Southern New Jersey Fishing Report- June 22, 2023

The back bays are fishing well for fluke, cocktail bluefish are in thick around the bridges and jetties, and weakfish are biting crab-scented soft plastics.

The bays from Barnegat, Great Bay, and thought the southern parts of the Intercoastal Waterway have been producing some nice size flatties on live bait.  Live spot, which is striped bass candy, also makes for an excellent doormat bait when fishing the backwaters and most of the bigger fish this past week were landed on them.  The sea bass season ended and will eventually go back up to a minuscule 1 fish per person limit until the fall season.  With the closure of mako shark, the threshers have been the prime targets for shark fisherman and there have been some nice ones weighed up to 350 pounds.  Live bunker, mackerel or bluefish have been the prime baits this past week.  The striped bass scene has slowed down off the beaches as the water temperatures are in the mid-sixties, but the fluke, bluefish, and even some kingfish have started to be caught off the suds. 

Here is this week’s rundown: 

Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River said floating jig heads tipped with minnows have been working fairly good on fluke.  Anglers drifting some of the areas around the Route 37 bridges have picked up fish as well as along the “BI” markers.  Small bluefish to 20 inches, fluke and schoolie striped bass are in play at the inlet jetty off Island Beach State Park.   

Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported tougher fluke fishing over the past week between the winds and tides, but anglers have picked a few nice ones with live spot.  The inlet area, especially around the finger jetty off the lighthouse has produced fish to 7 pounds on live bluefish or spot.  The bays have been a pick on keepers with short fish in the mix.  Crabbing has been very good in the Forked River area marshes and along parts of Berkley.  The shop is loaded up with bunker baits and crabbing gear, so stop in. 

Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown has been working 2 to 3 trips per day for backwater fluke.  The skipper has been putting clients on 4 to 11 keepers per 4-hour trip and averaging 25 to 40 shorts, so the action is there.  The crew is sailing 7 days a week until September, so give them a ring.

The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light ended a productive sea bass season and the skipper will be switching over to fluke trips followed by yellowfin tuna.  Capt. Ted said there are some tuna dates remaining, so give the crew a call. 

Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin reported decent action off the surf for anglers working the northern sections of Long Beach Island. There has been plenty of bluefish around and a good number of fluke. Anglers casting small bucktails tipped with gulp or mackerel strips are finding success on the ocean front.  The bays have been solid with the southern stretches producing decent action. Crabbing has been exceptional this season with good sized jimmies to go around.

Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City had a decent offshore report with quality yellowfins to 50 pounds being caught along the Spencer and Wilmington canyons. Offshore vessels deep dropping are also putting good sized tilefish on the deck. Anglers working the inshore reef sites are starting to pick a few nice fluke and the bite should only get better as the temperatures warm. Beach action has been slower on the striped bass front, but there are small blues and fluke in the surf.  

Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point said it’s been a spot game for anglers looking to box larger flounder.  Anglers drifting the main channels and thoroughfares are finding larger specimens on spot baits.  Gulp and bucktails are working also in the 6 to 15 foot depths.  The night time has been the right time to find weakfish along the sods, bridges, and jetties.  The areas of Ocean City, Avalon, and Stone Harbor are producing some nice tiderunners, but locations have been super tight lipped.  Soft plastics on light jig heads scented with shedder oils are producing. 

Badfish Charters in Ocean City continued to get in on the striped bass and fluke action along some of the skippers favorite flats. The striped bass have been aggressive on poppers and flies when the wind is right. With the recent weather, the crew is taking advantage to do some routine maintenance, but will be back out after the blow. 

The Cape May area was red hot for sea bass as the wrecks have been loaded with them, but unfortunately the season ended this past week. The summer flounder fishing has begun and some of DE bay reef sites are producing decent numbers of flattiesThe offshore scene has been solid for yellowfin at the southern canyons and Cape May has been a great starting point for the run. The only issue is the weather this past week, which will stir things up and keep most boats tied to the docks. Crabbing has been excellent in the back channels and along the marshes in Wildwood. The bridges are still producing small bluefish, weakfish, and the occassional striper. 

Tina Sims caught a 6.07-pound fluke to win the 25th Annual Brutus Fluke Tournament out of Somers Point.

South Jersey Fishing Forecast

The weekend weather doesn’t look promising, but there may be some small windows to hit the beaches for flounder or bluefish or use the boat in the backwaters.  I think the ocean game may not be doable until after the weekend, so it’s all bay and surf for the best bet for the weekend. Anglers looking to walk the suds, try using small 3/4 oz jigs tipped with Gulp or strip baits. Fan cast and walk the beach working small drop-offs, cuts, and sandbars to find ambushing fluke.  There have been a good number of bluefish around, so don’t forget the small metals. Bay anglers can hit the sods and marshes for bluefish or striped bass, but this is an early morning or late evening bite. Another bay option would be to work the back channels in the 8 to 15 foot ranges for fluke with jigs, Gulp, and don’t forget the live spot if you can get them. Regardless, keep your eyes on the skies as the storms may be brewing. Good Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!

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