What an exceptionally nice day today… dry air and a much cooler than usually mid-August day. Just a flawless Saturday here on Long Beach Island.
The dreaded upwelling event has eased over the past few days due to a distinct change in weather pattern. It’s a welcomed change from the dog days of summer, Bermuda High, humid, hot and ripping south winds. But as always weather changes. This will break down as high pressure weakens, moves off and a coastal low brews up in the Carolinas and slides up.
Here’s the Long Beach Island Fishing Report for Saturday August 13, 2022.
LBI Summertime Fishing Overview By Near Shore Species
The waters are at their season high in August and the variety of species are also at their peak. Whether beach or boat, right now there is a plethora of species to catch. It’s the best time to catch a Barnegat Bay Grand Slam (fluke, striped bass, bluefish, weakfish) as well as an Inshore/Mid Shore Bottom fishing Grand Slam (Fluke, Tautog, Black Sea Bass, Cod/Ling).
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing the waters of LBI in August is great, arguably one of the best times. All summer long there’s a huge biomass of fluke staged up and feeding in the bay. The bay is still loaded with fluke but now’s when they start moving out (mid-August moon was Thursday’s Full Moon) and activity in the ocean’s wrecks, reefs and open bottom heat up. The surf which is good all summer for fluke can really shine at this stage of the game. Don’t overlook the inlets as everything funnel through! This time of the season anglers don’t need to get fancy. Use all of the same tricks that have caught fluke all summer. Light line jigging with Gulp is the most basic approach and one of the most deadly! Use 5-6″ baits fished on as of a light as possible to effectively feel and tap bottom. A few baits that I add to spice up my arsenal this time of year… live peanut bunker, live snappers, whole squid and mackerel strips.
Kingfish (northern Kingfish) love the clean surf waters on Long Beach Island and south Jersey. They usually show up when the surf temps get into the low to mid 60’s in June. It’s common to see the first good wave right after the larger class of striped bass leave in the spring. Then they hang around all summer long. It’s common to see the kingfish disappear right when the classy bass show back up (usually the same time as the horn-dog aka spiny dogfish invasion) in mid October. Fishing for kingfish is a lot of fun, it’s easy and they are good to eat (just like whiting, in the same family as are croakers and drum). These critters absolutely love live bloodworms (also great Fish Bite Bag O’Worms & Dyna Bait Freeze Dried Bloodworms) as well a sand fleas. Small pieces of clam, squid or shrimp will work too. The most common and effective rig is a hi/lo rig with pill floats and a 2-4 oz sinker (depending on conditions). Remember that kings tend to be in schools so it’s common for anglers to catch more than one. If nothing is happening after 10-15 minutes move around. It’s worth a shot to walk the beach and try to find where they are holding. Don’t dedicate your whole trip to one spot if not catching.
Striped Bass fishing is really good for this part of the year. There are always a body of resident fish that hang around and are a ton of fun. This summer seems much better! It could be the one positive from the numerous upwelling events in late July and early August. Bass love lures! You can’t beat a bucktail, an SP minnow or a Smack-It Popper, especially when blues are also in the area. All three of these will catch striped bass day in and day out and hold up to abuse from bluefish. I love soft plastics but the toothy ones will do a number on them too quick. Looking out September is a great month for schoolie striped bass as they get active chasing the exiting summertime baits (spearing, peanut bunker, mullet). Usually around mid October the run/migration shows, is here all of November and usually into December. We commonly see two to three waves so there are ups and downs during the run. Bigger but fewer at the beginning and more but smaller size at the end. I’m going out on a limb, picking the best week of the fall for both quality and quantity will be… October 30 to November 5. Maybe I’m a week early?
Bluefish are around in the bay, inlet and surf chasing small baits. Mostly they are chasing spearing but also peanut bunker. Throw slender metal to match the hatch! Deadly Dick Metals, Hogy Epoxy Jigs, Kastmaster, Krocodiles. Soon mullet will be the bait of choice on the surf, buy never too soon. Remember there is no minimum size however there is a 3 Fish Bag Limit. Yes snappers are bluefish. There is a special 5 Fish bag limit when on charter (for hire) vessels.
Blowfish were somewhat few and far between in the earl and mid part of summer, but they really came on strong the past week or so. Reports from all around the Island’s bayside waters have has a strong uptick. Anchor up, chum and send down small baited hooks with clam or squid. This is also a great time to use those Gulp slugs if you save them when fluke bite the tails off.
Tog fishing at the Barnegat Inlet jetty is offering up a lot of fun and it will continue to do so right through the fall season. The Tautog season opened August 1 at 15″ with a one fish bag limit. It will remain until November 15th when it opens up to 5 per person. If you have never tog fished before this is a great and very easy fishery to try out. First make sure you have protective footwear for safe jetty walking – Korkers!
Other structure loving species on tap right now… Triggerfish and sheepshead hang around structure all summer. From the bridges, docks and bulkheads to the sod banks, jetties and inlet, just about any type of structure can and will hold these two crustacean loving species. Fishing for these is a lot like tog fishing but they are usually not inside the structure like tog. They are usually hanging around or on top of and much more active at the slower staged of the tide.
Black Sea Bass are on the inshore reefs and wrecks all summer. This year the NJ state fishing regulations give angler a two fish bag all of July and all of August at a 13″ minimum size. This offers fluke anglers fishing the snags to bring home a nice sea biscuit or two. If looking to target Sea Bass first you have to find an area holding them and identify their presence on a sonar. They usually look like a Christmas tree when present in good numbers. Then drop a slender jig like the classic AVA Diamond Jig or my favorite the Hogy Sand Eel Jig. Another way is to bait up hi/lo rigs (1/0-3/0 hooks) with clam.
Weakfish were somewhat gone for a number of year; however they are resurged. Last year there was a great showing in the late summer. So far things look good this year too. Weakfish are a great species to catch at night in the lights at the many street lit bulkheads and docks. Their presence is usually give away by their surface feeding smacks when slurping shrimp, crabs and any type of baitfish. Also flashes in the light lines mean they are active. The classic pink softbait must not be forgotten. Bubblegum – Pink Shine is their favorite in either a fork tail, straight taper or a curly tail grub. Fish it on a small lead head 1/4-3/4oz. A small Storm Shad Is also another great lure. As always with weakies, the lighter the better. Light tackle is the only way! Weakfish also can’t resist small bucktail jigs and flies (Pink and White Clousers, Shrimp, Crab Patterns). If you are fishing in a boat and have access to get live grass shrimp, there’s no better way to seal the deal than live chumming and casting the fly rod! (or fishing small hooks baited with live shrimp) There is no closed season for weakfish but there is a 1 fish Bag Limit per angler and a 13″ minimum size regulation. Do your part in ensuring this fisheries rebounds to it’s prior greatness and practice catch and release!
A few summertime species that must not be forgotten… A few Spanish Mackerel are around and were caught recently. They are usually hanging around with the blues chasing bait. Catch them on small lures matching bait. Also anglers troll small metals or spoons in clean warm waters outside of the inlet or in close proximity. Doing this same sort of this will also turn up other hardtails like Bonita and Albies which should show very soon.
There’s lots of bunker pods and stretched out along LBI right now. There’s also a lot of predators on them from whales and porpoise to Cobia…
Sharks & Rays – With the warm surf tempers rays and sharks are also cruising the suds. If looking to chunk and get tight with a substantial pull this would be for you, HOWEVER! Know the laws and know the species. Don’t be that guy who illegally lands and photographs prohibited species! You will ruine it for everyone. Both sandbar sharks and sand tiger sharks are both federally protected species. They can not be removed from the water. There are black tip and spinner sharks present right now as well as cow nose rays among others (bluntnose, roughtail, butterfly) that anglers can catch and release.