LONG BEACH ISLAND REGION - The end to the 2019 summer flounder season in New Jersey is drawing near with the final day this Saturday, September 21. Predicted strong winds will roil the ocean up for most of the rest of the week and likely mean a slow finish to the season.

I fished the Little Egg Reef with fishing buddies Joe Hummel and Dave Rinear last week, and we returned to the dock with five keepers up to 21-inches. It was noteworthy that there were only three undersized fish in addition to the fish that went into the box.

Andy Tonnesen at Tony’s Bait and Tackle in Manahawkin reports that Barnegat Inlet has a mix of stripers and bluefish with the blues ranging from 1-8 pounds being caught on bucktails and metal. The stripers are going for live bait and surface lures. Andy adds that there are still blowfish around in Barnegat and Manahawkin Bays along with small stripers on artificials around the Causeway bridges. Now that the full moon is over, the blue claw crabs are showing up in force again.

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Several days ago, Captain Brett Taylor had a group out for a 5-hour ocean fluke charter. They first worked some snags and tugs to produce a bunch of short fluke, a pair of keepers to 23-inches, and a few sea bass that were thrown back. Once the wind kicked up. The bite shut off.

Captain Steve Purul of Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters was reflecting on the summer’s action and raved about the tons of light tackle action with so many species of fish this year. He added that the bay is loaded with a variety of species such as blowfish, king fish, seabass, porgies, puppy drum and others. He is offering fishing action for all levels of anglers from beginner to advanced with stripers, bluefish, and weakfish around also. 

The folks at Fisherman’s Headquarters report that the Long Beach Island surf offers fluke, kingfish and blues. They heard of a couple of resident striped bass around in addition to two separate pompano reports off the surf this past week.  They have reports from the north end of LBI both bayside and inlet. There are lots of out of season sea bass eating baits, and “Jetty Jockey Jeff” got an 11-pound sheepshead and a 3.6-pound trigger on the same day.

Greg is encouraging surf anglers to sign up for the annual Long Beach island Surf Fishing Classic. This is the 65th year of the tournament. He recommends signing up now to take advantage of the early sign up goodies while they are still available. It starts in just a couple of weeks.

The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are excited to welcome Captain Nick Perello to full membership in the BHCFA. Nick has become the first junior mate to rise through the ranks. He will be chartering his family boat, “Pension Plan,” out of Morrison’s Marina. Nick has also assumed the position of secretary, replacing Captain Carl Sheppard who is the new vice-president. Congratulations Nick and best of luck in your fishing endeavors.

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