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Fluking ends in NJ with a whimper, but blues hit jigs

The New Jersey fluke season closed tonight, and I didn’t get a single report bragging about the last day.

Indeed, the only fluke report I could find was from the Ocean Explorer out of Belmar. They had tough drifting conditions with the one-day northwester, but managed to pick some fluke up to a 6-pounder after a lot of hard work. They switch to porgies and blackfish tomorrow.

That will also be the case with Elaine B. II from Bahrs in Highlands. Capt. Stan Zagleski found last year at this time that his regulars were willing to catch-and-release blackfish except for the one allowed. That’s what he’ll be doing at 7 a.m. daily.

There was continuing good news from the bluefish fleet. Both the Golden Eagle from Belmar and the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant reported good jigging for 2-to-5-pound blues plus some little tunny.

I took a ride up to Deal this morning because stripers had been on mullet in the surf there yesterday, but the regulars were leaving as I arrived since there were no mullet in the area. I decided to give Point Pleasant Canal a try for blues despite the boat traffic, but this “black cloud” arrived 15 minutes after a flurry of 5-pound blues.

The Seaside Park tackle shops report more mullet showing up in the surf, and continued good morning action on bait and small lures for small blues and bass.

Light east winds are forecasted for Sunday before stronger east winds at the start of the week.

Last day for NJ fluke, but jigging blues the best bet

The N.J. fluke season ends on Saturday, and several boats will be making a last effort though fluking has been generally tough. In several cases there are big seasonal pools still up for grabs, and the Big Mohawk from Belmar proved there’s still a possibility for a big fluke when a 10.1-pound doormat was boated this week. Ocean conditions should be better tomorrow with a brief shift to northwest before returning to east winds.

The Belmar boats had decent ocean fluking this week, but it’s been tougher to the north. Capt. Rob Semkewyc had taken a few days off with his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, but found only shorts today under poor conditions. He will make the last effort tomorrow before taking some time off and then switching to striped bass.

The best bet seems to be jigging for bluefish. The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported plenty of 2-to-5-pounders today along with some bonito. The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant said they had their best bluefishing of the season plus some bonito and little tunny.

The Jamaica from Brielle will be sailing for those species at 7:30 a.m., before a 22-hour  tuna trip departing at  5 p.m. There are some spaces available at $335. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.

Capt. Chris Di Stefano has had reports of continued hot white marlin fishing in the Hudson Canyon area.

Mullet are moving out of the rivers, and providing an attraction for stripers, though it’s been picky so far. Vinnie D’Anton released a couple on a Chug Bug this morning north of Asbury Park, but stayed with a school of mullet all morning that never produced after that. Jim Louro of Spring Lake also plugged a striper and a cocktail blue. I cast at Belmar and only hooked lots of floating weed.

Jim Hutchinson Sr. reports for Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association that small blues are becoming common in that area and providing action along with some bonito, little tunny and Spanish mackerel.


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.