The New Jersey summer flounder season will be ending on Tuesday, September 5. It appears that the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association will be catching their share right up to the final bell.
Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” boasts “the fishing has been on fire aboard the “Irish Jig.” He has been fishing the local lumps and reefs to fill the coolers. He has had seasoned fishermen and families with children alike having great success while enjoying their trips.
Captain John Lewis of the “Insatiable” reports strong fluke fishing with double digit catches each day. The keeper ratio varies from day to day, but they find fish to take home every trip. The Prigge family caught their share of fluke in addition to sea bass, bluefish, dog fish, sea robins, and two surprises-a squid and a brown shark that was over three feet long.
Captain Dave Kreines of the “Byte Me” had a pair of fluke trips recently. He had the Pelenski family out to the Little Egg reef for a half day of non-stop action with fluke, two keepers, Fluke and Sea Robins. Two days later, the O’Briens – grandfather, father, and daughter- started out in the inlet where they found a couple of shorts, and then ran out to the Little Egg reef for a slow but steady pick of Fluke resulting in a pair of keepers along with the ever present Sea Robins.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.net.
Now that Gert passed and the swell has faded out things are getting back to the normal summertime shuffle. But keep an eye out! There are tropical systems staging up. Earlier this week reports from anglers had the same main characters and scene. Fluke, blues and tuna as well as some others assisting the summertime fishing fun. Here’s an update on the Long Beach Island fishing.
Fluke fishing in the bay, inlet and the ocean is a good bet. Many anglers moved on and aren’t targeting the bay; however, there’s some nice fish that have yet to leave. Ryan Magee sent us this thank you message, “Thanks guys for fixing my fishing rod. I was able to get back out there and find some fish!” Ryan sent in this photo of a nice fluke and said, ” My elbow is fractured but atlas the wrist still works. I found some nice fish like this one as well as a five pounder. Shallow water fishing in the back bay is very productive. I’m doing better there than out front.”
Recent reports from the reefs and wrecks aren’t what they were; however good fishing is available. Those keying in on the right spots and actively fishing bucktails and/or live bait are outproducing. Many locations have anglers battling through sea robins and sea bass. Work through it and reap the reward!
Grey Coleston caught a 28″ 7.5 pound fluke off the North End surf. He got three keepers offering strong evidence there’s fluke are hanging along the Island’s surf.
While on the topic of land based fluke fishing from the shores of LBI… Steve George starred this post recently, “I’ve been throwing a lot of undersized fluke back this summer. Best part! I enjoy tagging them and have already received return data submitted on recaptures. They are healthily moving around and fattening up! It’s going to be interesting to see them grow up and if they will return to the same locations.”
We got word about redfish in the bay. Yup! REDFISH!!! Some of the shop staff got direct reports from friends who caught and released more than one. It would be interesting what a morning flats session might turn up.
Brown sharks and sand tigers are consistently plentiful in the local waters. Shark fishing off the surf and in the bay continues to be very good.
Tog fishing the inlet rocks is steady but keepers are hard to find. Those targeting them are having a blast with these quick and hard hitting fish. Also present… triggerfish and sheepshead. Mike Greene sent in this photo of a nice 25″ sheepshead he caught the other night.
On Tuesday before Gert’s ground swell arrived, store staffer Dan D. fished with Captain Jeff Warford on the mid shore tuna grounds. Captain Jeff said, “The weather was beautiful and the fishing was on fire!” The crew beat up on the tuna (both bluefin and yellowfin) trolling, chunking, jigging and they even had the fish on top! Dan reported, “Incredible feed with fish up to 65 pounds. The Ron-Z lures were again the MVP! Tuna absolutely love to eat them like candy. We’ve been on this body of fish for over a month now. It’s awesome they are now staged up and feedings on the 30 line close to come. Looking forward to the end of summer action.” Dan got out again today after the Gert well dropped out. He reported green water slid into the area where they previously caught, “There’s fish there just not on the chew like they were. We got into some mahi-mahi which made the trip.”
Anyone that has seen me present / teach either at a seminar or during my Fishing Barnegat Bay classes have heard me talk about the 3 Ts to successful saltwater fishing. The 3 Ts are temperature; tide; and technique. Although you only truly have control of the last T it is with knowledge and experience that you work the other two to your advantage. After a truly epic July bluefish fishery around Barnegat Inlet seemed to come to an end it took a major rebound Saturday morning. The last two weeks my client or I have had to work hard to land a few blues. Even while seeing them surfing waves, swimming around or following lures they just were not in the mood to feed. Some thought it might be due to them spawning, however, any of the fish kept did not the signs of a fish ready to spawn. I thought it was the water was too warm as some studies show adult bluefish do not feed as actively when the temperature approaches 74. Well, Friday’s strong southerlies were the spark to start the flame. It caused an upwelling dropping the inshore water temperature by 6-7 deg F to around 69. Around sun up Saturday morning the bluefish bite returned with a vengeance. Baits spraying, birds diving and some swirls and breaks made it obvious the feed bags were on. My first cast of a Savage Gear Panic Popper was rewarded with a tail slap and an explosion of a 6-pound blue. I landed around 10 before calling it a session. I do not think I have ever seen so many blues jump as frequently as of late. My suspension is they are well fed and the temperature is in their preferred range.
After hopping off the Debbie M I hoped on board a 33’ Stamas with twin 250’s to guide the owner and some kids to the waters of Barnegat Bay and Inlet and do a little fishing. Although we did not have the best tide we had some good action with short fluke. Switching gears we searched for some weakies and found some spikes to keep the kids smiling. Zack managed a Barnegat Bay slam of fluke, weakfish, and bluefish. This is about the 10th Slam I have put a client on this year. Still have a few slots open for this week whether it is fluke, blues, weaks, sharks and maybe a bass give me a call.
Did a combo trip (off the beach sharking – bay/inlet) Thursday with long time client Bill Hirschberg, his 15-year-old son James and his friend Matt. It was a little bumpy going to where I want to start chumming, but being only a few miles from the inlet and off the beach we made it there in no time. With chum bucket over I started baiting the rods and setting them out. Before I got the third rod out we had a 3’ brown shark swim up the slick right the chum. Pitching a bait it was a swing and a miss but that was fine since a few minutes later there was another shark swimming up to the plate. Pitching the bait, it was a swing and a hit! The first of 6 sharks was hooked up. It was a cute little guy. Yes I know it was a male shark based on the presences of claspers. Most of the sharks were sand bar sharks (aka brown) with the biggest an estimated 40 pounds, but at least one was a Dusky shark (pictured below). A Dusky on a Dusky. Brown and Dusky sharks look very similar. If the first dorsal fin originates over or slightly before free tips of pectoral fins free edge, as seen in the picture, it is a Dusky. If the first dorsal fin originates over or slightly before the pectoral fin insertion it is a Brown. Friday afternoon Larry Hrebiniak and his son Justin were out for a bay fluke trip. With the south wind honking conditions were tough, even in the wind breaks. Fluking was slow with only a few shorts and a fat blue of 10 pounds or more. With summer winding down you have to ask yourself “have I fished enough this summer?’ If the answer is no, I still have a few dates open 😉
This is a great stretch of fishing we are experiencing right now. On the inshore scene we are catching brown and blacktip sharks within five miles of Barnegat Inlet. Three to five foot sharks on spinning and light conventional tackle. After a few hours of that, we have been hammering the fluke in the bay. A very high percentage of small fish with some really nice keepers making it into the cooler. You have to catch 30 shorts to put one on ice, but it is steady action.
If you want to go on an adventure, the tuna have moved within 45 miles of the inlet and the upcoming weather for Sunday and Monday looks good. Yellowfin and bluefin mixed together. 20 to 60 pound fish on the troll, chunk, or jig. This is the closest they have come to our inlet all season. We are going to load the boat with slabs of bait, the trolling arsenal, jigging rods and come home with some tuna!
Tomorrow (Thurs), Friday, and Saturday, August 17, 18, and 19, I am going to stay close to shore as there is still some sea condition in the forecast. We will be doing the shark and fluke combo. If the inlet or ocean is too rough, we will just stay on the fluke. Open Boat or Charter, Noon to 6 PM. $175 person for the combo trip, $150 person if we just fluke.
Sunday and Monday, August 20 and 21, we will be headed to the bluewater for tuna. Open Boat or Charter. Leaving at 4AM and returning around 4PM. $300 person.
All Open Boat trips, inshore or offshore, are limited to 4 people max and all fish are shared. Any of these dates can be booked for your own charter, as well. It’s never too late to check availability. You can call right up until “go time”. On inshore charter trips, the headcount is more flexible.
We had seven brown sharks in the morning and then we had seven more on the afternoon trip for Mike Fuhrman and his friends. We came back in the bay, caught a ton of short fluke as well as a 19 incher and a 25 inch, 6 1/2 pounder, that Erin Foose of Cumberland, MD is holding in the pic.
Anglers aboard the Reel Fantasea continue to enjoy fast out of the gate action minutes away from throwing the lines off the dock, mixing it up between a host of usual suspects with a heavy dose of drag burning denizens such as big double digit slammer blues, and fluke and even welcomed stripers rounding out the catches for August for our instructed anglers.
Inshore anglers looking for some rod bending fun while enjoying a sun up , mid day , or sun down catching experience continue to jump aboard LBI’s #1 inshore specialist maximizing your stay with family on our pristine beaches.
I have Friday a.m. and p.m. available for anglers looking to jump aboard the Reel Fantasea , LBI”s fish catchingest boat!
Some say strike while the iron is hot. Well, looks like the Debbie M’s iron is hot. Thursday I had Tom Foote along with four kids Thursday for some fluke fishing. It started off slow and I had to make few moves to find the bite. Before the fluke turned on they did get to battle a southern sting ray that was about the size of a Civic’s hood. Boat side knowing it would never fit into my net I tried. After seeing the tail on this beast and remembering Steve Irwin I put enough tension on the line to break it free. No way did I want to be near its business end if it meant business. Once on the fluke, the kids had steady action landing over twenty shorts and some small blues and sea bass. With the kids slowing down it was time for Tom to fish. Well even though he got one fish it was a quality flatty coming in at 7.9 pounds. It was until Friday’s trip with friends from Oregon, Kurt and Alison Albrecht, and Brian Farmer from Florida. All three are seasoned fishermen and fisherwoman. In the last few years, Allison has really dialed in the saltwater fishing off Oregon’s rocky coast. Over the years Brian has fished with countless times when back in NJ. Around the jetty, we did not find the blues cooperating even after seeing them surfing cresting waves. They are still here but since the ocean got into the mid-70s have not been feeding all day long. We did manage some blues and a schoolie bass for Alison. Switching over to fluke we went big looking to target keeper. Brian and I each got a fish a little over 20’” but it was Alison fish that had the hot iron striking. Using a ultralight St Croix, the best rods on Earth, spooled with 6-pound mono the doubled over rod and screaming drag was all we needed to know the fish of a lifetime was on. Alison fought it like a pro, letting the fish take drag when it wanted to and pumping the rod and reeling keeping the pressure constant all the time. During the fight, the fish went under the boat against the current and managed to tangle two other lines. Brian worked on freeing the lines calmly while I just wanted them cut so we did not lose the fish. Tired from the fight the beast came to the surface sideways. Lucky I am all practiced up with my getting skill’s 😉 Alison’s fish pulled the scale down at Bobbie’s Boats to 10.1 pounds. A true doormat and the second one for Lighthouse Sportfishing in the last eight days. Also, don’t let it overshadow Tom’s 7.9 pounder which is also a quality fluke. Oh, and Alison got a Barnegat Bay slam. Was supposed to run an off the beach shark trip today but canceled based on the forecast.
Have some dates open for the next two weeks. Remember all trips are customized. Still some time for fluke and if are looking for a big fish I am dialed in right now. No positive word on weakfish in the bay. Spikes should be congregating off the beaches by now. Hoping the ridge open up this week. I will let you know and if it does will offer those trips as well.