Labor Day Weekend Fishing Report for Long Beach Island and Surrounding Waters
Time flies when you are having fun and this summer madness is coming to an end. We can’t believe it’s already here… Labor Day Weekend. Students are bumming for back to school but anglers are stoked for the fall fishing ahead. The past couple of days have really felt like fall with cool nights and a north east wind. Before we know it the mullet will make a move and the run will be on!
4×4 Beach Buggy Anglers Rejoice!
September means Holgate beach access is open. The Holgate Unit of Edwin B Forsythe opened as scheduled on September 1st. John Parzych said the beach is good. “Everything is good down here in Holgate. The ramp is solid and beach conditions are great.” Currently there’s some beautiful water and some of the best looking structure in recent years. As of yesterday, the entire stretch of beach isn’t open. Around about marker 10 there’s a big orange “keep out” sign, no access beyond this point. Word on the street… there’s a couple black skimmer nests. Unfortunate the local Holgate minks found them and are eating the eggs. The feds are out there checking and once clear the entire stretch will be open.
John P reported, “I put some time in and got some short fluke and snapper blues. Nothing great but finding fish. I tried for kingfish but nothing.”
Rob Vallone was down on the south end. He shared, “There was a handful of trucks out there enjoying the day. I got 14 shorts and one 20″ keeper. Also got 10 blues too.”
Long time customer and soon to be neighbors (moving to Ship Bottom) Vince reports, “Great back bay action this week! I found good action on the mid-Island bayside via kayak. Fishing the grass banks and bayside structures with light tackle I caught blackfish and triggerfish. I also lost a really nice drum about 15+ pounds. Snappers are chewing left and right.”
The snappers and blowfish continue to rule the bay. These two offer lots of fun for anglers and the latter provides great table fare. The bay still holds fluke and a new addition… weakfish. These are showing in better numbers.
Still some keeper fluke in the bay! George Snyder stopped in today to re-up on tackle. He said, “The past couple days I went through more Gulp! that I have all summer long. The blowfish are thick. We fought through them and fortunately managed five keeper fluke.
The end of the 2018 Fluke season is quickly approaching with only 20 days left (Sept 22nd). While that’s the bad news, the good news is the bite is good! Recent reports are great with sizeable fluke coming over the rail. Larger baits reigned supreme to weeding out the shorts are getting the good ones. Gulp! baits in the 5-6.5″ range are best; Grubs, Swim Mullets and Nemesis. Magictail Bucktails Squid Hoochies tipped with Gulp are outproducing almost irresistible to fluke.
Store staffer Dave was out on the reef today. He reported, “Got about 50 fish. The bite was on. Only got three keepers, largest was a 25″ 6.5 pounds. Got it on a Tsunami Holo Teaser tipped off with Gulp! We also had super small albies on a small metal, Deadly Dick. These are great for strip baits!”
Maybe bottom fishing does not entertain. That’s ok because there’s lots of other inshore fishing. If trolling or casting lures is more of your things… There’s TONS of bluefish up to 5 pounds are littered just off the beaches. Mixed in with the toothy critters are some tasty Bonita and multiple species of mackerel. Even mahi mahi are in the local waters. Numerous reports from the Barnegat Ridge.
These species can be targeted cast and retrieve with a 3/4oz to 2oz metal. The slender choices such as the Kastmaster XL and the Deadly Dick are best. When not schooled up, the most effective way to catch the mixed bag of pelagics is to troll. The most popular lures for trolling these guys is small spoons. We just restocked with Clark Spoons and LB Huntington Drone Spoons. Whether trolled behind a small planer board or behind a 4-8 ounce drail, the possibilities are endless to what you might hook into.
Inshore and closer to shore/rocks… tog, sheepshead, triggerfish and black drum are still here. Most are tucked up into the cracks and crevices on the Barnegat Light Jetty rocks, but there are other areas holding these fish on the south end and mid-Island bayside. Anglers targeting these species are fishing crabs rigged up on a single or double hook rig and also on specifically designed heavy hook short shank jig heads like the Magictail Tog Jigs. Rigging a crab on a Magictail Tog Jig is a sure-fire way to catch anything lurking in the jetty rocks.
Rumor has it some pompano are around too!
Also more and more reports of cobia!
The near shore and from shore shark fishing continues to be red hot off the oceanside beaches and bay side sod banks. Brown sharks and sand tigers have offered line pulling fun all summer long. Now with the surf temperatures at their warmest (78 degrees this afternoon), new characters are making their presence known. These black tips and spinners guys are getting the bunker pods frothy! Some days they were on top corralling and feeding.
We have rigs ready to rock for both anglers that are casting and paddling out. Gear up and get into the hardest fighting fish out there!
Those going up must know the law! Brown sharks and sand tigers are both species that are prohibited to be possessed. These species are not allowed to be landed and must be released. Do so in a safe and responsible manner. Be careful! We got news a surf angler needed lots of stitches after getting too close.
One customer in the shop yesterday geared up and had some fun. He stopped back in today and reported, “Seven brown sharks last night. All on the surf with live eels. Lost one good fish. Heading back tonight to try to find that one.”
Offshore fishing continues to be good with fish on the troll, chunk, jig and pop. The main canyons (numerous reports out of the Hudson) have produced very good marlin action. Customers in the store reported both white marlin and blue marlin are here in good numbers. One boat released 18 whites on their last trip and said that other boats did better.
Sonny Shepanski shared this quick story while at the shop. “Last trip out we hooked up a small fish and handed the rod to a kid on aboard. Turns out to be a mahi. As it gets close to the boat we get ready to sling it in. Before we know it a big blue marlin explodes and the rod goes screaming! It grey hounds two times and spits the hook. It was an epic take!”
Fish Head alumni Mike Kelly had a really good recent trip with 24 white marlin releases but no luck on tuna. The action was crazy! At time there were 6-10 whites in the spread. The new Penn VI Series International reels performed flawlessly.
Bluefin and yellowfin are on the chew. Seems like the bluefin are cruising the 20-40 fathom areas. The yellowbird are hanging a little further off. The Yo-Zuri Hydro Poppers and the new Daiwa Mebachi Poppers are crushing tuna on top. Be sure to get out there and experience some of the best tuna fishing we have had in recent years. There’s still prime time fishing approaching.
Justin Swanson got into some good mahi mahi action aboard the Just N Tyme.
Lost & Found
From Paul Haertel, “Please post to your page… Friend was fishing Barnegat Inlet today and pulled up a spear gun in good condition. If anyone lost one an can identify it he will give it back to the owner.”