It may be the unofficial end of Summer here on the Island after this Labor Day Weekend. 🏖
But the Summer Fluke Fishing will continue to be very good at times well towards the end of the month, NJ Summer Flounder Season Closes 9/27/22.
Still some really nice “overs” to be found if you work for them 😉 and with the success of the “slot fish” regulations now on the table this year there are still some great opportunities to catch some table fare 👍
Add in the pending “Mullet Run” with all that baitfish heading Out of the Bay – Thru the Inlet – and Down the Beach plus with a little help from Mother Nature it could be a September to Remember 👍
EVERYONE Have a Great / Fun /Safe Holiday – Happy Labor Day – Catch’em Up 🎣
*Stay Tuned for News about some “Fall Run” Surf Trips I have planned to close out the year here on LBI.
Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC / Steve George call 609-276-6983
So our bonita/albacore trip sucked last week. Ran 26 miles north to where the bite had been good for a few weeks just to hear the “What happened?” chatter on the radio. We eeked out one nice bonita on bait and that was that. The only good thing that happened was I broke in one of the six new Fish Head rods I just acquired from Fishermans Headquarters on that fish, and they are awesome! Flexible enough to enjoy the fight but has enough backbone to control the fish. Love them! Paired with 5000 spinning reels, these are going to be our “everything” outfits. Bonita, albies, mahi, stripers, blues and anything else that shows up.
We are crushing the weakfish and big blowfish in Barnegat Bay. All on six pound ultralite rods. The weakies are ranging from 11 to 18 inches, with most in the 13 to 15 inch range. We are available for your private charter for these trips Fri Sept 2, 5, 6, and 7.
We have been laying low on the tuna trips because, frankly, we were not scoring. It’s been a tricky season. SO, I do what most boats in my size class do (25 ft), we wait and watch the marine weather, and wait, and watch, sometimes we watch and wait, and then BAM! The weather window is there and I have some good intel from a friend who just got back from a good yellowfin trip. So we are headed east in search of the bite. Should be mostly bait and jigs. I will have the trolling gear on board but I am hoping not to use it unless we are scouting. Saturday Sept 3, 3AM to 5PM, $450 person, 4 people max, all fish are shared. We need to fill all 4 spots to sail. The boat is also available for charter for this day, but only for tuna. I need a shot of blue water once and a while to stay sane. Saturday is that day. Call to reserve a spot, that is the best way to get me. Hope to see you on board, Dave Dave DeGennaro Hi Flier Sportfishing
Notice To Mariners – The Barnegat Light Channel has officially changed!
United State Coast Guards Aid To Navigation (ATON) moved a number of buoys this week. The “old” channel running from the “B” Buoy in front of the USCG Station west towards the High Bar Harbor Dyke and then turning north along the Dyke and towards Oyster Creek Channel is no longer marked. The Barnegat Light Cut is now the main federally marked channel when transiting from Inlet/Lighthouse to the bifurcation into Double Creek and Oyster Creek Channels.
Scout it out and get familiar with the change. A LOT of boaters got hung up, high and dry the past couple of days. There should be a danger buoy should be placed to the south of Buoy 19’s current location at about 39º 45.977’N 74º 6.992’W.
Some boaters are coming south along and out of Oyster Creek Channel get confused after passing Buoy 22. Then they see Buoy 19 dead ahead, due south at a new location. Those that have run “The Cut” all along are fine because they are already making the eastward heading towards Condos and then Lighthouse. But those who aren’t familiar with running “The Cut” can hesitate when they encounter the new location of 19. Some mistakenly look at their GPS and think, “I’m too far east.” Then turning back towards the west in hopes of getting back on course of the old buoy locations as displayed on their screen and… BANG! Hard aground.
I saw this happen numerous times on Thursday 8/25. I reached out to Coast Guard Barnegat Light to see if they could share some information. They stated that ATON (federal) moved the buoys because they have been requested to do so for many years. And now the next step (dire need) is waiting for the state to do their part, placing a couple danger buoys to prevent the issue. I thought it was a bad answer since the federal vessel was in the area working and it would have been simple for them to place one danger buoy identifying the shoal at the fork in the road between the new and old channel.
Fishing and boating is fun, but it can be challenging and expensive. Especially when there’s shoaling in the middle of marked channels and changing channels markers (ATON). Things are always changing. Be safe!
The summer may be nearing its end, but the summer fishing season for the boats of the Beach Haven Charter fishing Association are still finding their fill of summer type offerings.
The “Miss Liane” with Captain Ray Lopez recently had a good tuna trip trolling in one of the offshore canyons recently with George Mangione, Andy Goldman, and Johnny from Forked River. The group caught three nice yellowfin tuna in the 65-pound class.
Captain Alex Majewski of “Lighthouse Sportfishing” recently did some bay fishing with great results on blowfish, kingfish, and miscellaneous other species. Captain Alex is just hitting his stride after a slow start due to a variety of reasons that have kept him off the water. He is 100% ready to go now.
Reports from Captain Vic Bertotti and first mate Max Goldman of the “Starfish” term the bottom fishing in the ocean as hit and miss. A recent trip produced 9 keepers with fluke, black sea bass, and sea robins producing most of the action.
Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” recently had a day with two trips to the ocean for some bottom fishing for fluke. The first trip had four keepers to 21-inches and the second crew had five keepers. Young Moah was high hook.
Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” has been busy and recently had a limit catch for the Tim Murphy and family crew. On a 5-hour ocean trip they hit a small snag and boxed 12 keepers to 7-pounds. In addition, they released some quality big fish as they were already over the limit. He had Alex Gal and crew out for four keeper fluke until the ocean kicked up and they finished the day with a good catch of 53 blowfish and one kingfish in the bay.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.org
It looks like a really nice marine forecast coming up for the weekend, light winds, and calm seas, so we are headed offshore to target bonita, albacore, and whatever else we could coax into our slick. I am loaded with fresh spearing, and that is the key into getting them around the boat. We are going to anchor up and fish them with bait and jigs on light tackle. Sailing Open Boat or Charter: Sat Aug 27 and Sun Aug 28, 5AM to 1PM, $325 person, 4 people max, all fish are shared. The boat is also available for charter on either of these days for inshore or offshore.
We have been doing really well catching weakfish in the bay on live grass shrimp. They are anywhere from 11 to 17 inchers. Also in the mix are blowfish, hickory shad, snapper blues, spots, sand sharks, kingfish, fluke, and more. Constant action on the six pound ultralite outfits. I am available Tues Aug 30, Wed Aug 31, Thurs Sept 1, and Fri Sept 2, 10AM to 3PM for these trips. Charter only, not Open Boat on these trips. There are also sharks to catch just a few miles outside the inlet. Two to three foot Atlantic Sharpnose and Spinner sharks along with 125 to 150 lb Brown Sharks. This could be combined with the bay fishing as well.
Pics:Baxter Thomas of Summit NJ in the red life vest putting the boots to a 130 lb class Brown Shark on 30 class conventional tackle.
I’ve been to far too many pro wind propaganda meetings put on by the developers and feds. I’ve asked lots of great questions based around the risks to the ocean and fisheries, but most are ignored or deflected with a green washed smile. For this reason and this reason only I became more involved and do my best to share.I’m not asking anyone to be in favor or against these wind projects. I just want everyone to know what’s happening and the speed at which it’s happening. Hopefully after reading, you too will be concerned and yearning for deeper information on the threats offshore wind blows in.
First and foremast I do not deny; climate change, shifting ocean currents, ocean acidification, warming sea surface temps and the northern shift in fish patterns. All of these issues are critical and contributing to major challenges and even crisis in fisheries. But!
Hundreds (possibly thousands) of offshore wind turbines do not solve the problem. In fact industrializing one million acres of the ocean adds a whole new unknown invasive dimension. Scientists are working on many of the hot topics listed below. Their work must be completed and explicitly considered; however the offshore wind developments are outpacing the speed of science and the needs of the sea.
Yes 1 million acres of ocean is slated to be exploited by wind developers. What is massively overlooked and absent is the comprehensive assessment of the CUMULATIVE EFFECTS! The industrialization of the ocean could lead to the destruction of the ocean radically faster than what the plan is set forth to solve, Climate Change.
Surveying – Right now (and in the past year) surveying activity has had detrimental effects on fish aggregations in the areas where seismic blasting is taking place. Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) is taking place to test the sea floor and 100’s of feet through the sea floor.
Construction – Harmful sound and turbidity during the turbine base installation will be two major problems. Will it be localized to the areas of activity? There’s documentation (Appendix R & Cowrie Noise 03-2003) showing noise even with mitigation (bubble curtains) still travels many miles. How long will it go on for? How large and wide spread will the sediment plumes be and what effect will they have on fishing. Usually dirty turbid water is bad for fishing.
Operation – By extracting energy and leaving a wake downwind, reduced windspeed, air turbulence and changes in pressure. Wind farms very well may disturb the natural stratification of ocean waters. This mixing can affect what is known as the Cold Pool, plankton and the food web. This disturbance will also effect larval transport which is dependent on the winds and currents to move and distribute naturally. This is a vital part of the fisheries and can’t be a testing ground to experiment!
Decommissioning – Once things finally settle in to the radical change, after 20-30 years it is the new normal. But at that time the useful life has been reached and as per the Ocean Wind 1’s COP 6.3 Decommissioning Plan “At the end of the operational lifetime of the Project, it is anticipated that all structures above the seabed level or aboveground will be completely removed. The decommissioning sequence will generally be the reverse of the construction sequence.” Basically everything is ripped out.What effects will this new radical change in habitat have?
Most pro-wind boast of the benefits turbine structures could create. But, Wind turbines and their low lying scour protection is not a net benefit to the ecosystem. The reef effect from offshore wind turbines is a potential detrimental risk not advantage. Here is why.
First and foremost NJ has a shallow, soft sand/mud/clay bottom. Drawling conclusions from Block Island’s Wind Farm and comparing to NJ is apples and oranges. Block Island has deep water and rocky hard bottom. Not all species benefit from the addition of hard substrate in an area where little hard substrate occurs naturally. Also the five turbine bases (jacketed lattice style) there are also a different style structure compared to the monopiles proposed here. A cave like structure (wrecks) or poles close to one another, think bridge or dock can offer refuge. A steel monopile does nothing more than break the current and foul. This will attract but debatable if it only attracts existing fish to this new area or if this new area produces new fish adding to the biomass.
Permanent changes to benthic habitat will occur with the installation of wind turbine generators.
Developments will also alter the food web and the benthic ecosystem. The of attraction vs production arrises. Essentially turbine bases are fish attracting device that will aggregate and ecologically trap fish in a suboptimal habitat. *This will assist anglers in possibly over fishing which could actually lead to hurting fish stocks.
Another concern is the support of colonization of non-indigenous species and at times invasive species to these new area.
The altering of migratory patterns is another huge risk!
When gamefish take an offshore migration or congregate in an offshore wind development due to the reef effect how will the recreational fishing economy be compensated for the loss of opportunity? Not all anglers have the ability to fish 5-15-30 miles offshore. More over federally protected species like striped bass could be (and more than likely will be) pulled out of state waters due to the reef effect in essence reducing recreational access to the resource. We’ve yet to hear from state and federal agencies on this topic.
Sand Eels aka Sand Lance
Turbine and inter array cabling poses huge risk to these very import forage.
The critically important sand lance are forage fish in the NW Atlantic that were grossly overlooked in Orsted’s COP Appendix P. There are 45 species of fish both coastal and pelagic, 16 sea birds and 9 marine mammals that depend on sand lance making the species a quintessential link in the food web. Table 4.9 of the NJ Offshore Wind Energy: Feasibility Study (pg77) the American Sand Lance is one of the only species not to have their spawning location mentioned? Seems odd! Their role and strong association with sandy sediment must be explicitly considered.
Sand lance are a very important forage fish, the back bone of the ecosystem with everything from cod, tuna, whales and bird feeding on them. If sand lance decline there will be a ripple effect to all of the higher trophic animals. These little eel like fish have a huge impact!
Cold Pool Disruption
The Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) is home to the world’s widest ocean water temperature swings with the winter’s cold in the low 30’s and the summer’s highs at times reaching 80ºF. The waters begin to stratify in the spring as the sea surface temperature warms and this special cold dense blanket of water settles in on the bottom over the summer. This phenomenon is called the MAB Cold Pool supports the area’s diverse and vibrant fisheries. It also acts as a natural defense when hurricanes move into the area.
In the summer NJ anglers can head offshore and at one location catch mahi (warm water fish) near floating debris and then drop a bait to the bottom and catch a ling or cod (cold water fish). Did you ever experience ice cold ocean temps after a hard south blow? This is the cold pool upwelling.
The Cold Pool is seasonal and naturally breaks down in the late fall when winds and storm activity increases. Could the addition of 100-1000’s of fixed turbine bases act like a whisk and disturb/mix the waters? Prevent the cold pool from seasonally forming? It’s possible. The cumulative affect of wind turbines in the MAB have never been studied to fully understand the lasting impact on the area and everyone that depends on its natural resources. Further research is required and currently underway by a team at Rutgers however the offshore wind development deadlines are not set up to responsibly wait for the scientific findings.
Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) & Sea Life
There are serious concerns with regards to cabling. More specifically I have a huge problem believing there will be little impact from ripping a jet plow through the heart of Barnegat Bay. This area is not only a nursery (EFH – essential fish habitat) for many species, it’s also home to endangered SAV (submerge aquatic vegetation) such as eel grass and widgeon grass among others. A high voltage export cabling will be in very shallow water (less than 15′) and the EMF (electromagnetic field) very much CAN have effects based on URI’s Dr. King’s papers. More studies need to be done on the effects on the crustaceans of Barnegat Bay (blue claws, horseshoe crabs, calico crabs, mantis shrimp, grass shrimp and others) as well as the fin fish, sharks and rays.
Sharks & Offshore Wind Turbines
Sharks are very important and there are critically endangered shark species (brown, dusky, sand tiger, thresher, mako and white) which call the wind lease areas home. Appendix P Table 3 lists these species which will not only be affected during construction but also during operation since sharks are known to be sensitive to EMF. Altering their patterns raises huge concerns. Sharks are slow to reproduce. Some sharks born today will not be sexually mature until the decommission (which is very much vague and left open ended) of these projects in 20 years.
Flounder & Offshore Wind Turbines
Orsted’s Ocean Wind Construction & Operations Plan V3 Appendix P 18.104.22.168 Lists Winter & Summer Flounder as economically important flatfish and it happens to be species that need A LOT OF HELP! Yet developments put them at risk. The project area contains designated EFH for flounder egg, larval, juvenile and adult life stage. Appendix E Photo 7 the survey documents a juvenile summer flounder clearly showing the site is a nursery.
Surf Clam & Offshore Wind Turbines
Relatively little is known about surf clams which have 500 year lifespans. Yet 100-1000’s of turbines are slated to be slammed in their sandy home. Let’s slow down and learn about what calls these waters home before destroying it! Fortunately Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind funded a $500,000 study with Rutgers University to study NJ’s surf clam industry and the potential impacts of wind farms on the shellfish.
Environmentally Sensitive Areas
The 2010 at 3rd NJ Renewable Task Force Meeting Dr. Buchanan (NJDEP) presents “NJ’s Area Of Interest – Wind Power On The OCS” and delineates areas off the coast of NJ for possible development to meet the state’s goals of 1,100MW of offshore wind. Ecologically sensitive areas as well as areas of potential conflict were shown in addition to several avoidance zones. Now NJ’s mandates (Murphy’s numerous Executive Orders) tripled at 3,500MW by 2030 and 7,500MW by 2035 and what do you know… The lease sites now cover much of these sensitive areas.
Shoals and ridges function as feeding grounds and nurseries for various pelagic and bottom dwelling species as well as serve as fishing hot spots for recreational and commercial fisherman, birds sea turtle and marine mammals.
Hazardous Chemicals Don’t Belong In The Ocean
1 gallon of oil containment 100 million gallons of sea water
As per the Ocean Wind COP & Atlantic Shore Cop one turbine will have 1000’s of gallons of hazardous chemical and wind turbines are well documented leaking around the world. Oil Pollution Act of 1990 established that those responsible are responsible for the cleanup and restoration. So is this another risk that gets tossed into the taxpayers and ratepayer wallet?
Once the hazardous section is review the green hue of offshore wind projects begins to burn.
Some might think that the ocean is an open vast area with nothing but water. However there’s vessels of all sizes everywhere all going in every which direction. It’s not an organized highway. AIS transceivers must be federally required on each and every turbine and substation. In foul weather and times of limited visibility avoiding turbine structures, other vessels making course changes as mariners attempt to zig zag through the sites will be challenging. Add to the hellacious problems, turbine blades interfere with radar and display clutter/interference. For this reason I feel that every ocean going vessel must have AIS systems onboard to both send and receive data. It is the only way for safe navigation through these massive wind farm areas.
Wind turbine generators have significant electromagnetic reflectivity, and therefore can interfere with radar systems operating nearby. The rotating blades can also create reflections in Doppler radar systems. In particular, these forms of interference could obfuscate smaller vessels and stationary objects such as buoys on radar, complicating navigation decisions and increasing the risk of collision with larger vessels. Maritime search and rescue teams also rely on radar to find smaller boats.
To help ensure safe navigation, there must be a couple 5NM Transit Lanes properly laid out for both commercial and recreational traffic. There must be no less than 1NM Turbine Spacing to allow safe navigation within the ocean wind farm. The array layout must be done logically and in collaboration and correlation with neighboring wind development areas so there is consistency. As of August ’22 it sounds like the USCS asked for 1.5NM but 1NM, possibly 0.8NM was settled on and NO transit lanes!
Acoustics are very important in the marine environment. Fish detect sounds with their very sensitive inner ear bones (otoliths) and some detect sound pressures in organs. Most fish use sounds for communication, navigation, spawning and to detect prey and predators. Noises can physically injure fish and also spook which reduces schooling altering behavior.
Construction & Operation Noise & Vibration
Noise both during construction and long term operation is a major risk to sea life that must be taken into account. Pile driving hammer 164′ into the seabed and seafloor disturbance during construction will last many years. It’s documented that noise from pile driving can cause major injuries to fish. Then during the planned 20-30 year (they will be happy if they get 10-15 years) operational lifespan low frequency sounds will be detrimental; whales, fish and forage (squid).
CPT Surveying Activities
CPT (Cone Penetration Testing) is used for survey purposes to analyze the ocean floor. It’s unknown to me how this activity relates (or not) to seismic blasting. I would really like to know because I believe it isn’t good. Case and point.
Marine seismic surveys emit high intensity, low frequency sound waves from airgun arryas downward into the water column. Thede waves penetrate the seafloo to provide imagery of underlying geology. This noise is very bad for marine mammals and fish.
Mid May to Mid June 2021 I had phenomenal black sea bass fishing east of Barnegat Light. On June 18th the Commander showed up and then the next four days June 19th to June 22 (last day of the season) offered very poor fishing? It was like a flipped the switch and the area was void of life.
I knew something was up but I didn’t really come to the conclusion until I saw my friend Jimmy Hahn’s (from Ocean City, MD) post on Facebook just a few das ago. He’s has a similar story from just last week and another from 2018.
He shared on December 12, 2021, “The north end of a 75 pot (welk traps) string near Indian River Inlet was void of life. This area is where Orsted was surveying for the last three month. But the south end where no surveying took place has life. This is what’s happening to our fishing grounds. The bottom is dead!” Jimmy has a similar event documented on his page from Dec 31, 2018 too. It sure doesn’t seem like a coincidence!
I hope this sparked your interest in the topic of offshore wind. Please do your own research and learn more about these rapidly developing issues. Thank you for reading. Please share!
Part 3 will posted soon (hopefully) and will touch on topics that should concern everyone; energy policy, economics and feasibility.
Who I am?
I am not an expert; however I am very informed recreational fisheries stakeholder. I’ve done extensive research over the years reading many peer reviewed journal on the many facets of offshore wind. I’ve attended as many (state/local/federal) meetings as possible. I’ve read many (if not all) of the Construction and Operations Proposals as well as the Notice Of Intent from developers. I also recently completed the Rutgers Cooperative Extension “IFISSH” Introductory Fisheries Science For Stakeholders Certificate Course, a 10 week program on the trending hot topics in fisheries, oceanography, climate and offshore wind. Since no one else is sharing the many concerning topic about offshore wind… I’ve done my best.
As a recreational fisheries stake holder, I have a myriad of concerns. You can hear all of my public comments, concerns and red flags at the numerous BOEM federal meetings. Here’s some good topics to consider.
Capt. Dave Kreines has been running bay trips on the “ByteMe” with good action. He had the Krimmel family out to face strong winds and cold water for some short fluke and sea robins. Another day Lori and her daughter caught a variety of fish including fluke, black sea bass, dogfish, and sea robins. High point of the trip was when the daughter hooked a cownose ray and got it to the boat after a 15-minute battle. Captain Dave had John Hadith, his 10-year-old son Hunter, and his 80-something father, George out and they started a drift near the marina. They did the same half-mile drift for the entire trip and caught too many fluke to count including three over 18 inches.
Veteran Captain Vic Bertotti reports the “Star Fish” has been actively catching a nice mix of black sea bass, fluke, and sea robins over the rails. While many of the fish are undersized, there have been enough keepers to provide some delicious fish dinners. Captain Vic has been working some of his secret hot spots on and around the artificial reefs.
Captain Dave Wittenborn had an epic trip for the Sullivan group on the “Benita J.” The anglers had a limit catch of 15 yellowfin tuna with multiple double and triple headers throughout the day. It was steady action for 5 hours and Captain Dave termed it “The best yellowfin action I can remember.”
Captain Gary Dugan reports a banner day for fluke recently on the “Irish Jig.” He had Mike and Michael Russo out and they boated four very nice fluke including 23.5 and 24-inchers.
Captain Brett Taylor has been very active with “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” often with multiple trips daily. One day with three trips brought in 23 keeper fluke. His top fish was an 8-pounder caught by angler Adam Yee. The doormat was weighed in at Bobbie’s Boats.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.org
Weather continues to be a topic around Long Beach Island with high temperatures, wide fluctuations in water temperatures, and occasional thunderstorms making things interesting. At times these changing conditions make fishing tough, but the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association continue to find fish.
Captain John Lewis of the “Insatiable” reports variable water temperatures made finding fish a challenge, but he has managed to keep his anglers happy with fluke, black sea bass, and a variety of other fish in the mix. One recent trip saw ocean water temperatures in the mid 50’s, but the bite started as it rose to 61-degrees as the day wore on. With Beach Haven packed with vacationers, Captain John reports his sunset cruises have become quite popular.
Captain Dave Wittenborn of “Captain Dave’s Charters” had celebrity chef Graham Elliot out on the “Benita J” filming a television pilot, “Winner is Served.” Fishing was slow but they managed to land a nice fluke for him to cook up. Captain Dave said “He’s a great guy to hang with. Look for us on the Food Network.”
Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” had a dedicated group of fishermen out this week who “really kicked butt’” They returned to port with a nice catch of good-sized fluke caught on structure in the ocean.
Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” has had several successful charters recently. He reports finding better action for the most part in the bay waters rather than the ocean. Tom Dillon and crew put 4 keeper fluke and a few bluefish in the box despite strong winds. His last charter featured Bob Dodds, Boston Bob, and Produce Jack for a 4-hour charter. The guys worked some live bait and jigs boxing 7 solid keepers to 21 inches while releasing close to 50 shorts.
Captain Frank Camarda has been piloting the head boat “Miss Beach Haven” into some decent fluke fishing. Several of his anglers have been bringing good sized fish over the rails, and fishing seems to be improving daily.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.org
What an exceptionally nice day today… dry air and a much cooler than usually mid-August day. Just a flawless Saturday here on Long Beach Island.
The dreaded upwelling event has eased over the past few days due to a distinct change in weather pattern. It’s a welcomed change from the dog days of summer, Bermuda High, humid, hot and ripping south winds. But as always weather changes. This will break down as high pressure weakens, moves off and a coastal low brews up in the Carolinas and slides up.
Here’s the Long Beach Island Fishing Report for Saturday August 13, 2022.
LBI Summertime Fishing Overview By Near Shore Species
The waters are at their season high in August and the variety of species are also at their peak. Whether beach or boat, right now there is a plethora of species to catch. It’s the best time to catch a Barnegat Bay Grand Slam (fluke, striped bass, bluefish, weakfish) as well as an Inshore/Mid Shore Bottom fishing Grand Slam (Fluke, Tautog, Black Sea Bass, Cod/Ling).
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing the waters of LBI in August is great, arguably one of the best times. All summer long there’s a huge biomass of fluke staged up and feeding in the bay. The bay is still loaded with fluke but now’s when they start moving out (mid-August moon was Thursday’s Full Moon) and activity in the ocean’s wrecks, reefs and open bottom heat up. The surf which is good all summer for fluke can really shine at this stage of the game. Don’t overlook the inlets as everything funnel through! This time of the season anglers don’t need to get fancy. Use all of the same tricks that have caught fluke all summer. Light line jigging with Gulp is the most basic approach and one of the most deadly! Use 5-6″ baits fished on as of a light as possible to effectively feel and tap bottom. A few baits that I add to spice up my arsenal this time of year… live peanut bunker, live snappers, whole squid and mackerel strips.
Kingfish (northern Kingfish) love the clean surf waters on Long Beach Island and south Jersey. They usually show up when the surf temps get into the low to mid 60’s in June. It’s common to see the first good wave right after the larger class of striped bass leave in the spring. Then they hang around all summer long. It’s common to see the kingfish disappear right when the classy bass show back up (usually the same time as the horn-dog aka spiny dogfish invasion) in mid October. Fishing for kingfish is a lot of fun, it’s easy and they are good to eat (just like whiting, in the same family as are croakers and drum). These critters absolutely love live bloodworms (also great Fish Bite Bag O’Worms & Dyna Bait Freeze Dried Bloodworms) as well a sand fleas. Small pieces of clam, squid or shrimp will work too. The most common and effective rig is a hi/lo rig with pill floats and a 2-4 oz sinker (depending on conditions). Remember that kings tend to be in schools so it’s common for anglers to catch more than one. If nothing is happening after 10-15 minutes move around. It’s worth a shot to walk the beach and try to find where they are holding. Don’t dedicate your whole trip to one spot if not catching.
Striped Bass fishing is really good for this part of the year. There are always a body of resident fish that hang around and are a ton of fun. This summer seems much better! It could be the one positive from the numerous upwelling events in late July and early August. Bass love lures! You can’t beat a bucktail, an SP minnow or a Smack-It Popper, especially when blues are also in the area. All three of these will catch striped bass day in and day out and hold up to abuse from bluefish. I love soft plastics but the toothy ones will do a number on them too quick. Looking out September is a great month for schoolie striped bass as they get active chasing the exiting summertime baits (spearing, peanut bunker, mullet). Usually around mid October the run/migration shows, is here all of November and usually into December. We commonly see two to three waves so there are ups and downs during the run. Bigger but fewer at the beginning and more but smaller size at the end. I’m going out on a limb, picking the best week of the fall for both quality and quantity will be… October 30 to November 5. Maybe I’m a week early?
Bluefish are around in the bay, inlet and surf chasing small baits. Mostly they are chasing spearing but also peanut bunker. Throw slender metal to match the hatch! Deadly Dick Metals, Hogy Epoxy Jigs, Kastmaster, Krocodiles. Soon mullet will be the bait of choice on the surf, buy never too soon. Remember there is no minimum size however there is a 3 Fish Bag Limit. Yes snappers are bluefish. There is a special 5 Fish bag limit when on charter (for hire) vessels.
Blowfish were somewhat few and far between in the earl and mid part of summer, but they really came on strong the past week or so. Reports from all around the Island’s bayside waters have has a strong uptick. Anchor up, chum and send down small baited hooks with clam or squid. This is also a great time to use those Gulp slugs if you save them when fluke bite the tails off.
Tog fishing at the Barnegat Inlet jetty is offering up a lot of fun and it will continue to do so right through the fall season. The Tautog season opened August 1 at 15″ with a one fish bag limit. It will remain until November 15th when it opens up to 5 per person. If you have never tog fished before this is a great and very easy fishery to try out. First make sure you have protective footwear for safe jetty walking – Korkers!
Other structure loving species on tap right now… Triggerfish and sheepshead hang around structure all summer. From the bridges, docks and bulkheads to the sod banks, jetties and inlet, just about any type of structure can and will hold these two crustacean loving species. Fishing for these is a lot like tog fishing but they are usually not inside the structure like tog. They are usually hanging around or on top of and much more active at the slower staged of the tide.
Black Sea Bass are on the inshore reefs and wrecks all summer. This year the NJ state fishing regulations give angler a two fish bag all of July and all of August at a 13″ minimum size. This offers fluke anglers fishing the snags to bring home a nice sea biscuit or two. If looking to target Sea Bass first you have to find an area holding them and identify their presence on a sonar. They usually look like a Christmas tree when present in good numbers. Then drop a slender jig like the classic AVA Diamond Jig or my favorite the Hogy Sand Eel Jig. Another way is to bait up hi/lo rigs (1/0-3/0 hooks) with clam.
Weakfish were somewhat gone for a number of year; however they are resurged. Last year there was a great showing in the late summer. So far things look good this year too. Weakfish are a great species to catch at night in the lights at the many street lit bulkheads and docks. Their presence is usually give away by their surface feeding smacks when slurping shrimp, crabs and any type of baitfish. Also flashes in the light lines mean they are active. The classic pink softbait must not be forgotten. Bubblegum – Pink Shine is their favorite in either a fork tail, straight taper or a curly tail grub. Fish it on a small lead head 1/4-3/4oz. A small Storm Shad Is also another great lure. As always with weakies, the lighter the better. Light tackle is the only way! Weakfish also can’t resist small bucktail jigs and flies (Pink and White Clousers, Shrimp, Crab Patterns). If you are fishing in a boat and have access to get live grass shrimp, there’s no better way to seal the deal than live chumming and casting the fly rod! (or fishing small hooks baited with live shrimp) There is no closed season for weakfish but there is a 1 fish Bag Limit per angler and a 13″ minimum size regulation. Do your part in ensuring this fisheries rebounds to it’s prior greatness and practice catch and release!
A few summertime species that must not be forgotten… A few Spanish Mackerel are around and were caught recently. They are usually hanging around with the blues chasing bait. Catch them on small lures matching bait. Also anglers troll small metals or spoons in clean warm waters outside of the inlet or in close proximity. Doing this same sort of this will also turn up other hardtails like Bonita and Albies which should show very soon.
There’s lots of bunker pods and stretched out along LBI right now. There’s also a lot of predators on them from whales and porpoise to Cobia…
Sharks & Rays – With the warm surf tempers rays and sharks are also cruising the suds. If looking to chunk and get tight with a substantial pull this would be for you, HOWEVER! Know the laws and know the species. Don’t be that guy who illegally lands and photographs prohibited species! You will ruine it for everyone. Both sandbar sharks and sand tiger sharks are both federally protected species. They can not be removed from the water. There are black tip and spinner sharks present right now as well as cow nose rays among others (bluntnose, roughtail, butterfly) that anglers can catch and release.