LONG BEACH ISLAND REGION — The Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Junior Mate Reef Project was started just one year ago, and it has already been embraced and supported by the local fishing and business community. Association president Captain John Lewis proudly stated, “Our fundraising to date has been greater than anyone would have anticipated.”

To date $160,000 has been raised in cash and matching funds, some $60,000 more than the original goal. At this point the delivery of a 140-foot barge, a 52-foot crew boat and a 45-foot tugboat are expected to be deployed on the Little Egg Reef very shortly. This will be paid for with funds raised by the Junior Mates combined with dollar for dollar matching funds from the Ann E. Clark foundation and the Sport Fishing Fund, long time financiers of artificial reefs in New Jersey.

A second project is also close to fruition. A pair of 210-foot scows are being eyed that can have concrete rubble loaded in them giving them much more fish attracting habitat. These would greatly increase the amount of material to be used with one on the Little Egg Reef and the other on the Garden State South. At this point the $60,000 remaining from the first project will cover most of the cost with another $20,000 needing to be raised.

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The reefs off the coast of Long Beach Island are the most underdeveloped artificial reefs in the state. The mates are continuing their fund-raising activities, and Captain Lewis notes the BHCFA is a registered non-profit organization and accepts donations. He can be contacted at Captjohn22@comcast.net

Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom reports the offshore tuna and shark fishing is ready to kick into high gear. Chuck Snyder posted a recent report noting that on his first trip 77 miles offshore they caught 7 bluefin, 3 yellowfin, two skipjack, and lost a white marlin at the side of the boat. Fish Heads adds the bay has a lot to offer with fluke, bluefish, stripers, blowfish, weakfish, and black drum around. On the beach they have even heard of some keeper fluke showing up.

Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven passed along the word that Richard Sherman caught some blues and kingfish on the beach.

Andy at Tony’s Bait and Tackle in Manahawkin reports small bluefish appearing on the South Jetty in Barnegat Light. He recommends the clam stakes in Great Bay for fluke along with the waters in the sedges off Beach Haven and Tuckerton in addition to High Bar Harbor at the north end of LBI. Anglers are also reporting fluke and blowfish around the Causeway.

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” has been running daily trips fishing the waters of lower Barnegat Bay as well as some of the inshore wrecks. Some days he guides two half-day trips. He estimates that his parties are catching 25-40 flatties per trip with 3-6 keepers per day.

Captain Steve Purul of “Reel Fantasea Sportfishing” has been fishing the Barnegat Inlet area both in the bay and some inshore ocean structure. He reports catching a variety of fish in particularly good numbers. On his wreck trips he is doing well on large black sea bass and ling. In the inlet he is catching good numbers of stripers despite heavy boat traffic at times. In the bay he is working hard for a decent fluke bite with a few keepers every trip.

Anyone with questions or fishing reports is welcome to contact me at jamesghutch1@aol.com.