Fishing LBI Report Update 5/23/24

The month of May has been very, VERY good to surf anglers. The beaches of Long Beach Island are alive with both striped bass and drum. The fishing is and has been firing on all cylinders. Here’s my latest report video from earlier this week, loaded with some recent catch photos…

CLAM – CLAM – CLAM – This spring the clam bite is strong for both striped bass and black drum. Right now we have possibly the best showing of black drum that the area has seen in decades. It started off earlier in the spring with a great showing in the bay but more recently the suds have lit up with boomers.

For the most part it has been clam, clam and CLAM for these two species. Bunker will yield bass and blues but it has been hard to get. It’s not podded up in the local waters like we usually see in the spring so these migrating fish are coming into the suds to hunt and that is where they find us! Don’t over look live sand fleas (for striped bass) and mullet (for blues) as they are both great baits.

Patrick Howley Jr and his dad Pat got into the surf action!

Fluke fishing isn’t phenomenal but at the right times and places anglers are putting together catches. We had a 25″ 5.5# fluke weighed in by a kayak angler fishing the bay with live minnow. Sorry the name never got shared with me, just the photo.

Also making their presence know… smooth dogs. Up into this full moon, we have seen a robust showing of large dogfish. These girls put up a great fight and are actually very good table fair but be sure to gut, bleed and ice down immediately. You may be surprised how good eat these are those looking for quality table fair. Give them a try as they have been abundant the past few years and we do our part to keep them in check right now. A lot of these are pregnant females. I’m not sure if they’re here to spawn, but it would make sense based on the time of year and the fact that many other fish spawn in the spring. Below is a mouth watering photo from Dave Minnick “the sea provides”!

Hi Flier Open Boat Stripers and Blues

Looks like we are finally getting a break in the weather here. I am looking forward to getting out this week. We will be in the bay and inlet on the hunt for stripers and blues. We will be fishing a variety of techniques, including anchored with clams, drifting with worms, casting soft plastic and topwater lures, and trolling plugs. Throwing the kitchen sink at ’em! 

We are available Wed May 22 and Sun May 26 for charter or we will be running Open Boat on those days. 6AM to Noon. $200 person. 4 people max. All fish are shared.

We also have one spot available on Friday May 24. There is a group of 3 people looking to add one more. Same hours and cost as above.

Attached pic is Bill Buckham of PA with his keeper striper that ate a worm under a bobber at the inlet jetty on a recent trip.

Hope to see you on board!

Thank you,

Dave

Dave DeGennaro

Hi Flier Sportfishing

732.330.5674 cell

hiflier.com

LBI Fishing Report 5/15/24

The first half of May was very good to the anglers fishing Long Beach Island. Both striped bass and bluefish are on the beach, inlet and in the bay. Fluke, weakfish and black drum are also great target species. Great reports flood in daily, even today in the rain. Here’s my latest fishing report update from yesterday, Tuesday morning.

Rick, the fishing musician is having a great spring catching striped bass on almost all of his trips to the beach. He is catching on clam. Today in the rain Todd Luyber reported, “Fish the slop! They are chewing!” Bobby Capri reported, “Insane night tonight! I made it to the 40 inch club this years 41 inch striped thing this evening a 36 inch a 26 inch bass and some monster blues!” Another great bluefish report came in yesterday from Chris Moffitt, “Got the birthday blues, about 10 of them on metal.”

Carl Hartman puts in much more time fishing than most and is having a hella good spring fishing the LBI surf. Yesterday he weighed in a spring surf trifecta… striped bass, bluefish and black drum! Now’s a great to fish the surf of Long Beach Island.

Hi Flier Open Boat Stripers and Blues

We will be running Open Boat trips this Tues May 14 and Fri May 17, the only days in the forecast without rain. 6AM to 1PM. $200 person, 4 people max, all fish are shared. 

We will start out trolling plugs on the west side of the bay looking for birds or swirling fish to cast soft plastics and topwater lures. We will continue the hunt through Oyster Creek Channel looking for life and progressing east to fish the inlet. At the inlet we will use a combination of bait and lures. Bass and blues are the targeted species.

Hope to see you on board!

Dave

Dave DeGennaro

Hi Flier Sportfishing

732.330.5674 cell

hiflier.com

Fishing Barnegat Bay’s West Side Highway

Barnegat Bay, spanning 64 square miles, is a relatively shallow body of water which runs from Bay Head, behind Island Beach State Park and Long Beach Island to Little Egg Harbor. Teeming with diverse aquatic life, the bay offers anglers an array of fishing opportunities throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

On the West Side of the bay anglers encounter a muddy bottom with areas of grass beds, lower salinity, low visibility and much less tide movement as opposed to areas closer to the inlet. This estuary provides a much different opportunity to fish. The West Side waters warms up quicker in the spring and they have a population of small forage. The forage attracts gamefish and the stained waters give anglers an advantage by reducing fish wariness.

Nestled within the heart of Barnegat Bay lies three daymarks delineating safe water along the Intracoastal Waterway, a vital component of the broader maritime landscape. These navigational aids serve as waypoints for mariners, guiding them through the bay’s waters.

These three wooden towers from south to north reside behind…

  • 42 – Off of Barnegat, marks the west side start of Double Creek Creek Channel
  • BI – Off of Waretown, marks the west side start of Oyster Creek Channel which is the largest and deepest channel that leads to Barnegat Inlet.
  • BB – Off of Forked River, marks the open Barnegat Bay as well as the entrance to the Forked River.

There are approximately 2 miles between each. The average depth in this 6 mile stretch is 7 to 8 feet, with deeper water at and around the BB 8-10 and a little deeper in some spots.

I rarely stray south of the 42 or north of the BB, as this is my home base. But there’s opportunities to the north and the south of here utilizing the same techniques I’m about to dive into. Depending on the time of year, I am pursuing stripers, blues, fluke, weakfish, kingfish, or blowfish somewhere in this stretch.

This is how we fish the Barnegat Bay’s “West Side Highway” aboard Hi Flier Fishing Charters.

A tactic we use for early season stripers and May/June blues is to troll 5 to 6 inch, floating, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows or Daiwa SP Minnows in subdued natural patterns, dark backs and white bellies. Using a pair of 10 to 12 lb spinning gear, drop them way back and put them in a set of outrodders to keep the tips low and the plugs in the water. Be sure to use a snap to connect the plug, do not tie direct or use a snap swivel, as either of these will kill the action. If your gear is light enough either of these lures will give the rod tip a slight pulse. The hardest part of trolling Barnegat Bay at any time of year, is keeping the lures clean, especially with this very long drop back. If the plug picks up the smallest piece of weed or debris, that pulse will stop and you need to crank it in, clean it up, and re-launch it. This can be exhausting at times but if there’s anything on the lure than you’re not even fishing. 3 to 3.5 knots for bass and 4 to 4.5 knots for the blues.

Somewhere around the third week in April, I start the season on the striper hunt in these backwaters. I start about a half mile south of the BB and troll right to it. If there’s no life worth doubling back on, set a course for Tices Shoal and look for birds or swirling fish. Have some spinning rods armed with soft plastics in case you get a shot at casting fish. These stripers are typically anywhere from 20 to 30 inch fish.

All of May and June you can usually troll 1 to 4 lb bluefish on this West Side Highway. If you want to have even more fun with these fish, go east of this line and the water will shallow up. Once you are in 3 to 4 feet of water, blind cast poppers or any surface lure. Crank it fast and splashy. If you get one chasing, don’t slow it down, you’re only shot is to keep it coming. If you don’t get any reactions after 5 minutes, make a move and keep hunting. More often than not, I get on these fish with no visual life, just keep hunting until you get one chasing. FYI: These might be the world’s best bluefish to eat as they are small enough where they do not have that strong bloodline throughout, the meat is very light when you fillet them. Also, they feed almost exclusively on sand shrimp at this time of year. Anything that feeds exclusively on shrimp takes on some of that sweetness. I’m not saying they are as good as fluke or weakfish, just that as far as bluefish goes, as table fare, these are the best. 

From July 1 to Sept 30, I like to anchor up with live shedder crab in hopes of weakfish and kingfish. Cut up some crab and tip an 1/8 or 1/16 oz jig. Flip it out as far as you can behind the boat and work it back with what I call a “lollygag” retrieve. After the cast, let it hit bottom, then lift the rod painfully slow. Lower the rod and only capture the slack you created from the lift. Do this all the way back to the boat. When you feel a tick or a thump, cross his eyes! I usually use the 6 lb spinning rods for this. I am partial to anchoring a little southeast of the 42 or in the deepest water halfway between the BI and BB, which you will find as 11 or 12 feet.

July, August, and September also brings peak blowfishing to this stretch. Anchor up in 6 to 8 foot of water, which will be a little east of this highway. Put a chum pot down with a frozen clam chum log. Tie on some store bought blowfish or winter flounder rigs. Cut up some squid and clams into small strips and you are good to go. Bring a lot of chum because if you don’t get any in the first 15 minutes, it’s time to move. These are a lot of fun to catch and in the end you have a Ziploc of delicious fish. I use a chunking knife to cut right behind the head, go through the meat but not through the bottom layer of skin. Peel back a little of the skin right at the cut on the top to expose some of the flesh. Jab a fork that you stole from the silverware drawer into this flesh and pull back on the semi severed head slow and steady until it peels away all the skin, and you are left with a nice chunk of white meat. Use some shears to cut away any fins. Peel away any schmutz or lining and it is ready for the fryer.

See you out there!

Captain Dave DeGennaro, Hi Flier Sportfishing

HiFlier.com – Call/Text: 732.330.5674

More About Captain Dave

After decades of targeting saltwater gamefish inshore from fluke, weakfish and striped bass to big game offshore fishing for giant tuna and sharks, Captain Dave DeGennaro is a well versed captain who does it all.

Captain Dave has a knack for finding fish season in and season out. After 40+ years on the local waters, he knows them like the back of his hand. Also his knowledge and ability to deploy both modern as well as classic even old school methods set him apart from the fleet and keep the lines tight.

He works hard to ensure his clients are safe and happy while enjoying their time on the water aboard his 25′ World Cat catamaran. It’s a wide, very stable and soft riding boat that is super sea worthy. It performs great in the ocean as well as the shallow bay. Hi Flier Sportfishing can accommodate parties up to 6 on bay trips and 4 for ocean trips.

Contact Captain Dave DeGennaro today for your next fishing charter adventure... HiFlier.com – Call/Text: 732.330.5674

Fishing Aboard The Reel Fantasea

The fish are here and the anglers aboard the Reel Fantasea are catching! We have done pretty well with striped bass on recent trips catching on a variety of artificial and live bait. Some recent catch photos are listed below. If you are looking to get out fishing, I have one spot available on an open boat trip THI SATURDAY morning 5:30-10:30am sailing out of Barnegat Light. We will be striper fishing first and then finishing up with fluke. Call to secure the spot!

~ Capt Steve Purul – Call: 6092901217 – Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters

LBI Fishing Report 5/7/24

Recent days have offered great fishing for anglers fishing the waters of Long Beach Island. Both striped bass and bluefish are biting in the surf, inlet and bay. There’s also good early season fluke fishing too. Today, Tuesday May 7th we have a small yet powerful 2-4′ easterly swell on the beaches so be prepared with a little extra lead sinkers. Get out and enjoy this awesome early May fishing today!

Striped Bass Fishing Report

Striped bass have been action in the LBI suds for a number of weeks now. We are happy to share that the LBI surf continues strong. This past weekend was great and this work week and kept on going. Most reports are focused around mid-island (North Beach to Brant Beach) but that is also the more popular and convenient area to fish so more anglers mean more reports. On recent tides CLAM has been the top producer. Bunker is catching too and it’s also getting blues… more on that in the next section.

Right now there is a full size range from unders and keeper/slots to overs and welllll overs. In recent days fish in the mid to upper 40″ range were reported. Be sure your gear is in order and be sure to test your knots when rigging up. We hear too many, “I lost a big one today.” Spit hooks are one thing but knot failure is unacceptable. If you need an hand be sure to stop in Fishermans Headquarters and we can help!

The bayside while maybe overlooked now that the surf is good has been stellar. With the warming waters the bass are fired up! Small soft plastics like 3” NLBN, 4” Ron-Z and 5” Zoom Flukes have been best for matching the smaller bait profiles. Also top water poppers and spooks are teasing bass to the surface.

Bluefish Fishing Report

The front beach of LBI, Barnegat Inlet and Barnegat Bay all have nice bluefish on the chew. They first showed about 2-3 weeks ago and have since become more abundant and more spread out. This past weekend reports were coming in from all over! Carl Hartman stopped in with three nice bluefish up to 11lbs which he caught fishing frozen bunker chunks off the mid-island surf. We also had reports Monday from the rocks. There was a good bite with some good size bluefish on SP Minnows and metals on the outgoing tide.

Hopefully this trend continues and all can experience old school bluedawg beatdowns like the good ol’ days!

Fluke Fishing Report

With the rising bay and inlet water temperatures, the local fluke fishing is off to a phenomenal start! We’ve had reports of fish up to 26” and multiple limits of fish all over 20” on both Gulp and minnows. A few quality fish we’re caught on large strip baits like Bluefish, Mackerel and Sea Robbin. Fishing a big natural or live bait for fluke weeds out most of the smaller fish and increases the likelihood of a big fluke encounter. Store Staffer Paul had a nice limit of Fluke off the rocks, all over 19” up to 21.5”. All his fish we’re caught on Z-Man StreakZ and Magictail Killshot Jigheads.