Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina thinks this year’s fluke fishing is better than last year’s so far. The party boats are doing well enough in the ocean with fluke up to 9 pounds, and his rental skiffs and private boats are finding plenty of keepers in Shark River. Ben Green of Ocean Township limited up to 22 inches. Shane Mahler of Croyden, Pa. limited to 7 pounds, and Brenda Kreitz from Gilbertsville, Pa. also had a 7-pound fluke. Matthews notes that sea bass are biting offshore, and the two-fish limits are easy to come by. Small stripers are in the surf, and small blues have been coming into the inlets the last few days. Cownose rays are showing up. Though I haven’t seen any in the surf so far, Matthews said Marty Westerfield and Jesse Thomas fought a big one in Shark River from Jesse’s boat for a long time before getting the release.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar couldn’t find any bluefish today, and went to sea bass fishing for a boat limit of two per man. Miss Belmar Princess went right to sea bass and had plenty of action with shorts and keepers. The Big Mohawk had picky fluking, though there were some limits plus sea bass. The pool fluke was about 7 pounds. They are chartered on Wednesday, but sailing at 6 a.m. other days this week.
At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. Rob Semkewyc said he had better fluking today on his Sea Hunter, but it still wasn’t good by his standards. Capt. Ron Santee had great wind and tide conditions to start with on his Fishermen, but a long ride to get a lengthy drift didn’t work out. After that it was a pick as the conditions were never good again. Some fares got two or three keepers up to a 5-pounder, but there were relatively few shorts. Capt. Ron Sr. is almost always high hook, but couldn’t come up with a keeper while fishing next to a fare who limited.
A big offshore swell created a somewhat rough surf, and that was complicated at Belmar by lots of weed in the water after the NE wind. Vinny D’Anton managed a 22-inch striper on his Chug Bug, but that was all we could catch through the weed. A move south to fish with sand fleas produced some action with small stripers that made my 23-incher look big.
Allen Riley of South Plainfield fished the Sandy Hook surf with Gulp in ideal conditions, but never had a hit in waters that had cooled.