67th LBI Surf Fishing Classic

Night temperatures are cooling, leaves are turning color, and football games are filling stadiums. Fall is on its way, On Long Beach Island that means the LBI Surf Fishing Classic is fast approaching.

The 2021 version of this historic fishing tournament promises to be an exciting one with cash and other prizes awarded for four varieties of fish. Striped bass lead the way with prizes also available for bluefish, kingfish, and red drum.

This year is the 67th annual running of the contest with a starting date of Saturday, October 9, and ending up Sunday, December 12. Entry fee is $30 for adults with those seventeen and younger paying just $15.

Anglers can sign up at any of the three official weigh-in stations on LBI including Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven, Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, and Surf City Bait and Tackle. Official Classic 2021 hats and decals are available to those who register early.

John Donnelly caught this quality striped bass off the LBI surf in last year’s Classic.

Once again there are daily, weekly, and grand prizes available along with special “Bonus Prizes.” There are also special prize categories for junior anglers seventeen and younger, “Senior Citizen” prizes for those 62 and older, and “Ladies Prizes.” Prizes range from $50 daily awards to $100 and $250 weekly prizes, $500 and $1,000 for 3-week segment winners, and $1,000 for the grand prize for bluefish.

Frankie Lenetti battling rough conditions to hunt fall run striped bass on the beaches of LBI. Photo by Aimee Higman

Local fishing experts are optimistic about this year’s fall fishing run on Long Beach Island and its impact on the Classic.

Steve Palmer, owner of Jingles Bait and Tackle, is looking forward to the upcoming action. “I have a gut feeling this will be an exciting tournament. We have had a good spring and summer on other fish, and I expect it to continue.” Palmer advises anglers to be ready to “put the time in.” He likes the prospects of action at Holgate to lead the way for surf fishing. He notes strong showings of mullet and other baitfish in that area already.

Greg Cudnik from Fisherman’s Headquarters also expects good surf fishing this fall. He points to a strong run of striped bass in the spring and feels the new striper regulations seem to have resulted in more fish already. Cudnik is expecting a good number of new entrants this year. He has seen an increase this year in anglers new to the area and looks for many of them to enter the contest. He too is encouraged by the amount of bait in area waters and is keeping his fingers crossed for good weather conditions. “We have had good, clean water all summer. We now have plenty of anchovies and
mullet around and as long as they are here, we should have fish feeding on them.”

Sue Castrati of Surf City Bait and Tackle points to striper action already happening around Barnegat Inlet and the LBI Causeway with good numbers of schoolie stripers showing up. “We are having a good start
already on bass, and the amount of bait in the water is encouraging.” Her shop has already had a goodly number of anglers signing up for the Classic and attributes the interest to “a great annual tradition.” She saw an increase in new registrations in 2020 and is hoping for more again this year.

Joe Czapkowski and his dog fishing sunrise on the LBI surf. Do you know of a better way to enjoy a fall morning on Long Beach Island?

Last year was the first to offer prizes for kingfish which will once again be included. “Adding kingfish was an attempt to get an early start to the Classic,” observes Jim Hutchinson Jr., chairperson of the Classic committee. “This move stirred up interest and developed winners right from the opening bell.” Hutchinson points to outstanding support from not just local bait and tackle shops but also, “the entire business community.” Some businesses supply bonus prizes. “All money raised goes to prizes and tournament expenses. There are no salaries, and we award scholarships to members of local high school fishing clubs.”

Kick Off Surf Fishing Seminar

Each year (with the exception cancellations due to covid) the tournament kicks off with a surf fishing seminar. This year it starts at 10am on Saturday October 9th. The location is the Ship Bottom Fire House, 2006 Central Ave, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008. It is between 20th and 21st street. Save The Date Today and be sure to join. There will be lots of information as well as door prizes.

Registrations and information for the Classic are available at any of the three official weigh-in stations. Information can also be located on the tournament website www.LBISFC.com and Facebook page, LBI Surf Fishing Classic.

LBI Fishing Report – Sept 25, 2021

Fall is here and the Mullet Run is on. Right now there is good fishing for a variety of species such as blues, kingfish, weakfish, blowfish, tog and striped bass. Here’s the LBI Fishing Report for Sunday September 25, 2021.

Here’s a Saturday late afternoon fishing report update video. Just a heads up this is a longer one with some good info on the back half. Don’t check out early.

Things got going last week and really ramped up around this week’s moon (Monday night was the full moon). The Mullet Run here on Long Beach ISland is firing on all cylinders with both bluefish, striped bass and weakfish gorging on finger mullets all throughout the bays and inlets. Sunrise and sunset are undoubtedly the best times to fish during the Mullet Run. However some days you can catch ’em good at high noon.

When casting artificials this time of year it is a must to match the hatch. Fish are keyed in on mullet so topwater poppers, small pencils and spooks will work like magic. Also small swimming plugs in the 3-5” range can be very effective. Our favorite mullet run lures are the three classics: Stillwater Smack-It, Bomber Windcheater and the Cordell Red Fin. A couple new baits that are consistently raising fish are the Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Top Knock Pencil and the Yo-Zuri 3D Twitch Bait.

Yo-zuri is well know for making very good lures. This here is their Top Knock Pencil which is a phenomenal top water lure that has a perfect mullet profile, puts off a v-wake and has a great top water action when worked with the right candace. Simply deadly!

Barnegat Inlet Fishing Report

At this point of the year there isn’t a better area to fish than inlets. The summertime species exit and the fall species arrive. Add in baits flushing in and out with the tide and we get some great fishing.

Case and point is the bluefish action the past couple of weeks and this morning’s weakfish blitz. We received a handful of reports all themed around active weakfish crashing bait during the morning hours.

Tog fishing is and has been phenomenal with anglers catching 20-30-50+++ fish a day. Good numbers BUT keepers are hard to find. A couple anglers caught keeper tog today but it requires dedication, skill and some luck.

The triggerfish are also chewing and a few sheepshead. Sand Fleas have been more productive with the triggers and sheeps although they will almost always eat any type of crab offering.

Aaron Parker stopped in mid-day looking for bait. He wanted live green crab but we were sold out. We have sand fleas so he got them and hit the jetty with friend Ashley Webb. They reported back, “Caught a bunch of short tog and sea bass. Ashley caught a big triggerfish on a flea.”

LBI Surf Fishing Report

The Long Beach Island surf temperature continues to hang around in the low 70’s. For the most part it’s the same surf story…

Anglers fishing live bloodworms and Fish Bites are catching kingfish on the beaches of LBI. From time to time, there’s also small bluefish present on some beaches. Using mullet or bunker will get these hungry and aggressive blues to bite.

If there’s visual bird and fish activity… throw jigs like a Hogy Epoxy Jig, Diamond Jig, Hopkins, Acme Kastmaster or Deadly Dick Lures. All of these are great fall fishing lures that cast great and resemble the various baits that are present right now.

74th Annual World Series of Surf Fishing

Today was the 74th Annual World Series of Surf Fishing hosted by the LBI Fishing Club. This one day ASAC event had a strong showing with 36 teams and a total of 206 anglers. All together there were 374 total scorable fish caught; 140 bluefish and 182 kingfish.

Sandra Lee took this sunrise photo of the surf anglers lined up for the World Series of Surf Fishing Tournament.
Sandra Lee took this sunrise photo of the surf anglers lined up for the World Series of Surf Fishing Tournament.

Current Surf Conditions & Outlook

Today’s conditions… South east swell continues on the beach of LBI today. Expect reinforcing swell tomorrow (Sunday) from TS Teresa which is developing near/above Bermuda. Everyone should also keep an eye out for Hurricane Sam which is a small but powerful story that is tacking in our direction. So it should send us swell later this month and then additional, more powerful swell the first week of October.

Barnegat Bay Fishing Report

In the bay there’s a lot of life! From game fish to bait, the variety of species is amazing. It’s crazy to think we’ve seen sardines, cigar minnows and goggle eyes mixed in with the peanut bunker.

The two most abundant game species are blowfish and weakfish but blues make their presence known. Blowfish continue to be caught in good number by anglers anchoring, chumming and fishing small baited (clam, squid, worm) hooks.

So far this year the weakfish are plentiful, possibly the best we’ve seen in quite some time. A lot of weaks in the 12-20″ range with a few quality ones up to 26″. These are mainly being caught on small jigs and soft plastics, with a few being caught on peanut bunker and mullet. Also shrimping for weakfish has been great!

A healthy showing of resident striped bass in the smaller size ranges (20-26″) continue to offer light tackle fun. There are a few keeper size in the mix. Slowly (but surly) bigger striped bass are showing.

Dan caught this 40" striped bass in 4' of water on a Smack-It popper!
Here’s Team Fish Head’s Dan D with a classy bass he caught this afternoon fishing the flats. He caught this 40″ striped bass in 4′ of water on a Smack-It popper! It’s safe to say we have new arrivals here now!

Big Game Fishing

The big game fishing has been phenomenal all summer and it has transitioned right into fall. The past couple of weeks have been crazy with monster bluefin tuna in the Bight very close to the shores of northern Jersey and Western Long Island. Anglers are also still picking away at yellowfin a couple big eyes, a few wahoo and really good catches of mahi.

Here's a big bluefin tuna caught in late September in the BIght by TJ.
That’s a real one! TJ has geared up at Fish Heads for many many years. When he called us early in the week and said he needed another big gun outfit we had a new Shimano Tiagra 80 wide spooled and and ready to go! Happy to see our customers getting out and accomplishing serious life goals!

LBI Fishing Report 9/16/21

Things are happening faster than you might notice! Before we dive into that let’s cover the current weather. Low pressure off of the Carolinas is creeping up and giving us a few days of north-east flowing fall like weather. Moderate north east winds with 3-4′ south east swell will be on the beaches of Long Beach Island Friday and Saturday. At this point it looks like the winds will drop out Saturday afternoon but will be cranking up again Sunday morning 10-15-20mph in a northerly flow. High pressure parks in the Gulf of Maine Monday – Tuesday – Wednesday which will keep the onshore flow going.

Local LBI Water Temperatures

Today’s Ship Bottom surf temperature was 67º. About 7 miles off of the beach at the Garden State North Reef site the ocean water temperature was 72º. Since today was a cloudy overcast day it was a good one for true water temperature readings since most days the surface temperature is effected by solar heating.

Looking at the Barnegat Bay buoy changes are evident. The downward trend started at the beginning of September and will continue.

Barnegat Light water temperature chart.
The large swings in temperature plotted on this chart is due to the buoy’s location very close to Barnegat Inlet. It records bay water on the outgoing tide and ocean water on the incoming tide. Take note of the sharp drop in water temperatures on and around August 20th. That is the recorded upwelling event due to Hurricane Henri.

It’s happening faster than you might notice!

To gauge where we are at… Saturday is the last day with sunset in the 7 o’clock hour. Days are getting shorter. That gets the bait moving and migration into gear. Full moon coming on Monday 20th! Around the moons, the tides are more extreme. That gets baits moving and migration into gear. Summer ends on Wednesday Sept 22nd. Fall is almost here!

Long Beach Island Fishing Report

Late summer fishing on Long Beach Island is a special time where it’s warm, there’s a variety of species and there’s a lot less traffic.

Fluke Fishing The 9th Inning

There’s only a few days left to get the last of this year’s fluke fishing in. Unfortunately the closing weekend isn’t shaping up to be a very friendly one to ocean bottom fishing. Savvy anglers will find opportunities in protected areas and also land based spots.

Fishing On The Surf

The best best right now off the LBI surf is kingfish. For many weeks anglers using Fish Bites have had success. This afternoon Dave Russo from Blanchard, PA stopped in the shop to gear up with some things and deliver a batch of custom flies. He shared this report, “This morning I was into kingfish on the surf up the street from the shop. I caught about ten of them on chartreuse Fish Bites. Remember what Lefty said. If it ain’t chartreuse, It ain’t no use!”

Theo Door posted this photo of his son with a recent kingfish catch.
Theo Door posted this photo of his son with a recent kingfish catch. “Me and my son caught ’em up today on Fish Bites.”

TIP: We’ve found that Fish Bites are very effect however loose their edges in cool/cold water. As the ocean temperatures cool, live bloodworms will slide past and emerge the winner.

Other species present on the LBI surf and ripe to harvest… fluke (while open), blues/snappers, spike weakfish and a couple croakers. With the mullet run picking up steam using them is a great option. Fish whole, chunks or strips for blues, fluke and striped bass.

Fishing In The Bay

The most abundant species in the local backwater is blowfish. Throughout the bay many different areas offer good fishing for them. Also present, weakfish, snapper, fluke and striped bass are on the menu.

The local docks and lagoons are stacked up with baits. We have the classics… peanut bunker, spearing, bay anchovies, and mullet as well as some southern neighbors hanging around for a late season visit spanish sardine, scaled sardine, threadfin herring, butterfish, cigar minnow and scad. RARELY do we see this variety of baits.

Fishing At The Inlet

The Barnegat Inlet State Park, adjacent beaches and bayside bulkheads are all productive fishing areas with easy public access. Right now there’s great opportunities to catch small bluefish with lures. Work the right windows and you might lock into a striped bass or two. Tog, sheepshead and triggerfish are present and are three great targets for all of September. Many other species traverse the Inlet on a daily basis too.

Light tackle bluefish action is fun aboard Fish Head Charters.
Most of the bluefish are running small this year, smaller snappers up to three pound range. But a few larger ones could show at anytime. Case and point, here is a sizable 34″ long, 16.5″ girth bluefish from a recent trip.

Fishing Report Update 9/13/21

Today the flies were horrible! One reporter said, “Think of your worst fly day ever. Then double it. That was today!” It’s fly season and each day can vary. Westerly winds puts flies on the beaches of LBI. When fishing the beach, bay or boat always be prepared with a quality bug spray. Our number one pick and also the one chosen by many of the lifeguard squads of LBI… Captain Ron’s Bug Repellant!

Here’s a fishing report update video from Sunday evening September 12, 2021

It’s The Last Week Of Fluke!

There is only one week left, with the NJ Summer Flounder fishing season closing on Sunday September 19th. Fishing before Hurricane Larry’s swell Friday/Saturday fishing was good. It seems most of the hot ocean reports simmered down due to the swell. We are expecting good fishing this week. There’s only one way to find out. Let’s go fishing and get in on the last hurrah!

Bayside Fishing

Glen Seidel reported, “Today was a perfect day with a calm bay. I caught 35 blowfish in less than an hour. Left them biting.”

Blowfish action continues with good fishing in the bay.  Boat anglers have had a great run for the better part of summer. Land based anglers are also catching too! Long Beach Island has numerous bayside access (on the north end, mid island and south end) where anglers can get into fun fishing. For more information stop by the shop.

Weakfish are a great species to target right now for light tackle fun. Here's Mike Manaco with one he caught in the bay off Beach Haven.
Weakfish are a great species to target right now for light tackle fun. Here’s Mike Manaco with one he caught in the bay off Beach Haven.

Fluke fishing the bay still offers good opportunities. Numerous reports of quality fluke fishing “inside” recently tells that it will be good right to the close.

Chris Siegert reported, "Great late season fluke fishing with by boy Captain Mike this weekend. We fished his classic 1975 Seacraft and limited out with nice fishing up to 27"." Yes they were fishing in the bay!
Chris Siegert reported, “Great late season fluke fishing with by boy Captain Mike this weekend. We fished his classic 1975 Seacraft and limited out with nice fishing up to 27″.” Yes they were fishing in the bay!

As mentioned in previous reports, when the wind is cranking or the swell is pumping clamming or crabbing in the protection of the bayside areas is a great way to make the most of what we are dealt.  

LBI Surf Fishing

Kingfish action continues with good fishing on the LBI surf. So far it has been a consistent bite for weeks not. Some days Fish Bites are doing the trick however other days live bloodworms out fish. It can’t hurt to bring both baits!

Fluke are being caught on the surf as well as spot, sharks, rays and a few striped bass and blues.

James Walsh caught this striped bass over the weekend. Every day we get close and close to prime time fall striped bass fishing here on LBI. BUT don’t let that keep you from enjoying awesome light tackle bass fishing right now!!!

The mullet run is kicking in and will hopefully be rocking here soon!

LBI Albies

We are getting lots of calls, messages, questions… where are the albies? IN late August we had a couple good showings. I was catching near Barnegat Inlet. There were three to four days of great fishing then Ida came in and dumped a lot of rain on NJ. Since then I’ve only heard of a few caught near shore. More 7-15+ miles off. Their showing was very early so I remain positive. Usually we see them in late September and October. Let’s hope they invade nearshore again!

LBI Causeway Bridge Closure

Frezza apologized for the Sunday’s bridge closure. He was out late fishing under the Bridges on Saturday night. He left his plug bag by accident and called the Ship Bottom police to report it and possible check in hopes of a lost and found. When the asked for its contents they heard Bomber lures and that set off the alarm. All joking aside it was a wild turn of events. I can only recall a few times the Causeway was closed. This one for sure caused the most havoc.

RIP Gregory “Rashnose” Eastburn

We are saddened to have learned that on 9/11 Gregory Eastburn lost his 7 year battle with cancer. Greg has been a staple to fishing in Barnegat Light for the past 30 years working first on the Capt Bill, Miss LBI and the SuperChic for the past 17 years.

Chris Eastburn sent this in…

In 1990, I took you under my wing teaching you the ropes fishing as the second mate on the Capt Bill.  You later excelled as the top mate in Barnegat Light and became the first mate on the Miss LBI and on the SuperChic.  I have so many memories of our fishing adventures.  Dude, you put a hurting on the fish!

You were one of the nicest guys on Earth.  Such a loving and caring person, husband and dad.  My heart aches for Amy, Wes and Grady.  I’m so proud to say you’re my nephew. RIP Gregory

Lighthouse Sportfishing Report 9/13/21

Just because many have left LBI and Barnegat Bay for the year, the fish do not subscribe to our calendar. With falling temps, shorter days the baitfish are getting ready to push out of the bay and head south. The bay is under 70 @ 69 for the first times in months. Predators with be hot on their tails, get it?? Mullet have started to school and my prediction lots will exit the bay on the next moon. Peanut bunker will follow a few weeks later. And man o man, the bay is loaded with nuts. Fluke season has a few days left. Fluking has been tough lately because of water clarity. The last hurricane swell dirtied up the water. Plenty of nice size weaks around if you chum grass shrimp. They should get easier to target with live nuts on a three-way floating jig head rig. Schoolie bas are already dialed in in the marsh. Had lots blowing up on bait my last two times I targeted them. I’s only going to get better. Inlet holding some keeper bass but big live baits needed. Some monster blues showed up, 8-10 lb. plus variety. These are what I like to call “mullet run” blues. Historically they showed up like clockwork this time of year. Not so much in years past. I just got news from an extremely reliable source of some croaker on steroids of the beach. Still trying to get what depth. Been years since we had a good run of hard heads. Great eating but can be a little boney.

On the nature side of things: before technology birds were tracked by netting and putting legs bands on. The only way to know where they went is when they were recaptured. Not the best success rates. Plus there were lots of data gaps. For example, where were they in between. Now a days gps tracking devices have come into play. The artic tern was always known to be the longest distance flyer doing a 25,000 mile round trip in the Atlantic. But that was not thinking out of the box and making a poor assumption that it flew in a straight line while spending about ten months over the open ocean. And it weighs only 4.2 ounces. Recently, a tracked tern did 42,000 miles in one year as if zig zagged while travel for the south reaches of the southern hemisphere to the far reaches of the northern hemisphere. Isn’t nature amazing.

Now retired and guiding full time, one of the only full time local guides, I have lots of dates available and often available for last minute bookings. It is still best to schedule a dates. Fishing is good to great and only getting better.

Screaming drags,

Capt. Alex
Lighthouse Sportfishing

Labor Day Fishing Report

I can’t believe Labor Day is official here. Summer flew by. Looking back it was one hell of a summer full of great fishing and for the most part very good weather. From near shore to offshore and from shore fishing was consistently good all summer for a variety of species.

With 15 days left in the official summer season (Sept 22) and 13 days left in NJ’s summer flounder fishing season (Sept 19), anglers should be looking forward to great late summer fishing with less traffic on the road, the beach and the water. Strike now while the iron is hot!

September offers the season’s best variety with all of the traditional coastal gamefish like fluke, striped bass, bluefish, kingfish, blowfish, weakfish, sea bass, tog, drum, sheepshead, triggerfish, porgy as well as albies, cobia and Spanish mackerel. In recent days the mid-shore tuna bite has simmered down but mahi madness filled the void as well as some big wahoo.

Erin from Hawaii caught this ribbon fish aka cutlassfish fluke fishing about five miles outside BI this weekend. It just goes to show that fishing the waters of LBI in September you never know what you might catch!

LBI Surf Fishing Report

Today’s LBI surf temperature from Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol is 72º.

September is a great time of year to enjoy fishing the beaches of LBI. Right now there’s fluke fluke, kingfish, spot, small bluefish and weakfish on the beaches. For the kings and spot rig up with a Classic Small Hook Kingfish Rig and bait with live bloodworms and/or FishBites Bag Of Worms.

Kevin Schuler sent in this photo Sunday morning. He reported, “The fishing was nice before the wind picked up. I caught two keepers quick and about 6 short.”

For fluke it’s hard to beat a bucktail jig tipped with Gulp with a teaser hook above with a Gulp. We’ve got teaser rigs in stock. Need help making up your own custom teaser rig?

As reported previously some mullet are moving and creeping out of their summer hiding areas. I saw a school of mullet in the surf last weekend. Yesterday we heard of a few netting off of the local surf. The mullet will be running any day. Now is the time to fish mullet on a classic mullet rig.

Steve George from Night Strike Guide Service caught this weakfish off of the LBI surf fishing Gulp this weekend.

Barnegat Bay Fishing Report

The Barnegat Bay has a lot on tap right now. Blowfish are the far the best target species for quantity and table fare. Please harvest responsibly. Weakfish, small blues as well as resident striped bass are present AND there’s still a good number of fluke in the bay too.

Fish Head’s alumni Dan D was on the water this weekend with his girlfriend Liz and together they caught 11 striped bass on top water lures. Dan reported, “The Stillwater Smack It Poppers were raising and hooking them.”

Crabbing and clamming are two great ways to enjoy time on the water. They are both especially great times to take advantage of a windy day or when the ocean is rough.

A Tidbit On Weather

This weekend’s break from the heat was welcomed and very comfortable. Low dew point, low humidity and at times chilly but GREAT!!! Fall is in the air.

If you didn’t get word yet… as of today’s 11am update Hurricane Larry is a major storm moving north west at 10mph with cranking 120mph winds.

Right now all models show that Larry will stay away from the Eastern seaboard and only send long period swell our way. How much and how big will depend on its track and how it’s affected by the frontal system moving through our area on Wednesday night.

The first signs of Larry will show up on LBI’s beaches on Tuesday with forerunners arriving. Wednesday we’ll see more long period south east swell in the 2-4′ possibly five foot range but lully, smaller in the AM, larger in the PM. Thursday the beaches will be pumping 4-6’+ and favorable north west winds will have LBI’s beaches lit up with HOPEFULLY world class surf! The swell should peak later Thursday or Friday. Friday could be another great day too. Saturday Larry’s swell drops fast as the system exits our swell wind.

Why does this matter to the anglers of LBI?

Well… For sure surf anglers should expect the beaches to be packed with surfers on Thursday. Also the swell and long shore drift will force anglers to fish heavier weighs if trying to hold bottom. Boat anglers should know that Thursday powerful long period swell energy. It should be a nice day to fish however shoals and inlets could be hazardous at time.

LBI Surf Fishing Classic

Registration for the 2021 67th Annual Surf Fishing Classic is on! It kicked off today. We are looking forwards to a great event starting October 9th. SAVE THE DATE! Over the years the early part of the event was slow unless medium size blues (minimum size is 28″) showed up. Last year kingfish were added and it turned out to be a very successful and welcomed addition. They are here to stay! We look forward to the first 1-3 weeks full of kingfish action as things transition right into the bass and blues.

Rock The Dock!

The NJ Fishing Club’s Rock The Dock fluke tournament went down on Saturday September 4th with flawless weather and phenomenal fluke fishing. It was arguably the best day of fluke fishing all summer! The majority of the 24 boats fished the ocean waters; open bottom, wrecks and reef sites. The largest fish was in the six pound range and the top three fish stringer was in the fifteen pound range. We’ll have the specifics posted as soon as they are available.

I had a blast fishing the tournament with Captain Jeff Warford and fellow team Fish Heads member Mike Frezza. Jeff put us on the fish right from the start and the fishing was great all morning. The tide was cranking but the Rhodan Trolling Motor helped keep up in position where the fluke were chewing. We finished the day with 26 keeper size fish. We were releasing healthy keeper after keeper, hunting for larger fish but they never came. Out of our 9 fish limit kept the largest was 4.88#.

We caught a lot of fish! It was one of the best fluke fishing trips I can recall in years. For us it was all Magictail Jig and Gulp. I tried XL minnows and live spot but it didn’t do the trick for us.

Keep an eye out for the NJ Fishing Club’s Blackfish Tournament later this fall!

BHCFA Fishing Report 9/4/21

Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association

Long Beach Island has escaped the wrath of recent tropical storms, and now the captains of the Beach Haven Charter fishing Association can turn their attention to some outstanding late summer fishing. As they say locally, “everything is better in September.”

The summer flounder action is at its peak of the season which ends on September 19. The fish are plentiful, and the ratio of keepers to throwbacks is as high as it has been all year. Although most captains are targeting summer flounder there are other fish to be taken including Spanish mackerel, bluefish, blackfish, false albacore, and others.

Captain Brett Taylor of Real Reaction Sportfishing had Paige Agnello and her family on an ocean fluke trip. They hit a local snag for a quick limit of black sea bass to 17-inches and ended the trip in the bay where they managed a 22-inch keeper.

Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” has also been doing well on fluke in the reefs outside Beach Haven Inlet including the Little Egg and Garden State South Reefs.

Captain Alex Majewski of Light House Sportfishing says his trips are “dialed in,” meaning most days he knows what fish to target and what tide to fish when he leaves the dock. He notes there is a great assortment of fish around including loads of blowfish in the bay. When he tries trolling Clark spoons in the ocean, he never knows what might be attacking the metals next.

Congratulations go out to BHCFA member and former president, Captain Jimmy Zavacky, for his recognition by the Beach Haven Borough Council on his heroic actions earlier this summer. Captain Jimmy and son Patrick along with the crew of the “Reel Determined” assisted in the rescue of the crew of a sinking 28-foot fishing vessels.

The Council cited Zavacky for “bravery, expertise and selflessness in the face of harrowing sea conditions.” While fishing in a tournament sponsored by the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna club, a boat he was fishing with began to develop problems and was in danger of sinking.

Zavacky had been fishing in concert with the stricken vessel and quickly sped to its aid.

Ultimately a US Coast Guard helicopter arrived on the scene and with the “Reel Determined” was able to affect the safe rescue of all the men aboard the stricken boat. If not for Captain Jimmy’s quick response and tireless efforts, the situation could have been much worse.

Additional information on the BHCFA can be found at www.bhcfa.org.

Labor Day Surf Report / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC

It may be the unofficial end of summer this holiday weekend here on LBI NJ but that doesn’t mean the summer surf fishing is over and in fact it might be getting better.
Surf conditions are good with warm clean water and there is plenty of bait around to keep the fish feeding. Over the past week I have seen some of the largest Northern Kingfish being caught on small fresh baits of the summer. And finally some decent size Bluefish in the 2-3lb range have also been caught during the early morning hours.

The Fluke bite continues to be pretty good at this time but there are definitely more smaller or throwbacks in the surf then keepers compared to earlier in the summer hitting bucktails tipped with GULP! baits

Sunrise over Barnegat Inlet NJ
Some Recent Surf Caught Fluke

The Keeper ratios should increase again as the mullet starts to vacate the back bays this month and work their way down the coastline. Make sure to to use larger baits and hooks to increase your chances to catch some late season table fare before the season closes on September 19th.
And don’t be surprised to see some of our resident Striped Bass becoming more aggressive during the cooler nights/mornings

Also at this time I would like to thank everyone that booked a surf fishing trip with me the last three months, it was so much fun fishing with you all – making it another summer to remember here on beautiful LBI

Over the next couple months I will be fishing the northern part of the state up in the Sandy Hook / Monmouth County area targeting False Albacore and Fluke -but will return back to the area when the Striped Bass return during the Fall Migration here sometime in November And December

So if your looking to book any trips during this time in these areas just reach out to me for more information / call 609-276-6983 or email Nightstrikes@comcast.net

Again “Thank You” and have a great and safe holiday Labor Day weekend.
Steve George / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC 609-276-6983

LBI Fishing Report 9/1/21

So it’s September… Now What!

With school’s firing back up, the recent mass exodus has left Long Beach Island with what feels like the most breathing room in a very, very long time. The ambiance is something that so many of us have missed and feared gone after the pandemic push but the days after Henri gave us reassurance. Fortunately summer is far from over folks! What many call “Local Summer” we call the best time of year to enjoy LBI and all of its bounty.

Here’s the Long Beach Island Fishing Report for September 1, 2021.

Many look at the September and October time frame as dead months with little to nothing going on; however that couldn’t be further from the truth. Late summer fishing on LBI is great! Aside from tropical systems, the weather tends to be good and the waters are warm. We see a great variety of species with not one star, but good supporting rolls from solid players.

Fluke / Summer Flounder Fishing Report

The NJ summer flounder fishing season closes on September 19th so get in on the final stretch now. Year in and year out late season fluke fishing the waters of LBI is arguably the best part of the season. Right now there’s productive fluke fishing in the inlet, surf, ocean (reefs, wrecks and open bottom) and even still in the bay. More on the bay listed below, Barnegat Bay Fishing Report.

Teddy Kamish knows the deal! Here's his land based fluke limit caught before the Ida blow. "Always chewing before the blow. I caught these three from the sands of LBI... 19", 20" and the biggest was just shy of 23"!"
Teddy Kamish knows the deal! Here’s his land based fluke limit caught before the Ida blow. “Always chewing before the blow. I caught these three from the sands of LBI… 19″, 20″ and the biggest was just shy of 23″!”

Captain Jeff Warford has been on the meat each and every trip. He’s transitioning well from a big game tuna and sword killer to a flounder pounder. He reported, “Another day, anther limit of quality fish. I think I’m spending $600 a week on Gulp. I’ve got into a number of great days fluke fishing in the past ten days. A few days back I was fishing with Frezza from Fish Heads and we really go into ’em good. It was the best day of NJ fluke fishing I ever had. We kept out limit to 8 pounds and released another 20+ keepers.

Here's Frezza (left) and Jeff (right) both with their hands full after a great day fluke fishing the waters off of Long Beach Island. Jeff reported that his best fishing has been working structure with Magictail Jigs and big Gulp baits. No secrets here... that's been the MO for years!
Here’s Frezza (left) and Jeff (right) both with their hands full after a great day fluke fishing the waters off of Long Beach Island. Jeff reported that his best fishing has been working structure with Magictail Jigs and big Gulp baits. No secrets here… that’s been the MO for years!

Barnegat Bay Fishing Report

Finally the boat traffic on the bay has let up a little bit and more gentlemen conditions prevail. Fishing the bay is and has been great for blowfish. What started a little on the late side and slow side rally kicked into high gear the past 4-5 weeks. All reports are strong from the west side of the bay with anglers chumming and using squid and clam as hook baits. Don’t overlook Fish Bites as a great hook bait choice! There’s also many other areas where blowfish are showing up. Weakfish popped up big time in early to mid August however I’ve witnessed a slowdown. Maybe it’s because I’ve started to turn my attention elsewhere (ALBIES!). The bay is still stacked with fluke and good size ones too. Brian Davis caught a 26′ 6.2 pounder inside a few days ago.

False Albacore Fishing

Everyone loves light tackle fishing right? In my book the ultimate light tackle species (by far) is false albacore. Why? Because they are eat small baits and are fast, finicky and frustrating. The pursuit, the catch and the release are much more rewarding that many other species inshore species. The topwater crushing feeds are just icing on the cake! If looking to hunt down albies make sure your tackle is in order and be ready for a hind and go seek missions. Some days they pop up quick and then disappear like ghosts.

Here's Ryan P. and his 7 year old daughter aboard Fish Head Charters. This was one of a handful of albies this morning.
Here’s Ryan P. and his 7 year old daughter aboard Fish Head Charters. This was one of a handful of albies this morning.

I’ve found over the years that my success has been attributed to my patience, preparation and attention to detail. Leave anyone of these three behind and albies will leave you in the dust frustrated and pissed off. Rigging up with a 15-20# braid on a quality smooth 3000 size spinning reel with a light, crisp and powerful rod rated in the 1/2 to 1oz range makes the perfect tool for the job. A slim line to line knot attaches 18-24″ section of 20-25# fluorocarbon and then I tie direct to my lure of choice always matching the hatch! You cant go wrong with the Hogy Epoxy Jigs. Don’t be afraid to fish them fast.

Mid-Shore Big Game Fishing

As per my last report post update under the Big Game Fishing Section, “bluefin very close, mid-shore action has been hot all summer, troll at speeds for WAHOO!” Same story now. Actually more reports of mahi and WAHOOO!!! Influx of albies in some areas which are fun on light tackle but a huge nuisance when trolling.

Here's Zach Dunne with a beautiful 72# wahoo caught aboard the Pressure Drop. He reported the fish took down a purple spreader bar and almost spooled the reel.
Here’s Zach Dunne with a beautiful 72# wahoo caught aboard the Pressure Drop. He reported the fish took down a purple spreader bar and almost spooled the reel.

Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Report

The LBI surf temp is 74º today (official temp from Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol). Recent fluke action on the beach has been good for some. Case and point is Teddy’s catch report above. Kingfish are plentiful on the surfside too. We’ve heard about a few croakers and spot showing too.Some areas and times offer a few cocktail blues, and possibly a spanish mackerel or false albacore. With the warm water, the sharks are still present; brown sharks, sand tigers, blacktip, spinners and others. Check out this video captured by Karl Marquardt of blacktip and spinner sharks feeding heavy right off the beach on the south end of LBI.

Holgate Is Open!

On September 1st the gates open. We got word from a couple 4×4’s that the beach conditions were good. BUT the swell and high tides could chew the access ramp. We’ll have to see what things look like tomorrow after this blow. As always be prepared when driving on the beach. A lot of unexpected events can take place. Note: Other town beaches will be opening soon to 4×4 buggies.

Long Beach Island Fishing Tournaments Coming Up

Rock The Dock!

This weekend, Saturday September 4th the NJ Fishing Club is holding Rock The Dock Fluke Tournament! 6:30am Shotgun Start, Weigh ins from 2:30 to 3:30pm at Van’s Boats on the water in Barnegat Light.

Entry Fee for Private Boat is $125 or up to 6 anglers.

For all of those fluke anglers that are looking to fish and don’t have a spot… Jump aboard the Mary M IV! Entry Fee for individual anglers fishing aboard the Mary M is $165 (includes, fare, gratuity, pool & tournament entry). Departure 6am Return 2pm

For more details on the tournament, prize payout structure and calcuttas click here. ALL ENTRANTS MUST REGISTER ONLINE! Registration Closes Friday 9/3 at 6pm.

67th Annual LBI Surf Fishing Classic

Sign Ups Will Begin Soon! – The event kicks off October 9th and runs until December 12, 2021. Just like last year there are three primary species; striped bass, bluefish and kingfish. And a ton of prizes! For more information go to www.LBISFC.com