fluke along the beach earlier this week and had no trouble getting his limit on Gulp and bucktails. 

Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright shared this photo of shop regular Laura K. and the 54-pound striper she caught and released earlier this week.

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said the striper fishing continues to be incredible. Boat anglers are catching monster fish with the smallest bass still in the 30-pound range. Fluking has improved off the beach, he said, and there are plenty of bluefish around. Conditions are shaping up for a good tuna season, Gleason added, with clouds of sand eels appearing on the grounds. TAK Waterman is holding a special Father’s Day Sale with 20 percent off on clothing. 

Stripers have been hitting sand bugs in the surf in Asbury Park, Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach. Fluke have been on them as well. Word is the bugs are working just about everywhere. 

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said not much has changed from last week with the same great sea bass fishing and solid fluking in the rivers. Jumbo bass are still biting offshore on live eels while sand crabs are producing smaller bass on the beaches. Blues are in and out of the Shark River Inlet. 

Fisherman’s Den in Belmar posted this photo of Cole Craven and the 6.5-pound fluke he got spearfishing in the Shark River on Tuesday.

Capt. Pete Sykes of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar reported excellent sea bass fishing all week with plenty of limits around the boat. He said the whole boat limited out early on Tuesday so they switched to fluking but only came up with shorts. He expects that fishing to improve shortly. Capt. Sykes has one more open boat sea bass trip scheduled before the close of the season and it’s on Father’s Day, June 18.  

Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker out of Belmar said he’s been limiting out on his sea bass trips as well and he has no doubt the good fishing will last until the season closes. He has a few open dates at the end of June and some in July and August. 

Capt. Jay Richardella on Side Job Charters out of Belmar said he’s been getting in on the hot sea bass bite and the excellent striper fishing. The bass are at the Shrewsbury Rocks and it’s been the Farms for the sea bass. He’ll be tuna fishing once sea bass closes on the 19th and he’s got some open dates. Details are on the website. 

Double-header sea bass were a common sight aboard Side Job Charters out of Belmar this past week.

Matt Haeger at The Reel Seat in Brielle said he’s been getting encouraging reports on tuna and tilefish from the southern canyons. He said the Manasquan River has been loaded with blues for the last two weeks and the fluking has been pretty good in the river as well. Sea bass fishing, he said, is off the charts. 

Kyle Tanger at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said there are some very aggressive fluke in the Manasquan River. A kayaker he knows was trolling for blues with an X-Rap and he hooked six keeper fluke.  Fish shallow, he advised, and keep your bait on the move. Sea bassing is unbeatable right now, he said, and jigs and teasers are working best but bait will catch them, too.  If you get your sea bass limit, Tanger said to try for winter flounder as fish up to 4 pounds have been caught. He also received good reports of yellowfin and tilefish in the southern canyons. 

Chris Parlow from Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach reported that sea bass fishing remains good on all the local reefs and wrecks. He was out Tuesday on the Axel Carlson Reef and had no problem catching his limit. He then switched to fluke and got his limit of those using bucktails and Gulp. The fluking is also good in the Manasquan River, he added. 

Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach shared this photo of Olivia Parlow and the nice fluke she caught in Barnegat Bay.

Capt. Danny Gregory on the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach said it’s been loads of limits on sea bass along with ling and winter flounder mixed in. The Norma K III will be sailing for fluke following sea bass season with daily trips from 7:30 to 2:30 and two half-day trips on weekends. Check the website for full details. 

Black sea bass fishing was very good aboard the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach earlier this week.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz of the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach reported excellent sea bass and winter flounder fishing for the past two weeks. He said there are three spots available on next Tuesday’s open boat trip. 

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said it’s a good mix of fish going on right now with fluke, blues and bass on the beach and back in the bay. There is bait everywhere, he said. Fluking has been good between the Beaver Dam Bridge and the Point Pleasant Canal, he added, and in the Manasquan River as well. 

Ray Kerico at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said fishing is very good right now with stripers and black drum eating clams in the surf. Big bluefish are hitting poppers off the beach and the fluking has been solid in the suds as well. There are blues back in Barnegat Bay, he said, and added that he’s sure there are blowfish around but not a lot of people are fishing for them. 

Best Bets for the Weekend

There is a little more than a week left before sea bass closes so if you plan on getting in on this very hot fishery, don’t delay. It all ends on Sunday June 19. 

Surf fishing is good for stripers, fluke and bluefish. Plugs, clams, bunker chunks and sand bugs will catch the bass while Gulp and bucktails will entice the fluke. Blues are going for poppers, plugs and mullet. 

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