LONG BEACH ISLAND REGION - Although the 2019 summer flounder season in New Jersey is now closed for another year, the bottom fishermen can still fish for tog while they await the re-opening of the black sea bass season on October 8. Also, providing action on the inshore artificial reefs and inshore structure are a few porgies and scattered schools of cocktail sized bluefish.
Captain Carl Sheppard of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association took 12 members of the Smith family from Maple Shade out on the “Star Fish” for a birthday celebration. After hooking up over 20 blues in the Beach Haven inlet and Holgate area, they headed out to do some fun catch and release bottom fishing. An hour and a quarter of fishing netted 40 black bass up to 17", one lost porgy, and one fluke.
Boats trolling inshore are still picking up Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and false albacore. Boats working a little further out are picking up bonito and even some small mahi.
Captain Dave DeGennaro of Back Bay Adventures tells me that fishing has been good when he finds weather windows. He had a good trip out recently with bonito and albacore in the 20-mile range. The best part was he caught them on bait with spinning rods, no trolling. They were anchored up, slinging chum and spearing over the side.
In the bay Dave has been catching some weakfish with regularity on live grass shrimp. They aren't huge, quite a few under the 13-inch mark, but some up to 16 inches The biggest hurdle is fishing through the silver perch that invade the shrimp slick almost immediately. There are also quite a few snapper blues that are bordering on not being called snappers anymore.
Some captains have been finding bluefish and schoolie stripers around the sodbanks, especially during times of low light. Captain Alex Majewski of Light House Sportfishing reports that local keeper bass have started on the mullet run, and he knows of several fish of 28-inches.
Once the waters start to cool off, the migrations of striped bass will begin, and that will have everyone excited. In addition, large bluefish will be making their way down the coast to provide some hectic action.
Andy Tonnesen from Tony’s Bait and Tackle in Manahawkin tells me the bay waters are loaded with small blues along with small bass and some decent size weakfish. He adds the blowfish are still going strong in Manahawkin and Barnegat Bays with crabbing also a good bet.
The folks at Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven report plenty of small bluefish in the surf on LBI along with some kingfish and even a few small stripers.
Anyone with questions or fishing reports is welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.