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18-inch fluke now being referred to as “keepers”

With the new fluke regs in place for New Jersey, description of the catch has changed. It’s the slot fish between 17 and 18 inches which are providing most of the catch, but they are being referred to as slots while the “keeper” designation is reserved for the one of 18 inches or more which is part of the legal bag. There are a couple of exceptions to the fluke. rules. The limit in Delaware Bay is three at a 17-inch minimum. Surfcasters at Island Beach State Park can catch two 16-inchers plus one at 18 inches or more.

The Sea Tiger II from Atlantic Highlands had a boat limit of keepers on the Tuesday morning trip as well as some slots and shorts.

The Fishermen from that port is sticking with striper fishing , but Tuesday morning was poor with a lack of readings — though there was a shot of surface action. Capt. Ron Santee took a day off due to the rain forecast but will be back at it tomorrow — as will the Golden Eagle from Belmar.

The Mimi VI from Pt. Pleasant is making some special open by reservation trips this month, including bottom fishing on May 9, 13 and 14. Call 732 370-8019.

The marine forecast is for north winds at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 before dropping to 5-10 in the afternoon.

New bluefin tuna regs

The NMFS has issued bluefin tuna regulations that will provide anglers with a shot at reasonable landings from expensive offshore trips.


Those boaters with Angling category permits will be able to boat two school bluefins from 27 to less than 47 inches plus one large school or small medium from 47 to less than 73 inches.

The Charter category provides three school tuna plus one large school or small medium. Headboats are allowed six school tuna and two of the mediums.

These regs become effective on May 6. It’s too bad they weren’t posted earlier, because the Jamaica from Brielle was “pestered” by school bluefins during their first tilefish trip on April 23. They were only allowed to keep one at that time and had to release others that hit diamond jigs and tilefish rigs. The Jamaica was also covered up by dogfish on that trip before making a move. A few fluke also had to be released after being hooked in the canyon depths. Call 732 528-5014 for info on upcoming tilefish trips.

Opening day fluking was better than expected on the half-day Sea Tiger II from Atlantic Highlands. One angler even managed a limit with two slots and one over 18 inches.

Bob Mathews reports from Fisherman’s den in Belmar Marina that the slot is producing legal fluke on his rental boats as well as for anglers casting from the L Street pier/

There is a 70% chance of showers tonight. They may continue into the morning, but winds tomorrow are only predicted to be northeast at 5-10 knots.

Fluke season opens in NJ without a report

I’m sure it was a different situation in South Jersey, but I didn’t get any reports today as the NJ season opened today.

Northern waters remain cold, but there should be action drifting off the Bug Light to the Coast Guard Station in Sandy Hook Bay. Tomorrow’s forecast of northeast winds at 5-10 knots is fine for that on the flood.

Nick from Monmouth County reported that he fished his local surf Saturday morning without a hit on clams and jumbo bloodworms — but went back Sunday in the light east wind as worms produced stripers of 33, 27 and 25 inches plus two schoolies.

Stripers tougher today

After good reports Saturday, it looked promising in good weather today for Raritan Bay area stripers. However, the results didn’t meet expectations.\

Capt. Ron Santee didn’t find readings where he had them yesterday on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands, and only got into some bass at another spot that looked better. A couple of “big girls” were also released. Santee noted that the boat traffic was the worst he’s seen in his long career.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported reading lots of stripers, but they weren’t hitting and not enough were caught for the crowd aboard.

Striper bite on in fine weather

Striper reports were good today, and if you can handle northeast winds at 5 knots that should be a good bet for Sunday before showers start in the evening.

Capt. Ron Santee got off to a slow start with only one short despite good readings until the tide turned and fishing exploded. Bass up to 30 inches were all caught on shads aboard the Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported a hot start with bass blasting bunkers on the surface — and fishing held up during the day. The Jamaica from Brielle was also into fine striper action. Those planning to fish in the morning better get to the boats early.

It seems too early to be fluke fishing, but this is when it’s best in South Jersey. They got their wish for an early opening on May 2. Keepers will be easier to come by with two slot fluke of 17 to 17.99 inches allowed plus just one over 18 inches. Anglers who are interested only in big fluke are upset about being restricted only to a single fluke.

Winds drop for weekend

Calm, mild weather should prevail this weekend.

The forecast for Saturday is northwest at 5-10 knots plus a few gusts to 20 before dropping to northeast at 5 knots on Sunday.

The best bet should be the Raritan Bay stripers, though blackfish seem to be feeding well before the NJ season ends after tomorrow. Joe Tomaszewski and friends had a four-man limit today despite the wind. Nothing big, but lots of action.

The NJ fluke season opens on May 2 with new controversial slot regulations. More about that tomorrow.

Weekend fishing looking good

After one more day of hard northwest winds they will be dropping down to provide anglers with calm seas and fine fishing conditions.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar is cancelling the Friday trip, but everything looks fine from Saturday to Monday for striper fishing. The blackfish boats from Belmar can fish in northwest winds, and they will be working hard to catch tog before the N.J. season closes at the end of Saturday afternoon.

The marine forecast is for NW winds at 15-20 knots with gusts to 25 on Friday before dropping down during the night.

Capt. Jim Freda reported great surface striper action in Raritan Bay as large stripers were blasting bunkers despite the chilly 47 to 52 degree water temperatures.

Phil Sciortino Jr. at the Tackle Box in Hazlet says no bait is needed in the bay if you cast this lure after soaking it in Tackle Box Bunker Oil.

Lots of NW wind coming

Capt. Ron Santee is cancelling the next two days on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands due to forecasts of northwest gusts to 30 knots which will make Raritan Bay striper fishing tough. Santee tried it today and only had a brief morning bite. In fact it was a one customer bite as Leif caught five of the 8 bass taken all day. The afternoon tide change didn’t produce.

The Ocean Explorer from Belmar has a Coast Guard inspection tomorrow.

They had action Monday with short blackfish plus some keepers and cod. Sea bass are already showing.