This past week was a good one for anglers fishing the waters of Long Beach Island. Both beach and boat anglers are getting out and enjoying good fishing for a variety of species. Right now at the beginning of summer the the local waters have the largest variety of species than any other time of the year.
Barnegat Bay has and continues to have solid fluke fishing. Recently the fluke fishing in the ocean has picked up. There’s kingfish and fluke on the surf with surfcasters occasionally catching striped bass and bluefish. Large sting rays and sharks were also caught and released by a handful (or more) of surf anglers fishing meaty baits. The summer time species are showing too; sheepshead, triggerfish, mahi, spanish mackerel, king mackerel cobia among others.
Huge Thanks to the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club for putting on one hell of a fluke tournament. Everything from the captain’s meeting to the award ceremony was professional, organized and top notch. It’s awesome to see this great event have a record number of boats and raise a record amount of money for a great cause, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundations.
My crew (right to left: Matt S., Max B., Sloane E.) and I aboard the Endless Summer (aka Fish Head Charters) were more than honored to take the largest fluke, the largest three fish stringer and the largest fluke by a female angler.
The Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association held its first Junior Mates Program since 2019 this past week to an eager group of over 20 would-be mates. The open-air meeting took place at the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club. Prior to the actual instruction, some special presentations took place highlighting certain special achievements of the Association and the Junior Mates.
Beach Haven Mayor Colleen presented a proclamation to Association President Captain John Lewis honoring the Junior Mates for their reef replenishment project. In addition, framed newspaper articles about the deployment on the reef were presented to Tom Hughes of the Sea Shell Club who raised the lion’s share of the money for the reef work.
Although she was unable to be in attendance, Lewis also announced an award for Deb Whitcraft, head of the New Jersey Maritime Museum. She has been a fervent supporter of the Junior Mates for many years, donating use of her museum for Association classes and meetings.
In fishing news, Captain Dave Kreines had a couple of bay fishing parties out on the “Byte Me.” He had Tony and his grandson Anthony out for a half-day trip. Stiff winds and cool temperatures made for less-than-ideal conditions, but Captain Dave reports the pair enjoyed the day. Another trip with Paul and his son Dylan resulted in a few throwbacks along with a nice 20-inch keeper fluke. The pair caught their first ever sea robin and were enthused about it.
Captain Carl Sheppard of the “StarFish” reports fishing has been improving on almost a daily basis. He has been busy fishing wrecks and catching summer flounder along with sea bass and blackfish which are now out of season. Most trips have produced multiple keepers along with an abundance of action from shorts.
In between successful fluke trips, Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” announced that he has taken over the Cape Horn Bait and Tackle Shop on Great Bay Boulevard in Tuckerton. He is now keeping his boat at the marina while making “some pretty cool changes” there and offering some topnotch services.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing reports he had a busy week with double and triple charters each day when the weather cooperates. With the fishing dependent on the temperature and water clarity, most trips are seeing 25 to 45 fish with 2 to 7 keepers The largest fish of the week have been in the 5–6-pound range.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.org.
Saturday July 10th at 5am from Cape May to Keyport, New Jersey boaters will be on the prowl for the biggest summer flounder in our local waters. “The right fish could net the captain and crew north of $50,000”, says club president and founder Matt Sorrentino! The NJ Fishing Club’s inaugural Beat the Fleet Fluke Tournament is kicking off this year and the club is holding nothing back! With the cancelation of the Rhode Island and Delaware tournaments this will effectively be the largest Summer Flounder Tournament ANYWHERE!
Fluke Tournaments along the Jersey Shore are not uncommon. In fact most weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day anglers have a multitude to choose from. There are a few things however, that make the NJ Fishing Club tournament stand out. For starters, the prize pool is guaranteed! Oftentimes you’ll see an advertised prize for first, second and third but when it comes time to collect, those numbers magically shrink. That’s because most tournaments advertise their prize structure based on the number of boats they think will enter… more often than not these numbers are simply a fabrication fo the tournament committee.
This time, the prizes will be paid out as advertised. $16,000 total across three regions to the anglers with the largest Fluke in each North, Central and South Jersey. With the largest fish in the state taking home the lions share of $4,500. There are prizes from 1-4th in each region and 1-3rd overall for the largest summer flounder. With a $1,000 bonus to the boat with the biggest fish who registers prior to June 28th!
Thats without even getting into the Calcutta’s (where the real money is made in any fishing tournament). These winner take all categories bring in big bucks and stiff completion. They also offer a multitude of ways to win. For this tournament, we’re looking at single fish, 3-fish bag, and a bycatch category. Entry into each Calcutta puts you in for the chance to win both regionally and overall. We mentioned earlier about a $50,000 fish. Let us explain how we came to that number, assuredly it’s not a fabrication like previously discussed.
Since this is the first year the tournament is running we can’t go off of last years statistics. However, we can look at other tournaments to gain some perspective. In the last 5 years similar state run tournaments have seen participation in around the 200 boat range, for a much smaller pay day. We also looked at regional tournaments like the Duke of Fluke, Flukeamania and the Bass River Classic which all see paticpation from 40-80 boats.
Based on this information, we’re shooting for what we believe to be a conservative goal of 180 boats. If we break these entries down based on the data we have available into our Calcutta options (40% going all in, 30% selecting option 2, 10% selection option 1 and 20% fishing no Calcutta’s and just attempting to win the advertised prizes and youth prizes) we arrive with a Calcutta prize pool of around $90,000. If a team is able to sweep both the single largest and 3 fish Calcutta categories, they’re payout could potentially be anywhere from $30-50,000 depending on the breakdown of signups. This thing could break down countless ways. Actually this thing could breakdown with potentially 36 different teams cashing in.
In addition to our prizes… each weigh station is offering a $100 gift card to the largest fish weighed at their location!!!
Let’s get into some questions we’ve had so far.
Is there a youth division?
There is not a separate entry for youth participants. Thanks to our sponsor Tsunami, there is a youth prize package in each region. This is awarded to the angler 16 and under in each region who catches the largest summer flounder. You will certify this on your weigh slips and include the anglers name and age. If weighing in for a youth, they must be present at the weigh in.
Is there a women’s division?
No! Women can do anything men can do. Stop asking this question.
How do the Calcutta’s work?
For those of you who don’t know, the Calcutta is basically a winner take all tournament within a tournament. Only those who signup for this optional class are eligible to win. In our tournament there are several, but we have them broken down into options.
Option 1 includes a $50 buy-in for both a 1 fish and 3 fish Calcutta. This is the cheapest Calcutta option*
Option 2 includes the $50 and also $100 Calcutta’s in each 1 and 3 fish.
Option 3 includes the aforementioned choices as well as a $250 entry into the 1 and 3 fish categories.
All options include a bycatch category we’ll discuss later.
Let’s say you enter Option 1 and you catch the largest single fish in the tournament, and in this example you also have the heaviest 3 fish bag. You will win the money from everyone who entered the $50 Calcutta, however, you will not be eligible for the $100 or $250 entry money. On the other hand, if you enter Option 3 and have the same results, you will effectively win all 6 Calcutta options and take all the winnings.
Not all the money however. Your entry money into the Calcutta’s covers you in both regional and overall contests. 65 cents for every Calcutta dollar entered will be paid out regionally. While 25 cents will go to the overall winner. The other 10 cents goes to the Fishing Club (We’re not doing this for free, sorry if that’s surprising news but hey it’s a lot of work!)
It is possible for there to be 22 different Calcutta winners!
Again, looking to level the playing field and increase your chances to win. Here’s something unique we are trying in this tournament:
Bycatch Bag Calcutta!
We’re often greeted with bycatch when looking for summer flounder. These fish are often met with disgruntled anglers then discarded. Well this is your chance to cash in on that “trash”. Our bycatch bag Calcutta is the combined weight of 1 Sea Robin and 1 Sea Bass OR the total weight of 1 Skate. The payout split is identical. You do not need to catch all 3 species, you can weigh in 1 sea robin, 1 sea bass or 1 skate and still be eligible for prize money. Entrants can also weigh in 1 sea bass and 1 sea robin together to increase your odds.
*If you choose to weigh in the skate, you may not weigh in the other species.
Why do a 1 fish contest instead of a bag limit?
We chose a 1-fish tournament as opposed to a 3-fish bag limit to level the playing the field. The thing is, the anglers with more experience and more time on the water are definitely more likely to come through with overall better quality than your weekend warriors or family fishing teams. Nonetheless, there is always some aspect of luck when it comes to fishing and it’s a lot easier to get lucky once then it is 3 times. Some words of wisdom… “Anything can happen at any time.” Position yourself with the right bait in the right spot and with a little luck the right fish is in your box and you’ll be on your way to cash a pretty hefty paycheck for your efforts. There is still a 3 fish Calcutta option which will more than likely carry a much higher payout than the tournament itself.
Where do you think the biggest fish will be caught?
If you haven’t caught on by now, we’re all about an even playing field. That’s why we chose an early season date for this tournament. The big fish can literally come from anywhere. The bay, the ocean, north or south. If we we’re gamblers (and we totally are) we would guess in an inlet, in about 20-30’ of water drifting live bait near structure, but only time will tell.
Here are some hot spots we give the nod; Raritan Bay, Navesink, Shrewsbury, Manasquan Rivers, Sandy Hook Reef, Shrewsbury Rocks, Sea Girt Reef, BB and BI buoys Barnegat Bay, Barnegat Inlet, Axle Carlson Reef, Barnegat Light Reef, Garden State North and South Reefs, Main Marsh Thoroughfare, Broad Creek at Intracoastal, Brigantine Bridge,, Absecon Inlet, Rainbow Channel, Corson’s Inlet, Townsends Inlet, Atlantic City Reef, Ocean Drive Bridge, Old Grounds, Reef Site 11
1. Fish as long as you are physically able to. Spend the entire day on the water if your body and time allows it. Anything can happen at any time. (Where have I heard that before?)
2. Talk to your local tackle shop. Stop into our weigh stations BEFORE the tournament! Tell them you’re fishing the tournament and ask for their advice. They’re business thrives on repeat customers. It is not beneficial to them if you go out and don’t catch fish. They’ll point you in the right direction and make sure you’ve got the proper gear!
3. Don’t forget about the calcutta’s. You have to be in it to win it.
The JCAA tournament lesson. The long running JCAA tournament offers a $50,000 prize if someone is able to catch a fish over 12 pounds. It’s unlikely but again… anything can happen at anytime. In order to win the prize, you need to put in something like $25 to cover the entry. It won’t take too much digging to look around and find the story of the guy who caught it and didn’t enter, and let $50,000 slip away.
4. Register now! Get your money in before June 28th and you’re eligible to win an extra $1,000. You know you’re fishing. There is no reason to wait!
Fishing Long Beach Island and the surrounding areas is good here at the beginning of the summer season. The past couple days I’ve had great fishing and reports from our customers are been positive. I had another good day today fishing Barnegat Bay catching both striped bass and fluke before the stormy weather came in. Right now there’s a lot going down for both beach and boat anglers. Here’s a Fishing LBI report update for Tuesday June 22, 2021.
We had some good striper fishing the last couple of days, both in the inlet and behind the sod banks. Not big fish, anywhere from 16 to 26 inches. These fish are super agressive right now and are great sport on the light tackle spinning rods.
Now it’s time to put something of value in my report instead of just shameless self promotion of our charters and Open Boats. We caught them all on sandworms. The bulk of them we caught floating a whole sandworm under a bobber right in the inlet jetty. About 12 feet of line under the float, 30 inches of 20 lb flourocarbon leader, and a #1 bronze baitholder hook. Use a small splitshot over your leader to help keep it down. Let it float right over the rocks, most of the hits come right before it hits the first rock. Caught more than a few nice tog, also, but it’s not open season, so they were released. On the bay side we use the same worms to tip our 3/8 to 1/2 oz jigheads for the half pint stripers behind the sod banks. Just drop them to the bottom and vertical jig them with a short, sharp sweep. This bait will catch everything that swims in Barnegat Bay and the inlet. We use it from the inlet all the way back to the west side of the bay, what I like to call the “West Side Highway”, between the 42 Buoy and the BB Buoy, they are actually mid channel towers. Sailing Open Boat or Charter this Thursday June 24 and Friday June 25, 11AM to 4PM, and also Saturday June 26 and Monday June 28 7AM to Noon. $150 person, 4 people max, all fish are shared. We will likely mix in some fluke fishing, too. Here’s Chris Hartman from PA with one of his bass from yesterday (Monday): youtu.be/hR1djChCJic
Its the last weekend of Spring 2021 and the Surf Fluke Fishing has been great at times since Opening Day last month.
When Mother Nature cooperates I’ve been finding a consistent bite fishing off the beach using a variety of different GULP! baits with keepers in the 18”-22” range and plenty of just shorts to keep your fishing rod bent in between. Currently I am booking trips for the month of July daily during the best tides and offer both morning and afternoon sessions.
So if you would like to experience some great surf fishing on the beaches of beautiful LBI this summer just contact me via email at Nightstrikes@comcast.net of call me at 609-276-6983 to get more information and discuss a trip. Thank You,
Fishing has been pretty good. We are catching a mixed bag of 18 to 26 inch stripers at the inlet and on the sod banks. Casting and jigging. There are also 2 to 5 pound bluefish mixed in at the inlet. Fluking is producing both shorts and a few keepers in the bay. If we do it all in the same trip it works out to be some good action.
Running Open Boat or Charter Friday June 18, Saturday June 19, and Monday June 21. 7AM to 1PM. $175 person. 4 people max. All fish are shared.
Waiting patiently for a weather window to get offshore for some tuna fishing. I don’t see that perfection weather I am looking for this weekend but we are constantly watching the marine forecast for that opportunity. There has been a decent bluefin bite at the 35 to 45 mile range from our inlet.
Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Fishing Report by Jim Hutchinson Sr.
Summer-like weather has arrived in the Beach Haven area, and along with some strong fishing usually associated.
Besides pockets of striped bass in the area, the inshore reefs are holding large numbers of black sea bass and other bottom fish. The summer flounder bite is hot in the bay waters, and there are early signs of tuna fish offshore.
Captain Gary Dugan had a group out fishing on the “Irish Jig” that he termed a “great bunch of guys.” They experienced drop and reel action with a lot of nice fish for the cooler working inshore structure. Captain Gary gave special recognition to one of the anglers who leaves shortly for basic training in the Air Force. The future serviceman took top honors with a beautiful blackfish which had to be released as it was out of season.
Captain Dave Kreines reports he finally got the “Byte Me” into the water, making his first trip of the season. He had Rick K. out for a few hours of fluke fishing in Great Bay. They reeled in several short fish and a nice keeper before they were chased in by thunderstorms.
Captain Carl Sheppard and First Mate Max Goldman had the Pickup family out bottom fishing on the “Star Fish.”. The crew fished multiple wrecks catching black sea bass and tog. Several nice sea bass made it into the cooler for a fish dinner. Also getting into the action with Captain Carl was the Nobles family who caught countless sea bass keeping several up to 15-inches.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing reports averaging 2-8 keeper fluke per trip along with 25-50 throwbacks. He attributes the differences to water temperature and clarity. He had two half-day charters recently with three keepers to 22-inches in the morning for Jesse Sipe and his son Ryan. In the afternoon he had Dan Dwyer fishing the incoming tide, and “the guys did a great job catching close to 40 with 7 keepers to 21-inches.”
BHCFA President Captain John Lewis is reminding all local youngsters who would like to become members of the Association’s Junior Mate program that the initial meeting will be held Thursday, June 24, at the lower level of the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club. Start Time is 7pm.
The Junior Mates Program is open to youngster who will reach the age of 12 by August 1, 2021. Information on the program can be found at the online link below or calling Lewis at 609-670-5980 or Captain Jimmy Zavacky at 609-915-2498.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.org .
Been waiting for this to happen….the inlet was on fire yesterday (Wed). Bass and blues on soft plastics, swimming plugs, and bunker that we found a little off the beach. Hookups on every drift. 3 to 7 lb blues, 24 to 30 inch stripers. Headed out every day, Open Boat and Charter. Call for details. That’s it, short and sweet, headed out right now for some more!