Reel Fantasea Fishing Report – Barnegat bay light tackle striped bass! Cold wind driven horizontal rain but no skunk.

Today’s open boat we managed to get out for the morning run to find less than desirable weather conditions with a cold wind driven rain. It was by no means the hot and fast action that has been the rule of late but the crew stuck it out long enough to manage about 10-12 schoolies before trips end. Going to give the weather a day to settle down and than back out for a double on Sunday!

Captain Steve Purul

Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters


Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters – Open boat Friday! Morning or Afternoon?

I jumped out tonight for a quick solo scouting run to find not only the bass waiting and willing but the size of the bass starting to upgrade from the 10-20″ range to a bit more sportier 25″ range while also pulling the hook on bigger bass boat side!

Presently the abundant down sized version still out number the bigger fish but we are now looking at more variety in sizes which is always a good thing.
I have 2 spots still available for Friday morning [ 8am-12pm] and afternoon [2-6pm] for some fantastic light tackle action. We are employing light spinning tackle on a mix of both natural and artificials baits which have kept our anglers more than busy!!
Along with the bass we have solid schools of bunker in the bay which could explode with bigger fish at any time. For the bird lovers we also continue to see bald eagles continue to forage on both hapless bunker [ cool!] and even some smaller unfortunate bass [ boo!] as well. Oh did I mention Seals? Yes, Seals too ! They are also taking advantage of both species as well.
The fishing season is never long enough even if it starts on January 1st ! So C’mon and jump on an early season outing aboard the Reel Fantasea and join other light tackle enthusiast and meet new friends to kick off the 2017 fishing season!
Captain Steve Purul
Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters

NJ Files Formal Appeal of Fluke Quota Reductions

Here’s some break news on the fluke fishing front!

March 28, 2017


(Photo: Scott Simpson with one of many nice fluke caught off the LBI surf in late July)

(17/P25) TRENTON – New Jersey representatives to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have filed an appeal requesting the commission reconsider its vote significantly reducing the state’s recreational-fishing quota for summer flounder this year, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.

JohnDebonaThe 34-percent quota reduction ASMFC approved in February will have a devastating impact on the state’s fishing industry and tourism economy while paradoxically harming the long-term health of the state’s summer flounder stocks, Commissioner Martin said.

“We are appealing the ASFMC decision because of the numerous process, data, policy and regulatory issues that will significantly impact New Jersey’s fishing industry,” Commissioner Martin said. “The ASFMC decision will actually result in anglers in New Jersey having to throw more dead fish back into the water than they can keep to eat, and the fish they can keep overwhelmingly will be reproductive females. This is not sound fishery management.”

Recreational and commercial fishing employs 65,000 people and generates some $2.5 billion in annual economic benefits to the state. Summer flounder, also known as fluke, is one of the state’s most sought-after recreational fish species, prized for its delicate flavor and easily found close to beaches and in bays and creeks.

To achieve the 34-percent reduction, New Jersey faces increasing the minimum size limit for summer flounder from 18 inches in most state waters to 19 inches, making legally sized fish more difficult to keep. Additionally, the number of fish that could be kept under the new restrictions would be reduced from five to three.

The petition from New Jersey’s three representatives to ASMFC Chairman Douglas E. Grout cites technical, scientific and procedural flaws as reasons for reconsideration of the vote. The commission was formed by compact to manage nearshore fisheries from Maine to Florida.

A DEP analysis of the quota reduction determined that the number of undersized, or discarded, fish that die after being returned to the water will be greater than the number of fish that will be harvested. This would be the first-ever such imbalance for the state. Flounder, like all fish, are susceptible to mortality from hook wounds and stress.

“Discard mortality that exceeds harvest is not acceptable from a fishery management standpoint and will not be well received by the recreational fishing sector,” the state’s representatives wrote, adding that such waste would be inconsistent with goals established by federal law. New Jersey representatives to ASMFC are New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Larry Herrighty, Governor’s appointee Thomas P. Fote of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, and Legislative Commissioner Assemblyman Bob Andrejczak (District 1).

They noted that summer flounder in New Jersey tend to be smaller than in states to the north due to the species’ biological needs and migration patterns. Moreover, more than 90 percent of summer flounder in New Jersey waters that are greater than 19 inches in length are females, meaning an increase in size limits would encourage higher harvests of reproductive fish, which would also be counterproductive to sound fishery management.

In their letter, the representatives argue that ASMFC did not properly consider comments made by the public opposing the reduction during a Jan. 5 hearing in Galloway Township, Atlantic County. They further state that ASFMC staff found numerous mathematical calculation errors after the hearing that resulted in substantive revisions to the draft quota-reduction plan and did not provide the public an opportunity to review the changes and provide additional comments.

In addition, ASMFC did not properly apply technical information gathered through the federal Marine Recreational Informational Program, which surveys anglers and members of the fishing industry to provide more complete assessments of the health of fisheries, the representatives wrote.

Commissioner Martin testified before ASMFC in opposition to the quota reduction and recently sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross requesting that 2016’s quotas remain in effect pending development of a benchmark stock assessment to better understand and manage the resource. Any quota reduction this year would be on top of a 27 percent quota reduction in 2016.

For a copy of the appeal filed with ASFMC, visit: For a copy of Commissioner Martin’s letter to Commerce Secretary Ross, visit:

LBI Fishing Report Update

Lots of anglers got out this weekend and enjoyed the great spring weather! Primarily boot size bass are chewing but larger sized linesiders are keeping things interesting.
Nino Aversa from PA caught four bass up to 28″ yesterday fishing the bay.

Shawn Hawthorne reported a great outing, “Our first trip of the year with Captain Steve was great! Jay, Ernie and I had a good time catching 100+ bass. No keepers but lots of fun. Got a blue claw crab too.”

Tyler Medica and his dad Joe enjoyed the weather Saturday soaking bloods on a popular sod bank. They caught their first bass of the year and mentioned that two keepers were caught down the bank as well as a bunch of shorts. All on worms.

More reports of winter flounder from this weekend. Target channels, holes and bowls throughout Manahawkin Bay and the Barnegat Bay. We also heard good word on the fresh water fishing too. Pickerel and bass are chewing in the local South Jersey lakes.
Stop by the shop and check out our limited time sale on select fishing reel. There’s spinning and conventional styles from Penn, Shimano and Daiwa.

Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters! BassSlamboree!!

This week anglers aboard the Reel Fantasea continue to see catch and release numbers into the upper stratosphere with catches averaging 60-80 ++ per trip [ boat total] with some hot handed savvy anglers scoring 30+ single handedly!

The shear abundance of these downsized bass plays well for both novice and veteran anglers adding instant and non stop action from start to finish for all aboard!!
With the weather trending milder and the days getting longer we should start to see newly arriving bass any day now to add for even greater excitement and fun!!
If catching fish and a bent rod is your passion than jump aboard the Reel Fantasea for some high action catch and release with early season stripers on light tackle!!
I have this Mach 31 Friday 8am- 12noon and 2pm – 6pm and April 2nd Sunday 7am- 11am available for either open or private charter.
Wishing everyone fair winds and calm seas,
Captain Steve Purul
Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters 609-290-1217
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Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters -only a couple open boat spot available.

Hi Folks,

I have 2 spots remaining for both Friday morning [8am-12noon] and afternoon [2pm – 6pm] targeting local schoolie striped bass. If the weather holds [?] I will be sailing Sunday morning as well 7:30am – 11:30am. Fishing has been pretty robust for these scaled down stripers and loads of fun especially on the light tackle! Early Season
March Madness Special is $75.00pp or $350.00 per private charter for 4hrs with everything included!! Can’t afford a private charter? Jump aboard the Reel Fantasea and join other light tackle enthusiast on an open boat ” March Special” and get the 2017 fishing underway!!
C’mon join the Fun!
Captain Steve Purul
Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters

Spring Smokers!!! 💨

Stillwater Smack-It Poppers are lights out lures for bass in the early spring. While they aren’t the best casting popper out, there their unique low pitch rattle makes up for it. They “call” in fish from a long distance away. 

Available in two sizes 5″ 1-1/4oz and 4″ 3/4oz in a dozen colors there is a Smack-It for every angler’s preferences.

Dave Colley Cancer Fundraiser

St. Croix Rods ‘s Dave Colley is fighting for his life and needs the fishing community’s help with hospital bills. Every dollar helps! ❤️ 🙏
Go Fund Dave’s Fight
For those that don’t know Dave he is an awesome family man that loves the outdoors. He has dedicatedly his life to the fishing industry and has been a stand out factory representative for over 15 years. He has done so much for fishing and now in dire straits needs our support.

The photo of Dave was from a night fishing session with friend Rich Swisstack a couple summers back. I recall like it was yesterday. Dave stopped in the shop that night and got bait on his way to the water. After outside the shop we talked at his tailgate while rigged up. Dave showed me some new rods from St.Croix, at that time the “in the works” prototype Legend Elite Surf Series. What awesome rods they have become!

Spring Has Sprung!

What an awesome couple of days to break into the spring season. I was stoked to enjoy both yesterday and today scoring some awesome surf. I mention this on a fishing blog because I observed some things while in the water. There’s lots of life! I surfed with a seal (I think harbor seal) and a bunch of sea ducks. Nothing special, right? Just the usual cold water critters on LBI. While most surfers enjoy getting away from the “crowd” these animals entertained when waiting for the set waves. I was happy to see they were on the feed. While not an active flogging, they were in a steady pick mode. I tried to see what they were eating but could not determine the bait. It looked like finger mullet but that can’t possibly be! My best description is slender 3-5″ predominantly silver fish. My best guess is baby herring. My other observation is the ocean water felt a tad bit warmer than it has been all winter. It should only tick up from here.

The 10 day shows lots of good spring like weather with lows in the 40’s and number of days with highs in the mid to upper 50’s possibly 60! Long range guidance currently suggest a warmer than average April. Let’s hope this help the fishing!

I’m happy to report (after that quick return from Ole Man Winter ) things are back on track with a positive progression. The early season spots are still the best area to target however soon (if not already) other areas will light up.

Just a day or two ago we got word on the first quality bass from the Delaware River! While the river rats have been chewing worms in good numbers for awhile, this was the first good one. At least that we have heard about. It’s only getting better from here!!! Here’s the photo of Steve Polidoro with one of the first quality striped bass on the 2017 spring run. Congrats Steve you deserve it after all those long hours worming the cold!

Locally anglers are finding fish too. Most anglers are focused on the striped bass fishery. That’s by far the most popular but don’t over look flounder as a fun fishing target in late March and April. Sunny days are prime! The photo below is a recent catch from Adrift Sportfishing who found ’em! Another report came in from store staffer Steve-o. He was fishing with a friend a number of days back and they did good. Steve reported, “We limited out then kept going catch and release. Got 8 total.” For those looking for the info the NJ Saltwater Recreational Limit is 2 fish at 12″ (per person). For land based anglers, winter flounder can be caught a numerous easy public access spots. Stop by the shop and ask for guidance.

Speaking of the shop… Currently we have frozen baits and soon we’ll have the fresh and live treats. Plans were to stock up awhile back but the demand wasn’t there. Then the cold set back in. Now that it broke we’ll be “baited up” up as soon as possible. The shop is fully stocked with all the tackle you can ask for. If there is something new that you want to check out chances are we have it. If we don’t let us know about it and we’ll try our best to get it for you. Chances are others are interested too.

Barnegat Bay Fishing Report

Sunday I went yaking hoping to get some white perch for the table. I fished two back bay creeks with a friend. Tide was almost full but it was very bright. I had one hit on a bloodworm. I think I was not fishing the right time. My experience with perch is that they feed and heavy at dawn and dusk Bite often turns on like a switch. In fishing we often look for patterns in which you maximize your catch in minimal amount of time Well white perch definitely have a pattern. Now booking spring bass and hopefully gator blues. Will be running weekends,select weekdays and weekday magic hour trips. Contact me soon as days are filling up fast.

On the nature side of things: You may not know it, but, spring bird migration is underway. It actually has been going on for a few weeks now. During the past week the first Great Egrets have started trickling in. Shorebirds like American Oyster Catchers, Killdeer, and Wilson’s Snipe and either arrived to stay to breed or spend a little time fattening up before they keep on, keepin on. Peak migration in NJ is around the first week of May. This is when you will see the greatest diversity of breeding birds and neotropical migrants (birds that have spent the winter in Mexico, Central American and South America.Screaming drags, Capt. Alex 609-548-2511