I have been on the water more days than not during the last week. Fluking is fluking, when the bite is on it is hot and heavy with shorts far outnumbering keepers. For fluke, I still sticking to what mother nature has to offer and that is live bait. If I’m on summer break from school why is school is session on most of my trips? What I mean is, there is a lot of cooperative schoolie stripers to be had when you are in the right place and the right time. Been getting most of them on soft plastics like Bass Kandy Delights (BKDs). Here are two pictures from last night’s trips with Lots of blues around the inlet with sizes ranging from less than a pound to 5-6 pounds. Whether you like them or not, cow now rays are in mass.
On the nature side of things: I have officially launched my kayak eco tours (see what I did there, LOL). I am running them through the Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts and Sciences. Details can be found at this link: LBI Ecotours Having been on Barnegat Bay for around 40 years now and having some of it’s brackish water running through my veins my tours showcase the magnificent wildlife Barnegat Bay has to offer. Although I guide these tours, I let mother nature set the stage. Launching, mid-island the 2-hour tour take you around Cedar Bonnet Island which is part of the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. O, speaking of Forsythe….. I have been chosen to sit on The Friends of Forsythe committee for a 2-year position. Cool beans
I have some open slots available for guided fishing trips this week and right now I am running my ecotours on Thursdays,
Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters has anglers dialed in scoring stripers, blues, fluke, seabass and tog! Our inshore action continues to reward Light tackle enthusiasts looking for some salty fun with light spinning tackle while employing different techniques and presentations .
I have a couple of Happy Hour Specials [ 5pm – 8pm] still available this week for the family or anyone not looking to spend the entire day out on the water but still wants to get there [ sunsets are spectacular!!]
3 spots available for tomorrow mornings 9am – 1pm. Call only asap!!
Looks like the weather is finally going to stabilize, for a few days, anyway. Sunday and Monday, July 29 and 30, are showing very little or no storm activity. The wind is coming around to an easterly direction with mild velocity. It looks like we could get out to Barnegat Ridge tomorrow (Sunday) at least, and maybe further in search of bonita and sharks. Sharks are mostly dusky, browns, spinner, Atlanic sharpnose, and browns. Anywhere from 20 to 150 pounds. All catch and release species. If we get into the bonita, they go in the cooler as they are delicious. Any way you prepare tuna, you can prepare bonita, including sashimi. Monday is even nicer, so I am looking to get out to the mid range 50/60 mile grounds in search of tuna. Open Boat or Charter either day. Sunday’s Barnegat Ridge bonita/shark trip 6AM to 1PM, $175 person. 4 people max. Monday’s Mid-Range tuna trip. 4AM to 4PM (usually later) $350 person. 4 people max. Reservations are required. All fish are shared on both trips.
If you want to Charter the boat on Monday to fish closer like Barnegat Ridge or inshore, you can do that, as well.When you charter the whole boat, you call the shots.Just know that you will be doing me a dis-service if I can’t get out to the bluewater once in a while!
Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Fishing Report
by Jim Hutchinson Sr.
Although this week has been a bit of a washout with high winds and torrential rain, the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association were catching fish well before the bad weather.
On the inshore artificial reefs the main attractions are black sea bass and summer flounder. Captain Jimmy Zavacky had the Damiano group out on the “Reel Determined” on a day featuring sunny skies and calm seas. In addition to many throwbacks, they took home fluke and sea bass fillets for fish dinners.
Captain Carl Sheppard had a crew of 14 anglers out for an afternoon of fishing last Friday. The water temperature was a warm 72-degrees and the winds were less than 10 knots. About 70 fish were caught with 10 keeper sea bass and 2 fluke being large enough to take home.
Captain Dave Kreines had the Gray family out on the “Byte Me” for some bay and inlet fishing. The inlet produced only sea robins and a short fluke. Captain Dave headed back into the bay for one of his hot spots where a keeper fluke was boated immediately followed by a good number of other fish.
Captain Ray Lopez had the Kuzcko family from Forked River out for fluke and sea bass in the bay and the ocean plus a 40-pound cow nose ray that took a bait in the bay. The next day the McPolin group went on an inshore trolling trip and catching some skipjack and three dolphin including a 25-pound bull.
Captain John Lewis had a few good trips to the inshore reefs for fluke and sea bass. The Kaufman family landed several nice sized fluke and lots of sea robins but the highlight WAS a butterfly ray, about 4 feet wide, taking 15-minutes to get to the boat. The Whooley family from Phoenix had a good day with 4 keeper sea bass and 3 fluke plus a steady pick of shorts and sea robins. Captain John adds that he has made believers about eating sea robin fillets. He says they can be cooked many ways and are delicious.
Captain Bob Gerkens continued his successful trips offshore last week on the “Hot Tuna” with a trip to the 30-Fathom line on a 12-hour charter. The Robertson brothers boated two yellowfin tuna to 35-pounds along with a nice “gaffer” mahi. “Gaffer” refers to the fact a gaff was necessary to boat the fish.
Additional information on the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.net.
After enjoying quality time with family on the beaches of OBX of North Carolina [our ritual Southern family sojourn] grilling, chilling, beach games and just taking a breather.
Anxious to get back out on my home waters unfortunately this past weeks weather was not “welcome back home” as I had hoped with thunderstorm threatening each day , robust SE winds and heavy down pours leaving the inshore waters grey, weedy and uninviting and midshore waters BIG!
As this week progressed the weather improved and with a few tide changes cleaning things up we are ready to get back out there!!
Prior to vacation our anglers were scoring a heavy dose of stripers [ 15-22″] , blues – [ 2-5lbs] and fluke – [ tons of action but you’ll have to weed through a lot of shorts to put some in the cooler] all while employing light spinning tackle.This is a teaching, coaching and all hands on style of fishing.
I have one spot available for Saturday morning 7am -11am , Saturday afternoon 1230 till [?] and Sunday morning available we’ll be mixing it up between the bay, inlet and surrounding inshore waters .
Inshore sharking is also available during this time of year for those looking for a bit sportier bigger quarry!
We have been hitting a lot of bay spots to catch 20 to 50 fish per trip with clients keeping 1 to 4 keepers for the table. It’s imperative that you keep your bucktail moving through the bite prior to setting the hook. It takes a few misses to get the hang of it! This past week I had from age 7 to 75 fishing for back-bay fluke and the 7yr old learned to bucktail catching 15 by himself!! Most of the keepers have been in ultra skinny water and sometimes we have to run over a few bars to get to the “good” areas.
We had a few notable catches this week from first time keeper Fluke for anglers to anglers learning how to bucktail. 12yr old Kathryn Viccaro smacked a 27inch, 7lb Fluke caught on a bucktail in 4-5 feet . Great job!!
I’m stacked with trips this week and next week, but I’m willing to run doubles on my single-booked days and triples on my double-booked days.
We are 7 days a week (morning/afternoon). If interested in booking a charter, book our site (www.reelreactioncharters.com) or call/text 609-290-7709. As always, we use the highest quality gear and everything is included: gear, tackle, fish-cleaning, and ICE! It’s “no worries” fishing. Just come aboard and FISH.
Here’s the fishing report update for Friday July 20th. The inshore, offshore and from shore summer time fishing continues.
Fluke and sea bass is the main game inshore fishing wise. Fishing isn’t the best but anglers are catching. Some captains who know structure are putting catches together.
One of these is Captain Mark from Laura Sportfishing. He’s always on the meat. He’s get his crew’s on good bottom fishing. On a recent trip they boated a 23 lb cod.
The Carolyn Ann III reports, “A slower bite the past two days with mostly shorts and sea robins.”
The 49th Beach Haven White Marlin Invitational is five days away! More info posted below.
The 2018 offshore fishing season has been on fire and it continues on. With poor weather coming, today was the last good weather day. Those that got the day in really hit pay dirt! A quick look at social media and you’ll be jealous.
Captain Jeff aboard the Reel Innovation reported, “Trip of a lifetime! This one will be heard to beat… going 17 for 22 on bigeyes. We had to stop fishing due to shortage of storage. Big eye tuna were following us for two hours right under the boat as we mohawk them on jigs.” First mate Dan said, “The jig bite was unreal.”
Mike Kelly (store staff alumni and mate aboard the Canyon Runner) reports the tuna bite is on… The 60 maxed out the box with 9 big eyes and a bunch of yellowfin. The 48 caught 14 bigeyes!!! It’s the best it’s even been. Boats are knee deep in big eye tuna!
Fishing From Shore
Summertime surf fishing on LBI is mainly fluke and kingfish with the occasional small bluefish.
Taylor Mitchell from Barnegat caught this junior doormat this morning off the mid-island surf. He caught the 25.5″ 6.18 pound fluke on a bucktail with Gulp!
Steve George puts his time in on the surf and it shows. from a few days ago. : He reports, “Plenty of action on the beach. The fluke are chewing and I continue to find aggressive northern kingfish hitting GULP! baits.
The surf zone is full of big rays. Most of the cow nose variety; however others are around too. Sharks are present and pulling lots of line.
Fish Head Charters
Now back from ICAST and catching up I’ve finally got some time to get back out on the water. I fished Thursday and Friday (today).
Thursday I had Rhonda and Bill from Newton MA for a light tackle fly charter. We tried our best but could not do much because the weed was atrocious! Everywhere we went there was grass. Some patches looked like islands that you could run around on. The crew worked through it and managed to finish the day with one bluefish and one bass. They were stoked so it was a success.
Friday (Today) I headed out with store staffers Kelley and Mike. Made bait quick with two throws of the cast net. With a full livewell of peanut bunker we headed out to the reef. With very few reports we wanted to go take a look for ourselves. On our way out the inlet we came across bass on top slapping bait and small birds were active. First cast and Frezza was hooked up. Shortly after Kelley was on. After getting our fill we point out to the Garden State North. Turns out fishing wasn’t all that. Kelley got a 21.5″ fluke which was the only keeper (one right at 18 went back ). In all we had seven shorts, one keeper sea bass (could of filled the boat if we targeted them) a handful of sea robins. It was fun but we hoped for more. My fingers are crossed for good ocean fluking after this blow. It should be heating up by now.
THE 49TH ANNUAL BEACH HAVEN WHITE MARLIN INVITATIONAL
The oldest White Marlin Invitational fishing tournament in America kicks off on Tuesday, July 24th and runs through Saturday, July 28th. Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club’s White Marlin Invitational Tournament (WMIT) enters its 49th consecutive year building off the success of 2017’s tournament, and represents some of the finest offshore fishing in the Northeast while playing host to hundreds of offshore enthusiasts, spectators, guests and the public enjoying the festivities at the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club. A first class tournament in a first class way!
2018’s tournament honors and respects the heritage of this storied event, while maintaining the format changes introduced in 2017 in response to prior year’s participant feedback. The two most significant changes, which are in-place again for 2018, were well received by tournament participants in 2017. First, and perhaps most importantly, the tournament added a day. The tournament for many years was fish two of three days, but that can be bruising to run offshore on back-to-back days if the seas are sporty, so the registration and captain’s dinner were moved to Tuesday and made the fishing a pick of two of four days between Wednesday and Saturday. Secondly, a second weigh station was added at Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle to encourage boats in Northern NJ to participate. Last year there was a Nor’easter during the second half of the tournament, but 6 great boats fished the WMIT from the /Brielle Manasquan area including Crisdel, The Right Place, Let it Ride, Placid C’s, Goin in Deep and Jersey Nutz, who was the overall winner in 2017.
While significant payouts ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 are very much a part of the tournament for catches of white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, wahoo, and dolphin, there is also a treasure chest payout of up to $23,000 which can be won by any participant – regardless of entering the Calcuttas. In addition to the traditional Calcuttas, there are new categories for dolphin and wahoo as well as for boats 29’ and under in size, signaling that the tournament is far from limited to the big sport-fishing boats.
The White Marlin Invitational holds a special place in the annals of offshore fishing history. Captain, sportswriter and BHMTC member Karl Anderson wrote in 2017 about the history of the WMIT: “Many early club members had also been fishing up and down the coast and invited offshore anglers to come to Beach Haven to sample the good fishing. Awaiting them was a nice clubhouse, great meals each night and good camaraderie with a group of dedicated offshore fisherman.” The WMIT is, in many ways, different than the larger White Marlin Open and The Mid-Atlantic tournaments. “I hear from a lot of White Marlin Invitational participants that they fish the WMIT year-after-year because they love the camaraderie, the fishing can be excellent in late July, and there is something special about the atmosphere at the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club after coming in from a great day offshore”, added Dave Ridley, tournament director. “This is not to take away from the WMO or MidAtlantic, as those are both very successful, well run tournaments that we hold in high regard; however, they have the infrastructure to handle hundreds of boats, while we are a non-profit club with more limited funding, so we are happy to have 50-75 boats participate.” The BHMTC has hosted as many as 105 boats in the WMIT in the years before Sandy, but that was the far upper limit of what the BHMTC can handle logistically, and we don’t strive to be the biggest tournament – we just want to put on a great event year after year that offshore fisherman from up and down the east coast circle on their calendars as part of their tournament fishing circuit as a “must-fish”. “We also love that the WMIT is the last week in July (July 24th – July 28th in 2018) since many participants have told us they love fishing the WMIT, followed by the White Marlin Open two weeks later, and finally the MidAtlantic two weeks following that. “It’s the triple-crown of fishing in the Northeast, added Ridley.”
With over 20 boats preregistered to date, the WMIT committee expects to have over 50 boats fish this year. While there was a year or two where we had about 100 boats, there have been two fairly significant challenges in recent years which have taken a while to climb back from. First, super storm Sandy totaled our clubhouse in Beach Haven, which is where we have hosted the tournament since the start. Even without a clubhouse, the BHMTC still hosted the event successfully the year following Sandy. Through the dedication and time of our members, a new clubhouse was built a few years ago. The second significant challenge had been navigating Little Egg Inlet’s heavy shoaling, which kept a number of larger boats away. However, this winter, the inlet was dredged so we hear many of the larger boats are returning to the WMIT. To have a mile-long, 350 foot wide, and 29 feet deep inlet freshly dredged inlet is huge, added Ridley.
Additional information is available on the tournament website (www.TheWMIT.com) In-person registration will take place at the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club on Tuesday, July 24th at 6 pm followed by the captain’s meeting and dinner. On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (July 25-28th), the BHMTC is open to the public and free of charge so spectators are encouraged to come down to BHMTC to watch weigh-ins between 4:30-8pm daily, enjoy an adult beverage at the cash bar, get a bite to eat at the food trucks, buy tournament merchandise, or just bring friends and family down to watch the fish weigh-ins.
The WMIT is possible in part due to the generosity of our platinum sponsors including United Rentals, Morrison’s Marina, South Jersey Yacht Sales, Jersey Cape Yachts, Construction Risk Partners, Marine Max, Fisherman’s Headquarters and Mack Boring.
2018 WMIT – Schedule of Events
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
(Reserved for Tournament Participants and Sponsors) 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Registration in Person – Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club (BHMTC) 8:00 PM – Captain’s Meeting and Dinner – BHMTC Live music – Garage Kept Band Double Nickel Brewery
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 Fish Day Option 1 Scales open at BHMTC & Hoffman’s Marina from 4:30 PM – 8PM Food Truck and drinks available at BHMTC Live music
Thursday, July 26, 2018 Fish Day Option 2 Scales open at BHMTC & Hoffman’s Marina from 4:30 PM – 8PM Food Truck and drinks available at BHMTC Live music
Friday, July 27, 2018 Fish Day Option 3 Scales open at BHMTC & Hoffman’s Marina from 4:30 PM – 8PM Food Truck and drinks available at BHMTC Live Music – Franklin Turnpike Band
Saturday, July 28, 2018 Fish Day Option 4 Scales open at BHMTC & Hoffman’s Marina from 4:30 PM – 8PM Food and drinks available at BHMTC Awards Ceremony – Approximately 9 PM Live Music – Ryan Zimmerman followed by The Pickles Duo
We ran to Barnegat Ridge on Sunday. Two to three foot long swell, very fishable. Had John Post, his son-in-law Tim Smith, and grandson, 13 year old Timmy Smith all of Mountainside, NJ. Stopped about a mile and a half shy of the North Ridge as I usually do. This way the lines go out in the deep water and we troll towards the high ground. As Nick was setting out the fourth rod in the spread, a cedar plug, it went spooling off in his hand. He locked it up and Timmy boated a nice bonita. As we drew closer to the Ridge, there were slicks and chicks. This is best case scenario wherever you are fishing, but especially here. The slicks were so fresh that you could smell them 30 yards away and there were a dozen to twenty chick birds picking at them at any given time. I could here the rods going off in my head…….but it never happened. Killer fish and bait readings throughout the water column. I gave it two hours of tight turns and nothing. There were quite a few spinner sharks thrashing and crashing so this is the only thing I could suspect might have been putting off the species we were looking for. I brought a can of chum and some fresh bunker out with us so I asked our crew if they wanted to try sharking and they were game. It took about twenty minutes and the first rod went off, Timmy jumped on the rod and brought a 60 lb dusky to the boat. Then two rods went off at the same time, we lost one and Timmy finessed a 120 lb dusky to be released on the other. We were doing it all with 20 to 30 class gear so it was a lot of fun. Nick and I were watching the balloons and we both happen to see a fish jump over one of the balloons. I said “that was a mahi” and he said ‘Yeah, I know”. He had eaten a hunk of bunker on a 9/0 circle hook rigged on 200 lb mono. Once again, Timmy was on the rod and boated this 8 lb square head baby bull mahi. This kid was a true angler. Smooth on the rod. Here he his on one of those dusky sharks: www.youtube.com/watch?v=06cE7EZZ-VI
If we had stayed on the troll, it might have been a one bonita day that was over in the first five minutes. That bucket of chum and fresh bait turned it into a decent catch with plenty of action. Thank God for Plan B!
Yesterday (Wed) I had Nick Honachefsky of the new series Saltwater Underground on board. He was hosting friends Sean Reilly and WWE pro wrestler Jake the Snake Roberts, along with Jake’s son Dustin. Jake caught a nice striper on light tackle at the Barnegat Inlet jetty. We moved back into the bay and hammered away at short fluke jigging leadheads and Gulp for a few hours.
Running Open Boat to Barnegat Ridge tomorrow, Friday July 20. Leaving at 11AM, returning at 6PM. Trolling for bonita, mahi, or any other high speed fish that are in that neighborhood. I’ll have the chum and bait on board if we want to try a few hours of light tackle sharking. $175 person. 4 people max. All fish are shared. You can call for a spot right up until we leave. I’m available to call until 9PM tonight (Thurs) or as early as 5AM tomorrow (Fri). Sat is booked. Sun and Monday, July 22 and 23 are potential bay/inlet charter days as the ocean will be a little rough from Saturday afternoon on through the next few days.
Looking to run offshore for tuna next week Open Boat or Charter Sat/Sun/Mon, Trolling and chunking. Probably running 80 miles plus each way unless things heat up closer. Leaving at 2AM, returning around 4 PM, sometimes later, so if you have to be back at a certain time, you won’t make it. $400 person. 4 people max. All fish are shared. Reservations required. Everything is provided. If you have a favorite rod and reel, and it’s appropriate, you can bring it. Hoping we get a nice stretch of weather, we are due.
Timmy Smith of Mountainside, NJ with bonita and mahi.
Jake the Snake Roberts and Nick Honachefsky with striper
Saturday, Debbie M was on board the Debbie M with Shannon Behre fishing in the Forked River Tuna Clubs 25th annual Ladies Catch of the Day Fluke fishing tournament. The ladies rocked it with Shannon taking first with a 5 pounder and Debbie taking second with a 4.2-pound flattie. Debbie also took first in the fun category of trash fish with a 4.1 pound clear-nosed skate. Debbie competed for the first few years this tournament was held and took first in fluke and first in bluefish. That is three first places out of four and the year she did not win a category she placed. Not a bad recorded. Now if she would learn to clean her catch…..
Who let the dogs out, who, who? Or should I say who let the cow-nosed rays out. I have seen squadrons of up to a dozen or more were cruising the inlet for the two hours I was there. The other day I had WoJo (Andrew) on board, and we doubled up on cow nose rays. Both fish were landed and released thanks to some precision boat handling on my part. The inlet has plenty of 2-4 pound blues around and schoolie stripers when the temperature is favorable. My go-to is poppers at dawn and BKDs when the sun comes up. With the schoolie bass being somewhat dependable as far as feeding, a Barnegat Bay Slam (striper, blue, and fluke) is not out of the question. In fact, I had a slam the other day and before that Matt Rozzi’s two young boys, Matt and Andrew, both had a slam. I like it when I can teach kids how to fish plastics.
Crabbing is stella. I do not think I have seen so many mummies before (adult females) which is a great sign. Snappers are starting to make a showing and are as ravenous as snappers can get. With snappers making a showing I wonder if any big fluke would be interested, hehehe
Still, have times available and will customize trips to target whatever species you want to go after. Don’t forget about my off the beach shark trips where we catch hard fighting 40 pound + sharks on light tackle. These trips are a blast and I usually have multiple hookups without sliding to the right LOL.
Here’s the Long Beach Island Fishing Report Update for Sunday July 15, 2018.
With summer in full swing Long Beach Island is popping. The beaches, streets and waterways are busy so now’s the time to push offshore and away from it all and into a different kind of mayhem! This season’s offshore bite has been one for the book and it’s not even mid season yet. The yellowfin action is off the charts good and it continues for so many boats.
The boyz aboard the Reel Innovation are on the meat again. Yesterday they returned from a solid trip out at the Hudson. First mate Dan reported they got into great fishing and just about filed the boat, “Unfortunately we dropped a big yellowfin but it was a great trip.” Other boats in the area were also into fish. Word has it some big marlin were caught and some whites showed too. The boys on the Jersey Nutz had a visit from whitey visit on their last trip. Another solid offshore report came in from the guys aboard the Five Seas, “Epic day (Friday) we crushed the yellowfin and went two for three on big eyes! A customer in the shop today reported good fishing in the Lindy to Spencer, “There were lots of squid boats working in the area and we had good fishing with yellowfin and white marlin.”
Bruce DeRite was offshore yesterday today and reported, “Caught two bluefin out at Lemkes. Then on the way in we stopped on a weed line and picked up a nice mahi.” Bruce hung it at he shop and it turned out to be 16 pounds.
Dan Rosetto was offshore and found fish on Chatter Lures. He reported, “Football season was in full effect today. We fished the Lindy and had lots of 20 pound football sized tuna.” Dan sent in this photo! Thanks for representing with the Fish Head appeal!
Long Beach Island Surf Fishing
Surf anglers on Long Beach Island fishing during the day have lots of swimmers and foot traffic to deal so the best times are morning and afternoons to avoid the midday congestion. Anglers are catching kingfish and fluke during the day time. Cow nose rays are cruising the surf. A total hindrance to those seeking table fare, but they do offer fun for those seeking catch and release fun. Beach shark fishing is strong with both sandbar sharks and sand tigers present.
As always, the Barnegat Inlet has life. Anglers can find the occasional bluefish and resident striped bass, but most are targeting fluke. Late July and August the Inlet offers some of the best fluke fishing. Every year during this time we hear about a couple doormats. Some spear fisherman are reporting triggerfish but rod and reel reports for them have been slow.
Conner McKenzie from New Egypt got a nice 22″ fluke this weekend. Anglers are putting in time and finding fish but from all the reports we’ve heard not many are lighting it up. Most anglers in the shop report average 8-12 shorts to one keeper.
Mike at Montauk
Store staffer Mike Frezza took a recent trip out to Montauk with his Dad. They fished Thursday and Friday aboard the Hampton Lady. Mike reported, “Fishing was slow but most were quality fish. The second day was best. I won the pool with this one. It went for a Glow Spro Bucktail tipped with a Gulp Pink Shine Grub.”
Barnegat Bay Crabbing
Crabbing is good! Nick Rossi and Jacoby Cline stopped in the shop this weekend and reported good fun crabbing. They got a monster jimmy! A 7.25″ one at that. Those looking to enjoy some time on the water catching these tasty critters should stop in. We’ve got all of your supplies for catching blue claw crabs as well as advise to get you in the game. From hand line and dip net to pots, traps and bait… we’ve got you covered!