BHCFA Report End Of May

by Jim Hutchinson Sr.

The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are slowly getting back into the swing of things after their lengthy layoff thanks to the Corona Virus.

Captains Dave Kreines of the “Byte Me” and Carl Sheppard of the “Star Fish” both report they have complied with all the New Jersey state regulations regarding safe fishing practices. Captain Dave notes he is holding his parties to three passengers with “all precautions taken.” He is currently working on finding some of the first fluke of the season.

Captain Carl says the “Star Fish” is compliant with all guidelines including a recent successful Coast Guard Inspection and an insurance survey. He is looking for striped bass and black sea bass in the ocean and fluke in the bay waters.

Captain Brett Taylor has been running daily trips in the waters of lower Barnegat Bay as well as some of the inshore wrecks. Some days he guides two half-day trips. He estimates that his parties are catching 25-40 flatties per trip with 3-6 keepers per day.

The BHCFA Junior Mate Reef Project was started just one year ago, and it has already been embraced and supported by the local fishing and business community. Association president Captain John Lewis proudly stated, “Our fundraising to date has been greater than anyone would have anticipated.” To date $160,000 has been raised in cash and matching funds, some
$60,000 more than the original goal.

The delivery of a 140-foot barge, a 52-foot crew boat and a 45-foot tugboat are expected to be deployed on the Little Egg Reef very shortly. This will be paid for with funds raised by the Junior Mates combined with dollar for dollar matching funds from the Ann E. Clark foundation and the Sport Fishing Fund, long time financiers of artificial reefs in New Jersey.

A second project is also close to fruition. A pair of 210-foot scows are being eyed that can have concrete rubble loaded in them giving them much more fish attracting habitat. These would greatly increase the amount of material to be used with one on the Little Egg Reef and the other on the Garden State South. At this point the $60,000 remaining from the first project will cover
most of the cost with another $20,000 needing to be raised.

The reefs located off the coast of Long Beach Island are the most underdeveloped artificial reefs in the state, by far. The mates are continuing their fund-raising activities, and Captain Lewis notes the BHCFA is a registered non-profit organization and will gladly accept donations from other sources. He can be contacted at Captjohn22@comcast.net

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.bhcfa.net

Early Season Fluke Fishing

With Old Barney Charter’s Captain Kevin Schmidt

Every spring, fluke make their annual migration from the continental shelf to the inshore waters and back bays. This trip to spawn and feed provides excellent fishing for amateur and avid anglers alike. This natural occurrence coincides with every fisherman’s itch to get back out and bend rods. Part of this “itch” gets me thinking about some familiar questions on Early Season Fluke Fishing.

Five W’s To Early Season Fluke Fishing

Who I am going to bring on my first trip? What baits will I use? When will the season open? Where will the flatties lie in wait? Why will I fish
certain rigs, baits, tides, and areas?

As an English teacher, I stress to my students the importance of addressing the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where and Why) in their writing. What follows are my “5- W’s” to Early Season Fluke Fishing.

Summer flounder fishing is fun and flounder is good eats!
Summer flounder fishing is fun and flounder is good eats!

Who is going fishing?

I figured I’d start with the easiest one – whomever you want! Kids, siblings, cousins, friends. Just be sure to enjoy the trip, have fun, and be safe. What makes a fishing trip most exciting? Catching fishing… Here’s some tips to help you better your fluke fishing game.

What setups and rigs to use?

My favorite bay fluke fishing rod is a 7′ medium action spinning rod with a comfortable cork grip. While some choose to fish a Ferrari, you’ll get the job done with a number of rod choices in the $50-$100 range. For example the Tsunami Classic Series and the Shimano Talavera Inshore Series.

For reels, a 2000-3000 size spinning reel spooled with 15# braided line is my choice. Good affordable options… Penn Pursuit III Series, Penn Battle II/III Series and the Daiwa BG Series.

Here's Tanner Johnson with a nice fluke he caught fishing light tackle in Barnegat Bay.
Here’s Tanner Johnson with a nice fluke he caught fishing light tackle in Barnegat Bay.

For leader, I tie a 3 ft. leader of 20lb. fluorocarbon via a double uni knot to the braid. Many believe the difference between mono and fluoro is minimal, but I notice increased hookups with the non-reflective fluoro as my leader. Avoid snap swivels or Tactical Angler Clips and tie a double overhand loop knot to the end of the fluoro. This eliminates all terminal tackle in the rigs and allows increased feel from subtle taps – a trademark of sluggish early season fish. Plus, the double overhand loop knot allows you to easily swap out bucktails or jigs when color and weight changes are required.

Usually, I will tie a dropper knot 18” above the hook to add a bucktail teaser with Gulp!. I thread the dropper knot through the eye of the baitholder hook and present the teaser close to my main leader.

This fluke went for a Tsunami Glass Minnow rigged up as a teaser.
This fluke went for a Tsunami Glass Minnow rigged up as a teaser. (Click to link to product)

Another presentation variation for the teaser is to make a larger dropper knot, still 18” above the overhand, and cut one of the two lines coming from the knot, which will leave a single strand of line coming from the main leader. Tie a hook to the tag end. This longer teaser will trail about 10-12” from the mainline, sink closer to the bucktail on the bottom, and tempt the most timid fluke to strike.

Overall, a long teaser helps with those apprehensive early season bites. Cold water can lead to lethargic fish, with short strikes or mouthing (just putting the bait in their mouth and not swallowing). It is important to use baitholder hooks on the teaser (not the common octopus, kahle, or circle hooks) because the baitholders’ barbs hold the Gulp! on the shank of the hook to give a better presentation in the water. The Mustad 3400-BN is the perfect hook for this task. Remember, if nothing else is working, the old school “plain Jane” minnow on a 3-way rig, or the squid strip/minnow combo may just do the trick. You can use the octopus, kahle, or circle hooks on the 3-way rig. I prefer 3/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hooks.

This fluke couldn't resist a Spro Bucktail tipped with Gulp!
This fluke couldn’t resist a Spro Bucktail tipped with Gulp!

If you’re familiar with the “match the hatch” strategy of the freshwater angler, apply it to the early season flatties. Outgoing tides will carry juvenile baitfish which are naturally smaller. So, go small with the baits in early season. Anything from 1/2oz. to 1 1/2oz. max on bucktails or jig heads – usually a white Andrus bucktail. Both will produce early season. Perennial productive colors and sizes, especially early season, are 3” and 4” Gulp! Swimming Mullet colored pink, green, or white. When fishing with
other people, rig different color combos of bucktails and teasers until you figure out what the fish are chewing on. Start with green and white and go from there. On some days fluke only want one color and other days multiple colors work. If you are going to fish multiple days in a row, be sure to note the stomach contents when cleaning the day’s catch. Note what’s in their bellies and do your best to replicate it the next day.

When to fish?

Fish whenever you get the chance, but if you can be selective, know that tides, water temperature, and moon phase matter. The first 2 hours and last 2 hours of the outgoing tide typically produce most fish in early season. Those times within the tide stage also help with speed of the drift and water temperature. Take note of speed over ground (sog) on your machine. The most productive speeds for me are between 0.8knts. – 1.3knts. Finicky fluke also feed according to the fluctuating water temperatures. The ocean is usually still cold when fluke season opens, and the incoming tide commonly produces temperature drops ranging from 10-15 degrees compared to outgoing, warmer bay water. In early season, the incoming cold water will almost always shut the bite down. So, try to focus on fishing the outgoing tide when early season fluke fishing.

Jordan from Fishermans Headquarters caught this summer flounder fishing one of the main channels that leads from the inlet to the open bay. These thoroughfares are gets places to target fluke.
Jordan from Fishermans Headquarters caught this summer flounder fishing one of the main channels that leads from the inlet to the open bay. These thoroughfares are gets places to target fluke.

Many anglers swear by fishing the full moon. However, I’ve found that a couple of days before and after a full moon are not great bites. You may take fish at this time if you work hard enough, buy my logs indicate that it’s less than ideal.

Where to fish?

Fluke are predators. They lie in wait until the tide carries baitfish into their strike zone. Then they attack. For this reason, I will primarily work the channel edges first, which hold these adaptable hunters. Try to position the start of your drifts in shallower water, and allow the outgoing tide to carry the vessel into deeper channels.

Kirsten Holloway caught these early season summer flounder fishing the shallow waters with light line working the channel drop offs.

Bites often happen as soon as the presentation drops from shallow to deeper water. As mentioned earlier, try to set up your drifts on the outgoing. Even in the bay I will always lay down a trail on my machine. After the first drift, note what, if any, setups were hit or caught fish. Pay attention to color, speed, location – whatever produced the first fish and/or bites. After the drift is done, run back to the start of the previous drift and position the boat for the same drift. Once strikes begin to happen, try your best to mimic exactly the conditions (speed, bait, color, size) to earn more hook ups. Again, take note which setups are producing and then change all rods to the producing rig. If after several drifts, nothing is producing, change locations, change colors, or change rigs.

Why target early season fluke?

I pride myself on keeping detailed logs. One recurring patter I noticed year to year, above all other factors, concerns what stage of the season I am fishing – early, middle, or end of the regulated fishery. I have found the opening 2-3 weeks of the season always has greater, quality hook ups. For the beginning of the season, the fluke have just finished a very long migration and are on the feed. Also, there are increased numbers because the fishery has not undergone much pressure early in the season. All these factors make for great early season fluke.

Early season fluke offer the opportunity for excellent sport and table fare while enjoying time on the water with family and friends. Now is the time to take inventory of your tackle, tie a variety of rigs, an do some maintenance on your gear. Visit your local tackle shops and stock up. Prepare now so when the fluke arrive, you’ll be set with a variety tactics to help load the box with quality flatties.

Fish With Old Barney Charters

Are you looking to get out fishing? Save the date now for your next fishing adventure. You will not only enjoy the day, you’ll learn a lot too. Give Captain Kevin Schmidt at Old Barney Charters a call today! 1-267-918-1746

Here's Dewey Knapp with a Barnegat Bay fluke.
Here’s Dewey Knapp with a Barnegat Bay fluke.

Fishing LBI Report Update May 26, 2020

Updated May 28, 2020

Hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend! The wind kept most inside but today (Tuesday) offered up lighter winds with much better sea conditions. On the final stretch of May and fishing on all fronts is strong. Anglers are producing good catches inshore, offshore and from shore.

Land Based Fishing LBI

Land based anglers fishing LBI have good offerings in the surf, bay and inlet. The primary target species are fluke, striped bass and bluefish.

Striped Bass & Bluefish On The LBI Surf

Consistent reports from surf anglers catching on bait, both bunker and clam. Jamie Gramley stopped by the shop today for baits. He reported, “Every trip out this spring I’m into fish, but I can’t seem to get a good one. Every catch is under 28″ size.”

Paul Taurgrasso recently shared a couple photos from the surf. One bass and one medium/large bluefish.

There are some big bass swimming in the surf too. We have didn’t hear of any 40″ range caught in the past couple days but we are expecting to hear some SOON! Make sure it’s you making the report!!!

Store staffer Jordan caught this 37″ striped bass on Sunday evening. He was chunking fresh bunker off a churned up surf.

Jacob Rice sent in a thank you via message, “Thanks for the new Tsunami Rod. I broke it in good last night!” Below is the photo he included!

UPDATE 5/28/20 – “no 40″ range caught but we are expecting SOON! Make sure it’s you making the report!!!” It happened…

Last night (5/27) was the big fish night we’ve been waiting for! The O’Connell crew got into them chunking bunker on the LBI surf. All fish were over 38″ so they were released. Father Greg O’Connell and sons Dylan, Ryan and Brayden were all into quality striped bass.

This wasn’t the only report. We heard of a few other fish too. Store staffer Steve released a big bass that went for a bunker chunk last night on 5/28.

Fluke On The LBI Surf

The Long Beach Island surf is producing good number of fluke. An LBI surf rat (requested to remain anonymous) reported a solid morning surf fluke fishing this morning (Tuesday). “I got a 23″ fish for the dinner table.” Another surf report came from Mike Ninii and Jared Grady. They are catching too.

Inshore Fishing

Coming out of the late May new moon and transitioning into June. Striped bass fishing prime time here on the Central Jersey Shore. Anglers are trolling and live bait fishing to catch classy striped bass. We expect fishing to be good into June.

Big fish magnet Captain Mike Green got another 50 today! Here’s angler JP Eitner with his 51 pound striped bass.

In The Bay

The bays of Long Beach Island have a lot to offer in late May. The star is by far fluke, but bluefish, striped bass, blowfish, weakfish and black drum are on offer. For fluke the outgoing tides warmer temperature is the best for consistent action. Bluefish seem to be showing in a hit and run fashion but more consistent bites with larger fish are turning on later in the later day in the shallows. For black drum look to the southern bay with clam.

Recently some larger blues are showing. James Kuhl got some bigger ones recently.

Store staffer Jordan fished the bay on Tuesday afternoon and reported, “The weakfish are around! Got a couple. Also had good action with bluefish and fluke. Boxed up some nice fluke today (below).”

Jim Baily from Ship Bottom caught this fluke in Double Creek over the weekend fishing the mid day tide. Photo below.

Store staffer Steve-o reported the mid-island bay is producing good numbers of fluke. “I’m catching on both the morning and afternoon tide. Fluke (mostly shorts but there’s keepers), bluefish up to three pounds and blowfish. As always for me the chartreuse and white bucktail with a live minnow was the best for me today.”

Tanman_Johnson, “Thanks for the spool up yesterday”

Offshore Fishing Report

This is when tuna and shark fishing kicks into high gear. Are you ready?

Chuck Snyder posted a recent report, “Great day on the water with our first trip offshore. Fishing about 77 miles off we caught 7 bluefin, 3 yellowfin, lost a white marlin at the side of the boat and two skipjack.

With the good weather we expect to hear some more fishy reports from the deep.

UPDATE 5/28/20 – Captain Jeff Warford aboard the Reel Innovation out of Harvey Cedars reported, “Fun getting back to bending the rods. Limit of sea bass, 40-50 bluefin tuna and a couple of yellowfin tuna. There’s lots of life out there. We even got to jig some of these small bluefin tuna. Side tracker spreader bars caught most of the bluefin and Magictail Hoo Magic caught all of the yellowfin tuna.

Linda Lee Sportfishing Report

From May 23rd

We set sail at 4:00 am took a slow ride out threw the dense fog Saturday morning straight east out of Barnegat Inlet. Ran 60 miles before we saw some life 2 tones, tuna chicks, and shear waters. We set out the lines and kept heading east marking a lot of bait and from what the screen looked like some nice size tunas. We pounded  that area hard for 2-3 hrs before making the call to run another 25 offshore after getting a heads up on some school size Bluefin being caught. Once we got to the edge we hit a 15-17 degree temperature break and the fog lifted. There was a lot of life out there humpback whales breaching, shark finning, tuna chicks, shear waters, and it smelled fishy. After trolling for 15-20 minutes working the breaks we hooked up on a Chatter Lures purple side tracker it was a 20-25lb school bluefin. Then went off a purple Joe Shute rigged ballyhoo. Purple was the color from there on landing 10 school bluefin and releasing 8 to swim another day.

If you’re looking to get in on some tuna fishing this summer give me a call 609-276-8032 to book a trip. Most of June is booked but I have July dates available through the rest of summer. All trips are weather permitting. Cost is $400 pp + tip for mate.

Capt. Ryan Horton, Linda Lee Sportfishing

Fluke Are Here

Mother Nature threw a wrench into our plans to kick the Summer Surf Fluke season on LBI this morning. Heavy rain and thunder canceled our first trip of the year. So it was time to put Plan “B” in effect and try to find some cleaner water during the afternoon tides before the next NE Blow returned. It didn’t take long to find a few willing to co-operate as I found a few including two keeper size to save the day. It looks like as we head towards the last days of May this coming week things will be improving weather wise and there should be plenty of action on the island and good tides to target these aggressive and hard fighting fish going forward and into June. If you want to get out and enjoy some fun summer fishing just give me a call as I’m fishing daily on LBI. Steve George / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC. Call 609-276-6983

Memorial Day Weekend LBI Fishing Report

Finally Memorial Day Weekend Is Here! It’s the unofficial start to summer and we are are looking forward to a safe, health and enjoyable time. As always, the outdoor activities on LBI are plentiful. From boating, fishing and kayaking to crabbing, clamming, swimming and surfing, LBI is the place to enjoy summer. If you want to get out and enjoy life on the water we are here to help. Open daily (curbside services for now) offering bait, tackle, service and local information.

Here’s the LBI Fishing Report Update for May 22, 2020

LBI Fishing Report

The fishing on Long Beach Island is good on all fronts. The striped bass and bluefish continue, sea bass is red hot and summer flounder (fluke) is now open. It’s time to go fish!

On the bait front, at the time of this post, we have live minnow (quality size right now), live eels, premium fresh bunker (daily deliveries) and salted clam. We also have all of the fine frozen fixings like squid in many ways, spearing, smelt, mullet, mackerel, chums and much more. If you need bait we got it! Don’t for get the ice! We have 7#, 20#, 100# offerings. Now to the report!

LBI Surf Fishing Report

The Long Beach Island surf is settling down from the midweek North East blow. For the most part of today the winds were tranquil and it made for a beautiful morning. A power 3-4′ plus east south east swell is in the water which will ease slowly today. This swell is putting some beautiful white water on the sand bars making for prime fishing conditions.

So far today we received a good report from Fish Head’s store staffer Kevin McNeil. He caught and released a 27″ striped bass off of the North End surf this morning on bunker. He mention, “It was a little weedy but fishable. There was a good rip with a lot of water moving from the swell. It took 8oz to hold.”

Kevin McNeil caught and released a 27" striped bass off of the North End surf this morning on bunker.
Here’s Kevin with a striped bass he caught this morning.

Lee Saxton reported, “rough surf today, but got two gators. A 32″ and a 34″ bluefish.” Below is the pair he caught.

Lee Saxton reported, "rough surf today, but got two gators. A 32" and a 34" bluefish." Below is the pair he caught.

Another bluefish report came in from Ryan Matthew. He caught a good size yellow eye on a white bucktail. He said they were cruising through the inlet today.

Here is a short video report to give you a look at the mid island beach today.

Another LBI surf fishing report came in from JP. Some surf anglers love the wind and JP is one of them. He’s a passionate angler from Beach Haven and knows good fishing conditions when he sees them. He geared up and fished the heart of the blow and was rewarded. JP reported, “I caught one during the blow, photo below. I also caught two bass on clam a night ago (previously). I recently caught one bass on a popper too.” The fish are here!

Here's JP with a striped bass he caught off of the LBI surf during this week's north east blow.
Here’s JP with a striped bass he caught off of the LBI surf during this week’s north east blow.
Steve George Night Strikes Surf Casting Guide caught, tagged and released a beautiful 41" off the LBI surf recently.
Steve George Night Strikes Surf Casting Guide caught, tagged and released a beautiful 41″ off the LBI surf recently.

Fluke “Summer Flounder” Fishing Report

Today is opening day! As reported for the past few weeks. The fluke would be waiting and they were! Here’s just a handful of the many reports that flooded in today…

Bill Bassant (above) was out on the bay on the North End of LBI this morning. He enjoyed opening day catching seven fluke, three keepers up to 20".

Bill Bassant (above) was out on the bay on the North End of LBI this morning. He enjoyed opening day catching seven fluke, three keepers up to 20″.

Another fluke report came in from Pete E. and Tiger M. (above) who fished one of the main channels of Barnegat Bay. They got two nice keepers.

Another fluke report came in from Pete E. and Tiger M. (above) who fished one of the main channels of Barnegat Bay. They got two nice keepers.

Jared Grady reported, "Not too shabby for a few hours off the surf. Two keeper fluke and two cocktail blues."

Jared Grady reported, “Not too shabby for a few hours off the surf. Two keeper fluke and two cocktail blues.”

Dave Werner reported , “Lots of shorts. I managed two keepers.”

Jack Keating kicked off his fluke season with a 22″ to start the year off a the right note.

Striped Bass Fishing Report

Striped bass are on the surf (reported above), inlet, bay and ocean (one report below).

Grey Colston continues to routinely catch striped bass bass on the night shift. The action is good with bass taking jig and lures. Grey is catching cocktail blue in the mix too.

Dan DiPasquale reported good bass action on the bayside docks. “I got them good yesterday hitting poppers.” Also fishing the Barnegat Light Inlet this morning. There were a lot of blues just nothing size-able.

Luckey Stripes Charters

Captain Mike Green aboard Luckey Stripes Charters is a big fish magnet! He’s always working hard to find trophy fish and even harder to stay with them season in and season out. Heres two recent catches… Yesterday afternoon he caught a big black drum.

Yesterday afternoon mike Greene caught a big black drum.

Then today he puts another 50# striped bass on the deck, below. Going back to before the blow, “Pretty good bite on Monday. I got seven bass from 38-52#.”

If you want to catch big striped bass, give Captain Mike Greene a call today 17186446087

If you want to fish… Give Captain Mike Greene A Call Today 17186446087

Four Best Striped Bass Trolling Lures

Striped bass fishing is fun! It’s great sport and with responsible harvest, good eats too. One of the most effective way to target striped bass is trolling. Trolling allows boat anglers to cover ground, methodically searching to hunt down bites. It’s also a great way to get away from the fleet of taxi cab like boats chasing surface feeds. Each season, patience on the troll is rewarded with some of the largest striped bass of the run.

Here’s the Four Best Striped Bass Trolling Lures proven over years on the water!

Bunker Spoon

A big fish lure, bunker spoons are well known for catching trophy striped bass. When slow trolled, these large keel weighted sheet metal spoons wobble with a wide swimming pattern. Their action is something big bass can’t pass up! When looking to present a large bait profile deep in the water column there’s no better striped bass trolling lure than a bunker spoon.

Jimmy Nacion caught this 40# class striped bass slow trolling a #4 Tony Maja bunker spoon on wireline.
Jimmy Nacion caught this 40# class striped bass slow trolling a #4 Tony Maja bunker spoon on wireline.

Available in variety of colors and sizes. The larger and heavier sizes are best for waters deeper than 50′. White and chartreuse are two popular colors that will produce on any given day’s conditions.

Bunker Spoons Imitate: Large/Medium Bait Offering: Bunker, Porgy/Scup, Flounder, Butterfish, Mackerel, Herring, Junie Weakfish

How To Fish: Traditionally fished on monel wireline using 8-9′ moderate action e-glass rods. A successful newer school movement is fishing bunker spoons on braided line with an inline drail weight to achieve desired depth. Bunker Spoons are best trolled with outrodders like the Reel Innovation Outrodders, American Custom Fabricators ACF Outrodders, E-Z Outrodder by Tony Maja. Want to learn more about the finer points of Trolling Bunker Spoons For Striped Bass & Blues? Check us out at Fishermans Headquarters.

Top Choices: Tony Maja Bunker Spoons, Reliable Bunker Spoons, Spoonfed Bunker Spoons. Bunker spoons are one of the four best striped bass trolling lures.

Mojo Lures

Mojo Lures are strong hooked heavy lead heads wrapped with synthetic hair to dress and pulse in the water. Basically they are nothing more than an oversized bucktail jig, one of the most versatile saltwater lures of all time. Mojos are commonly rigged with a large 9″ rubber “sassy” shad. Available in many different sizes/weights, a Mojo Lure can be used in just about any trolling situation. Depending on conditions and the circumstances, the 4/6/8 oz weights are great in shallow waters and the larger 16-32oz weights are best in deeper waters.

Mojo Trolling lures have the unique ability to catch striped bass of all sizes. This 32oz Mojo was swallowed whole by this 24# striped bass. Photo: Fish Head Charters
Mojo Trolling lures have the unique ability to catch striped bass of all sizes. This 32oz Mojo was swallowed whole by this 24# striped bass. Photo: Fish Head Charters

Mojo Lures Imitate: Large Bait Offering – Adult Bunker, Squid, Mackerel, Herring

How To Fish: Pick the weigh size and color you prefer and drop down to the desired depth. Kick back and wait. Occasionally pick up the rod and jig it a jig or two. But hold on it can trigger a strike from a indecisive fish that was following the lure. Mojos can be trolled on braid in a more vertical fashion than any other trolling lure. This allows the ability to add more lines (rods) into the spread. Want to learn more about the finer points of Trolling Mojos For Striped Bass & Blues? Check us out at Fishermans Headquarters.

Top Choice: Magictail Mojos. Mojos are one of the four best striped bass trolling lures.

Diving Plugs

Hardbait plugs are the most realist trolling lures an angler can find to imitate live bait. Deep diving plugs have a sassy swimming action and an undeniable attractive vibration which striped bass and other game fish hone in on. Their profile and color patterns can be perfectly matched to the local baits. Quality deep diving plugs swim true and can be trolled in just about any condition and at any speed. All of these features make them a great everyday search bait.

When it comes to fishing plugs for striped bass DO NOT over look fishing the classic big wood lures! This classy striped bass was caught by the author, Captain Greg Cudnik on a "Big Ben" XXL Deep Diver by Cedar Run Lures.
When it comes to fishing plugs for striped bass DO NOT over look fishing the classic big wood pikies and trollers! This classy striped bass was caught by the author, Captain Greg Cudnik on a “Big Ben” XXL Deep Diver by Cedar Run Lures.

Diving Plugs Imitate: Bunker, Mackerel, Herring, Weakfish, Bluefish

How To Fish: Keep it simple! Rig up with 40-50# braid and a leader 3-6′ leader. We suggest tying the leader directly to the front of the lure. If using a snap swivel and the lure is not tracking straight. Remove it and see if that helps. Some lures are so touchy they are negatively affected by the use of a snap swivel.

Suggested Tackle:Depending on style (there are many) the large diving lip gets the lures deep without the need for wire line or trolling weights. This allows for a much lighter rod. We suggest fishing 40-50# braid with a 15-20 class rod with a softer tip. Use braided line with a 50-60# leader full arms length 5-6′ makes for easy leadering fish boatside. Plugs can be fished in different depths depending on model. Commonly used as a mid water column bait in a spread.

Top Choices: There’s so many deep diving hardbait lures available in today’s market leaving anglers confused. First think about how big of a bait do you want to present and how deep do you want to target? Some of our top choices include… Bomber CD30, Nomad DTX 165 & 200, Mann’s Stretch Plugs. Diving plugs are one of the four best striped bass trolling lures.

Umbrella Rig

The only way to imitate a school of small baitfish is to deploy an umbrella rig. These weighed wire frame bars rigged with numerous baits really stand out when game fish are keyed in on small baits. Certain times of the year striped bass want a small offering. If conditions are rough and fish are deep, getting a small jig in the zone could be difficult. Sometimes these same fish are in small packs but spread out and on the move. Run and gun fishing with lures has left the area frothy with boat wake. Now what? These are just a couple situations which present the perfect opportunity to troll umbrella rigs.

Striped bass stalk and prey on schools of bait fish. There's no better trolling lure to imitate a school of bait better than an umbrella rig. Photo: Willie Davis
Striped bass stalk and prey on schools of bait fish. There’s no better trolling lure to imitate a school of bait better than an umbrella rig. Photo: Willie Davis

Umbrella Rigs Imitate: Sand Eel, Baby Bunker, Eels, Mullet, Tinker Mackerel, Smelt, Sardines, Worms

Suggested Tackle: 30-50# monofilament is doable. We suggest 50-65-80# braided line on an Avet MXL/LX Lever drag reel, Matched on a 6′-6’6″ 20-50# Class rod.

Top Choices: 9’ers

9’ersn offers a great selection of baits, sizes, and colors. The rubber shad and the sand eel are most popular. If bluefish are present the tube umbrella is a great choice as it stands up to the toothy critters. The 9ers umbrella rig is a tree like rig/frame that is nearly tangle-less. Usually fished with a drail weight or wireline achieve target depth. 9’ers umbrella rigs are one of the four best striped bass trolling lures.

FishingLBI Report Update May 18th

Restrictions are easing… Guides, chartered boat services and boat rentals are now open for business. All of the beach on Long Beach Island are open and so are the boat ramps. We aren’t out of the woods yet, so let’s stay safe and Fish Through It! Here’s the Fishing LBI Report Update for May 18, 2020.

Who’s Arthur?

Tropical Storm Arthur is (as of 5pm today) off the Outer Banks of North Carolina moving NE at 16 mph with maximum sustain winds of 50mph. It looks like he will be moving in a curving fashion, clockwise towards the east and then eventually south. During this time it will create a large fetch of wind and waves. This will have the western Atlantic Ocean churned up for most of the workweek. It looks to peak on Wednesday and easy over the rest of the week.

Once things settle down we have high hopes of great fishing for boat anglers. Right now this weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, is looking good and we are looking forward to it.

Right now and into June it’s prime time striped bass fishing on Long Beach Island and the Central Jersey Coast. Here’s what’s being caught from the beach and boat.

Classy Striped Bass

This past week a nice wave of big striped bass moved into the local waters. Lots’ of 30’s, 40’s and 50 pound striped bass were caught. Did you see our last report update, Heaviest LBI Fishing Report Ever?

Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Report

The Long Beach Island surf is producing the occasional striped bass and small bluefish. Blowfish, Kingfish and the pesty dogfish. So far this season we have not seen large bluefish but maybe this storm will changes things ups. Usually when the surfs churned up fish cruising the inshore waters start hunting the surf line where the white water provides prime hunting conditions.

It’s chunking season! Fishing fresh bunker on the surf gives anglers their best opportunity to get sizable striped bass on off the surf. With the new moon on May 22 now is go time!

Inshore Fishing Report

Striped Bass

Striped bass fishing in the boat is good with nice fish caught by boats fishing out of Barnegat Inlet. Most are trolling along IBSP however some are going away from the fleet and fishing the waters off of LBI. Here’s some recent catches.

Rick Bragg caught this striped bass over the weekend trolling a white bunker spoon.
Rick Bragg caught this striped bass over the weekend trolling a white bunker spoon.
Captain Mike Greene aboard Luckey Stripes Charters has the tricks for finding big bass. This is another monster he caught this weekend.
Captain Mike Greene aboard Luckey Stripes Charters has the tricks for finding big bass. This is another monster he caught this weekend.
Blake Scholey caught this striped bass trolling a green bunker spoon with Randy Townsend this weekend.
Blake Scholey caught this striped bass trolling a green bunker spoon with Randy Townsend this weekend.

Sea Bass

After the season opener on Friday, lots of good sea bass reports came in. Shop ambassador Swagmattic was kind enough to post his sea bass report.

Zach Michot is having a blast catching sea bass. The season is open and the fishing is good.
Zach Michot is having a blast catching sea bass. The season is open and the fishing is good.

Another great report came in from Magictail’s Zach Michot. He said, “Awesome day on the water with Paul Hartel and the boys Saturday. Five man limit of knucklehead black sea bass and a mix of ling. Couldn’t have asked for better conditions.” Then Sunday Zach reported another great day with a quick four man limit.

Tuna & Shark Fishing

This is when the the big game fishing turns on! No shark fishing reports (expect them after this blow) yet but we did receive some big time bluefin tuna reports!

For a stretch of time there we has some beautiful clean water inshore and when that and the abundance of bait coincides it’s fireworks! Here’s two great catches by local anglers and Fisherman’s Headquarter customers.

Here's Ryan, Hunter and Damien (Left to Right) with a big Jersey bluefin tune.
Here’s Ryan, Hunter and Damien (Left to Right) with a big Jersey bluefin tune.

Hunter, Damien and Ryan got out and found a big one. On Sunday Hunter Gutwein reported, “A great start to the season.” We would agree!

Here's Dan with a 94" monster Jersey giant bluefin tuna.
Here’s Dan with a 94″ monster Jersey giant bluefin tuna.

Dan Rosetto shared a positive report, “Jumbos two days in a row within sight of land! What an insane weekend it has been. Saturday I got out with some friends and caught a 94″ jumbo Jersey Giant. It dressed out at 410 pounds. Then went back out Sunday, caught and released another mid 90″ jumbo. You can only keep one a year per boat with the trophy tag. Hard work pays off!”

Jarret, Matt and Mike (Left to Right) with a nice bluefin tuna they caught this weekend.
Jarret, Matt and Mike (Left to Right) with a nice bluefin tuna they caught this weekend.

Jarret Hillman reported, “The chandelier wrecks have some Jersey giants!” Mike Ninii, Matt Lopez

Frequently Asked Question

Are the blues in? – The small bluefish here but the larger ones are few and far between. The majority are large snappers to small cocktails. Anglers are catching these most consistently in the bay casting small lures and also trolling the open bay.

Blueclaw crabs are taking to the pots in Barnegat Bay. Photo: Dave Werner
Blueclaw crabs are taking to the pots in Barnegat Bay. Photo: Dave Werner

How’s crabbing? – Blueclaw crabbing is off to a great start. Reports are strong from the lagoons and main bay. We are stocked up with baits and crabbing supplies.

Local LBI News Update

Today Monday May 18th, all of the Island’s traffic lights are turned on. Please drive with extreme caution. Also plan accordingly. Now the trip to your favorite fishing spot is twice as long.

No Clam Needed… Sea Bass Report

Three weeks ago I started catching keeper size sea bass on the inshore wrecks on crab baits. It was the end of blackfish season and I knew they’d be primed and ready for the NJ Sea Bass Opener on May 15th.

Black Sea Bass are arguably one of the most beautiful fish in the sea!
Black Sea Bass are arguably one of the most beautiful fish in the sea!

My cousins just purchased a brand new 28′ Cobia. He outfitted the boat at Fisherman’s Headquarters and I asked me to break it in with them this weekend. We took the maiden voyage on Sunday out of Barnegat Light looking for sea bass.  With the season just opening I knew it was going to be good so we left the classic essentials at home. We didn’t carry a single clam, mackerel, sinker or rig on board.

Why is that you might ask? Well, I’m a jig fisherman through and through. Whether it’s fluke, tog, striped bass, cod, tuna or sea bass… There’s nothing better than catching fish jigging!

AVA Diamond Jigs are great for sea bass, striped bass, bluefish and so many other species.
AVA Diamond Jigs are great for sea bass, striped bass, bluefish and so many other species.

We set out with AVA 17’s and 27’s Diamond Jigs, Magictail Round Ball Jigs and some 4-5″ Gulp baits. We hit a piece if structure in 70′ of water. The sea bass were there and picking at them was easy. We found a lump of fish that came off the bottom about 15′. We got our drift figured out and positioned the boat to make short drifts over that patch of fish. We had a 4 man boat limit by 9:30 am.

We didn’t find any jumbos inshore as the fish we kept were all between 13-16″. There were plenty of fish to be had and a nice quick easy trip (and easy cleanup with out the clams). Cooler was full and the cousins were happy with a successful first trip.

I had some friends head out a bit deeper with clam baits in tow and had a mixed bag with a limit of bigger fish and ling and cod as well.

If we can get another weather window I will probably head out again before I start beating up the back bays in search of flatfish. Fluke season opens this Friday May 22nd.

Breaking New – Let’s Fish!

Breaking news! NJ governor Phil Murphy announced today that fishing charters and boat rentals are officially open for business in the Garden State as of 6am Sunday May 17, 2020

The great fishing is good news but this breaking news is even better! Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters is ready to rock with dates available.

I’ve been on the water just about everyday staying in the loop of things. The bay, inlet and ocean are producing various sizes of striped bass and bluefish for the light tackle enthusiast.

Trolling out front is producing bigger bass. Also Black Sea Bass is now open and the fishing is red hot. Fluke opens May 22!

Now’s the time to get out and have some healthy, safe fun. With the weather turning sour midweek we’ll be limited to bay trips. But once things settle down it’s going to be prime time striped bass fishing. Late May and Early June are always great fishing.

Call Capt Steve at Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters

Book Your Trip Today: 609-290-1217

Heaviest LBI Fishing Report Ever?

Mid May is here and the classy striped bass arrived in the waters of LBI. The influx was evident the past couple of days and then this morning it was full on. Great weather and sea conditions had anglers fishing like gentlemen. The abundance of trophy size fish was outstanding and this very well might be the heaviest LBI fishing report ever! With the new 2020 NJ Striped Bass Fishing Regulations most all of these fish were released to swim another day so you can bet they are still close by. If you can… get out and fish!

Prepare for possibly the Heaviest LBI Fishing Report Ever!

Long Beach Island Land Based Fishing Report

LBI Surf Fishing Report

The beaches of Long Beach Island are open and the public are allowed to use the beaches in a responsible manner. Anglers fishing the LBI surf are catching both striped bass and bluefish as well as some other species. We have stiff southerly blow on Friday so if planning to fish the beach on Saturday be sure to bring a little extra lead. Here’s some recent catches.

If you didn’t get word yet… there’s big fish here on LBI right now! This PIG was caught this evening on a PLUG by a surfcaster. The anglers is well know however requested to remain anonymous. Let’s put it this way… this catch very well would of put him on the leader board and in the running for his third LBI Spring Surf Fishing Tournament win. But this year the tournament was cancelled due to the virus.

May is one of the best times to look for big trophy sized striped bass on the beach of LBI. This monster striped bass was caught on a metal lip plug.
Surf Side Big Pig On A Plug
Pat puts a lot of time in fishing the surf and it paid off with this well deserved keeper. Photo curtesy of Bayside Dave
Pat puts a lot of time in fishing the surf and it paid off with this well deserved keeper. Photo curtesy of Bayside Dave

Pat caught this striped bass (just short of 38″) chunking bunker off the mid island surf recently.

Tim Covart with a 36" sunset striper caught on the southern beaches of LBI.
Tim Covart with a 36″ sunset striper caught on the southern beaches of LBI.

Tim Covart sent in this photo of his 36″ striped bass catch this evening fishing the sunset golden hour. He was fishing the south end of the Island and caught the fish on a bunker chunk.

Blowfish are abundance early this year.
Blowfish photo sent in by Ryan Gio.

Ryan Gio has been fishing the surf a bunch recently. These tasty critters (blowfish) are and have been roaming all around the waters of Long Beach Island the past week or two.

Gourmet blowfish drum sticks by Vince at Russo's
Gourmet blowfish drum sticks by Vince at Russo’s

Another blowfish report came in from Vince at Russo’s. He sent in this photo. Tell us this doesn’t make your mouth water.

Another surf side striped bass catch was reported by Michael Nguyen. He was chunking the night shift and got a healthy one.

Jack Ammermann from Poconos PA caught this striped bass off of the LBI surf on fresh Fish Heads bunker.
Jack Ammermann from Poconos PA caught this striped bass off of the LBI surf on fresh Fish Heads bunker.

Jack Ammermann sent us a fishing report message. “I fished the south end surf with bunker chunks and got this 31″ striped bass (photo above). Ended up going to the bayside and caught/released a keeper size striped bass off the dock.”

LBI Bayside Fishing Report

The bay had striped bass, bluefish, bloewfish and blackdrum to offer. Anglers are catching fishing both day and night.

Grey Colston fishes every chance he gets and has been dialed in with the schoolie bass all spring. Recently he says the cocktail blues have invaded. “I caught a bunch of blues last night while fishing for schoolies. Nothing big yet but they are thick. I’m starting to see some bigger fish and also there’s a good amount of bunker around.”

Conor Cokamn caught this cocktail bluefish fishing the mid-Island bayside this morning.
Conor Cokamn caught this cocktail bluefish fishing the mid-Island bayside this morning.

Mike Lombardi sent in a report, “Cocktail blues in my lagoon.”

More reports of active fluke. They are here in good numbers so opening day should kick off on a high note. Austin pounds and his buddy Giovanni reported that caught and released a bunch of fluke today.

So far the report has been solid but this is where the weight really packs on which might make it possibly the Heaviest LBI Fishing Report Ever!

Central Jersey Inshore Fishing Report

The classy striped bass are here! We first reported a larger class of striped bass on May 8th and then followed it up with a great post on the 12th. If you did not see these reports please scroll down and check ’em out. Today May 14th was a flawless morning weather wise and the fishing was awesome for a number of anglers. The great morning bite showed POSITIVELY there’s no denying the big girls are here!

The reports flooded in all with a similar theme, Barnegat Light to Manasquan has quality striped bass. Seemed like the main focus was the northern end of IBSP and the Seaside ares. These fish were eating spoons and mojos. Right now bunker spoons and mojo trolling lures are the two best options since the fish are somewhat spread out. Other approaches will become more productive once more striped bass arrive, stage up in the area and get tight on bait.

Striped Bass Reports From The Boats

The first report of the day came in from Randy Townsend at 6:30 am. “Dad (Ed) and I went out to enjoy his birthday on the water fishing. Almost right away got two knock downs. Ed caught this monster (photo below), his first 50 pound striped bass. It pulled the scale to 52 pounds. Super stoked on an awesome morning, birthday and catch!”

Congrats on joining the 50# club Ed and also Happy Birthday! Being a long time angler who's put in years and years on the waters of LBI you deserve it!
Congrats on joining the 50# club Ed and also Happy Birthday! Being a long time angler who’s put in years and years on the waters of LBI you deserve it!

Josh Severs was out on the water with his fiancé Falon Wolf this morning. They were trolling the waters off of IBSP and caught a big bass, over 50 pounds, on a green bunker spoon. It was quickly photographed and released.

Falon Wolf caught this monster striped bass this morning on a green bunker spoon.
Falon Wolf caught this monster striped bass this morning on a green bunker spoon.

Dan D. was out fishing aboard the Morning Wood with Cole Cronin. They found the fish early in the morning and had a blast catching and releasing quality size striped bass on Magictail Mojos. The photo below is one of a few big bass they caught.

Dan D caught this bass as well as a number of tother beautiful bass aboard the Morning Wood with Cole Cronin today.
Dan D caught this bass as well as a number of tother beautiful bass aboard the Morning Wood with Cole Cronin today.
Jeff Schirmer sent us a message, "I'll be by the shop tomorrow to get some tackle services and new line. It's time to get fishing. I caught this fish off of IBSP on a white mojo today."
Jeff Schirmer sent us a message, “I’ll be by the shop tomorrow to get some tackle services and new line. It’s time to get fishing. I caught this fish off of IBSP on a white mojo today.”
Father and son duo Tony and Tony aboard the Rig-A-Tony got out and fished yesterday May 13th. They trolled the waters off of IBSP and caught a big striped bass on a white mojo.
Father and son duo Tony and Tony aboard the Rig-A-Tony got out and fished yesterday May 13th. They trolled the waters off of IBSP and caught a big striped bass on a white mojo.
TJ Blanchard caught this big striped bass fishing aboard the M&J. Photo by Max Goldman
TJ Blanchard caught this big striped bass fishing aboard the M&J. Photo by Max Goldman
Andrew Dubman shared, "The wire bite was on this morning!"
Andrew Dubman shared, “The wire bite was on this morning trolling fishing off seaside! White #4 Tony Maja bunker spoon caught it.”
PJ Dalton stopped by recently for some trolling rigs. He sent in this photo and report. "I got this striped bass trolling out in 60' of water off IBSP today. Thanks for the rigs boys!"
PJ Dalton stopped by recently for some trolling rigs. He sent in this photo and report. “I got this striped bass trolling out in 60′ of water off IBSP today. Thanks for the rigs boys!”

Alex Katsianis geared up pre-season with a solid spread of striped bass trolling tackle. He got out fishing today and let us know… “The new gear is great! Thanks again. We caught and released this striped bass off of IBSP today.”

Here Alex with a nice striped bass that was caught off of IBSP on May 14, 2020
Here Alex with a nice striped bass that was caught off of IBSP on May 14, 2020

Jersey Giants

Got word some big tuna were caught about 50 miles out of Barnegat Inlet today. They are moving through. Let’s hope they stage up and hang out for awhile. One fish was 96″ and the other was in the 80″ range.

NJ Black Sea bass Season opens tomorrow Friday May 15, 2020

10 fish at 12.5″

Why did it stack up?

Do you agree? Was this the Heaviest LBI Fishing Report Ever? Let us know in the comment section.