The yellowfin tuna fishing has been red hot with boats limited out or close to it. Chunking and jigging has been the ticket with Mustad Moon Risers and Nomad Streakers being the go to jigs.
I have October 2nd, 3rd, 4th (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) available for open boat charters. Price is $400 pp plus tip for mate 4 person max. Give me a call if you want to book at trip… Capt Ryan Horton a call 609-276-8032
Our last report post highlighted “It’s only getting more fishy from here!” By golly the fishing has been great since! Here’s the LBI Fishing Report Update for Sunday September 27, 2020.
By all accounts the fishing right now is very good for this point in the year. Usually late September is a doldrum with slow fishing. Not this year!
The resident bass are all fired up and actively feeding in the bay! Small bluefish are making their presence known in the bay and surf. The blowfish are still here in really big numbers. Weakfish run the tides. Blackfish are holding on structure and snapping. There’s triggerfish and sheephead too!
In The Bay
There’s a lot of opportunities fishing the back bays. Reports from the Barnegat Bay, Manahawkin Bay and waters further south are good.
Jim Shearn reported, “Non stop action with blowfish. They are plentiful in the Barnegat Bay” Pete E reported having a great day on the bay with his kids, “Got a bunch of blowfish for dinner.”
The weakfish continue to show strong. Chistine and Brain got this one fishing the Barnegat Bay. This year the local area saw a resurgence of these amazing light tackle game fish. Let’s hope this is just the start of their rebuild back to a once vibrant fishery.
The local striped bass fishing has been very good both day and night for land based anglers as well as kayak and boat anglers.
Store staffer Max caught ten bass on Saturday evening up to 28″ on topwater. “The fish were stacked up on the screen and they were chewing!” He said, “There’s some cocktail blues mixed in. They are both chasing spearing.”
Jason Wilk shared, “The back bay of LBI has bass everywhere. Fish poppers at the crack of dawn or late afternoon into dusk.”
Konrad caught this striped bass Sunday morning fishing the bayside of LBI. Konrad reported, “Was skunked the last few outings so I was really stoked to pin this one! Thank you for the recommendations!” Striped bass love top water lures and one of their favorite is the Stillwater Smack-It Popper.
On The Surf
Consistent reports this weekend of small blues on the surf. They are chewing mullet. Anglers reported catching on both fresh and frozen. Pat Canti shared, “Non stop blues for over three hours on old frozen mullet and clam.?
Jaime Grant had a fun Saturday afternoon fishing the LBI surf catching snapper blues and a fluke. She also shared a photo of a nice blue claw crab haul from the bay. Expect crabbing to be good for another month or so. All depends on when the cold sets in.
Rob Switft reported that he’s catching a lot of (out of season) fluke on the south end surf. He reported, “I’m fishing the holes at low tide and catching.”
Barnegat Inlet Jetty
The tog were snapping this weekend! slaying blackfish. So many positive but we can’t share them all. David Ho (Symplex Fishing) reported, “Fish Head crab getting it done!” Jaws512 posted, “Thanks Fish Heads for the hook up!” R.Grimshaw was also in on the action amongst many other anglers. For photos check out our Instagram feed.
The tuna fishing is far from over! After two months of lights out yellowfin fishing, the “secret spot” is still producing. The yellowfin chunking has been very good and anglers are still catching on jigs and poppers. Hard of a couple fish on the troll too. If chunking be sure to fish light leaders 30-40# and live peanut bunker make a big difference raising fish into the slick.
No only is it the yellowfin that are biting… swords, mahi, tilefish and big eye tuna reported this weekend.
Although cooler temperatures have reduced water temperatures, there are still a goodly number of “summer” fish in the waters around Beach Haven for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. The summer flounder season has closed for the current year and the black sea bass fishery does not open again until October 8.
Despite the closures, there are still several hot fishing options to keep anglers happy. The offshore tuna bite is going great guns when ocean conditions allow boats to get out. The inshore wrecks and reefs hold a variety of porgies and blackfish while schools of bluefish of varying sizes are ever present. In the bay waters the panfish bite is strong for fun action on light tackle and delicious fish dinners. Schoolie bass are roaming the bay waters especially around the sodbanks during times of dim light. There are occasional keeper fish mixed in with the small bass.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing hit a milestone this week guiding trip number 100 of the year. Although the number is a bit off last year’s pace thanks to COVID, he is pleased with the number of anglers and the results. He had clients Alex Gal and wife Sandra on a 4-hour multi-species charter. They started with blackfish in the inlet area and switched to the backwaters. The husband and wife team caught their limit of blackfish, striped bass, bluefish, and a released 20-inch fluke. The out of season fluke was caught on a 4-inch swim shad meant for a bass. On Saturday he had Michael Trojak and son Brandon on a multi-species charter, but with windy conditions opted to stay on blackfish. The crew released a bunch of keepers, keeping their limit to 20-inches. Both trips featured ex-military and current law enforcement individuals, and Captain Brett expressed his admiration to them for their service.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.net
Yesterday, Thursday, the plan came together. The marine forecast was for calm seas and light winds. The boat was packed to the brim with pre-cut chunks, buckets of freshly netted peanut bunker, a livewell full of spots and peanuts, 400 lbs of ice, 30 extra gallons of fuel in portable plastic tanks, and 29 rods already rigged for their specific purpose. Usually being this prepared and having the perfect forecast is the kiss of death….but not this time.
We threw the ropes at 2AM and set out for the Hudson Canyon. A short time into our troll, we stumbled on some lobster pots. Our first pass with the spread of bigger tuna lures produced two nice mahi so we decided to reel in and have some fun casting bait at the hifliers with lighter spinning tackle. We boxed 33 mahi in a few hours between 5 and 12 pounds. It was hard to stop fishing for them but we had an agenda. Next up, was Golden Tilefish. I had some good numbers on where to catch some bigger fish so we went on the drift in 450 feet of water where we boxed 11 fish between 8 and 15 pounds, My son, Nick’s, biggest to date. Last stop was the Triple Wrecks, where the Yellowfin bite has been happening for two months now. We did a slow jog through the fleet, just prospecting, and two of our crew pointed out some fish breaking water. I was sure they must have seen porpoise or skippies but with nothing better going on we headed in that direction where 50 to 80 lb Yellowfin Tuna were airing out. Nick grabbed his popping rod, like he has done so many times before, and on his third cast, his Madd Mantis popper got “whoofed” and he was tight for the first time ever on his popping rod! Fifteen minutes later, a 50 plus pound tuna hit the deck and all was right with the world. Congatulations Nick! I am so glad it happened on our own boat and that I was there to see it. This kid puts in countless hours of prep and then deck work only to help other people hook up. Customers, friends, family, he always makes their experience a priority over his own. He loves doing it but I know he is always waiting to be the guy on the rod. Here is the end game of his tuna:
The powerful ground swell from Teddy has faded out and only small residual line linger on. It looks like we return to a more tranquil weather pattern. Here’s what’s up on the Long Beach Island Fishing Front on Wednesday Sept 23, 2020.
It’s only getting more fishy from here!
The recent cold nights and shortening days (less hours of sunlight) have the local water temperatures cooling a few degrees from the summertime warmth. Right now our best “feel” is the LBI surf temperature is 66-ish degrees. Give or take a degree or two. There’s much colder water in the bay already. For more specific details see the chart at the end of this blog post below.
Today (Wednesday 9/23/20) while walking up on the beach a father and his two sons passed by hiking their fishing gear off the beach. I couldn’t help make small talk as I always do. They reported three cocktail blues on frozen mullet. There’s kingfish and out of season fluke on the beaches too.
On the bayside blowfish, weakfish, snapper and striped bass. Harry Chambi reported, “Awesome morning fishing on Tuesday. We caught 54 blowfish in a couple hours.”
Another solid report from the bay came from Gio DeMarco and his wife Malian. They shared, “Regardless of the 15-20 mph winds blowing my wife and I went out on the bay and hit the sod banks. We found fish going six for six in just an hour. Resident schoolie striped bass (up to 23″) were loving our top water poppers. They are here and have been chewing all summer. Can’t wait for the big bass to shop up!”
Seems like they are getting a little more active with the cooler temps!
Up at the Barnegat Light State Park’s Inlet Jetty tog, triggers and sheepshead are being caught. Store staffer Frezza caught this triggerfish on Monday along with 5 tog, one keeper size.
Here’s a couple recent video reports from the past couple of days…
Finally, all of the messy weather has moved out to allow us to get out in the ocean. We have been locked in the bay for two weeks straight and the fishing has been really good. We chum with live grass shrimp for weakfish and an assortment of other species on ultralite tackle, six pound spinning rods. Snapper blues, fluke, hickory shad, sand sharks, silver perch and a bunch of other species all invade our shrimp slick. We are also doing really well with the blowfish on the west side of the bay. Lots of big ones this year. The yellowfin tuna are still on the same 70 mile grounds they have been for the better part of two months now. They range anywhere from 30 to 80 pounds and we are catching them on bait and jigs. Any given trip we have some mahi mixed in, as well as skipjacks. Awesome visual fishing. Somewhere in the middle of this action we are catching bonita, albacore, and spanish mackerel within a 20 mile run from the inlet. Anchored up chumming with light tackle is the most fun way to target these species and we have the right chum and bait. Saturday, September 26, we will be running Open Boat or charter for either yellowfin tuna or bonita and albacore, whichever draws more interest. Right now the marine forecast is very good for either trip. If it’s a tuna trip, we leave at 4AM and return around 6PM, $450 person, 4 people max. If we fish for bonita and albacore, we leave at 7AM and return 3PM, $250 person, 4 people max. All fish are shared.
Monday, September 28, the forecast right now is for high winds, so we are available for charter for back bay fishing for weakfish and blowfish along with the assorted other species on light tackle. We will be offshore tomorrow, Thursday, September 24, returning around dark from a long tuna trip. If you try to reach me about one of these upcoming trips, you won’t hear back from me until Friday morning, or you could try me Friday morning on my cell. Depending on when you see this, I”ll be up until 9PM tonight (Wed) if you want to call.
Boy did the last day of fluke season blow or what? Literally, it was windy like no tomorrow. With all that, I was able to put my clients on some schoolie bass by going to some places where the fan was blowing as hard. After making bait, the Debbie M shined crossing the bay. My Dusky 203 center console really chewed up the 3-4 foot chop while keeping all on board relatively dry. We caught the last hour of incoming during which time we caught nothing. Once the tide switched to outgoing it was game on! Which makes sense this time of year. Any of the backwaters bait, like mullet and peanut bunker, will start their southerly migration on the ebbing tide. And the game fish know this. By not chasing their prey on incoming, they wait for the prey to ride the tide out, the predator fish conserves energy in their pursuit of prey. And the bait, prey, conserve energy by swimming with the tide. There you have it, as to why outgoing tide in the backwaters is usually better than the incoming. As for this fishing trip, we ended with seven or so schoolies placing American Littoral Society tags in most of them. Below pic is one about to get released. I plan on including tag returns in upcoming reports. I have days open sthis week and upcoming weekend and am diealed in on the local striped bass and (soem weakfish also) if you want to get out on the water for some light tackle world class action be it morning, afternoon of evening.
This wind machine was on full force this weekend. It has been cranking out of the north north/east for days now. Most are using the time to knock out the to-do list with the house, boat and tackle. These have built up over the summer. But there are some anglers getting out and making the most of the sunny weather.
Solid swell from Teddy was on the beaches Sunday and will continue. The new week starts off with 6-8′ swell and pumps through Tuesday. Then gradually eases on Wednesday.
If it’s blowing Team Fish Heads is going! Store staffer Grey and Dan fished and caught today. They started off on the bayside looking for bass chasing bait but only found cocktail blues and one healthy (out of season) fluke. They switched gears and tried to take advantage of the good bass fishing conditions at the Inlet Jetty today but from what Grey said, “only tog are chewing.”
The cool fall like temperatures has the surf heating up. The wind was blowing this weekend but that didn’t stop James Kain from Moorestown. He caught this 30” striped bass off the mid Island surf on Saturday (9/19) afternoon. He reported, “What made this fish special was I caught it on a custom rod that was given to me 36 years ago as gift on our 1st wedding anniversary. We celebrated our 36 year anniversary this weekend. My wife Cathy was also fishing with me at the time.”
Karl Chen tried to fish the south end surf on Saturday morning. He put out 8oz and bait but couldn’t hold with the swell, wind and current. He reported, “I went to the bayside and caught a 20″ fluke.”
The New Jersey summer flounder (fluke) season ends tomorrow, September 19, and with northeast winds gusting to 30-knots and seas predicted at 5-6-feet, there will be few boats fishing on the final day. The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association ended up the 2020 season on high notes and are looking forward to the fall season.
Captain John Lewis of the “Insatiable” made what he termed a “fun trip” with Steve Palmer and Nick Perello, another BHCFA captain. The group fished inshore structure and hit the fluke well topped by a fat 6.1-pound fluke.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing ended the fluke season on a successful note. His group of Bob Reim, Bill Knapp, Mark Roth, and Larry Maynak experienced a “superb bite” on a 5-hour ocean trip. Working a few small rubble pieces, the guys jigged up their daily limit of fluke with the biggest at 23-inches inches. Later in the week Captain Brett had Bruce Connor on an afternoon bay/inlet trip. First, they hit the blowfish grounds to box 40 nice puffers. They then hit the inlet area staying on one spot with the MinnKota trolling motor to catch and release close to 20 bluefish in the 20-inch range. The last hour of the trip they worked a small ledge to produce a 5 and 6-pound fluke.
Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” ended the season taking his wife Tracy out for a successful fluke trip when they managed to catch a few fish dinners. Captain Gary says he is taking advantage of the upcoming rough seas to gear up for the upcoming wreck and striper fishing action.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.bhcfa.net.
It’s not over yet! Fluke season ends the 19th and the weather recently hasn’t been the best. BUT! That isn’t stopping anglers from getting out and finding fish. Case and point…
Striped bass are here and the reports contiuies to paint a postive picture for the transition into The Run. “Thank you Fish Heads for the live eels tonight. I caught this one at high tide.” Robert Simkins sent us a thank you message with a report, “I caught my first striper this season at Barnegat Inlet fishing slack high tide. It taped out at 32 inches.”
“Don’t let the wind keep you from going out. Just get out there!” Anthony Ziegler shared, “The last two days were non stop fish, both bass and blues. Even had them on the fly.”
Tyler Carlson caught this triggerfish yesterday (Tuesday) fishing the Barnegat Inlet Jetty. He stopped by the shop to gear up and hit up the rocks. He caught it on green crab. Another triggerfish was reported in by Julian H.
Store staffer Grey is back in school but finding time to fish whenever possible. He shares that he’s finding good fishing… The tog fishing at the Barnegat Light Jetty is stupid good. You have to work for the keepers but there are a lot of fish chewing. There’s some sheepshead and triggers too as well as blues (mostly smaller) chasing bait. At the right times I’m catching striped bass on plugs. It has been surprisingly consistent for this time of the year.
In the bay the blowfishing is still very good with numerous reports the past 48 hours all themed around good puffer action in Barnegat Bay.
Offshore tuna bite is still going strong. Some big boats got out and got on the yellowfin tuna. Reports were due to seas there were only a few boats in the secret spot and the fish were feeding on the chunk and jig. The past couple of days we sold alot of bait flats and jigs; Chatter Streaker Jigs & Nomad Streaker Jigs. Hope to hear more reports from boats fishing Thursday.