Southern New Jersey Fishing Report- September 14, 2023

Spanish mackerel and albies are in the surf of IBSP, blowfish pave the back bays, and weakfish are peppered in with backwater schoolie stripers.

Well, it had to happen sooner or later as Hurricane Lee has put the kibosh on the offshore and inshore fishing during the end of this week.  The beaches will be experiencing wave heights to 10 feet which makes for great swells in the ocean and nice surfing conditions for our Kelly Slater types.  Bottom fishing might take a few days to recover due to the increased wave action as it usually stirs up the bottom sand and sediment.  It’s a shame as the fluke fishing has been off the charts and so has the yellowfin and mahi.  I would think the mahi and yellowfin fishing should recover better than the ground-fish, so begin hunting those as soon as it calms down.  Additionally, there were some great catches of triggerfish and some nice tog off the wrecks.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Here is this week’s rundown: 

Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River had some reports of bluefish, spanish mackerel and false albacore off Island Beach State Park.  Small metals and bucktails are working the best for these fish.  Fluke are still around off the beaches with some fish being up to 20 inches.  Anglers are seeing lots of bait both in the front and back with schools of mullet and peanut bunker.  

Creekside Outfitters in Waretown reported a solid week in the ocean if anglers could get out and dodge the storms.  Ocean limits of fluke have been easy for most anglers working the reef site wrecks.  Bay side fishing has slowed down tremendously on the fluke front, but puffers and juvenile sea bass are hanging from the “BB” to the “42” tripod marker.  The shop reported excellent crabbing in the bay side ahead of the September moons.

Creekside Outfitters in Watertown shared this photo of some mahi caught close to home by Jake Rupee and Brad Larrison. (@creekside_outfitters)

Reel Reaction Sportfishing out of Waretown has been boxing 4 and 5 man limits of fluke in the ocean to 7 pounds, but the issue as of late has been the unpredictable weather.  Bay trips have been focusing on blowfish and anglers have been keeping up to 50 in the 8 to 12 inch range.  The skipper is booking striped bass and tog trips for the Fall, so give them a call. 

The Super Chic out of Barnegat Light worked the 50 to 80 foot depths for fluke at some of the skipper’s choice spots.  The boat additionally has been taken some nice yellowfin at the areas just before the canyons. 

Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin reported a solid bite just before the Toms canyon for yellowfin up to 80 pounds.  Meanwhile, the canyon pots are absolutely peppered with mahi, so bring plenty of minnows and peanut bunker.  Anglers working the ocean were scoring on quality fluke, but Lee’s swell has shut that down for at least the weekend.  The bay has some fluke at the southern inlet of LBI, as well off the beaches. Bayside blowfishing has been good around the bridges and south of Ship Bottom off the main channels.  Crabbing continues to be excellent for big jimmies around the marshes.

Tackle Direct in Egg Harbor City had slower reports from the bays on flounder action, but the back channels and marshes have been hot on large white perch on bloodworms and Fishbites.  Surf action was better for rays, kingfish, and croakers on rigs tipped with squid and bloodworms.  There were lots of great reports from the canyons as September has been epic on mahi, yellowfin, and bigeye.  There was word of some nice bluefin caught north of Barnegat Inlet and off of Seaside taping out to 90 inches.  

Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Somers Point had some nice reports of yellowfin and mahi from the canyons and wahoo from the southern depths.  Flounder fishing continued its solid bite at the reefs and some of the deeper wrecks as they continue to migrate eastward.  Bayside action has been spotty with some night time action on weakfish to 6 pounds and short striped bass. 

Badfish Charters in Ocean City continued to work the bay waters as the striped bass fishing has slowly become better on resident schoolies. The skipper has also been picking up weakfish during the early evening tides and Capt. Brian said there are some dates remaining for September and October.

Captain Brian Williams of Badfish Charters in Ocean City shared this photo of a tide runner weakfish he caught while jigging soft plastics at night. (@captbrianwilliams)

The Cape May area had excellent reports of yellowfin and mahi at the canyons, and it’s been almost a guarantee for boxes full of mahi.  Wahoo and even a few barracuda were landed just shy of the Wilmington.  Inshore action has been stellar on deep water fluke and spanish mackerel for anglers trolling the midshore areas.  The beaches are alive with croaker, spot, and some flounder being caught off the Cape May and Delaware Bay surf.  I spoke to a few captains who said the fluke fishing has been very good from 15 to 22 miles out, but time will tell how “Lee” affects it. 

South Jersey Fishing Forecast

The best bet for the weekend will be to work the southern New Jersey back bays for fluke, tog, blowfish, or crabsCrabbing around the marshes in 4 to 6 foot of water with traps or hand-lines tipped with bunkerFresh is best when it comes to baits, but frozen is a close secondIf fluke or tog is the preferred choice, hit the local inlets on the flood tides as these will be the optimal time for both speciesLarge gulp baits and strips of squid are perfect on a bucktail worked along the rocks, pilings or bridgesToggers can find alot of action during this time of year, so bring plenty of baits3 or more dozen green crabs is not out of the question for an hour or two of fishing as there are tons of shorts and juvenile sea bass aroundSimiliarly, pack the cooler with extra chum and clams for northern puffers as the sea bass, grunts, and spots can be downright annoyingGood Luck, Be Safe, and Tight Lines!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *