LONG BEACH ISLAND REGION -- While the fishing may not be quite as hot as our weather has been recently, the action is strong enough to please most anglers. The biggest complaint I have heard is the difficulty in catching keeper fluke while having to release so many short fish.

Andy Tonnesen at Tony’s Bait and Tackle in Manahawkin tells me there is an abundance of small fluke in both Oyster Creek and Double Creek Channels just inside Barnegat Inlet. He adds those with patience are able to pick off a few keepers among the throwbacks. In the same area and around the Barnegat Inlet and Barnegat Bay buoys, boaters are anchoring up and chumming up some nice size blowfish.

Andy added that bluefish ranging from a half pound to almost a pound are in Barnegat Inlet while the reef sites are producing a few keeper fluke. He feels the best inshore fisher right now is trolling spoons and/or feathers for bluefish, bonito, king mackerel and Spanish Mackerel on both the north and south Barnegat Ridges. Night anglers surf fishing on Long Beach Island are using bunker, mackerel and bluefish for sandbar and sand tiger sharks.

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The folks at Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven report that despite the hot weather there is a good kingfish bite in the surf along with fluke. They have hopes that most of the big rays have moved on as there are not as many reports now as there were. In the bay, their customers are catching fluke along with a few weakfish.

The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association have been reporting good results in both the bay and ocean waters. The “Starfish,” under the captainship of Carl Sheppard, has been finding some very good action on the inshore reefs and structure. On July 15, the Howell family had an action-filled day of bottom fishing. A calm day produced non-stop action on black sea bass. The crew caught more than 40 fish with six large keeper sea bass and a ling for dinner. Another group caught more than 50 fish and kept 19 bluefish, one Spanish mackerel, and four black sea bass. A good number of short flounder were caught and released.

Captain Alex Majewski of Light House Sportfishing reports the ocean water along the surf is in the low to mid 70’s but on the bottom, it is still under 60. Captain Alex is working the bay waters for tons of short fluke with some keepers in the mix. He is finding small bluefish in the inlet and five-pound blues close to structure. Captain Alex ran his first shark trip of the season and came up empty handed. He is looking forward to his next trip as he usually can bring several big toothy critters to the boat.

Captain John Lewis of the “Insatiable” reports a good week of fishing with a nice variety of fish to keep the rods bending. In addition to small sharks and sea robins that excite the younger anglers, he has been catching black sea bass to 15-inches, fluke to 22-inches, loads of bluefish, and a few Spanish mackerel. He feels the fishing is improving daily.

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing reports catching upward of 40 fluke a day in the bay. Of those numbers, his anglers are catching four to six keepers a day. He credits his new trolling motor as essential to his success.

I got a notice from the state that the striped bass bonus program will occur once again this fall. It will reopen on September 1, 2019. Applications for individuals are now being accepted through October 31. To obtain registration information visit https://www.njfishandwildlife.com/bonusbas.htm?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery With stories of new striped bass regulations, this could be the last year for the bonus program for a while.  

Anyone with questions or fishing reports can contact me at jamesghutch1@aol.com/.


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