Southern New Jersey Fishing Report- June 29, 2023

There's good fluke fishing in the surf and near-shore reef sites, weakfish eat live spot in back bay channels, and schoolie stripers roam the inlets and backwaters.

Jim, of Creekside Outfitters in Waretown, caught this 8-pound, 12-ounce fluke earlier in the week. Great catch!

It was a tough week in terms of the weather and storms, especially for pelagic anglers looking to box a few yellowfin in the canyonsThe weather and winds kept most boats at the dock during the early part of the weekThe inshore scene started to heat up as the reef sites from Point Pleasant to Cape May produced good numbers of keeper flukeMany of the local shops said its been a better bite in the ocean and that should hopefully continue as the ocean temperatures warmSurf fishing continues to be good for fluke, blues, and the occasional striped bassWhile bayside fishing remains solid in most areas and crabbing continues to get betterThere was some word of bluefin tuna showing up at the nearshore ridges over the past few days.

Here is this week’s rundown: 
Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River had a few bass to 32 inches caught off Island Beach State Park on mackerel and bunker.  Fluke fishing has been good off the beaches on light bucktails and jigs tipped with Gulp.  Boaters have been running to the Axel and the Seaside Pipe to find keepers to 7 pounds.  Crabbing took a dip with the heavy rains, but should rebound this upcoming week. 

Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported a good fluke bite from the “BI” to the “BB” on fluke bellies and live minnows.  The finger jetty area around the lighthouse also produced fish from 7 to 10 pounds.  The main channels have been on the quieter side for fluke.  Small striped bass and bluefish have been frequenting the inlet, especially with the cooler water from the incoming tides.  The offshore bite has produced yellowfin at the canyons, while the nearshore ridges have been frequented by bluefin tuna.  Surf fisherman along Long Beach Island are picking up short to keeper fluke in the surf along with some bluefish to 20 inches.

Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown has been busy throughout the past week running fluke trips twice a day.  Most of the trips have been releasing 30 to 40 fluke while keepers have ranged from 3 to 8 per charter.  The crew will continue to work the bay, but the ocean charters are on the horizon. 

The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light has been working the ocean for fluke and catching some bluefish around Barnegat Inlet.  The boat will be sailing for fluke inshore and tuna offshore in the coming weeks. 

Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin reported Manahawkin Bay crabbing has picked up with some outstanding catches from folks putting in their time.  Bluefish up to six pounds have been reported from anglers fishing Barnegat Bay around Gulf Point & Marshelder channel in Little Egg Harbor.  Back bay fluking still solid in Great Bay & Barnegat Bay, especially around the inlets for bigger fish.  The LBI surf is starting to produce some sharks on whole bunker or mackerel.  

Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City said the offshore tuna bite has started at the canyons with a good number of fish being caught at the Baltimore, Wilmington, and Spencer.  The inshore bite has been a different story with lower numbers of bluefin, but a good number of thresher sharks.  The summer flounder bite has started at the reef sites with the Ocean City, Townsends, and Atlantic City reef producing a good number of keepers.  The bay bite has been slower on the keeper front, but there has been a fair number of shorts.  Some of the bridges are starting to produce sheepshead on jigs tipped with fiddler crabs. 

Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point received a fresh batch of shedder crabs which have been lights out for quality fluke to 5 pounds and weakfish.  The deeper channels and holes produced some nice weakfish this past week.  Anglers fishing live spot have been finding better fish.  The reef sites are starting to produce some keeper fluke on bucktails tipped with squid and spearing. 

Badfish Charters in Ocean City has been mixing it up with schoolie striped bass and some nice fluke to 5 pounds.  This past week one of his charters released a solid 6 pound fluke, so kudos to his client for the release.  The skipper has dates left in July, so give him a ring. 

The Cape May area reported a red hot bite at the Cape May and Wildwood reef sites with a good number of keepers being landed.  Three to six ounce bucktails or jig heads tipped with squid and Gulp produced the best numbers of keeper fluke.  Meanwhile, the offshore bite was slower this week as many boats stayed dockside due to the weather.  Boats were running to the Spencer canyons and finding good numbers of yellowfin.  Bayside action has flounder, weakfish, and small bluefish hitting jigheads tipped with Gulp.  The night bite for sharks was good off the beaches over the past week with some browns and sand tigers safely released.  The Fortascue area still has some keeper striped bass on live blood worms. 

South Jersey Fishing Forecast

The best bet for the weekend will be the beaches a shot if you’re a non-boater as the surf zone has been pretty solid for a variety of species.  Fluke, bluefish, weakfish, and striped bass to a lesser extent have been very active.  A simple 3/4oz bucktail or jig-head tipped with small strip baits or Gulp are perfect for these speciesBring small metals for bluefish and look for small bird activity such as terns hovering over the water.  Boat anglers should look to hit the nearest artificial reef sites for fluke, and it seems the bite has definitely improved in the ocean over the past week.  Anglers working bucktails tipped with large pieces of Gulp found some quality fish to 7 poundsBayside anglers also have plenty of options with crabbing, fluke, and night-time bridge fishingThe bridges are a great place to work artificials during the night tides for bluefish, weakfish, and schoolie stripers or drop fiddler crabs during the day for sheepsheadA few of the shops are starting to hear of sheepshead being landed, so theres another option for the weekendGood Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines! 

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