Not great. That sums up our own personal offshore fishing lately. On our last two trips, we covered 180 miles and 140 miles, respectively, with nothing to show for it except a 15 lb mahi. While I was covering all that water from the Texas Tower to the 28 Mile Wreck, some boats were catching 30 lb class bluefin less than 20 miles from my home port of Barnegat Inlet. I think I am going to keep it closer to home this weekend and Monday, unless I get some really good intel to change my mind. To be clear, they are not slaying the bluefin, they’re catching a few, one, or none. The grounds they are fishing on typically provide a variety of bonita, albacore, king mackerel, spanish, mackerel, mahi, and more. I’m not saying any of those species are there, I’m saying, historically, this time of year, any of those species could be in the mix. The water there is blueish and 74 to 77 degrees. A good amount of flying fish, which should attract some mahi. I will be running Open Boat or Charter to these grounds, armed with trolling gear and prepared to bait fish, as well.
Our inshore sharking trips have been doing very well. I tell people to expect two to three foot Spinner, Blacktip, and Atlantic Sharpnose sharks. They are small in stature, but are high powered pelagic sharks that give a really good fight on light tackle. The bigger sharks don’t always get the memo that we are fishing for smaller sharks and on all three of our trips last week we had a 130 to 150 lb class brown shark. All catch and release, as these are not edible species. It is possible to combine some inshore fishing with this, as well, like casting lures at the inlet jetty for schoolie stripers and blues, or fluking inside the bay. We could also try some live grass shrimp for the ultra lite mix of species on six pound tackle. Weakfish are always the target, but they are not always there, so the goal is to catch as many different species as we can.
Looks like a really good marine forecast for this stretch of dates:
Sailing Open Boat or Available for Charter: Thursday July 28 10AM to 5PM Barnegat Ridge 15 to 20 Mile Range $275 person Friday July 29 10AM to 5PM Barnegat Ridge 15 to 20 Mile Range $275 person Saturday July 30 6AM to 2PM Barnegat Ridge 15 to 20 Mile Range $300 person Monday August 2AM to 4PM Mid Range Tuna 30 to 60 Mile Range $450 person All trips are limited to 4 passengers. All fish are shared. Any of these dates are also available for your private charter to fish inshore, offshore, or the bay.
Pic: Steve Ondrof of Rockaway NJ with his 15 lb Mahi caught at the 28 Mile Wreck this past Saturday.
Last week I got word about a beach access issues in northern Ocean County. Beach access has been an ongoing issue for many years but this time it has “new roots”. Due to a native plant growth, there is new concerns and possibly action coming down the pike. What’s taking place could set precedence and eventually take root on Long Beach Island. Before we know it a full fledged campaign with big money backers and radical environmental groups could spark up and then life as we know it is gone.
Listen Up Any & All Jersey Surfcasters, Especially those who utilize 4×4 Beach Buggy Access!
Seabeach Amaranth is a native plant to New Jersey’s barrier island beaches. It is typically found on the upper beaches, dunes and in over wash areas. In 1993 the plant was listed as threatened under the US Endanger Species Act. NJ’s highest concentrations of plants are at Sandy Hook’s Gateway National Recreation Area. But recently more plants have been found on beaches of southern Monmouth and Ocean Counties. The plant, Seabeach Amaranth is now being talked about and possible action limiting 4×4 beach buggy access is a possibility.
Brick Beach 4×4 Access In Jeopardy
This whole controversy sparked with the state and feds pushing local municipalities, in this case Brick Township to restrict access and even cease beach buggy permits. Brick’s Mayor Ducey shared, “US Fish & Wildlife contacted us and said we had to eliminate beach buggy access.” Town council said, “No way! There has to be another way!” Township engineer got involved with suggestions and basically a settlement. What is sounds like is to keep the beach buggy access/ordinance there will be a limitation on dates, required signage, fenced off areas and also constant enforcement of any violations by police. Ducey and town council did not want to make any changes to the beach buggy ordinance but was forced to give concessions to the federal government in order to keep 4×4 access. Mayor Ducey said, “The council agreed that the permit with the restrictions was better than eliminating it and that is why there is a new ordinance.”
For all that can please attend the Brick Town Council Meeting,at Municipal Hall on Chambers Bridge Road,Tuesday July 26th at 7pm. Show up to respectfully ensure the fisherman’s voice is heard to ensure fishing access in Brick Beach, the state of NJ and the entire Striper Coast!
Signage and fencing of the sensitive areas is the logical thing to do to ensure public awareness and access. Also it would be rational to provide an informational postcard when buying beach permits. But, cutting back 4×4 access from October 1st – April 30th to November 30 – March 15th is unacceptable! This cuts out the entire spring surf fishing season and the majority of the fall surf fishing season too. Also beach access must be protected and preserved by having thoughtfully worded ordinances. They must not be vague!
Mixed Up Finger Pointing At The Beach
The Brick Beach situation is the tip of the iceberg and what action the town takes, possibly pushing back fighting the state and feds will set precedence for the coastal municipalities of the Jersey Shore.
The state and feds are pointing fingers at anglers and their 4×4 beach buggies. But who is really to blame? Anglers are not fishing and driving in the high beach area and dunes. Those ones who should be taking the heat is all of those parties associated with the beach replenishment projects as well as beach maintenance!
Major Threats To Seabeach Amaranth
What are the major threats to Seabeach Amaranth?
Beach Maintenance – Raking
All summer the Jersey Shore beaches are raked to keep the soft sand clean from seaweed and litter. This municipal raking at the foot of the dunes is the major threat to beach plants and it limits the natural widening of the dune. Also lifeguards and township public works vehicles daily drive the high beach line commonly at the foot of the dune to avoid beach goers. If Seabeach Amaranth was an issue on the areas of the beach where rakes and these vehicles travel daily why didn’t the alarm sound sometime in the 90’s. Why now?
This same area is where beach goers (pedestrian) use the beach and walk on at designated access points (most of which are fenced). This is also the exact same areas are where 4×4 beach buggies access and use the beach. The low and high dunes are and have always been closed off. Sensitive areas of beaches should be fenced off for public awareness.
Now we are basically left with two major threats; storms and beach replenishment. We can’t stop storms so the elephant in the room is Beach Replenishments! And what a co-incidence another round is slates to repave our beaches very soon.
The whole Jersey Coast has been re-engineered and fortified with little regard for the environmental impacts to fisheries, flora and fauna. When I was a kid, not many years ago, there were big pine trees on the dunes, lots of shrubs, vines and large grasses. There was once a living dune with strong and deep roots, as well as lots of animals. Now, even years after our “new dunes” don’t have a real foundation and just blow – wash away. The beaches were also built in such a way that the gentle slow slope profile natural to LBI was blatantly ignored. Due to this, any type of storm and mild erosion chews out the dunes and the event looks catastrophic and news worthy. This all plays into their job security and master plan of routine replenishment ruining the fishing, surfing and communities during and for a handful of years after.
Back on the Fluke Grounds this week as it looks like that extended heat-wave was finally broken with yesterday’s T-Storms. *great morning tides the rest of the week wrapping up the month of July so if your looking to get into some mid-summer Surfcasting on the beaches of LBI there is a nice variety of species cruising the surf line to catch and have some light tackle fun with .
The Fluke/Summer Flounder bite has been up and down along with the drastic water temperature changes recently with slot size fish up to 19”
Early morning surfcasters are finding some nice Weakfish feeding along with Snapper Bluefish chasing schools of spearing just outside of the sandbars and also on those sandbars are aggressive Kingfish taking up their summer residence on our beaches right now.
If your looking to book a trip for the rest of the summer feel free to call me at 609-276-6983 or email me at Nightstrikes@comcast.net for more information
Steve George / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC
The legendary saltwater spinning reel got a big update for its 30th birthday! The Van Staal VS X2 Series reels are everything and MORE than their predecessors… Lighter, Smoother, Faster, More Waterproof and some new sizes and options!
The next generation Van Staal VS X2 Series still has the same great aircraft grade aluminum construction, solid titanium main shaft (slightly thicker for less flex and more strength) as well as the same proven ultimate internals; same stainless steel spiral-bevel gears, seals, bearings and patented waterproof sealed drag system.
The Van Staal VS X2 Series Reels now have a one piece “unibody” (which is stronger and more waterproof) and a redesigned rotor, anti reverse clutch assembly and modern skirted spool. The VS X2 Series now comes with the VS Power Grip Drag Knob and Power Grip Handle Knob as well as a new redesigned (offset for comfort) extended (for more power) handle arm and extended reel foot.* These four features eliminate the need for aftermarket upgrades.
*The extended reel foot provides more distance from the rod to the rotor’s line roller, eliminating knuckle busting and helping when fishing with gloves.
The redesigned rotor and clutch give the reel a very noticeable no-play feel in your hand and also it stands out when fishing. The rigid rotor has no flex or backplay because the infinite anti-reverse clutch and pinion are together (now under the rotor), offering incredible hook set power.
Another major difference is in feel when reeling the VSX-2 Series. Traditionally sealed reels with hard stainless gearing felt rough and would take years to wear in. Not the Van Staal VS X2 reels! They feel “worn in” and smooth as butter right out of the box. With regards to gearing the 100’ and 300’s were made quicker but the 150/200/250 were kept at the traditional gear ratio and line retrieval rates that anglers have fallen in love with.
Van Staal VS X2 Stand Out Additions
The all new VSB50 X2 (bailed only) weighs in at the 12oz, offers 35” per turn and 25# of drag, holding 360 yds of 20# braid this size is a game changer! Finally a small reel that will stand up to hard fishing. It’s possibly the ultimate inshore reel that will be perfect for light tackle surf plugging and kayak fishing. We are looking forward to tog fishing with this!
The VS100 X2 (bailless only) weighs in at 13.8oz, offers 33.5” per turn (Now As Fast As The 200 – the 100 used to be at 27 IPT it used to be at 27IPT) and 30# of drag, holding 460 yds of 20# braid. This is the smallest bailess reel and another compact workhouse that’s ready to battle and defeat big fish in the salt and sand!
The 150 and 200 sizes are available in bailless and full bail styles *** as well as FINALLY TRUE LEFTY MODELS, 151 and 201!
The 150 weighs 14oz, offers 30” per turn, 30# of drag, holds 440 yds of 30#
The 200 weighs 24.1oz, offers 33.5” per turn, 42# of drag, holds 500yds of 40#
The 250 (bailless only) weighs 24.9oz, offers 36.5” per turn, 42# of drag, holding 600 yds of 50# braid. The VS250 is a great reel for using on a 10’6”-11’ surf plugging rod to fish bucktail jigs and large surf lures.
It’s back and redesigned faster – The 300 (bailless only) weighs 27oz, offers 50” per turn, 42# of drag, holding almost 500yds of 80# braid. This is the reel for anglers needing quick line retrieval. Perfect for fishing the Canal to Cabo! Either big roosters or big bass, the 300 perfectly matches up with a 11’-12’+ rod that will be used for long casts to big fish in fast moving water.
Yes the 275 reel is gone.
***Due to their modular design, the rotors on 150 & 200’s can be swapped (to fish either bail-less or bailed). By removing four screws, the rotor can be switched in less than five minutes.
On the full bail models (VSB50 / VSB150 / VSB200) Van Staal improved for a much more positive functioning bail and kept the same great line roller assembly; a double bearing, solid titanium nitri-coated gold line roller. Super hard, super strong and super durable!
Two other new highlights that pass under most radars… For smoothness and also long term durability, titanium rails were added where the traverse guide oscillates on the inside of the body. The classic roll pin found on the main shaft where the spool’s hub would sit was replaced with a solid stainless pin. No more rusty roll pins!
Van Staal VS X2 Series Spec Chart
The chart below details the Van Staal VS X2’s specifications and performance particulars.
Van Staal VS X2 Series Availability
Estimated Availability: 150, 200, 250, 300 reels are all expected at the end of August/September. The VSB50 and VS100 will be in November.
To celebrate Van Staal’s 30th anniversary, a commemorative Van Staal VS200 GOLD reel will be coming but on an extremely limited basis in November. There are only 499 being made and these commemorative reels will be officially numbered. Fish it or collect it. Retail $999.99
Van Staal has and always will own the surf with its “No Limitations” ultra durable fishing reels. These tremendous improvements have been in the works for a number of years and were heavily tested and proven. We are excited to finally share the VSX-2 Series to you and welcome the next 30 years of Van Staal!
After a slow start to the past week, the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are seeing an increase in fishing activity.
The week began with strong winds and an upwelling of water in the ocean. This resulted in patches of dirty water along with colder water temperatures that slowed fishing. The last few days of hot weather have raised the water temps and increased fish catches.
Captain Dave Kreines of the “Byte Me” has been working hard to land fish for the box but is finding enough action to keep his family charters excited. He had the Vaughn family out, and the 6- and 7-year-old cousins had a fun time with small sharks while Dad lost a big cownose ray at the boat. Another trip with the Stoltz family resulted in small sharks and undersized fluke while fishing in Little Egg Inlet.
Max Goldman reports the “Starfish” has been finding constant action of fluke, black sea bass, and porgies among other species coming over the rails in the ocean. Captain Max adds the fishing is improving with each increase in water temperature.
Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” has been finding a mix of action on the inshore ocean reefs with groups of anglers who have been willing to work hard for their catches. A recent family group returned with fluke of 18-and 22-inches along with an 18-inch black sea bass.
Captain Frank Camarda has been finding decent numbers of fluke and other bottom fish with the head boat “Miss Beach Haven.” One of his top anglers, Daryl, had an especially good day recently with a pair of beauties. The “Miss Beach Haven” is the only head boat at the southern end of Long Beach Island.
Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction” Sportfishing reports good catches of fluke and black sea bass despite some very unfavorable weather conditions. He had Andrew Wilk Sr. and Jr. on a 3-hour trip “all over the bay” before they got into real action. The water was dirty and cold, but the father and son team boxed 2 keeper fluke along with a grill-sized bluefish. Andrew Jr. just got back from pitching in the Junior College World series for Mercer County College. The Bob Dodds group eked out 4 solid keepers to 19.5 inches while catching a total of 28 fish.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.org
In the recent days and weeks, fishing has been good but variable and very dependent on the water temperature rollercoaster. For far this July, we’ve had beautiful nearshore waters but also a number of upwelling events. Some more radical than others. The most recent southerly blow on Monday left a 2-4′ SE swell in the water but it also pushed off the surface waters. When this occurs the bottom (cold) waters from further off of the beach upwell and stretch out along the surf. This chilly water can shit down the surf fishing, as well as have a major effect on the inlet and bay fishing especially during incoming tide stages.
Here’s my latest video fishing report video post…
Fluke fishing reports from the surf have been good but the number of keepers has been few. Most fish are in the 12-15″ range. But there are some keeper fish being caught. Here’s a double header the Steve from Night Strikes Guide Service recently shared.
The fishing musician Rick stopped in the shop yesterday and shared that he is catching fluke off of the beach. He said, “I’m catching 4-5-6 fluke a day using White Gulp on the mid-island surf. I’m slow drag with just a weight and a teaser tipped with Gulp.” Rick was even catching on Tuesday with the swell and cold water. “I’m am catching few keepers but having a lot of fun enjoying the weather on the beach in the surf.” Isn’t that what summer is all about. Get out there and have some fun in the sun and sand.
Kingfish reports from the surf have been steady. Not epic fishing but anglers are catching using both live bloods and Fish Bites. We’ve found when the water is warm fish Bites are much more effective than when cold. In the chilly water live bloods excel. It’s also a great idea to fish both at the same time. First rig up and bait the hooks with small 1″ piece of Fish Bites and then tip off with a piece of live blood worm. You get the best of both worlds; the sent and natural pheromones (which also Dyna Bait freeze dried bloodworms offer) of live bloods and the durability (stays on the hook) of Fish Bites.
Fluke fishing in the bay remains strong, especially when the tide and water temps align. Fluke fishing on the reefs and wrecks has been somewhat spotty. One day is good and then next is dead.
Other species here to target; blues, triggerfish, sheepshead, weakfish, blowfish.
Mid-shore fishing has been offering up tuna, mahi and a few cobia, wahoo, king mackerel among other summertime pelagics
Summer is here and so is summer fishing in Beach Haven. The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are finding that while the fishing may have slowed a bit, a rise in the variety of fish to be found balances things out.
The bay waters are providing action on summer flounder, blowfish, dogfish, some bluefish, weakfish, and big cow nose rays. Outside the inlets to the inshore artificial reefs the focus is on black sea bass and fluke but bluefish, ling, porgies, sea robins, and skates are showing up. The offshore fishing is picking up as various species of tuna are available along with some billfish and mahi-mahi.
Max Goldman from the “Starfish” reports a steady pick of fish on the inshore reefs with one half-day charter checking in with a mix of black sea bass, fluke, porgy, and bluefish.
Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” has been working various areas for decent catches of summer flounder. Depending upon weather conditions, the tide, and water temperature, the “Irish Jig” can be found working the waters of Great Bay, Little Egg Inlet, and the inshore ocean waters. In addition to fluke, Captain Gary has been working the reefs for sea bass.
Captain Ray Lopez has been sailing the “Miss Liane” for limit catches of black sea bass. One 6-hour charter with Kenneth Shapiro and friends did well catching seabass and fluke. He had Mary Beth Rieasoli and family from Bordentown on the water with a variety of fish to bring home including a ling. David and Laura from Pittstown had a 6-hour bottom fishing trip and caught their limit in an hour and a half.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing ended last week with 45 keeper fluke to 6-pounds on four days of fishing. He noted it was tough with some cold water, but his anglers worked hard. Captain Brett ended the 4-day week with 45 keeper fluke to over 6 pounds. He had Dr. Pat Thomas, curator for the Bronx Zoo, on a 4-hour light tackle trip. They managed over 20 short fluke and 4 solid keepers.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.org
Fishing is not spectacular but there’s a variety of opportunities here in and around the Long Beach Island waters. Right now we are settling out from another radical upwelling event and full moon. Let’s go fishing and enjoy another great weekend having fun on the water.
Right now the forecast for this Sunday, July 17 and Monday, July 18 looks pretty good. I am hoping to run to the 30 to 40 mile grounds for Yellowfin Tuna. If the weather and sea conditions are not perfect for that, Plan B will be the 15 to 20 mile grounds for Bluefin Tuna, King Mackerel, and whatever else might be there.
We will be prepared to troll, jig, and bait fish in either spot. $450 person for the 30-40 mile run.3AM to 3PM $300 person for the 15-20 mile run.4AM to 2PM Four people max, all fish are shared on either trip.
I just stopped in Fishermans Headquarters to stock up on flourocarbon, gourmet hooks, and jigs!
I am only accepting reservations from individuals who are willing to do either trip. The decision on which distance is appropriate will be made right up until our ride out the inlet and some riding into the sea condition. Keep mind, I always error on the side of caution.
Monday is also available as an inshore private charter if you prefer.
Call me on my cell to reserve a spot. You can call right up until our departure time.
The local water temperatures have rebounded nicely from the chilly upwell. The warmer temps came a more active bite. Fishing activity has been good in recent days, around the weather and even in the weather. Here’s the Fishing LBI Weekend Report Update for Sunday July 10th.
LBI Surf Fishing Report
The LBI the surf temp is in the mid to low 60’s
On the surf anglers are catching both fluke and kingfish. Reports are most active in the mid island and north end surf. There’s gotta be action on the south end too. We just haven’t heard them.
Most of the fluke are shorts or slots but there are a few larger fish on occasion. Some fluke are spitting up sand eels in the wash. We’ve got reports of this from a couple anglers on the beaches of LBI and to our north on IBSP.
The kingfish made a good showing the past couple of days. As always live bloodworms are best but Fish Bites, Dynabait Freeze Dried Bloodworms and Gulp all work too.
Sharks and rays are also cruising the surf and eating baits.
Summetime baits are moving around and game fish are eating! Spearing, peanut bunker, some mullet as well as some micro bait is scattered about in the bay. Schoolie striped bass are slapping and gorging them in the early and late parts of the day. Focus around golden hour from best results. Store staffers Grey and Jack had a blast yesterday catching bass on light tackle top water.
Sheepshead and triggerfish are here in good numbers!
Fluke fishing is good in the bay, inlet and surf.
Crabbing and clamming offers great family fun.
The yellowfin and bluefin tuna popped up and chewed strong the past few days. Lots of good catch reports from 15-50 mile range, in the usually hot spots. Few kingfish (king mackerel) and cobia reports inshore too. These should only get more consistent as summer progresses.