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Weakfish in Barnegat Bay

Capt. Dave De Gennaro passed along the good news that small weakfish are now solid in Barnegat Bay — at least for those using grass shrimp for chum. Many years ago I fished with him in small boats as he worked hard to dredge those  tiny shrimp and we picked them out of the eel grass that made a mess of the boat. Now he buys the shrimp and his anglers can get right to chumming for a variety of fish such as snappers, fluke, blowfish, sharks, silver perch and tiny sea bass in addition to the targeted weaks on 6-pound spinning tackle.  He’ll be running Hi Flier from Barnegat open from Saturday to Monday. Call 732 370-5674 for info.  That’s the skipper with an above average bay weakfish below.

Dave with weakfish.jpg




Vinny D’Anton walked into a rough surf this morning at Manasquan, but switched from his Chug Bug to a bucktail and caught a 17-inch fluke. However, that was it –and he drove north until finding some mullet. After walking a lot of beach to almost noon, he ended up releasing seven  stripers, including a 27-incher on the Chug Bug.

Paul Haertel said Wednesday’s fluking on his boat out of Barnegat Inlet wasn’t good, but Bill Browne boated a personal record fluke that weighed 9 pounds at Grumpy’s in Seaside Park.

bill BROWNE 9-LB.jpg

Grumpy’s also reported that small blues and bass continue to hit small baits and lures in the morning surf, but a few little tunny were also reported at the inlet.

The only good party boat report came from Miss Belmar Princess as they had a decent jigging catch of 2-to-5-pound blues plus some bonito and little tunny — along with a Spanish mackerel.


Bluefish hitting jigs

There weren’t many reports today, but one was very encouraging as the Golden Eagle from Belmar reported their anglers caught all the blues they wanted in the 3-to-7-pound class on jigs along with a few bonito and little tunny.

Also at that port, the Big Mohawk reported the swell was finally down and fluke fishing was good with some limits and a pool fish of about 6 pounds. During the last trip, on Monday, there was a 9 3/4-pounder boated. The best action was in 70 feet. That boat will sail at 6:30 a.m. the next three days.

The Jamaica from Brielle is sailing to the canyons for tuna on Wednesday at 7 a,m, for a 31-hour trip. Some spaces are available at $400. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.  The Jamaica will be back to run Saturday’s bluefish trip at 7:30 a.m.



The Golden Eagle has one spot open on next Monday’s 31-hour tuna trip at 6:30 p.m.  Call 732 681-6144.

At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reports lots of cocktail blues up to 3-pounders that are best caught on small pieces of bunker or mullet on a fireball rig. Some are also hitting epoxy jigs and metal. Small blues are also in the bay and can be caught from local docks. Betty & Nick’s has a similar report, and lists the water temperature at 71 degrees.

The Manasquan surf looked ideal for popping plugs today, but only Vinny D’Anton managed to hook a 24-incher on his Chug Bug.  Marty, one of my readers, said he had caught a couple of fluke on a swim shad.

Finishing the NJ fluke season

It’s all over but the shouting. The N.J. fluke season only runs through Saturday, and most party boats specializing in that species took today off due to the weather forecast, but will then sail daily through Saturday for the last shots

An exception is the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. Capt. Ron Santee was discouraged by finding mostly the smallest fluke he’s ever seen over the weekend and switched to daily porgy fishing on Monday.

At Belmar, the Ocean Explorer saw a big improvement in fluking on Monday, with quite a few 4-to-7-pounders in the mix and some limits. Surprisingly, bait draggers did better than jiggers that day on a steady drift. (see photo below}

fluke -OE

Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina, weighed a 6 5/8-pound fluke caught on the Ocean Explorer by Eric Olsen — as well as a 9-pounder on Parker Pete by Bob March of Mullica Hill.

The forecast is for fishable north winds into Friday morning. The return of high pressure may turn on the bite again. Vinny D’Anton was blaming the falling pressure this morning for the lack of any action in Shark River. I had the only hit, and that was only just a tap at the end of a cast a few away from me. That was quite a difference from Sunday morning when I caught a 21-inch striper on my first cast with a 6-inch Z Man Zwimmereez — though that jinxed me for some time before I released another 21-incher.

Capt. Jim Freda, of Shore Catch Guide Service at Point Pleasant, took his mate and buddies out to the inshore pots on Sunday where they had fun catching dolphin. dolphin-Freda



I’m back

After several days without internet, I seem to be back in business.  There hasn’t been too much going on, but I’ll bring things up to date now and add a blog later with any info from today.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar hade its first canyon trip and only had a couple of yellowfin tuna in the 50-to-60-pound range — but lots of dolphin plus some jacks and buckets of squid.


Capt. Vinnie Vetere reported continued good striper fishing over the weekend with live baits from his Katfish from Great Kill. He noted the water temperature is down to 70 degrees. When it drops to 65 degrees he’ll also be trolling his Ho Jo’s. That boat is open except for Friday.

There was no good news on fluke from the Sea Hunter out of Atlantic Highlands. After finally getting out Sunday there was little action in the ocean swell, and the five keepers were caught on the way back. Monday was also just a pick of a few keepers and shorts.

Vinny D’Anton found some life in the Manasquan surf a couple of mornings ago and caught a small bass on his Chug Bug, but did nothing there that evening. I was there the following morning and couldn’t raise anything to a popper despite clean waters.





The internet strikes again!

Good evening once again to all the fishy followers of Tight Lines!

It seems that the internet gods do not want any fishing reports to be posted today as my father still has no internet.  He is working to have everything up and running by tomorrow.

Tight Lines from the Captain’s Daughter

No Post Tonight

To all the fishy followers,

My father is not going to be posting anything tonight as he is having some internet issues in New Jersey.  Have no fear, he will be back to post all your great catches tomorrow.  In the mean time, “catch-um-up”!

Tight Lines from the Captain’s Daughter

Light winds, but no boat reports

As noted in last night’s blog, several party boats were set to fish today for the first time this week. Yet, I haven’t received a single report as of almost 6 p.m.

There was hardly any wind at all when I fished Shark River from shore this morning. The usual Saturday boat traffic wasn’t any problem as I only saw the Skylarker from Belmar go through while I was there long enough to release two small stripers on a Z Man Swimmereez 6-inch jig and lost another.  Frank Manzi fished another channel and released five schoolies on a paddletail.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle now reports that they’ll resume fishing for blues at 7:30 in the morning — and will also run their first tuna trip at 4:30 p.m.

The Big Mohawk will fish for fluke Sunday and Monday at 6:30 a.m.

The hurricane is a long way south of us, and no winds over 10 knots are forecast through Monday — before a shift to south winds that night.

It’s almost over on fluke for N.J. anglers

The New Jersey fluke season closes on Sept. 22, and those fish have been getting a rest due to the big swells and northeast winds that have reduced boat fishing to almost nothing. However, that will change this weekend as the marine weather forecast has no winds over 10 knots from Saturday to Monday.

At Atlantic Highlands, the Fishermen will fish for fluke this weekend, and the Sea Hunter will wait until Sunday for an 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. trip. The Atlantic Star got in a Thursday morning trip that produced shorts in some areas, but no keepers. The Sea Tiger II got out this morning and had a similar report until a keeper was caught on the last drift of that half-day boat.

The Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands will be sailing each of the next two days for fluke at 7 a.m.

At Belmar, the Golden Eagle will be sailing Saturday for blues  (See photo below) at 7:30 am. and p.m.  They’ll also be looking for little tunny, bonito and chub mackerel during the day. The first tuna trip is on Sept. 16.

Golden Eagle blues

The Ocean Explorer will be fluking tomorrow.

The Big Jamaica from Brielle will be fishing for blues  each of the next two days and also hoping for little tunny (see photo below}.

Little tunny - JamaicaBluefish had been fairly abundant in Point Pleasant Canal, but Joe Melillo at Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant said yesterday afternoon and evening was tough.  That was still the case this morning as I cast on the end of the ebb and only caught one blue on a Z Man Swimmereez jig;  It was a bit bigger than what we’d been catching at about 5 pounds, as was the only other one I saw caught.  A couple were lost, but there were definitely fewer than we’d been seeing.

Frank Manzi got off to a slow start in Shark River this morning, but then got a shot of popper action with three larger school stripers up to a 27-incher.

At Seaside Park, both Grumpy’s and Betty & Nick’s reported the mullet run in the surf has started and that bait is in stock.

Capt. Chris De Stefano had a report from the Blue Runner, probably the hottest tuna boat this year, of an overnight trip that found none of the mid-range tuna that had been abundant plus none in the several canyons checked. They did boat a small swordfish.


Capt. Dave De Gennaro has had his tuna fishing opportunities shot down by the offshore weather, but is finding light tackle action with blowfish on Hi Flier from Barnegat.   He says weakfish are in the bay, and he’ll be fishing with grass shrimp during an open trip Monday.




Hurricane effect looking to be minor so far in NY/NJ Bight

The Jersey Shore has been blasted by large waves from previous storms for a week, but there doesn’t seem to be anything worse coming to us from Hurricane Florence. There are small craft warnings up now for hazardous seas and rough conditions at inlets, but the present east winds aren’t strong and the marine weather forecast from Saturday to Monday doesn’t include any winds over 15 knots or seas larger than five feet inshore from Saturday to Monday.

The swell on the ocean isn’t good for bottom fishing, but boaters should be able to at least try for fluke before the N.J. season closes on Sept. 22.  Capt. Ron Santee is going to give fluking a try on Saturday with his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. He had his best trip of the season last Friday, but isn’t sure if that fishing will still be there when he finally gets back to the ocean. This is the time of year when fluke head off to the edge of the continental shelf in order to spawn and overwinter out there.  Santee said he won’t “beat a dead horse” and will switch to porgy fishing if fluking isn’t worthwhile.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar is also looking forward to getting back out for blues, little tunny, bonito and chub mackerel as soon as sea conditions permit comfortable fishing.

The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant has the same plans, but is chartered on the mornings of Sept. 15 and 17.

Chub mackerel (below)


chub mackerel

Capt. Vinny Vetere reports he had to run from Great Kills to Keyport on Tuesday with his Katfish in order to get one castnet shot at bunkers for live bait. Stripers were also tougher to catch, but they still caught six up to 34 pounds.

There wasn’t much life in Shark River early this morning, though Frank Manzi got into some rolling fish just before daylight and caught two bass and a blue on a popper. Vinny D’Anton saw the same thing a bit later, but they ignored his Chug Bug. Bill Hoblitzell had blues hitting his yellow Deceiver at first light, but they kept cutting that fly off. I got there a bit late and was lucky to catch one small bass on a Z Man Swimmereez jig as I was reeling full speed to get it in for another cast. I made a move to Point Pleasant Canal and added three releases of blues in the 4-pound class on the same lure.

Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Park reports some “decent” blues were caught in the surf on mullet yesterday morning — and there were also three stripers reported from waters that are relatively clear.

Youngster caught a record dolphin

Eddie Kelly (15) of Ocean City. N.J.  may be fishing a lot of years in the future before he ever comes up with a catch like that which he caught on Lisa Marie during the Labor Day  Ocean City Marlin & Tuna Club Tournament — a 66-pound dolphin!

Not only was that a contest winner, but it also exceeds the N.J. state record of 63 pounds by Scott Smith Jr. in 1974, but also the IGFA World Junior record of 61 1/2 pounds — if all sportfishing standards were observed. It was caught on 30-pound tackle being used for white marlin.

dolphin 66 lb Eddie Kelly

I had hoped to have the first boat reports of the week this afternoon, but it appears there were none. Both the Golden Eagle and Ocean Explorer from Belmar had reported that they would be fishing today, but neither posted anything. The ocean isn’t calm, but the small craft warnings posted are just for the large swells that require caution at the inlets. Considering how relatively close Hurricane Florence is, the upcoming forecasts aren’t all that bad — including sunshine on Saturday.

Vinny D’Anton found only some very small blues in Shark River this morning, but went back in the afternoon to pick four small stripers between his Chug Bug and the Storm Searchbait jig

Point Pleasant Canal is a good bet for bluefish, but those fish can be  very fussy. They only seem to hit in spurts, and keep switching preferences.  Yesterday evening I managed one 4-pounder just before the rain started coming down hard on a Z Man Swimmereeez. but it was hard getting hits on the same lure this morning until I quickly lost two jigs to larger blues which chopped the 30-pound leader.  By going to a heavy leader and a 2-ounce Run-Off Sand Eel metal I released a 4-pounder before leaving.

I was hoping that was a solution to the problem, but when I stopped by at lunch time Joe Melillo of Castaways Tackle  in Point Pleasant had just landed a blue on plastic because they wouldn’t hit metal.  As the bite got tough again, one angler caught a blue by switching from a larger plastic to the same 4-inch Gulps we use for fluke.

Party boat skippers  are keeping an eye on ocean conditions to determine when they can get back offshore at what is normally a prime time for tuna. Below is a Big Jamaica tuna from last week.

Jamaica Sept. tuna.jpg