LBI Fishing Report 7/4/24

Happy Birthday America!!! It’s the 4th of July.  We want everyone to have a safe, happy and fishy holiday today and the entire week celebrating our independence.

Fishing lately has been a grind. Sharpies are putting together catches, but working hard to earn their bites. There’s no way to cut the mustard… fishing has not been great. It has not been easy. Last week’s rain flooded the roads at time, washed out areas (drop in salinity) and raise concerns with water quality in some areas (Ship Bottom Bay Beach & Long Beach Twp Bayview Park Bay Beach).

As of late we have had our water temperatures bounce back. Surf right now the Ship Bottom surf is 64 degrees. Let’s hope the southerly winds remain fair as they are the cause of the cold water upwelling.

The past 30 days we have had numerous upwelling events plague our waters. One stuck around for almost the entire second half of June. See the data in the graphic below. Sure the cool/cold waters help give LBI it’s break from the heat and humidity that scorches the inlands. But the radical water temp swings really effect the consistency of fishing. And it is for this reason I spend so much time focused on it.

With the prolonged cold stretch but also clean water (usually upwelling events put cold dirty – brown stained water on the beach) I’m beginning to feel that we have a more dominant Labrador Current this year than usual.  I say this because we have cold clear waters stretched along the coast and even the broader region. I’d like to get a oceanographer’s analysis of this.  

I am optimistic that things improve with tomorrow’s (Friday 7/5) new moon giving us more extreme tidal flow and a new chapter as we transition into the first full month of summer fishing.

Here’s the fishing report video update I shot earlier today.

As far as fishing opportunities and species on tap…

Surf anglers have the best shot at targeting fluke along the sandbars. Bluefish or kingfish would be another target to plan for. Also sharks and rays (more on that later). For the most part striped bass can be caught off the Island’s beaches all summer but they are few and far between unless putting in a lot of time and/or specifically set up with live sand fleas and a summertime approach. Stop in and we can share how to fish these bugs in the suds for bass.

The inlet has fluke, bluefish, striped bass, sheepshead and out of season tog.

The bay has fluke, striped bass, bluefish, weakfish as well as a few spot and blowfish.

Out front the ocean fluke fishing at the reef sites and wrecks is improving and should be good this month and rest of the fluke season. Bonita and Spanish mackerel are here. Cobia are in the neighborhood too. Further offshore we heard the good ling bite continues at the deeper water wrecks but with one fish bag limit on sea bass most aren’t making the run.

*Regulation Reminder: Sea Bass is back open for the month of July and August with a one fish bag at 12.5″ so anglers can take advantage of “bycatch” while fluke fishing. For more info on the NJ Saltwater Fishing Regulations here is a detailed listing with a convenience reference chart.

Offshore mahi, tilefish, tuna and marlin are options. Tuna mid-shore hasn’t been smoking as years past but some fish are present. It seems the best bite has been out at the Hudson and further off, outta range for most small boats. But the sporties are getting after it.

Sharks are here and anglers must know the laws to be prepared when a fishing encounter occurs. Both sand tiger sharks and sand bar sharks (aka brown sharks) are federally protected shark species that can not be landed or killed. They are illegal to posses. A landed fish is considered possession. Do not remove them from the water! Always use common sense! Fishing has been shut down in other states. Don’t be the one who will ruin it here. Chunking the beach with heavy tackle during swimming hours 10am-5pm is not the right thing to do. There have already been a couple of occurrences this summer and it blew up on social media so we can only assume backlash is coming down the pike. When fishing the surf in the summer focus on the hours outside of prime time beach traffic. For example, fish the evenings after 5/6pm or better yet fish the dark!

Author: FishHead.Greg

A Long Beach Island native with life long experience fishing and navigating the local waters, Greg is a distinguished Master Captain (the highest qualified operator license), holding a US Coast Guard Masters 50T Near Coastal License with Towing Endorsement. Raised in and now managing his family's bait and tackle business, Fishermans Headquarters (Since 1962, The Saltwater Fishing Bait & Tackle Experts) Greg is daily immersed in fishing. He is the Chief Contributor of (Long Beach Island's best fishing report blog) as well as the Admin for the shop's social media pages (on Instagram and Facebook). Be sure to follow!

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