Hi Flier Back Bay Stripers

We just put the Hi Flier in the water yesterday, Wednesday, and Capt Nick ran a trip today (Thursday) in the bay with his friend, Colin Scott. They have been throwing topwater lures on light tackle and connecting with stripers all morning. Most are 18 to 24 inches but they have three slots already (24 to 28″), and some bigger fish that follow the lure all the way to the boat and then veer off. Bigger: Older: Smarter. Poppers and Zara Spook walk the dog type lures are drawing fire.

It looks like the wind is going to blow pretty hard Friday into Saturday morning. Right now the Saturday afternoon marine forecast has the wind dropping out to 6 to 9 knots. We will be sailing Saturday afternoon, May 1, from Noon to 6PM. Sunday, May 2 and Monday, May 3, 6AM to Noon. Available for charter or Open Boat. Also available during the week for afternoon departures. We will be targeting stripers and blues on light tackle, casting topwater lures. 

Pics: Colin Scott of Cape May, NJ with a nice back bay slot striper. (White slickers)
Capt Nick DeGennaro with one of his bass. (Orange slickers)

LBI Fishing Report April 29, 2021

The Pink Moon earlier this week set our next phase of Spring. The extreme tides from the first of two super moons this year were wild to see. The large swings from very high to very low had lots of water moving and defiantly got things going. The warm sunny days also helped big time! Here’s the Long Beach Island Fishing Report Update for April 29, 2021.

Reports are firing in from the bay, beach and inlet this week with a variety of fish showing in the local waters. Striped bass fishing is and has been good. It’s only getting better as the spring migration hits our local waters in the next couple weeks. Bluefish are starting to show and their performance on Wednesday was the best yet this year.

LBI Surf Fishing

For a couple weeks now the winter time swells have given way to a more spring like pattern. A couple smaller size long period swells came in with rotating winds which is a receipt for putting sand back on the beaches, naturally. Right now most of the Island’s beaches are set up beautifully for a great spring run with beach profiles that are some of the best we’ve seen in along time. The mini points and bowls, toughs and cuts are very promising! The recent super low tides offers prime opportunities to scout spots.

Reports from the LBI surf are becoming more and more promising. In recent days bunker were present on some of LBI’s beaches. Chris Masino sent in a photo, “Bunker all over the beach!”

"Nice day on the surf before work." Aust Bunl fished Wednesday morning and caught a nice size bluefish from the surf.

“Nice day on the surf before work.” Aust Bunl fished Wednesday morning and caught a nice size bluefish from the surf. Another report came in from Steve George at Night Strikes Guide Service. He had clients out on the surf and they caught both striped bass and bluefish today. “We enjoyed the gorgeous late April day fishing the surf. It’s only improving more from here on out!”

A couple days back two striped bass catch and release reports came in from the surf. Tim Daly shared a report, “First bass off the beach this season. Caught it and had it right back in the water after a quick picture. Measured 22”. Great conditions along the mid-island surf with high tide and the super moon. “

Tim Stumpf shared a report, “First striper of the spring for me. It measured 25.5″ and had a tag from the Berkley Striper Club. I quickly released it.”

So far we have heard of three fluke caught from the surf. Let’s hope this hints at strong summer surf fluking

Barnegat Inlet Fishing Report

For most of April anglers were targeting tautog (blackfish) at the Island’s north end inlet. While we can’t say it was epic there were some days of good fishing. There’s only Thursday 4/29 and Friday 4/30 left in the New Jersey Tog Season. It will be closed on May 1st.

More recently striped bass have begun to show their stripes! This past weekend Paul Lindsey was fishing the Inlet jetty for tog and had a slow crack at them. He switched gears and pick up a small bass.”

This past weekend Paul Lindsey was fishing the Inlet jetty for tog and had a slow crack at them. He switched gears and pick up a small bass."

Hello Mr. Yelloweye!

Bluefish are showing in much better numbers as of late. Only time will tell how good things turn out but if today is any hint at what’s ahead we are stoked! Paul Lindsey weighed in a 31″ bluefish and he reported others were caught and some were lost due to tackle failure.

Paul Lindsey weighed in a 31" bluefish and he reported others were caught and some were lost due to tackle failure.

Barnegat Bay Fishing Report

Striped Bass and black drum are the name of the game. There should be some weakfish around but direct no reports yet. Perch fishing continues on strong!

Brian Sullivan caught this black drum a few days back fishing Barnegat Bay.

Brian Sullivan caught this black drum a few days back fishing Barnegat Bay.

Some anglers are doing really good with the resident and new arrivals. Ed Plichta reported getting into some good action recently fishing a small lead head with a softbait. “Released over 40 bass today.”

Rob Crossley reported a couple good morning smack downs!
Rob Crossley reported a couple good morning smack downs!

Some areas of the bay have an abundance of small slender bait what is mostly spearing but also could have other baits commingling.

Clamming and crabbing reports are great. Seems like the warmer days have got the crabs moving and feeding. The extreme tides helped clammers get to areas not frequently worked.

LBI Fishing Report April 21, 2021

Today’s nice breezy morning turned sour with afternoon storms. Some anglers reported slow fishing due to conditions but report from recent days have been great. Here’s the LBI Fishing Report Update for April 21, 2021.

Bass Is The Best Game In Town

The best game in town right now is striped bass fishing in the bay. Both land based and boat anglers are finding striped bass in a range of sizes from micro to keepers. To get after these look towards the sod banks, rolling flats as well as the many docks in the area. Bait anglers are fishing live worms and clams are doing it. Fishing artificials is putting good numbers up too. You can never go wrong fishing a bucktail jig. Top softies are the Kettle Creek Shads. Picking one or two top hard baits is a tricky one but we give the nod to the Yo-zuri Mag Minnow if looking for a swimmer or the Stillwater Smack-It Poppers if going topwater.

Here's Rob Crossley with a striped bass he recently caught fishing the bay.
Here’s Rob Crossley with a striped bass he recently caught fishing the bay.

Steve George reports, “At this point in April the water is warming up and coming to life again. Days are getting longer and the fishing is improving. Everyday is a new day come down and let’s fish.”

There’s some bass showing in the Inlet and surf and we expect these ares to get better with time.

Frankie Lenetti caught this micro bass on the LBI surf. He gave it a kiss and set it back with a reminder to grow up and then come back once 50 pounds!
Frankie Lenetti caught this micro bass on the LBI surf. He gave it a kiss and set it back with a reminder to grow up and then come back once 50 pounds!

The areas first (that we know of via direct report) BLUEFISH was caught just a couple days ago locally here in the Barnegat Bay by Dan Coghlan. Dan reported, “I’ve been catching a lot of bass in the bay since early march. Was great to see a big blue. Let’s hope they show up good this year!”

Dan reported, "I've been catching a lot of bass in the bay since early march. Was great to see a big blue. Let's hope they show up good this year!"

Tog Fishing Report Update

With the NJ Tautog season closing at the end of the month we are currently in the final days. Some days have been fire on the wrecks.

Here's a photo of Alex Widney with a monster he caught withing with Andy Wurst.
Here’s a photo of Alex Widney with a monster he caught withing with Andy Wurst.

Fishing hasn’t been on fire for land based anglers but some days are good.

60 Days Left Of Spring

Summertime isn’t far away! Already had a kingfish and a summer flounder caught from the waters of LBI hinting that winter is in the rear view mirror.

The first kingfish report of 2021 came from Paul Lindsey on April 8th. he was fishing worms looking for striped bass.
The first kingfish report of 2021 came from Paul Lindsey on April 8th. he was fishing worms looking for striped bass.

Our first fluke was reported in from Connar McGlynn. He got the bite on Monday fishing a Daiwa SP minnow on the Long Beach Island surf.

Fluke are aggressive ambush predators that are around in the LBI waters for long portion of the year… more more than just the 120-30 day season.

Other Mentions

White Perch fishing continues on strong with great reported flowing in. Liam sent in the photo recently.

Black Drum, winter flounder and cod are other species to target right now.

Here’s Swagmattic with a cad he recently caught and enjoyed on the table… fresh fish and chips!

NJ Black Sea Bass Season Opens On May 15th with a minimum size of 12.5″ and a 10 fish bag limit.

Double Creek Channel Shoaling

The Double Creek Channel Shoaling situation is a hazard to navigation.

Barnegat Bay’s Double Creek Channel is well know for shoaling and shifting sand bars and in recent years it was closed. Right now (in the spring of 2021) there’s two areas of potential navigation hazard in Double Creek. Shallow draft boats have no issue however at mid and lower tides some vessels are grounding.

Notice To Mariners – Double Creek Channel Shoaling – Shallow Water Hazard.

The best way for medium and large size vessels is always Oyster Creek Channel.

This chart show an overview of the two main thoroughfares leading from Barnegat Bay to Barnegat Inlet. Oyster Creek Channel to the north and Double Creek Channel to the south. Pay close attention to the three yellow points highlighted; Hazard A, B & C!
This chart show an overview of the two main thoroughfares leading from Barnegat Bay to Barnegat Inlet. Oyster Creek Channel to the north and Double Creek Channel to the south. Pay close attention to the three yellow points highlighted; Hazard A, B & C!

South End Of Double Creek – Hazard “A”

The southern end of Double Creek Channel at the elbow is pinching off again. For many years this area has shoaled. It was dredged a number of times, but never enough. At the time of this post there are two danger buoys at the site alerting mariners of the shallow water here. The area is very narrow with little to no room for error.

North East End Of Double Creek – Hazard “B”

On the northern eastern portion of Double Creek Channel, west of the tip of the Dike, there is a very shallow area inside the marked channel. It is marked by a danger buoys which is right by at Red #8 Nun Buoy. The danger buoy and #8 are both in ~5-6′ of water (depending on tide) however just to the west it is very shallow. The Green #7 Can Buoy is in very shallow water especially at low tide, +/- 1-3′ of water and even less.

This shallow area should be known by all operators/captains. Proceed with caution!

South Side Of The West End of Oyster Creek – Hazard “C”

Many small boats navigating westerly through Oyster Creek with a southern destinations short cut off to port in the areas of buoy 37-39. No more unless you really know what you are doing!

There is a new sandbar (sort of mini-island) that is dry even at higher tides. This is west of the classic Oyster Creeks West Dredge Spoil Island (not to be confused with OC Island East) and was the spoil site for the most recent Oyster Creek dredge work over the winter. I was told by a dredge company working this new island was named Trump Island because someone staked it out with a few Trump Flags which stood for a couple weeks.

It is not in the channel however it can catch someone off guard.

With regards to Oyster Creek Channel the western portion is good and today the Coast Guard was doing maintenance on the channel marker buoys.
With regards to Oyster Creek Channel the western portion is good and today the Coast Guard was doing maintenance on the channel marker buoys. April 19, 2021

Navigate With Caution

Mariners must always navigate with caution. Be aware of shifting sediments which impact the entire bay. Each spring it’s best to review your common routes and adjust waypoints accordingly. This way when navigating in conditions with limited visibility you are aware of the dangers. It’s always good to have a handle on the lay of the land.

I hope this alert helps save someone from grounding and possibly injury to boat or passenger. Recently a friend witnessed a mid-range center console hit bottom (Hazard A) running on full like a brick wall. Hazard B has caught a lot of boaters too. It’s no joke!

Right now there’s no telling if and when the situation will be address.

Back Bay Bluefish Strategies

By Capt. Alex Majewski, Lighthouse Sportfishing

Entering my 18th year of being a professional saltwater fishing guide I have learned that I can often rely on my back bay bluefish strategies to bend the rods and put smiles on my client’s faces. Beginning in late April or early May, until the end of my season, I am dialed in on the bay’s fishery including bluefish.

Fishing artificials, early morning after sunrise or the magic hour before sunset may be best. On the flats I love throwing poppers. However, sometimes you need to stay off the top. There is nothing like a visual strike! Working the bay’s shallow flats, bright sun will often put the fish down. Still, cloudy days may extend surface action. When that occurs, my go to lure are soft plastics.  Use the lightest jig head possible to keep you below the surface but off the bottom. Usually that is about ¼ – ½ ounce. On the flats boat traffic is always a factor but in the channels it may not have a negative effect. More on that later. Although you may not get into all-out blitzes with hundreds of birds working, subtle signs of just a few birds picking can give the location away of actively feeding blues. The passage of a spring cold front followed by a wind from the northerly quarter can often turn the bite off.

A spring slammer caught on with a 7” popper by Jetty Ambassador Dave Werner in a few feet of water aboard the Debbie M.
A spring slammer caught on with a 7” popper by Jetty Ambassador Dave Werner in a few feet of water aboard the Debbie M.

When working artificals, I do it on the drift. And when on the flats I have my clients cast down drift or to side drift of the Debbie M since the boat may spoke fish when fishing in two to three feet of water. Yes I fish that shallow. When in the channels, fishing bucktails tipped with fresh bunker strips, I make sure my offering is close to the bottom. One thing to note is to always keep the slack out of your line so you can set the hook as efficiently as possible. Closer to the inlet you can get away with metals in the ½ to 1 ounce range.

Probably the most overlooked method for spring bluefish is bait fishing. It is simple and a deadly method. Anchoring up in prime locations such as the channels or even in the open bay where blues are roaming, fishing bait can result in nonstop action during the right tide.  In the spring the bay warms up much quicker than the ocean.  The closer to our inlets you are fishing, the further into outgoing tide you will need to fish. Pay attention to your fish finder’s temperature gauge and note when the bite turns on. My experience has shown that the bite turns on when the temperature gets around 58 degrees. For this method I fish conventional outfits with a fish finder rig. While at anchor, use enough weight to securely hold bottom. I can’t say enough about circle hooks here. Most times I don’t go to wire and use 18 – 24 inches of 50 lb. fluorocarbon and a 6/0 to 8/0 circle hook. If the fish start running into slammer territory I may switch to a wire leader. You can’t beat fresh bunker from Fisherman’s Headquarters, but if that is not available other meaty baits like frozen salted mackerel or mullet will get it done.

Anchoring and fishing fresh bait is a highly effective spring method for spring blues.
Anchoring and fishing fresh bait is a highly effective spring method for spring blues.

Anyone that knows me knows that trolling is my least favorite way to fish.  I’m a live bait specialist and will leave it that. The best areas to troll is the open water of the western side of the bay.  When trolling for spring blues, leave the heavy bass trolling gear home and go with tackle rated in the 8-12 lb. range. You can even use spinning gear if you want. Suggested lures are: pony tails; swimming plugs; Clark spoons with a 1-3 ounce drail (depends on speed and line test-the heavy the line or the faster the speed to more trolling weight needed). Trolling bucktails or plastics will even be effective as long as you keep them greater than two to three feet from the surface. I usually do not troll the bay any faster than 3kts.

Even though our summer inshore bluefish fishery seems to have hit rock bottom, there has not been any change in Barnegat Bay’s spring bluefish run.  Some years we see fish over 10 pounds. Like we did in the years of 2016-2019 where I had several fish around 15 pounds. Hooking a 10 pound blue in 2-3 feet of water rivals world class flats action offered by species such as bonefish. Most years we see fish from a few pounds on up the eight. Regardless of their size, when you match your tackle to the size of the spring blues invading the bay, there is nothing like a screaming drag after a bluefish explodes on your popper!

Lucas Robinson caught this spring run racer fishing top water in Barnegat Bay. When these migrating bluefish arrive they are skinny and hungry after a long travel. You can see this fish has a big head and a very skinny girth. Taking a look at this fish you'll see the fish has some gnarly bacteria growth on its side.
Lucas Robinson caught this spring run racer fishing top water in Barnegat Bay. When these migrating bluefish arrive they are skinny and hungry after a long travel. You can see this fish has a big head and a very skinny girth. Taking a look at this fish you’ll see the fish has some gnarly bacteria growth on its side.

Are you looking to get out fishing Barnegat Bay and the Surrounding waters of Island Beach State Park and Long Beach Island? Give a call to Captain Alex at Lighthouse Sportfishing today!

Captain Alex Majewski – Lighthouse Sportfishing – 609-548-2511

LBI Fishing Report April 13, 2021

As we get further into Spring we begin to see better size striped bass show and the tog fishing kicks into high gear. Recently the local Long beach Island area saw both. If you’re looking to go fishing on LBI, now is the perfect time to get in on some great fishing that Long Beach Island has to offer. Stop in, geared up, get dialed in and go catch some fish! Here’s the Fishing LBI Report Update for Tuesday April 13, 2021.

Here’s a fishing report video from a couple days ago.

LBI Surf Fishing Report

This past weekend we got our first striped bass reports from the front beach. It’s great to see!!! The next big milestone will be seeing the first bluefish. With the LBI ocean temp right at 49-50 degrees (it has been above 48 for 48 hours) and April’s new moon behind us they could be hear NOW!

Our first surf side striped bass we heard of this spring. Congrat John!

Our first LBI surf fishing catch report came in from John Moran of the LBI Fishing Club. He caught two striped bass off of the surf on clam this past weekend.

Jason Kemp “My brother caught size bass on the surf this past weekend plugging Saturday. Too bad I had to work. I’ll be out there as soon as possible.”

LBI Spring Surf Fishing Tournament is underway. Join this spring run to win!

Bayside Striped Bass

Recently some better size striped bass were caught in both the back bay (Barnegat Bay and Manahawkin Bay) as well as the waters slightly south of us (Great Bay). Striped Bass fishing in our local bays has been very good over the past 2 weeks.

Multiple keeper sized striped bass were reported with plenty of nice sized school fish in the 22-26” range. Soft plastics have been doing best for many people. Some have reported 10+ fish nights. Top producing soft plastics are the Kettle Creek shads as well as the two classics Lunker City Fin-s and Storm Shads. Small swimming plugs like the 3.5″ Yo-Zuri Inshore Minnow, 4″ Yo-Zuri Mag Darters and 13F Daiwa SP Minnow have been our best selling back bay plugs as of recent.

Bryan Coccia caught a 29.75″ 10# bass on the bayside.

Shop regular Paul Lindsey has been putting in a lot of time fishing every chance he gets. He reported, “Had fish up to 27” in the past week with some quality schoolies in the mix. Live bloodworm and sandworms from Fish Heads have been the ticket for me!”

JD has been having a blast in the shallows of the bay catching striped bass on light tackle.
JD has been having a blast in the shallows of the bay catching striped bass on light tackle.

Black Drum

Bobby Capri reported good fishing on Sunday. He said the bite was on. “I released five bass in an hour and also got a drum. The guy next to me had 8 in a two hour session.” He also shared a review on his new Lamiglas rod, “I’m a huge fan of my new Lamiglas surf rod. It matches up great with my Van Staal 100.”

On Sunday Bobby Capri caught a handful of striped bass and a black drum.
On Sunday Bobby Capri caught a handful of striped bass and a black drum.

Tautog Fishing Report

Tog fishing will be good all month. See previous report post for details.

Boom! Captain Jeff got a new personal best blackfish… 16# on the Boga Grip and best of all it was safely released. it went for a Magictail Tog Jig baited with live crab. Check out our Instagram page for the release video.

White Perch

The White Perch fishing has been excellent with anglers catching consistently on Grass shrimp and panfish style plastics. Local creeks and rivers have been most productive for everyone’s favorite ultralight tackle fish.

Winter Flounder

Winter Flounder reports have been few and far between. Now’s the time to get out and hunt them down with some chum and worms (sandworms/bloodworm) or small pieces of clam.

Count Down To Fluke!

Countdown to NJ Fluke! At the time of this post there’s only 38 days to New Jersey Fluke Fishing! Click here for more info on fluke fishing the Long Beach Island Area.

The Art Of Crimping – Tackle Rigging Tips

by Captain Jeff Warford

Introduction to Crimping

The key to success in fishing is attention to detail. After years on the water it’s the most important thing I’ve learned. I live by it everyday and have improved my success! When it comes to big game fishing, perfectly crimped (aka swaged) connections are vital! Don’t overlook the little things!

Here's a photo that Captain Jeff took of his mate Dan and boss, boat owner Ilan, one night tuna fishing. This trip was a good one with great fishing and no tackle failure. When the bite turns on and the cockpit is mayhem tackle failure is a common ailment on most boats. Don't let it be yours!
Here’s a photo that Captain Jeff took of his mate Dan and boss, boat owner Ilan, one night tuna fishing. This trip was a good one with great fishing and no tackle failure. When the bite turns on and the cockpit is mayhem tackle failure due to poor crimping technique is a common ailment on most boats. Don’t let it be yours!

There are many different crimps (aka sleeves) and crimping tools (swagers) available in the marketplace. The type you choose is undeniably one of the most important decisions when rigging and preparing your tackle.

Selecting Your Crimping Tool

A quality crimping hand tool is very important. The Jinkai SC3C Crimping Tool is good however we suggest using a tool with an adjustable jaw for precise calibration in order to ensure accurate compression and prevent over crimping. Crimping too loose and crimping too tight are very common issues that lead to failure. A tool with good grips is also helpful, especially when using in wet conditions. The Diamond CH-18 Heavy Duty Hand Tool is a great tool when using Hi- Seas, Jinkai or Momoi Diamond crimp sleeves.

Crimp Sleeve Selection

Aluminum crimp sleeves are very popular and work great; however, I use the Hi Seas double barrel black nickel plated copper sleeves.

Their double barrel design aligns the leader in a perfect parallel fashion and prevents crossing over inside the crimp. This offers a super strong and consistent connection. I also really prefer the stealthy black nickel over the shiny aluminum crimps. The crimp sleeve size must match the line diameter. Focus on diameters not pound test ratings on packaging.

Whenever possible size up the line and crimp sleeves to ensure a perfect snug match before purchasing. To help out here’s a list of our most popular crimp sleeves (Hi Seas Double Barrel Sleeves) with references to our top selling big game monofilament and fluorocarbon leader line.

Crimp Sleeves Sizing: There’s many other brands of mono that will fit but these are just a few we sized up for your convenience.

  • D = 1.0mm – Fits 80# Momoi & Hi Seas Grand Slam, 80 & 90# Seaguar, 80 & 100# Ande
  • C = 1.3mm – Fits 125# Ande, 130# Momoi & Hi Seas Grand Slam, 150# Seaguar & Momoi
  • B = 1.6mm – Fits 150# Ande, 175# HiSeas Grand Slam, 200# Seaguar & Momoi
  • A1 = 1.9mm – Fits Seaguar 220-300#, Momoi 300#
  • A2 = 2.2mm – Fits Most 400#
Hi Seas Double Barrel Black Nickel Plated Copper Sleeves
Hi Seas Double Barrel Black Nickel Plated Copper Sleeves – Selecting the right crimps is half the battle when rigging up.

Calibrating Your Crimper

Calibrating the crimping tool is often overlooked, but is the most important step to ensure the strongest possible, perfectly crimped sleeve every time. The CH-18 hand tools have an adjustments screw along one side of the handle. The lower screw is for locking and unlocking the tool for adjustment purposes. Turn the screw 1⁄2 turn counter clockwise to unlock the tool. Then use the upper screw for adjusting the tension of the tool. Adjust the tension in small 1⁄4 turn increments at a time, making sure you tighten the lower screw to lock it after each adjustment.

To test and calibrate the crimping tool’s tension setting…

  1. Start with a 4’ piece of the leader material, the test you will be using.
  2. Make a 4’’ loop on each end of the leader and crimp with the appropriate size crimp.
  3. Put one loop around a solid fixed object like a boat cleat or trailer hitch and put the other end around a gaff hook.
  4. Pull test the leader. The key is slow and steady pressure.
  5. Pull Until Failure
  6. Observe carefully and adjust the tool appropriately to dial in and calibrate the crimping tool.
Pull testing until failure is the only way to determine what adjustments your crimping tool needs. Once calibrated your connections will be much stronger and more dependable.
Pull testing until failure is the only way to determine what adjustments your crimping tool needs. Once calibrated your connections will be much stronger and more dependable.

The end goal is to have the line break in between the two loops. If the leader breaks inside the crimp, the crimper is too tight. If the crimp slides, the crimper is adjusted too loose and needs to be tightened. A slight slip in the crimp is better than too tight. I look for the crimp to just start to slide before the main line breaks.

Line failures happen but must be eliminated at all costs. By calibrating your crimping tool the ultimate strength will be achieved thus greatly reducing any crimp connection failures.
Line failures happen but must be eliminated at all costs. By calibrating your crimping tool the ultimate strength will be achieved thus greatly reducing any crimp connection failures.

Flare

It is extremely important that the swaged crimp have a nice flare on each end. If the crimp has no flare, the crimping tool jaws will need to be modified. To modify the jaws first select a drill bit one or two sizes larger than the crimp cavity diameter. Start slowly and be sure to drill straight. Drill both sides a little at a time. Test, drill and retest the modification as you go until the perfect flare is achieved. This is an easy process but must be done slowly. Don’t over drill!

A perfect crimp connection as per Captain Jeff. He DOES NOT like a loose loop NOR chaff tube on his direct crimped hooks as he has found it leaders to crotch breaks, an unacceptable failure in big game fishing. Obviously there is a time and place for chaff tube and different rigging styles however this is who Captain Jeff crimps for the ultimate success tuna fishing.
A perfect crimp connection as per Captain Jeff. He DOES NOT like a loose loop NOR chaff tube on his direct crimped hooks as he has found it leaders to crotch breaks, an unacceptable failure in big game fishing. Obviously there is a time and place for chaff tube and different rigging styles however this is who Captain Jeff crimps for the ultimate success tuna fishing.

Ready to start crimping!

When crimping always melt the tag end of the leader. Before crimping, leave roughly 3” of leader line tag end sticking out to insure you don’t come close to and potential damage the main line with heat.

Melt the tag end with a lighter and press the end against the side of the lighter to create the mushroom flare. This safeguard against possible slip helps when pulling the crimp down tight for crimping.

I pull down tight before crimping all hooks and swivels and when rigging fluorocarbon don’t use chafe gear. I’ve found that the consistent movement of the hook/swivel will ultimately cause a crotch break. Crimping tight to the hook/swivel prevents this common point of failure.

Final Points

Tackle failure is not acceptable and should never happen! If something does not look right, cut it off and do it again. Remember these key points. Always ensure correct sizing when matching crimp sleeves to line diameter. Always use the appropriate crimping tool which has been properly calibrated and modified for a perfect crimp. Now it’s time to start crimping with confidence.

About Captain Jeff Warford

As a child, Captain Jeff Warford started fishing off the waters of Long Beach Island. Learning from the ground up the lifelong passion for bluewater fishing grew. At 16 Jeff was first mate for Captain Les Osborn aboard the “Little Chick” out of Barnegat Light, NJ. He quickly realized his love for tuna fishing. Seasoned by years of experience on the water, Jeff set out to make fishing his profession. Four years ago Jeff was hired by an elite fishing team to captain the “No Limit”. There he built a name for himself as one of the top captains in the North East. In 2015, Captain Warford had an outstanding year with 82 Bigeye tuna caught. Jeff finished as one of the top tuna boats. After a number of years of successful fishing Jeff moved into the private boat world. In late 2016, Jeff took the job as captain of the 58′ Viking
“Reel Innovation” for Ilan Shemesh. The team of Ilan and Jeff have big plans to revolutionize fishing worldwide with innovative new products. In January of 2017, they released Mr. Chunker, the first ever smart phone controlled automatic chunking device. Then in 2019, The World’s Best Outrodder, a unique and convenient multi locking rod holder. At the time of this blog post, there’s more new products in the pipeline. Keep a big eye out!

Originally published in the Big Game Fishing Journal 2017

Fishing Report Update April 8th

Good early spring fishing continues for anglers hunting the waters of Long Beach Island. Striped bass, perch, tog, winter flounder, black drum and kingfish are all on tap. Here’s an update on the fishing front here on Long Beach Island.

Local Striped Bass Fishing

The Causeway Bridges are getting better and better as well as other mid-island areas. Catch reports from the north and south end’s bayside areas are also becoming more frequent from anglers fishing live bloodworms and artificial lures. The Barnegat Bay’s westside sod banks, points and tributaries are fishy right now and soon the flats will turn on. The Great Bay and Mullica River continue to produce.

Some surprisingly good healthy bass cruising the bay.

Craig Harkness reported, “Perfect day today. Started off fishing the bridges with artificials (softbats) in the morning. Got two bass and then hit Fish Heads for live bloodworms. Then set up on the sod banks fishing 3/0 circle hook hi/lo rigs. Got three striped bass.”

The LBI Surf

The Long Beach Island beaches usually starts up with slow fishing in April and then rev up in May. If blues show this year, they would be a front running catalyst.

The Spring Surf Fishing Derby kicks off!!! Click here for more info.

Tautog Fishing Report

April is the one month spring tog season. Each year it offers some of the best fishing of the year. The best part is it’s good for for both land based and boat anglers.

Jeff Crabtree is one angler who puts a ton of time in and it shows with his consistent catches season in and season out. Yesterday he struck again! Jeff caught and weighed in a solid 8-LB tog. This was one epic fish for land based togging.

Boats fishing the wrecks put together good catches this week. One recent report came in from Capt. Jeff Warford. He has been out a couple time in recent days taking advantage of the great weather. He shared, “I’m loving the new Rhodan GPS Anchor. It’s a Game Changer! I’m loving the Rhodan Life.” Jeff and crew were recently locked in over some good structure and they pulled a nice catch together. Here’s Captain Jeff with one of the biggest of the day.

Kingfish… What the heck!

It is not a common catch for early April but it proves there are a few here this early in the year. Yup a northern kingfish! Paul Lindsey caught this king today on his new rod and reel. He stopped in and set up a new ODM DNA surf rod matched up with a Penn Battle DX. Couldn’t dream of a more perfect weapon for the local area fishing. It’s a great pair with a balance of performance and quality at the reasonable price.

Raritan Bay Bass Fishing

Raritan Bay has been good and it’s just the start of a great spring run. Lots of anglers with nice fish coming on top water spooks and metal lips.  Some big fish are in the mix too. Lots of great fishing still to come!

Here’s Fish Heads Alumni Dan D. with a serious one that committed to a top water spook. Dan was fishing a Doc Spook aboard Shore Catch.

Winter Flounder Fishing

Dave Moores made his first winter flounder fishing trip a few days ago. He managed two flounder. The next couple weeks are the time

Linda Lee Sportfishing Report

Saturday I was able to get the boat up to Keyport and get settled into the slip for the early spring striper run. I had my Mate Dan Rosetto and Mike Brazaitiis with me for first trip and it was lights out fishing first thing in the morning until we packed it in around noon. Guys were trolling 9er rigs and doing very well. We were focusing on jigging and that produced for us as well using SP Minnows, Nicholas Lures Magnum Spoons, and Tony Maja Shad jigs. I still have some dates available if you looking to get in on the early season fishing. Call / text Capt. Ryan Horton for availability 609-276-8032. Price is $150 pp up to 6 anglers.

BHFCA April 5th Update

Spring has officially sprung in the Beach Haven area despite some lingering winter-like temperatures. The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing have begun preparing for their spring and summer fishing adventures.

One welcome sign is the Association’s announcement that their much-acclaimed Junior Mates Program will be resuming this year after being suspended in 2020 due to the Corona Virus.

Association President Captain John Lewis announced all classes this year will be held outside at the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club. Mask usage and physical distancing will be utilized to maximize safety standards. The first class will be held on Thursday, June 24, at 7pm.

The Junior Mates Program is designed to provide youngsters with a variety of expert teaching and hands-on experiences to educate them about fishing and provide them with the background necessary to become a mate on a fishing boat. Complete information on the Junior Mates and paperwork can be found on the BHCFA website at www.bhcfa.net/junior-mate-program.

Meanwhile, Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” has splashed his boat and already brought some fish aboard in a shakedown cruise. Some short striped bass provided nice first of the year action for Captain Gary.

Captain Alex Majewski of “Lighthouse Sportfishing” kept occupied over the winter hitting small ponds in the Pine Barrens. He had productive days with catches of pickerel and largemouth bass. Perhaps getting ready for the new regulations on striped bass, he tried circle hooks with live minnows for pickerel with some “excellent” results. His boat, the “Debbie M” has been upgraded with a Rhodan trolling motor, allowing him to stay positioned over wrecks.

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing took time this winter for some long-awaited projects including a new house and a new garage. He did construct an electric hoist for his spare Minn-Kota trolling motors. He says he is now ready to start fishing.

Captain John Lewis of the “Insatiable” is now ready to resume making boat deliveries to mark time while he is not fishing. Captain John has been making deliveries for both dealers and private owners for many years and makes many yearly trips back and forth from New Jersey to Florida for boat owners.

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